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Dorne location on Westeros

Dorne is the large peninsula which makes up the southern-most part of Westeros, and is one of the constituent regions of the Seven Kingdoms. The lords of the ruling House Nymeros Martell style themselves "Prince" and "Princess" in the Rhoynish fashion.[1]

The Martells rule from their capital, Sunspear, outside of which sprawls the shadow city. Notable houses include Allyrion, Blackmont, Dayne, Fowler, Jordayne, Qorgyle, Santagar, Toland, Uller, Vaith, Wyl, and Yronwood.[1][2]


See also: Images of Dorne
Map of Dorne with its major strongholds

Dorne is the hottest region of Westeros. The region is rocky, mountainous, arid and dry, and features the only desert on the continent. Dorne is bordered by the Sea of Dorne to the north, the islands known as the Stepstones to the east, and the Summer Sea to the south. Stretched between them is the mountain range known as the Red Mountains, which separates Dorne from the stormlands to the north and the Reach to the northwest and west. There are two major passes, the Boneway and the Prince's Pass, which go through the Red Mountains to the Dornish Marches of the stormlands. The Prince's Pass leads to Nightsong, while the Boneway leads to Summerhall.[3] Sunspear and the Water Gardens, both controlled by the ruling House Martell, are located in southeastern Dorne.

Most of Dorne south of the Red Mountains is an arid wasteland. Eastern Dorne largely consists of dry, stony soil ill-suited for agriculture, while western Dorne contains deserts of red and white sand.[4] The lords of House Vaith, for instance, are known as the Lords of the Red Dunes,[5] while nobles of old who settled desert oases called themselves the Lords of the Wells.[4]

Dorne's rivers provide some fertile lands and even during a long summer there is enough rain and other supplies of water to keep Dorne habitable.[6] Inland water is almost as valuable as gold, and wells are jealously guarded. The major Dornish river is the Greenblood in southeastern Dorne, which is formed by the Vaith and the Scourge near Godsgrace. The trading port called Planky Town is located at the mouth of the Greenblood along the Summer Sea. The Brimstone in southern Dorne flows past the Hellholt to the Summer Sea. The Torentine has its source in the Red Mountains of western Dorne and ends at Starfall along the Summer Sea. The Wyl flows across the Boneway in northern Dorne to the Sea of Dorne. There is another river in northern Dorne which flows near Yronwood to the Sea of Dorne, but its name is as yet unknown.[3]

The southern coast is some four hundred leagues long. It is ridden with cliffs, whirlpools, and hidden shoals, with few safe landings.[7]


Salty Dornishman. © FFG
Main article: Dornishmen

Dorne is the least populous of the Seven Kingdoms.[8] Dornishmen differ both culturally and ethnically from other Westerosi due to the historical mass immigration of Rhoynish people and their relative isolation. Dornishmen have adopted many Rhoynish customs on top of their First Men and Andal origins. Dornishmen have a reputation for hot-bloodedness and sexual licentiousness, and are still viewed with some mistrust and rivalry by the people of the neighboring Dornish Marches. Dornish bastards are given the surname Sand.


Dorne provides many exotic products which are uncommon in the rest of the Seven Kingdoms, in particular, citrus fruits and Dorne's own special wines. Lemons, olives, and pomegranates come chiefly from Dorne. Many of these plants are grown with the aid of canals that bring water from streams and rivers. Dorne is also famous for spicy dragon peppers[9] and the sand steed, a type of slim but swift horse bred in only in Dorne, which can run for near two days before tiring.[10] Bows are made from Dornish yew.[11][12]

Ships from the Free Cities such as Volantis trade at the port town Planky Town, which is located at the mouth of the river Greenblood, allowing transport of goods across the land. Caravans take on supplies at Sunspear before crossing the deep sands to reach the Prince's Pass.

