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Despite being married to Tyrion Lannister, Sansa Stark has remained a maid.
© Isabel Westling

A maid or a maiden usually refers to a virgin woman. Maidens may be wedded and bedded; However, many husbands will wait until the bride is fifteen or sixteen before sleeping with them. Very young mothers tend to have significantly higher rates of death in childbirth, as noted by the maesters.[1]

A guarantee of a woman's virginity is normally the presence of a maidenhead. Women are generally expected to be virgins on their wedding night, more so for noblewomen. However, noblewomen are more likely to lose their maidenheads during horseback riding, it is said, and proof of their maidenhead during the wedding night - a bloody sheet - is therefore not often insisted upon.[2] Nonetheless, men might refuse a bride if she is no longer chaste.[3]

The loss of a noblewoman's virginity can diminish her possibilities for marriage. After Jason Lannister took the virginity of Lady Alys Stackspear, during which she became pregnant, his brother, Lord Tytos Lannister, insisted upon their marriage.[4] However, Delena Florent who had been deflowered by King Robert I Baratheon and who had given birth to a bastard son by the King, was eventually offered Lord Tywin Lannister's youngest son, the dwarf Tyrion, as a husband. While Lord Tywin himself made the offer, he considered it to be below the standards of his house nonetheless.[5]

Virginity can also be held in high esteem by the Dothraki. According to Magister Illyrio Mopatis, when Viserys Targaryen attempted to claim his sister's maidenhead prior to her wedding to Khal Drogo, he would have undone years of planning,[6] implying that Khal Drogo would not have accepted Daenerys as his bride if she had not come to him a virgin.

A price can be placed upon a girl's maidenhead. For example, Emma, a serving wench at the Quill and Tankard in Oldtown, determined that her daughter's maidenhead would cost a golden dragon.[7] Other forms of payment can also be used at times.[8]

A virgin man can also be referred to as a maiden[9] or a man-maid[10] on occasion.

See Also


I am still a maid.[11]
Sansa Stark, to Lysa Tully

He told me once I was sure to die a maiden.[9]
Samwell Tarly, to Jon Snow

A Frey girl, and not of my choosing, she is not even a maiden.[12]
- Lancel Lannister, on his chosen bride

Do you want to die a man-maid?[10]
- Ser Gerris Drinkwater, to Quentyn Martell

Myrcella never shed a tear, though it was she who was leaving hearth and home to seal an alliance with her maidenhood.[13]
- Ser Arys Oakheart

References and Notes

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