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Characters / A Song of Ice and Fire - Sand Snakes

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This is a listing of Oberyn Martell'a daughters in A Song of Ice and Fire.

For the main character index, see here

For the main Dornish entry, see here

The Sand Snakes

"It would gladden my heart if I could assure you that the Sand Snakes were alone in wanting war, but I will not tell you lies, ser."
Doran Martell

Oberyn's eight bastard children by various women, who are all female. They have yet to play much of a role in the story, other than agitating for war against the Lannisters and being imprisoned by Doran for it.


  • Action Girl: Obara Sand most notably, but the narrative implies that all of them are quite capable of defending themselves in one way or another.
  • Amazon Brigade: The oldest Sand Snakes.
  • Animal Motif: Their father was known as the Red Viper, and very fittingly they're called the Sand Snakes. Despite the fact that they mostly don't look like each other, they all have in common their father's "viper" eyes. Their personality is also not to be underestimate, since they are Hot-Blooded and vengeful. Also, snakes are sneaky by nature, and they are literally sneaking around Westeros to gain useful information for their uncle Doran.
  • Badass Adorable: Dorea Sand, an eight-year-old girl who carries around a morningstar.
    • Tyene Sand's innocent appearance and manners cover up a deadly killer whose specialty is poison.
  • 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.
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  • Daddy's Girl: They all love Oberyn and remain loyal to him even after his death.
  • Little Miss Badass: Eight-year-old Dorea Sand is already wielding a morningstar, using it to knock blood oranges off trees at the Water Gardens.
  • Moral Myopia: The eldest Snakes are very vocal about wanting to utterly destroy House Lannister — one of them specifically listing killing several members not because they were at fault of Oberyn dying or Elia killed, but to achieve a "symmetry" between killed members of both houses — but are horrified when they hear Cersei is planning to have Trystane killed.
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast: "Sand" is the Dornish surname given to noble-born bastard children, and "Snakes" is because they are the daughters of Oberyn Martell, "The Red Viper".
  • Politically Active Princess: Though they are illegitimate, Obara, Tyene, and Nymeria are a prince's daughters who take active roles in Dornish politics. Doran even selects Nymeria to take her father's vacant Dornish seat on the Seven Kingdoms' Small Council and sends her off to King's Landing.
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  • Sibling Team: Obara, Nymeria, and Tyene.
  • Spanner in the Works: To Doran Martell, though he brought it on himself due to his passivity. Their main purpose in the story is to agitate the population of Dorne into a war with the Lannisters, a war that the Dornish are actually grossly unprepared to fight due to Doran and Oberyn's boastful exaggerations of manpower and resources.
  • Stubborn Mule: They don't seem to understand that the Dornish can only win a war as long as they don't leave Dorne (as the Dornish did with the Targaryens for more than two centuries). Though they don't stop insulting Doran to his face, they heed to his authority in the end.
  • Tomboy and Girly Girl: Obara and Sarella (Tomboys) and Nymeria and Tyene (Girly Girls).
  • War Hawk: The three elder Sand Snakes, Obara, Nymeria, and Tyene, are eager to wage war against the Lannisters for the deaths of their aunt, cousins, and father.
  • We Are Everywhere: After being involved in Doran's plotting against the Lannisters, they are sent one in incognito to the Faith (Tyene), one along with a Kingsguard (Obara), one to King's Landing (Nymeria), not to mention that one of them is already implied to be at the Citadel disguised as a man (Sarella). Save for the North, there's a Sand Snake in almost every major plot of the later books.

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    Obara Sand 

Obara Sand
"Give me back my spear, Uncle. Cersei sent us a head. We should send her back a bag of them."

The eldest Sand Snake, she is the daughter of a whore in Oldtown. She fights with a whip and spear.

