Gender and sexuality
A variety of social patterns concerning gender and sexuality can be observed in the Known World of A Song of Ice and Fire. Modern terms such as "gay", "homosexual", or "LGBT" do not appear in the novels. Moreover, no analogous in-universe term has ever been introduced.
For that matter, it is as yet unclear if "homosexuals" are even considered a conceptual category of persons in Westeros and beyond, given that this conceptual category did not actually exist in the real-wolrd Middle Ages. For the simplicity of this article, those modern terms will be applied to the characters.
George R. R. Martin has declared that the world of A Song of Ice and Fire has no knowledge of genetics, so any more subtle chromosomal or hormonal conditions are unknown to them, only visible anatomical characteristics. When asked if Brienne of Tarth has a chromosomal condition, like Triple X syndrome, he responded that he did not know, because the maesters in-universe do not know what DNA is.
- 1 Characters who have engaged in LGBT+ behaviors
- 2 Societal Patterns of Gender and Sexuality in Westeros
- 3 Societal Patterns of Gender and Sexuality Beyond Westeros
- 4 Non-human races
- 5 Prostitution
- 6 Contraception
- 7 Gender and Sexuality in real-life Medieval Europe
- 8 Quotes
- 9 Notes
- 10 References
Characters who have engaged in LGBT+ behaviors
- Numerous characters have engaged in homosexual behavior or expressed desires for characters of the same gender:
- Explicitly confirmed:
- Lord Alyn Cockshaw, who was in love with Daemon II Blackfyre, who did not return his feelings
- Bokkoko, who is open about the fact that he has a male lover.
- Daemon II Blackfyre, confirmed to be gay by George R. R. Martin
- Essie, who had a female paramour named Sylvenna Sand.
- Lord Jon Connington, confirmed to be gay by George R. R. Martin
- Ser Loras Tyrell, confirmed to be gay by George R. R. Martin and to have had a relationship with Renly Baratheon
- Lord Renly Baratheon, confirmed to be gay by George R. R. Martin and to have had a relationship with Loras Tyrell
- Implied to various degrees in the text:
- Prince Daeron Targaryen, who broke his betrothal at the age of eighteen, preferring the companionship of Ser Jeremy Norridge instead.
- Hother Umber was robbed in Oldtown in his youth by a whore, who is rumored to have been a man.
- Lady Jeyne Arryn's "dear companion", according to Archmaester Gyldayn, was Jessamyn Redfort.
- Ser Laenor Velaryon, said to have never shown any interest in women, instead preferring the company of handsome squires and knights his own age, such as Ser Joffrey Lonmouth and Ser Qarl Correy.
- Ser Lyn Corbray, implied to be gay. According to Petyr Baelish, Lyn likes "boys".
- Nymeria Sand is known to be very close to Jeyne and Jennelyn Fowler, and was "abed" with them when learning of her father's death.
- Queen Rhaena Targaryen's "true love", according to Maester Smike of Fair Isle, was Lady Elissa Farman.
- Lady Sabitha Vypren, married to Lord Forrest Frey, was said to have been "fond of killing men and kissing women", possibly suggesting a sexual attraction to women only.
- Satin worked as a male prostitute in Oldtown, though his personal sexual preference is not stated.
- Tyanna of Pentos was said to be not only the paramour of King Maegor I Targaryen, but also of his wife, Queen Alys Harroway.
- Xaro Xhoan Daxos, implied to be gay. Daenerys notices that Xaro surrounds himself with "beautiful boys", and that he is not interested in looking at her exposed breast when she is wearing a Qartheen gown unlike the other men present.
- Explicitly confirmed:
- Multiple characters have displayed sexual attraction towards or have had sexual relations with both genders:
- Ellaria Sand
- Oberyn Martell
- Daenerys Targaryen, who had previously been married to Drogo and has expressed sexual attraction to men since then on several occasions, has had several sexual encounters with Irri, her handmaiden, although she does not appear to be sexually attracted to her.
- Cersei Lannister has had a sexual encounter with Taena of Myr, initiated by Cersei because she was curious to feel "whatever Robert felt on the nights he took her", as well as "see if it would be as easy with a woman as it had always been with Robert". She finds no pleasure in the act.
- Only one named intersex character has ever appeared: Sweets, one of the lead slaves in Yezzan zo Qaggaz's private menagerie of slaves with physical oddities, and also one of his bedwarmers. Sweets is referred to by other characters as a "hermaphrodite".
