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"Hodel, oh Hodel,
Have I made a match for you!
He's handsome, he's young!
...alright, he's 62."
Tzeitel mocking Yente, "Matchmaker, Matchmaker", Fiddler on the Roof

Out of all Arranged Marriage tropes, this one is particularly striking. It combines the Dirty Old Man trope with the trusting helplessness of a young girl, and is bound to raise all kinds of hackles in the audience. Today, it is generally considered an awful thing. However, there are cultures who consider a daughter to be the property of her parents, and believe that they have the right to give her away in marriage to whoever they choose. Sadly, this often goes hand in hand with the idea that a husband has the right to have sex with his wife, regardless of how she feels about it and regardless of how young she is.

A Sub-Trope of Arranged Marriage. Note that this trope only covers the marriage itself; Marital Rape License applies only to the same situations it would under normal circumstances (a simple lack of a Jail Bait Wait doesn't cut it).

Contrast Wife Husbandry and Jail Bait Wait, where the much older guy wants the child but waits until she's old enough. Compare May–December Romance and Age-Gap Romance, the less extreme (and more consensual) versions of this trope. See also Mal Mariée, which is explicitly an older version of this trope from medieval literature that is explicitly an unhappy version of one these.

More information on The Other Wiki available here.



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    Anime & Manga 
  • This is how the former emperor in The Apothecary Diaries liked things and among the reasons he was despised. Case in point, Lady Anshi gave birth to the current emperor at the age of ten and Consort Lishu was taken into the Rear Palace at the age of eight. Fortunately, the former emperor died before doing anything to the latter and the current emperor has no interest in her in that way and only kept her on as a consort purely out of pity.
  • Code Geass:
    • Schneizel and the Chinese eunuchs set up an Arranged Marriage between Crown Prince Odysseus (around 30), and Empress Tianzi (13).
    • Supplementary materials indicate that, prior to Britannia curbstomping Japan, Genbu Kururugi was considering marrying Nunally (she was 8 at the time), thinking this would deter Britannia from invading. Neither Lelouch nor Suzaku were particularly happy with that idea (Suzaku proposed marrying her instead of his father, but since he was already engaged to his cousin Kaguya, that didn't work out). Lelouch talks Genbu out of it offscreen, apparently offering him top secret information about the Brittanian military in exchange for calling the marriage off.
  • In The Bride of Adarshan, Prince Alexid, in his 20s, weds Princess Justinia, age 10, in a political marriage. It's less squicky than it sounds, because he's self-imposing a Jail Bait Wait and it is implied that as she grows up he will genuinely fall in love with her. For the most part, their relationship is platonic in nature.
  • In The Rose of Versailles, the duke of Guiche (mid 30s at least)'s Arranged Marriage to Charlotte de Polignac (as much, 13) gives off these vibes. It's no wonder that the girl goes completely bonkers and commits suicide.
  • Seems to be what went on in regards to Ay and Princess Ankhesenamen in Red River (1995).
  • Gender-inverted and portrayed positively in A Bride's Story. In the late 19th century, a woman named Amir is married to a boy eight years her junior. Amir herself is only twenty, but in the setting is considered an Old Maid already.
  • McGillis Fareed from Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans is engaged to the 9-year old Almiria Bauduin. To be fair, the marriage itself is not supposed to take place until she's of age, and there's a lot of political baggage on the situation.note  Also, as the series continues, it becomes more and more obvious that McGillis would never do anything inappropriate with her, as he himself was repeatedly molested as a child by an aristocrat who kept him as a Sex Slave.
  • Lucy Steel nee Pendleton (aged 14) and Stephen Steel (age 51) are married in JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Steel Ball Run, but it turns out that it's really an Intergenerational Friendship. Stephen promised that he would never lay a hand on her, and he always intended for her to marry a nice young man her own age.
  • In Banana Fish, this is revealed to be the story of Lee Yut Lung's mother: she was 10 when she was married off to her elderly husband (who was the head of the Lee clan and one of the most influential men in China) and gave birth to her son when she was only 15. According to said son, they were treated extremely well, all things considered. Then the mother was raped and killed by Yut Lung's older half-brothers out of jealousy/spite... in front of a 6-year-old Yut Lung. It's implied he was later sexually abused by them because he looks like his mother.
  • Ōoku: The Inner Chambers: Genderflipped with Iesada's marriage to her second husband. Unlike most examples, she hadn't even met her bridegroom until they came together for the wedding, and she's absolutely horrified to find out he's a child. Her father Ieyoshi arranged it that way because if he can't have her, no one can.

