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This is a listing of members of House Martell who appear in A Song of Ice and Fire.

For the main character index, see here

For the main Dornish entry, see here

House Martell of Sunspear

"Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken"
Martell House Words

House Nymeros Martellnote  is the ruling house of the desert land of Dorne. They are of Andal origin mixed with the Rhoynar race, which invaded Dorne under the command of the Warrior-Queen Nymeria; as such, they led the Rhoynish assimilation wars that dissolved the Dornish Andal petty kingdoms, leaving their rival houses as begrudging but undisputed vassals. 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 on a gold disc, which is the combination of the spear of the Martells and the sun of the Rhoynar.


The Martells rule Dorne from the castle of Sunspear, the southernmost lordly keep in the Seven Kingdoms and one of the smallest keeps currently occupied by a Great House. On its foot, expanding westward, lies the Shadow City, the closest thing the Dornish have to a city. Sunspear was fundamentally based and built around the Sandship, the original keep of the Martells, which was expanded upon with the Rhoynish influx and the marriage of Mors Martell and Nymeria of the Rhoynar. The Martells also own the Water Gardens, a small palace built in honor of the original Daenerys Targaryen, Princess of Dorne, which serves as a private retreat for the Martells.

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    Tropes related to House Martell 
  • The Alliance: Their legal family name is Nymeros Martell, to show that the Andal and Rhoynar halves of the family are in equal footing.
  • Alliterative Name: Many ancestral Martell have names beginning with M.
  • 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
  • Arch-Enemy: The Martells of the current age have a deep, bitter hatred for House Lannister, after Tywin's sacking of King's Landing left Princess Elia and her young children savagely murdered. Her brothers, Prince Doran and Prince Oberyn, have been slowly plotting to destroy the Lannisters ever since.
    • On an historical level, they were arguably the biggest thorn in the side of House Targaryen for two centuries, since theirs was the only kingdom which managed to keep its freedom from Targaryen rule until a royal marriage sealed the peace and Dorne was eventually annexed to the Seven Kingdoms.
    • There is no real love lost for Aerys the Mad in Martell eyes, either. His actions led directly to the deaths of Elia, her children... and Lewyn.
  • 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: Their sigil is a sun with a spear through it; allegedly these are the Dornishmen's two favorite weapons.
  • Bread, Eggs, Breaded Eggs: The Martells of old used a spear as their emblem, while Nymeria and her Rhoynar used the sun as theirs. Their seat of power is Sunspear.
  • The Clan: For Martells, blood is thicker than water. And, they don't rightly care if it's bastard blood. Harm one, and they all come gunning for you (even if it takes time).
  • Color Motif: Gold representing pride, orange the Dornish sand and red the Martell temperament.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: It is worth noting that the victims of some of the most notoriously horrifying deaths in the series have been Martells. Before the series even begins, we have Princess Elia, who is beaten, raped and has her head smashed in by Ser Gregor Clegane after he'd just killed her infant son before her eyes. Next, her brother Oberyn also ends up with a case of horrifically crushed skull when he attempts to avenge Elia's death by dueling Clegane years later. And Prince Doran's son Quentyn tries to capture a dragon and ends up getting bathed in flames... and lying in agony for days before finally dying.
  • Determinator: Martells never let anything get in the way of their goals. This costs them dearly most of the time.
  • Everyone Is Related: All kings from Aerys I to Robert I are descendants of the Martells because of the marriage of Daeron II to the Dornish ruling house. Joffrey I and Tommen I are so supposedly, but only in paper.
  • Feuding Families:
    • Traditionally to House Tyrell, an enmity dating back centuries when there were plenty of wars between Dorne and the Reach (before the Tyrells were its ruling House), 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.
    • They were the scourge of the Targaryens for more than one hundred and fifty years until Baelor I and Daeron II brought Dorne into the realm peacefully through marriage.
    • The Martells have held a grudge against House Lannister since Robert's Rebellion for Gregor Clegane's treatment of Elia and her children.
  • Hot-Blooded: Even by Dornish standards. Ironically averted by their current lord, Prince Doran.
  • Irony: Who would have thought that the last house to surrender to the Targaryens after two wars as a Voluntary Vassal, no less would be the one actively trying to restore them 300 years after?
  • Polyamory: The Nymeros-Martells have, since their very inception, been given towards complicated, layered relationships leaning towards the poly-persuasion. The Faith might frown on "bigamy", paramours or fluid sexual orientations, but, like most Salty Dornish, the family quite cheerfully finds loopholes, wriggle room and work-arounds when they want to. Relationships (sexual or otherwise), personal and/or group needs and marriages/divorces/whatever change over time and need not stay statically labelled or exclusive; they embrace the concept.
  • Pride: The Martells, like most Dornishmen, are very, VERY proud of their great heritage. Even more than most in Westeros. Hell, they rival even the Lannisters and Greyjoys in this regard.
  • Revenge Myopia: It's pointed out that those people who killed Oberyn and Elia are now dead, yet Prince Doran and the Sand Snakes still plot the destruction of House Lannister.
  • Sibling Yin-Yang
    • Oberyn was a promiscuous warrior while Doran is a plotter who had been with only one woman.
    • The strong willed Arianne and her more passive younger brother Quentyn.
    • Lampshaded. Doran himself points out that he would have made a bad adventurer, whereas his brother, who was a great adventurer would have made a bad ruler.
  • 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. Turns out they were never this at all, as Doran has really just been biding his time until the day when he can finally destroy House Lannister and place House Targaryen back on the throne. Those plans of his have run into a few snags though along the way, however.
  • There Can Be Only One: Subjugated the other royal families to gain absolute mastery of Dorne.
  • 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.
  • Voluntary Vassal: Martells were the only one of the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros that the Targaryens never managed to conquer. Instead, they joined the Targaryen realm via dynastic marriage and were allowed to continue their own laws, conferring to them a special standing ever since. Their family motto reflects this.

The Current Generation

    Prince Doran Martell 

Doran Nymeros Martell, Prince of Dorne
"Who fears to walk upon the grass? But it is the grass that hides the viper from his enemies and shelters him until he strikes."

