Doran Martell

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House Martell.svg
Doran Martell
House Martell.svg
Mathia Arkoniel DoranM.jpg
by Mathia Arkoniel ©

Title Prince of Dorne
Lord of Sunspear
Allegiance House Nymeros Martell
Culture Dornish
Born In 247 AC or 248 AC[1], at Sunspear[2]
Spouse Lady Mellario
Book(s) The World of Ice and Fire (mentioned)
A Game of Thrones (mentioned)
A Clash of Kings (mentioned)
A Storm of Swords (mentioned)
A Feast for Crows (appears)
A Dance with Dragons (appears)
The Winds of Winter (appears)

Played by Alexander Siddig
TV series Season 5 | Season 6

Prince Doran Nymeros Martell, also known simply as Doran Martell, is the head of House Martell, the Prince of Dorne, and the Lord of Sunspear. Married to Lady Mellario, of the Free City of Norvos, he has three children: Arianne, Quentyn, and Trystane. In the television adaptation Game of Thrones, he is played by Alexander Siddig.

Character and Appearance

See also: Images of Doran Martell

In his early fifties, Doran is a cautious, pensive, and subtle man.[3][4] He is prone to think long on the matters before him, weighing every word and every action.[4][5] He has a bad case of gout which has recently left him unable to walk, instead having to rely on his wheeled chair, or a palanquin, to move around. He appears to be much older than he is in truth. His body is soft and shapeless, and the gout has swollen and reddened the joints of his knees, toes and hands. He covers his legs and feet with a blanket, blocking the sight of his gout.[6][7] Due to his gout, he only travels in a palanquin,[6][8] and is rarely seen in public, as he does not want to appear weak in the eyes of his enemies.[6]

While his bannermen might consider him weak,[5][6][7] Doran has been focused for years on getting revenge for the murder of his sister, Elia, and her two young children during the Sack of King's Landing in 283 AC.[3][7]

Because of the early deaths of his siblings Olyvar and Mors, the multiple miscarriages his mother suffered, and the difference in age with his surviving siblings, Elia and Oberyn, Doran was raised alone.[2][6] He still has a deep affection for his sister, and had a good relationship with his younger brother as well.


Early life

Doran was the first born child of his parents, and thus heir to his mother, the Princess of Dorne. For years, he was an only child, as his mother had several miscarriages.[2] While he would have four siblings, Mors and Olyvar, both died in the cradle. Doran spent several years of his childhood at the Water Gardens, and by the age of nine, he was a squire to Lord Gargalen at Salt Shore. While there, his mother gave birth to his sister, Elia. As Elia had been born one month premature, Doran was convinced that his sister too would die, as their brothers had done before, but she survived. A year later, Doran's brother Oberyn was born.[6]

As a young man, Doran took a tour through the Free Cities. He visited Volantis, and next went to Norvos, where he met his future wife, Lady Mellario.[3] They fell in love and Mellario returned to Dorne with Doran, where they were betrothed. In 273 AC, when his mother, her consort, and Doran's two younger siblings traveled through the south of Seven Kingdoms on a quest to find suitable matches for Elia and Oberyn, Doran stayed behind as castellan of Sunspear, with Mellario.[9] Although Mellario was high born enough to become his wife, most marriages between nobles in Westeros are political. A love match is very uncommon.[10] In 276 AC, Doran and Mellario's first child, Arianne, was born.[11] Around 279 AC, Doran inherited the rule of Dorne.[12]

An unknown amount of time after his siblings had travelled to find suitable marriage candidates, Doran's brother Oberyn fought in a duel with Lord Edgar Yronwood. Due to Oberyn's high birth and young age, the two men had agreed to duel until first blood. Both men were injured, but when Oberyn's cuts healed, and Lord Edgar's festered, eventually resulting in his death, it was whispered Oberyn had fought with a poisoned blade.[8] Doran acted swiftly, sending Oberyn in temporary exile.[13]

Prince of Dorne

Doran's sister Elia Martell was betrothed to Crown Prince Rhaegar Targaryen in early 279 AC, and wed him a year later.[14] She had two young children by Rhaegar, Rhaenys and Aegon.[15] When Rhaegar disappeared with Lyanna Stark in 282 AC, not long after Aegon's birth, it started a chain of events leading to Robert's Rebellion,[16] in which the North, and several houses from the stormlands and Vale (later joined by several houses from the riverlands) fought against the Iron Throne and House Targaryen.[17] Doran was furious about the way Elia had been treated by Rhaegar, and as a consequence was slow to lend any aid to the Targaryens.[2] After Rhaegar returned from the south to King's Landing, Doran agreed to send ten thousand Dornishmen to fight in the loyalist army, under the command of his uncle, Prince Lewyn Martell of the Kingsguard,[18] understanding that Elia, as the wife to the crown prince, would one day become Queen, and that her son Aegon would one day be King.[2]