- Canker Jeyne is a whore "of uncertain sex", and Arya believes she is really a man. Jeyne may be intersex, transgender, or gender non-conforming.
- Queen Jeyne Westerling gave birth to a stillborn child possessing both male and female genitalia.
- Danny Flint, dressed as a man to join the Night's Watch.
- The Goodwife, the first fool at the royal court in the Red Keep, dressed as a woman.
- King Loreon V Lannister, a King of the Rock of House Lannister of Casterly Rock, was fond of dressing in his wife's clothing and wandering the docks of Lannisport in the guise of a common whore. He subsequently became known as "Queen Lorea".
- Racallio Ryndoon, King of the Stepstones, also cross-dressed frequently, and was sometimes referred to as "Queen Racallio."
While not discussed in the books itself, the sexuality of Ser Brynden Tully has been debated in the fandom. His stubborn intention to remain celibate and refusing marriage prospects from his brother and other riverlords have led some fan to speculate on Brynden being homosexual or asexual. George R. R. Martin has thus far not shed any light on why Brynden has chosen to remain unwed.
Societal Patterns of Gender and Sexuality in Westeros
The societal patterns in Westeros are rather uniform in several aspects. However, several aspects are dependent on the different religions which are practiced in the Seven Kingdoms, and can thus differ between regions.
The customs regarding inheritance and landownership are rather uniform throughout the Kingdoms. Male-preference primogeniture is customary, although not binding, for most nobles. A man's eldest son is his heir, followed by his second son, then his third son, and so on. In theory, the youngest son is followed in the line of succession by the eldest daughter, after whom come her sisters in birth order. A man's daughter inherits before her father’s brother. Although this custom originates from the Andals, the nobles in the north, where the influences of the Andals are minimal and the influences of the First Men remain strong, appear to follow a similar view on inheritance. Only Dorne stands out as an exception, as there no distinction is made between sons and daughters. Instead, children inherit in order of birth regardless of gender, as per Rhoynish custom. In the case of an inheriting female, her last name will be passed on to her children, instead of the name of her husband. When a ruling lord dies and leaves no clear heir, his widow might lay claim upon his lands and rule until her own death (e.g., Lady Donella Hornwood and Lady Barbrey Dustin), and in such a case, might name an heir by herself.
As such, although the rule of a seat of lands is frequently in male hands, women can inherit lands and have certain political power in their own right.[N 1] Additionally, women can become regents for their children until these children come of age.[N 2]
Faith of the Seven
The Faith of the Seven contains both a male clergy, septons, and a female clergy, septas. They are ruled over by a council of the highest ranking septons and septas, called the Most Devout. Regardless, the head of the Faith, called the High Septon, who is usually elected from among the Most Devout, is always male.
The Faith of the Seven only allows marriages between one man and one woman. Furthermore, incest, defined as a sexual relationship between father and daughter, mother and son, or brother and sister, is considered to be a vile sin by the Faith. Any children born from such unions are considered abominations. Cousin marriages are not considered incest by the Faith, and are relatively common among the nobility of Westeros.[N 3] In contrast, in the real Middle Ages incest was broadly defined as marriage between third cousins or closer (though the definition varied considerably over the centuries).
Further the Faith is against homosexual relationships – be they a relationship between two men or a relationship between two women. Nonetheless, homosexual relationships do occur in Westeros, although they are usually kept secret. A notable example is the relationship of Lord Renly Baratheon and Ser Loras Tyrell, confirmed by George R. R. Martin. In Dorne, however, views are considerably less strict, as the Dornish do not see it as a concern if two or more men or women are together.
According to the Faith, men and women were shaped as they are for begetting trueborn children, and as such, children born in wedlock are said to be "blessed by the Father and Mother. Although it is not considered to be unexpected for noblemen to have bastard children by followers of the Faith, the Faith does not consider bastards trustworthy. Regardless, they allow female bastards to become septas,[N 4] Potentially, this might mean that male bastards could become septons. Male bastards can also receive knighthood, which requires them to stand vigil in a sept the night before one receives knighthood.
The Faith considers it to be base and sinful for women to practice prostitution, although brothels can be found everywhere in Westeros. Additionally, the Faith considers it sinful for women to commit adultery. Their view on men committing adultery is not known.
Regardless of the opinions of the Faith, however, members of the society do frequently engage in sexual behaviors the Faith criticizes, such as adultery, homosexual behavior, and prostitution.
