"Yesterday, my mom and dad told me I was getting engaged to the grandson of my grandfather's best friend. We're Japanese-American so it wasn't that unusual. So today I met my new fiancee and realized that it was the same guy that I spent 3 hours with on Facebook, debating whether Pokémon was better than Yu-Gi-Oh!. I think it's fate."
No one likes an Arranged Marriage, especially those so betrothed. They'll rip their clothes, gnash their teeth and swear to... was that them necking in the atrium?
Despite their initial opposition, the couple who have been betrothed discover they not only like each other, but love each other, and make it perfectly clear that even if they weren't in an arranged marriage they'd still choose to marry or at least start dating. Drama being what it is, you can expect their earlier attempts to undo the arranged marriage will mature and succeed, and their parents set them up with a new fiancée or fiancé that they do hate. Expect one or the other to have to swallow their pride and come out and say they do love the other.
Another variant is that both meet outside of the home environment (before or after the declaration) without immediately recognizing each other. Maybe they ran away from home entirely, only to happily embrace "a fellow in misery" — and later commiserate about their bossy parents. Eventually, once they recognize one another their shared common ground helps them fall in love.
Sometimes this perfectly arranged marriage doesn't come about randomly, but intentionally by parents. One or more of the parents involved who knows both well enough has arranged the marriage since both are highly compatible and could naturally fall in love. In fact, this is the purpose of an 'arranged marriage' in the first place. It is akin to a matchmaking service, and the couple will generally have some sort of courtship before tying the knot, and it's very rare for someone to be forced to marry a person they despise. Even a Gold Digger would want a decent relationship if for no other reason than to help in securing the knot.
This trope is frequently used as a justification for the use of the Arranged Marriage trope to audiences with Western sensibilities. It's not an imposition or violation of free will if both want to get married, after all.
Shaman King, between Yoh and Anna. She, at least, is definitely in love with him (she comes right out and admits it at least once, although not to Yoh's face). Yoh's feelings, while a little more ambiguous, definitely include affection for Anna (albeit mixed in with a healthy dose of fear). During the Osorezan Revoir Arc -where we see Anna and Yoh's first meeting- it's explicitly shown that it was Yoh who was the first to fall in love. By the second half of the manga we see just how much Yoh cares for Anna; he puts her above everyone else he knows. For example, when the X-Laws tell him to quit the Shaman Fight in exchange for bringing Ren back to life, he starts off by thanking everyone else for helping him get that far, then apologises to Anna and Anna alone, even though there were others who would have been disappointed, because one of his reasons to become Shaman King was a promise made to her.
In Maison Ikkoku, Shun Mitaka is introduced to Asuna Kujou by way of an omiai arranged by his uncle. She is head over heels in love with him. He, on the other hand, objects strongly to the union at first, partially because he is in love with Kyouko, but also because of her large number of dogs, of which he is deathly afraid. However, after accidentally proposing to her due to a misunderstanding, he warms up to the idea a bit more, and eventually falls in love and marries her.
Yura Kawada and Makoto Onoda, the main couple in Futari Ecchi. In a variation, the relationship is arranged via a matchmaking service.
In a sort-of variation, it's mentioned in the manga that Gennosuke actually was not the first option for Oboro. Her grandmother Ogen had thought at first of engaging Oboro to her second-in-command, Tenzen Yakushiji, but decided against it since she didn't fully trust him. Considering that Tenzen turned out to be a ninja version of the Evil Chancellorand the series' specially cruel and sadistic Big Bad, she was right. Obviously, that didn't stop him from trying to get Oboro as his puppet bride after Ogen's death.
Mai-Otome goes through the setup for this with Mashiro and Takumi - both escape from an arranged meeting that Mashiro's staff hopes will lead to better things and meet incognito in the poor side of town. Mashiro is definitely crushing big-time on Takumi by the end - and then he gives a scathing critique of her performance as queen, and his aides announce that the purpose of the visit was to announce the complete isolation of Takumi's kingdom.
Played with in The Vision of Escaflowne, with Princess Millerna Sarah Aston and Prince Dryden Fassa. She and Dryden are a mild version of Belligerent Sexual Tension as Millerna's put off by his Rich Idiot with No Day Job facade and Dryden is a snarky Guile Hero. (Not to mention Milly has a huge crush on Allen). They grow fond of each other as the series advances, and then they get married - and then the trouble starts. And when it's all solved, Dryden calls off the engagement: he cares for Millerna, and might be in love with her at that point, but he feels he still has to work hard to become truly worthy of marrying a girl like her.
Played with in a story in Pet Shop of Horrors. The ghost of a queen tells Count D about how she and her husband were betrothed as children, hated each other for much of their marriage, and cheated on each other constantly. She then fell deathly ill for a period of time and, when she recovered, found her husband at her side. That incident made them realize how much they cared for each other and they were faithful and loving to each other from that day onward.
There's also a variant in this: Benio and Shinobu's engagement was arranged as a sort-of compensation for a love match that couldn't be consummated, between Benio's now-deceased grandfather and Shinobu's beloved grandmother that raised him instead of his parents. Therefore, Shinobu initially accepted the arrangement more calmly than Benio because he wanted to fulfill a promise to his grandma that was made decades ago, and then he met Benio and fell for her genuinely.
Teharu Kosukegawa in Change 123 finds out that his father has engaged him to marry the daughter of the man who saved him from a bear. Kosukegawa, who is already in a close relationship with Motoko (Multiple Personalities notwithstanding (they're even helping)), and naturally goes up to the country to politely turn her down. Until the girl in question turns out to be Motoko.
Ranma ˝: Ranma and Akane are this, though the series ended before they could directly admit it to one another.
Ranma's father arranged so many different fiances for him, it was inevitable that one of them would be a good match.
Most of the couples from Otoyomegatari seem to be in happily arranged marriages, though it's implied that this is not the case for all tribes and such marriages require time and dedication to make them work.
In Oda Nobuna no Yabou, Nobuna arranges for her "younger sister" Oichi to marry Asai Nagamasa, as occurred in real life. However, in this timeline Oichi does not exist, and Nobuna actually dressed her younger brother Tsuda Nobusumi as a woman to play the role of Oichi. This worked out perfectly, because this timeline's version of Nagamasa is actually a crossdressing woman. Nobuna had no idea this was the case, while Nagamasa assumed Nobuna had figured her out from the start and was just playing along by putting Nobusumi in drag.
