The Ironborn are a group of Gothic Germans that have made their home in the Iron Islands of Westros.
In Ironborn culture a rock wife is an ironman's true spouse. A rock wife must be ironborn in her ethnicity, and an ironman is allowed only one ironborn rock wife. However he may keep several salt wives, non-ironborn women who have been captured on raids.
In Ironborn culture a salt wife is a concubine of sorts in the same way as many Germanic cultures. They are composed of the women kidnapped by the ironmen during raids. An ironborn may keep several salt wives, but only one ironborn "rock wife". Salt wives are bound to their captors in a religious ceremony, though it is considered a lesser ceremony than that of their rock wife. Unlike more traditional paramours, salt wives have a low status in the society of the Iron Islands, on the same level of thralls. They are not, however, considered whores or slaves, and their sons can even inherit property or lands in lieu of true born heirs.
In Ironborn culture those who become orphans (and are not noble born) and no family can be found to take them within their ranks will become a member of the Thrall Class of the Ironborn and given to a noble house as a Thrall.
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