Dornish Marches

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The Dornish Marches - by Rene Aigner ©
The stormlands and the location of the Dornish Marches
The stormlands and the location of the Dornish Marches
Dornish Marches
The stormlands and the location of the Dornish Marches

The Dornish Marches is an area of southern Westeros in the border region between the stormlands, the Reach, and Dorne. They are predominantly in the southwestern stormlands and extend east to the Sea of Dorne.[1][2][3]


The hundreds of leagues of the marches consist of grassland, moors, and plains, with a portion of the Red Mountains to the east.[4] A road runs south from the ruins of Summerhall in the northern marches[5] to Yronwood via the Boneway.[3]

The marcher lords of the stormlands have a very strong martial tradition and have formidable castles, as they defended against Dornish incursions for thousands of years.[6] Marcher houses include House Caron of Nightsong,[7] House Dondarrion of Blackhaven,[8] House Selmy of Harvest Hall,[9][10] and House Swann of Stonehelm.[11][12] The eastern region of the marches around Stonehelm is known as the Red Watch.[13][14] The marches are known for producing excellent bowmen.[15]

The Kingdom of the Reach included western marches from Horn Hill to Nightsong,[16] and Lord Mace Tyrell, the Lord Paramount of the Reach, includes Defender of the Marches amongst his titles.[17] Most of the marches are now in the stormlands, however, aside from the Tarly lands near Horn Hill. Starpike, the seat of House Peake in the Reach, may also be part of the marches.[18]


For over a thousand years the marches were common battlegrounds between the stormlands, the Reach and Dorne until the last century, when Dorne joined the Seven Kingdoms. Having been conquered by the Storm Kings, it serves as an effective buffer zone between the old enemies.

Dornishmen with histories of fighting the marcher lords include the Blackmonts of Blackmont, the Fowlers of Skyreach, the Manwoodys of Kingsgrave, the Wyls of Wyl, and the Yronwoods of Yronwood.[19]

During the War of Conquest, Dornish parties raided across the marches.[20] During the First Dornish War the Dornish under Lord Fowler burned Nightsong.[21] Marcher lords such as Sam Tarly participated in the Vulture Hunt during the reign of King Aenys I Targaryen.[22]

Qoren Martell, Prince of Dorne, refused to involve Dorne in the Dance of the Dragons. Once his daughter Aliandra became Princess of Dorne, however, she encouraged her bannermen to gain her favor by raiding the marches.[21]

After Dorne joined the Seven Kingdoms peacefully, King Daeron II Targaryen raised Summerhall in the Dornish Marches. Resentment by the marcher lords toward the Dornish influence at Daeron's court was one of the causes of the First Blackfyre Rebellion.[23]

King Maekar I Targaryen was slain fighting a rebellious lord on the Dornish Marches[24] during the Peake Uprising.[25]

Recent Events

A Game of Thrones

Anguy, a commoner from the marches, wins the archery competition at the Hand's tourney.[26]

A Clash of Kings

The acting Hand of the King, Tyrion Lannister, sends Princess Myrcella Baratheon to Dorne in hopes of repairing relations with Sunspear. As another concession, he grants several castles in the Marches to Dorne.[27] Once Myrcella arrives, Prince Doran Martell has pledged to mobilize Dornish hosts in the Prince's Pass and the Boneway to keep the marcher lords in their castles rather than aid Stannis Baratheon.[28] The Dornish refuse to invade after Stannis takes Storm's End, but Tyrion hopes the marcher lords will remain in their lands.[29]

A Storm of Swords

Tom of Sevenstreams tells Arya Stark that the only songs that Anguy knows are marcher ballads, every one of them a hundred verses long.[30] The new Lord of Nightsong, Philip Foote, also has the title Lord of the Marches.[31]

A Feast for Crows

Doran denies Obara Sand's request to allow her and Nymeria Sand to take the hosts from the Prince's Pass and the Boneway to attack the marcher lords and then Oldtown.[32]

A Dance with Dragons

Ser Barristan Selmy considers himself to be a man of the Dornish Marches.[10]

References and Notes

  1. A Game of Thrones, Map of the South
  2. The Swanns of Stonehelm are marcher lords.
  3. 3.0 3.1 The Lands of Ice and Fire.
  4. The World of Ice & Fire, The Stormlands.
  5. So Spake Martin: Summerhall
  6. So Spake Martin: The Stormlands
  7. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 29, Sansa II.
  8. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 34, Arya VI.
  9. A Clash of Kings, Chapter 63, Daenerys V.
  10. 10.0 10.1 A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 55, The Queensguard.
  11. A Clash of Kings, Chapter 49, Tyrion XI.
  12. A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 8, Tyrion III.
  13. A Clash of Kings, Chapter 2, Sansa I.
  14. George R. R. Martin's A World of Ice and Fire.
  15. The World of Ice & Fire, The Men of the Stormlands.
  16. The World of Ice & Fire, The Reach.
  17. A Game of Thrones, Appendix.
  18. According to the ConCarolinas westerlands reading, King Maekar I Targaryen was slain at Starpike, while The World of Ice and Fire states Maekar was killed on the Dornish Marches.
  19. The World of Ice & Fire, Queer Customs of the South.
  20. The World of Ice & Fire, The Conquest.
  21. 21.0 21.1 The World of Ice & Fire, Dorne Against the Dragons.
  22. The World of Ice & Fire, Aenys I.
  23. The World of Ice & Fire, Daeron II.
  24. The World of Ice & Fire, Maekar I.
  25. The World of Ice & Fire, House Lannister Under the Dragons.
  26. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 30, Eddard VII.
  27. A Clash of Kings, Chapter 20, Tyrion V.
  28. A Clash of Kings, Chapter 41, Tyrion IX.
  29. A Clash of Kings, Chapter 44, Tyrion X.
  30. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 13, Arya II.
  31. A Storm of Swords, Appendix.
  32. A Feast for Crows, Chapter 2, The Captain Of Guards.