Arianne Martell

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Arianne Martell
Arianne martell by daenerys mod.jpg
llustration by Elia Fernandez ©

Title Princess of Dorne
Allegiance House Martell
Culture Dornishmen
Born In 276 AC[1], at Sunspear
Book(s) A Game of Thrones (Mentioned)
A Clash of Kings (Mentioned)
A Storm of Swords (Mentioned)
A Feast for Crows (POV)
A Dance with Dragons (Appears)
The Winds of Winter (POV)

Princess Arianne Nymeros Martell, better known simply as Arianne Martell, is a member of House Martell and is the eldest daughter of the ruling Prince of Dorne, Doran of House Martell, and his consort, Mellario of Norvos. According to Dornish customs, she is the heiress of Sunspear, and the future ruling Princess of Dorne. Arianne is a POV character in A Feast for Crows.

Appearance and Character

See also: Images of Arianne Martell

Arianne is buxom and beautiful, with olive skin, large dark eyes and long, thick black hair that falls in ringlets to the middle of her back. She has full lips and round ripe breasts with huge dark nipples. Favoring her mother, she is short, standing at five foot two.[2][3] When attending to matters of politics, she conceals her lush and curvaceous body with flowing silks, jewels and other ostentatious displays of wealth.[4]

Arianne is calculating, adventurous and fierce-tempered. When she sees something she desires, she strives to obtain it at all cost. She does not shy away from using her looks to get what she wants and quite often tries to seduce men to do her bidding, occasionally granting sexual favors in this context.[5] Ser Arys Oakheart thinks that Arianne's nature compares more to her uncle Oberyn's than to her father's.[3] Arianne considers handsome men her one great weakness, in particular when they have the air of adventure and the forbidden.[6][5] On the other hand, Arianne seems to be pious and is praying to the Seven.[7]

Despite her beauty, Arianne is still unmarried at the age of 23.[3]


Arianne Martell - by Matt Olson ©

Arianne grew up at the Water Gardens, the preferred place of residence of her father. With her brother Quentyn sent away as squire at an early age and her brother Trystane ten years younger than herself, her best companions during childhood were Drey, Garin (whose mother was her wet-nurse[6]) and Spotted Sylva. However, she was closest to her cousin Tyene Sand, with whom she shared everything, including a flagon of wine they had stolen at the age of ten and an early attempted sexual experience with Drey. She was also close to some of the other Sand Snakes, including Nymeria and Sarella.[7] Arianne was pudgy as a girl, making her pray to the Seven that she would be given beauty when she was older.[5] She had redspots at the age of eight, which is when she learned that the disease is mostly harmless for children but could kill adults.[6]

Arianne has been told that she held her cousin Rhaenys once, when she was too young to remember[8] and also has cherished memories of her great-uncle Lewyn Martell, who died when she was seven. He used to tickle her until she couldn't stop laughing.[3] She has known Areo Hotah, captain of her father's guards, since her childhood and they are very fond of each other.[7] Prince Oberyn once brought her and Tyene and Sarella to the abandoned holdfast of Shandystone. At one point, Arianne also travelled across the Mander when she and three of the Sand Snakes visited Tyene Sand's mother.[6]

She has had a vivid sexual imagination[6] and, in accordance with the liberal customs in Dorne, also sexual experiences from an early age on. She lost her virginity to Daemon Sand at 14, which she remembers as a clumsy but sweet encounter.[5]

Also when she was 14, Arianne found a letter that her father was about to send to her brother Quentyn, in which he stated that his son would one day sit in his place and rule Dorne, suggesting to Arianne that Prince Doran intended for her younger brother to succeed him, passing over Arianne entirely. According to her own account, she cried about her discovery for many days.[3] She saw the humble marriage prospects Prince Doran entertained for her as further proof of these plans, as she expected a marriage match that befit her rank as a high lord's heiress. Instead, Prince Doran publicly entertained suits from various elderly lords, namely Ben Beesbury, Lord Walder Frey, Gyles Rosby, Eldon Estermont and Hugh Grandison. Unbeknownst to her, cautious Prince Doran merely used these suitors, which he knew Arianne would refuse, as cover for his plan to marry his daughter to Viserys Targaryen as part of his long-term goal to bring House Targaryen back to the Iron Throne.[3][7]