The premise of the series ''Sore wa Totsuzen, Unmei no Aite ga," or "Suddenly, the Marriage Partner Showed Up." In the near-future, a Japanese government organization called the Coupling Center proposes matches based on genetic compatibility. A person has the right to turn down a coupling, but no protagonist has done so yet. The Pilot chapter was about a sibling pairdetermined to have superior genetic compatibility, and the series seemed determined to address the very real issues of such a system making matches that violated existing social mores and personal psychology, but after that it slipped into more conventional romance fare with other couples, using the Coupling Center as a plot device to shortcut past Cannot Spit It Out territory and other romantic obstacles. (The brother/sister pair are shown still struggling with so much as a kiss in their Distant Finale epilogue of volume 1, at least, making it clear they haven't been able to overcome the Westermarck Effect yet.)
My Bride Is a Mermaid: Not an arranged marriage per se, but close enough to include. After Sun (a mermaid) saves Nagasumi from drowning, mermaid law forces him to either marry into her family or be killed. Naturally, he chooses the former option, and a recurring theme in the series is how despite being initially forced together by circumstance, in the end they really do love each other. On two occasions, one formally proposes to the other and each time it is accepted.
Macross 7: Possibly Mylene and Gamlin. It's pretty clear that Gamlin loves Mylene and would have no problems with marrying her. Mylene, for her part, likes Gamlin well enough, but it's an open-ended question (including to herself) whether she loves him or not. Another complication to the matter is that Mylene is, at the end of the series, a mere 15 years old, and really isn't too interested in thinking about marriage just yet.
A good example exists in The Wallflower in local bishonen lady killer Ranmaru whose wealthy parents set him up in an arranged marriage. He initially tries to get out of it by making the bride to be, Tamao, hate him. Though he could easily just break off the engagement himself, its pretty clear he has no intention of doing so and as the story progresses it seems he really does develop genuine feelings for her.
It helps that she just might be the only woman alive who is willing to love him despite his ladykiller antics. Heck she might be the perfect match for Ranmaru because she may be too innocent or otherwise strong willed to be thrown off by Ranmaru's usual antics. Ranmaru himself is affected by this as the only time he ever seems to show any guilt about his womanizing is when he's forced to see how it hurts Tamao.
Karolina and Xavin of Runaways end up like this. Before Xavin got Put on a Bus and Karolina ended up dating someone else, that is.
Gambit and his ex-wife Bella Donna Boudreaux met when the two were both eight years old before they would be betrothed to one another to end the feud between the Thieves' and Assassins' Guilds. The two became best friends naturally and deeply loved each other. Gambit only left her behind because he didn't want to take her away from everything and everyone she loved.
Crystal and Ronan the Accuser during War of Kings. Kind of. Crystal starts off hating Ronan and eventually begins to admire him and understand that he's in basically the same situation that she is.
Doctor Strange's manservant Wong was betrothed as a child to a girl who wasn't even born yet. Nevertheless, he has no problem falling in love with Imei once they meet, though she dies before they can get married.
The main characters of Terms Of Engagement have this. Saito realizes how perfect the match is when he finds out his fiance Tokio has spent the fic disguised as two different people, secretly terrorizing him and his best friend, running a spy ring and executing a Batman Gambit.
Chapter 10 of a Detective Conan fic, 30 Hugs: Heiji and Kazuha. In a slight variation, they had the Slap Slap part down just fine, but it wasn't until after they found out about the marriage that they realized the Kiss part sounded pretty nice too. They still freaked out about it immediately upon realization, but calmed down and came to their senses eventually.
In Through A Diamond Sky, it's implied that Tron and Yori were "bundled" as one of these when their Users decided to team them up. Of course, it kinda helped that their Users became Happily Married.
In Blind, a Naruto Fan Fic, 99% of arranged marriages with a Hyuga end up this way. How you ask? Well, the bride and groom are told at the age of 3 who they're arranged to marry but told that the other person doesn't know. They then have the option of trying to win the other person's love but have until they are 15 as they have to tell their spouse about the arrangement and when they're 16 they marry whether there is love or isn't. Many chose former.
There are a lot of Éomer/Lothíriel fanfics running around to the tune of this trope.
In Harry Potter and the Restored Legacy, by Crossoverpairinglover, Lucius and Narcissa are described to be this way....unlike most fanfics where it is definitely not.
In Axis Powers Hetalia fanfiction, the Austro-Hungarian Compromise is described as such by the fans of the Austria/Hungary couple. If not, well, either of them will be subjected to Die for Our Ship. (Most frequently Austria.)
In the A Song of Ice and Fire fanfic Ned Stark Lives, where Ned Stark isn't executed by Joffrey, Robb Stark returns to the Twins to fulfill his marriage pact as part of the agreement made to stop the Lannister siege of Riverrun. He is extremely apprehensive at first, given that the Freys tend to be physically unattractive and that he had no say in the matter, but when he meets Roslin Frey, his squire's sister, he falls for her. The marriage goes along very well, even though the Freys were planning to betray the Starks just moments ago, and only stopped when Walder Frey became aware of the inevitable backlash that would happen.
In Corpse Bride, Victor is apprehensive about being put into an arranged marriage... until he actually meets his bride-to-be, Victoria, and finds her gentle intelligence very appealing.
Disney's Sleeping Beauty. "Father, you're living in the past. This is the Fourteenth Century!" declares Prince Phillip. Luckily the girl he met in the woods turns out to be the princess he's promised to. It works with the princess herself as well. Aurora aka Briar Rose is rather understandably devastated when she finds out about her arranged marriage to Prince Phillip (and not to mention, well, the poor girl has just found out that she's a princess, meaning her whole life up until then was a lie), until she discovers that Prince Phillip and that nice guy she met in the forest are the same person. The True Love's Kiss that Phillip gave Aurora to wake her up certainly helped.
In The Lion King, Simba and Nala both recoil a bit when they're told that they were betrothed when they're children, And Simba's initial reaction has nothing to do with not liking Nala (they're best friends, after all), and everything to do with him apparently being at the Girls Have Cooties age. The cubs also bring up the point that, because they're best friends, it would be "too weird." However, neither makes much attempt to foil the marriage as Simba goes into self-imposed exile for unrelated reasons long before that becomes an issue. When they meet again as adults, however, they follow the rest of the trope to the letter.