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 Culture Clash, particularly sending away their son Quentyn to be fostered by Lord Yronwood, but it's indicated that he still cares for her.
  • Backup Bluff: One of the main reasons for his inaction following the death of Oberyn is the fact that both he and Oberyn himself have oversold the size of the Dornish army for years and they're not nearly as strong as they've shown not only to Westeros, but also to the Dornish themselves, Arianne, and the Sand Snakes. Considering that this is how the Dornish dealt with the Targaryens during their wars, his actions are not really that surprising.
  • Best Served Cold: Despite outward appearances, he has not forgiven or forgotten the death of his sister and her children.
    Doran: (to Arianne) You mistake patience for forbearance. 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.
    • Though it's shaping up to be a subversion. Doran's revenge plot takes so long to grow that by the time things started finally lining up, someone else already killed Tywin. And this is after Oberyn's long-awaited showdown with their sister's killer ended with a horrific Mutual Kill. Given the current state of the remaining Lannisters, it's uncertain if any of them will ever know the full scope of Doran's machinations.
  • Big Brother Instinct: When Rhaegar abducted Lyanna Stark, Doran was angry for his treatment of putting Elia in the bad light. This was the main reason why he didn't send support to the Targaryens when rebellion broke out, staying his hand until Aerys II held Elia and her children hostage in King's Landing, which finally forced Doran to send troops under his uncle Lewyn's command. After Elia died, he and Oberyn plotted revenge against the Lannisters.
  • Blue Oni, Red Oni: The calm, collected and scheming Blue to his brother Oberyn's Red.
  • Body Horror: His legs have been deformed and crippled by his gout and cause him constant pain. His knees are red and very swollen, while all his toes are purple and more than twice the size they should be. Even Areo Hotah has a hard time looking at them, and he can decapitate someone without even blinking an eye.
  • The Chessmaster: He's been patiently moving his pieces into place for seventeen years. As he points out, given the small population of Dorne, they cannot really afford a conflict that Doran isn't absolutely sure he'll win.
    • Also, something of a deconstruction of the trope. Despite his plans being well-laid in theory, they fail completely in practice because he never took into account that the pieces he's moving around (His children, Viserys, Daenerys) have plans of their own.
  • Cool Old Guy: As it turns out, he's an extremely sharp politician like Tywin Lannister, but a far better person and more open-minded, too.
  • 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'll take it when he finds out what happened to Quentyn?
  • Did Not See That Coming: Doran is a capable planner, patient and cunning. And yet falls short first with Viserys dying on him, and later his own son. His own daughter endangering Myrcella, and his brother getting himself killed don't help, either.
  • Fatal Flaw: Doran is too secretive, which causes the people he needs for his plans to be Locked Out of the Loop, and end up being Spanner in the Works for his own plans.
    Barristan Selmy: Your father keeps his secrets well, Prince Quentyn. Perhaps too well.
    • Also, Doran has a tendency to base his plans on incomplete and/ or out-of-date information. He betrothes his daughter to Viserys without any real knowledge of Viserys' character and doesn't even consider the possibility that Viserys might simply be incapable of performing the task required of him. He sends his son off to marry Daenerys and never considers that there might be practical obstacles to that plan as well.
  • Foil: Wyman Manderly. While the two live a continent away, Wyman plays a very similar role in the story as Doran Martell. Both are physical invalids who gain a reputation as appeasers while secretly plotting revenge and the restoration of the House they support. So far though, Wyman has been more successful.Partially, because he is more open about his motives and his plans are based on accurate information and grounded in reality (see Fatal Flaw). They also both have female relatives (Doran's daughter Arianne and bastard nieces the Sand Snakes, and Wyman's younger granddaughter Wylla) who more openly want revenge.
  • 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. It stems from his belief that all children, highborn and low, are innocent and worthy of protection, and thus any decision that affects the future of the realm must be made with their well-being and future in mind. It really sets him apart from Tywin Lannister, who will coldly order his soldiers to slaughter men, women, and children by the hundreds without blinking an eye.
  • Genius Cripple: He's described as wheelchair-bound due to extreme gout. And yet, he's more dangerous than many of the other great lords who are on their feet. Even Tywin speaks of him with respect.
  • He Who Fights Monsters: He absolutely hates Tywin and Gregor for the deaths of Elia and her children, but even after both are dead, Doran still wants the utter destruction of House Lannister. What did Tywin do with the Reynes and Tarbecks again?
  • 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.
  • Insult Backfire: It's remarkable how little he cares about his nieces The Sand Snakes calling him a lesser man than Oberyn. Instead of dignifying the slights with an answer, he just throws them in jail "to keep them out of trouble". They do not take the hint and they still insult him, yet it shows just how much power he actually has over them when they start doing his bidding, all while they cuss him to his face.
  • Marry for Love: He met his wife, Lady Mellario of Norvos, while travelling in the Free Cities. They both quickly fell in love and married, with her following him back to Dorne. However, she could never get used to Dornish customs, particularly fostering children away from home, and eventually returned to Norvos despite the fact that they both still cared greatly for one another.
  • The Needs of the Many: He's perhaps the only Lord of the Seven Kingdoms (including the Starks) who puts the security and well-being of his subjects over avenging a bloody vendetta, even the deaths of his own sister and brother. He keeps reminding his children that Dorne has the smallest population of the seven kingdoms and while they can defend their territory well, fighting the Crown is a different matter. As is typical of the series, Doran's price for showing compassion for his subjects and refusing to have them die for his revenge, is to be derided as a lazy and indolent Prince by his own family and subjects.
    Doran: Until the Mountain crushed my brother's skull, no Dornishmen had died in this War of the Five Kings. Tell me, Captain, is that my shame or my glory?
  • No Respect Guy: The Sand Snakes and his daughter Arianne, at first, 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.
  • Non-Action Guy: Not that he has much of a choice; Doran's age and illness keep him from seeing any action, forcing him to rely on Oberyn, Hotah, and the Sand Snakes for the family's muscle.
  • Outliving One's Offspring: Although Doran doesn't know it yet, his son Quentyn met his death in Astapor, roasted alive in an ill-fated attempt to claim one of Daenerys' dragons for his father. One can only imagine how Doran will handle losing yet another loved one that he, by all rights, should never have outlived.
  • Papa Wolf: There is nothing Doran cares more deeply about than his family. But as a Prince, he is aware that he has to use them for political purposes. His wife Mellario was appalled that he sent Quentyn as a hostage to the Yronwoods after Oberyn got into a fracas with their family:
    • This becomes doubly ironic when we find out that he had sent Quentyn Martell on a quest in A Dance With Dragons which, unbeknownst to him, went From Bad to Worse. Arianne Martell in a preview chapter for the sixth book notes him worrying about Quentyn:
    "Where are the dragons?" he asked. "Where is Daenerys?" and Arianne knew that he was really saying, "Where is my son?"
  • The Patriarch: And a very busy one, considering that the large Martell family has a lot of dissenting opinions within it.
  • Parents as People: Doran really loves his children but he's too caught up in wanting to avenge the deaths of his sister, niece, and nephew, let alone not telling his daughter and nieces about his plans. It takes Arianne's attempted crowning of Myrcella as queen to realize his weaknesses.
  • Poor Communication Kills: House Martell is rocked by a coup because Arianne discovers a letter from her father to her brother implying she will be passed over as ruling Princess of Dorne. Really, it meant if all went according to plan, she will be Queen of the Seven Kingdoms.
  • Smart People Play Chess: Averted. While he does own a set of his own, he doesn't play, stating that he plays only the games he can win.
  • Tranquil Fury: Doran may not let it show, but he's every bit the simmering cauldron of rage that Oberyn was; the elder Prince has been plotting Tywin Lannister's downfall for more than 14 years, and continues to plot revenge long after Tywin has died.
  • "Well Done, Son!" Guy: Both Arianne and Quentyn are quite desperate for his approval and acknowledgement as worthy heirs. They have it, but Doran keeps his true feelings and plans so close to his chest that Arianne takes awhile to realize it while poor Quentyn will never get the chance.
  • Wham Line
    Arianne: What is our heart's desire?
    Doran: Vengeance. Justice. Fire and Blood.
  • Worthy Opponent: Tywin Lannister speaks of Doran with clear reverence, so you know this guy's not to be taken lightly.
    Tywin: ... a cautious man, a reasoned man, subtle, deliberate, even indolent to a degree. He is a man who weighs the consequences of every word and every action.
  • Wouldn't Hurt a Child: Doran is a prince who puts the welfare of his people first, including the children, highborn and lowborn alike. Tyrion trusts him enough to send Myrcella to Sunspear, knowing that Doran will not have her harmed in revenge for Elia's death.
  • Xanatos Gambit: Subverted. He thinks that he's managing one, but in reality his plans are doomed from the start because he fails to take into account that other people make their own decisions.
  • 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.

    Oberyn Martell 

Prince Oberyn Nymeros Martell

The Red Viper
"I have hungered for a long time. Though not for food. Pray tell me, when will the justice be served?"

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.

