Jump to content
Dakotti

Question Regarding Taboos in Westeros

Recommended Posts

While I was reading up on Tywin's history, I learned that he was actually married to his cousin, Joanna; which is common knowledge. My question is why would his marriage not be considered controversial, in the same way that Jaime and Cersei's incestuous relationship is.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In the Middle-Ages was common for noble cousins to marry each other, so if not even in true history was considered a taboo, why would it be in a material based on it?

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Not that I'm advocating it, but even today it is legal, acceptable and genetically safe to marry your second cousin. By then enough genetic drift has been introduced to probably weed out abnormal manifestations.

As noted by @Marcelowww, historically, noble first cousins married frequently.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

While it is common for cousin to marry cousin, the Lannisters dont seem to have practiced it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, Three-Fingered Pete said:

Not that I'm advocating it, but even today it is legal, acceptable and genetically safe to marry your second cousin. By then enough genetic drift has been introduced to probably weed out abnormal manifestations.

 As noted by @Marcelowww, historically, noble first cousins married frequently.

Not only is it legal, its legal in more jurisdictions than not. Its actually easier to list the places where it is not legal in the real world: China, the Philippines, India under certain circumstances, parts of the Balkans, and parts of the US.

Interestingly, during the Middle Ages, the Catholic Church was far more restrictive than secular law nowadays; the Church banned marriage up to sixth cousins, which is insane and basically impossible to enforce (and even harder back then). Of course, dispensations were routinely granted because of how impossible it was. The Church has backed down to only opposing first cousin marriages over the years.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, dsjj251 said:

While it is common for cousin to marry cousin, the Lannisters dont seem to have practiced it.

They did. Casterly Rock Lannisters married Lannisport lannisters all the time 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, Three-Fingered Pete said:

Not that I'm advocating it, but even today it is legal, acceptable and genetically safe to marry your second cousin. By then enough genetic drift has been introduced to probably weed out abnormal manifestations.

As noted by @Marcelowww, historically, noble first cousins married frequently.

#UnpopularOpinionWarning

Honestly, I don't feel like there's anything wrong with second cousins marrying and hooking up. I'll go even further and say that first cousins intermingling doesn't bother me either so long as its consensual. Most people (at least in the United States) are not that closely associated with their cousins anyways.

I wouldn't go out of my way to encourage relations between first cousins. But it only starts to get a little weird when first cousins are raised together and treated like siblings. That's crossing a line.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
8 hours ago, Jabar of House Titan said:

#UnpopularOpinionWarning

Honestly, I don't feel like there's anything wrong with second cousins marrying and hooking up. I'll go even further and say that first cousins intermingling doesn't bother me either so long as its consensual. Most people (at least in the United States) are not that closely associated with their cousins anyways.

I wouldn't go out of my way to encourage relations between first cousins. But it only starts to get a little weird when first cousins are raised together and treated like siblings. That's crossing a line.

I think thats an opinion more people think is unpopular than actually is unpopular. Kind of like bands that everyone says are unpopular, but they sell out all their concerts.

Then again, I dated (and then married) exclusively girls that were of different ancestries from me; I’m French on both sides, and never so much as went on a single date with a French girl, so I went in completely the opposite direction.

Edited by DominusNovus

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Three-Fingered Pete said:

 

Given the current times and the general topic I think what we really want to know is if you ever frenched a girl on a date and what "direction" are you talking about exactly, and most importantly, was it consensual? :D

Hardly relevant, but I'll say that I married a Portuguese girl. I won't go into the sordid details of my romantic history.

Edited by DominusNovus

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
15 minutes ago, DominusNovus said:

Hardly relevant, but I'll say that I married a Portuguese girl. I won't go into the sordid details of my romantic history.

 

Just a poor attempt at humor. No offence meant. I apologize.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

On my father's side of the family, my great aunt had married her cousin and they lived in Canada.  On my mother's side of the family her cousin had married a cousin as well,  They didn't get married until they lived in the US, but they were both born in the Azores, so I'm sure there's a lot of family intermingling since those Islands aren't very big. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Also in the minority that I don't find it too be that big of a deal when cousins marry, so long as it is not done for several generations.  Not my personal bag of tea, but I was brought up with my cousins as siblings so somewhat in a different position.  But I'm not going to judge someone who does. 

As has been pointed out, this is a practice that has been going on for centuries all over the world.  Nowhere near on the same level as the Twincest, which I believe is pretty much frowned upon everywhere (except maybe ancient Egypt, I'm not too educated on the sister-brother marriages there or if any of them were twins).  

I think the same can be said for Westeros - it's one thing to marry your cousin, it's another thing to have mad crazy sex with your twin.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I am curious as to how the Westermarck effect does not seem to exist among Targs, or an inverse Westermarck effect exist - Jaehaerys I and Alysanne, and Jaehaerys II and Shaera both fell in love despite their parents not being fans. And the Targs are not raised separately, which would maybe make them less grossed out by incest IRL... but let's chalk it up to Targs being Targs.