Arianne had suitors from Dorne as well, including Drey and his brother Deziel. Daemon Sand even asked for her hand, but was rejected by Prince Doran, with even Arianne realizing that a bastard was unacceptable and that her father wanted her to marry someone from outside Dorne. To forestall Prince Doran's offensive marriage plans with men far above her age, Arianne tried to find a more attractive match, but she was frustrated in her efforts. When she was still half a child, she tried to beguile Renly Baratheon without success while he visited Dorne. She also asked her father to be sent to Highgarden to meet Willas Tyrell, although she knew he was crippled. Prince Doran refused her and, when Arianne set out on her own towards Highgarden with the help of Tyene, had her party intercepted at Vaith by Prince Oberyn. Arianne was particularly happy when Lord Hoster Tully suggested a match between Arianne and his heir Edmure, but Prince Doran declined the invitation for Arianne to go to Riverrun.[7][5]

Arianne has long been dissatisfied with her father and his style of rule, thinking him weak and vacillating. As heiress to Sunspear, she was permitted to hold the titular governance of Dorne during her father's absences at the Water Gardens, although until his death Prince Oberyn was considered to be the true reigning power at these times. While the Red Viper regularly visited Prince Doran, Arianne was only summoned twice a year, increasing her suspicion that her father had no respect for her.[3]

Recent Events

A Game of Thrones

Princess Arianne Martell - by Katherine Dinger ©

The death of Viserys Targaryen on the Dothraki Sea, commanded by his sister Daenerys' husband Khal Drogo[9], puts an end to the marriage plans Prince Doran had for Viserys and Arianne and to his hope that his daughter would one day become Queen of the Seven Kingdoms, while her brother Quentyn was supposed to rule Dorne in her place. After learning of the death of Khal Drogo, Prince Doran instead schemes a marriage between Quentyn and Daenerys, while Arianne is secretly reinstated as the heiress to Sunspear.[5]

A Clash of Kings

As part of an alliance Tyrion Lannister has struck between the Iron Throne and House Martell, Princess Myrcella is sent to Dorne where she will stay as ward, until she is old enough to marry Prince Trystane Martell. She is accompanied by Ser Arys Oakheart of the Kingsguard as her sworn shield.[10][11] With Prince Doran away at the Water Gardens for a longer stay, it falls on Arianne to greet Myrcella and Ser Arys upon their arrival at Sunspear.[3] Arianne soon tries to seduce Ser Arys, but it takes half a year before she is successful and some sexual training through her before Ser Arys becomes an adequate lover.[7]

A Storm of Swords

Lord Tywin Lannister informs his son Tyrion that Ser Arys Oakheart has written in a letter that Myrcella and her betrothed Trystane Martell get on well and that Myrcella has taken a great liking to Princess Arianne.[12]

A Feast for Crows

After the death of Prince Oberyn in King's Landing, Dorne is in uproar, with Oberyn's bastard daughters, the Sand Snakes, in particular arguing for avenging the Red Viper. Prince Doran, who seemingly pursues a conciliatory approach, returns to Sunspear after he has spent the last two years at the Water Gardens, relieving Arianne of her nominal governance of Dorne. He orders the arrest of the Sand Snakes in an apparent attempt to placate the Iron Throne.[2]

Arianne sees this as further proof that her father is not going to do anything about the death of his brother or to assure the long-sought-for revenge for the deaths of Princess Elia and her children during the Sack of King's Landing. In addition, Arianne learns that the Golden Company has broken its contract with Myr and she receives information that her brother, supposedly squiring for Lord Anders at Yronwood, has travelled across the narrow sea with documents bearing the official seals of House Martell. Knowing about the historical connections of the Yronwoods with the Golden Company, Arianne now believes that Lord Anders plots to install her brother Quentyn as Prince of Dorne with the help of the sellsword company – and maybe even in agreement with the wishes of her father. She sees an analogy to how Myrcella Baratheon, after the death of her older brother King Joffrey, has been passed over in favor of her younger brother Tommen, but she ignores that Dornish law respecting female succession does not apply in King's Landing.[3][6]

To forestall a supposed challenge to her own birthright, to win the allegiance of the Dornish by offering the defiance to the Lannisters that people crave and that her father doesn't seem ready to offer, and to secure that the Seven Kingdoms are ruled by someone who will supposedly be sympathetic towards Dorne, Arianne devises a wild scheme: She wants to name Myrcella as Queen of the Seven Kingdoms, based on Dornish law and Myrcella's residence in Dorne, thereby precipitating a war with the Iron Throne, while she also hopes that her own people will rally to this cause with the support of the released Sand Snakes. Arianne assumes this would make her the inevitable choice to replace her father, whom she wants to live out his days as captive at the Water Gardens together with her brother Quentyn.[3][6]

by MagaliVilleneuve ©

During one of their amorous encounters, Arianne manipulates Ser Arys Oakheart into aiding and abetting her plan. She promises him that, as queen, Myrcella would permit Arianne and Arys to marry in spite of his vows as knight of the Kingsguard. She also shares her suspicions about her father's intention of stealing her birthright and the supposed plot of Lord Anders and the Golden Company. Arianne convinces Ser Arys that they need to act before her father brings Myrcella from Sunspear to the Water Gardens.[3] Arianne has in fact no serious intentions with Ser Arys, whom she merely likes but doesn't love, considering him a pleasant-enough bed companion, but witless and mainly a gallant fool.[6][5]