The Swan Princess toys with this. Prince Derek and Princess Odette, the heirs of two neighboring kingdoms, are betrothed to each other by her widowed father and his widowed mother, who are good friends and want to unite their realms. The arrangement annoys them because they're kids and hate each other. Then one day they meet each other after puberty, and it's Love at First Sight! Derek demands that the wedding be arranged, but when Odette asks him why, he replies that she's beautiful...and when she asks "What else?" he replies, "What else is there?" (cue the mass Face Palm from the guests) Odette promptly refuses to marry him until he is able to find a reason he loves her besides her looks; he does, and they are happily married in the end, so the trope is ultimately played straight.
Arguably justified, since the two met each other supposedly every year, and had time to get to know each other (unlike many animated couples). Also during the montage song there are various hints of Belligerent Sexual Tension. Derek's friend even points it out.
King Fergus and Queen Elinor in Brave. They most definitely love each other and, at one point, Fergus playfully grabs Elinor's butt. While they have completely opposite personalities (Fergus is your typical Violent Glaswegian, while Proper Lady Elinor is an ideal Queen, able to stop a brawl just by walking through it), they still have a working marriage. At one point, though, Elinor accidentally reveals to Fergus (when he has her pretend that she's speaking to their rebellious daughter) that she has had misgivings about the betrothal, at first. His surprised look reveals that he had no idea.
The movie Lady Jane depicts this between Lady Jane Grey and Guildford Dudley. Not a case of Truth in Television, unfortunately for the ill-fated Jane.
Monsoon Wedding starts with the arranged couple feeling very awkward in each other's company, and there's some complications with her old flame, but by the end the two of them are taking quite a liking to each other.
Jodhaa Akbar focuses on this. Being married to someone who looks like Hrithik Roshan or Aishwarya Rai probably doesn't hurt their mutual love, however.
In the Hallmark Hall of Fame movie Loving Leah, Jake Lever (Adam Kaufman) seems to be trying less and less hard to get out of his levirate marriage to his late brother Benjamin's wife Leah as the film progresses. The fact that she's played byLauren Ambrose might have something to with it...
Subverted in the fantasy film Krull, where the hero and his girlfriend are the children of two rival kings who choose to marry against their fathers' wishes to form an alliance against the movie's Big Bad. The princess gets kidnapped during the wedding and the hero goes off to save her.Their love actually turns out to be the final weapon that offs the main villain.
Emperor Pu Yi and Empress Wang Rong are described as such in The Last Emperor, since Pu Yi says that his dream girl is "a modern wife who could follow the new dances and was educated outside China" and she fits in perfectly. It doesn't last.
Not exactly marriage, but in My Sassy Girl the male lead puts off his aunt's attempts to introduce him to her late son's former girlfriend because he is already interested in the female lead. The female lead meanwhile has been putting off meeting her dead boyfriend's cousin at his mother's request because of her budding interest in the male lead. At the end of the movie it's revealed that the male lead's aunt is the female lead's dead boyfriend's mother. This startling coincidence convinces the pair to give their romance another chance.
King Endon and Queen Sharn in Deltora Quest. As per The Rule, they had never spoken before marrying.
Occurs twice in the Realm of the Elderlings series by Robin Hobb; in both cases a Farseer prince was engaged to a foreign princess to secure an alliance and the couple ended up falling in love. The second one ended quite well, the first one less so.
In The Riftwar Cycle, Prince Arutha is head over heels over Princess Anita, and is extremely lucky that their marriage is also extremely politically beneficial for the Kingdom.
Of course, in this case the marriage wasn't technically arranged. Their fathers had been considering arranging said marriage, but then the Riftwar broke out and they found themselves occupied with that and never got around to actually betrothing their children before they both died. Arutha proposed to Anita on his own initiative after the war ended.
Garion and Ce'Nedra in The Belgariad are betrothed by a five-hundred-year-old treaty between their countries, not to mention that prophecy thing. True to the trope, they engage in quite a bit of Slap-Slap-Kiss, but also played with in that neither knew about the arrangementnote Ce'Nedra knew she had to be presented as the bride of the Rivan King on her sixteenth birthday, but not that said King would actually show up or that Garion was he. Garion, for his part, knew absolutely nothing, which was quite intentional. until after they'd gotten acquainted and fallen in love anyway. This also happens for some background characters like Barak and his wife, but that's what you get when most of the characters belong to the aristocratic class in a medieval fantasy book.
It runs in the family—Garion's ultimate ancestors Riva and Beldaran are another example, helped along by a similarly heavy dose of Because Destiny Says So.
Another notable case happens in Polgara's backstory. In order to alleviate the Arendish civil wars, it was necessary to wed off two teenaged members of opposing houses, who naturally hated each other. Polgara's solution was to lock them in a room together and wait 'til the shouting stopped and the giggling began'. It works; the couple emerges hand in hand apologizing for their previous behavior and stating their willingness to do their duty.
It's actually mentioned that couples who obey the prophecy are rewarded with happiness - however they felt about the marriage before hand.
Romance of the Three Kingdoms does this for Liu Bei and Lady Sun (or Sun Shang Xiang in the period operas), despite the fact that it didn't turn out so well in actual history.
In With a Tangled Skein, as Niobe and Cedric manage to sort out problems such as her being several years older and not fond of the prospect of marrying a man so much younger. With a bit of maturing by both parties and a dash of Rescue Romance, they settle into a happy albeit unfortunately short marriage.
In Wielding A Red Sword. Mym and Rapture (prince and princess in India) are put in an arranged marriage by their parents, which allows them to hear each other's thoughts and feel each other's feelings, meaning they can't help but get to know each other. So they stay in different parts of the castle, thinking that putting some distance between them will lessen the effect. Not only does that not work, but they soon find out that there is a spirit/demon/creature thing that will terrorize the princess if she's away from the prince, and due to the castle's first effect, he feels her fear. (Because, naturally,it just wouldn't work the other way around.) And worst of all, by the time they finally come around and learn to love each other, the princess's nation falls out of favor with the prince's, and the prince's parents stick another princess in the castle with him so he can do it all over again. This time, he and princess #2 opt to escape.