The old gods of the First Men still hold sway in the northern-most kingdom of the Seven Kingdoms, as well as in the lands beyond the Wall. There is no organized priesthood, nor are there holy texts.
Incest, kinslaying, and slavery are considered offensive to the gods. The custom of guest right, on the other hand, is both a sacred and ancient rule, taken very seriously north and south of the Wall – whereas this custom looms far less in the southron kingdoms. There, breaking the guest right is rare, but when it occurs, is punished similarly to the direst of treasons. The origins of the old custom of the first night, which gave the Lords in Westeros the right to bedding newly-wed women before their husbands did, are unknown. However, although the first night was abolished two centuries ago, where the old gods rule, the old custom is still practiced, albeit illegally, in some parts of the north.
First cousin marriage is not considered incest under the Faith of the Seven, and the same seems to be true of those who follow the Old Gods in the North (though whether this was always the case, or changed over the centuries due to Andal influence, is unknown).[N 5]
Although polygamy is absent from the society south of the Wall, several members of the free folk are known to practice such marriage customs. Craster has nineteen wives, and Ygon Oldfather eighteen.
While the followers of the old gods south of the Wall have similar views on gender roles in battle than the rest of Westeros, north of the Wall, female warriors are far more common. The term "spearwives" is used to describe these wildling women. Female warriors are also found among the hill tribes of the Mountains of the Moon along the borders of The Vale of Arryn, descended from First Men who were pushed into the mountains during the Andal Invasion. The hill tribes led by various chieftains, which can be men or women. An example of the latter is Chella, chieftainess of the Black Ears. The hill tribes feel that every man's voice must be heard in open council, and even allow their women to speak as well.
Strength and power are valued on the Iron Islands, and reavers are esteemed the most of all. From their raids, they bring captives, who serve their captors as thralls. Most of the male captives work in the fields or mines. A few, the sons of lords, knights, and rich merchants, might be ransomed for gold. Thralls who can read, write, and do sums might serve as stewards, tutors, and scribes. Older women might become scullions, cooks, seamstresses, weavers, midwives, and such. However, most prized are young women. They might become serving girls, whores, household drudges, or wives to other thralls. However, the fairest, strongest, and most nubile are kept as salt wives.
The ironborn practice a form of limited polygamy: a man can have one true- and freeborn "rock wife". However, he can also have multiple "salt wives", usually women captured on raids. Salt wives are considered more than mere concubines, and any sons born of such unions are not considered bastards, but can inherit should their father have no surviving sons by his rock wife. The number of salt wives a man can support is considered to be an indication of his power, wealth, and virility.
Although women can inherit on the Iron Islands, they are still considered to be the weaker sex. In ancient times, the ironborn had an elective monarchy, in which all the lords and ship captains of the isles gathered to vote for one of their members to be the new king. While women can captain their own ship (e.g., Asha Greyjoy), the majority of captains are male. When Asha Greyjoy, the daughter of the recently deceased King Balon Greyjoy, put forward her candidacy, she is permitted to stand in the moot, although Aeron Greyjoy is certain that no woman will ever rule the ironborn.
Regular ironborn lords generally seem to follow the same male-preference inheritance law as mainland Westeros. Gwynesse Harlaw insists that she should rule the Ten Towers, the seat of House Harlaw, instead of her brother Rodrik, as she is seven years his elder. Asha Greyjoy also tried to convince her uncle Victarion to name her his Hand as a compromise, though he declined.
Victarion Greyjoy felt that Maester Kerwin "looked more girlish than most girls", and did not react surprised when informed that Kerwin had been dragged below decks and used by some of the crew "as a woman". This matches the pattern of Top/Bottom dichotomy often found in strongly male dominated societies, such as the real-life pagan Vikings on which the ironborn are based.
Societal Patterns of Gender and Sexuality Beyond Westeros
In the Valyrian Freehold it had been custom among the dragonlords to marry brother to sister, or, if that was not possible, an uncle to a niece, or an aunt to a nephew (and beyond that, to as close a cousin as possible). This allowed them to keep the bloodline pure. Although polygamous marriages were less common, this practice was accepted as well. After converting to the Faith of the Seven, House Targaryen continued their incestuous marriage customs, despite the fact that the Faith considered incest to be a vile sin. The Doctrine of Exceptionalism was devised at the behest of King Jaehaerys I Targaryen to reconcile the Faith's doctrine with House Targaryen practices.