Indeed, cousins aren't regarded as incestuous in Westeros. Uncle-niece seems to be a little bit complicated. The Starks had some half-uncle/half-niece marriages, but we don't know if that counts as lesser as pure uncle-niece (which seems to be banned by the Faith), or whether the parameters of incest are different between Old Gods and Seven worshippers. There's also Victarion thinking his full niece Asha's proposing marriage, but that could be just dumb Vic being Vic (or such a thing could be allowed on the Iron Islands). In the real world though, I am pretty sure uncle-niece was okay a lot of the time for families like the Habsburgs, where the genetic problems got seriously compounded over multiple generations.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, Three-Fingered Pete said:

 

Just a poor attempt at humor. No offence meant. I apologize.

None taken, just figured it would be quite the derail to go into any further detail about my own personal romantic life.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
15 hours ago, DominusNovus said:

Interestingly, during the Middle Ages, the Catholic Church was far more restrictive than secular law nowadays; the Church banned marriage up to sixth cousins, which is insane and basically impossible to enforce (and even harder back then). Of course, dispensations were routinely granted because of how impossible it was. The Church has backed down to only opposing first cousin marriages over the years.

I wouldn't know about how impossible it was, but I would grant to say that those of the more common people probably because given how much the royalty or nobility did it it couldn't have been THAT impossible. I mean it was like a roundhouse with the Habsburgs given how many times (Uncle/Neice, Cousin/Cousin)(In fact, 9 out of the 11 total marriages that were occuring from 1516 to 1700 were avunculate ) were joined in holy matrimony. Most often than not with royalty it was given the go ahead because of the money that would flow to the popes from these dynasties. Perhaps someone should have put a stop to some of the inbreeding given how some of the monarchs and their families turned up (Charles II of spain).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
16 hours ago, DominusNovus said:

Not only is it legal, its legal in more jurisdictions than not. Its actually easier to list the places where it is not legal in the real world: China, the Philippines, India under certain circumstances, parts of the Balkans, and parts of the US.

Interestingly, during the Middle Ages, the Catholic Church was far more restrictive than secular law nowadays; the Church banned marriage up to sixth cousins, which is insane and basically impossible to enforce (and even harder back then). Of course, dispensations were routinely granted because of how impossible it was. The Church has backed down to only opposing first cousin marriages over the years.

 

23 minutes ago, Maegelle The Good said:

I wouldn't know about how impossible it was, but I would grant to say that those of the more common people probably because given how much the royalty or nobility did it it couldn't have been THAT impossible. I mean it was like a roundhouse with the Habsburgs given how many times (Uncle/Neice, Cousin/Cousin)(In fact, 9 out of the 11 total marriages that were occuring from 1516 to 1700 were avunculate ) were joined in holy matrimony. Most often than not with royalty it was given the go ahead because of the money that would flow to the popes from these dynasties. Perhaps someone should have put a stop to some of the inbreeding given how some of the monarchs and their families turned up (Charles II of spain).

I'm not sure about the sixth cousins thing - I am pretty sure that the highest restriction was "to seven degrees", which means third cousins, once removed instead of sixth cousins. But yes, dispensations were pretty easy, as seen in the early modern age - and I also am sceptical that the regular people of Europe would bat an eyelid at marrying a second cousin in a small village, given that it's not going to be a bastion of genetic diversity. Conveniently, the high degree of cousin marriage also allowed nobles to pull the consanguinity card when they saw fit. :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
48 minutes ago, Maegelle The Good said:

I wouldn't know about how impossible it was, but I would grant to say that those of the more common people probably because given how much the royalty or nobility did it it couldn't have been THAT impossible. I mean it was like a roundhouse with the Habsburgs given how many times (Uncle/Neice, Cousin/Cousin)(In fact, 9 out of the 11 total marriages that were occuring from 1516 to 1700 were avunculate ) were joined in holy matrimony. Most often than not with royalty it was given the go ahead because of the money that would flow to the popes from these dynasties. Perhaps someone should have put a stop to some of the inbreeding given how some of the monarchs and their families turned up (Charles II of spain).

A quick search indicates that the typical Brit these days has 174,000 sixth cousins. First, take that stat with a grain of salt. Then add another grain for the fact that its a modern stat, and marriage and birth patterns were surely different in pre-industrial society. Add another half grain of salt when dealing with endogamous populations.

All that salt acknowledged, the point is that for all those people that never really moved far beyond their homes, it would be pretty hard to find someone who wasn't your sixth cousin. Thats literally anyone who has the same great-great-great-great-great grandparents as you. Thats a lot of people when its not easy to pick up and move far away.

So, I would say it was effectively impossible for the Church to seriously enforce the idea that nobody could marry sixth cousins or closer. The early Protestants thought it was just a racket, for the Church to rake in dispensation money, but I think it was more likely a case that they didn't quite do the math, and wanted to err on the side of caution.

Edited by DominusNovus

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Cousin marriage is acceptable in Westeros and even in some of our own world's cultures. Royalty could get away with being even more closely related. The Hapsburg's had several uncle-niece marriages and Egyptian pharoahs married their sisters. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
16 hours ago, DominusNovus said:

I think thats an opinion more people think is unpopular than actually is unpopular. Kind of like bands that everyone says are unpopular, but they sell out all their concerts.

Then again, I dated (and then married) exclusively girls that were of different ancestries from me; I’m French on both sides, and never so much as went on a single date with a French girl, so I went in completely the opposite direction.

I'm trying to teach myself French.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×