In Piers Anthony's Xanth book Roc and a Hard Place, the King of the Nagas and Grossclout, probably the most powerful of the non-planetary demons, arrange for the marriage of Princess Nada and Prince D. Vore. Knowing that both will object to the arrangement, they and Metria come up with the idea of plonking them in a tower of the floating cloud castle where Roxanne Roc is undergoing community service. The two combine their resources to escape, then kill a monster together once they hit Xanth proper, as Vore proposes to Nada. (The monster started the fight.) When Nada and Vore hear their parents had arranged the match already, and set them up, they almost call things off... but decide not to.
Robert Louis Stevenson's The Black Arrow has a particularly good example. Joanna Sedley gets kidnapped from her first arranged marriage by the hero's Wicked Uncle, who intends to force her to marry the hero. The hero, Dick Shelton, ends up running for his life from outlaws with her, except that he doesn't know who she is and vice versa, and it's all very complicated and loaded with UST.
Machado de Assis wrote a short about a couple falling in love with each other while teaming up to prevent their own Arranged Marriage.
In The Mote In God's Eye, aristocrats Rod and Sally return from their expedition to the Moties to find they are being shepherded into an arranged marriage. Fortunately, they'd already fallen in love.
In Warbreaker, Siri and Susebron fall in love. This is particularly surprising, given that he originally seems like an Evil Overlord and she's been sent to keep him from invading her country.
In By Schism Rent Asunder, King Cayleb of Charis marries Queen Sharleyan of Chisholm in what was originally a cold-hearted political move to unite their kingdoms. When they finally meet, it is Love at First Sight.
Also Princee Nahrmahn of Emerald and his wife were betrothed at a young age, and eventually ended up falling in love, much to their mutual surprise.
Done deliberately with Irys and Hektor. They clearly like each other but both are unwilling to make a move due to the circumstances. Sharleyan decides to deal with it by making their arranged marriage a condition of the peace treaty between Charis and Corisande.
The comedy/satire Leonce and Lena by Georg Bachner.
In The Swans War trilogy, a marriage is arranged between Lady Elise and Prince Michael by their evil relatives. Both of them like each other very much when they meet and agree to do everything they can to avoid being forced to marry. That is because an alliance of their houses will empower their evil relatives even more and can produce a heir to the mythical, non-existent throne of the country, ushering in a devastating war.
Signe and Guibor de Barbentain, in A Song For Arbonne by Guy Gavriel Kay. An unusual example, in that it is not supposed to please modern sensitivitities - all nobles are in arranged marriages, most of them polite and civil, some downright unhappy. Signe and Guibor are introduced as a true exception, an arranged marriage that also happens to be a lovematch. Of course, when they are introduced, Guibor has been dead for a year, and Signe is an old woman left with happy memories.
In Kushiel's Legacy, Queen Ysandre de la Courcel married Cruarch Drustan mab Necthana because they loved each other. The fact that their marriage saved Terre D'Ange from an invading horde and restored Drustan to his throne is, in fact, coincidental.
Llewelyn and Joanna in Sharon Kay Penman's Here Be Dragons.
Eddard "Ned" Stark and Catelyn Tully. She was engaged to his older brother Brandon and he was (or at least was rumored to be) in love with a woman called Ashara Dayne. Brandon was killed as part of a mass execution that kicked off a war, and their marriage was hastily set up to keep a Stark-Tully alliance. They have five children and are still having good sex as the first book starts.
Daenerys Targaryen and Khal Drogo, who unexpectedly become very close soon after their marriage and are quickly eager to start a family.
Also, Edmure Tully and Roslin Frey genuinely come to love each other, despite the wedding itself turning out... badly.
Subverted with Joffrey Baratheon and Sansa Stark. Set up as preteens, Sansa does actually fall for Joffrey. Then he showed his true colors by killing her father and everything went to hell, with Joffrey lavishing cruelties on Sansa whenever possible.
Weirdly enough, Roose Bolton and Fat Walda Frey. Roose was allowed to pick whatever Frey girl he wanted when it came to choosing a bride, with the stipulation that he would receive the girl's weight in silver as dowry. Based on who Roose Bolton is, you wouldn't expect any marriage of his to turn out well. He even burns Walda's love letters when she writes to him. But by the fifth book, he mentions that he's "become oddly fond of [his] fat little wife," and their marriage actually seems quite happy.
Every arranged marriage, whether on the Roman or the Indian side, in the Belisarius Series.
In Spock's World, a Star Trek novel by Diane Duane, one of the stories from Vulcan's history is of a girl who is able to kill with her mind when she is angry. She has killed two potential husbands this way. She is forced into a third marriage for political reasons, and is sure he will end up as the other two. Then they meet and argue and fall in love. What happens when her husband is killed is the main reason Vulcans have discouraged marrying for love.
In Victoria Ugryumova's Doppelganger for the Jester, a political marriage between The Emperor and a Princess Classic turns out to be so happy for both parties that even his closest advisers wonder whether he is sick or something. His answer? "Gods, I can't believe I've fallen in love with my own wife." It doesn't end well.
Lynn Flewelling'sTamir Triad offers us Duke Rhius and Princess Ariani (parents of the main character); as Rhius put it: "I was in love with Ariani and her brother was in love with my holdings.". Played straight since they deeply loved each other when they married. And also subverted when later Ariani turned mad after her son was killed right after birth to save his twin sister and started hating her husband since he knew and allowed.
It's not an arranged relationship, since they were already romantically involved, but it is literally an arranged marriage when Granny Weatherwax basically intimidates Verence into skipping the marriage proposal and going straight to the part where he sets a date for the wedding, sends out invitations, and gets the dress made without even consulting Magrat about it in Lords and Ladies.
Magrat : It was all arranged! It was all set up before I even got here! I never had a chance to say yes or no!
Nanny : Well, what would you have said if you had had the chance?
Magrat : Well, I...
Nanny : You'd still be marrying the king today, would you?
Magrat : Well...
Nanny : You do want to marry the king, don't you?
Magrat : Well, yes, but...
Nanny : That's nice, then.
In The Long-Nosed Princess by Patricia Hallowell the eponymous Princess Felicity is arranged to marry the very handsome prince of a neighboring country but he rejects her insultingly at first sight breaking her heart. Not because she's fallen in love but because he's destroyed her self image. Later while on his way to court another princess he is attacked by Felicity's animal friends and she nurses him back to health. Why does he find himself thinking of Felicity constantly while courting the incredibly beautiful princess? And what is he going to do about that grinning fool of a Prince Harry who thinks he's going to marry Felicity?