It is unclear if the ancient Valyrians even made a distinction between male-preference or equal primogeniture; It appears that if the firstborn child was a daughter, she would be wed to her eldest subsequent brother, thereby preventing a conflict over the succession. Aegon I Targaryen was said to have been expected to marry his older sister Visenya "by tradition" – and though he did so, he married his younger sister as well. During the Century of Blood, Lord Aegon Targaryen and his sister-wife Elaena Targaryen were said to have ruled Dragonstone jointly. Valyria had both male and female dragonriders, such as the famed explorer Jaenara Belaerys. This tradition continued after the Doom, as House Targaryen had many female dragonriders until the eventual deaths of the dragons. It is said that several cities throughout the Freehold were governed by "men and women sent out from Valyria", implying that it was not unusual to see women in formal positions of power.
Eight of the nine Free Cities are colonies founded by the Valyrian Freehold. Each of the nine city-states has its own culture and social patterns:
- Braavos: The ruler of Braavos is the Sealord. Instead of hereditary succession, the Sealord is chosen by Braavosi magisters and keyholders through a convoluted process, and serves for life. The keyholders involved in the vote of the new Sealord are the descendants of the twenty-three founders of the Iron Bank of Braavos. The original twenty-three keyholders comprised sixteen men and seven women. Their descendants now exceed one thousand. Courtesans are held in high esteem among the upper social circles of Braavos - many of whom own their own boats and answer to no one.
- Lorath: Lorath was founded as a Valyrian colony by the worshipers of Boash. They considered all humans to be equal before their god, and thus saw women as equal to men in all matters. This denial of the self extended to the point that adherents came to refer to themselves and others using indefinite pronouns; they did not use names, and referred to themselves as "a man" and "a woman", instead of saying "I", "me", or "mine". While the cult of Boash has long gone extinct, certain of these speaking habits are still used in Lorath today. Nobles regard it as vulgar to speak of one's self directly. When one of the Faceless Men of Braavos uses the identity of "Jaqen H'ghar" of Lorath, he uses this speech pattern.
- Lys: Lys is famed for its bed-slaves, and Lyseni are known to be famously voracious in their search for comely young boys and fair maids with their pillow houses. Lys is also known for the breeding of slaves, mating beauty with beauty, hoping to produce the most lovely courtesans and bedslaves. Aptly, many Lyseni worship a love goddess whose naked, wanton figure graces their coinage.
- Norvos: Ruled by a council of magisters chosen by the bearded priests, who are the only Norvoshi men allowed to have beards. Freeborn men from Norvos, both noble and lowborn, favor long mustachios; Byan Votyris, for instance, dyes his mustachio blue and sweeps it to his ears. Slaves are shaved bare. Norvoshi women also shave off all of their hair, though noblewomen don wigs when in the company of men from other lands and cities. Once they are initiated, the bearded priests are in fact forbidden to cut or shave their hair. Additionally, they practice ritual flagellation as part of their worship.
- Pentos: Pentos is ruled over by a prince with a council of rich magisters. The prince has a mostly ceremonial function, however, while the magisters rule. The prince is chosen from forty families, and must deflower two maidens, the maid of the sea and the maid of the fields, each new year to ensure prosperity on land and sea. If there is famine or war is lost, the magisters sacrifice the prince and slit his throat to appease the gods, then choose a new prince.
- Volantis: Volantis is ruled by three triarchs, chosen annually through festive and tumultuous elections. All freeborn who own land, regardless of gender, are allowed to vote. They are chosen from among the noble families who can prove unbroken descent from old Valyria, and will serve until the first day of the new year. The triarchs are chosen from the two political parties in Volantis: the elephants and the tigers. Some of the first elephants were women, one of whom, Trianna, was returned four times. Volantis has not had a female triarch for three hundred years.
Most of the free cities are home to temples to multiple gods, and have no specific religion practiced within the city walls. The followers of R'hllor, the Lord of Light, have grown greatly in number over the past few centuries, and so, the red priesthood of R'hllor holds sway in all of the free cities and often wields considerable power. The red priesthood buys their slaves as children and makes them priests (both male and female), temple prostitutes, or warriors. Red temples can be found in Braavos, Lys, Myr, Pentos, Tyrosh, Volantis, Selhorys (which falls under Volantis's regulation), and likely Qohor.
