Is Sansa and Tyrion's marriage still valid?


Your Highness, Your Grace, my Lords, my Ladies, we stand here in the face of gods and men to testify to this bond between man and woman. One body, one heart, one soul, now and forever.

The marriage (in the original: Marriage) is a religious institution in which a man and a woman take a vow that enables them to live together, have a sexual relationship, and have legitimate offspring.

In the case of members of noble families, marriages have almost always been arranged by the heads of their homes and include political alliances. Through marriage, both families are related, which obliges them to support each other and help with weapons, should war or aggression in another house arise.

In the series


Historically, some marriages marked the loss of independence for kingdoms that came under the rule of another. This was the case when a king of the north married the last daughter of the Swamp King or when Daeron II Targaryen were married to Myriah Martell and Maron Martell to Daenerys Targaryen, making Dorne part of the Seven Kingdoms.

While first-degree cousin marriage is permitted, brother-sister relationships are forbidden. The Faith of the Seven, however, were tolerant of the incestuous practices of the House of Targaryen in exchange for supporting and defending their religion.

It is considered improper to marry a girl before she has "blossomed", but already after that, around thirteen, she is legally regarded as a "woman" able to marry and bear children.

Marriage settlement

Marriages within the nobility of the Seven Kingdoms are rarely concluded out of love, but rather to strengthen political alliances between the houses. Arranged marriages are therefore the rule among the nobility. For the member of a powerful house it is therefore hardly conceivable to get involved with someone from the common people and thereby lose the possibility of a useful marriage contract. Marriage into the royal family is seen as particularly desirable.

If the marriage contract has already been concluded for children, the wedding or, ultimately, its completion is postponed until the boy comes of age or until the girl blossoms. Before this point in time, boys and girls can be engaged to each other, which means that the marriage is only postponed.

Sometimes a couple wants to marry out of love, even though they have already been promised to other partners through an arranged marriage. These marriages, which are concluded without the consent of the families, are therefore held in secret. This is not against the law as long as a septon of the Faith of Seven is asked to perform the ceremony and before which the couple take their vows.


The wedding ceremony can vary in different religions. In the belief of the seven, the ceremony is performed by a septon. The groom covers his bride with a cloak in the colors of his house, symbolically placing her under his and his house's protection. The septon can greet those present as witnesses of this connection through which man and woman become "One body, one heart, one soul, now and forever". Sometimes the septon puts a ribbon around the hands of the bride and groom to symbolize the union.

The septon encourages both to look at each other and take the vow at the same time:

Father, blacksmith, warrior, mother, virgin, crown, stranger. I belong to her / him. She / he is mine from this day until the end of my days.

- Then the newlyweds are allowed to kiss each other.

After the ceremony, a feast will be held for everyone present. After a certain time, the traditional cohabitation ceremony takes place in which the bride and groom are carried to the marriage bed by the guests to spend the night there and to consummate the marriage. This ends the formal part and the party continues for the guests.

Cohabitation ceremony

Main article: cohabitation ceremony

A marriage is only considered binding if it has been consummated, which means that the bride and groom must have had sexual intercourse at least once. If a marriage has not been consummated, it can be annulled.

The nobility of the Seven Kingdoms therefore practiced a custom called the "cohabitation ceremony". As soon as the wedding feast is over, the bride and groom are carried by their guests to the marriage bed, where they serve as witnesses for the consummation of the marriage. The male wedding guests carry the bride while the female wedding guests take care of the groom. The groups undress the bride and groom while telling hearty jokes. This practice seems extremely strange to foreigners.

Nordic wedding

At a wedding in the north, the bride is led to her groom in front of a weirwood tree, where they both marry in the light of the old gods. They are married in a special ceremony, accompanied by their guardians.

At the wedding of Sansa Stark and Ramsay Bolton in Wehrholzhain:

Roose Bolton: Who will appear before the old gods that night?
Theon Greyjoy: Sansa, of the Stark house, is here to get married. A grown woman. Noble and of high birth. She has come to seek the blessings of the gods. Who is claiming them?
Ramsay Bolton: Ramsay from the Bolton house. Heir from Grauenstein and Winterfell. Who will hand it over?
Theon Greyjoy: Theon from the Graufreud house. Who was once her father's ward.
Roose Bolton: Lady Sansa. Are you taking this man?
Sansa Stark: I'll take this man.

In the books

The wedding customs differ considerably between the regions and the major religions, such as the followers of the Old Gods of the Forest, the Faith of the Seven, R'hllor and the Drowned God. All seem to involve a religious ceremony between a man and a woman who should not be more closely related than first cousins, combined with the exchange of vows in the presence of certain sacred witnesses, such as a septon, a heart tree, or a priest. It is followed by a feast during which the bride and groom eat and drink with those present and which eventually leads to the cohabitation ceremony.

The Targaryen of Old Valyrias allowed brother and sister to marry, which they continued to practice in Westeros. This tradition was never accepted by the people who ruled it, who believed that such an association was godless and cursed.

