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In the chapter "The Reaver" (Victarion), in A Feast for Crows, there is the following passage:

He shames Hewett as he once shamed me, the captain thought, remembering how his wife had sobbed as he was beating her. The men of the Four Shields oft married one another, he knew, as the ironborn did. One of the naked serving wenches might well be Talbert Serry's wife. It was one thing to kill a foe, another to dishonor him.

I don't really get what the meaning of "The men of the Four Shields oft married one another, he knew, as the ironborn did." is in this context. Firstly, I assume by "men" he means "people" (not "males"), as it doesn't make sense in this context.

"Married one another" could mean incest, which again doesn't make much sense here. Besides, there has been no previous mention about homosexuality or incest in the context of the ironborn. The only thing that makes sense here is that "the people of the Four Shields often married one another", where "one another" is just "other people who live in the Four Shields area", which doesn't make much sense here either (it's obvious -- most marriages are with people who live nearby).

So, what does this passage mean?

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I believe he does mean people, not men. The specific passage refers to Euron stripping Lord Hewett's wife and her retinue, after forcing them to act as serving wenches (well, more specifically, stripping them while they are acting as serving wenches):

The serving wenches wore fine woolens and plush velvets, the Lord Captain did not fail to note. He took them for scullions dressed up in the clothes of Lady Hewett and her ladies, until Hotho told him they were Lady Hewett and her ladies. It amused the Crow's Eye to make them wait and pour. There were eight of them: her ladyship herself, still handsome though grown somewhat stout, and seven younger women aged from twenty-five to ten, her daughters and good-daughters.

So, in the context of "One of the naked serving wenches might well be Talbert Serry's wife", he is saying that Serry may very well have married one of Hewett's daughters or good-daughters.

When he says "the men of Four Shields oft married one another", he apparently means that the families of one of the Shield Islands often marry those from another one of the Islands (e.g. Serry, from Southshield, may very well have married a Hewett, from Oakenshield), and therefore Euron's shaming of Hewett's family may also include the shaming of the family of a warrior that Victarion had bested in honorable combat.

The "men of Four Shields" part could specifically indicate the noble families ruling each island (i.e. the Serrys of Southshield, the the Chesters of Greenshield, the Hewetts of Oakenshield, and the Grimms of Greyshield), although I don't believe this is spelled out.

Victarion is not a nice man, but he is honorable, and respects those who fight him honorably, so Euron's actions do not sit well with him (even before you factor in the personal issues he has with Euron from the incident with Victarion's wife).

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    Yep, it makes sense now. Unfortunately it's a bit hard keeping track of all of the characters; I didn't realize that Ser Talbert was from a different island.. Commented Mar 25, 2013 at 13:13

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