    Comic Books 
  • Before joining the Runaways, Klara Prast was married off at only 11 years old to an abusive middle-aged alcoholic.
  • Habibi has Dolola married off to a middle-aged man when she was 11. Surprisingly, he's not portrayed as too evil, just obsessed with tradition. Seems like he doesn't even realize how fucked up the situation is.
  • In one Chick Tract called "The Little Bride", the marriage between Aisha and Muhammed is used to condemn Islam, highlighting that she was only 6 when they got engaged and only 9 when they got married. The tract draws the conclusion that Muhammed was a pedophile rapist.

    Fan Works 
  • Bequeathed from Pale Estates, being in Westeros, references this:
    • This is explicitly one of the reasons why Jon Arryn marrying Lysa Tully was such a disaster — no one was happy about the lord being wed to a girl young enough to be his granddaughter, even the groom himself. He still went through with it as he was fighting a war and needed her father's armies and support, but boy did he come to regret it.
    • The main romance is between forty-year-old Oberyn Martell and the barely fourteen-year-old Lyarra Snow. It's pretty reasonable an age gap — in spite of Lyarra's young sister Arya constantly calling attention to it — but Oberyn still has several daughters older than his own bride and is pretty discomfit over her youth, while Lyarra cannot help but feel scared about the match. However, he genuinely wants to do right by her and she reflects he's not her worst option, so it ends up working.
  • Downplayed in Fairytales due to the Deliberate Values Dissonance of the 1200s. Snow White is fourteen and her husband is around twenty-five or twenty-six. No one but Grumpy has much of a problem with this. Snow White, being an already naive teenager, is confused about her marriage and has mixed feelings about being pregnant at fourteen. She then dies in childbirth because her already fragile body can't handle birth at her age.
  • Starfall (Star vs. the Forces of Evil): Referenced; when Brad challenges Tom for Star's hand, everyone is disgusted, since he's three times her age. He rolls his eyes and says of course he's not going to marry her, he'll break off the engagement the second he wins so that she can marry the man she actually loves. It goes against the spirit of the rules, but not the strict letter of the rules.
  • There and Back Again:
    • When King Robert Baratheon (who's in his late thirties) learns of the incestuous relationship between Cersei and Jaime, he betroths himself to Sansa Stark, believing it would make her father Ned happy because his daughter has a chance to be queen. Everyone who learns of it expresses shock and disgust - Jon Arryn desperately tries to advise against it, Kevan and Genna Lannister point out that Sansa (physically at least) is only 13 years old and way too young to safely have children (which Robert needs now if he wants to avoid a Succession Crisis), and Ned (for whom this is The Last Straw after suffering a Broken Pedestal over Robert's incompetence as king) starts revealing the truth of Jon's parentage and begins openly plotting to put Jon on the throne.
    • Jon Arryn and Lysa Tully are also an example, with the former even using their unhappy marriage as a reason for why Robert should not betroth himself to Sansa. Even people who find Lysa unpleasant to deal with (at best) admit to feeling at least some small amount of sympathy for her for getting married off like a broodmare to a man old enough to be her grandfather in order to secure a political alliance. Though Lysa at least was in her late teens when she got married to Lord Arryn, and thanks to Varys, they are making a somewhat more honest go of things, even having a new daughter together.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The movie Osama ends with the main character, a female child, getting married off to a man old enough to be her grandfather or even her great-grandfather. The scene right before the last scene is on the wedding day, focusing on how terrified the girl is and how much the other wives hate their husband. The very last scene is at night, showing the old man happy and content, performing the holy cleansing ritual that he had earlier in the movie taught a class of young boys that every good man is supposed to do after he has screwed his wife.
  • The film Child Bride is about an idealistic teacher campaigning to stop child marriage in her home in the Ozarks. The film is more widely remembered for its infamous skinny-dipping scene involving then 12-year-old Shirley Mills, who played an 11-year-old girl who is targeted for this trope by one of the locals. (Notably, it's one of the movies known to have been rejected by the writers of Mystery Science Theater 3000 due to it being too bleak a topic. The Cinema Snob did review it, partly because MST3K rejected it, and kept pointing out "SHE'S TWELVE!".)
  • Deepa Mehta's Water features an 8-year-old girl who was married so young she barely remembers it, has not seen her husband in years, and is now a widow sent to live in an ashram for the rest of her life. Some of the other characters are implied to have been married at least as young, if not widowed quite so early.
  • The Parent Trap uses this trope as an indirect accusation, delivered with Sugary Malice. When the father tells his daughter that Meredith is about to become part of the family, she surely understands right away that he's talking about marriage. However, she pretends to innocently misunderstand him and gets all ecstatic about how he's finally getting one more daughter by adopting her. (The subject of the accusation isn't actually an example, however; it's implied that Nick was quite young when Hallie was born, placing him in his thirties, whereas Meredith is in her mid-twenties — not an unreasonable age gap in and of itself. The fact that Meredith is a Rich Bitch Gold Digger, on the other hand...)
  • Marianna Ucría is forced to marry her uncle when she is 13.
  • Delusions of Grandeur: Attempted by Don Salluste, who has views on the Infanta of Spain, whom his valet Blaze calls his "fiancée". Of course, this is solely for the influence it would grant him, and a spot in the throne succession. He doesn't care about the child princess, whom he considers an "ugly, ill-mannered brat". His disgrace, of course, put a serious hamper on these plans.