Military strength

The Martells are believed to be able to raise fifty thousand soldiers, both by Dornishmen[13] as by people from other kingdoms.[14] However, when, following his conquest of Dorne, King Daeron I Targaryen wrote his book called The Conquest of Dorne, he exaggerated the quantity of his opponents to enhance his victory. House Martell has never corrected this claim, in order to make Dorne appear stronger.[8] Dorne's true military numbers have not yet been revealed, though George R. R. Martin has previously stated that Dorne is roughly equal in military strength to the north and Vale.[15]

In the time before the Andals, King Ferris Fowler led ten thousand men against King Garth VII Gardener, during the Golden Reign.[16] At the time, House Fowler ruled one of the three most powerful kingdoms in Dorne (the other two being House Dayne of Starfall and House Yronwood of Yronwood.[17] In 37 AC, a rebel known as the Vulture King managed to gather a following of thirty thousand strong.[18] More recently, House Martell sent ten thousand soldiers to fight in the Battle of the Trident, in 283 AC.[19][20]

Dorne has no strength at sea since the rhoynish warrior Queen Nymeria burned her ten thousand ships a thousand years ago.[21]


Children of the forest

The children of the forest referred to Dorne as the Empty Land.[4]

First Men

The throne of Dorne - by Marc Simonetti ©

The First Men settled Westeros by crossing the land bridge across the narrow sea called the Arm of Dorne. During their great war with the First Men, the children of the forest allegedly broke the Arm with the hammer of the waters in an attempt to stop them coming.

First Men houses who established themselves as prominent kings included House Dayne, the Kings of the Torrentine; House Fowler, the Kings of Stone and Sky; and House Yronwood, the Bloodroyals who styled themselves High King of Dorne. A rival High King of Dorne was also chosen from a dozen houses along the Greenblood.[22]

Andal Adventurers

During the Andal invasion of Westeros, most Andals avoided Dorne, aside from adventurers such as the Ullers, Qorgyles, and Vaiths. The Allyrions, Jordaynes, and Santagars also established their own realms. The Martells defeated two First Men houses, the Wades and Shells, claiming territory near the mouth of the Greenblood.[23]

House Nymeros Martell

One thousand years ago, Dorne was a coalition of First Men and Andal petty kings and lords, with no ruler strong enough to seize control of the entire region. The Rhoynish Wars forced the people of the Rhoynar to flee their homeland along the Rhoyne in Essos. Led by their legendary warrior-queen, Nymeria, they left in a fleet of ten thousand ships, eventually making landfall at the mouth of the Greenblood in Dorne. Nymeria allied with Lord Mors Martell of the Sandship, and with his support conquered the entire peninsula in Nymeria's War, uniting it with House Nymeros Martell of Sunspear as its ruler.

While the monarchs from the rest of Westeros used the title "king", the new rulers of Dorne used the Rhoynish title "prince" instead. Although no longer kings, the Yronwoods, the second-most-powerful house in Dorne, continued to call themselves "the Bloodroyal".[8]

The Rhoynar brought their own gods with them to Dorne, but they have largely disappeared in favor of the Faith of the Seven. Nevertheless, many Rhoynish customs, including inheritance regardless of gender, have been absorbed into Dornish society.[24] Descendents of the Rhoynar who have not assimilated into Dornish society are known as orphans of the Greenblood.

Dorne has had a violent history, particularly with the houses of the Red Mountains, who lived by raiding across the borders into the Dornish Marches, feuding with each other endlessly. Dorne, the Kings of the Reach, and the Storm Kings fought border wars beyond count and made countless raids across mountains and marches even when at peace, leading to their great enmity.

Aegon the Conqueror

Seven centuries after the Rhoynar invasion, Aegon I Targaryen invaded Westeros and in his War of Conquest subjugated all of the Westerosi kings one by one, except Dorne. One of Aegon's sisters, Rhaenys Targaryen, flew on her dragon, Meraxes, above the Dornishmen guarding the Prince's Pass, but each Dornish castle she visited was abandoned. When she came to Sunspear, she was met by Princess Meria Martell, who warned that the Targaryens would face peril if they attacked Dorne.[25]

In 4 AC, however, Aegon I announced another campaign, which became the First Dornish War. Whereas other kings and lords had taken to the field against Aegon, or clustered in castles, the Dornish refused to give open battle and allow Aegon to deploy his dragons. Instead, they turned to ambush and raids, striking quickly and then slipping back into the desert or through the mountain passes, where even the dragons could not find them.

Aegon's younger sister-wife, Queen Rhaenys, participated in this war, which eventually lead to her death. Meraxes was also killed, being hit in the eye by a scorpion at the Hellholt.[26] In time, Aegon pulled away from Dorne.[27]

War for the Stepstones

A desolate canyon in Dorne. Illustrated by Franz Miklis. © Fantasy Flight Games.