Marriage settlement

Marriage to women who have blossomed for the first time or who are still underage are a rarity. In addition, a cohabitation ceremony is considered perverse if the girl has not yet blossomed in the slightest. Usually weddings are postponed until the girl achieves her blossomed virginity, although an engagement can take place earlier.

Marriage contracts are often made between noble houses, but can be broken later. The contracts are usually arranged on behalf of the descendants or for unmarried, younger siblings. Although a lord cannot force marriage, a refusal to take the vow would result in serious consequences. It is not uncommon for a noble virgin to get engaged early on and be married within a year of her first blooming. Most women outside of Dorne take their husbands' name, although not in all cases. If a woman is of a higher birth or rank than her husband, she can use her name, if at all.

Lords do not necessarily have to arrange the marriages of their vassals or knights, but it would be wise to consult with him and respect his feelings before making any arbitrary decision.

Legality and Cancellation

Vows are not considered valid if brought about by a sword and in theory no person can be coerced into marriage if they refuse to take the vow. However, there are still unanswered questions about consent, such as marriage between children and even infants; this is unusual and is more prevalent when inheritance is the primary concern.

In the cult of the drowned God it is possible for someone to be married by proxy without consent and without having made the vow himself.

Believing in the seven, a marriage that was not consummated by the High Septon or a Council of Faith To get picked up. Annulment granted by a High Septon does not require witnesses and must be solicited by at least one of the spouses. The role and procedure of one Council of Faith is unclear.


Main article: cohabitation ceremony

Women are usually expected to be virgins until their wedding night, even more so are noble women. Those in attendance may be asked to witness a newlywed couple's cohabitation ceremony, which usually takes place after the party. However, it is known that horse riding can break a girl's virginity, so few families insist on physical proof.

The Lords of Westeros once had the right of the first night, the custom of intercourse with a newlywed woman before her bridegroom. Queen Alysanne Targaryen convinced King Jaehaerys I to abolish this practice, but it is still practiced illegally in some parts of the north.

Real background

In the medieval feudal system, marriage advanced to become a means of power and alliance politics in order to bind rich and powerful clans to one another through marriage. Child engagements and marriages between partners with a large age difference were common - no consideration was given to individual partner wishes. Proper marriage was almost mandatory. From then on, a woman who married a man of low origin had to accept the position of her husband. For the father, who handed the bride to the groom at the wedding ceremony, the highest principle was to marry the daughter as honorably as possible, because in armed conflicts the relatives by marriage were considered solid allies.

Women of all classes mostly married or were married between the ages of 12 and 16. The wife was subject to her husband - as it was said in the marriage formula. The husband had guardianship over the woman, which was particularly effective in legal matters. Adultery was not only viewed as a betrayal of the husband, but also injured the honor of his clan. It had to be feared that the offspring did not come from the connection with the husband, but from a "rival" and should be foisted on the husband. The inviolability of ancestry forbade any ambiguity about origin, honor and status. Women who were unfaithful were therefore cast out. In return, the man's illegitimate descendants also had no rights and did not inherit anything.

Noteworthy marriages

In the series

  • Tywin Lannister and Joanna Lannister, a cousin marriage made out of love.
  • Eddard Stark and Catelyn Tully, married after Catelyn's first fiancée, Brandon Stark, was executed.
  • Jon Arryn and Lysa Tully; a double wedding to Eddard and Catelyn, this wedding sealed the alliance of the rebels.
  • Robert Baratheon and Cersei Lannister, a political marriage that secured House Lannister support for the new king.
  • Tyrion Lannister and Tysha, a secret wedding performed by a drunken septon. Immediately canceled by Lord Tywin, who sent Tysha away after her identity as a whore was revealed.
  • Khal Drogo and Daenerys Targaryen, a marriage arranged by Illyrio Mopatis to provide an army for Viserys Targaryen to retake the Seven Kingdoms.
  • Renly Baratheon and Margaery Tyrell, a political marriage that garnered House Tyrell support for Renly's claim to the Iron Throne. The marriage was not consummated.
  • Stannis Baratheon and Selyse Florent, closed before Roberts rebellion. Bred House Florent support to Stannis after Renly's death.
  • Robb Stark and Talisa Maegyr, a secret marriage for love that broke the existing marriage pact between House Stark and House Frey.
  • Tyrion Lannister and Sansa Stark, an arranged marriage through which Tywin Lannister wanted his house to rule the north. The marriage was not consummated.
  • Roose Bolton and Walda Frey; Bolton chose her when Lord Walder Frey offered one of his granddaughters for marriage; with the promise to weigh their weight in silver.
  • Edmure Tully and Roslin Frey, an arranged marriage negotiated by Robb Stark with Lothar and Schwarzer Walder Frey to renew the alliance between Starks and Freys.
  • Joffrey Baratheon and Margaery Tyrell, a political marriage arranged by Petyr Baelish to form the Lannister-Tyrell Alliance. In their favor, Joffrey broke off his engagement to Sansa Stark, which was still negotiated by his father Robert Baratheon. The marriage was not consummated.
  • Petyr Baelish and the widow Lysa Arryn. The marriage should bring the valley back under direct control of the Iron Throne, as the Arryns have so far been neutral in the War of the Five Kings.

See also