  • Ouida had these in several books, most notoriously Moths, where a woman arranges her daughter's marriage to a rich old coot so she can live well and pay off her own debts. There's another one in Signa, where a young musician finds the girl of his childhood dreams living as a courtesan with his own father.
  • Gender-flipped and downplayed in A Brother's Price, where the boys are married at 16 to whole families of sisters, the oldest of them tend to be his senior. Of course, the brides aren't really old (they have to get married before they hit menopause, after all); they tend to be in their twenties and the boy is a teen. It's an age difference, with the genders swapped, at which no one reading, say, Jane Austen's novels would bat an eye. But all of the implications of this trope still follow: a young groom is put at mercy of his adult spouses, he's considered their property and there's a need for offspring, so Marital Rape License is at play. Or even Marital Gang Rape License, if you will. The trope is played straight (age-wise) when Kij Porter—presumably in her late thirties, old enough to be his mother—takes an interest in the not-quite sixteen years old Jerin and wants to "sample" her potential husband. Jerin is understandably horrified.
    • Also in this world, when a man marries, he marries all the sisters in the family, even the ones who aren't yet conceived when their husband marries into the family. It's quite possible for a husband to be old enough to be his wife's father in this setting, as well as the inverse.
  • The Wife of Bath from The Canterbury Tales was first married to an old man when she was 12 years old. Notably she is so pleased with the arrangement—indulgent, manipulable old man, short marriage, and wealthy widowhood—that she goes on to willingly marry three other "good old men".
  • This is standard in The Chemical Garden Trilogy—all the Arranged Marriages are to older, rich men. In particular, one of Linden's wives is 13.
  • Subverted in The Chronicles of Narnia, where Tomboy Princess Aravis Tarkheena is betrothed to an older man...but she escapes in time, and eventually marries someone her age whom she comes to truly love. Aravis' case wasn't helped by the facts that a) her prospective older husband Ahoshta is absolutely repulsive both inside and out; and b) the marriage was arranged upon the suggestion of Aravis' much hated Wicked Stepmother.
    • Aravis' best friend Lasaraleen, on the other hand, goes through with her Arranged Marriage and doesn't seem to understand why Aravis wouldn't want to. However, she's sort of a Lovable Alpha Bitch more concerned with her husband's money and position. And we actually don't know how old her husband is; he could be either a super old dude or a man in his twenties. We do know he talks to her—she's always quoting him—and by all indications they are both happy with their match.
  • Chronicles of the Kencyrath takes this to the Logical Extreme with Gerridon (who's immortal and 3,000 years old, but doesn't look it) and Tieri, who's only one year old. (Although to be fair, no one is raping babies. The whole point of their union was to have a child. He waits to consummate it, and if you do the math, their son was conceived when she was about 22.)
  • In Crime and Punishment, Svidrigrailov, a man in his 60s, gets engaged to a 14-year-old girl. Contrary to popular belief, both brides that young and the huge age difference were definitely not normal back then, and the whole thing is very much played as Squicky. Even Svidrigrailov himself seems to realise it, as afterwards he has a dream in which a 5-year-old girl attempts to seduce him, which thoroughly creeps him out, and soon after he commits suicide.
  • Referenced in Ella Enchanted, wherein 15-year-old Ella’s father wishes to marry her off to a rich man to regain his former wealth. Ella’s suitor turns out to be considerably older than her father is. The marriage doesn’t go through, however, and to the suitor’s credit, he didn’t actually know how old Ella was and is rather turned off at first when he realises she's that young.
  • The Eyes of The Dragon has a rare positive example: the old and somewhat sex-phobic King Roland has a Perfectly Arranged Marriage with 17-year-old Sasha, and the two seem quite happy before her Death by Childbirth. (The fact that she knew nothing about sex before their wedding night actually helped matters.)
  • Holes: Myra Menke is 14, almost 15, and her father decides she should get married when she turns 15. Elya Yelnats (15) and Igor Barkov (57) both want to marry her. Thanks to Madame Zeroni, Elya is able to bring a bride-price just as valuable as Igor's, and Myra's father lets her pick which man she wants. Myra is a Brainless Beauty and doesn't immediately pick Elya, but kept going back and forth between them. Elya realizes she's a fool, and he decides he doesn't want to marry her and leaves. Myra marries Igor.
