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Game of Thrones put virginity front and center back on TV, but instead to preach on the subject – like others in its genre - it did so by capturing Daenerys's fears on her wedding night, taking the audience through her dread, trepidation and pain. Leaving viewers to cry for her - and with her - until her marriage turned into a love story that made the audience cry for completely different reasons.


King Robb's first time was more passionate than effective. Although he more than make up for it during the course of his marriage, he was never the natural Pod or Jon Snow were on the show, yet the story didn't make him less of a conqueror, a father or a man because of it: The King in the North saved his virginity for the woman he loved, no matter how long it would take to find her.



It wasn't until The Red Wedding that the audience understood how humiliating a bedding ceremony could be for the bride, Talisa the perfect surrogate for the audience's pity towards Roslyn Frey. As sure as Lord Bolton was that Catelyn Stark endured her wedding night with grace, Ned's fears about breaking a man's jaw so long as he touched his bride made the viewers realize this ceremony couldn't be any easier for Catelyn's brother than it was for his poor wife.


So, why would anyone go through it? Why would this fantasy show impose such a horrible challenge to its characters? The answer provided by the Maid of Tarth and the Kingslayer on their way to Harrenhal: because virtue is important. It says something about those who wait for the right person, and something about those who find it all too late. Its something so precious that Jaime's sword hand is the only price worth of Brienne's honor. Marriage the ultimate throne in which such a virtue should rest.

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What I like about this show is that virginity is an issue for both genders alike, that it was as serious for Robb to save his virtue for his wife as it was for Jaime to lose his before Brienne would ever give up on hers.

That this was as embarrasing for Roslyn Frey as it was for Jon Snow, that Daenerys was as scared as Edmure was before they met their respective spouses, that its not just the women but the men as well.
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This is a classical theme from history, and has little to do with noble ideals like "virtue".
It's all about the money - or LAND, historically speaking.
As long as inheritance only went through the male line, and there was no way to ensure the child was yours AFTER conception, keeping tight control of the mother-to-be and her sexuality was the only way to ensure that the heir would be the legitimate offspring of the husband.

Inventing lovely ideas like "virtue" and "chastity" was only a way to make the practice palatable for the population at large.

Less patriarchal societies have had less focus on the "virginity-obsession", allowing such things as temporary handfastings (trial marriages lasting for a year, for example), or simply had rules regarding what happened with the dowry/wergild if the husband realized his new bride wasn't a virgin - he was free to ignore it, or to return her with all her gifts. Unless she was pregnant with another man's child - that wasn't ok.

"Virtue" was so prized that according to the bible, in a lot of cases a girl who was raped had to MARRY her RAPIST - if she was a virgin NOT engaged to be married, the rapist had to pay her father a lot of silver and then marry the girl - and he could never divorce her...

http://www.bricktestament.com/the_law/rape/dt22_23a.html

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Problem is: Daenerys had not lands, she was pre-approved by her husband in a Dothraki ceremony based in his own criterion and Drogo coudn't care less about money.

Not to mention, there's no way to ensure Ned Stark wouldn't have bastards after Catelyn, nor Edmure Tully before Roslyn Frey.

Jaime didnt even intend to marry Brienne when he stepped up for her, Jon made a vow not to wed the woman he saved his virgity for, there were no lands for these men to gain nor to offer: it was just something they wanted to save for the right person.
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The rules were always different for men, whether they sired bastards or not. A bastard just proved you were indeed fertile and capable of siring heirs, after all.

I'm not saying the men and women of Westeros aren't paragons of virtue - actually, that's just what I'm saying.
Yes, there has always been a few outstandingly virtuous people in any period of time, and the people you list here may well be among them. Because the rest of the (fictitious) world doesn't seem to be all that concerned by the concept, except as proof that the filly is indeed suitable as a broodmare.

Ok, so maybe my point of view is slightly biased by the fact that I think waiting to check for sexual compatibility until marriage/The One is kind of like buying a house without checking the plumbing, or a car without a test drive - ok, so you're madly in love, but if one is into sexual sadism with a leather fetish, and the other is a strictly vanilla, missionary position kind of person, it's going to be HARD to make it work over time...

And face it, Westeros? I'm thinking there's a LOT of weird fetishes and heavy BDSM going around. ;)
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Jaime wasn't different from Brienne because he fathered bastards. He said so himself: if he was a woman, he would make those rapists kill him (just like Brienne).

What made them different is that one lost his virtue where the other would not give up on hers. Now, Jaime could no longer fight for his own, but he could fight for her and in doing so the show proved just how important this was regardless the gender.
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As I understand it, the bedding ceremony is based on similar medieval customs. Having the guests at a wedding accompany the happy couple to their room after the feast, to listen at the door, and shout encouragement, was pretty normal. I'm not sure if this included helping them out of their clothes as well, but there was certainly a bawdy air about the whole procedure. If the couple's king or liege lord was present, he might even demand a royal favor from the bride, before the groom got his turn.

You're right about the perceived importance that the bride, at least, was still a virgin though. They would often hang the blood-stained sheets out the window afterward, as proof. This, of course, could be gotten around, by the bride simply hiding some animal blood on her person, to be spilled at the appropriate time. I'm sure the groom would be too preoccupied to notice.

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On the show, its more of a stripping contest in which the male relatives - and selected friends - try to remove the bride's clothing before the female relatives - and selected friends - remove the groom's.

The goal is to leave them naked by the time they shut the door on them, its is assumed the marriage will be consumated that way. The guests would just go back to the feast and leave the couple be.

Daenerys was spared of it because she didn't marry a westerosi man.
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Apparently, chicken livers were popular for this purpose - I'm not entirely certain, but I surmise they could be "tucked into place" and thereby help fool the groom as well.
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Does anyone remember the odd sex or potentially rape scene with the red haird witch and Gendry lol
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That scene always reminds me Lord Varys's story about the sorcerer and the voice from the flames. Luckily for Gendry, it was only leeches.
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I hadn't even thought of this as a recurring thread throughout the show. Fascinating!
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To be fair, the media tends to assume Game of Thrones doesn't deal with these subjects only because its an adult show, which is why I thought it deserved a discussion of its own.
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