One deity of note that is worshipped in Essos is Yndros of the Twilight, who is male by day and female by night. Acolytes of Yndros can supposedly transform themselves from male to female (and vice-versa) in the act of love. Marra Rogare claimed sanctuary at the temple of Yndros in Lys wearing man's garb; while it was rumored that Larra Rogare, who worshipped Yndros alongside several other gods, used the powers of Yndros to visit the brothels of King's Landing as a man.
Women can come to rule over aristicratic families in Meereen in at least some circumstances. After Daenerys Targaryen's conquest of the city, many of the aristocratic families are subsequently led by daughters, sisters, and widows who lost male family members in the fall of the city.
The Qartheen dress in linen, samite and tiger fur. As per Qartheen fashion, women wear Qartheen gowns, which leave one breast exposed. Meanwhile, men favor beaded silk skirts, while warriors wear scaled, copper armor and snouted-helms with copper tusks and long, black silk plumes and some of its guards ride camels. Children might go about naked, wearing only golden sandals and body paint.
Qartheen men and women retain their possessions after marriage. However, there is a marriage custom where, on the day of the wedding, the groom may ask for any one item from his bride's possessions and the bride may ask for any one item of the groom's possessions. Whatever is asked by either cannot be denied. This is seen as a gift of devotion by the bride and groom to each other.
Kingdom of Sarnor
The Dothraki are mounted nomads whose warriors are all male. They travel in khalasars, which are always led by a male khal, who in turn is protected by his three male bloodriders. Meanwhile, their religious leaders are the all-female dosh khaleen ("council of crones"), the widows of dead khals, who assemble in Vaes Dothrak. Their influence is not to be discounted; Even Khal Mengo, who united all the Dothraki during the Century of Blood, heavily relied upon the advice of his widowed mother, the purported witch-queen Doshi.
Among the Dothraki, at least the Khal is known to be allowed to practice polygamy. For example, Khal Jommo is known to have four wives. Additionally, according to the "ancient ways", a Khal might share his Khaleesi with his bloodriders, a custom still practiced in some khalasars.
The Summer Islands have very positive attitudes towards sex, seeing it as a joyous and life-affirming act given to humanity as a gift from the gods. They practice temple prostitution and sacred sex worship.
Men and women from the Thousand Islands are completely hairless, with sickly skin. Women file their teeth down to points, while the men "slice the foreskins from their members" – making them the only culture in the known world described as practicing circumcision.
The god-emperor of Yi Ti openly keeps dozens of court concubines, though it is unclear if lesser lords do the same. The breakaway kingdom on the island of Leng is ruled by a matrilineal dynasty of god-empresses. By tradition, each empress takes two husbands: one from the ethnically Yi Tish settlers on the north of the island, and one from the native Lengii people remaining on the southern end.
The three surviving city-states of Bayasabhad, Kayakayanaya and Samyriana have all-female warriors, due to the religious belief that only those who give life can take it. According to Addam of Duskendale's account, the warrior-women of the Bone Mountains go about bare breasted, with iron rings through their nipples.
Each tribe of the Jogos Nhai is led by a jhat (war leader) and a moonsinger (combination of priestess, healer, and judge). The jhat is usually male and rules over external affairs, while the moonsingers are usually women, who rule over internal affairs. If a young male wishes to be a moonsinger, he can – although he must dress and live as a woman. Similarly, a young female who wishes to be a jhat must dress and live as a man. Zhea the Cruel, one of the most famous Jogos Nhai war-leaders in history, who united them all as jhat of jhats to smash the armies of Yi Ti, was himself born a biological female.
Not much is known about the cultures of non-human sapient races, who have dwindled to near-extinction in recent millennia.
- Scattered accounts of the Children of the Forest state that their females hunted and fought alongside their males.
- Among the fur-covered, Sasquatch-like race of Giants, it is observed that their females look very similar to their males
- As for "The Others", the "white walkers" of the Long Night, there hasn't been any confirmation that they even have females - though the legend of the Night's Queen (if true) seems to imply that this is possible. Old Nan's scary nursery stories claim that the Others kidnap human women to sire foul half-Other children with them - though this may just be a tale to frighten misbehaving children. Even if there are female Others, however, that doesn't necessarily mean they even reproduce at all - or whether they are ice demons of some sort, never "born", but just happening to have gender.
