Characters: A Song Of Ice And Fire House Martell
This is a listing of member of House Martell that appear in the Fantasy series A Song of Ice and Fire. Visit here for the main character index.
"Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken
- Martell House Words
The ruling house of the desert land Dorne. They are mixed with the Rhoynar race, which invaded Dorne under the command of the Warrior-Queen Nymeria. They were the only kingdom of the seven to resist conquest by the Targaryens, instead joining the realm via dynastic marriage; in the meanwhile, there were a number of wars between Dorne and the Reach, and the distrust between House Martell and House Tyrell lasts to this day. They now hold a bitter grudge against House Lannister because, during Robert's Rebellion, one of Tywin Lannister's knights raped and murdered their princess, Elia Martell, for the crime of being Rhaegar's wife, and killed her two children (and for protecting her killer). They had taken a mostly isolationist approach to the War of the Five Kings, but eventually get involved (albeit for the moment still indirectly) after the events following Joffrey's infamous wedding. Their sigil is the sun and spear.
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Tropes related to House Martell
- Alliterative Name: Manfrey Martell, the current castellan of Sunspear.
- Animal Motifs: Snakes. Despite not being their sigil. Oberyn is called "the Red Viper", his bastard daughters are dubbed "Sand Snakes", while Arianne wears snake-shaped bracelets
- Best Served Cold: House Martell has been planning to unseat House Lannister for its complicity in the death of Princess Elia and her children by allying with the surviving Targaryens: first by attempting to marry Arianne to Viserys, then Quentyn to Daenerys, and finally, with Golden Company and the presumably dead Aegon VI.
- Blade on a Stick / The Power of the Sun: Their sigil is a sun with a spear through it; allegedly these are the Dornishman's two favorite weapons.
- Bread, Eggs, Breaded Eggs: The Martells sigil is the sun and a spear. Their capitol city is Sunspear.
- Color Motif: Gold representing pride, Orange the Dornish sand and Red the Martell temperament.
- Femme Fatale: Quite a few.
- Feuding Families / Sitcom Archnemesis: To House Tyrell, an enmity dating back centuries when there were plenty of wars between Dorne and the Reach, to the point that having both Martells and Tyrells in the Red Keep presents problems to whoever deals with their lodgings. Oberyn Martell and Willas Tyrell's Odd Friendship is an exception.
- Targaryens are Valyrian. Martells are Rhoynar: both have forms of Culture Clash with much of the rest of Westeros, if in somewhat differing ways, thanks to the historical Valyrian persecution of the Rhoynar in Essos that drove them to Westeros in the first place. Westeros has changed both (arguably the Targaryens more than the Martells), while they've also kept their distinct flavours. However, they still share more in common with each other than they do with much of the continent.
- Martells rule a hedonistic kingdom in the desert. Starks rule what is seen as a domain of frozen waste. Doran, Oberyn & Elia's relationship mirror that of Eddard, Brandon & Lyanna.
- Even more so then that; whereas the Starks lineage is infamous as The Kings That Knelt, the Martells are proud to be the only unconquered kingdom of Westeros. And while the Starks are the in-universe poster family for Honor Before Reason, the Martells are marked by their pragmatic and sneaky approach to life. And yet in spite of these differences, both families have a major hate-on for the Lannisters, even though they were on opposite sides of Robert's Rebellion.
- Hot-Blooded: Even by Dornish standards. Ironically averted by their current lord, Prince Doran.
- Revenge Before Reason: Something Prince Doran is trying desperately to subvert, which many family members see as weakness.
- Revenge Myopia: It's pointed out that those people who killed Oberyn & Elia are now dead, yet Prince Doran and the Sand Snakes still plot the destruction of House Lannister.
- Sibling Yin-Yang: Oberyn and Doran.
- Brains and Brawn: Oberyn is the Brawn to Doran's Brain. Doran says that Oberyn is a snake, and Doran is the grass that hides the snake until the right time to strike. It's also implied by Doran that both Oberyn's over-aggressiveness, and Doran's over-passivity, are intended to obfuscate the level to which the two actually work together as a coordinated team to advance the interests of Dorne.
