The phrase "arranged marriage" conjures up visions of unhappy brides and domineering fathers. And for the most part, the arranged marriages featured on TV programs are portrayed as unhappy unions. However, there are some shows where viewers are treated to scenes of domestic bliss between a husband and wife who are in an arranged marriage. Believe it or not, these TV characters are actually happy, despite not being allowed to choose their own spouse.
Ned and Catelyn Stark, "Game of Thrones"
Granted, this HBO relationship doesn't have a happy ending, but from what fans see in Season 1, Ned and Catelyn Stark are very much in love. True, he fathered a son with another women, and true, the couple wasn't always happy, but over time, they grew very close and developed a deep bond.
Another "Thrones" marriage that blossomed into true love despite being arranged was the union between Daenerys and Khal Drogo. Again, not the happiest of endings…but then again, is there anyone in the "Game of Thrones" universe that's allowed to stay happy for long?
Niobe and Lucius Vorenus, "Rome"
Another HBO drama with lush costumes and tons of political intrigue, "Rome" is set during the first century BC. Historically, this is a time of great political upheaval as the city turns from a republic into an empire. The Plebian beauty Niobe is implied to have entered into her relationship with Lucius Vorenus due to an arranged marriage. Despite the fact that Vorenus is often at war, leaving Niobe to function basically as a single parent, the two do seem happy with each other. Likewise, Posca (Julius Caesar's former slave) and Jocasta are also brought together by an arranged marriage.
Mary and Matthew Crawley, "Downton Abbey"
When the presumptive heirs of the Earl of Grantham are killed in the Titanic tragedy, it throws Downton into crisis. Eldest daughter Mary, expected to marry the dead heir, finds herself adrift. If she doesn't marry the new heir, she and her sisters will be turned out of the house after her father's death.
The new heir, far-flung relation Matthew Crawley, is a stranger to the ways of the aristocracy…and inadvertently insults Mary the first time they meet. Over the first two seasons, the couple are the subject of "will-they-won't-they" gossip. But while their parents want the couple wed, Matthew and Mary are reluctant, particularly after Matthew's injury. However, as of the Christmas episode, the two are finally, happily engaged. Presumably, they'll be happily married in Season 3…unless something comes between them.