  • The Big Girl: She is the largest of the Sand Snake and the most physically adept out of them.
  • Blade on a Stick: Her father asked her to choose a weapon: a spear or her tears. She chose the spear, which she pairs with a round steel and copper shield.
  • Brawn Hilda: Obara Sand possesses no beauty or elegance, but is stated to be a fearsome warrior.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: In order to get revenge for her father's death, Obara wants to attack and burn Oldtown, the second-largest city in Westeros, which had absolutely nothing to do with Oberyn's death. It's also her birthplace and she hates it.
  • General Failure: Obara talks big, but she is this if her proposed campaign plan is anything to go by. Her plan involves seizing the Marcher castles before advancing on & sacking Oldtown like it's nothing. The problem is that the Marcher castles & Oldtown boast some of the most formidable fortifications in all of Westeros & neither Oldtown nor the Marchers(except for the Carons) contributed significantly to the War of the Five Kings, meaning their forces will be on hand to defend their homes. And that's without going into details of how Dorne has a much smaller pool of manpower to recruit from & tend not to do well in prolonged campaigns away from their homeland, or that attacking the Marches or Oldtown doesn't hurt the Lannisters or gain the Dornish anything other than more enemies or that she had no plans to counter the inevitable retaliation from the Iron Throne.
  • Hot-Blooded: She is the most outwardly aggressive of the Sand Snakes and cares little for hiding her true feelings or subtlety.
  • Jerkass: She's the most brash of the Sand Snakes and she very casually talks about how her mother drank herself to death a year after Obara willingly left her to go live in Dorne with Oberyn.
  • Son of a Whore: She was born to a whore in Oldtown that Oberyn bedded. When he came to claim her, the whore refused to give Obara up, but Oberyn slapped her and threw a spear at Obara's feet. He pointed at the weapon and then to her crying mother, and let her choose between a spear or tears as her weapon. Obara chose the spear and left her crying mother behind forever.
  • War Hawk: Demands that Doran declare war on the Lannisters and their supporters after Oberyn's death, and along with her sisters she tries to stir up discontent in Sunspear to force the issue. She ends up being imprisoned briefly because of this.
  • Where I Was Born and Razed: As revenge for her father Oberyn's death, she plans to destroy Oldtown, which is also the place where she was born.
  • Whip It Good: She is also extremely skilled with a whip.
  • Wholesome Crossdresser: She dresses like a man, usually in clothing it would be easy to fight in, but most people in Dorne don't have a problem with that aspect of her personality.

    Nymeria Sand 

Nymeria Sand

Lady Nym
"It ends in blood, as it began. It ends when Casterly Rock is cracked open, so the sun can shine on the maggots and the worms within. It ends with the utter ruin of Tywin Lannister and all his works."

Daughter of a noblewoman from Old Volantis. She specializes in using knives as her Weapon of Choice.

  • Aloof Dark-Haired Girl: Of the Sand Snakes, nobody would call her the most obviously Hot-Blooded one. Not that she fades into the background, as such, but she makes you work to get to know her.
  • Braids of Action: Favours keeping her hair out of trouble by trapping it in braids.
  • Cool Big Sis: Arianne seems to see her this way, when Areo searches her he finds a knife tucked in her boot that Arianne remembers as being a gift from Lady Nym. She also calls Nymeria her sister when she and the other Sand Snakes are sent on their missions.
  • Foil: Like Jon Snow, Nym is a highborn illegitimate child with a noble honorific.
  • Hereditary Homosexuality: Her father is bi and she's known to sleep with other women. Whether she has any interest in men is unknown.
  • Knife Nut: She is mentioned to always have a dozen daggers on her person.
  • Lady of War: A looker, well-educated, fairly distant and graceful. But, you really need to focus on where the daggers are, just in case they end up in you.
  • Lipstick Lesbian: 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.
  • Mixed Ancestry: Half Westerosi and half Volantene.
  • Ms. Fanservice: On par with Arianne. She often wears very revealing clothing, which Areo Hotah likes, not because of the fanservice, but because it makes it easier to spot if she is carrying any knives.
    Areo Hotah's thoughts: Nymeria was least dangerous when nearly naked. Elsewise she was sure to have a dozen blades concealed about her person.
  • Named After Somebody Famous: She is named after Nymeria, the ancient warrior queen who helped House Martell gain control of Dorne.
  • Unknown Rival: To Tywin Lannister.
    Nymera: I could wish that he died at my hand … If he had, his dying would not have been so easy.
  • Villainous Widow's Peak: A trait she inherited from her father, and she is definitely one of the more villainous Sand Snakes, wanting to kill innocent Tommen.
  • Would Hurt a Child: Wants to assassinate Tywin, Cersei, Jaime and eight year old Tommen.

    Tyene Sand 

Tyene Sand
"We could kill him, to be sure, but then we would need to kill the rest of his party too, even those sweet young squires. That would be... oh so messy."

Daughter of a Septa and the closest of the Sand Snakes to Princess Arianne Martell. She specializes in poisons, which she learned from her father.

