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.
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"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 the first civil war, 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. Their sigil is the sun and spear.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.
Tropes in general:
- 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.
- Heir Club for Men: One of the only, if not the only house (and region) in Westeros to avert this. Dorne practices absolute cognatic primogeniture as opposed to everyone else's male-preference primogeniture.
- Pride: Not as much as the Lannisters and Targaryens, but Dorne in general is certainly very proud of the way it is culturally distinct from the rest of Westeros; owing to the fact that they were the only region who was never conquered by Aegon I.
- The Savage South: By reputation, like the Starks. Everyone else in Westeros seems to consider the Dornish uncouth and uncultured.
- Sitcom Archnemesis: To House Tyrell, an enmity dating back centuries when there were plenty of wars between Dorne and the Reach. Oberyn Martell and Willas Tyrell's Odd Friendship is an exception.
- The Starscream: House Yronwood was this in the past to the Martells, but Doran Martell was able to resolve the feud between the two houses by fostering Quentyn at their castle. Now the Yronwoods are among Doran's most trusted servants.
- Stay in the Kitchen: Like Heir Club for Men above, it is notable because it is the only Great House to avert this in the setting.
- Team Switzerland: Tries to play this in the War of the Five Kings, but grudgingly ally with the Lannisters after they betroth Trystane to Myrcella.
"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.
- Foil: To his brother Oberyn. Exploited Trope.
My brother loved the fight for its own sake, but I only play such games as I can win.
- 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.
- Hidden Depths
- 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.
- 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.
As Prince Doran's eldest offspring, Arriane 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
"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.
- Action Dad
- Anything That Moves: "Oberyn Martell? He has bastards all over Dorne, and beds with boys as well."
- Also apparently applicable his mistress, as Oberyn casually mentions that they've been looking for a blond woman for a threesome. In the context of screwing the queen. As spoken to her brother. And then proceeds to insult the queen. Very accurately, in fact.
- Badass Bookworm: Spent time at the Citadel and forged six links of a maester's chain.
- Bi the Way: The most flagrant example of Dorne's more liberated view of homosexuality. His paramour Ellaria Sand is the same way. To him, it's not a big deal. To non-Dornish, he's a Depraved Bisexual.
- Blade on a Stick: He fights with a poisoned spear at times. Also, when he does an Ogami Itto imitation, he asks a young bastard daughter to choose between him and the girl's mother (a prostitute) by pointing to her choices: a spear, or the girl's crying mother. When she chooses the spear, he says: "I told you she was my daughter".
- Brains and Brawn: The Brawn to Doran's Brains. 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.
- The Casanova
- Combat Pragmatist: He poisons his weapons and has no qualms against fighting dirty. Unfortunately, he forgets to be pragmatic when it really counts.
- Curb-Stomp Battle: Came very close to pulling one off. And on Gregor Clegane, no less.
- Depraved Bisexual: Most of the other nobles of Westeros view him this way, as a combination of his crippling of the heir to Highgarden, his frequent use of poisons in battle and, well, just see Anything That Moves and Bi the Way. He's just quite loose for the general setting, and he seems to prefer his women the same way. Also because his long-term paramour—basically his wife, except they're not married—is a bastard daughter, which makes her a completely unfit consort in the eyes of the rest of Westeros for even a lowly Knight, let alone the younger brother of one of the great lords.
- Fragile Speedster: Falls just short of being a Lightning Bruiser; Oberyn's fast enough to maneuver around The Mountain until the knight tires out and leaves himself open to be severely wounded, but he's killed the moment he decides to take his time.
- Foil: To his brother Doran. Exploited Trope.
- Genius Bruiser: Oberyn is a noted warrior as well as a former student of the Citadel.
- Good Parents: One of his better qualities was that he was a good father to his illegitimate daughters (the Sand Snakes). He took responsibility for them, raised them to take care of themselves, and allowed them freedom that most girls in Westeros can't even dream of. His mistress Ellaria Sand is also a good mother.
- Heel Face Turn: At first, Oberyn is an arrogant Jerkass who makes fun of Tyrion. However, he makes a turn for the better when he decides to champion Tyrion in the trial by combat.
- Hot Dad
- Jerkass: He poisons his weapons. Also, his behavior to Tyrion was very haughty and bullying at first. Not to mention the above interaction with Obara's mother.
- Kick the Son of a Bitch: Normally, the type of slow, horrifying death he inflicts via manticore poison would be either a Kick the Dog or Moral Event Horizon, but when the person you do this to is Gregor Clegane, who in universe is known for killing Oberyn's niece and nephew and raping his sister before he killed her it's this instead.
- Master Poisoner
- My Girl Is a Slut: Oberyn loves this trope.
