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In the sixth episode in season three "The Climb", Sansa Stark is set to marry Loras Tyrell, but is told by Tyrion that he is to marry her. We do know this is not what she wants at all as she is crying when what seems to be Loras Tyrell's ship sailing away.

What I don't understand is,

  • She is still a child even though she has "Flowered" (Tryion says this when protesting the arrangement to his father), I would imagine being the same as an under-aged person in current times
  • Being that her Mother is still alive at this time, it would only be logical that she is the only one who could decide who her daughter was to marry
  • Being that she is captive, being made to get married under duress would not make the marriage official , which would mean Tyrion Lannister would have no claim to the North
  • That they are married before the Gods, if is was forced, would the church accept it as official.

So with those reasons stated, how can Sansa be forced to marry and have it stand as an official marriage?

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    Obviously, the people who were forcing her to marry couldn't care less. – Gallifreyan Jun 7 '17 at 10:46
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    Official is what these people tell it is. – Gallifreyan Jun 7 '17 at 10:55
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    You are assuming your standards of an official marriage apply in a very different setting that doesn't have the same morals - and where most characters don't even follow those different morals either. – Radhil Jun 7 '17 at 11:00
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    Well, that was before one parent was killed and another is in on the war. They are operating under the shenanigan that the Lannisters and the royal family are her guardians since the rest of the family is technically in rebellion. They're her parents now; they said yes, even if from the view of her real family she's being held hostage. The context is mildly important. – Radhil Jun 7 '17 at 11:07
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    The fact that Tywin does it and no one stops him pretty much shows that he's allowed to do it. That's all there is to it. – KutuluMike Jun 7 '17 at 11:54
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You need to understand the point and strength of a king. The king of the land can force through basically anything he wants, re-writing history if he so chooses, and all subjects of the king submit to his will, or you deny his rule, and so are acting in rebellion.

It really doesn't matter what Sansa's say in the matter is (or her parents, or anybody's except the kings say in the matter), or whether she was married once "flowered" or betrothed to someone her parents didn't agree with from the moment of her birth.

The only reason kings don't go full despot on their subjects is doing so tends to incite rebellion (as seen with why Robert Baratheon leads a rebellion in the first place). The North is already in open revolt, so the Lannisters (who are controlling Joffrey right now) don't need to worry about what they think, and are using Joffrey's power as the king to cement a claim to Winterfell through marriage (and eventually a half-Lannister, half-Stark child).

Now if the king were to fall, any other King could choose to undo the marriage (as they could do if any subject was forced to get married and they didn't agree with the decision), but the point is that all decisions are subject to whomever can enforce them.

It may well be that there would be people in the North who would never accept a marriage of Sansa that Ned or Caitlyn didn't agree to, but unless they overthrow the ruler of the Seven Kingdoms, there's nothing they can do but submit to his decision.

TLDR: Might makes Right.

  • I don't accept this quickly usually, but you hit it on the head!!! – KyloRen Jun 7 '17 at 13:12
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She is still a child even though she has "Flowered" (Tryion says this when protesting the arrangement to his father), I would imagine being the same as an under-aged person in current times

Tyrion was referring to Sansa's childish naiveté. Tyrion is, by Westerosi cultural standards, an incredibly progressive character. Others do not share Tyrion's forward thinking.
Consider Danaerys' young age (in the books) at which she marries Khal Drogo; and no one protesting to this based on her age. While the Essosi and Westerosi may be different in regards to acceptable marrying age; I can't think of any case where age was an issue in Westeros. With the sole exception of Tyrion, who is unusually progressive for his time.

Being that her Mother is still alive at this time, it would only be logical that she is the only one who could decide who her daughter was to marry

Catelyn Stark specifically talked (I think to Sansa) about being married off to Ned, and not loving him in the beginning. Assuming Catelyn has always been truthful about that; this means that Sansa has grown up knowing that marrying someone and loving them are two separate things.

Furthermore, as a noble house's daughter, Sansa is well aware of the existence of arranged marriages. It's almost a given for people of her stature.

Being that she is captive, being made to get married under duress would not make the marriage official , which would mean Tyrion Lannister would have no claim to the North

She wasn't willing to marry Ramsay Bolton either, but that happened.

Keep in mind that if Sansa's surroundings say that the marriage was valid; then no one (without proof) can say otherwise. People from other cities or who were not present at the time have no way of knowing truth from a lie.


Just because Sansa did not like who she was expected to marry, does not mean that she doesn't begrudgingly agree to it. She is more than aware of the existence of arranged marriages as a noble house's daughter; and is also capable of understanding that her life could be made a living hell (even more so) if she refuses to comply.