Dragons, while not a sapient race but animals (albeit very intelligent ones), are still noteworthy for their relatively unusual reproductive biology. Dragons have no fixed gender differentiation - according to Barth and Maester Aemon, dragons are “but now one and now the other, as changeable as flame”, presumably meaning that they are able to change from one sex to the other. This knowledge was later lost, with many maesters doubting that was true. Maester Yandel's commentary in The World of Ice and Fire indicates he believed a dragon to be female if it had laid eggs. He took the fact that Vermax was never observed laying eggs as proof that it must have been male.
Condoms are not present in the medieval world of Westeros. In real life, medical treatises only start mentioning the existence of condoms (made of lambskin, linen, etc.) starting at the time of the Renaissance in the 1500s. The only birth control that men ever make use of in Westeros is the withdrawal method (Coitus interruptus).
Women may rely on several herbal mixtures as a means of contraception or abortion, most notably "Moon tea" (also known as "tansy tea"). One of the main ingredients in moon tea is a drop of Pennyroyal - a main ingredient in several abortion drugs during the real-life Middle Ages.
The views of major religions in Westeros and beyond on contraception and abortion have not been stated. Women seem to obtain moon tea from itinerant woods witches at the fringes of society more often than they obtain it from maesters, although at least Margaery Tyrell is claimed to have requested moon tea from Grand Maester Pycelle, for unspecified purpose. Devout members of the Faith oppose it, however, as when the High Sparrow listed off Margaery Tyrell's alleged sins he said that she took moon tea to "murder the fruit of her fornications". Given that the High Sparrow is a fanatic, it is unknown what the mainstream/everyday views of the Faith are towards moon tea - i.e. the High Sparrow also lists off adultery as a serious crime deserving heavy penance.
The Free Folk beyond the Wall similarly use moon tea for abortions: Tormund remarks to Jon Snow that if Ygritte doesn't want to be pregnant with his child she'll simply find a woods witch who can give her moon tea. Prostitutes in brothels frequently use moon tea.
Gender and Sexuality in real-life Medieval Europe
The society of real-life Medieval Europe, like Greco-Roman societies before it, did not actually possess a binary of heterosexual versus homosexual. Instead, the sexual categories of the Greco-Romans were divided along a Top/Bottom dichotomy, between those who penetrate and those who get penetrated. Men who penetrated other men were seen as normal and masculine; only men who were penetrated were considered unusual or shamefully effeminate. Societies with Top/Bottom dichotomy, heavily defined by penetration, also often did not conceptually recognize female homosexuality, even to condemn it.
The society of Medieval Europe was similar to the older Greco-Roman models, with a Top/Bottom binary, given that both were male-dominated societies in which religious moral instruction was itself dominated by male priests. Pagan Viking culture in ancient Scandinavia similarly followed a Top/Bottom binary. The major difference is that Medieval Christianity came to practice clerical celibacy for monks and nuns, so that the fundamental division of society became between celibate or non-celibate (not heterosexual verus homosexual), and among the non-celibate, this was further divided into Top/Bottom binary. These patterns only ended with the massive social changes of the Protestant Reformation in the 1500s, during which clerical celibacy was rejected by Protestants, and even the Catholic Church had to respond with a new emphasis on praising sex within marriage among the non-celibate.
Homosexuality in real-life Medieval Europe
"Homosexuality" did not exist as a conceptual category in real-life Medieval Europe. It was seen as an action someone could perform, like adultery, but not as an exclusive category of identity. Given that the main social divide was between the celibate and the non-celibate, all non-procreative sex was frowned upon. A man receiving fellatio was condemned by the Church because it wasn't procreative, regardless of whether a woman or another man was performing it.
Homosexual behaviors were seen as a venal sin of the flesh, rather than being heavily vilified. It was roughly on par with adultery or masturbation, both of which were frowned upon, but mass persecutions of homosexuals were not commonplace.
Our bodies were shaped by our Father and Mother so we might join male to female and beget trueborn children. It is base and sinful for women to sell their holy parts for coin.—Septon Raynard to Cersei Lannister
There are other customs besides that mark the Dornish as different. They are not greatly concerned if a child is born in wedlock or out of it, especially if the child is born to a paramour. Many lords—and even some ladies—have paramours, chosen for love and lust rather than for breeding or alliance. And when it comes to matters of love, that a man might lie with another man, or a woman with another woman, is likewise not cause for concern—and while the septons have often wished to shepherd the Dornishmen to the righteous path, they have had little effect.
