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House Nymeros Martell of Sunspear, formerly known as - and commonly referred to as today - House Martell, is the ruling house of Dorne. Their stronghold is the castle of Sunspear. Their sigil is a red sun pierced by a golden spear on orange. Their words are "Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken". When Nymeria, a warrior queen of the Rhoyne landed in Dorne with her armada of ten thousand ships, she wed Lord Mors Martell of Sunspear. Together, they vanquished all of Mors' Dornish rivals establishing the primacy of House Martell. The Rhoynar influence is the reason Dornish rulers style themselves as princes rather than kings, and why Dorne continues to practice absolute primogeniture, with the eldest child inheriting regardless of gender.

House Martell[]

House Martell is the ruling house of the kingdom of Dorne. Their seat is at Sunspear. Their sigil is a gold spear piercing a red sun, and their words are "Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken."

House Martell was one of the ruling Houses of Dorne, originally a coalition of states and petty kingdoms. Lord Mors Martell married the legendary warrior queen of the Rhoyne, Nymeria. The two united all of Dorne under their rule and House Martell has reigned for the last thousand years. The House follows several Rhoynar customs, using equal primogeniture to determine inheritance and styling their rulers as 'Prince' rather than 'King.'

Dorne ultimately submitted to Targaryen rule through marriage between the two houses. Since then, the Martells have ruled Dorne in the name of the King on the Iron Throne, while keeping the title Prince of Dorne.

Doran Martell[]

The Prince of Dorne and Lord of Sunspear, Doran Martell is in his fifties and badly afflicted with gout, barely able to walk and is usually confined to a wheeled chair. He spends a great deal of time at the Water Gardens, the summer home of the Martells, watching children play. He avoids the commoners and only sees his trusted courtiers and advisors to hide his weakness from his enemies. Unlike most of his kin, Prince Doran is a cautious, pensive man who does not wear his emotions on his sleeve. For this, he is considered by the other great Lords of Westeros to be very dangerous, and by his own kin to be weak.

Doran originally refused to swear allegiance to King Joffrey Baratheon and considered supporting Renly Baratheon. However, Tyrion Lannister was able to gain his allegiance by sending him Myrcella Baratheon and betrothing her to his son Trystane, offering justice for his murdered sister Elia, and giving him a seat on the King's Small Council. Doran sent his brother Oberyn to claim both the seat and justice. When Oberyn died in King's Landing, Doran refused all suggestion of going to war for vengeance, returning to Sunspear to show his people that he still held power. Oberyn's warlike daughters "the Sand Snakes" were imprisoned to maintain the peace. Doran revealed that he had been planning the downfall of Lord Tywin Lannister since his sister Elia's death and he intends to ally with House Targaryen.

Doran Martell is played by Alexander Siddig in the HBO adaptation of the books.

Arianne Martell[]

The eldest child of Doran and Mellario, Arianne is the heiress to Sunspear and the rule of Dorne through Rhoynar law. She is beautiful, with olive skin, large dark eyes, and hair that is a spill of glossy black ringlets. Despite her beauty and high station, Arianne is still unmarried at the age of 23. She is calculating, adventurous and fierce. She is also close with her cousins, the Sand Snakes.

Arianne appears as a POV character in A Feast For Crows. She has long been dissatisfied with her father and his style of rule, thinking him weak and vacillating. As heiress to Sunspear, she was permitted to hold the titular governance of Dorne when her father was absent at the Water Gardens. Doran's apparently humble marriage plans for her brought Arianne to the conclusion that her father intended to pass over her in his succession.

Arianne schemed to crown Myrcella Baratheon following Joffrey Baratheon's death, knowing that would precipitate a war. The plan was foiled, and Myrcella badly scarred. She confronted her father with her belief that he intended to deny her inheritance, but he revealed that he had planned in secret for her to wed Viserys Targaryen, the legal Targaryen heir, as part of his overarching scheme to wreak vengeance on House Lannister.

Oberyn Martell[]

Oberyn is Doran's hot-headed younger brother. He has been called "the Red Viper" because of rumors that he poisons his weapons. He is a forceful, lusty man with a quick wit and barbed tongue. Oberyn has traveled the world, founded his own mercenary company, and even studied at the Citadel. He has eight bastard daughters, called the Sand Snakes, four of them with his current paramour Ellaria Sand. He was extremely close to his sister Elia growing up and attempted to pledge Dorne for Viserys after her murder by Lannister forces during the sack of Kings Landing and has desired revenge ever since.

Oberyn went to King's Landing to take his brother's seat on the Small Council, and to obtain justice for his sister's murder as promised by Tyrion Lannister. When Tyrion was accused of Joffrey's murder, Oberyn volunteered to champion him in his trial by combat, knowing that his opponent would be his sister's killer, Gregor Clegane. Oberyn prolonged Gregor's death, trying to wring a murder confession from him, but Clegane managed to kill him. Oberyn achieved posthumous vengeance since he had coated his spear in thickened manticore venom leaving Ser Gregor to die slowly and in extreme agony.