However, Rhaegar died at the Battle of the Trident,[19] as did Doran's uncle, Lewyn,[20] and King Aerys II Targaryen, believing that Lewyn had betrayed Rhaegar on the Trident, refused to send Elia and her children to Dragonstone alongside his own wife, Queen Rhaella Targaryen, and their son Viserys.[18] Not long after, during the Sack of King's Landing, Elia and her children were brutally killed by Gregor Clegane and Amory Lorch, men from the Lannister host.[19][21] The new King, Robert I Baratheon, was accepting of their deaths.[4] As a consequence, Doran's brother Oberyn attempted to raise a rebellion for Viserys during the year after the rebellion, but the new Hand of the King, Lord Jon Arryn, traveled to Sunspear to return Prince Lewyn's bones, and spoke with Doran, ending all talks of rebellion.[4]

Prince Doran Martell holding a half peeled blood orange - by Tommy Arnold

However, Doran desired revenge for the deaths of Elia and her children as well, and for this purpose, worked closely together with his brother Oberyn for years, planning on destroying all that Lord Tywin Lannister holds dear, before killing him as well.[7] To this end, Oberyn travelled to Braavos, where Ser Willem Darry had fled to with Viserys and Daenerys Targaryen. A secret pact was made, with Oberyn signing for Dorne, and with the Sealord of Braavos as a witness, betrothing Doran's daughter Arianne to the exiled King Viserys.[3][22]

Doran also sent his son Quentyn, born in 281 AC,[23] to serve Lord Ormond Yronwood as a page, and later squire.[24] Quentyn's fostering was done to make peace with the Yronwoods, as enmity between the two houses had arisen after the death of Lord Edgar Yronwood.[8] However, this caused another strain on Doran's marriage to Mellario. Although they had married out of love, their marriage had not been very happy. Mellario had not been able to get used to the Dornish customs, which were so different from the Norvoshi customs.[10][25] As such, Mellario did not approve of Quentyn's fostering, which is not common in Norvoshi culture, believing her son to be much too young at the time.[24] When Doran, after sending Quentyn to Yronwood, planned to send Arianne to Tyrosh to serve as the cupbearer to the Archon of Tyrosh, which would have enabled her to meet her betrothed in secret, Mellario threatened to harm herself, should Doran steal another one of her children. Not wanting to hurt his wife, Doran thus kept Arianne in Dorne.[3] Doran and his wife had a third child, Trystane, who was born in 287 AC.[26] However, Doran and Mellario's marriage continued to detoriate, and she would never forgive Doran for sending Quentyn away. Eventually, she went back to Norvos.[24]

While he had planned to tell Arianne about her betrothal to the last Targaryen heir when she was sixteen, he decided to keep the secret from her due to her spirited and willful nature.[3] Unbeknownst to Doran, however, Arianne had read a letter Doran had been writing to Quentyn, in which he mentioned that Quentyn would inherit the rule of Dorne from Doran.[3][5] Thus, she had come to believe that Doran's coolness towards her was due to the fact that he wanted to disinherit her, and name Quentyn his heir instead. When Doran suggests numerous aged suitors to her (including Lord Walder Frey, Ben Beesbury, and Gyles Rosby), whilst declining more age-matched suitors (like Edmure Tully and Willas Tyrell), it only strengthened her beliefs.[3][24] In truth, Doran had feared that it would be suspicious if he was not seen trying to arrange a betrothal for Arianne, and had only made the suggestions he had because he had known she would reject every single one.[3]

Doran eventually became afflicted with gout. In 298 AC, when still capable of walking, albeitly with a stick, Doran moved from Sunspear to the Water Gardens. Two years later, however, Doran's gout has become far worse, and he is no longer able to walk, but instead is usually confined to a wheelchair. Not wanting his enemies to know how feeble he has grown, he remained at the Water Gardens, where he is far away from curious eyes.[6] At the Water Gardens, the summer home of the Martells, he prefers to watch the children at their play, sitting quietly on the terras amongst the orange trees. He only sees his trusted courtiers and advisors,[6] summoning his brother Oberyn twice every fortnight, and his daughter Arianne twice a year.[5]