- Noble Male, Roguish Male
- Red Oni, Blue Oni: Oberyn is red while Doran is the blue.
- Rebel Prince and Wise Prince
- Team Switzerland: Tries to play this in the War of the Five Kings, but grudgingly ally with the Lannisters after they betrothed Trystane to Myrcella.
- This Is Unforgivable: Relations between House Lannister and House Martell and Dorne have been infamously strained since the rape and murder of Princess Elia Martell during Tywin Lannister's sack of King's Landing, as well as the murders of her children. Oberyn's Mutual Kill against Gregor Clegane probably did not help matters either.
Prince Doran Martell
Prince Doran Nymeros Martell
"Vengeance. Justice. Fire and Blood."
Older brother of Oberyn and Elia and ruling Prince of Dorne. Doran is afflicted by severe gout and is confined to a wheelchair, unable to walk. He has a reputation for being extremely patient and cautious. During A Feast for Crows, Doran reveals to Arianne that he's been secretly plotting to destroy the Lannisters and place the Targaryens on the throne.
- Amicably Divorced: He and his wife are separated because of his treatment of his son Quentyn, but it's indicated that he still cares for her.
- Batman Gambit
- Best Served Cold
- The Chessmaster: He's been patiently moving his pieces into place for seventeen years.
- Cynicism Catalyst: Though calmer about it, he is as heartbroken and enraged over his sister's death as Oberyn. Now that Oberyn, his little brother, is dead too, Doran probably isn't doing well internally. Who knows how he will take it when he finds out what happened to Quentyn?
- Friend to All Children: He doesn't really interact with them, but his favorite pastime is watching children playing in the pools in the gardens.
- Genius Cripple: He's described as wheelchair-bound due to extreme gout. And yet, he's more dangerous than any other great lords who are on their feet. Even Tywin speaks of him with respect.
- Hidden Depths: He appears to be the Non-Action Guy while he's actually plotting to restore the Targaryens to power and get revenge on Tywin Lannister. Due to his infirmity he acts through his family, particularly Oberyn.
- No Respect Guy: The Sand Snakes and eventually his daughter Arianne, repeatedly mock him for being patient and lenient, despite him being their liege lord. At one point one of them derides his willingness to forgive and forget, which he points out is the only thing keeping them out of prison.
- Papa Wolf
- The Patriarch
- Revenge: His motivation.
"I have worked at the downfall of Tywin Lannister since the day they told me of Elia and her children. It was my hope to strip him of all that he held most dear before I killed him, but it would seem his dwarf son has robbed me of that pleasure. I take some small solace in knowing that he died a cruel death at the hands of the monster that he himself begot."
- Smart People Play Cyvasse: Averted. While he does own a set of his own, he doesn't play, stating that he plays only the games he can win.
- Xanatos Speed Chess: While he doesn't move his pieces as fast as others, he's shown he can be flexible and adapt to the circumstances. Inadvertently, however, half his plans rely on people that seem to be intent on tempting their fate.
Princess Arianne Martell*
Princess Arianne Martell
As Prince Doran's eldest offspring, Princess Arianne is the heir to House Martell and all of Dorne. She's also unmarried at the age of 23. She believes her crippled father Doran means to pass her over in favor of her younger brother Quentyn, and so plots to secure her own rights. She seduces the Kingsguard knight Arys Oakheart, with a scheme to crown Myrcella and kickstart a war. She fails and he is killed. She is imprisoned in a high tower by her father, who reveals that he has been planning a Batman Gambit to return the Targaryens to power
- All Girls Want Bad Boys: She admits to herself she was really attracted to Gerold Dayne because he was dangerous
- Arranged Marriage: An engagement was arranged between her and Viserys Targaryen by Prince Doran and Ser Willem Darry years before the series. Viserys's "crowning" put an end to it.
- Childhood Friends: With Tyene Sand, Andrey Dalt, Sylva Santagar, and Garin, which is why she recruits them - save for Tyene, who is imprisoned at the time - for her plot to crown Myrcella.
