Prostitution is the act or practice of providing sexual services to another person in return for payment, most frequently coin. The person who receives payment for sexual services is called a prostitute but is also known in the A Song of Ice and Fire novels by the term whore. Prostitutes who follow an army are known as camp followers, and some are politely grouped with serving washerwomen. If a camp follower attaches herself to a single man for the duration of a campaign she is referred to as a camp bride.
Some prostitutes cater to highly exclusive clientele, make a good enough living, and may to a certain extent pick and choose their clientele. Others take who they can get and do whatever they have to in order to survive, often living miserable lives. Many prostitutes in Essos are enslaved.
Prostitutes in Westeros
Prostitutes are normally on the bottom rung of the societal ladder, even the wealthier ones, and are looked down upon by most people because of their trade. Tywin Lannister is well known for his disdain of whores and those who take advantage of their services. It is considered dishonorable for a nobleman to openly frequent whores and brothels, hence the secret passageway that runs from Chataya's brothel in King's Landing to a nearby stable. Despite these attitudes, Westeros teems with brothels and whores.
Some brothels in Westeros cater to more exclusive clientele, such as Chataya's. In contrast, the Lazy Eel is renowned for offering some of the oldest whores in White Harbor. Oldtown has unsavory black brothels.
On Maiden's Day maidens of noble houses are required to go to the sept to light tall white candles at the Maiden's feet and hang parchment garlands about her neck. Mothers, whores, and widows are barred from the sept along with men. A virgin prostitute's maidenhead can cost a golden dragon.
Female whores feature most in Westeros, but it is mentioned that Satin was a boy-whore in Oldtown before joining the Night's Watch, and the whore Hother "Whoresbane" Umber disemboweled in Oldtown was a man.
- Known whores in Westeros
- Known brothels in Westeros
Whores in Essos
In the Free Cities and other places in Essos, the attitude towards prostitution is different, and there appears to be less ignominy in engaging the services of a whore. This may be because many of the Free Cities practice slavery and where there is slavery there will be sexual abuse and exploitation. Slaves who are whores have tears tattooed beneath their right eye.
The practice of slavery has created a thriving business in trained male and female bed-slaves, particularly from Lys, whose pillow houses and pleasure gardens are famous. Whether all enslaved whores are also trained bed-slaves is unlikely. Many slaves are forced into prostitution during childhood. Most have little or no hope of escaping this way of life, aside from suicide, and are crushed by the abuse and despair they endure.
The Ghiscari Red Graces are religious prostitutes housed in the Temple of the Graces in Meereen. There is no shame in their prostituting themselves, but the same cannot be said of the Westerosi counterpart, the septa.
In Braavos there are no slaves, so all the prostitutes are free people. However, there are three classes of prostitutes on Braavos: the highly esteemed professional courtesans; whores kept in a brothel; and the lowest street-walking dockside whores. Braavosi courtesans enjoy high status and are renowned worldwide.
- Known whores in Braavos
- Known whores in Selhorys
Known frequenters of prostitutes
King Baelor I Targaryen attempted to outlaw prostitution in King's Landing, resulting in at least a thousand women and children sent from the capital. King Aegon IV Targaryen slept with all types of women, including princesses and whores.
After the death of Lord Tytos Lannister, his heir, Tywin, forced his father's mistress to walk through Lannisport on a walk of atonement to show the city she was a whore. Tywin later had his elder son, Jaime, convince his younger son, Tyrion, that Tyrion's bride Tysha was a whore. Tywin forced the crofter's daughter to service his barracks, who paid with silver, and forced Tyrion to go last and pay with gold.
A Game of Thrones
A Clash of Kings
A Storm of Swords
The dwarf's penny is a tax imposed on prostitution in King's Landing. When Tyrion is on trial for the death of King Joffrey I Baratheon, Shae claims that she was forced to pleasure him. After Ser Jaime Lannister releases his brother from the Red Keep's dungeon, Tyrion kills Shae after learning she had been sleeping with Tywin. Having also learned from Jaime that Tysha had not actually been a prostitute, Tyrion kills Tywin when his father says Tysha went "wherever whores go".
A Feast for Crows
A Dance with Dragons
A whore learns to see the man, not his garb, or she turns up dead in an alley.
- thought of Merrett Frey
- thoughts of Tyrion Lannister
Washerwoman. That was the polite way of saying camp follower, which was the polite way of saying whore. Where they came from Theon could not say. They just seemed to appear, like maggots on a corpse or ravens after a battle. Every army drew them. Some were hardened whores who could fuck twenty men in a night and drink them all blind. Others looked as innocent as maids, but that was just a trick of their trade. Some were camp brides, bound to soldiers they followed with words whispered to one god or another but doomed to be forgotten once the war was done. They would warm a man's bed by night, patch holes in his boots at morning, cook his supper come dusk, and loot his corpse after the battle. Some even did a bit of washing. With them, oft as not, came bastard children, wretched, filthy creatures born in one camp or the other.
- thoughts of Theon Greyjoy
Some men keep their whoring secret.
References and Notes
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 62, Tyrion VIII.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 37, The Prince of Winterfell.
- The World of Ice & Fire, The Targaryen Kings: Jaehaerys I.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 4, Tyrion I.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 70, Jon IX.
- The World of Ice & Fire, Dorne: Queer Customs of the South.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 15, Davos II.
- A Feast for Crows, Prologue.
- A Feast for Crows, Chapter 39, Cersei IX.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 55, Jon VII.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 17, Jon IV.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 22, Tyrion VI.
- The World of Ice & Fire, The Free Cities: Volantis.
- The World of Ice & Fire, The Free Cities: The Quarrelsome Daughters: Myr, Lys, and Tyrosh.
- The World of Ice & Fire, Beyond the Free Cities: Sothoryos.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 68, The Dragontamer.
- The World of Ice & Fire, The Free Cities: Braavos.
- A Feast for Crows, Chapter 35, Samwell IV.
- The World of Ice & Fire, The Iron Islands.
- The World of Ice & Fire, The Targaryen Kings: Baelor I.
- The World of Ice & Fire, The Targaryen Kings: Aegon IV.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 65, Cersei II.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 42, Tyrion VI.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 51, Sansa IV.
- A Clash of Kings, Chapter 10, Davos I.
- A Clash of Kings, Chapter 3, Tyrion I.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 38, The Watcher.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 70, Tyrion X.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 77, Tyrion XI.
- A Feast for Crows, Chapter 37, Brienne VII.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 27, Eddard VI.
- A Clash of Kings, Chapter 25, Tyrion VI.
- A Clash of Kings, Chapter 44, Tyrion X.
- A Storm of Swords, Epilogue.
- Arianne I (The Winds of Winter)