  • 100% Adoration Rating: Judging from how everyone in Dorne mourned him so passionately, Oberyn was very loved by the Dornish. He was a huge hit among fans too.
  • Absurdly Youthful Mother: A Rare Male Example. He is slightly over forty-years-old during the third book when he dies and his eldest daughter Obara we meet shortly after is stated to be almost thirty.
  • Action Dad: Father of eight children, all of whom are following in his footsteps as warriors one way or another. He took a hand in personally training several of them as well.
  • Anything That Moves: "Oberyn Martell? He has bastards all over Dorne, and beds with boys as well."
    • Also apparently applicable to 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.
  • Appropriated Appellation: Even his friends call him the Red Viper, the nickname he got after allegedly poisoning his sword in a duel. Even if the rumor wasn't true, he doesn't hesitate to use the tactic against Gregor Clegane.
  • Badass Bisexual: Many nobles question his manliness due to his sexuality, but Oberyn's sexual preferences obviously have absolutely no impact on his fighting skills.
  • Badass Bookworm: Spent time at the Citadel and forged six links of a maester's chain until he got bored of it.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: Throughout their entire duel, Oberyn demanded that Gregor Clegane confess to raping his sister and killing her and her children. At the end of the battle, Clegane finally does confess... but only after he's begun smashing Oberyn's head in.
  • Beauty Is Never Tarnished: Averted. Oberyn is a devilishly good-looking, badass older man with many conquests to his name. He dies by having his face completely pulverized by a huge mailed fist.
  • Big Brother Instinct: Implied with his need to avenge Elia's death, though Elia was slightly older than him.
  • 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 Obara 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."
  • Broken Ace: A peerless warrior, poet, scholar. A loving father and beloved brother. One of the most famous men in Dorne. And possessed by a need to avenge his sister, nephew and niece so great it borders on madness.
  • Byronic Hero: He's intelligent and charismatic. He lives and loves dangerously by nature and doesn't care what others think of him or his lifestyle. He's also driven by a single-minded obsession to avenge his sister's death and bring back the head of her killer, to the point that even though it leads to his death, he still gets the last laugh with a slow-acting poison that leaves Gregor in excruciating pain as he dies.
  • The Casanova: Possibly the biggest one in the series.
  • Combat Pragmatist: He poisons his weapons and has no qualms against fighting dirty. Unfortunately, he forgets to be pragmatic when it really counts.
  • Cool Uncle: To Arianne, according to The World Of Ice And Fire app. She loved him and is closer to his bastard daughters rather than her brothers. She even called out her own father for being very passive to his brother's death and demanded justice.
  • Cultured Badass: In addition to being a feared warrior, he spent years traveling the world, studied at the Citadel, and studied rare poisons and (according to rumor) dark arts.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Came very close to pulling one off. And on Gregor Clegane, no less.
  • Deadpan Snarker: From the moment he arrives in King's Landing, he wastes no time in snarking off about the Lannisters.
  • 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 household knight, let alone the younger brother of one of the great lords.
  • The Dragon: To Doran himself. He plays his Hot-Blooded reputation so House Martell's rivals and enemies won't suspect the two actually work together.
  • Face Palm Of Doom: How Gregor Clegane kills him, described in detail.
  • Foil:
    • Robert Baratheon. Had Robert not physically degenerated and had been a good parent, he'd be Oberyn.
    • Arya Stark. They both specialize in an acrobatic form of combat and want to avenge their murdered families.
    • Ned Stark. They were on opposite sides of the incident of the Queen of Love and Beauty on the Tourney at Harrenhal (Ned being Lyanna's brother, Oberyn being Elia's) and never got over their deaths. They both traveled later to King's Landing on royal ordinance after pacts of betrothed were arranged between their families and the Crown (Sansa and Joffrey; Myrcella and Trystane) and neither left alive to tell the tale.
    • Prince Daemon Targaryen. Daemon is the younger, more adventurous brother of the current regent (Viserys I and Prince Doran Martell), unencumbered by the throes of government that their brothers had to deal with, they were fathers of multiple children by multiple women and they both died with a Taking You with Me gambit by bringing justice to terrible acts of war that constituted not only war crimes but also personal attacks against them (Oberyn taking vengeance against Gregor Clegane for the death of Elia, his sister; Daemon taking vengeance against Aemond for the murder of Lucerys, his surrogate son).
  • Fragile Speedster: Oberyn's fast enough to maneuver around The Mountain until the Mountain tires out and leaves himself open to be severely wounded, but he's killed the moment he decides to take his time and get close to him.
  • Friendly Enemy: He hates the Lannisters and is very bad at hiding his contempt. Nevertheless, it's clear he's enjoying every minute of his Snark-to-Snark Combat with Tyrion. And they have an Enemy Mine moment when he offers to be his champion in the trial by combat.
  • 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 legitimate girls in Westeros can't even dream of. His mistress Ellaria Sand is also a good mother.
  • Hidden Depths: While Oberyn plays his evil reputation to the hilt, there are hints in A Dance With Dragons from his brother and his paramour that he wasn't as violent or thoughtless as people believed.
  • Hot-Blooded: He's almost a caricature of the fiery Dornishman. Not that most readers mind...
  • 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.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Nevertheless, he cares deeply for his family, and much of his anger in the third book stemmed from his desire for justice over his sister and her children's horrific murders.
  • Kick the Dog: Poisoned and killed Edgar Yronwood in a duel that was explicitly only to first blood.
    • When Obara's mother begged him not take their daughter away from her, Oberyn slapped her across the face and took Obara anyway.
  • Kick the Son of a Bitch: Oberyn's poisoned spear may have failed to save his life, but it condemned Ser Gregor Clegane, rapist, murderer, and monster in every sense of the word, to a slow and horrible death. Doran lampshades this, remarking that "if ever a man deserved to die screaming, it was Gregor Clegane."
  • Kidanova: Not stated directly, but indicated. His older brother is 52 and ten years older than him, so Oberyn is roughly 42. The oldest of the Sand Snakes is almost 30. Do the math.
  • Madness Mantra: When his duel with The Mountain is near it's climax, "You raped her. You murdered her. You killed her children." becomes this for him. It's clear that he isn't just trying to psych his opponent out anymore. He's overwhelmed with nearly twenty years of insane fury over the injustice that was done to his family.
  • The Man Behind the Man: Runs Dorne in his brother's absences despite Princess Arianne being heir.
  • Master Poisoner: There's a very good story behind his sobriquet of "the Red Viper": "complex chemical death" is the synopsis version. He is well aware of his own reputation, and muses to Tyrion that, were it not for Cersei's accusations that Tyrion was the one who poisoned Joffrey, their places might well have been switched.
    “Who knows more of poison than the Red Viper of Dorne, after all?”
  • Mutual Kill: Him vs. Gregor Clegane; Clegane won the fight, but was done in by poison.
  • My Girl Is a Slut: He and his mistress happily live in polyamory and are perfectly fine with it. Oberyn even talks about his mistress' lust for the Queen fondly.
  • My Name Is Inigo Montoya: What drives his life since that fateful Rebellion is avenging his beloved sister's death and he gets his wish fulfilled when he gets to duel her murderer, although he doesn't get to see the latter's painful death.
  • Nerves of Steel: Absolutely fearless when entering a duel with the most feared knight in Westeros, Gregor "The Mountain that Rides" Clegane.
    Ellaria Sand: You're going to fight that?
    Oberyn Martell: I'm going to kill that.
  • Not So Different: From Tyrion Lannister. They are both seconds sons, both highly educated with acerbic wits, both are known for their sexual escapades, and both hate Tywin Lannister and the majority of House Lannister's actions. Leads to an awesome but short-lived case of Enemy Mine between the two near the last act of A Storm of Swords. Later in the series, Tyrion even ends up signing on with the Second Sons, just as Oberyn had in his youth.
  • Odd Friendship: With Willas Tyrell, apparently, both sharing a passion for horses.
  • Overprotective Dad: Averted. His daughters are completely free to chose whichever lovers they want. He also doesn't bother stepping in if the relationship goes wrong because he knows they can take care of themselves.
  • The Paragon: According to the Dornish folk in general, Oberyn was every bit what a leader and the Prince of Dorne should be; this is said to both praise Oberyn and denounce Doran, who is nothing like him.
  • Pay Evil unto Evil: 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 nephew and raping his sister before he killed her it's this instead.
  • 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.
  • Rated M for Manly: Rather a metrosexual version, but still an undeniable, smouldering badass who can take wannabes like Lancel Lannister to the cleaners without getting winded.
  • 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.
  • Rebel Prince: His reputation for consorting with low women and other men and use of poisons (considered cowardly) aren't exactly Prince Charming qualities.
  • Red Baron: Known as "the Red Viper."
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni : The proud and explosive Red to Doran's Blue.
  • Renaissance Man: Along with being a great warrior, he traveled the world, studied at the Citadel (he nearly qualified to be a maester before he quit), soldiered in the Disputed Lands, formed his own sellsword company, became a Master Poisoner, and is rumored to have studied the dark arts.
  • Remittance Man: Was one during his younger years; became a mercenary captain in Essos.
  • Revenge Before Reason: To the point where it gets him killed.
  • Tall, Dark, and Snarky: When you can parry-and-riposte Tyrion Lannister, you're snarky. The rest comes with "Martell".
  • The Ace: One of the most striking examples of the series, comparable to Rhaegar. Knows no fear, extremely competent fighter (who even manages to win against Gregor Clegane), very charismatic, and of genius-level intelligence (studied the craft of the maesters basically for fun).
  • 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.
  • Underestimating Badassery: When Tyrion tries to warn him about how powerful a warrior Gregor Clegane is, Oberyn nonchalantly states that he's killed big men before. To be fair, the fight was totally under his control. He just took his need to dominate his enemy too far and left himself open at the worst possible moment.
    • Somewhat justified in the next book. According to Oberyn's daughter, Tyene Sand, a mere scratch from a blade dipped in manticore venom would be enough to put a man in an immediate state of pure agony, as well as ensure a slow, excruciating death. Given he had just used his poisoned spear to cut and impale the Mountain with surgical precision, Oberyn might've assumed Gregor was in far too much pain to put up any more of a fight. Clearly, he was wrong.
  • Unknown Rival: Oberyn finally confronts, Gregor Clegane, the man who raped and murdered his sister. The brutish psychopath doesn't even know who Oberyn is, nor does he particularly care. Oberyn swiftly reminds him, though.
  • The Un-Reveal: He is mentioned to have founded his own sellsword company; whether it's still in operation, whether he leads them, or who are its members is not mentioned in the books.
  • War Hawk: Oberyn pressed for war when Elia and her children died. He also keeps doing things that might provoke war by flaunting his bastard paramour and hinting that his family is trying to turn Princess Myrcella against the Iron Throne.
  • Warrior Prince: This should be obvious by now.
  • Why Don't You Just Shoot Him?: Oberyn had already killed The Mountain so he decided to take his time. He really shouldn't have.
  • Your Head Asplode: This is how he dies at the hands of The Mountain. In the most graphic way imaginable.
  • You Killed My Father: His motive for fighting The Mountain is avenging his sister.