- My Name Is Inigo Montoya: Sadly, it was the worst, and last decision of his life.
- Odd Friendship: With Willas Tyrell, apparently.
- Pet the Dog: Does this on a few occasions, most notably by championing Tyrion, voicing regret for accidentally injuring Willas Tyrell in a jousting match (and revealing that the two are friendly and regularly correspond despite the hatred between Houses Martell and Tyrell) and expressing a sense of guilt over turning Elia against one of her other suitors, because this led her to marry Rhaegar instead, and we all know how that turned out...
- Poisoned Weapons: He frequently employs them, as Gregor Clegane discovers.
- Really Gets Around: He's never been married, so he has no trueborn children, just eight baseborn daughters by five different women, known collectively as The Sand Snakes. However, it's implied by other characters that he loves them as much as any father would. He does have a "paramour," Ellaria Sand, but as far as can be known she never stopped him from having sex with other people.
- Red Baron: Known as "the Red Viper."
- Revenge: For Elia's death.
- Revenge Before Reason: To the point where it gets him killed.
- Three-Way Sex: His paramour Ellaria Sand and he are very open to experimentation, and Oberyn specifically notes the urge to share a beautiful blonde. However when Cersei is suggested to him he flatly turns her down, saying he'd prefer to share a bed with a hundred scorpions.
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 (who he also killed) on his hands. He then smashed her head open and killed her.
- Cynicism Catalyst: Her dead 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.
- 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
- Proper Lady
- Woman Scorned: The readers never actually see her reaction to Rhaegar crowning Lyanna the Queen of Love and Beauty at the Tourney of Harrenhal, but it's probably safe to say that she wasn't happy about it.
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.
- 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.
- Killed Off for Real: Charbroiled by Rhaegal. He dies three days later from his horrific injuries.
- Man on Fire: He doesn't live to tell the tale.
- 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.
- Sheltered Aristocrat: Of the "naive and well-meaning" variety.
- Wrong Genre Savvy: Not only does Quentyn think he's in a Heroic tale of good and evil, he thinks that he's the main character. Rhaegal disabuses him of the notion by charbroiling him.
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
- 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
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.
Oberyn's paramour, 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).
- Hot Mom
- Mama Bear: Towards her four young daughters.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 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.
- Aloof Dark Haired Girl: Nymeria.
- Amazon Brigade: The oldest Sand Snakes.
- Badass Adorable: Tyene, with her innocent appearance and manners. Also, Dorea Sand, an eight-year-old girl who carries around a morningstar.
- Big Gal: Obara
- Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Tyene Sand, by reputation.
- Braids of Action: Nymeria. Also Elia Sand, Oberyn and Ellaria's fourteen-year-old daughter, who wears her hair in a braid and is a jouster-in-training.
- Cute and Psycho: Tyene 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.
- 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.
- Dead Guy Junior: The eldest of Oberyn's daughters with Ellaria is named Elia.
- Disproportionate Retribution: In order to get revenge for her father, Obara wants to attack and burn Oldtown, the second-largest city in Westeros, which had absolutely nothing to do with Oberyn's death.
- Femme Fatale: Nymeria most of all.
- The Ghost: Sarella, Oberyn's daughter by a trader from the Summer Isles, 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.
- Innocent Blue Eyes / Hair of Gold, Heart of Gold: Tyene is blue-eyed and blonde, and uses these to further her sweet and pious reputation.
- Knife Nut: Nymeria is mentioned to always have a dozen daggers on her person.
- Lady of War: Nymeria. Tyene could also count, due to her demeanor, though she prefers poisons and plots to direct combat in warfare.
- Lipstick Lesbian / Bi the Way: Nymeria was found to be abed with the Fowler twins, which isn't too much of a hint...until one checks the appendices and discovers that the Fowler twins are both female.
- Little Miss Badass: Elia Sand is reputedly very good with a lance (so much that her nickname is "Lady Lance") and tries to pick fights with older men. She's fourteen. Meanwhile, eight-year-old Dorea Sand is already wielding a morningstar, using it to knock blood oranges off trees at the Water Gardens.
- Master Poisoner: Tyene's 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.
- 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".
- Poisoned Weapons: A specialty of Tyene Sand, like her father before her.
- 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.
- Preacher's Kid: Tyene Sand, the one notorious for poisoning people, is a septa's daughter. This is the reason for why Doran sends her to spy on the new High Septon.
- Sibling Team: Obara, Nymeria, and Tyene.
- Tomboy and Girly Girl: Obara and Sarella (Tomboys) and Nymeria and Tyene (Girly Girls).
- Whip It Good: Obara fights with a whip and a spear.