  • In the Honor Harrington novella "Promised Land" (in The Service of the Sword), Ephraim Templeton (55) adds kidnap victim Judith (12) to his collection of wives. That's the least vile thing he does. It comes back to bite him hard by the end.
  • Horrible Histories details the real practises of this throughout history while also playing it for Black Comedy. One betrothal is accompanied by a cartoon of a king proposing to a five-year-old princess who replies "only if you marry dolly too."
  • In The Jewel of Medina, the Arranged Marriage between the prophet Muhammed (who was in his 50s) and the 9-year-old girl Aisha is portrayed as the coolest thing ever. The story practically casts her as a young superheroine on team righteous, under the benevolent leadership of her husband. The book subscribes to the theory that they waited a few more years before starting having sex, reducing the squick although not removing it completely.
    • But in 7th century Arabia, such marriages obviously weren't unheard of. Sunni Muslims also still say that Aisha, despite the age difference, really was Muhammed's favorite wife. (Shia Muslims tend to look at her in a less positive light though.)
  • In Last Days of the Jannissaries, Villain Protagonist Pasha Ali Tepelini is married to a young girl, whom he loves very much. Incidentally, she loves him too, until she discovers that he's being a complete jerkass, and betrays him. She's willing to forgive her husband towards the end, though, and is genuinely worried for his safety when the sultan's assassin shows up to take his head.
  • Judge Dee: While the specific ages aren't mentioned, teenaged women are often married off (or in the case of prostitutes, their virginities are sold to) much older men, usually because their families can't afford to feed them during famines.
  • In The Last Wish, Princess Pavetta has to choose her husband on her 16th birthday and ends up picking a man who is at least twice her age and cursed to turn into a monster at night. She already had a secret relationship with him and and was already pregnant. And sixteen years later the same man (under a different identity) tries to arrange a marriage between himself and their daughter.
  • This is a Discussed Trope in Lolita, in which Humbert Humbert tries to justify his attraction to and eventual sexual abuse of his step-daughter Dolores (also known as Lolita) claiming that in the past it was normal seeing old men marrying young girls (without realizing this is an Appeal to Tradition fallacy).
  • The Love and Lies of Rukhsana Ali: Rukhsana's maternal grandmother was married off to her grandfather when she'd been very young (it's said she just reached menarche that year) and he was thirty five at the time.
  • A common thing in The Mists of Avalon. One example is Igraine's marriage to Gorlois; he is in his late forties and she isn't even twenty. They married several years ago and Igraine reminisces how scared she was as a 15-year-old girl when he ignored her by day but visited her at night to do his husbandly deeds to her.
  • Zoya from The Nikolai Duology nearly fell victim to this. Her mother arranged for her to marry a wealthy man while she was nine. Her would-be husband was in his sixties. The wedding was stopped due to Zoya's aunt protesting the wedding and Zoya discovering her Grisha powers to save her aunt when her fiancé retaliated. The ordeal ruined Zoya's relationship with her mother as a result.
  • Only Ever Yours has the "Inheritants" (young men of the Euro-Zone) marry the top-ranked eves when they all come of age at 17. However, if an older man's wife has passed her "Termination Date" or he wants a replacement, he can get one from the young girls at the School. Before being Driven to Suicide, 17-year-old isabel was to have married the Father, who is described as being quite elderly.
  • Pocket Monsters: The Animation mentions that ten-year-olds are legal adults who must pay taxes and can get married.
  • Nearly happens to poor Violet as part of Count Olaf's first plot to steal her family fortune in A Series of Unfortunate Events, as he forces her into an on-stage marriage with legally binding documents.
  • A Song of Ice and Fire, which is happy to portray just how weird early modern times were, does a bit of this.
    • When Catelyn finds out that her sister Lysa (teens at the time) was promised to Jon Arryn (early sixties at the time) in a political marriage, she realizes that may be one of the reasons why Lysa's so fucked up.