    Princess Elia Martell 

Princess Elia Nymeros Martell-Targaryen

"Elia and her children have waited long for justice. But this day they shall have it."
Prince Oberyn Martell
Elia Martell with the infant Rhaenys

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.

  • Actually Pretty Funny: After her brother Oberyn nicknamed Baelor Hightower, one of her potential matches she rather liked, Baelor Breakwind after he had the misfortune to fart in their presence, Elia couldn't look at the poor boy without laughing at him, which put an end to any prospect of an Arranged Marriage between them.
  • Adult Fear: Her infant son was ripped out of her arms and gruesomely murdered right in front of her.
  • Arranged Marriage: To Rhaegar, who according to Barristan was fond of her. Before marrying him, she was courted by several others, including Baelor Hightower, and her mother thought of marrying her to Jaime Lannister until Lord Tywin rejected the match.
  • 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.
  • Culture Clash: Above all else, she was Dornish in King's Landing. What part, if any, she had to play in the whole Lyanna affair, or any other aspect of Rhaegar's plans, is up for speculation. But, her being a completely passive, politically inactive wallflower even when held as a hostage by her father-in-law is rather unlikely.
  • Cuteness Proximity: She thought baby Tyrion was adorable and fawned over him.
  • 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.
  • Fantastic Racism: She was on the receiving end. King Aerys was reportedly fond of throwing racist diatribes against Rhaegar's Dornish wife.
  • For Want of a Nail: If her brother didn't screw over every possible engagement, she could be very much safe and sound. The same thing if Tywin Lannister accepted her match with Jaime, or managed to marry off Cersei to Rhaegar Targaryen.
  • Half the Man He Used to Be: Rumor had it that Gregor killed Elia by cutting her in two with his greatsword. Gregor himself later reveals that he actually killed her by bashing her head in.
  • I Have Your Wife: During Robert's Rebellion, Aerys kept her in the Red Keep against her will to ensure that her brother, Prince Doran, would fight on the side of the Targaryens. Doran and the rest of Dorne were furious over her treatment.
  • I Let Gwen Stacy Die: For Oberyn, 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 Elia 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. Apparently, the maesters afterwards told Rhaegar she'd never be able to have children again.
  • Mama Bear: "Fought like a tigress" against Gregor Clegane to save her children. It... went badly.
  • Nice Girl: From what we heard of her, she was good, sweet, gracious, and gentle and Barristan describes her as being very kind. Which makes her nightmarish death even more tragic.
  • Outliving One's Offspring: Elia's children were both murdered before her eyes. Elia herself wasn't long in following them to the grave.
  • Politically Correct History: Elia's brutal rape and murder is glossed over in the in-universe document The World of Ice & Fire, which is written as Lannister propaganda by Maester Yandel, who suggests that she also may have killed her children as a mercy.
  • Posthumous Character: In a very Family-Unfriendly Death way, poor lass.
  • Proper Lady: By all accounts, she was the very picture of good queen material, aside from her health.
  • Trauma Conga Line: A lifetime of problematic health, married off to a man who didn't want her, two difficult childbirths (the latter of which left her unable to have children again), publicly snubbed by her husband at a tourney, and finally, forced to watch her children be brutally murdered before being raped and murdered herself.
  • The Un-Reveal:
    • Varys states to Tyrion that Elia said a name before being assaulted and murdered. That name is yet to be known.
    • It's not known how she reacted when Rhaegar crowned Lyanna Stark as his Queen of Love and Beauty instead of her when he won the Tourney at Harrenhal; her family certainly wasn't happy, but her, who knows...
  • Unwanted Spouse: While their relationship was by all accounts far, far better than his parents', Rhaegar is hinted to have felt somewhat this way about his wife Elia, since Daenerys thinks it says a lot when Barristan Selmy says Rhaegar was only "fond" of her. If so it might help explain why Rhaegar took such an uncharacteristically reckless action as allegedly kidnapping Lyanna Stark while still married to Elia and in the process kickstarted the civil war that ultimately brought down the dynasty.
    • Having said that, a "fond" relationship rather beats many other political marriages we learn about. At the very least, it implies that Dany's vision of them being amiable together after Aegon's birth had some basis in fact. Whatever their relationship, it was not a simplistic, 2D, easily-troped one. However it's been recorded by singers or maesters.

    Ser Manfrey Martell 
A distant cousin of Doran.

    Lewyn Martell 

Prince Lewyn Martell

See Aerys II's Kingsguard character sheet.

Doran's family

    Arianne Martell* 

Princess Arianne Nymeros Martell
"I want Sunspear, and my father's seat. I want Dorne. I want justice."

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.

