Jonathan’s Deal with Kalasin

Didn’t Princess Kalasin want to be the first girl page? What happened to her?

Tammy: Nobody likes this, but I’m going to tell you anyway: Yes, Kally did want to be a page; no, she isn’t one. Jonathan talked her out of it.

He explains that while he married for love, he sees where his parents were wrong in not arranging a marriage for him: one of the reasons it seems all of Tortall’s neighbors were against her in recent years is because he never married to form an alliance with one of them. He’s trying to make up for that now by securing alliances with the marriages of his children (and they have been raised with this plan in mind, so none of them can say he sprung it on them). She knows that as a princess, her first duty is to the realm (another idea she’s been raised with), and the fact is, Jonathan has a very great marriage in mind for her with someone whose people will object strongly to a knighted queen. In exchange for a look at her proposed husbands before she has to commit to a marriage and the chance to say no, she gives up her plan to be a knight.

There is always a storm of protests when I explain this, but this is how everyone married up until very recently. Love was one thing (and even that is sort of new-fangled); marriage is something done for the advantage of the family, not the people who marry. This is true even in poor families, where a weaver might marry his son to a girl who is a good weaver herself, or a merchant family will marry one of their daughters to another merchant family which cuts them in on, say, a spice monopoly. Farmers might marry their children in exchange for land or livestock, nobles for land or money, royalty for alliances with other royalty. In some parts of the world, this is still the case: kids marry the person their parents have arranged for them to marry, because that’s what they were brought up to expect. Most of the time they aren’t even given much of a say; Jonathan’s granting Kally unusual freedom in allowing her a look at her prospective husband, and Kally knows she’s not to turn the match down for reasons any noble would regard as silly (he’s older, he’s younger, he doesn’t appeal to her physically).

Not that Jon gets away with it clean, mind. Thayet, who was away when he did this, was most displeased, and things were a bit tense in the royal household for a year.

SOURCE: [Official: ETC: Spoilers]