In 110 AC, Dorne joined the Triarchy in the war against Prince Daemon Targaryen for control of the Stepstones.

The Conquest of Dorne

A century and a half after the Conquest, King Daeron I Targaryen, the Young Dragon, managed to do what his ancestor could not and successfully subdued the kingdom. Unfortunately, Dorne almost immediately rose in rebellion. In the resulting conflict, forty thousand soldiers gave their lives and Daeron was murdered under a peace banner.[28]

After Daeron's death, his brother and successor Baelor the Blessed made peace with Dorne instead, marrying off his cousin, another Daeron, to Myriah Martell. When this prince ruled as Daeron II, he made another marriage pact, offering his younger sister Daenerys to the ruling Prince of Dorne, Maron Martell, finally joining Dorne to the rest of the Seven Kingdoms through a peaceful alliance. Before officially joining the realm, the Dornishmen fought alongside Daeron II's forces (being led by his half-Martell son Baelor Targaryen), helping to suppress the First Blackfyre Rebellion. Even though they are no longer independent and now owe allegiance to the Iron Throne, the ruling Martells still use the title Prince of Dorne, unlike their lordly counterparts in the rest of the Seven Kingdoms.

Robert's Rebellion/The War of the Usurper

The Dornish were loyalists who supported the Targaryens during the War of the Usurper, as Elia Martell was married to the crown prince, Rhaegar Targaryen. Lewyn Martell commanded ten thousand Dornishmen in the Battle of the Trident, in which Lewyn and Rhaegar were killed. After lifting the siege of Storm's End, Eddard Stark fought three members of the Kingsguard at the tower of joy in northern Dorne. The Dornish were livid because of the deaths of Elia and her children in the Sack of King's Landing, but Jon Arryn, the Hand of the new king, Robert Baratheon, was able to make peace with Prince Doran Martell.

Recent Events

A blood orange grove Dorne © FFG

A Clash of Kings

The acting Hand of the King, Tyrion Lannister, sends Princess Myrcella Baratheon to Sunspear to gain House Martell as an ally for House Baratheon of King's Landing.[29]

A Storm of Swords

Doran Martell, Prince of Dorne, remains at Sunspear because of his health. His younger brother, Oberyn Martell, leads a Dornish retinue to King's Landing to take Doran's place on the small council.[10] Seeking vengeance for his murdered sister Elia Martell, he is killed by Ser Gregor Clegane during Tyrion's trial by battle.[30]

A Feast for Crows

Oberyn's daughters, the Sand Snakes, demand vengeance for their father and want to lead the angry Dornish against the Baratheons, Lannisters, and Tyrells. Oberyn's cautious brother, Prince Doran, has the Sand Snakes seized, however.

Doran's daughter, Arianne Martell, plots to crown Myrcella and place her on the Iron Throne. Her plan falters on the Greenblood, however. Ser Arys Oakheart of the Kingsguard is killed by Areo Hotah, while Myrcella is wounded by Darkstar, Ser Gerold Dayne. With the exception of Darkstar, Arianne and her fellow conspirators are taken into custody. Later, Doran reveals to his daughter that there were plans to marry her to the now-deceased Viserys Targaryen and Quentyn Martell to Daenerys Targaryen.

A Dance with Dragons

Doran sends Obara Sand with Ser Balon Swann to apprehend Darkstar, while Tyene Sand and Nymeria Sand are sent to King's Landing.

Quentyn travels across Essos to Daenerys in Meereen. The young queen rejects him, however, and Quentyn is killed while attempting to tame one of her dragons.

The Winds of Winter

Arianne departs Sunspear on a mission from her father to discover the truth about the supposed Aegon Targaryen. Dornish hosts are massed in the Prince's Pass and the Boneway.


