Polygamy

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Polygamy can be defined as a marriage which includes more than two partners. In Westeros for the highborn and the lowborn marriage is chiefly between two people, a man and a woman. The Faith of the Seven does not permit polygamy.[citation needed]

Polygamy in Westeros

House Targaryen was known to flout convention and openly practice polygamous marriages. Aegon the Conqueror was married to two women who were also his full sisters, Visenya and Rhaenys. When Aegon married his sisters, this was considered unusual although there was precedent for it.[1] He remained married to both of sisters even after converting to the Faith of the Seven.

After Aegon other male Targaryens has multiple wives, but with the death of their dragons House Targaryen lost the clout that they needed to be able to get away with committing the sin of polygamy in Westeros. According to George R. R. Martin,

Maegor the Cruel has multiple wives, from lines outside his own, so there was and is precedent. However, the extent to which the Targaryen kings could defy convention, the Faith, and the opinions of the other lords decreased markedly after they no longer had dragons. If you have a dragon, you can have as many wives as you want, and people are less likely to object.[2]

There has been no mention of a Targaryen woman having more than one husband.

In the Iron Islands a man can still have several "salt wives" but only one true ironborn wife, his "rock wife". The salt wives are really concubines.

Polygamy Beyond the Wall

Beyond the Wall the wildling Craster has multiple wives, some of whom are also his daughters. Ygon Oldfather has eighteen wives.[3]

Polygamy in Essos

Dothraki khals sometimes have more than one wife,[4] such as Khal Jommo who has four.

References and Notes

  1. Chicon 7 Reading (September 02, 2012) So Spake Martin
  2. The Citadel. "Asshai.com Forum Chat" (July 27, 2008) So Spake Martin
  3. A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 69, Jon XIII.
  4. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 46, Daenerys V.