  • A-Cup Angst: She was pudgy and flat-chested as a young girl, and prayed to the Seven to make her more beautiful when she grew up. And boy, did she get her wish.
  • All Girls Want Bad Boys: She admits to herself she was really attracted to Gerold Dayne because he was dangerous.
  • Aloof Older Sister: To Quentyn, since he's fostered away from home and most of all she believes their father prefers Quentyn and wants to overlook her claim to Sunspear in favour of his son. She was wrong, and when she finds out, she wants to reconcile with her little brother, unaware that at that time he's already dead.
  • 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.
  • Bi the Way: While she had shown romantic interest primarily on males such as Daemon Sand, Gerold Dayne and Arys Oakheart, and dark, mysterious pretty boys are said to be her weaknesses, its clear she has no hangs up with women either. When seducing Arys, Arianne casually mentions she could share him in bed with her female cousins, the Sand Snakes (one of whom she nearly had a threesome with another boy in their youth) and she also kisses them on the lips while waving them goodbye.
  • Big Sister Instinct: In the preview chapters of The Winds of Winter, she's very overprotective of her cousin, Elia Sand. At one point, Arianne panicked when Elia didn’t return, only to find her catching some fish and then soundly scolded her. She also caught Elia kissing some serving boy and threw a "get away from my cousin, mister" aura at him.
  • Book Dumb: She's not illiterate and certainly has never been denied the use of the extensive Martell libraries. The problem is... she tunes out if she finds the contents of books dry or lacking in romance and spice. In effect, she's a doer and not a natural reader.
  • Buxom Is Better: Small frame and curvy in all the right places. She knows this and everybody knows this.
  • Brainy Brunette: She's a witty, smoking-hot Brunette who enjoys cyvasse and politics.
  • Calling the Old Man Out: Arianne calls out on her father for being unresponsive to her Uncle Oberyn's death, for locking up the Sand Snakes, and for passing off her rights to Quentyn. She got the third one wrong when Doran revealed that she's supposed to marry Viserys Targaryen, which was one of his plans to return the Targaryens to power and to destroy the Lannisters.
  • 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.
  • Daddy's Girl: Although not in keeping with recent events. In A Dance with Dragons, they are closer than ever.
  • Determinator: She will do anything to get what she wants.
  • Diamonds in the Buff: Appears for her secret tryst with Arys Oakheart wearing only a snake bracelet around her forearm.
  • Establishing Character Moment: Arys Oakheart's death. It shows that while Arianne is scheming and uses her sexuality for personal gain, she absolutely does not want any harm to befall her friends and loved ones. Arianne is filled with regret afterwards.
  • Everything's Better with Princesses: As princess of Dorne.
  • 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.
  • Go Mad from the Isolation: She was able to deal with being imprisoned in the tower well enough, as it was quite comfortable. The fact that no one would even speak to her was what eventually broke her.
  • Hot-Blooded: As usual with the Martells.
  • Horrible Judge of Character: She trusted Darkstar with far too much considering she barely knows him, for crying out loud! (Even though she had some reservations, she never put contingencies in place.) Worse, at least two of her most-trusted childhood friends have been reporting on her to her father and/or others for years without her picking up on it (she still doesn't know who they are, and is in no rush to find out if they are the only moles embedded in her circle, either). She also often takes the initial people she meets at face value, even though she's supposed to be gathering intel from numerous sources in the Stormlands.
  • Incest Is Relative: Is heavily implied to have had a crush on The Red Viper, her uncle. Unlike other characters, she feels uncomfortable with these thoughts.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Arianne has issues with entitlement and insecurity, as well as a willingness to lie, manipulate, and scheme against even those closest to her, all of which leads her to follow through on some of her more disastrously reckless actions. However, she is ultimately a reasonable, well-meaning individual who is horrified and ashamed when her attempts to be a Guile Hero hurt the people who put their faith in her. After a failed attempt at playing the game of thrones, Arianne has resolved to help her father preserve Dorne through the wars to come.
  • Kissing Cousins: Arianne and Tyene Sand almost had a three-way with Andrey Dalt when they were younger. She also kisses Obara, Nymeria, and Tyene each on the lips before they are sent off on the individual missions Doran has tasked them with.
  • Lady and Knight: She forms a unusual dynamic with Arys Oakheart. While he tries his hardest to be a Knight in Shining Armor and Arianne is a beautiful princess, she is more of a Femme Fatale rather than a Proper Lady, and not afraid to use underhanded methods to get her way. Having said that, she is not really evil herself and actually means well all things considered, and doesn't count as an dark lady example of this trope. After Arys' death, Ser Daemon Sand takes his place by becoming her sworn shield and absolutely loyal to her (and it helps that they share a romantic past too).
  • Ladykiller in Love: Or at least Femme Fatale In Love.
  • Locked Out of the Loop: So, my plot was useless because we are still loyal to the Targaryens this whole time? Thanks, Dad?
  • Luxury Prison Suite: As she's a highborn lady and heiress to Dorne, the tower she's imprisoned in after her plot is found out is very comfortable, except for how none of the servants would speak with her.
  • Ms. Fanservice: She often wears revealing clothing and her nudity is described in detail.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: She greatly regrets her Queenmaker plot because it got Arys killed and Myrcella maimed.
  • 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.
  • Old Maid: She's younger than the trope usually implies. At her mid-20s, Arianne is past the age when betrothals commonly happen in Westerosi nobility, which almost never goes beyond adolescence. She's quick to notice this, much to her annoyance, assuming that her dad is trying to cheat her out of her birthright by arranging meetups with undesirable nobles for her. She's right to assume her dad is up to something, but not for the reasons she thought in the first place.
  • Out-Gambitted: After her coup goes belly up.
    Arianne: I was a foolish, willful girl, playing at the game of thrones like a drunkard rolling dice.
  • Pimped-Out Dress: Her clothes are lavish.
  • Politically Active Princess: Not that her actions in A Feast For Crows actually do much good, but she can improve and she does.
  • Really Gets Around: She's pretty promiscuous. The fact that she's a highborn lady who still manages to be this without stigma from her peers and family is indicative of Dorne's comparative liberality.
  • Rebellious Princess: To an extent. While she appreciates her highborn status and wants to rule Dorne in her own right, she possesses a fiery personality and rebels against what she thinks is her father plotting against her.
  • Regal Ringlets: She often styles her hair this way.
  • 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. It's mentioned that Arianne had a very awkward adolescence, being both pudgy and unremarkable. Her prayers for eventual beauty were answered, and how.
  • Silk Hiding Steel: She has a strong personality behind her royal beauty.
  • Smug Snake: She'd like to think she's The Chessmaster, but the fact that her plan to crown Myrcella falls flat on its 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 Arianne to look back on her behavior and acknowledge that she was this.
  • Spanner in the Works: A minor one to Doran's plans. Myrcella losing an ear and getting a huge facial scar surely was not part of his intentions.
  • Spirited Young Lady: A feminine, gracious princess who is also witty, brave, and sexually free (which says something in her context).
  • The Tease: She enjoys being this first to celibate Kingsguard Arys Oakheart (but not without pursuing her own agenda), and then to her embittered ex-boyfriend Daemon Sand.
  • 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 would become Queen by marrying Viserys Targaryen.
  • Unluckily Lucky: Viserys's death robbed her of the chance to become Queen of the Seven Kingdoms, but it also saved her from becoming Viserys's wife.
  • Unreliable Narrator: Poor lass; she's trying to up her game, but all too often listens to the opinions of others without comparing what is said vs what can actually be seen or otherwise found out with a little digging. She also tends to give more weight to sights and ideas she can put a comfortably familiar narrative spin on over things she finds to be without context, dull or boring. She seems to buy into the reports of the Stormlands being ravaged by the Golden Company, even though none of the landscape or smallfolk she describes remotely come close to the real harrowing of the Riverlanders we've witnessed under Gregor Clegane's crew. She is too unskilled and ignorant to realise this, though.
  • Unresolved Sexual Tension: With Ser Daemon Sand in their journey through the Stormlands in Arianne's chapters of The Winds of Winter. He was her first love and gave him her maidenhead, but he was denied her hand in marriage for being a bastard and also because Arianne was secretly betrothed to Viserys Targaryen and quite never got over the slight. When Arianne tries to seduce Daemon he resists, but in the following chapter he's ready to take the risk of reaching Jon Connington and Aegon Targaryen in her place, which she declines.