Oberyn Martell is played by Pedro Pascal in the HBO adaptation of the books.

Quentyn Martell[]

Ser Quentyn Martell is the second child and oldest son of Doran Martell. He serves as the third-person narrator for four chapters in A Dance with Dragons. He is described as intelligent, serious, and dutiful. Throughout A Feast for Crows, his sister Arianne believes that he is conspiring to claim Dorne, her birthright, and knows that he is in Essos. Doran lies and constantly insists that Quentyn is still in Dorne.[1]Eventually, Doran reveals that Quentyn is going to bring home justice for Elia Martell, Aegon Targaryen, and Oberyn Martell. In A Dance with Dragons it is revealed that Quentyn is to marry Daenerys Targaryen and bring her to Dorne. He and his companions are unable to find a ship to Meereen, the city Daenerys rules. They are forced to adopt false names and join the Tattered Princes' mercenary company hired to attack the city. The Tattered Prince asks his Westerosi men, including Quentyn, to fight for Daenerys so that, regardless of the outcome, the company is on the winning side. Quentyn reveals himself to Daenerys, but she is already betrothed. He tells her of a secret pact promising marriage between Viserys Targaryen and Arianne Martell. As Viserys is dead, Quentyn offers himself as her husband. Daenerys politely refuses the offer and urges him to return home, but she also reassures him that Dorne still has hope as she may need two husbands. Not wanting to leave empty-handed, Quentyn tries to steal one of Daenerys' dragons. He is severely burned and dies three days later.

The Sand Snakes[]

Oberyn's eight bastard daughters are collectively called the Sand Snakes in reflection of their father, the Red Viper. The oldest Sand Snakes are companions and confidantes of their cousin, Arianne. Despite the variances in their birthmothers and appearances, they are all said to have their father's eyes.

After the death of their father, the oldest of the Sand Snakes, Obara, Nymeria and Tyene, began to pressure Prince Doran to declare war in retribution, and became involved in various plots to agitate the Dornish populace. Prince Doran had the oldest ones confined to tower cells in Sunspear castle, with the exception of Sarella, who was in Oldtown. The youngest four, however, were isolated in the Water Gardens with their mother, to prevent them from being used in the plots of others.

The Sand Snakes are, in order of age:

- Obara Sand; named in honour of Oberyn Martell

- Nymeria Sand; named after the warrior queen Nymeria who sailed to Dorne

- Tyene Sand

- Sarella Sand

- Elia Sand; named after Elia Martell, Oberyn's sister of whom was murdered in the sack of King's Landing

- Obella Sand

- Dorea Sand

- Loreza Sand


Doran's murdered sister, Elia, was very close to her brother Oberyn. She married Rhaegar Targaryen, the Prince of Dragonstone and heir to the Iron Throne, and bore him two children: a daughter, Rhaenys and a son, Aegon.

During Robert's Rebellion, Elia and her children were confined in the Red Keep as hostages to ensure the obedience of Dorne. When King's Landing was sacked, and the Red Keep captured, Gregor Clegane killed the infant Aegon in front of Elia, then raped and murdered her. Her daughter Rhaenys was dragged screaming from beneath her father Rhaegar's bed and stabbed to death by Amory Lorch. Lorch and Clegane, Lannister bannermen, killed the royal children on the order of Tywin Lannister.

Houses sworn to Sunspear[]

  • House Allyrion of Godsgrace
  • House Blackmont of Blackmont
  • House Dalt of Lemonwood
  • House Dayne of Starfall
  • House Drinkwater
  • House Fowler of Skyreach
  • House Gargalen of Salt Shore
  • House Jordayne of the Tor
  • House Ladybright
  • House Manwoody of Kingsgrave
  • House Qorgyle of Sandstone
  • House Santagar of Spottswood
  • House Toland of Ghost Hill
  • House Uller of Hellholt
  • House Vaith of the Red Dunes
  • House Wells
  • House Wyl of Wyl and the Boneway
  • House Yronwood of Yronwood

Martell characters in the books[]

Historical Martell characters[]

  • Lord Morgan Martell, the founder of House Martell
  • Mors Martell, first Prince of Rhoyne
    • Nymeria, his wife. Of the Rhoyne people.
      • their eldest daughter and successor.
        • Prince Mors II Martell, her son and successor.
  • Princess Meria Martell, known as the Yellow Toad of Dorne. Princess of Dorne during the War of Conquest.
    • Prince Nymor Martell, her son and heir.
      • Princess Deria Martell, his daughter and heir.
  • Prince Qoren Martell. Prince of Dorne during the Dance of Dragons.
    • Princess Aliandra Martell, his daughter and successor. Princess of Dorne during the reign of Aegon III Targaryen.
  • Prince Maron Martell
  • Prince Lewyn Martell, uncle of Doran Martell. Knight of the Kingsguard under King Aerys II Targaryen.