- Christmas Cake: Averted. Though 23 and unmarried (which is almost unheard of in Westerosi culture), she is still sought after by men for both her beauty and her standing as heir to Sunspear. Her father intentionally kept her unmarried so that she could marry Viserys.
- Daddy's Girl: Although not in keeping with recent events.
- Diamonds in the Buff: Appears for her secret tryst with Arys Oakheart wearing only a snake bracelet around her forearm.
- Everything's Better with Princesses
- Femme Fatale: To the point of Crippling Overspecialization at times. Because, y'know, seduction and murder isn't really a universal solution
- Girl in the Tower: Her father punished her for her failed scheme to place Myrcella on the throne by imprisoning her in a tower where all of the servants were ordered not to speak with her. Her father eventually let her out though.
- Ladykiller in Love: Or at least Femme Fatale In Love.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Myrcella wouldn't have lost her ear had it not been for Arianne's rash plan. Her father admits it was also partly his fault though, as he did not know Darkstar's intentions.
- Politically-Active Princess: Not that her actions in AFFC actually do much good.
- Really Gets Around
- Rebellious Princess: To an extent.
- She's All Grown Up: In a preview chapter of The Winds of Winter we learn she went through a very awkward phase as a teenager.
- Silk Hiding Steel
- Smug Snake: She'd like to think she's The Chessmaster, but the fact that her plan to crown Myrcella falls flat on it's face moves her into this territory. Her confinement to the top of a tower for several weeks with the servants forbidden to speak with her, along with her father revealing his true plans to her leads her to look back on her behavior and acknowledge that she was this.
- Spanner in the Works: Minor one to Doran's plans. Myrcella losing an ear and with a huge facial scar surely was not part of it.
- The Unfavorite: She feels herself to be this, thinking her father would rather make her younger brother Prince of Dorne because he is a male. She even suspects her father has been trying to have her married to lower lords and make Quentyn his heir. She was horribly wrong. The only reason her father was going to make Quentyn Prince of Dorne was because his plans for her were that she became queen marrying Viserys Targaryen.
Prince Quentyn Martell*
Prince Quentyn Martell
Prince Doran's second child. In A Feast for Crows,
Arianne discovers that he has been assigned a mission: he has been sent to woo Daenerys and bring her back to Westeros with her three dragons
. He narrates in A Dance with Dragons
, so be aware that everything in spoiler markings here is from that book.
- A Man Is Not a Virgin: Averted, which is a problem when All Girls Want Bad Boys. He's shy around girls and has only kissed a girl once, despite his friends pointing out that Daenerys would actually prefer a man with experience.
- Arranged Marriage: The same one Arianne was stuck in. Because Viserys is dead, he's sent in his sister's stead.
- Butt Monkey: He doesn't even know how to talk to girls, but is sent across the sea on a mission that could determine the fate of Westeros, to woo "the most beautiful woman in the world". He arrives just in time to watch her marry someone else. Things get worse for him from there. It doesn't help that he is constantly described as being less attractive than his best friend and feels way out of his depth on such a mission.
- Character Death: Charbroiled by Rhaegal. He dies three days later from his horrific injuries.
- Cruel and Unusual Death: He dies due to extremely severe burns after being toasted by Rhaegal. It is even remarked that his eyes boiled and became a pool of pus and his flesh melted off and part of his skull was exposed.
- Determinator: He will do anything to win Daenerys's hand. He gets himself killed in the process.
- Did Not Get the Girl: Daenerys is already betrothed to someone else by the time he arrives, and then he dies horribly.
- The Dutiful Son
- The Everyman: Out of his depth, under-confident, not especially attractive, and even a bit nerdy.
- Man on Fire: He doesn't live to tell the tale.
- Shadow Archetype: To Daenerys' other potential suitor Victarion Greyjoy.
- Sheltered Aristocrat: Of the "na´ve and well-meaning" variety.