King Kelson of Katherine Kurtz Deryni series has truly rotten luck with his brides. His first marriage is a politically important match to a princess of a rival house who, better still, has been raised to regard him as hellspawn. Kelson is incredibly nervous but the girl is young and beautiful - and he is seventeen - so by the time the wedding day rolls around he's convinced he's falling in love and there are indications that the girl may be too. Unfortunately Kelson is widowed before the ceremony ends. In the next book he falls in love with a perfectly acceptable princess - who due to convolutions of plot is rendered politically impossible as his wife. It is she who arranges for Kelson to marry his final prospect, a cousin who is a really ideal match from the political point of view. At first Kelson, still desperately in love with the other lady, can hardly bear the thought of marrying elsewhere but as he gets to know Araxie better the marriage becomes less and less distasteful to him...
In The Chronicles of Amber, this happens to Random and Vialle—where Random was forced to marry Vialle as punishment for past peccadilloes ("as punishment" because she is blind and her parents couldn't marry her off otherwise). When he is arrested for attempting to assassinate his brother, she asks to join him in prison. Later on, when Random becomes the new King of Amber, Vialle becomes a responsible Queen.
In the 1632 series, Prince Ulrik of Denmark and Princess Kristina of Sweden are headed this way. They aren't in love yet (something to do with him being in his thirties and her being only nine), but they are very close. Another example is Ludwig Guenther and Emilie. Despite the disparity in their ages (he is in his fifties, she is 19), they are consistently presented as loving, mutually supportive, and politically on much the same page.
John Moore's Heroics for Beginners has this with the main character and his love interest; they met and fell in love before her father started looking for a husband for her, and so she intentionally became cold and unpleasant to all other potential suitors to put them off. Mention is also made of another prince whose family refused to let him marry until he was thirty and then betrothed him to a six-year-old girl; ten years later, he is the most envied man on the continent.
Arranged Marriage is the rule for the Political and Officer classes in W.C. Dietz's Crisis of Empire trilogy. Usually friendly enough but neither party minds much when circumstances require a divorce so one or both can make a better match. This is not the case with Allison Spencer and Bethany Windsor. They are in love and blissfully happy - until Pact politics tear them appart giving Bethany to her Senator uncle's new military ally General Anson Merikur. At first she hates him - though she knows it wasn't his doing. Then she finds herself drawn to him...
In Dune, Duke Leto Atreides' bound-concubinage to Lady Jessica is arranged by the Bene Gesserit as a means to get to the Kwisatz Haderach; Jessica was supposed to have a daughter who could be bred to a Harkonnen son and take the throne from there. However, Jessica and Leto do fall in love, and Jessica chooses to bear him an heir, Paul, who as it turns out is the Kwisatz Haderach—and that kicks off the whole epic.
Additionally, the marriage of Count Hasimir Fenring to the Bene Gesserit Sister Margot, seems to have been quite happy despite having been arranged for political reasons (not genetic ones, however, as Hasimir is a "genetic eunuch"—sterile due to inbreeding).
The prince in "The Little Mermaid" is told to marry the princess of a neighboring kingdom, but he wants to marry the lady who helped him at a temple It turned out that said lady was the princess, since she had been sent to live in the temple for a while. And ironically, the eponymous Little Mermaid made that happen by not letting him see her before she left, and thus lost the chance to marry him herself.
Averted or subverted in Pearl Buck's "Pavilion Of Women". Madame Wu believes she's spent the last twenty years in a perfectly arranged marriage until her eyes are opened and she realizes that not only does she NOT love her husband but that he has never loved her either, in fact he's afraid of her.
In Castle in the Air, a former soldier asks Princess Beatrice to marry him as his Standard Hero Reward. She only refuses on the grounds that she's already been engaged to Prince Justin, but decides that the marriage was arranged without her consent and thus she'll go and marry the soldier, for love. At the end, it's revealed that the soldier was Prince Justin under an enchantment. He and Beatrice go on and get married.
In "Dragomirs Diary", the titular character meets his wife after they've already been married, and one of the first things she does is threaten to beat on him for arriving a day late. Despite that, they eventually do fall in love - enough so that Libby is willing to throw herself into a crumbling castle to save Dragomir, and has to be forcefully removed by a dragon.
Not technically arranged, but in Orson Scott Card's short story "Teacher's Pest" government agents manipulate Theresa and John Paul together, hoping that they'll get married and produce genius babies. They're smart enough to figure out what's happening, but, as John Paul says "even in cultures with actual arranged marriages, you're not forbidden to fall in love with your spouse."
In the Honor Harrington novels, the Mesan Alignment arranges marriages as part of a centuries-old breeding program. They do make a point of trying to bring about this trope, probably because spousal murder would put a crimp in their plans. They certainly succeeded with Albrecht Detweiler and his wife Eveline.
In The Curse of Chalion, Royesse (Princess) Iselle arranges her own marriage—for rather urgent political reasons—to the crown prince of a neighboring kingdom whom she's never seen, pausing briefly to collect the rumor that he is "well-favored" (which she cynically says people will say about any prince who isn't a perfect fright), before returning to more important practical considerations. When she finally meets him, they've practically already bonded over their shared love and admiration for the main character, Iselle's heroic secretary, and by the morning after the wedding, he observes that they look like a couple madly in love.
Lampshaded in Words Of Radiance, second book in The Stormlight Archive. Early in the book, Princess Jasnah of Alethekar begins to set up an Arranged Marriage between her student, Shallan, and her cousin, Adolin. When Adolin hears about this, he muses that letting somebody else pick a wife for him might be kind of relaxing, since Adolin is a Serial Romeo who's managed to offend every single girl in the royal court.
More or less the case with Katniss and Peeta in The Hunger Games. They had an arranged engagement but once they got married for real they did it because they loved each other.
Simona Ahrnstedt has Illiana and Markus in "Betvingade". Due to some unfortunate circumstances, they're forced to marry each other. But it turns out well enough, as they start falling in love with each other...
And another Swedish writer, Elisabet Nemert, has a very similar plotline in her novel "Ödets hav". Aurora, the story's female protagonist, is forced to marry her uncle's friend's son. But she and Roland learn to love each other...
Live Action TV
The Golden Girls: Rose's cousin Sven is scheduled for an arranged marriage, but falls for Blanche instead. When the arranged bride shows up, she's a gorgeous Swedish girl, and he drops Blanche like a hot potato.
Rome. Jocosta is gang-raped and her father's riches confiscated by the state — as a result she's not happy that the only candidate for marriage is recently freed slave Posca. But Posca turns out to be quite adept at making money via corrupt political deals and is tolerant of his wife's ditzy ways, so it turns out quite well.
It's also implied that Vorenus and Niobe were an arranged match (not that that marriage turned out all too well).
George and Susan on Alien Nation, being former slaves, were paired up by an overseer.
On Angel. Not exactly a marriage, but Cordelia's objections to her required ritual "com-shuk" with the "Groosalug" get a lot less strenuous once she gets a good look at him, and even less so once they start to talk. A very sweet (if eventually doomed) relationship results.
Deconstructed on an episode of Merlin. After Guinevere is Mistaken for Cheating and banished from Camelot, Arthur becomes engaged to Princess Mithian on the rebound. She's beautiful, charming and witty. She effortlessly integrates herself at court and proves herself to be quite politically savvy. Their marriage will solve the land dispute between their kingdoms. They get along well and have plenty of things in common. In many ways she's designed to be a better match for Arthur than Guinevere, and had they met at any other time or place (or in any other story) they probably would have ended up Happily Married. But unfortunately for Mithian, Arthur comes to realize that he's still deeply in love with Guinevere, and can't bring himself to give her up - not even for the perfect woman.
Also deconstructed in a much earlier episode. Uther promises Arthur to Princess Elena, who comes with her father for the wedding. She is quite a nice person, even when unknowingly being possessed by a faerie. Arthur and her get along very well, but realize there is zero romantic attraction between them. They then mutually agree to call off the wedding and part amicably.
Downton Abbey: Sort of. There is no arranged engagement between Mary and Matthew, but her parents and grandmother seem to think it would be awfully convenient if they fell in love. They Do , but can't be together for various reasons until they get engaged during the Series 2 Christmas Special.
In the backstory, Lord and Lady Grantham are themselves a quasi-example: although there was no direct arrangement between their families, Robert married Cora for her money and her money alone. Cora loved Robert from the beginning, and she grew on Robert to the point where he became deeply ashamed of his initial motivations; by the time we meet them, they're clearly happy together.
Discussed and downplayed in "Do You Love Me?" from Fiddler on the Roof. Tevye is used to his community having arranged marriages, so it surprises him that two of his daughters have defied conventions and chosen their own husbands. Pondering about this, he asks his own wife, who he met on the wedding day and frequently argues with, if she loves him. Golde is pretty surprised to hear him ask this, but eventually decides her sticking by his side all these years must mean she does.
"It doesn't change a thing, but even so...after 25 years, it's nice to know."
In Tom Robbins' Jitterbug Perfume, Kudra's first husband turns out to be awesomer than expected and then promptly dies.
The Moličre comedies Les Fourberies de Scapin and School for Wives.
In The Tempest, Prospero's plan is for Ferdinand (his rival's son) and Miranda to fall in love at first sight so that they'll marry and reconcile a dispute between their families. Which they do. He makes sure Ferdinand means it by pretending to oppose the match.
The fathers in The Fantasticks intend for their children to marry, so they fake a feud and forbid the boy and girl to speak to each other. It works... at least at first.
Arthur and Guenevere have a moment like this in Camelot, though given what happens later, it counts as dramatic irony.
In The Game of Love and Chance (Le Jeu de l'amour et du hasard) by Marivaux, Silvia and Dorante are engaged without knowing each other. They disguise themselves as servants, meet and fall in love, without either one knowing that the other is their betrothed.
We have a few in the Dynasty Warriors games, namely those between Sun Ce and his blood brother Zhou Yu and the Qiao sisters. Despite knowing very little about their future mates and having completely opposite personalities, both couples are shown to be very happy. Same goes for Liu Bei and Sun Shang Xiang.
Historically, the marriage between Lady Sun and Liu Bei went terribly. She never permitted him to spend time alone with her, outfitting her maids with weapons to make sure of this, and the instant he went to war with her family she left him.
The backstory of Dream Chronicles reveals that in the fairy world, fairies go through politically arranged marriages and that love was an alien concept among them until Aeval and Tangle, betrothed to each other, ended up genuinely falling in love and choosing to live in the mortal world so that their son Fidget could marry for love. Unfortunately, Lilith, the fairy Fidget was betrothed to, is not pleased when she finds out that he's married Faye, the human player character. And thus Faye's problems begin...
The City Elf origin story in Dragon Age: Origins can be like this if you choose the right dialogue. Of course, then it all goes horribly wrong...
Cailan and Anora appear to have been this as well...though that didn't end well either.
The marriage between Ashe and Rasler in Final Fantasy XII is like this, although it is established that they were close beforehand due to being the only heir of their respective thrones of two allied countries. Unfortunately, it doesn't last very long since Rasler is killed just before the start of the game.
In Odin Sphere, Oswald 'wins' Gwendolyn's hand — complete with a spell that will make her love him — by Standard Hero Reward. As it turns out, the spell wouldn't have been necessary as Oswald genuinely loved her at first sight and goes through the effort trying to have the spell lifted, and discovers (after her literally going To Hell and Back for him) that Gwendolyn loves him without it. Which is a good thing too because Odin had never added the spell in the first place.
Oichi and Azai Nagamasa in Sengoku Basara. Unfortunately, Oichi's brother Oda Nobunaga (who arranged the marriage in the first place) is the The Demon King, so all happiness went to hell, literally.
In Crusader Kings, one possible event is "You have fallen in love with your wife".
The sequel features a event where you buy you wife a gift. The most expensive one(Ruby Earrings) makes her fall in love with you. Guess Paul was wrong.
In World of Warcraft, an arranged marriage is suggested by Falstad Wildhammer to stop two other Wildhammer clans from feuding, at first the man involved agrees just because it would be nice to get the families to stop fighting, but after his bride-to-be gets kidnapped and then kills three ten foot tall ogres with her bare hands, he's so smitten he's left in a stupor, and it's revealed she has an attraction to him as well. Any last doubts get cleared up when a Faceless One attacks the wedding, and bride and groom kick its ass equally, putting them both head over heels for one another.
Dragon Quest VIII has a roundabout example that almost results in an extremely imperfect arrangement: The kings of Trodain and Argonia agreed to have their children marry if they were opposite sex. They weren't - both kings had only sons - so the agreement carried over to their grandchildren. Unfortunately, Prince Charmles of Argonia is essentially the trope namer for Prince Charmless, and Trodain's Princess Medea (like essentially everyone else both in- and out-of-universe) hates him. But all is not lost: turns out the Hero, a childhood friend of Medea, is also a potential heir to the Argonian throne - his father was the current king's brother - and in the Golden Ending, even Charmles's father supports Medea marrying the Hero over Charmles.
The Overture Richard Olsen and Janis Lashway were childhood friends long before there mothers arranged for them to be married. Thirteen years later, the fire between the two is still strong.
As of page 379, they have reached this trope. Probably.
Red String uses the "arranged couple meet without recognizing each other variant" before it turns out the arranged marriage was set up by the boy's mother so he'd at least have the chance to marry a spirited normal girl instead of a stuffy socialite as per his father's wishes. Then his father called it off.
There's one of these in the backstory of the Tsunami Channel comic Experimental Comic Kotone.
Garanos: The main character had one of these, but her fiance got kidnapped, and her current quest is to find him again.
The Simpsons had it happen with Apu. He spends the entirety of one episode trying to get out of his arranged marriage, but when he meets the woman (Manjula) at the wedding he's instantly charmed (And, she points out, if it doesn't work they can always divorce).
Sadly, later episodes turn this into a subversion. Manjula grows distant after the birth of their octuplets, resulting in Apu having a brief affair, getting caught, and having to go to insane lengths to win Manjula back. The problem is, Manjula is still cold and distant, but now with added bitterness on top of it, making some fans wonder why he bothered. Even worse, post-affair Manjula's entire character has centered on her being a bitter harpy towards everybody, not just Apu.
Winx Club had this, although Aisha's objection to being in an arranged marriage wasn't because she didn't like the guy (in fact, she didn't even know that he was her intended), but because she wanted to have the freedom to choose for herself. Once her parents stop making her be in an arranged marriage, it turns out the person she's been dating, Ophir, is actually the arranged marriage guy, Nabu. This relationship also didn't last: the writers did the unthinkable the following season. Nabu was Killed Off for Real! Poor Aisha.
Played With interestingly: Pakku and Kanna were engaged when they were younger, but she apparently didn't love him and ran off to the South Pole, having a more or less happy family with somebody else and becoming Katara and Sokka's grandmother. (Meanwhile, Pakku became really embittered towards women as a whole, and didn't get over it upon meeting Katara). They met decades later, and married in their senior years.
Subverted in the Family Guy episode "Leggo My Meg-o": a parody of the movie Taken, where Meg and a friend are abducted in Paris by human traffickers. As Brian and Stewie go about trying to find and rescue her in Paris, she is sold at an auction to a wealthy Arab sheikh. She ends up on his yacht, and it turns out the Sheikh's son wants to marry her and make her his princess, with full access to all the riches of his kingdom—and he's a nice guy, about Meg's age, and not bad looking—and if she turns him down, he'll be sad but he'll fly her home on his private jet. Meg thinks her dreams have come true and wants to marry him—but just then Stewie bursts into the yacht's stateroom and shoots the prince dead.
Turns out, too, that Meg's friend who was also abducted was sold to much nastier people, and had her tongue cut out.
Historically, the marriage of Joanna "the Mad" of Castile (daughter of the famous Reyes Catolicos Ferdinand and Isabella) to Philip the Handsome, Duke of Burgundy, turned out this way...too much. The two of them literally fell in love at first sight, for reasons that everyone would understand (particularly given that they were both teenagers): Philip the Handsome was...well... handsome, and Joanna herself was by all accounts a stunning redhead (That Other Wiki calls her "one of Europe's greatest beauties" of the time). They begged to have the marriage formalized the day they met so they could get it on right away; they had six children (including Holy Roman EmperorCharles V, for those who care). Eventually, things happened, Joanna started to get jealous, and eventually the jealousy had some kind of party in her head with a familial disposition towards insanity (in fact, it was something of a minor miracle that both of her parents were sound of mind, given that both were members of the ridiculously-inbredHouse of Trastamara). Hence the epithet "the Mad" - her father Ferdinand had to become Regent of Castile upon his daughter's ascension instead of ruling jointly until she inherited Aragon upon his death. She also carried around Philip's dead body on her travels, another reason for her to be considered mad. And she had him buried so that she could see his tomb from her bedroom's window. Poor mad girl indeed. Phillip the Handsome's death would require a trope of its own.
Maria Kutschera, despite what The Sound of Music may tell you, was not desperately in love with Captain von Trapp when they married, although he was in love with her. She married him for the sake of the children and fell in love with him later. Obviously, it all worked out, as by the time they left Austria, she clearly loved him very deeply.
The marriage between Princess Elizabeth of Hungary and Landgrave Ludwig IV of Thuringia. It certainly helped that she went to live with his family when they were both children and got to befriend each other first, thus making them also Victorious Childhood Friends. Ludwig was a staunch supporter of Elizabeth's religious and charitable work, despite the disapproval of the rest of his family; after he died, she ran away from both her in-laws and her own family, and preferred to become a nun rather than remarry.
English and British monarchs never fail to provide examples of all tropes royal.
King Henry III of England is recorded to have been madly in love with his wife, Eleanor of Provence. Unusually for a medieval monarch, he never took a mistress.
Similarly, their son Edward I seems to have had a deeply loving relationship with his first wife, Leonor (Eleanor) of Castile. They married as teenagers and had a long and happy marriage, with many children. When she died, he was heartbroken and had the Eleanor crosses erected along the path that her body took through England to its burial site; there were twelve such crosses, one at each location where the body stopped, and most of them still survive. Edward I's second marriage to the much-younger Marguerite of France seems to have been a great success, as well, although by no account did he have the same affection for Marguerite as Eleanor. Like his father, Edward I was never known to have taken a mistress.
Richard II of England and Anne of Bohemia, to the extent that after Anne's premature death, Richard became notably unstable.