Recent Events

Prince Doran - by Jacqui Davis ©

A Game of Thrones

After Joffrey Baratheon has been crowned King, Doran Martell and his sons are summoned to court to swear fealthy to the new king.[27] Varys tells Eddard Stark that the Martells still harbor hate for the Lannisters for what befell Elia and her children.[28]

A Clash of Kings

Renly Baratheon assumes that House Martell will support him during the War of the Five Kings,[29] but Tyrion Lannister, as acting Hand of the King, offers to betroth Myrcella Baratheon to Doran’s youngest son, Trystane Martell, as well as offering Doran justice for his murdered sister Elia and her children, and giving him a seat on the king's small council, and some castles on the Dornish Marches, in return for his loyalty to the Iron Throne and support of Dorne in the war.[30] Doran accepts the terms,[31] and by the time Myrcella leaves King's Landing to begin the journey to Sunspear, he has called his banners.[32]. Once Myrcella arrives in Braavos, Doran sends his armies to the high passes.[33] While Doran will not send out his armies to give battle unless Dorne is at danger, Tyrion Lannister hopes that sending the armies of Dorne to the borders will make the Marcher lords rethink their loyalty, as well as halt Stannis Baratheon in marching north.[32]

A Storm of Swords

Because his health does not permit him to travel, Doran sends his younger brother Oberyn to King's Landing to claim the small council seat he had been promised and attend King Joffrey I Baratheon's wedding to Margaery Tyrell.[8]

A Feast for Crows

After Oberyn dies during Tyrion Lannister's trial by battle, [9] Doran refuses every suggestion of going to war to avenge his brother, stating that Oberyn's death, by law, was no murder. He returns to Sunspear from the Water Gardens, to show his people that he still holds power. In order to maintain the peace in Dorne, he has Oberyn's bastard daughters (except Sarella, who is not in Dorne) imprisoned in comfortable confinement. [6] He also meets Princess Myrcella Baratheon and her guard, Ser Arys Oakheart, for the first time.[5] After his guards foil Arianne's plan to crown Myrcella, Doran has Arianne arrested and confined to weeks of solitude. Eventually, he frees her, and they discuss why Arianne betrayed him, before Doran reveals to her that he had been working to restore House Targaryen, and had been plotting to rob Lord Tywin Lannister of all he held dear before killing him ever since he learned about Elia's death. With Viserys Targaryen dead, Doran now wants to ally House Martell with Queen Daenerys Targaryen, and has send his son Quentyn to Essos to escort her to Westeros.[5][24][3]

A Dance with Dragons

Prince Doran in contemplation - by Raymond Bonilla ©

Doran has his bannermen delay Ser Balon Swann of the Kingsguard, send by Dowager Queen Cersei Lannister, due to Myrcella's injures after Arianne's failed plot.[3][7] He eventually arrives at Sunspear, where a feast is held in his honour. Doran's daughter Arianne, now fully aware of his plans, sits beside him. Doran has also released Oberyn's three eldest daughters, Obara, Tyene and Nymeria from captivity, and in front of the three eldest Sand Snakes, Ellaria Sand, Areo Hotah and half the nobility of Dorne, Doran is presented with the skull of the Gregor Clegane.[7]

Ser Balon states that Cersei Lannister wishes him to bring Myrcella back to King's Landing to visit her brother. Doran is invited to fill the vacant Dornish seat on the small council, while Prince Trystane is invited to see the city and befriend the young King. When Doran suggests that traveling by ship may be easier, this unnerves Ser Balon, who states that a voyage by sea would be too dangerous. Doran agrees he is probably right.[7]

In a private chamber, Doran Martell reveals to Tyene, Obara, Nymeria, Areo Hotah and his daughter that Cersei's invitation is an ambush. According to a friend at the court of King’s Landing, the party would be ambushed by brigands shouting "halfman" in the Kingswood, and Trystane would be killed in the attack. Afterwards, Ser Balon would falsely claim that he saw Tyrion Lannister. The revelation of this plan shocks the elder three daughters of Oberyn.[7]

Doran says he had been dubious of the plot himself until Ser Balon confirmed his suspicions, by trying to persuade him to avoid a voyage by ship (which would have disrupted all of Cersei's arrangements). The Obara, Nymeria and Tyene are enraged, but Doran will not allow them to harm Ser Balon or his companions as he is under the protection of the guest right.[7]

To stop this scheme from coming to fruition, Doran has Ser Balon brought to Myrcella, allowing him to find out about her injuries by Gerold Dayne.[7] Myrcella lies (under Arianne's direction), claiming that Ser Gerold also killed Ser Arys Oakheart, begging Ser Balon to bring Dayne to justice. Doran has Obara escort Ser Balon to High Hermitage, and he is currently hunting for Darkstar.[3][7][34] Doran sends Nymeria to King's Landing to claim the vacant seat on the small council, and Tyene to the great Sept of Baelor to befriend the New High Septon.[7]