    • At the start of the series Lord Walder Frey recently married his eighth wife, on his 90th birthday. For the record, she's younger than some of his great grandchildren, and pregnant.
    • Played with in the case of Arianne Martell, who while still unmarried at the time we meet her, has been proposed as a potential bride for a number of men, all of whom are old enough to be her grandfather. She's informed her father that if he wants her to actually marry, he's going to have to find her a husband young enough to still have his own teeth. As it happens, he doesn't want her to marry just yet—but can't tell her why—and is suggesting old men precisely because he knows she'll refuse them.
    • Sansa meets a girl not much older than her who is the widow of a man so old he had a fatal heart attack on their wedding night.
  • In The Surface Breaks by Louise O'Neill, a re-imagining of The Little Mermaid, this happens in the merfolk kingdom. Legally, mermaids are not supposed to be "bonded" (married) before 20, but can be if their father gives permission. Protagonist Gaia is due to be married to Zale as soon as she turns 16; his age isn't given but she notes that he is clearly at least middle-aged. Her own parents married when her father, the Sea King, was in his late sixties and her mother was 16.
  • 15-year-old Kaede from Tales of the Otori is first engaged to a man who dies of old age before they are even officially married.
  • In "Taste", a short story by Roald Dahl, a wine connoisseur at a dinner party bets his host that he can guess the exact strain of a rare wine served at the party. Each is so confident that the connoisseur bets his two houses and the host agrees to bet the hand of his beautiful 18-year-old daughter in marriage, much to the horror of the girl and her mother. Notably, the connoisseur is over thirty years older than her and very ugly. Eventually he guesses the exact French vineyard that the grapes were grown in... at which the the family's elderly maid busts in and delivers his glasses, revealing that he had earlier peaked at the label on the wine bottle. The story ends with the host about the attack his guest as he realizes he had arranged and cheated on the bet in a bid to steal away the daughter.
  • In The Testaments, Commander Judd prefers younger wives, and Agnes and later Shunammite are forced to marry him when they are young teenagers, as they are both mentioned to have just started their periods.
  • Tortall Universe: Gender-flipped in the Trickster's Duet, where regents attempt a political match between the 6-year-old king and a young woman aged around 18, and later her 13-year-old sister when the elder elopes with a noble from a neighboring country. The marriage never happens, though.
  • Violeta: Abel and Lucinda Rivas have young Violeta accompany them as they travel to villages as visiting teachers. When Violeta is 14, the indigenous village chief proposes to have her marry him or one of his sons to seal their friendship and offers a horse in exchange. As diplomatically as possible, Abel rejects the offer, saying that Violeta is one of his wives and that she has a terrible character. Afterwards, Violeta stops joining the Rivas in that part of their rounds.
  • In Warbreaker, teenage Siri is sent off to marry the God King Susebron, who is over half a century older, even though his godhood makes him look like a young man in his twenties. Fortunately for her, he turns out to have no idea how sex works, so they don't end up consummating the marriage until after she's grown to love him.
    • the author himself indicates that he actually had to pay more attention to making sure the relationship didn't come off as squicky because of Siri being uncomfortably more mature than Susebron, in an interesting reversal.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Series 1 of Big Love introduces us to Rhonda, the 16-year-old girl promised to fundamentalist Mormon prophet Roman Grant; the marriage doesn't go ahead, but such marriages are presented as common on the Juniper Creek compound. Later in series 3, Nicki manages to prevent her 14-year-old daughter Cara Lynn from being married off to a much older man.
  • Not "old" per se, but in season one of Blackadder, Prince Edmund marries the 8-year-old Princess Leia of Hungary, much to his own dismay. Subverted somewhat as the marriage is purely political and completely platonic, with Leia even serving as something of a Morality Pet for Edmund. They spend their wedding night with Edmund reading her a bedtime story.