- Shoot the Shaggy Dog: The Martell plot gets an awesome reveal at the end of A Feast for Crows, and Quentyn travels across the known world to reach his queen, losing close friends in the process, gets a foreshadowing scene with Dany where she mentions that even though she is married to Hizdahr zo Loraq, "the dragon has three heads"... and then he gets himself burned to a crisp when he attempts to take Rhaegal and Viserion from their pit.
- Spanner in the Works: To his own father's plans.
- Wrong Genre Savvy: Not only does Quentyn think he's in a heroic tale of good and evil, he thinks that he's The Hero, when his status as The Everyman reduces him to The Chick and even The Load. It takes Rhaegal charbroiling some sense into him to disabuse him of the notion, but it also gets him killed.
Prince Trystane Martell
Prince Trystane Martell
Prince Doran's second son and youngest child. He is the younger brother of Arianne and Quentyn.
- Arranged Marriage: He is betrothed to Princess Myrcella Baratheon, Queen Cersei's daughter.
- Perfectly Arranged Marriage: Although they are both too young for the wedding to actually take place, he and Myrcella immediately became inseparable friends after her arrival in Dorne.
- Flat Character: Unlike his older siblings, he doesn't really have that much characterization (or appearances in the text).
- Graceful Loser: When playing Cyvasse with Myrcella.
- Nice Boy: According to the accounts given of him, he's a good-natured boy who doesn't mind losing games of Cyvasse (a Westeros board game) to his betrothed.
- Spoiled Sweet: Strongly implied.
Prince Oberyn Martell
Prince Oberyn Martell
The Red Viper
"You raped her. You murdered her. You killed her children."
The younger brother of Prince Doran, Oberyn comes to King's Landing to take up his brother's seat on the small council, and to obtain justice for Princess Elia's murder. He is a fierce and hot-tempered man who has founded his own mercenary company, studied at the Citadel, and fathered many bastard children (all female). When Tyrion is accused of Joffrey's murder, Oberyn volunteers to champion him in a trial by combat, knowing that he will face Gregor Clegane, the rapist and murderer of Elia.
Princess Elia Martell
Princess Elia Martell
A princess of Dorne and the sister of Doran and Oberyn. She married Prince Rhaegar Targaryen, and by him birthed Rhaenys and Aegon. Elia was murdered by Ser Gregor Clegane during the sack of King's Landing.
- Arranged Marriage: To Rhaegar.
- Perfectly Arranged Marriage: According to Barristan Selmy, Rhaegar was very fond of her. However, this didn't stop him from eventually going after Lyanna Stark.
- Although it's implied that he may have had other reasons, such as a prophecy-induced desire for a third child (that it would have killed Elia to bear, according to the Maesters), that made him chase Lyanna.
- Brainy Brunette: Cersei mentions in one of her chapters that Elia had black hair, and Barristan claims that she was known to have a sharp wit.
- Cruel and Unusual Death: She was raped by Gregor Clegane while he still had the blood and brains of her dead infant son (whom he also killed) on his hands. He then smashed her head open and killed her.
- Cynicism Catalyst: Her death is this to Oberyn and Doran. In the fourth book it's revealed Doran and Oberyn have been plotting to help overthrow the current dynasty for a long time, all in revenge for her death.
- I Let Gwen Stacy Die: For Doran, she was his Gwen, thanks to the very marriage to Rhaegar that ultimately killed her may not have taken place, except for his jokes turning her off her initial marriage prospect. Instead, it could have been Cersei Lannister in the firing line if the Rebellion had still gone ahead in some way.
- Ill Girl: Her health was always problematic, and she was bedridden for a year after Rhaenys's birth and nearly died giving birth to Aegon.
- Mama Bear: "Fought like a tigress" against Gregor Clegane to save her children. It...went badly.
- Posthumous Character: In a very Family-Unfriendly Death way, poor lass.
- Proper Lady: By all accounts, she was the picture of what you want in a Queen. Aside from her health.
Prince Lewyn Martell
Oberyn's paramour, and the bastard daughter of Lord Harmen Uller, and the mother of his four youngest bastard daughters (Sand Snakes).
