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Eternally_His

Marrying for Love in Westeros?

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Several threads on the forum got me thinking: why is marrying for love seen as 'taboo' in Westeros? If Martin wanted his work to be realistic, then he should have thrown some couples that married for love here and there. Without love between married couples, they would most likely spend time being 'cold' towards one another and only keeping one another company during public events and while consummating the marriage/nearing children.

All in all, marriage without love is a cold, lonely union. Case in point: Ramsay and Jeyne. She never spent much time with him unless it involved child-bearing in some manner, or unless he forced her to.

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Marriages for love are common in Westeros just that they are a minority compared to the bethrothals.

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Most couples we "see" are VIPs and decisions of their marriages are made by somebody else. I assume that marrying for love is very common among commoners.

So in a way organized marriage is price of being "somebody". Just in theory it is possible that a person refuses that marriage, but there would be serious consequences for a person who would do that.

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34 minutes ago, Alyn Oakenfist said:

But there are a lot of marriages out of love. Why, just look at Ramsay and Arya.

Is that sarcasm?

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3 hours ago, Eternally_His said:

Several threads on the forum got me thinking: why is marrying for love seen as 'taboo' in Westeros? If Martin wanted his work to be realistic, then he should have thrown some couples that married for love here and there.

He did. Doran and his wife married for love. It did not work out so well.

3 hours ago, Eternally_His said:

 

Without love between married couples, they would most likely spend time being 'cold' towards one another and only keeping one another company during public events and while consummating the marriage/nearing children.

The big difference here is that you are an outsider looking in on this culture and thinking it weird. The majority of people brought up in this culture don't think it weird and the expectation is that they will grow to love their partner, which is what happens to many.

Obviously there are marriages that don't work in this system, just like there are marriages that don't work in ours.

 

 

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Posted (edited)

I doubt heirs and lords have much freedom at choosing their match, but third sons seems to be much more free to persue whatever they want.

Tywin and Doran seems exeptions.

Edited by Arthur Peres

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3 minutes ago, Arthur Peres said:

I doubt heirs and lords have much freedom at choosing their match, but third sons seems to be much more free to persue whatever they want.

Tywin and Doran seems exeptions.

Cregan Stark also marry for love, twice. Certainly, not all Kings and heirs are as stupid or lucky as Jaeharys was but marriages for love are not at all uncommon in the Westeros.

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Posted (edited)

It doesn't seem like there's much aim for compatibility in the arranged marriages, as evidenced by matches like Jon Arryn and Lysa Tully, or Robert Baratheon and Cersei Lannister. Lyanna Stark and Robert Baratheon would have likely gone very poorly judging by what we know of Lyanna's wilful personality and Robert's philandering; she could have wound up like Cersei. Likewise with Robert offering Ned a betrothal between Joffrey and Sansa; Robert knew what Joffrey was like, and yet put him with a girl he knew he'd abuse.

Which is why Doran was an idiot for betrothing Arianne to Viserys. If Barristan knew of Viserys showing early signs of madness, there's no reason Elia couldn't. And Elia would have likely told Doran in letters. Wouldn't have let Viserys close to Arianne if he was going to treat her like Joffrey did Sansa.

Edited by Angel Eyes

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23 minutes ago, Angel Eyes said:

It doesn't seem like there's much aim for compatibility in the arranged marriages, as evidenced by matches like Jon Arryn and Lysa Tully, or Robert Baratheon and Cersei Lannister. Lyanna Stark and Robert Baratheon would have likely gone very poorly judging by what we know of Lyanna's wilful personality and Robert's philandering; she could have wound up like Cersei. Likewise with Robert offering Ned a betrothal between Joffrey and Sansa; Robert knew what Joffrey was like, and yet put him with a girl he knew he'd abuse.

That's literally four out of ten thousand. On the top of my mind i can think of Aenys and Alyssa, Rhaena and  Prince Aegon, Aemon and Jocelyn, Baelon and Alyssa, Daeron and Mariah, Ned and Cat etc etc etc. Those specific bethrothals you're talking about were made with strategical, dynastical and political reasons, with the exception of Robert&Lyanna, they were not made t hinking of how happy those couple would be. As @Bernie Mac says there are bethrothals that don't work out, but there are also love matches that don't work out either, both in Westeros (Doran and Mellario, Rogar and Alyssa) that don't work out either. Btw, it's pretty much unlikely that Lyanna ended up like Cersei.

 

 

32 minutes ago, Angel Eyes said:

 Which is why Doran was an idiot for betrothing Arianne to Viserys. If Barristan knew of Viserys showing early signs of madness, there's no reason Elia couldn't. And Elia would have likely told Doran in letters. Wouldn't have let Viserys close to Arianne if he was going to treat her like Joffrey did Sansa.

Again, strategical, dynastical and political reasons. Btw, Elia did not live in the Red Keep, she lived in Dragonstone, nor there is a reason for Elia to inform about Viserys and Viserys was a kid, god's know what are those signs of madness in Barri B eyes.

