Note: This was written by a Yahoo! contributor. Join the Yahoo! Contributor Network to start publishing your own articles.Marriages in "Game of Thrones" occur as a result of politics before love, but may include the latter. In Westeros, women are generally treated as subservient to men, though some noble women do use their power efficiently, especially within the protection of their marriages.
Most of the marriages in "Game of Thrones" are affected, defined, disturbed or influenced by the woman's biological brother or her brother figure. As leaders, many noble men wish to exert control or influence over their sisters long after the wedding, usually for political motives.
Ned Stark and Catelyn Tully
As referenced in the first few episodes of the series, Catelyn (Michelle Fairley) was originally betrothed to Brandon, the brother of Eddard (called Ned). Upon Brandon's death, she married Ned Stark (Sean Bean).
Ned and Cat at first work well as a team, though ultimately Catelyn will not forgive her husband for the affair that produced a bastard son.
Brother Figure: Petyr "Littlefinger" Baelish. When they were younger, Petyr (Aidan Gillen) loved Catelyn romantically, but she loved him as a brother. When Cat speaks with Petyr in King's Landing, Ned is jealous and initially insulted that Petyr would hide Cat in a whorehouse. Petyr's continued presence in Ned's life serves as an answer to his own affair.
Robert Baratheon and Cersei Lannister
King Robert (Mark Addy) hardly adores his wife Cersei (Lena Heady). Cersei's scheming often leads to frequent arguments and hurtful words. Both parties prefer to find pleasure outside of their marriage -- Robert with available ladies and wenches and Cersei with her own twin brother.
Brother Figure: Jaime Lannister. Cersei's true affection is for her brother Jaime (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau), and Ned suspects that throne heir Joffrey (Jack Gleeson) is likely the result of inbreeding as previous Baratheons had black hair and Joffrey's is blond.
Bran Stark's 'fall' from the tower was due to him witnessing the incestuous affair. Cersei obviously prefers her brother's company over that of her husband.
Daenerys Targaryen and Khal Drogo
Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke) is traded to husband Khal Drogo for use of his army. The marriage is surprisingly successful: Khal Drogo (Jason Momoa) remains protective and caring of his wife and Dany is able to realize her own power.
Brother Figure: Viserys Targaryen. Viserys (Harry Lloyd) is a destructive force in his sister's life. Physically abusing and groping her, he treats her as property to be bartered for an army that will make him king. Khal Drogo kills this negative force, likely improving his own marriage and protecting his unborn as a result.
Lysa Tully and Jon Arryn (Deceased)
Lysa was not a virgin when she married, and that affected her prospects. After she married Jon Arryn, her impure state caused problems. Lysa (Kate Dickie) and Jon had multiple miscarriages and a living son Robert; Robert has physical and mental deficiencies.
The lack of success of Lysa Tully's marriage seems related to her society's view of her sexuality. This is also a prime example of the double standards that exist in Westeros -- men may take mistresses and have bastards, but women are shamed or punished for doing the same unless they are whores by profession.
In the television series, Lysa has no present brother figure, though she and Cat share a biological brother named Edmure Tully. Lysa sometimes allows her son Robert Arryn to take an opinionated, decisive role in ruling the Vale; this is perhaps in place of a present brother figure.