    Quentyn Martell* 

Prince Quentyn Nymeros Martell

"The hero sets out with his friends and companions, faces danger, comes home triumphant. Only some of his companions don't return at all. The hero never dies, though. I must be the hero."

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.

  • Arranged Marriage: The same one Arianne was stuck in. Because Viserys is dead, he's sent in his sister's stead.
  • Boring, but Practical: This is Ser Barristan's assessment of him as a potential suitor for Daenerys.
    Barristan's narrative: Short and stocky, plain-faced, he seemed a decent lad, sober, sensible, dutiful... but not the sort to make a young girl's heart beat faster. [...] She wants fire, and Dorne sent her mud. You could make a poultice out of mud to cool a fever. You could plant seeds in mud and grow a crop to feed your children. Mud would nourish you, where fire would only consume you, but fools and children and young girls would choose fire every time.
  • 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.
  • 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 regard. He gets himself killed in the process.
  • Didn't Think This Through: Barristan has to tell him that he has overstayed his welcome when all suspicions are raised when someone attempts to poison Daenerys or Hizdahr, as he's been flagged as a culprit. Not wanting to return to Dorne empty-handed, Quentyn attempts to woo the remaining dragons, which earns him third-degree burns.
    • His entire journey can be considered in this light. Sure, let's just show up out of nowhere and tell a ruling queen that she's supposed to marry you. I'm sure she'll be delighted.
  • Did Not Get the Girl: Daenerys is already betrothed by the time he arrives, and then he dies horribly.
  • Distracted by the Sexy: He gets tongue tied when he meets Dany due to her extreme beauty. Though his point is ostensibly important and beneficial, he fails to deliver partly because of this.
  • The Dutiful Son: All he did was meant to fulfill his father's hopes, it ended up getting him killed.
  • The Everyman: Out of his depth, under-confident, not especially attractive, and even a bit nerdy.
  • Fate Worse than Death: How Barristan Selmy regards his death courtesy of Rhaegal, musing that at least being eaten by the dragon would have been quick.
  • Idiot Hero: Compensates for all his above shortcomings with idealism and sheer moxy. It does not save him.
  • Man on Fire: He doesn't live to tell the tale.
  • Missing Mom: At an early age, Quentyn was sent to Lord Yronwood as a diplomatic gesture by his father on account of Oberyn killing Lord Anders Yronwood. This drove a wedge in his parents' marriage and she ended up leaving Doran and living in Norvos. Quentyn contemplates visiting Norvos to meet his mother, but he ends up dead instead.
  • Nice Guy: Quentyn is a decent enough young man at heart, even if he's not one to turn any heads, and spends his storyline in way over his own.
  • Obligatory War-Crime Scene: He and his companions participate in the brutal Sack of Astapor, while in service with the Windblown. Quentyn recalls killing children and teenage boys forced to fight.
  • Oh, Crap!: Of the worst kind.
    When he raised his whip, he saw that the lash was burning. His hand as well. All of him, all of him was burning. "Oh", he thought. Then he began to scream.
  • Prince Charmless: Downplayed; the poor boy isn't in any way unpleasant, but Quentyn just doesn't have the stuff to win Daenerys' heart.
  • Sheltered Aristocrat: Of the "naïve 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.
  • Socially Awkward Hero: Quentyn is a good friend, a brave person and a dutiful son, but he is girl-shy, small and plain-looking. His offer to become Dany's betrothed fails because he both doesn't drive his point through due to stage fright and being Distracted by the Sexy at the sight of Dany, and also because he isn't a handsome guy to say the least.
  • Spanner in the Works: To his own father's plans. Though in his defense, he did everything his father expected him to do but just unlucky for, in Barristan's words, having come too late. His failure of wooing Daenerys leads him to plan an ill-conceived dragon heist that led to his death and unleashing dragons on the city leading to lots of deaths.
  • Tempting Fate: By thinking himself to be in a bardic tale of heroism and treating his trip as "a Quest", he practically signed his own warrant.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Let's kidnap two dragons...
  • 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.

    Trystane Martell 

Prince Trystane Nymeros 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.
  • 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 Guy: According to the accounts given of him, he's a good-natured boy who doesn't mind losing games of Cyvasse (the setting's equivalent of chess with some blitzkrieg and stratego thrown in) to his betrothed.
  • 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.

    Lady Mellario of Norvos 

Lady Mellario

The estranged wife of Prince Doran Martell and mother of Arianne, Quentyn, and Trystane, now residing at Norvos.

See the Norvos entry at the Free Cities character page.

Oberyn's Family

    Ellaria Sand 

Ellaria Sand
"Even weeping, she has a strength in her."
Areo Hotah

Oberyn's paramour, the bastard daughter of Lord Harmen Uller, and the mother of his four youngest bastard daughters (Sand Snakes).

  • Adult Fear: After Oberyn's death, the elder Sand Snakes are eager to avenge him by destroying the Lannisters. Ellaria fears that not only will they get themselves killed in their pursuit of vengeance, but her own daughters, who worship the Sand Snakes, will get caught up in the Cycle of Revenge.
  • 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: She and Oberyn are both bisexual and totally fine with enjoying multiple lovers. Their relationship is actually one of the most devoted and loving in the entire series.
  • Even the Girls Want Her: Sansa's narration has her briefly captivated by Ellaria's attractiveness.
  • 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, especially. Yet, she also has a soft spot for the other Sand Snakes — she does try to keep their reckless drives in check to a great extent. She steadfastly refuses to smother any of them, though. However, woe unto those who harm them beyond what backdraft she decides they've earned for themselves: she may not advocate Revenge Before Reason, but that doesn't mean she won't defend her own.
  • 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.
    Ellaria: I saw your father die. Here is his killer. Can I take a skull to bed with me, to give me comfort in the night? Will it make me laugh, write me songs, care for me when I am old and sick?
  • Parental Substitute: Serves as a mother figure for Oberyn's older daughters.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: She wants no part in Doran and the Sand Snakes' revenge plot knowing that it would affect her daughters. Doran understands her reasons and lets her leave. In The Winds of Winter, she goes back her father's stead in Hellholt with Loreza while Dorea remains in the Water Gardens and Obella is in Sunspear as a cupbearer.
  • Silk Hiding Steel: See her character quote. She may be a kind, courteous woman and a loving mother, but she's also shown to have strong morals and an outspoken opinion against revenge. Sansa notes that Ellaria, despite being bastard-born and of a relatively low position, was unafraid to look the queen in the eye.
  • Widow Woman: 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 illegitimate daughters with Ellaria as well as various other women.

See the Sand Snakes page.


    Areo Hotah* 

Areo Hotah
"Protect. Serve. Obey. Simple vows for a simple man."

Doran's bodyguard and confidante, Hotah was born in Norvos and 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.

For the main entry on the Free City of Norvos, see here.

