10 Things About House Martell and Dorne in HBO’s Game of Thrones

A new episode of Game of Thrones is coming at us Sunday but we were briefly introduced to Dorne last week. Dorne’s a bit of a new flavor from what we have seen of Westeros thus far, something that I guess was evident when we saw Prince Oberyn arrive at King’s Landing being all kinds of awesome. Nothing below is anything even the most passive book reader does not know, nor is it something that will spoil anything for TV watchers (with perhaps the caveat that you are already aware of the Sand Snakes) but if you are exceptionally easy to offend because internet, please stop reading.

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1. The reason why the leaders of Dorne retain the titles of Prince or Princess is that they weren’t conquered by the Targaryens and instead entered in a marriage alliance with them. They were the only Westeros kingdom that wasn’t. Their words are Unbowed. Unbent. Unbroken. While Doran is not the Warden of the South nor officially titled so, The Martells are essentially Lord Paramounts of Dorne mostly because I don’t see the Dornish ever following the Tyrells, and even more, the Tyrells going to Dorne to tell them otherwise.

2. In Dorne women can rule, they are not skipped in succession. This means that under Dornish law they could view Mycrella Baratheon, who is promised to Trystane Matrell, as the successor to Joffrey, as she’s older than Tommen. I always found it interesting that Cersei came to despise the one kingdom whose customs would actually allow her to rule. The show actually decided not to cast Arianne Martell , Doran’s daughter and his eldest child. It’s kind of odd thinking of any of Ceresei’s children as Baratheon, isn’t it? That Lannister sticks.

3. After the sack of King’s Landing Oberyn Martell tried to raise Dorne for crazy ass Viserys Targaryen. Jon Arryn, the then new Hand of the King under Robert, had to travel to Dorne to broker a piece.

4. Arguably the most famous, respected, and perhaps most dangerous knight of the last generation or two, or three, or four, was of Dorne. Ser Arthur Dayne, the Sword of the Morning, was from Starfall, sworn to House Martell. He was also thought to be Rhaeger Targaryen’s best friend. He was the last, that we know of, Dayne who carried the title of the Sword of the Morning (though Darkstar probably wouldn’t mind having it). He was apparently involved in a fight in a battle that only Ned Stark and Howland Reed (Jojen and Meera’s father) walked away from.

5. Two Dornishmen were part of the famed Aerys 7 kingsguard. The aforementioned Arthur Dayne, and Prince Lewyn of Dorne. Lewyn was the uncle of the current Prince of Dorne, Doran (as well as Oberyn and Ellia), that we were introduced to last week on Game of Thrones (played by Julian Bashir). He was killed at the Battle of the Trident, defeated by Lyn Corbray, of the Vale. Ser Lyn appeared again recently in the latest Winds of Winter chapter released by George R.R. Martin. I don’t think he has appeared in the TV show, but in the books he was among the Vale lords that visited Petyr after Lysa died. He is regarded as a very dangerous fighter.

6. The only mother put forward on the tv show for Jon Snow is “Wylla”, way back in season 1 when Robert Baratheon and Ned Stark spoke. In the books, Wylla was also the wet Nurse for Edric Dayne, the current Lord of Starfall (mentioned above), and considered a servant of the Daynes.

7. We’ve seen a lot of swords thus far but among the most famous is Dawn, an ancestral sword of House Dayne usually given to who has earned the title of Sword of the Morning. The sword was mentioned in the show briefly when Joff and Jaime were talking in the presence of The Book of Brothers (the White Book). Legend has it that it was forged from material from a fallen star, is pale as milkglass, and sharp as Valyrian steel. Dawn was said to have been returned to the Daynes by Ned Stark after their clash.

8. Jaime Lannister was knighted on the battlefield at the age of 15 by Ser Arthur Dayne.

9. There is a pretty amazing theory that Oberyn Martell actually poisoned Tywin Lannister. It’s added on to here. Remember, Oberyn came for vengeance, and he knew that the Mountain was just a tool and that Tywin probably specifically ordered the brutal murder of his sister and children.

10. In the last episode of Game of Thrones Ellaria Sand mentions the Sand Snakes. Super cute casting going on here.

Check out my interview with George R.R. Martin.