House Allyrion House Allyrion of Godsgrace.
House Blackmont House Blackmont of Blackmont.
None (Dorne) House Briar.
None (Dorne) House Brook.
None (Dorne) House Brownhill.
House Dalt House Dalt of Lemonwood.
None (Dorne) House Dayne of High Hermitage.
House Dayne House Dayne of Starfall.
None (Dorne) House Drinkwater.
None (Dorne) House Dryland of Hellgate Hall.
House Fowler House Fowler of Skyreach.
GargalenCoA.png House Gargalen of Salt Shore.
None (Dorne) House Holt.
None (Dorne) House Hull.
House Jordayne House Jordayne of the Tor.
None (Dorne) House Ladybright.
None (Dorne) House Lake.
House Manwoody House Manwoody of Kingsgrave.
House Martell House Martell of Sunspear.
House Qorgyle House Qorgyle of Sandstone.
House Santagar House Santagar of Spottswood.
None (Dorne) House Shell.
TolandCoA.png House Toland of Ghost Hill.
House Uller House Uller of the Hellholt.
House Vaith House Vaith of Vaith.
None (Dorne) House Wade.
None (Dorne) House Wells.
WylCoA.png House Wyl of Wyl.
House Yronwood House Yronwood of Yronwood.


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.[25]
Meria Martell to Rhaenys Targaryen

Like Dornish food and Dornish law, Dornish speech was spiced with the flavors of the Rhoyne, but a man could comprehend it.[31]
- thoughts of Tyrion Lannister

Dorne had seemed a queer place to him as well when first he came here with his own princess, many years ago. The bearded priests had drilled him on the Common Speech of Westeros before they sent him forth, but the Dornishmen all spoke too quickly for him to understand. Dornish women were lewd, Dornish wine was sour, and Dornish food was full of queer hot spices. And the Dornish sun was hotter than the pale, wan sun of Norvos, glaring down from a blue sky day after day.[32]
– thoughts of Areo Hotah

He did not conquer here. Elsewhere he burned his foes, him and his sisters, but here we melted away before them, leaving only stone and sand for them to burn. And round and round the dragons went, snapping at their tails for want of any other food, till they were tied in knots.[33]
- Valena Toland to Daemon Sand

Dorne is a very special land, with a slightly different cultural basis than the rest of Westeros… it was politically apart for a long time, it was also culturally apart because of the Rhoynar and the traditions they brought, but they didn’t influence the rest of Westeros so much.[34]
- George R. R. Martin

References and Notes

  1. 1.0 1.1 A Game of Thrones, Appendix.
  2. The World of Ice & Fire, Dorne: The Coming of the Rhoynar.
  3. 3.0 3.1 The Lands of Ice and Fire, Westeros.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 The World of Ice & Fire, Dorne.
  5. A Feast for Crows, Appendix.
  6. So Spake Martin: Interaction (Glasgow, Scotland, UK; August 4-8) (August 04, 2005)
  7. A Feast for Crows, Chapter 29, The Reaver.
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 A Feast for Crows, Chapter 40, Princess In The Tower.
  9. A Feast for Crows, Chapter 13, The Soiled Knight.
  10. 10.0 10.1 A Storm of Swords, Chapter 38, Tyrion V.
  11. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 55, Jon VII.
  12. A Feast for Crows, Chapter 45, Samwell V.
  13. A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 43, Daenerys VII.
  14. A Clash of Kings, Chapter 17, Tyrion IV.
  15. So Spake Martin: Strength of the Regions (February 18, 2002)
  16. The World of Ice & Fire, The Reach: The Gardener Kings.
  17. The World of Ice & Fire, Dorne: Kingsdoms of the First Men.
  18. The World of Ice & Fire, The Targaryen Kings: Aenys I.
  19. The World of Ice & Fire, The Fall of the Dragons: Robert's Rebellion.
  20. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 37, Jaime V.
  21. A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 50, Daenerys VIII.
  22. The World of Ice & Fire, Dorne: Kingdoms of the First Men.
  23. The World of Ice & Fire, Dorne: The Andals Arrive.
  24. So Spake Martin: Event Horizon Chat (March 18, 1999)
  25. 25.0 25.1 The World of Ice & Fire, The Reign of the Dragons: The Conquest.
  26. The Princess and the Queen.
  27. George R. R. Martin's A World of Ice and Fire.
  28. The World of Ice & Fire, The Targaryen Kings: Daeron I.
  29. A Clash of Kings, Chapter 41, Tyrion IX.
  30. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 70, Tyrion X.
  31. A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 1, Tyrion I.
  32. A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 38, The Watcher.
  33. Arianne I (The Winds of Winter)
  34. George R.R. Martin: "Trying to please everyone is a horrible mistake" Adria's News

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