Oberyn Martell

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Oberyn Nymeros Martell
Oberyn Martell by Amoka©
Oberyn Martell by Amoka©

Alias The Red Viper
Title Prince of Dorne
Allegiance House Martell
Second Sons (formerly)
Race "Salty" Dornishman
Culture Dornishmen
Born In 258 AC
Died In 300 AC, at King's Landing
Book(s) A Storm of Swords (Appears)
A Feast for Crows (Mentioned)
A Dance with Dragons (Mentioned)

Played by Pedro Pascal
TV series Season 4

Prince Oberyn Nymeros Martell, known as the Red Viper, is Doran's hot-headed younger brother. He has eight bastard daughters, called the Sand Snakes, the four youngest of which by his current paramour Ellaria Sand. Some rumors hold that he is bisexual.[1] His squire (and one of his many rumored lovers) was Daemon Sand. (See here for a collection of images.)

Appearance & Character

Oberyn has a lined face with thin eyebrows, black "viper" eyes and a sharp nose.[2] His hair is lustrous and black with only a few silver streaks and recedes from his brow into a widow's peak.[1]

Oberyn is a forceful, lusty man with a quick wit and barbed tongue. He studied at the Citadel for a while, and apparently forged several maester links but eventually grew bored and left the order. Oberyn had traveled the world, and even founded his own mercenary company. He had a very close relationship with his sister Elia and they were inseparable as children.


Early Life

In his youth, Oberyn was fostered at Sandstone.[3] At sixteen, Oberyn was found in bed with the paramour of Lord Edgar Yronwood, so the lord challenged him to a duel. The duel was to first blood, given the prince’s youth and high birth, and both took cuts. Lord Edgar's wounds festered and killed him. Oberyn has been known as the "Red Viper" ever since by friends and foes alike, due to rumors that he fought the duel with a poisoned blade.[1] Afterward, Oberyn was sent to Oldtown and then to Lys in temporary exile (though it was not called exile) in order for House Martell to make peace with House Yronwood, Quentyn Martell was sent as a ward to House Yronwood.[4]

Oberyn had traveled extensively in the Free Cities, where he learned much about poisons and perhaps even darker arts. He had studied at the Citadel, going so far as to forge six links of a maester's chain before he grew bored. He had soldiered in the Disputed Lands across the Narrow Sea, riding with the Second Sons for a time before forming his own company. It is said that he beds both men and women, and has begotten bastard girls all over Dorne. The Sand Snakes, men call them.[1]

Oberyn, however, does not let his children grow up wanting: he takes responsibility for them, and actively seeks to help raise all his children (something few lords do when it comes to their bastard offspring). He teaches them how to defend themselves and allows them great independence in growing up.

When Oberyn was young, the ruling Princess of Dorne planned to wed Oberyn or his sister, Princess Elia, to one of Lord Tywin's children, or both of them to his twins. For that purpose, they visited Casterly Rock, where they met Cersei, Jaime and Tyrion Lannister. However, they arrived shortly after Joanna Lannister's death, which left Lord Tywin unreceptive. He offered the newborn Tyrion instead, which was seen as an insult.

Oberyn is also primarily responsible for giving modern revitalization to the ongoing feud between his House and the Tyrells, because he accidentally crippled Willas Tyrell in a tourney, though Willas himself holds no grudge against him. Prince Oberyn was unhorsed by Prince Rhaegar Targaryen at a tourney at Storm's End.[5] He was unhorsed by Ser Barristan Selmy at a different tourney at Storm's End.[6]

Events following Elia's murder

Oberyn Martell by Paul Phillips©

Oberyn had a very close relationship with his sister Elia. Following the Sack of King's Landing, when he learned that she was raped and murdered by a Lannister knight, Gregor Clegane, along with her son and how her daughter was killed by another Lannister knight (Amory Lorch), he attempted to raise Dorne for Viserys. The new Hand, Jon Arryn, was able to keep the peace, but Oberyn has desired revenge ever since.[1]

He and his brother Doran worked in secret for years planning on bringing an end to the reign of Robert Baratheon and destroying House Lannister. Oberyn traveled to Braavos where Viserys Targaryen and Daenerys Targaryen were being kept by Ser Willem Darry and signed a secret pact that the Sealord of Braavos witnessed, promising Viserys the hand of Arianne Martell in return for Dorne's help in claiming the throne.

Recent Events

A Storm of Swords

Oberyn fights Gregor Clegane by M.Luisa Giliberti©

Prince Oberyn came to King's Landing to claim the seat on the small council on Doran's behalf and obtain justice for his sister's murderer, as was agreed with the acting Hand of the King, Tyrion Lannister.[1] However, it soon became clear that the new Hand, Lord Tywin Lannister, meant to forgo that promise. Tywin planned on lying to Oberyn and claim that Amory Lorch is responsible for all three deaths (Lorch was guilty of the death of only Rhaenys) [7]

When Tyrion was accused of Joffrey I's murder, Oberyn was one of the judges. The day before a judgement was pronounced, Oberyn offered to be Tyrion's champion in a trial by combat, if Tyrion would tell who was guilty of the murder of Elia Martell. Tyrion took him up on his offer. He denied any involvement of his father but told Oberyn that Ser Amory Lorch had killed Rhaenys and Ser Gregor Clegane had killed Elia and Aegon.[8] At that time, Oberyn knew already that Ser Gregor would be his adversary.

Despite his enormous physical disadvantage, Oberyn managed to wound Clegane several times and cripple him. As Oberyn prolonged Gregor's death, trying to wring a murder confession from him, the prostrated Clegane managed to grab hold of Oberyn and smash his armoured fist into Oberyn's face, killing him.[9] Oberyn achieved posthumous vengeance by having coated his spear in a special kind of poison, leaving Clegane to die slowly and in tremendous agony.[2]

Quotes by Oberyn

Elia Martell, Princess of Dorne, you raped her. You murdered her. You killed her children. [7]

– Oberyn while fighting Gregor Clegane

Quotes about Oberyn

Oberyn has always been half-mad. [7]

Tywin Lannister

The man's infamous, and not just for poisoning his sword. [10]

Jaime Lannister

Oberyn was ever the viper. Deadly, dangerous, unpredictable. No man dared tread on him.[11]

- Doran Martell


of Dorne
Ellaria Sand
Obara Sand
Tyene Sand
Elia Sand
Dorea Sand
Sarella Sand
Obella Sand
Loreza Sand

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.