- Bi the Way: While in King's Landing she and Oberyn are eager to share a beautiful blonde woman for Three-Way Sex, and Oberyn later hints to Tyrion that Ellaria possibly lusts after Cersei Lannister.
- Brainy Brunette: Down-to-earth and practical, with black hair.
- Ethical Slut
- Good Parents: Her and Oberyn are this. She loves and takes good care of her own four daughters, and seems to get along very well with the four oldest Sand Snakes (who are Oberyn's daughters from earlier love affairs).
- Mama Bear: Towards her four young daughters.
- The Mistress: Subverted, since Oberyn isn't married to anyone during the time they're together. However, it's implied that Ellaria would have remained his mistress if an Arranged Marriage with Cersei had gone through.
- The Mourning After: After Oberyn is brutally killed by Gregor Clegane. What's worse? She watched it happen.
- Nice Girl: Quite polite and charming with, as her (sort of) brother-in-law Prince Doran puts it, "a gentle heart" which he claims is more valuable than pride or valor.
- Only Sane Woman: Back in Dorne she attempts to reason with the oldest Sand Snakes, who want violent revenge for their father's death. She doesn't see the purpose in getting revenge, and brings up some excellent points for why it wouldn't benefit anyone.
- Silk Hiding Steel
- Widow Woman: Subverted in that she and Oberyn weren't married. But since Dornish culture considers the paramours of highborn men to be almost-wives, Ellaria is essentially treated as Oberyn's widow once she goes home to Dorne after his death.
The Sand Snakes
Oberyn's eight bastard children by various women, who are all female. They have yet to play much of a role in the story, other than agitating for war against the Lannisters after Oberyn's death
and being imprisoned by Doran for it.
- Action Girl: Obara Sand most notably, but the narrative implies that all of them are quite capable of defending themselves in one way or another.
- Amazon Brigade: The oldest Sand Snakes.
- Badass Adorable: Dorea Sand, an eight-year-old girl who carries around a morningstar.
- Badass Princess: Despite being bastards, Dorne holds illegitimate children in higher regard than the rest of Westeros, and they are treated almost as if they were Prince Oberyn's trueborn children.
- Cool Big Sis: Ellaria claims that her daughters Elia and Obella look up to the four eldest Sand Snakes as their idols. Ellaria's youngest daughters Dorea and Loreza look up to Elia and Obella.
- Daddy's Girls: They all love Oberyn and remain loyal to him even after his death.
- Little Miss Badass: Eight-year-old Dorea Sand is already wielding a morningstar, using it to knock blood oranges off trees at the Water Gardens.
- Moral Myopia: The eldest Snakes are very vocal about wanting to utterly destroy House Lannister, but are horrified when they hear Cersei is planning to have Trystane killed.
- Names to Run Away From Really Fast: "Sand" is the Dornish surname given to bastards, and "Snakes" is because they are the daughters of Oberyn Martell, "The Red Viper".
- Politically-Active Princess: Though they are illegitimate, Obara, Tyene, and Nymeria are a prince's daughters who take active roles in Dornish politics. Doran even selects Nymeria to take her father's vacant Dornish seat on the Seven Kingdoms' Small Council and sends her off to King's Landing.
- Sibling Team: Obara, Nymeria, and Tyene.
- Tomboy and Girly Girl: Obara and Sarella (Tomboys) and Nymeria and Tyene (Girly Girls).
The oldest Sand Snake, she is the daughter of a whore in Oldtown. She fights with a whip and spear.
- Big Gal
- Daughter of a Whore
- Disproportionate Retribution: In order to get revenge for her father's death, Obara wants to attack and burn Oldtown, the second-largest city in Westeros, which had absolutely nothing to do with Oberyn's death. It's also her birthplace and she hates it.
- Jerkass: She's the most brash of the Sand Snakes and she very casually talks about how her mother drank herself to death a year after Obara willingly left her to go live in Dorne with Oberyn.
- War Hawk: Demands that Doran declare war on the Lannisters and their supports after Oberyn's death, and along with her sisters she tries to stir up discontent in Sunspear to force the issue. She ends up being imprisoned briefly because of this.
