View Full Version : why arrange a marriage

07-11-2005, 09:03 AM
I'd like to trap my main characters together because of an arranged marriage, but I'm having trouble thinking of a reason why the marriage would be arranged. Both characters would need to be pushed into it by some other character. Both characters are male, so it can't be because either needs an heir, or needs to salvage a scandalous reputation, or is pregnant. If possible I would like one of their enemies to try to force the match to piss them both off, but why and how? They both come from clans, so a political alliance is a possibility. One of the characters is much disliked, so the leader of his clan might think marrying him off would be a good way to get rid of him. Or possibly, the leader might try to force the much-disliked character to some innocent who was terrified of the idea, and my other main character might volunteer to take the innocent's place because, if not enthused about the idea, at least he wasn't terrified.

Or, since this is a fantasy there might be some magical requiriment that a marriage take place - no idea what or why. Maybe a social deadline of some sort, by which the much-disliked character must be married or suffer some restriction or disadvantage.

Please help me brainstorm something ironic and amusingly twisty! :)

07-11-2005, 10:34 AM
Could the fictional society you're constructing have a tradition of arranged marriages in certain classes of people? What about a law that allows a family to give a spouse to another family as a way to pay off a debt, or allows a family to demand a spouse from another family as a way to collect a debt?

07-11-2005, 10:57 AM
The society doesn't have a lot of 'laws' per se because it's just a bunch of clans loosely interconnected by trade and marriage. But yes, a child of a clan is considered to have value as a political tie to that clan as well as because of any individual beauty or talent, and it is traditional that an engagement could be used to pay a political or monetary debt. But if neither of the two characters wants the marriage, who is paying whom? Or I suppose the much-disliked character might be the one trying the force the match by means of someone owing him a debt, but is displeased to be matched with the other main character because he had the innocent one in mind, thinking the innocent one would be easier to control. (The much-disliked character very much does not want to be in someone else's power or dependant on them because he doesn't trust anyone).

07-11-2005, 05:25 PM
Here are some ideas:

To create a partnership to raise an exisitng orphan
To get rid of an inconveniant person from the clan-or to acquire a skilled person for the clan
As part of a quota-often a degree of exchange is mandated to keep ties fresh and hence avoid war between clans.
To compensate for another marraige-i.e. another person is leaving the clan and somebody as to be given in exchange.

07-14-2005, 11:25 PM
Perhaps it's a society in which children are betrothed to one another as infants. Let's say Wealthy Merchant A wishes to strengthen his alliance with Guildmaster B, so A offers his newborn daughter as a wife to B's toddler son. Of course, they wouldn't actually get married until they were older, but it could be one of those situations in which A's daughter grows up knowing that someday she will be the wife of B's son. It would be irrelevant that neither of them wants the marriage -- after all, perhaps they're in love with someone else, or maybe they simply want freedom to choose -- because it was a bargain sealed long ago, and it would be dishonorable to break that agreement.

07-15-2005, 04:59 AM
If possible I would like one of their enemies to try to force the match to piss them both off, but why and how?

How about a begrudged alliance? If there's a common enemy between your two characters, perhaps they marry each other as a combination of powers, though they don't particularly trust or like each other either, to take out the enemy.

You could also use an I-didn't-know-I-was-marrying-you set up. Your characters come from two different clans. Both clans have a marriage ritual for members of your characters' classes that involves being sequestered and then cloaked for the ceremony so no one sees either betrothed until it's over. Your characters' enemy makes all the arrangements for the ceremony, but lies to each of your characters about who he is about to marry. Then when it's over, your characters are married and the enemy has forced them into it.

07-15-2005, 08:00 AM
A begrudged alliances is good, but I don't want to have them not know who they're going to be marrying beforehand because I want them to argue about it before the marriage.

I'm leaning toward the setup 'disliked character is being forced by an older brother and his ally to marry someone who fears him, which will be a disaster, so the main character reluctantly volunteers to marry him instead.' So the question is, why are the older brother and ally trying to force a disaster of a marriage to happen, and why is the main character the only/obvious alternative? The older brother might just want to get rid of the disliked character from his clan, possibly because this would make it easier for the older brother to get married or advance politically. But why might the ally want the older brother to owe him a favor, what problem did a marriage seem like the obvious solution to in the first place?

07-15-2005, 04:57 PM
political power sounds like it would work on all sides as your motivator - increased wealth from the marriage would probably work too