  • An Axe to Grind: Wields a longaxe in combat.
  • Badass Beard: It comes with being part of the order of the 'Bearded Priests' as well as one of the biggest badasses in the series.
  • Beware the Quiet Ones: Arianne explicitly tells Arys Oakheart that Hotah is terrifying once he is roused. He is a fearsome fighter, and utterly destroys Ser Arys Oakheart, a trained knight of the Kingsguard, in a brief battle.
  • The Captain: In addition to his bodyguard duties, Areo is the Captain of the Guard of Sunspear.
  • Cargo Ship: In an in-universe version, he is a celibate warrior who is "married" to his axe, which he refers to as his "iron wife". He is rather obsessive about sharpening it.
  • The Dragon: Given the Grey and Gray Morality of the series, it's easy enough to see him as either to Doran.
  • Hired Guns: Formerly.
  • Like a Daughter to Me: How he views Princess Arienne, who he affectionately refers to as "little princess". However, his loyalty to Doran wins out over his love for her and he quickly and efficiently destroys her plot to crown Myrcella and imprisons her, although it pains him greatly to do so.
  • Martial Pacifist: Established very quickly within his first POV chapter. He's peaceful and friendly in behavior and thoughts, but is also constantly evaluating the fighting prowess of those around him in case trouble should happen.
  • Massive Numbered Siblings: He was the last of six children born to a poor family in Norvos, and was thus sold to the bearded priests.
  • Odd Name Out: Has the distinction of being one of only two POV characters not from Westeros (the other being Melisandre).
  • The Quiet One: His second chapter is even titled "The Watcher."
  • The Stoic: Hotah is a man of few words, ever calm and steady, keeping any strong emotions to himself.
  • Undying Loyalty: To Doran. It's actually a creed for him.
    Serve. Obey. Protect. He had sworn those vows at six-and-ten, the day he wed his axe. Simple vows for simple men, the bearded priests had said.

    Maester Caleotte 

Maester Caleotte

Prince Doran's personal Maester, Caleotte accompanies his prince wherever he goes.

  • The Good Chancellor: Despite being rather meek around the Sand Snakes, Caleotte offers smart and sensible advice to Prince Doran, who respects his counsel.
  • The Medic: He is in charge of treating Doran's gout, and does what he can to ease his pain.
  • Oh, Crap!: He gets very frightened when Doran places his hand on Tyene Sand's head to give her a blessing, and rushes to his side after she leaves to inspect his hand for puncture marks.
  • Older Than They Look: His smooth and fat face makes it difficult to tell how old he is.
  • Old Retainer: He has been serving Doran before even Areo entered his service.
  • The Smart Guy: Unsurprising since he is a trained Maester. Caleotte even managed to create a wheelchair for Doran to use which makes getting around much easier and less painful for him.

    Garin of the Orphans 

Garin of the Orphans

A milk-brother of Arianne and one of her closest friends.

Historical Martells

Pre-Targaryen Conquest

    Lord Morgan Martell 

Lord Morgan Martell

An Andal adventurer and the first Martell in historical record. He seized domains of Houses Wade and Shell.

    Princess Nymeria 

Princess Nymeria
"Our wanderings are at an end. We have found a new home, and here we shall live and die."

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. After the death of Mors, she was married two more times, to Lord Uller and Davos Dayne respectively. Nymeria had four daughters by Mors Martell (the eldest of which succeeded her as ruler of Dorne) and at least one son by Davos Dayne.

  • Arranged Marriage: With Mors Martell. After Mors' death she took two more husbands, the aged Lord Uller and Ser Davos Dayne, the Sword of the Morning. Neither of them ruled after marrying her, as she was the unchallenged ruler of Dorne.
  • The Exile: By choice, knowing that if she and her people remained in Essos, the Valyrians would kill or enslave them all.
  • Expy: Of Aeneas from The Aeneid. Both led their respective peoples across the sea to find a home after being all but exterminated in war
  • Famed In-Story: Immortalized in songs as a warrior who led her people to freedom.
  • Famous Ancestor: To the Martells.
  • Foil: To Aegon the Conqueror, from a Valyrian family that fled before the Doom and conquered most of Westeros, uniting six of the seven Kingdoms, and keeping Valyrian traditions such as brother-sister marriages. Nymeria fled with her people from Valyrian expansion and united Dorne, keeping Rhoynar traditions such as gender-neutral inheritance, which is now practiced throughout Dorne.
  • Founder of the Kingdom: Nymeria and Mors unified Dorne under the rule of House Martell. Nymeria was responsible for introducing many Rhoynar customs (including gender-equal primogeniture) to Dorne.
  • The High Queen: Or rather, The High Princess. It was because of her that the Rhoynar were able to escape the Valyrian Conquest and find a new home in Dorne.
  • Historical Badass Upgrade: In-universe. Nymeria wasn't a hands-on warrior, however she is commonly remembered as one.
  • Lady of War: She even put down two rebellions, and stopped three invasions: two by Durran III the Storm King, and one by Greydon Gardener, King of the Reach.
  • Only Sane Woman: The only Rhoynar ruler that understood fighting the Valyrians was a lost cause.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: After the Valyrians defeated the Rhoynar she led the exodus of her people from Essos to Dorne, not before trying to settle on the Basilisk Isles, Zamettar and Yeen on Sothoryos, and on the Isle of Women in the Summer Isles.

    Prince Mors Martell 

Mors Martell, Prince of Dorne

A petty lord in the region of Dorne. He married Princess Nymeria as part of the deal for his aid in conquering Dorne, becoming the first Prince of House Martell. Mors and Nymeria had four daughters together (the eldest of which became the ruler of Dorne in turn).

  • Arranged Marriage: With Princess Nymeria in exchange for the Martells' aid in conquering Dorne.
  • Famous Ancestor: His recognition of how the Rhoynar could increase the power of House Martell dramatically led to him marrying Nymeria and beginning the conquest of Dorne.
  • Founder of the Kingdom: His marriage to Nymeria made him become the first Prince of House Martell.
  • Last of His Kind: He was the last head of House Martell that was fully Andal. When he married Nymeria, their offspring were henceforth Andal/Rhoynish and deemed in equally important status.
  • Love at First Sight: According to the singers, he fell in love with Nymeria almost immediately, captivated by her beauty, power, and drive to keep her people free.
  • Pragmatic Hero: He saw the power of the Rhoynar as an opportunity to rule Dorne unopposed. Falling in love with Nymeria was the icing on the cake; he took a gambit and won every possible price, even if he did die before Dorne was fully conquered his line has ruled Dorne since.

    The Red Princes 
The three great grandchildren of Nymeria.
  • Famous Ancestor: The Greenblood don't remember them fondly because they tried to ban the use of the Rhoynar language.
  • No Name Given: So far their names have not been provided.
  • Samus Is a Girl: Only one of the Princes was male.
  • She Is the King: Two of them were female, but they were still called the Red Princes.

After the Conquest

    Princess Meria Martell 

Meria Nymeros Martell, Princess of Dorne

The Yellow Toad of Dorne
"I will not fight you, nor will I kneel to you. Dorne has no king. Tell your brother that."

Princess of Dorne during the War of Conquest, she was 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 guerilla attacks on the invading army instead of facing them directly. Meria had a son, Nymor, who succeeded her as ruler of Dorne.