- Whip It Good: Extremely skilled with a whip.
Daughter of a noblewoman from Old Volantis. She specializes in using knives as her Weapon of Choice
Daughter of a Septa and the closest of the Sand Snakes to Princess Arianne Martell. She specializes in poisons, which she learned from her father.
- Badass Adorable: Her innocent appearance and manners cover up a deadly killer.
- Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: By reputation.
- Childhood Friends: With Arianne, Andrey Dalt, Sylva Santagar, and Garin.
- Cute and Psycho: She shows shades of this, particularly when she asks if Gregor Clegane suffered as he died in a tone any other woman would use to ask if her dress was pretty.
- Femme Fatale
- Innocent Blue Eyes/ Hair of Gold, Heart of Gold: She isn't really, but she invokes these tropes, using her wide blue eyes and blonde hair to appear sweet, innocent, and pious.
- Lady of War: She might count, due to her demeanor, though she prefers poisons and plots to direct combat in warfare.
- Master Poisoner: Her reputation as one is so well known that when Doran puts his hand on her head for a blessing, a Maester immediately checks for puncture marks afterwards.
- Poisoned Weapons: Her specialty, like her father before her.
- Preacher's Kid: She is a septa's daughter. This is the reason for why Doran sends her to spy on the new High Septon.
- War Hawk: Like Obara, she wants war with the Lannisters, but prefers starting a defensive one rather than an offensive one by crowning Myrcella Queen, forcing the Lannisters to try invading Dorne. She ends up being imprisoned briefly because of this.
Daughter of a trader from the Summer Isles. She has a reputation for being very curious.
- The Ghost: She has yet to appear, although she has been referred to as "playing a game" in Oldtown. Interestingly, there is an effeminate, Dornish student of the Citadel in Oldtown named Alleras, which is Sarella backwards, he has a widow's peak like Oberyn, and his father was from Dorne and his mother was from the Summer Isles. Guess what the fandom's assuming.
- Mixed Ancestry
Oberyn and Ellaria's fourteen-year-old daughter, and a jouster-in-training.
- Braids of Action
- Dead Guy Junior: Named after her aunt.
- In-Series Nickname: "Lady Lance", which Arianna suspects Oberyn gave her.
- Little Miss Badass: She is reputedly very good with a lance (so much that her nickname is "Lady Lance") and tries to pick fights with older men.
- Tag Along Kid: Gets sent with Arianna on a diplomatic mission to determine if Jon Connington has really returned to Westeros with Aegon VI.
A legendary warrior queen who managed to unite the Rhoynar people and lead them to escape the expansion of Old Valyria, fleeing across the Narrow Sea in allegedly ten thousand ships. Upon landing, she then married Mors Martell and with his support conquered the rest of Dorne.
King/Prince Mors Martell
King Mors Martell
A petty king in the region of Dorne. He married Queen Nymeria as part of the deal for his aid in conquering Dorne.
Princess Mariya Martell
Princess Mariya Martell
Princess of Dorne during the War of Conquest, old, blind and nearly bald. She offered to aid Aegon against Argilac the Arrogant but she would not bend the knee. She managed to keep the Targaryens from invading Dorne by having the men launch guerrilla attacks on the invading army instead of facing them directly.
Prince Maron Martell
Prince Maron Martell
Prince of Dorne during the reign of Aegon IV and Daeron II. He married Princess Daenerys Targaryen as part of the marriage deal that brought Dorne under the rule of the Iron Throne. He also had the Water Gardens built as a gift to his wife.
Queen Myriah Martell
Prince Myriah Martell
The sister of Prince Maron. She married King Daeron II as part of the deal that brought Dorne under the rule of the Iron Throne.
"Protect. Serve. Obey. Simple vows for a simple man."
Doran's bodyguard and confidante, Hotah has served House Martell since his boyhood. A quiet, serious older man, he loves Doran and his children very much. An absolutely devastating fighter, he always keeps his axe sharp.
Garin of the Orphans
Garin of the Orphans
A milk-brother of Arianne and one of her closest friends.