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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, even there, 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, which the maesters will have noted.[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 noble women. For example, because Lysa Tully was no longer a virgin her father Lord Hoster Tully found it difficult to arrange a marriage for her to a man of equal rank.

The loss of a noblewoman’s virginity can also become an opportunity for some nobles looking to marry off sons who are not considered good prospects. After many rejections from other Houses Lord Tywin Lannister eventually approached the father of Delena Florent who had given birth to the bastard Edric Storm. Tywin proposed that his dwarf son Tyrion be married to Delena. Her father rejected the proposal, preferring to marry her off to one of his household knights, like Hoster Tully he probably wanted a "whole man" for his daughter.[2]

Virginity can also be held in high esteem by the Dothraki on occasion. It is quite likely that a khaleesi should be a virgin bride. If Daenerys Targaryen’s brother had succeeded in claiming her maidenhead the night before her wedding it would have, according to Illyrio Mopatis, undone years of planning[3] – meaning that Khal Drogo would not have accepted Daenerys if she had not come to him a virgin.

A virgin man can also be referred to as a maiden[4] or a man-maid[5] on occasion.

See Also


I am still a maid.[6]
Sansa Stark, to Lysa Tully

Daenerys Targaryen is no maid.[7]
- Tyrion Lannister

He told me once I was sure to die a maiden." [4]
Samwell Tarly, to Jon Snow

A Frey girl, and not of my choosing, she is not even a maiden.[8]
- Lancel Lannister, on his chosen bride

Do you want to die a man-maid?[5]
- 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.[9]
- Ser Arys Oakheart

References and Notes

  1. Age of Sexual Relations in Westeros, October 05, 1999 So Spake Martin
  2. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 19, Tyrion III, p 221.
  3. A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 5, Tyrion II.
  4. 4.0 4.1 A Storm of Swords, Chapter 75, Samwell IV, p 858.
  5. 5.0 5.1 A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 68, The Dragontamer.
  6. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 68, Sansa VI, p 775.
  7. A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 22, Tyrion VI.
  8. A Feast for Crows, Chapter 7, Cersei II.
  9. A Feast for Crows, Chapter 13, The Soiled Knight, p 240.

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