Originally posted by Blaque
My feelings are somewhat similar to Lioness
a bit in that some of the presentations of same-sex marriage in teh books eeemd a taaad too easy. Mostly the one with the Water sig' because it seems like she got lucky there I guess? I like the idea talkeda bout in teh book that same-sex marraige is basically like any marriage of love: The House has to get something out of it. Szaya and Kes being pretty compatable as spouses and having to work for that instead of someone htey ahve to sleep with they don't like that way, seems kind of losing its splendor in that context.
I would say it's more because River's example though is probably a bit too easy feeling htan the way the institution works in the Realm in general, though.
Dynastic marriage isn't a single transaction that stands alone. It's part of the broader transactional fabric of Dynastic society.
Being a Dynast isn't just about doing things for your family. Your family also does things for you. You're constantly pulling strings for family members and vice versa. This is part of why marriages are arranged as they are — it's so that your in-laws get woven into your family's network of favors.
When you demonstrate an ongoing refusal to abide by the dictates of your family, disrupting the web of favors, you find that the family stops doing favors for you. (The family may also exert ongoing social pressure, though this isn't universal.) Refusing an arranged marriage is the archetypical example of such an ongoing refusal, but is not unique in this regard.
River didn't do any special favor for House Ledaal in order to marry for love. The price she's paying is that House Ledaal won't do her any favors, which is the kiss of death for political ambition in the Realm. That's why someone of her age and skill is languishing in a countryside manor, with no responsibilities or authority of note.
(An elder Dynast who's accumulated lots of personal power and clout can get away with defying her house. This isn't recompense for all she's done for the house, but rather because she's reached a point where she can rely entirely on her own influence to accomplish her goals without support from her house.)