  • Badass Boast: After Rhaenys Targaryen flew to Sunspear to demand Dorne's surrender, Meria refused, causing Rhaenys to vow to return with "fire and blood".
    Meria: Your words. Ours are Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken. You may burn us, my lady...but you will not bend us, break us, or make us bow. This is Dorne. You are not wanted here. Return at your peril!
    • Taken Up to Eleven when Rhaenys returned to Dorne years later as a warrior. Meria made good on her boast, and ensured that Rhaenys disappeared in Dorne. To this day, no one really knew how Rhaenys died. After Rhaenys's disappearance, Aegon did burn Dorne. Badly enough to have its own name: Dragon's Wroth.
  • Beware the Quiet Ones
  • Cool Old Lady: Eighty years old during Aegon's Conquest, yet she still threatened a dragonrider without fear.
    • During the First Dornish War, she continued to lead Dorne against the rest of Westeros. The war only ended shortly after her death in 13 AC (where she's in her 90s). It is also in this war that her threat against Rhaenys was carried out.
  • Destination Defenestration: The way she killed poor Lord Rosby. The guy thought Sunspear was empty.
  • Dirty Coward: While she's understandably held in high regard by many for being the only ruler to not submit to Aegon, she still has critics who deride her as dishonorable for simply going into hiding and utilizing guerrilla warfare while letting the Targaryen dragons burn Dorne.
  • The High Queen: Due to her actions, Dorne became the only part of Westeros not invaded by the Targaryens in the War of Conquest.
  • In-Universe Nickname: The Yellow Toad of Dorne, coined by King Argilac the Arrogant of the Stormlands.
  • Know When To Fold Them: Averted by her in the First Dornish War. Her successor was the one who sued for peace after her death.
  • Lady of War: Lacks the grace due to her advanced years, but otherwise fits the bill.
  • Never Mess with Granny: She was the only ruler of Westeros who managed to keep the Targaryens from conquering her kingdom during the War Of Conquest.
    • During the First Dornish War, Aegon the Conqueror named Lord Rosby as Warden of the Sands when he found Sunspear to be emptied much like the other castles at Dorne. Meria, bordering 90 years old and blind as a bat, overpowered Lord Rosby, bound him, dragged him to the top of the Spear Tower and threw him out the window.
    • Deconstructed during the First Dornish War. After her death, her successor sued for peace (as an equal), after Dorne incurred the Dragon's Wroth.
  • Shut Up, Hannibal!: To the Targaryens.

    Prince Nymor Martell 

Nymor Martell, Prince of Dorne

Prince Nymor was the Prince of Dorne and successor of Princess Meria Martell, ascending to the throne at an advanced age, however. He put an end to the First Dornish War.

  • An Offer You Can't Refuse: Based on the observation that Aegon honoured the peace treaty until his death (more than 20 years later), the contents of the letter are more likely to be a lighter version of the trope. note 
  • Non-Action Guy: Due to his age and frailty
  • Refuge in Audacity: Offering Aegon peace terms but as equals not as vassal and overlord. Crosses the Line Twice if one takes into consideration the still-unknown contents of his letter to Aegon. In-universe Epileptic Trees from the Maesters range from revealing that Rhaenys had survived and was kept a prisoner at Hellholt under torture, with the letter offering to Mercy Kill her in exchange for peace, to threatening to hire a Faceless Man to kill Aegon's heir.

    Princess Deria Martell 

Deria Martell, Princess of Dorne

Princess Deria Martell was the daughter of Nymor Martell, and the ruling Princess of Dorne during the reign of King Aenys I (and presumably also during the later years of the reign of Aegon I, as her father was already elderly when her grandmother Meria Martell passed away in 13 AC).

  • False Reassurance: As Princess, she once reassured Aenys that House Martell were doing everything they could to put down the rebellion of the Vulture King, which was threatening the Iron Throne. However, as the Vulture King was a Dornishman who never raided her territories, Deria largely left him alone.
  • The Man Behind the Man: The Sons of the Dragon states she was suspected of providing funding and men for to the Vulture King.
  • Nerves of Steel: Being a diplomat to negotiate peace with the Dragon and his court requires you to have this. Doubly so when Dorne was not in a position of strength at the time. note 
  • Noodle Implements: The letter which she presented to Aegon on that diplomatic mission. Whatever was in the letter convinced Aegon to have peace with Dorne as equals, and the peace lasted for more than 20 years, until the Dragon's death. While Aegon never revealed its contents to anyone else, it is unknown if the contents had been lost to Deria's descendants.
  • Number Two: As her father's heir. Due to his advanced years when he became Prince, she was rather heavily involved in Dorne's affairs ever since her grandmother's death, as can be seen in her diplomatic mission.

    Prince Morion Martell 

Morion Martell, Prince of Dorne

Prince of Dorne during the reign of Jaehaerys I Targaryen. Shortly after his crowing, he tried to invade the Stormlands by sea, only for King Jaehaerys and his sons to descend on dragonback upon his fleet killing him and every man in his army in what would be known as Morion's Madness and the War of a Hundred Candles.

  • Catharsis Factor: In-Universe. Burning him and his entire army with dragonfire must have felt cathartic to the Targaryens, who had only experienced headaches and humilliations fighting the Dornish previously.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: The assault of Jaehaerys and his sons on his fleet was more like setting candles on fire than a real battle. This was the only war in Westerosi history that was won without losing a single man on one side.
  • Famous Ancestor: More like infamous.
  • General Failure: Threw away every advantage Dorne had over the Iron Throne in a foolish attempt to attack by sea, ignoring the reason Dorne hadn't been submitted was because they didn't fought the dragons head on. His blunder ended up costing the lives of thousands of men.
  • Meaningful Name: One letter away from "moron".
  • Too Dumb to Live: Thought he had secretly been building his fleet for over a year when in reality King Jaehaerys had a lot of forewarning of his plans. Then there's the fact that wooden ships are a perfect target for dragonfire. He probably has the honor of being considered the biggest moron in the history of House Martell Post-Conquest.

    Prince Qoren Martell 

Qoren Martell, Prince of Dorne

"Dorne has danced with dragons before. I would sooner sleep with scorpions."

The Prince of Dorne during the reign of Viserys I and the Dance of Dragons. He had three children, Aliandra, Qyle and Coryanne Martell.

  • Enemy Mine: During the War on the Stepstones, he supported the Triarchy against Daemon Targaryen and Corlys Velaryon.
  • Refused the Call: When asked by the Greens and Blacks if he would join them, he answered with the quote above.
  • The Wise Prince: Kept his realm outside the most devastating civil war in Westeros up until that point.

    Princess Aliandra Martell 

Aliandra Martell, Princess of Dorne

The Princess of Dorne during the reign of Aegon III Targaryen.

  • My Sister Is Off-Limits!: Her siblings Qyle and Coryanne were not pleased with her closeness to Alyn Velaryon.
  • Odd Friendship: In lack of a better word and more context, she got along quite well with Lord Alyn Velaryon and she hosted him at Sunspear both times he crossed through Dorne.
  • One Degree of Separation: She was married to Drazenko Rogare, uncle of Larra Rogare the wife of Viserys II Targaryen, although it is unknown if they had any offspring together.
  • War Hawk: Styling herself as a new Nymeria, she motivated her vassals to raid the Stormlands in order to prove themselves to her.

    Queen Mariah Martell 

Queen Mariah Nymeros Martell

The sister of Prince Maron. She married King Daeron II as part of the deal concocted by the then king Baelor I that brought Dorne under the rule of the Iron Throne. They had four sons together: Baelor, Aerys I, Rhaegel and Maekar I.

  • Alliterative Name: Both her and her brother Maron.
  • Altar Diplomacy: Her marriage to Daeron was the first step into uniting Dorne with the rest of the Seven Kingdoms.
  • Double In-Law Marriage: She married Daeron Targaryen, while her brother Maron married Daenerys, Daeron's sister.
  • Famous Ancestor: To the Dornish she helped bring peace. To some Westerosi, she is blamed for bringing foreign ways into court.
  • Perfectly Arranged Marriage: Her marriage to Daeron was said to be happy and fruitful.
  • Retcon: Her name was retconned from "Myriah" in The World of Ice & Fire
  • Spanner in the Works: Not by her own volition as the trope dictates, but invoked nevertheless. The betrothals between Targaryens and Martells brought peace with Dorne... but brought war from everyone that was still salty at the Dornish for a century and a half of warring. These dissidents were fuming at both the Dornish-ladden court of Daeron and the shipping of Daenerys to Dorne. It didn't help that Aegon IV wasn't particularly fond of his daughter-in-law Mariah, outright expressing his disdain for her and fueling the fire before the rebellion erupted after Aegon IV died.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Her eventual fate is unknown.


Example of: