House Martell

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House Nymeros Martell of Sunspear
Coat of arms Tenny, a sun in splendour gules transfixed by a spear bendwise Or
Words Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken
Seat Sunspear
Lord Prince Doran Martell
Region Dorne
Title Lord of the Sandship
Lord of Sunspear
Prince of Dorne
Heir Arianne Martell
Overlord House Baratheon of King's Landing
Founder Morgan Martell (House Martell}
Mors Martell & Nymeria (House Nymeros Martell)
Founded 1,000 years ago

House Nymeros Martell of Sunspear is one of the Great Houses of Westeros and is the ruling house of Dorne. 'Nymeros' indicates "of the line of Nymeria," but generally it is simply called House Martell. Their seat is Sunspear in southeastern Dorne. The Martells of old used a spear as their emblem, while Nymeria and her Rhoynar used the sun as theirs. When Nymeria wed King Mors Martell, the symbols were combined into a gold spear piercing a red sun on an orange field. Their words are Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken.[1] In appearance they are classic salty Dornishmen, with dark eyes, dark hair in ringlets, and olive skin.


Andal Invasion

House Martell was founded by Morgan Martell, an Andal adventurer who settled between the mouth of the Greenblood and the Broken Arm. Morgan led the defeat of the local First Men, including Houses Wade and Shell, and the Martells ruled a strip of land fifty leagues long and ten leagues wide. They did not rule as kings, but were cautious vassals of kings from Houses Jordayne, Allyrion, and Yronwood, as well as petty kings of the Greenblood.[2]

Nymeria's War

At the time of the Rhoynish Wars, the Martells were one of the lesser ruling families of Dorne, which was a collection of feuding petty kings and lords even as the other regions of Westeros began to consolidate into larger realms. When Nymeria, the warrior queen of the Rhoynar, came with her people to Westeros from Essos in ten thousand ships, the Martell lands were dwarfed by those of House Yronwood.[3] However, Nymeria took Mors Martell, Lord of the Sandship, as her husband and, combining their strength, the two managed to unite all of Dorne under their rule in Nymeria's War; House Nymeros Martell has reigned since.

The union of their peoples saw the Martells abandon many of their older Andal customs in favor of those of the Rhoynar. Specifically, they began to call their rulers "princes" instead of kings, and their lands and title passed down to the eldest child regardless of gender.

Targaryen Wars

As Aegon the Conqueror waged his Wars of Conquest, he eventually came to Dorne. Here his army was bled dry by guerrilla warfare in the desert, a situation in which his dragons were of little use. Deciding that conquering Dorne would be too costly, the Conqueror opted to leave the Martells as sovereign princes. House Martell kept Dorne independent from the Targaryens for two centuries, the only one of the Seven Kingdoms to manage such a feat.

In 110 AC the Martells joined the Triarchy in the war against Prince Daemon Targaryen in the Stepstones. Daemon's brother, King Viserys I Targaryen, spoke of wedding his daughter Rhaenyra to the Prince of Dorne as a way of finally uniting the Seven Kingdoms, though ultimately this did not occur.[4]

After repeated failed attempts at conquest (most notably under Daeron I and later by Aegon IV[5]), Dorne did eventually join the fold through marriage between the two houses. The alliance was a dual one, with the future King Daeron II marrying Princess Myriah Martell and Prince Maron Martell later marrying Daeron's sister Daenerys.[6][7]

During Daeron II's reign, the Red Keep assumed a decidedly Dornish flavor due to the influence of his Martell wife. This was one reason that many nobles opted to rise against his rule in the Blackfyre Rebellion. The Martells thus defended his claim against Daemon Blackfyre. After their victory, Maron and Daenerys fulfilled their betrothal, formally bringing Dorne into the Seven Kingdoms. Since then, the Martells have ruled Dorne in the name of the King on the Iron Throne, while keeping the title of Prince of Dorne.

Robert's Rebellion

When Oberyn and Elia Martell were 15 and 16, they travelled together from Dorne to Casterly Rock, meeting potential suitors and marriage alliances, culminating in a visit to Joanna Lannister to fulfill their mother's wishes that their children would marry. When they arrived, Joanna had just died giving birth to Tyrion Lannister. Lord Tywin Lannister slighted the Martells shamefully, ignoring them for a few weeks before offering Elia the dwarf baby Tyrion, a further slight. Instead of marrying Jaime Lannister, Princess Elia wed Rhaegar Targaryen, Prince of Dragonstone, a slight to Tywin who had hoped to marry his daughter Cersei to Rhaegar.

When Rhaegar won the Tourney at Harrenhal, he named Lyanna Stark the queen of love and beauty, not Elia. A year later he abducted Lyanna, sparking Robert's Rebellion, also known as the War of the Usurper. Although the Martells were unhappy with Rhaegar's betrayal of Elia, they still supported King Aerys II Targaryen's bid to retain the throne since the Mad King held Elia and her children hostage in the Red Keep. The Dornish provided a quarter of the royal troops at the Battle of the Trident. The Martells lost many soldiers there, including Prince Lewyn Martell of the Kingsguard. When King's Landing fell, Princess Elia and her children were brutally murdered during the Sack of King's Landing by two Lannister knights, Gregor Clegane and Amory Lorch.

Oberyn made motions to continue the war in the name of Viserys Targaryen, but the diplomacy between Prince Doran Martell and Jon Arryn prevented further conflict. Though House Martell swore fealty to King Robert Baratheon after the war, they have harbored anger and resentment towards the Lannisters ever since, including Cersei Lannister having become Robert's queen. They have adopted a mostly isolationist policy ever since, not mixing with the other Great Houses unless necessary, preferring to deal instead with the Free Cities.

Recent Events

A Game of Thrones

Prince Doran and his sons are named by King Joffrey among the nobles who must swear fealty to him or be adjudged traitors.[8] At the war council at Riverrun when Robb Stark is named King in the North, Ser Marq Piper suggests the Martells will likely declare for King Renly.[9]

A Clash of Kings

On the outset of the War of the Five Kings, House Martell stays neutral in the conflict, though it is commonly thought they may support Renly Baratheon's claim[10]. They grudgingly ally with the Lannisters when Tyrion Lannister, acting as Hand of the King in his father Tywin Lannister's stead, promises the betrothal of Prince Trystane Martell to Princess Myrcella Baratheon, a Dornish seat on the small council, some castles in the Dornish Marches, and the head of Ser Gregor Clegane, the one who raped and killed Prince Doran's sister, Princess Elia Martell.

A Storm of Swords

Prince Oberyn Martell comes to King's Landing to claim Doran's seat on the council and to press for Ser Gregor’s head. It becomes clear that Tywin ,now Hand in his own right, means to forego Tyrion's promise. When Queen Cersei Lannister accuses Tyrion of poisoning King Joffrey Baratheon, Oberyn sees a chance to kill Clegane, by championing Tyrion's cause when Cersei names Gregor her champion. In the trial by combat against Clegane, Oberyn taunts Gregor, repeating the names of his family who died at his hands. He wounds Clegane with his poisoned speartip, but is killed himself in the process.

A Feast for Crows

Princess Arianne Martell, convinced her father Doran is a man of inaction who wishes to elevate her younger brother Quentyn Martell to rule Dorne, enacts a plot to crown Princess Myrcella Baratheon as Queen of Westeros. This fails due to a traitor in her conspiracy and Myrcella is disfigured in the process by Darkstar, Ser Gerold Dayne. While Arianne is imprisoned, Doran confides that he hoped Quentyn would rule Dorne whilst Arianne would become Queen, as she had secretly been promised to the now-dead Viserys Targaryen in an effort to undermine those who lead to Elia's death. His new plan is to have Quentyn travel across the narrow sea to meet Viserys's sister, Daenerys Targaryen, and wed her instead.

A Dance with Dragons

Doran convinces Arianne and Oberyn's bastard daughters, the Sand Snakes, to work with him. Obara Sand is to guide the investigating Ser Balon Swann of the Kingsguard to hunt Darkstar. Doran reveals that Cersei was plotting with Balon to have Trystane murdered en route to King's Landing with Myrcella and to frame Tyrion Lannister.

Nymeria Sand is sent to take up the Dornish seat on the small council, while Tyene Sand follows her to King's Landing disguised as a septa, with the hopes of befriending the new High Septon. It seems likely that Sarella Sand is in Oldtown, disguised as a boy training to become a maester of the Citadel.

House Martell at the end of the third century

With unspecified familiar relationship to the main branch there is also:

  • Ser Manfrey Martell, castellan of Sunspear. He is a cousin of Doran Martell.[11]; it is not stated of which degree.
of Dorne
Ellaria Sand
Obara Sand
Tyene Sand
Elia Sand
Dorea Sand
Sarella Sand
Obella Sand
Loreza Sand


Prince Oberyn's retinue to King's Landing

Princess Arianne's retinue

Prince Quentyn's retinue

Historic members

  • Morgan Martell, an Andal adventurer who founded House Martell in Dorne.
  • Mors Martell. Married Nymeria of the Rhoynar and together with her made House Nymeros Martell the ruling House of Dorne.
    • Their four daughters.
  • Meria Martell, called the "Yellow Toad of Dorne", the 80 year old Princess of Dorne during the War of Conquest.
  • Qoren Martell, ruling Prince of Dorne during the reign of Viserys I and Aegon II.
  • Marence Martell, who kneeled for King Daeron I, and discussed with King Baelor I the peace between Dorne and the Iron Throne, and the marriage of his daughter Mariah to Prince Daeron.
    • Mariah Martell. Sister of Prince Maron. Wife of King Daeron II Targaryen. Their marriage brought peace between Dorne and the rest of the Seven Kingdoms after the failed conquest of King Daeron I.
    • Maron Martell. He was the ruling Prince of Dorne during the later part of the reign of King Aegon IV, and the reign of King Daeron II, and the brother of Princess Mariah. King Daeron II gave him his sister Daenerys to wife in 187 AC
      • Unknown son, who inherited the Seat of Sunspear.
      • Multiple descendants

Houses sworn to House Martell


The arms of House Martell display the sun and spear, the Dornishman’s two favored weapons, but of the two, the sun is the more deadly.[12]

Daeron I Targaryen, Conquest of Dorne

House Martell is ancient and noble, and has been a leal friend to House Targaryen for more than a century.[13]

Barristan Selmy

References and Notes

This page uses content from the English Wikipedia. The original content was at House Martell. The list of authors can be seen in the page history of House Martell. As with A Wiki of Ice and Fire, the content of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License.