He knew the man only by reputation...but the reputation is fearsome...His tourneys, his battles, his duels, his horses, his carnality... it was said that he bedded men and women both, and had begotten bastard girls all over Dome.—thoughts of Tyrion Lannister; the very literal way that Jaime and Tyrion describe Oberyn's sexuality avoids using modern terms such as "homosexual" or "bisexual"
One objection was raised: Laenor Velaryon was now nineteen years of age yet had never shown any interest in women. Instead he surrounded himself with handsome squires of his own age and was said to prefer their company. But Grand Maester Mellos dismissed this concern out of hand. "What of it?" he is supposed to have said. "I am not fond of fish, but when fish is served, I eat it." Thus was the match decided.
- Noblewomen ruling in their own right include:
- Alysanne Lefford, Lady of the Golden Tooth;
- Arwyn Oakheart, Lady of Old Oak;
- Jonelle Cerwyn, Lady of Cerwyn;
- Alysanne Bulwer, Lady of Blackcrown;
- Lyessa Flint, Lady of Widow's Watch;
- Mary Mertyns, Lady of Mistwood;
- Eddara Tallhart, Lady of Torrhen's Square;
- Ermesande Hayford, the infant Lady of Hayford;
- Shyra Errol, Lady of Haystack Hall;
- Tanda Stokeworth, followed by her daughter Lollys;
- Cersei Lannister, Lady of Casterly Rock;
- Maege Mormont, Lady of Bear Isle.
- Examples include Cersei Lannister for Joffrey and later Tommen Baratheon, and Lysa Arryn for her son Robert.
- Examples of cousin marriages are Lord Tywin Lannister and Joanna Lannister (first cousins), as well as Lord Paxter Redwyne and Mina Tyrell (first cousins). The exact cousin relationship is unknown in the marriages of Jon Arryn and Rowena Arryn, Shella Whent and Walter Whent, Benfrey Frey and Jyanna Frey, Alys Frey and Jared Frey. Further, a marriage has been proposed between Robert Arryn and Sansa Stark (first cousins).
- Examples include Alysanne, Lily, Willow, and Rosey, the four bastard daughters of King Aegon IV Targaryen by his second mistress, Megette (The World of Ice & Fire, The Targaryen Kings: Aegon IV)
- For example, Eddard Stark's own parents Rickard Stark and Lyarra Stark were first cousins once removed - Lyarra's surname was already "Stark" before she was married. Both of them followed the Old Gods.
- So Spake Martin: Brienne of Tarth (January 31, 2001)
- The Mystery Knight.
- George R. R. Martin's A World of Ice and Fire, Alyn Cockshaw.
- The Winds of Winter, Tyrion II
- Ideas at the House: George R.R. Martin, Lena Headey & Michelle Fairley - 'Game of Thrones' , Nov 11, 2013
- The World of Ice & Fire, Dorne: Queer Customs of the South.
- So Spake Martin: Union Square Signing (July 14, 2011)
- Union Square Signing transcript
- So Spake Martin: To Be Continued (Chicago, IL; May 6-8) (May 06, 2005)
- The World of Ice & Fire, The Targaryen Kings: Aegon V.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 17, Jon IV.
- Fire & Blood, The Lysene Spring and the End of Regency.
- Fire & Blood, Heirs of the Dragon - A Question of Succession.
- A Feast for Crows, Chapter 23, Alayne I.
- A Feast for Crows, Chapter 40, Princess In The Tower.
- A Feast for Crows, Chapter 2, The Captain Of Guards.
- Fire & Blood, A Surfeit of Rulers.
- The World of Ice & Fire, The Riverlands: House Tully.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 10, Jon III.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 39, Jon VIII.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 55, Jon VII.
- Fire & Blood, The Sons of the Dragon.
- A Clash of Kings, Chapter 40, Daenerys III.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 16, Daenerys III.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 36, Davos IV.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 66, Tyrion IX.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 23, Daenerys II.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 71, Daenerys VI.
- A Feast for Crows, Chapter 32, Cersei VII.
- A Dance with Dragons, Appendix.
- A Feast for Crows, Chapter 34, Cat Of The Canals.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 58, Jon XII.
- Fire & Blood, A Time of Testing - The Realm Remade.
- The World of Ice & Fire, The Westerlands.
- Fire & Blood, Under the Regents - The Voyage of Alyn Oakenfist.
- So Spake Martin: Brynden Tully's Bachelorhood (March 19, 2002)
- Ran at A Forum of Ice and Fire: "Primogeniture is customary, but not binding... especially not to a king. We have other examples of people being passed over, or potentially passed over, for others."