While Doran waits for word from his son, Quentyn, he hears news that a fleet of ships are sailing from Lys to Westeros.[7]

The Winds of Winter

Doran has received a letter from Lord Jon Connington, stating that his sister Elia's son, Aegon Targaryen, has survived the Sack of King's Landing, and has returned to Westeros after all these years to reclaim the Iron Throne. Doran sends Arianne to the Stormlands to meet Aegon and Connington.[35]

Quotes by Doran

Words are like arrows, Arianne. Once loosed, you cannot call them back.[6]
- Doran to Arianne Martell

I have worked at the downfall of Tywin Lannister since the day they told me of Elia and her children.[3]
- Doran to Arianne Martell

I am not blind, nor deaf. I know you all believe me weak, frightened, feeble. Your father knew me better. Oberyn was ever the viper. Deadly, dangerous, unpredictable. No man dared tread on him. I was the grass. Pleasant, complaisant, sweet-smelling, swaying with every breeze. 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.[7]
- Doran to the Sand Snakes

Quotes about Doran

[Doran] is 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.[4]
Tywin Lannister to Tyrion Lannister

Your father keeps his secrets well, Prince Quentyn. Too well, I fear.[36]
- Barristan Selmy to Quentyn Martell

Your father married for love, it's said. How much joy has he had of that?[37]
- Gerris Drinkwater to Quentyn Martell

Doran plays to win, whether at cyvasse or the game of thrones.[38]
- George R. R. Martin

Family tree

of Dorne
Ellaria Sand
Obara Sand
Tyene Sand
Elia Sand
Dorea Sand
Sarella Sand
Obella Sand
Loreza Sand

References and Notes

  1. See the Doran Martell calculation.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 George R. R. Martin's A World of Ice and Fire, Doran Martell.
  3. 3.00 3.01 3.02 3.03 3.04 3.05 3.06 3.07 3.08 3.09 3.10 3.11 3.12 A Feast for Crows, Chapter 40, Princess In The Tower.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 A Storm of Swords, Chapter 53, Tyrion VI.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.5 A Feast for Crows, Chapter 13, The Soiled Knight.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 6.5 6.6 6.7 6.8 6.9 A Feast for Crows, Chapter 2, The Captain Of Guards.
  7. 7.00 7.01 7.02 7.03 7.04 7.05 7.06 7.07 7.08 7.09 7.10 7.11 7.12 7.13 A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 38, The Watcher.
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 A Storm of Swords, Chapter 38, Tyrion V.
  9. 9.0 9.1 A Storm of Swords, Chapter 70, Tyrion X.
  10. 10.0 10.1 So Spake Martin: Interview in Barcelona (July 28, 2012)
  11. See the Arianne Martell calculation
  12. See the calculation on the timing of Doran Martell's inheritance of Dorne
  13. The Winds of Winter, Arianne I
  14. The World of Ice and Fire, The Targaryen Kings: Aerys II.
  15. A Game of Thrones, Appendix.
  16. The World of Ice and Fire, The Fall of the Dragons: The Year of the False Spring.
  17. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 2, Catelyn I.
  18. 18.0 18.1 A Storm of Swords, Chapter 37, Jaime V.
  19. 19.0 19.1 A Game of Thrones, Chapter 3, Daenerys I.
  20. A Feast for Crows, Chapter 23, Alayne I.
  21. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 30, Eddard VII.
  22. A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 43, Daenerys VII.
  23. See the Quentyn Martell calculation
  24. 24.0 24.1 24.2 24.3 24.4 A Feast for Crows, Chapter 21, The Queenmaker.
  25. The World of Ice and Fire, The Free Cities: Norvos.
  26. See the Trystane Martell calculation
  27. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 57, Sansa V.
  28. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 58, Eddard XV.
  29. A Clash of Kings, Chapter 22, Catelyn II.
  30. A Clash of Kings, Chapter 20, Tyrion V.
  31. A Clash of Kings, Chapter 25, Tyrion VI.
  32. 32.0 32.1 A Clash of Kings, Chapter 41, Tyrion IX.
  33. A Clash of Kings, Chapter 42, Davos II.
  34. A Dance with Dragons, Epilogue.
  35. Arianne I (The Winds of Winter)
  36. A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 59, The Discarded Knight.
  37. A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 68, The Dragontamer.
  38. So Spake Martin: " Forum Chat" (July 27, 2008)

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