Sansa's desire to go to King's Landing proves that she wants to be part of the royal court. By acquiescing to the Lannisters' plan for her to marry Tyrion, she can ensure that she stays there and is not sent away.


Edit

To summarize the comments below this answer:

You're ignoring the answers that everyone (both me and the commenters) have provided, which amply answers the question at hand. Either you are willfully ignoring the answers and this question has become pointless to answer, or you do not understand the answers and therefore do not understand the underlying premise of pretty much all events in Game of Thrones. Try to understand the difference between truth and the perception of truth, much of the Game of Thrones plot hinges on this.

  • Sorry, this does not answer the question. The biggest issue is that when Sansa was to marry Joffrey, she had to wait for her parents consent and since her mother is still alive why does she not have to wait now? And she was begging them to allow her to marry Joffery at that time. – KyloRen Jun 7 '17 at 11:00
  • @KyloRen: The biggest issue is that when Sansa was to marry Joffrey, she had to wait for her parents consent You say "consent", I say "lack of protest and future arguments". Secondly, while it maybe be customary and polite for the parents to agree to marrying off their daughter, that does not mean it is required when push comes to shove. Thirdly, there has to be an upper limit in regards to when someone cannot freely choose to get married without their parents' consent. Based on Cersei's initial meeting of Sansa, I'm assuming the line is drawn when she first bleeds. – Flater Jun 7 '17 at 11:03
  • Yet Tywin Lannister can force his daughter Cersei who is middle aged to marry Loras Tyrell. – KyloRen Jun 7 '17 at 11:06
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    @KyloRen Arranged marriages are not the global norm. It is only noble houses that usually arrange marriages, as the marriage is based on politics, not love. If such a marriage was solely decided by the parents, why even asks for the bride and groom to read vows? You're completely omitting the possibility that arranged marriages are suggestions that are possible to avoid, but avoiding them brings consequences (e.g. being shunned by the family) that are even less desirable than marrying someone you don't want to. – Flater Jun 7 '17 at 11:53
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    @KyloRen: Politics are all about what appears to be true, and what can not be publically proclaimed to be true because of a lack of proof. This is why the Starks initially do not openly claim Joffrey to be a Lannister bastard. Without proof, claiming this would mean they paint themselves as vindictive rebels; rather than bearers of truth. Because no one will believe them. If you do not comprehend the difference between appearance and reality, in regards to politics, both the answer to this question and the majority of the Game of Thrones storyline is inexplicable to you. – Flater Jun 7 '17 at 12:08
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What a King or Queen or even lesser royalty orders you to do is law. Defying a Royals order is treason against the crown. Joffreys parents or rather his father the King made the request of marriage because of his close relationship with Eddard. The request was a nicety. He could just as easily made it an order. Eddard wasn't thrilled and neither was Catelyn about Sansa marrying into that family nor did he truly want the position of Hand to the King but his King made the request and Eddard didn't want to defy hime. If memory servers me correctly the King made a comment to the effect of "don't make me make it an order." Eddard didn't defy him then just as he didn't defy him about killing Sansa's wolf. Neither man wanted the wolf to be killed but Cersei demanded it as a show of power. In that world the Royals make the law. Defying an order of the crown is treason and punishable by death.

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It was common in most past ages of European society for parents or guardians to arrange marriages without consulting the bride or groom. And if the parents or guardians asked the bride or groom they were not bound by his or her desires. the parents or legal guardians could go ahead with the marriage even if their child was strongly opposed to it.

Though an official religious marriage ceremony performed by a priest as was usual for nobility and royalty would usually have a point where the two parties said they consented to the marriage. Thus the parents or guardians sometimes had to put a lot of pressure of various types on the engaged person to make sure he or she would give consent at that moment of the wedding.

But if one of the parties to the wedding was a legal minor then the parents or guardians had authority to give consent for the legal minor.

Being that her Mother is still alive at this time, it would only be logical that she is the only one who could decide who her daughter was to marry.

No. The father had superior authority over the other members of the family. The mother would only have the right to decide if the father was dead. And unless the parents of a person were the monarchs other persons might have the right or power to override the parental authority with superior feudal or other authority.

I do remember that Emperor Manual I Komnenos (reigned 1143-1180) arranged most of the marriages between members of the extensive Komnenos dynasty and members of Byzantine noble families and foreign royalty and nobility, for example.

Being that she is captive, being made to get married under duress would not make the marriage official , which would mean Tyrion Lannister would have no claim to the North

Monks were supposed to voluntarily take their vows of obedience and poverty, etc. But it was very common for parents to send minor children to monasteries until monastic orders began to prohibit it later in the middle ages. The biographies of many saints tell how they entered monasteries as young children.

