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Fortress, Regional Capitol
Location Westeros, Dorne
Government House Nymeros Martell
Religion Faith of the Seven
Notable places Old Palace, Sandship, Winding Walls, shadow city
Dorne and the location of Sunspear
Dorne and the location of Sunspear
Dorne and the location of Sunspear

Sunspear is the seat of House Nymeros Martell and the capital of Dorne. The castle is located north of the Greenblood on the far southeastern coast of Westeros and is surrounded on three sides by the sea. The princely Water Gardens lie three leagues away on the coastal road. The household of Doran Martell, Prince of Dorne, includes the castellan Ser Manfrey Martell, the seneschal Ricasso, the treasurer Alyse Ladybright, and Maester Myles.[1]


© Fantasy Flight Games
The Old Palace. © Fantasy Flight Games


Sunspear is a walled settlement, protected by three massive Winding Walls encircling one another and containing miles of narrow alleys, hidden courts, and noisy bazaars. The Threefold Gate, where the gates are lined up one behind the other, avoids the labyrinth, instead allowing straight passage on a brick path to the Old Palace.[2]

Rising from the Old Palace is the Spear Tower, which can house noble prisoners in cells at its top, and the Tower of the Sun, which contains the seat of the Prince of Dorne.[2]

The Sandship, the original stronghold of the Martells,[3] is a large dun-colored building that looks like a dromond.[2]

Shadow city

Clinging to and overshadowed by the castle's massive Winding Walls, the so-called shadow city spreads westwards. Mud-brick shops and windowless hovels are closest to the walls, then west of those are stables, inns, winesinks, pillow houses, some with walls of their own. More hovels and buildings then spread beyond those walls. The shadow city is no more than a town when compared to the Free Cities, but it is the closest thing to a true city that the Dornishmen have.


The Sandship was the ancient keep of the Martells, minor Dornish lords prior to the arrival of the Rhoynar in their ten thousand ships. Lord Mors Martell wed Princess Nymeria, however, and the alliance of the Martells and the Rhoynar led to the unification of Dorne in Nymeria's War.

The seat of the ruling Princes and Princesses of Dorne became Sunspear, the new castle which developed around the Sandship and was named after the union of the Martell spear with the sun of the Rhoyne. It contains beautiful towers built in the Rhoynish fashion, such as the Spear Tower and the Tower of the Sun of the Old Palace. The Winding Walls of the castle were built seven hundred years ago.[3]

During the First Dornish War, the Dornishmen abandoned their castles, allowing the Targaryens to take them without fighting. Lord Rosby was named Warden of the Sands and Castellan of Sunspear, but he was killed in the Defenestration of Sunspear after the Dornishmen swarmed back into the castle from the shadow city. During the two years of the Dragon's Wroth, the Targaryens burned the Dornish castles with dragonfire, with the exception of Sunspear. Conjectures by Archmaester Timotty suggests the Targaryens did so to encourage the Martells' bannermen to turn against their overlords, although the Dornish remained loyal.[4]

Rickon Stark, the son of Lord Cregan Stark, was killed in battle outside of Sunspear in one of the final battles of the conquest of Dorne.[5] The Dornishmen surrendered to King Daeron I Targaryen, the Young Dragon, in the Submission of Sunspear in 158 AC, but they rebelled in the following years.[6] Daeron's successor, King Baelor I Targaryen, walked barefoot from King's Landing to Sunspear to forge a peace with Dorne.[7]

Recent Events

A Feast for Crows

Princess Myrcella Baratheon has quarters in the Tower of the Sun since she is betrothed to Prince Trystane Martell.[1]

Following the death of his brother, Prince Oberyn, at the hands of Ser Gregor Clegane in King's Landing,[8] Prince Doran Martell orders Areo Hotah to round up the Sand Snakes, with the older sisters confined in the Spear Tower and the younger ones at the Water Gardens. Sarella remains in Oldtown, however.[2]

After plotting to crown Myrcella as queen, Princess Arianne Martell is imprisoned for some time within the Spear Tower.[9]

A Dance with Dragons

Doran releases Arianne and the older Sand Snakes from the Spear Tower. Ser Balon Swann brings the skull of Gregor to the court of Doran in Sunspear.[10]

Chapters that take place at Sunspear

References and Notes

  1. 1.0 1.1 A Feast for Crows, Chapter 13, The Soiled Knight.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 A Feast for Crows, Chapter 2, The Captain Of Guards.
  3. 3.0 3.1 The World of Ice and Fire, Sunspear.
  4. The World of Ice and Fire, Dorne Against the Dragons.
  5. The World of Ice and Fire, The Lords of Winterfell.
  6. The World of Ice and Fire, Daeron I.
  7. The World of Ice and Fire, Baelor I.
  8. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 70, Tyrion X.
  9. A Feast for Crows, Chapter 40, Princess In The Tower.
  10. A Feast for Crows, Chapter 38, Jaime VI.

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