  • The Chicago Med episode "Down by Law" features a 14 year old girl suffering from ovarian cancer after several failed pregnancies with her husband: a middle-aged reverend. Despite the doctors' protests, they learn they cannot legally do anything because their marriage was approved by her father and a judge in the state of Michigan. However, because her marriage means she's medically emancipated, she decides to have a hysterectomy against her husband's wishes.
  • In the Criminal Minds episode "Minimal Loss", cult leader Benjamin Cyrus (played by Luke Perry) marries a 15-year-old girl, and has his way with whatever woman he wants in the cult, as per his own decree.
  • Doctor Who: In "Marco Polo", teenager Ping-Cho was set to marry an old man she'd never met. Although she's resigned herself to it, she's quite relieved when he dies.
  • Game of Thrones: While in the book series Tyrion was in his early twenties, here he is a good twenty years older than the fourteen year old Sansa. Unusually for this trope, he is as much forced into this marriage as she is, and is moral enough not to exercise his Marital Rape License (especially after learning Sansa's age).note 
    • Walder Frey plays this trope more straight, he is a creepy, 90 year old man on his ninth wife (who is a teenager).
  • House of the Dragon: Lord Corlys Velaryon seriously considers marrying his 12 year old daughter Laena to King Viserys Targaryen after the death of queen consort Aemma. Viserys chooses teen Alicent Hightower as new consort eventually.
  • In I, Claudius, the empress is appalled that young men are not bothering to get married and orders that there better be some marriages soon. She then warns them that there better not be any engagements to children just so they can put off marrying them for a decade.
  • Law & Order: Special Victims Unit had a case along these lines in the episode "Charisma", with a cult leader in his fifties or so being married to a girl who's maybe twelve. The marriage was not legally binding, but it was treated as a real marriage by the cultists. It also produced a pregnancy, which is what kickstarted the whole episode, when the child was checked into a hospital. Even more disturbing, having been raised in the cult and basically "programmed" to trust the leader at all times, the girl thinks this is entirely normal and is worryingly blase about the whole matter. Which is part of what makes it so satisfying when, at the episode's climax, this culminates in a perfect storm of a scenario: he orders the girl, trained to obey him without question, to kill "the liar", and then makes a Blasphemous Boast that contradicts everything she's been taught. Guess what she does.
    • Another episode involved a pastor in his 40s who got the 13-year-old daughter of a family in his church pregnant; then manipulated her parents into giving their consent for him to marry her (in their state, marriage at 14 is legal with parental permission) so that, if ever caught, he couldn't be charged with statutory rape.
    • The main Law & Order series had an episode based around a fundamentalist Mormon splinter group, where underage girls are routinely married off to old men; including a 15-year-old who's recently run away from a marriage to the 50-something leader. It's mentioned that the church elders regularly find excuses to exile young men so that they won't be competition for the girls.
  • The NUMB3RS episode "Nine Wives" features a cult that's basically made of this trope — they have a habit of marrying underage girls off to adult men, often multiple girls at once. The leader is stated to have 73 wives, including the fourteen-year-old girl he kidnapped and forced to marry him at the beginning of the episode. (The cult also has at least one confirmed case where a man married his own daughter, quite possibly while she was still a minor.)
  • In the Police Squad! episode "Testimony of Evil" (a.k.a. "Dead Men Don't Laugh"), Ed Hocken describes a man as "Married, one child. That didn't work out so he married a grown woman."
  • The Power (2023): Tatiana, when barely in her twenties at most, is pressured to marry Viktor Moskalev, who's middle aged and Carpathian finance minister. She at first resists, but later ends up his wife nonetheless.
  • In Resurrection, Margaret mentions that she married her husband when she was 17 and he was in his thirties; it was largely an Arranged Marriage, since he was the heir to the town's major factory. She admits that she never really loved him, but that he was a nice man in general (despite being an alcoholic who needed her to run the business for him).
  • Inverted in The Suite Life on Deck two-episode special "Maddie on Deck". The child prince of Liechtenstamp forces much older Maddie into marrying him, making other characters have to intervene.