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 63, Catelyn X.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 16, Sansa II.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 44, Jon IX.
- A Feast for Crows, Chapter 13, The Soiled Knight.
- A Game of Thrones, Appendix.
- A Storm of Swords, Appendix.
- So Spake Martin: The Martell Name’s Inheritance (June 13, 2001)
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 37, The Prince of Winterfell.
- The World of Ice & Fire, The Iron Islands.
- The World of Ice & Fire, The Targaryen Kings: Aenys I.
- Ruth Mazo Karras, Sexuality in Medieval Europe: Doing Unto Others (Routledge, 2005, 2d ed. 2012)
- A Feast for Crows, Chapter 36, Cersei VIII.
- The Sworn Sword.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 6, Catelyn II.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 56, Tyrion VII.
- The Hedge Knight.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 54, Cersei I.
- A Clash of Kings, Chapter 34, Jon IV.
- A Clash of Kings, Chapter 52, Sansa IV.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 24, Bran II.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 7, Jon I.
- A Clash of Kings, Chapter 23, Jon III.
- The World of Ice & Fire, The North.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 43, Daenerys VII.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 32, Reek III.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 69, Jon XIII.
- A Clash of Kings, Chapter 51, Jon VI.
- A Clash of Kings, Chapter 68, Jon VIII.
- A Clash of Kings, Chapter 11, Theon I.
- A Feast for Crows, Chapter 29, The Reaver.
- The World of Ice & Fire, The Iron Islands: Driftwood Crowns.
- A Feast for Crows, Chapter 18, The Iron Captain.
- A Feast for Crows, Chapter 1, The Prophet.
- A Feast for Crows, Chapter 11, The Kraken's Daughter.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 56, The Iron Suitor.
- The World of Ice & Fire, The Reign of the Dragons: The Conquest.
- Fire & Blood, Aegon's Conquest.
- The World of Ice & Fire, Beyond the Free Cities: Sothoryos.
- Fire & Blood, The Dying of the Dragons - The Red Dragon and the Gold.
- The World of Ice & Fire, The Free Cities.
- The World of Ice & Fire, The Free Cities: Braavos.
- The World of Ice & Fire, The Free Cities: Lorath.
- A Clash of Kings, Chapter 5, Arya II.
- The World of Ice & Fire, The Free Cities: The Quarrelsome Daughters: Myr, Lys, and Tyrosh.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 54, Daenerys VI.
- The World of Ice & Fire, The Free Cities: Norvos.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 1, Tyrion I.
- The World of Ice & Fire, The Free Cities: Pentos.
- The World of Ice & Fire, The Free Cities: Volantis.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 27, Tyrion VII.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 6, The Merchant's Man.
- A Feast for Crows, Chapter 6, Arya I.
- A Clash of Kings, Chapter 10, Davos I.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 43, Arya VIII.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 22, Tyrion VI.
- A Feast for Crows, Chapter 21, The Queenmaker.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 2, Daenerys I.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 68, The Dragontamer.
- A Clash of Kings, Chapter 27, Daenerys II.
- A Clash of Kings, Chapter 48, Daenerys IV.
- The World of Ice & Fire, Beyond the Free Cities: The Grasslands.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 48, Jon VI.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 46, Daenerys V.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 36, Daenerys IV.
- The World of Ice & Fire, Beyond the Free Cities: The Summer Isles.
- The World of Ice & Fire, Beyond the Free Cities: East of Ib.
- The World of Ice & Fire, The Bones and Beyond: Yi Ti.
- The World of Ice & Fire, The Bones and Beyond: Leng.
- The World of Ice & Fire, The Bones and Beyond: The Plains of the Jogos Nhai.
- The World of Ice & Fire, The Dawn Age.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 15, Jon II.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 53, Bran VI.
- A Feast for Crows, Chapter 35, Samwell IV.
- The World of Ice & Fire, The North: Winterfell.
- Wikipedia article on history of condoms
- Westeros.org Citadel - Concordance, 2.5.1 Medicines and Poisons
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 80, Sansa VII.
- A Feast for Crows, Chapter 39, Cersei IX.
- A Feast for Crows, Chapter 43, Cersei X.
- Fire & Blood, Under the Regents - The Hooded Hand.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 62, Jaime VII.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 38, Tyrion V.
- A Feast for Crows, Chapter 3, Cersei I.