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Rhoynar migration

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Nymeria leads her army to Dorne.
Art by Roman Papsuev
Valyrian invasion and the subsequent Rhoynar flight

The Rhoynar migration occurred about a thousand[1] years before the start of A Song of Ice and Fire. After being defeated by the Valyrian Freehold, the Rhoynar people fled Essos and settled in Dorne in Westeros. By allying with Queen Nymeria and the Rhoynar, House Martell were victorious against the other Dornishmen in Nymeria's War.[2]



Around 700 years before Aegon's Landing, the expansion of the Valyrian Freehold into the western coastal regions of Essos threatened the great city-states of the Rhoyne, a vast river network of the east. The Rhoynar's defense was led by Prince Garin the Great, the wonder of the Rhoyne who temporarily made Valyria tremble. The Valyrians and Volantenes eventually defeated Garin, however, with a quarter of a million Rhoynar men killed in the process.[3] Before his death, Garin is said to have cursed the occupying Valyrians and Volantenes; the conquered city of Chroyane is now largely submerged and known as the Sorrows. The city of Ghoyan Drohe on the Little Rhoyne was turned into a ruin by the Valyrian dragons.[4] Other cities conquered by the Valyrians were Ar Noy, Ny Sar, and Sar Mell.

A Rhoynar ruler, the warrior queen Nymeria of Ny Sar, managed to unite the surviving Rhoynar, most of whom were women,[5] and they began an evacuation from Essos, allegedly fleeing in ten thousand ships[6] across the narrow sea.[7] It is unknown if they evacuated before or after the Rhoynish cities were conquered. After an arduous journey full of storm, disease, and slavery,[3] including living on the Isle of Women for a time,[8] Nymeria's host landed on the eastern coast of Dorne in southern Westeros. Nymeria made common cause with Mors Martell of Sunspear, whose lands were dwarfed by those of House Yronwood.[9] On the day she wed Mors, Nymeria had her fleet burned to affirm that the Rhoynar could not return to Essos.[3]

With Nymeria's vast host at his command, Mors was able to unite the entire peninsula of Dorne under his rule in Nymeria's War.[2] House Fowler sided with the Martells, while the Yronwoods had to be forced into submission.[2] Six self-styled rival Dornish kings were captured and sent to the Wall in golden fetters to join the Night's Watch.[10] In the Rhoynar style, Mors took the title "Prince" and introduced equal primogeniture. The fortress of Sunspear was made capital of Dorne, and House Martell has ruled ever since. The Rhoynar influence remains strong in Dorne.[11]

Recent Events

A Game of Thrones

Arya Stark names her direwolf "Nymeria" in honor of the warrior queen of the Rhoynar.[7]

A Feast for Crows

Ser Arys Oakheart notices a tapestry of Nymeria and her ten thousand ships at Arianne Martell's secret room in Sunspear's shadow city.[12]

A Dance with Dragons

During his journey to Volantis along the Little Rhoyne and the Rhoyne, Tyrion Lannister passes the ruins of Ghoyan Drohe,[1] Ny Sar,[13] and the Sorrows.[14]

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