  • Blutengels song "Black Wedding" can be interpreted this way.
  • Rod Stewart's "Tonight's The Night (Gonna Be Alright)" has also been interpreted as an older man coming on to a teenage girl... and wanting to consummate something more than just a sexual relationship.
  • CocoRosie's song Child Bride.

    Mythology and Religion 
  • The third wife taken by the Prophet Mohammed is said to have been under ten years old. Hadith sources indicate Ayisha was six or seven at betrothal, and nine on her wedding day. Retrospective accusations of pedophilia set aside, it is known they remained married for forty-four years.
  • In Judaism and Christianity, The Bible tells us that when King David was well into his eighties, the "young girl" Abishag was sent to warm his bed at night. In context, she may not have been that much older than Ayisha.
  • And when she was betrothed to Joseph, an older carpenter, Mary, the mother of Jesus, is likely to have been a teenager. How old Joseph was at the time is a matter of debate (those who believe both that the Virgin Mary never lost her virginity and that the mentioned brothers of Jesus were literally his (half) brothers tend to in turn believe that Joseph was a widower old enough to have adult children).

  • Master Basso from the Twilight Histories episode “Mask of the Plague Doctor” is quite a bit older than his wife Beatrice. It’s mentioned that her parents are younger than he is.

  • In Fiddler on the Roof, Tzeitel is placed in an arranged marriage to Lazar Wolf, who's actually older than her own father. She mocks this in the song "Matchmaker, Matchmaker," which implies this arrangement is common from the matchmaker of the village.
  • Like in the movie, Beetlejuice attempts to marry Lydia. Unlike in the movie, it has an entire musical number about this trope, "Creepy Old Guy", where Lydia, Charles, Delia and the Maitlands address how messed up the practice of marrying off young girls to much older men is.
  • The main plot point in Spanish Enlightenment play The Maiden's Consent (El sí de las niñas), with 16-year-old Paquita being engaged on her mother's orders to 59-year-old Don Diego. However, it's averted in the end as Don Diego comes to realize that a marriage without love is pointless and calls off the engagement.