  • Badass Adorable: Her innocent appearance and manners cover up a deadly killer.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: By reputation.
  • Childhood Friends: With Arianne, Andrey Dalt, Sylva Santagar, and Garin. Arianne notes that she and Tyene were best friends doing everything together; they learned to ride together, to fight together, got drunk for the first time and would have lost their virginity together had their willing partner Drey not gotten too excited and climaxed the moment Tyene pulled his pants down.
  • Creepy Blue Eyes: For those who see past her innocent persona, her blue eyes are definitely this.
  • Cute and Psycho: She shows shades of this, particularly when she asks if Gregor Clegane suffered as he died in a tone any other woman would use to ask if her dress was pretty.
  • Dark-Skinned Blonde: Possibly. Her skin tone is never described, but considering her father was stated to be olive-skinned and she spends an awful lot of time in a place famous for its relentless sun, she'll have a tan relative to others in Westeros even if she tries to stay indoors. note 
  • Dissonant Serenity: She asks Ser Balon Swann if the Mountain suffered a long and painful death, in the same tone of voice a girl might use to ask someone if her dress was pretty.
  • Face of an Angel, Mind of a Demon: Has golden blond hair and blue eyes and an innocent appearance and manner befitting the daughter of a Septa, which fools others into thinking she is not dangerous like her sisters. In truth, she is the most sadistic and calculating Sand Snake.
  • Femme Fatale: In a rather distressing way, yes.
  • Innocent Blue Eyes: She isn't really, but she invokes this trope and Hair of Gold, Heart of Gold, using her wide blue eyes and blonde hair to appear sweet, innocent, and pious.
  • Lady of War: She might count, due to her demeanor, though she prefers poisons and plots to direct combat in warfare.
  • Master Poisoner: Her reputation as one is so well known that when Doran puts his hand on her head for a blessing, a Maester immediately checks for puncture marks afterwards.
  • The Mole: In A Dance With Dragons, Doran sends her to King's Landing to infiltrate the Great Sept of Baelor as a Septa and learn about the new High Septon and how he may affect their plans.
  • Pimped-Out Dress: She owns and wears a number of these, to further her image as a beautiful and innocent young maiden. One of her gowns is pale blue samite with Myrish lace, and another is cream and green with long lace sleeves.
  • Poisoned Weapons: Her specialty, like her father before her.
  • Preacher's Kid: She is a septa's daughter. This is the reason for why Doran sends her to spy on the new High Septon.
  • Psychopathic Womanchild: Areo Hotah thinks of her as one, noting how childish she seems, with her little giggles and feigned innocence masking her dangerous nature.
  • Silk Hiding Steel: She exploits her pure, sweet appearance. Nobody would expect a Master Poisoner to look so innocent.
  • War Hawk: Like Obara, she wants war with the Lannisters, but prefers starting a defensive one rather than an offensive one by crowning Myrcella Queen, forcing the Lannisters to try invading Dorne. She ends up being imprisoned briefly because of this.
  • Virgin in a White Dress: Discussed. She is rather pleased when Doran dispatches her to infiltrate the Faith as a Septa.
    Tyene: White suits my colouring. I look so ... pure.

    Sarella Sand 

Sarella Sand

Daughter of a trader from the Summer Isles. She has a reputation for being very curious.

  • The Ghost: She has yet to appear, although she has been referred to as "playing a game" in Oldtown. Interestingly, there is an androgynous, Dornish student of the Citadel in Oldtown named Alleras, which is Sarella backwards, he has a widow's peak like Oberyn, and his father was from Dorne and his mother was from the Summer Isles. Guess what the fandom's assuming.
  • Mixed Ancestry: Oberyn was a "Salty Dornishman" while Sarella's mother is from the Summer Isles.
  • Sweet Polly Oliver: If she's Alleras.

    Elia Sand 

Elia Sand

Lady Lance

Oberyn and Ellaria's fourteen-year-old daughter, and a jouster-in-training.

  • Big Sister Worship: She worships the elder Sand Snakes, and is in turn looked up to by her younger sisters Dorea and Loreza. Her mother fears that she will follow Obara, Nymeria and Tyene in their pursuit of vengeance against House Lannister and get herself killed.
  • Braids of Action: A Little Miss Badass with braids.
  • Dead Guy Junior: Named after her aunt.
  • In-Series Nickname: "Lady Lance", which Arianne suspects Oberyn gave her.
  • Lady-in-Waiting: She is meant to serve as one to Arianne. She would rather try challenging the knights accompanying them to a joust or to hare off investigating strange places alone.
  • Little Miss Badass: She is reputedly very good with a lance (so much that her nickname is "Lady Lance") and tries to pick fights with older men.
  • Not So Different: From Arianne herself. She's a bold Rebellious Princess who is a thorn in the side of an older relative. When Arianne caught her kissing a servant, she doesn't miss that she lost her virginity at her very same age. All of this is the exact reason her father sent Elia with Arianne.
  • Rebellious Princess: This is the very reason why Doran sends her with Arianne: as "revenge"
  • Tag Along Kid: Gets sent with Arianne on a diplomatic mission to determine if Jon Connington has really returned to Westeros with Aegon VI.
  • Tomboy: She loves to ride horses and is good with a lance. Ellaria comments she smells like a horse half the time.
  • Troubling Unchildlike Behavior: Played with. On the one hand, there is plenty of precedent for Elia's overly precocious forwardness in both candoodling in corners and adventuring when she's supposed to be doing other things. On the other, seeing actions not unlike her own at that age, both from the outside and from an older perspective, is a truly troubling experience for poor Arianne; on a number of uncomfortable levels.

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