Henry VII of England married Elizabeth of York after taking the throne for political reasons, hoping to unite the two warring families of Lancaster and York. And although Henry has a reputation for being a cold, miserly man, it is possible to see that the quality of his government declined drastically after his wife's death, and that he began to act far more ruthlessly and ungenerously, suggesting that he truly cared deeply for Elizabeth. This is becomes even clearer when compared to his son Henry VIII, as Henry VII did not really try to remarry after his wife's death even though it was to be expected.
The marriage between William III and Mary II didn't start out very well; Mary cried through their wedding, William was cold and neglectful towards her, and had an affair with one of her ladies-in-waiting. However, the relations between them improved very much, and when Mary died young of smallpox, William was devastated, saying that "from being the happiest" he was "now going to be the miserablest creature on earth".
George III of Great Britain (yes that George III) had quite a happy marriage to Sophia Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz. Although they first met on their wedding day (at which point George was already king), all indications are that it worked. He never took a mistress (unlike his father, grandfather, and sons) and their marriage was by all accounts quite the happy one. They had fifteen (fifteen!) children. It helped that both George and Charlotte were sober, calm (when he wasn't overcome by his unfortunate disease), devout Protestants.
Queen Victoria was George III's granddaughter and successor to the throne. She married her first cousin, Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, in a political marriage in 1840. They were by all accounts very happy, and had nine children. When Prince Albert died in 1861 Victoria was grief-stricken and went into mourning which lasted until her death in 1901. An entry in her diary for her wedding day gives an idea of her emotions:
I NEVER, NEVER spent such an evening!!! MY DEAREST DEAREST DEAR Albert ... his excessive love & affection gave me feelings of heavenly love & happiness I never could have hoped to have felt before! He clasped me in his arms, & we kissed each other again & again! His beauty, his sweetness & gentleness – really how can I ever be thankful enough to have such a Husband! ... to be called by names of tenderness, I have never yet heard used to me before – was bliss beyond belief! Oh! This was the happiest day of my life!
King George V of the United Kingdom - grandfather to HM The Queen - married his brother Albert's fiancee Mary of Teck when Albert died of pneumonia. This marriage of convenience became a love match. Both parties were emotionally inarticulate and almost pathologically shy but communicated their mutual feelings in passionate letters and 'understood each other perfectly' as George wrote in one of them. They spawned one of England's most universally beloved monarchies - just about the only monarch seriously complained about from this dynasty is the rather selfish Edward VIII.
Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette. Actually, Louis got a lot of grief for refusing to take a mistress, because he was so happy in his marriage to Marie.
Gilbert de Lafayette and Adrienne de Noailles. When the marriage was arranged, she was 15, he - 17. Just for money, of course (from her side - or the side of her parents, that is). You can guess how it went from there on, so just pointing out the more prominent parts. When Lafayette was imprisoned and she was about to be executed (revolution will not be civilised, after all) she was writing to the revolutionary tribune to save her husband, after the death penalty was substituted for imprisonment, she was released from custody and her only request was to be imprisoned in the same castle, as the Lafayette, and when she died, he wrote, that gone is the bigger and better part of him. If you wrote a book with such events now, one would undoubtedly be accused of sentimentalism in the terminal stage. Reality ensues, indeed...
Prince Khurram aka the future Indian Mughal emperor Shah Jahan and his favorite wife, Persian princess Arjhumand Banu Begham aka Empress Mumtaz Mahal (also the granddaughter of his father's Grand Vizier). He was so grief-stricken when she fell to Death by Childbirth that he ordered the construction of a mausoleum for her... known as the Taj Mahal.
Partially, King Juan Carlos I of Spain and his wife Sofia of Greece and Denmark. Partially, because they met during a cruise to the Greek Islands that was specially arranged by Sofia's parents Paul and Frederika (the then-Royal Couple of Greece), in hopes that their daughter would find a nice Royal Blood boyfriend while not imposing any specific choices on her. Of course, she did find and get her guy: they've been married for almost fifty years.
Llewelyn ap Gruffyd, the last native Prince of Wales before it was conquered by the English, arranged a marriage for himself with Eleanor de Montfort, daughter of Simon de Montfort, because the latter was helping him to defend his crown and position. It turned out to be a genuine love match, despite an age difference of more than 20 years; Llewelyn is almost singularly unique among the Welsh princes for never having been known to take a mistress, and when Eleanor went the Death by Childbirth route bringing Princess Gwenllian into the world, Llewlyn lost it. He was persuaded by his greedy younger brother Dafydd to enter a dangerous campaign against the English, something he had been steadily resisting in Eleanor's lifetime, and died in the fight.
A study in India showed that on average, couples in arranged marriages report greater levels of love for each other than couples who chose their own partners after roughly the three-year mark in the marriage. Beyond that point, arranged marriages more or less level off while love marriages plummet.
On the other hand, India is known for bride burning and acid throwing. Dowries, which are cited to be part of the problem (e.g. the husband's family wants more and doesn't get it), are officially prohibited since 1961 but are still given with the brides. Other reasons listed are refusing a marriage proposal or asking for a divorce. Also, if a couple who marries out of love had been in love for a while, then they are in a different stage of the hormonal ride than couples who are married for a while and just fell in love. Without citing the source, it is also unknown who did the study and who were questioned (the rich and the poor, educated and uneducated, people from the city and the farming villages) Lastly, spouses who were/are mistreated probably didn't get the chance to voice their opinion. On the positive side, arranged marriages are modernizing in India for a while now and so more and more arranged marriages are about two adults, not per definition forced and both parties have the right to refusal.
Certainly the GOAL, if not the reality, of a huge number of arranged marriages in the past.
While the marriage of Louis-Alexandre Berthier, Napoleon's trusty chief-of-staff, and Elizabeth of Bavaria (no, not that one) was not as happy as many other examples here, it was not the total catastrophe everyone predicted. Berthier was 55 and already madly in love with a married Italian noblewoman, Giuseppa Visconti ; Elizabeth was 22. Berthier introduced Giuseppa as an old acquaintance and kept living with her even after his marriage, but Elizabeth either did not mind or turned a blind eye on their affair, and became good friends with her husband's mistress. Over time, Berthier developed real feelings for his wife, although they were not so passionate as the ones he had for Giuseppa.
A tragic shadow hung over that marriage, though : two months after Berthier and Elizabeth's wedding, Giuseppa's husband died. Berthier spent the next seven years regretting that he had not hanged onto his celibacy for those short months.