A paramour is the unmarried lover of a noble.
In Dorne, lords and ladies can have paramours, chosen for love and lust rather than for breeding or alliance. Dornishmen are not greatly concerned if a bastard is born to a paramour. Dorne gives a degree of social status to paramours, despite the "unchaste" nature of the relationship. Outside of Dorne, a Dornish paramour's status is less certain. They may be afforded the esteem granted in their homeland by the diplomatic-minded, or they may receive treatment ranging from slight social disdain to moral condemnation.
That same varying treatment also applies to paramours of non-Dornish nobles, even the mistresses of kings. A paramour can be of the same sex as their lover. Each partner in a marriage can have their own paramour, though it depends on the rank of the partners.
When Lord Lyonel Hightower was forbidden by the High Septon from marrying his widowed step-mother, Samantha Tarly, he kept her as a paramour and fathered six children on her, before the election of a new High Septon allowed their marriage. The relationship was deemed highly scandalous.
It was a closely held secret that Prince Lewyn Martell kept a paramour despite the Kingsguard oaths of chastity. Ser Barristan Selmy and his other sworn brothers were aware of this, but kept his secret.
A Storm of Swords
A degree of social deference is given to Ellaria Sand by virtue of her relationship with Prince Oberyn Martell. While esteemed as a high-ranking woman by the Dornishmen, in King's Landing her presence at the high table at the royal wedding of King Joffrey I Baratheon and Margaery Tyrell would be taken as an insult by the noblewomen seated near her. Ellaria is instead placed at a place of honor near the dais. Olenna Redwyne refers to her as a "whore".
Some known paramours
- Mysaria, to Prince Daemon Targaryen
- Ser Harwin Strong, to Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen (allegedly)
- Unnamed paramour, to King Aegon II Targaryen
- Sylvenna Sand, to Essie
- Samantha Tarly, to Lord Lyonel Hightower
- Princess Aliandra Martell, to Lord Alyn Velaryon (suspected, not confirmed)
- Rue, to Lord Alyn Velaryon (possibly)*The nine mistresses of King Aegon IV Targaryen
- Shiera Seastar, to Lord Brynden Rivers
- Several unnamed paramours, to King Aerys II Targaryen
- Unnamed paramour, to Prince Lewyn Martell
- Unnamed draper's wife in King's Landing, to Ser Preston Greenfield
- Unnamed paramour, to Lord Edgar Yronwood
- Ellaria Sand, to Prince Oberyn Martell
- Daario Naharis, to Queen Daenerys Targaryen
- The World of Ice & Fire, Dorne: Queer Customs of the South.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 38, Tyrion V.
- The World of Ice & Fire, The Targaryen Kings: Aegon IV.
- So Spake Martin: ConJose (SAN JOSE, CA; AUGUST 29-SEPTEMBER 2) (August 29, 2002)
- A Feast for Crows, Chapter 45, Samwell V.
- Fire & Blood, Under the Regents - The Hooded Hand.
- A Feast for Crows, Chapter 13, The Soiled Knight.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 59, The Discarded Knight.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 53, Tyrion VI.
- The Rogue Prince.
- The World of Ice & Fire, The Targaryen Kings: Viserys I.
- The Princess and the Queen.
- Fire & Blood, Under the Regents - The Voyage of Alyn Oakenfist.
- The World of Ice & Fire, The Free Cities: Braavos.
- The Sworn Sword.
- The World of Ice & Fire, The Targaryen Kings: Aerys I.
- The World of Ice & Fire, The Targaryen Kings: Aerys II.