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37 minutes ago, Angel Eyes said:

Which is why Doran was an idiot for betrothing Arianne to Viserys. If Barristan knew of Viserys showing early signs of madness, there's no reason Elia couldn't. And Elia would have likely told Doran in letters. Wouldn't have let Viserys close to Arianne if he was going to treat her like Joffrey did Sansa.

It might feel like Elia and Rhaegar were married for a long time, but they really weren't. They were married for 3 years and we're told that Rhaegar moved his household to Dragonstone afterward. She may not even have spent all that much time around Viserys to know that something was wrong with him.

Barristan can say what he said because as he put it, he knows Targaryens, but Elia could have just considered Viserys to be having a tantrum or something, if she witnessed anything at all.

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1 hour ago, Alexis-something-Rose said:

It might feel like Elia and Rhaegar were married for a long time, but they really weren't. They were married for 3 years and we're told that Rhaegar moved his household to Dragonstone afterward. She may not even have spent all that much time around Viserys to know that something was wrong with him.

 Barristan can say what he said because as he put it, he knows Targaryens, but Elia could have just considered Viserys to be having a tantrum or something, if she witnessed anything at all.

There still Lewyn Martell to report.

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11 hours ago, Eternally_His said:

Several threads on the forum got me thinking: why is marrying for love seen as 'taboo' in Westeros?

Its not.

Marrying against the patriarchs wishes is. For the nobility in particular, marriage is an opportunity to secure something for the family. Happiness for the individual is not the priority - they are expected to make the best of their life. Thats the price of all that wealth and privilege.

11 hours ago, Eternally_His said:

If Martin wanted his work to be realistic, then he should have thrown some couples that married for love here and there.

As noted, he did.

11 hours ago, Eternally_His said:

Without love between married couples, they would most likely spend time being 'cold' towards one another and only keeping one another company during public events and while consummating the marriage/nearing children.

Only if they are assholes or particularly incompatible. For most people living in an arranged marriage society marriage they understand that marriage is something you work at, and that happiness comes from fulfillment, which comes more from working together on something and give and take than from sated desires. They also know that the love that comes from togetherness is more lasting and truer than the love that comes from chemistry.
We in the west tend to forget these things. It is no wonder that our 'successful' marriages rates are dropping.

Both sides have success and failures of course. Assholes are assholes in whatever culture they are in.

11 hours ago, Eternally_His said:

All in all, marriage without love is a cold, lonely union. Case in point: Ramsay and Jeyne. She never spent much time with him unless it involved child-bearing in some manner, or unless he forced her to.

Well, perhaps you were making a parody thread after all?

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Jorah Mormont and Lynesse Hightower was essentially a love match.  It ended badly.

On the other hand, I recall that Sam was sent to The Arbor with the hope that he might marry the Redwynes' daughter.  They found him unsuitable, but I expect that happens a lot; kids fostered out in the hope of an attraction and subsequent marriage.  "Arranged love", perhaps?

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Posted (edited)
11 hours ago, Angel Eyes said:
12 hours ago, Alyn Oakenfist said:

But there are a lot of marriages out of love. Why, just look at Ramsay and Arya.

Is that sarcasm?

Guess...

Edited by Alyn Oakenfist

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8 hours ago, Arthur Peres said:

There still Lewyn Martell to report.

Sure. But did Doran ever ask? Plus I don't think Viserys was part of any plans until House Targaryen collapsed. Both Elia and Lewyn were dead by then.

I have a couple non-political marriages in mind. Egg / Black Betha. Duncan / Jenny of Oldstones. Jaehaerys / Shaena. It's easier to come up with Targaryen names because they are the family we know the most about.

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Posted (edited)
On 4/5/2020 at 6:31 PM, Eternally_His said:

Without love between married couples, they would most likely spend time being 'cold' towards one another and only keeping one another company during public events and while consummating the marriage/nearing children.

Probably, the average Westerosi noble would ask "what's the problem with that?"

Marriages about noble families are about favor, money, reward loyalty, make strategical alliances,... That should be the primary concern. If you need someone who loves you, you can look for a paramour.

Edited by The hairy bear

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On 4/5/2020 at 12:31 PM, Eternally_His said:

Several threads on the forum got me thinking: why is marrying for love seen as 'taboo' in Westeros? If Martin wanted his work to be realistic, then he should have thrown some couples that married for love here and there. Without love between married couples, they would most likely spend time being 'cold' towards one another and only keeping one another company during public events and while consummating the marriage/nearing children.

All in all, marriage without love is a cold, lonely union. Case in point: Ramsay and Jeyne. She never spent much time with him unless it involved child-bearing in some manner, or unless he forced her to.

Marriage, particularly among the royal family, was a duty. It wasn't as bad as you think. Lust had an outlet. Marriage was not the place, not the only place, to look for love. Sure, many couples were unhappy. They were "lookin for love in all the wrong places. Lookin for love in too many faces. Searchin their eyes, lookin for traces of what they're dreaming of." 

 

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Marrying for love seems to be more common in second or third marriages (Alyssa and Rogar Baratheon, Rohanne Webber and her Lannister husband, Eleana and Michael Manwoody). It would appear that after someone has fulfilled their marital "duty" at least once, there's less resistance to marrying someone of your own choosing.

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