Saint Bede the Venerable (672/73-735), for example, was sent to the monastery at Monkwearmouth, Northumbria, at age seven to be educated, and possibly with the plan to become a monk when older.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bede1

For example Liudolf (930?-957) was made Duke of Saxony by his Father Otto the Great (912-973) in 950. His daughter Mathilde was born in late 949 and became Abbess of Essen in about 965, and thus probably before her sixteen birthday.

http://fmg.ac/Projects/MedLands/GERMANY,%20Kings.htm#_Toc3598339902

Otto the Great made his daughter Mathilde (early 955-999), half sister of Liudolf, Abbess of Quedlinburg in 966, aged 11.

Becoming a nun was considered being married to God. If adults could "marry" off girls too young to make informed consent to God they could marry off girls to mortal men without the informed consent of the girls. So the forced marriage of a prisoner would not be too much beyond that.

Furthermore, captured rebels and deposed royalty were often forced to become monks and enter monasteries. Thus people could be forced to take sacred vows, so forcing people to take sacred vows of marriage isn't that much worse.

That they are married before the Gods, if is was forced, would the church accept it as official.

That depended a lot on whether the forced person made their objections publicly known - despite the possible dire threats of those forcing the marriage - and on how idealistic or cynical the local religious hierarchy was.

She is still a child even though she has "Flowered" (Tryion says this when protesting the arrangement to his father), I would imagine being the same as an under-aged person in current times

In medieval times minors could be married by the authority of their parents. And the church did have minimum ages for being married.

In 1176 a man named Sverre came to Norway from the Faroes Islands and took part in the long Norwegian civil wars, claiming to be an illegitimate son of king Sigurd Munn. After six years of war, Sverre became king of Norway. Sverre became a priest in 1175, and the minimum age for becoming a priest was 30, thus making him born by 1145. Wikipedia says that Sigurd was born in 1133, only 12 years before the latest Sverre should have have been born.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sverre_of_Norway3

But the Medieval Lands site doesn't give a birth year for King Sigurd. It does say the sources imply King Sigurd was born before his father became king in 1130.

Thus King Sigurd could have been over 15 when Sverre was born. Furthermore, Sigurd's illegitimate son King Haakon II the Broad-shouldered (1147-1162) was born as early as 1147, just 2 years after 1145.

http://fmg.ac/Projects/MedLands/NORWAY.htm#SigurdHaraldssonMunddied11554

As Wikipedi says about the claim that as a priest Sverre was too old to be the son of King Sigurd Mund:

This particular objection has lost credence as it has become clear that this age limit was routinely ignored in Scandinavia at the time.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sverre_of_Norway3

Thus it seems impossible to prove or disprove Sverre's claim to be the son of King Sigurd Munn.

And if Scandinavian churchmen often ignored the canonical lower age limit for becoming a priest, it is probable that medieval churchmen often ignored the lower age limit for marriage.

Princess Agnes of France (1171/72-1220 or after 1240), daughter of king Louis VII, was sent to Constantinople in 1179 and married or betrothed to Emperor Alexios II (1169-1183) on 2 March 1180. William of Tyre, who was present, described it as a full wedding despite Agnes being a few years below the usual minimum age.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agnes_of_France,_Byzantine_Empress5

Andronikos I Komnenos (c. 1118-1185) made himself co-emperor in 1183, and then had Alexios II deposed and murdered. Andronikos married Agnes in 1184 when she was 11 years old and Andronikos was about 53 years older.

http://fmg.ac/Projects/MedLands/CAPET.htm#Agnesdiedafter12406

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agnes_of_France,_Byzantine_Empress5

In 1298, after defeat, Emperor Andronikos II Palaiologos promised to marry a relative to King Stefan Uros II Militun of Serbia (1254?-1321). He intended to make his widowed sister Eudocia marry the king, but she refused. Desperate to provide a bride, Andronikos selected his daughter Simonis or Simonida (c. 1294-after 1336) despite the shocked opposition of the Patriarch of Constantinople and many family members.

They were married in Thessalonika in spring, 1299 when Simonis was five and Militun was about nine times as old.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Simonida7

On 15 January 1478 Richard Plantagenet, Duke of York (17 August 1473-1483?) was married to Anne Mowbray, Countess of Norfolk (10 December 1472-November 1781). Thus the bride was 5 years, 1 month, and 5 days old and the groom was 4 years, 4 months, and 29 days old.

http://fmg.ac/Projects/MedLands/ENGLAND,%20Kings%201066-1603.htm#EdwardIVdied14838

Thus there are examples of high ranking medieval persons marrying when years younger than the canonical minimum ages.

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