  • Little Apple Dolls: Animula was betrothed to a warlord prior to her birth, who pillaged her parents village and threatened to take her mother. He came back for her when she turned seven.

    Video Games 
  • Mitsuru Kirijou's Social Link in Persona 3 involves the board of directors arranging for her to marry a much older man (she's about to graduate from high school, he's at least in his thirties) to stabilize the Kirijo Group after her father's death.
  • In Suikoden the vampire Neclord makes a habit of abducting young women to make them his bride. After building his castle near the Warriors Village, he visits said location and demands a new bride every year.
  • The backstory of Captain Lorimette, in Queen at Arms, is only learned if Marcus really befriends her. She eventually reveals that when she was 14, she was married off to a lord who was old enough to be her grandfather—and widowed two years later. She does note that he said he married her for more than just her considerable beauty, but he never elaborated on what he meant.
  • All marriages in Crusader Kings are arranged, either for political reasons or because the player is trying to breed better stats and traits into children. The game also encourages marrying younger women if you want children, as female characters' fertility starts to drop off at about age 35, with women becoming completely infertile at 45. So this happens a lot.
  • The Last of Us Part II: One reason for Lev abandoning the Seraphites was that, at the age of 13, he was assigned to be the wife of one of the religion's elders. This fate was particularly bad for Lev who is a trans boy being forced into a feminine role (the other main reason for him abandoning the Seraphites).
  • Yes, Your Grace: One of the marriage options for twelve-year-old Asalia is the elderly King Varid. The game treats the marriage as the worst ending possible for Asalia.

    Visual Novels 
  • In Tsukihime Akiha Tohno was engaged to one of her cousins, a perverted older man named Tonami Kugamine, but once her father died and Akiha took over she immediately evicted him from the mansion.
  • Subverted by Doctor Irie (late twenties/early thirties) from Higurashi: When They Cry; he expresses his wish to marry Satoko (between nine and thirteen years old), but quickly follows up by saying he'd wait until she's of age. It's also heavily implied that his wish to marry her is a joke.

    Web Original 
  • The now-defunct website purported to sell teenage girls (some as young as 13 years old) as brides to prospective husbands, provided a suitable proposal was submitted and the requested bride-price paid. "Customers" could click on a girl's picture and profile, and submit a proposal. It was presented as a way for parents to earn money, and for fundamentalists to marry their daughters off the way girls were married off in Bible Times, as many fundamentalist Christians in the US take a dim view of dating, preferring Arranged Marriages or a short parentally-supervised "courtship" instead, on the grounds that dating could lead to premarital sex, a big no-no to these religious groups. Eventually, the website was revealed to be all a hoax, intended to point out inconsistencies in US marriage laws regarding age of consent and such.

    Western Animation 
  • Though it was implied and inverted in The Chipmunk Adventure by a younger preschool Arabian prince who wants to marry the Chippettes, the girls escape before it ever happens.
  • The Danny Phantom episode "Beauty Marked" has a ghost prince named Aragon who is over a thousand years old as the antagonist, and his plan involves having a beauty pageant held in Amity Park as a front for selecting a human female to be his bride. The unlucky bride-to-be turns out to be Danny's friend Sam, who is in her early teens. Fortunately, Danny, Tucker, Sam and Aragon's sister Dorothea defeat Aragon before he can succeed.