Arianne assembles her closest friends as co-conspirators to help her implement her scheme: Andrey Dalt, heir to the Knight of Lemonwood, Garin, an orphan of the Greenblood, and Sylva Santagar, the heir of House Santagar. She also recruits Gerold Dayne, known as Darkstar, whom she considers a fierce sword who can protect the band, although she doesn't trust him completely. Meanwhile, Ser Arys has the task of smuggling Myrcella out of Sunspear, using a feigned illness of the princess and impostors who play her part and his to win some time before the ruse is discovered. Arianne and the others wait for Ser Arys and Myrcella at the abandoned holdfast of Shandystone. From there, Arianne plans to head out to the Greenblood and travel with an orphan poleboat westward on that river and the Vaith, then continue by land. The final destination is Hellholt, the seat of Ellaria Sand's father Harmen Uller, where Arianne intends to crown Myrcella as Queen of the Seven Kingdoms and to raise her own banners.[6]

While waiting at Shandystone, Arianne grows increasingly wary of Darkstar, in particular as he dismisses her plan as unrealistic, alludes that killing Myrcella would bring the war Arianne seems to desire and hints at the age-old rivalry of House Dayne and House Oakheart, suggesting a possible confrontation with Ser Arys. When Ser Arys and Myrcella arrive, Arianne addresses the bewildered girl as "Your Grace" and introduces her co-conspirators as friends who are ready to secure Myrcella's birthright to the Iron Throne. Ser Arys informs her that Lord Tywin Lannister has been murdered by his son Tyrion and that Cersei Lannister has assumed the regency for her son Tommen. Arianne sees this as good news all around, with a dangerous foe dead, the Lannisters fighting amongst themselves and a ruling queen making it more likely that people will eventually accept Queen Myrcella, too.[6]

Arianne Martell and Arys Oakheart - by Sacha Angel Diener

The venture comes to an early end when Arianne's band arrives at the poleboat and, instead of helpers, Prince Doran's captain of guards Areo Hotah and a dozen guardsmen emerge from it. Arianne's main goal is to prevent any bloodshed and to protect Princess Myrcella, but Ser Arys, despite the desperate odds, charges against Hotah and his men, making Arianne think that she has never seen something half as gallant or half as stupid. Hotah kills Ser Arys with his longaxe, decapitating him. While Arianne falls to the ground in desperation, the Darkstar attacks Princess Myrcella, apparently in an attempt to kill her. He seriously injures Myrcella, who loses an ear, then manages to escape Hotah's men. While she is being arrested on command of her father, Arianne wonders how her wonderful plan could have ended in such dreadful bloodshed. Hotah tells her that someone betrayed her plans, as always happens.[6][7] Arianne later realizes that either Drey, Garin or Spotted Sylva must have betrayed her and that Ser Arys' was probably a suicide charge, which he undertook to wipe out his shame about his relationship with the Princess of Sunspear.[5]

Prince Doran keeps his daughter isolated in a pleasantly-appointed tower cell. Forbidden contact with the outside world and attended by servants who will not speak to her, she begins a hunger strike. Eventually, Arianne is brought to her father. Though weakened, she accuses him of inaction over the deaths of his siblings and of attempting to cheat her of her birthright. Doran reveals that both was part of a larger plan to avenge the deaths of Elia and her children. He did not entertain serious suitors for her hand, because he had secretly planned for her to wed Prince Viserys, the uncrowned Targaryen heir, and to help restore him to the Iron Throne in an overarching scheme to wreak destruction on House Lannister.[7]

A Dance with Dragons


Prince Doran has revealed all of his plans to Arianne and has released all the Sand Snakes. Princess Arianne sits on the right side of her father at the feast to welcome Ser Balon Swann to Sunspear. Tyene, Obara, Nymeria and half the nobility of Dorne are there to witness the delivery of the skull of, presumably, the Mountain, Ser Gregor Clegane.

Arianne flirts with Ser Balon, but he is not as easily distracted or seduced from his duty as his sworn brother Ser Arys was. Arianne is privy to her father's plans now. She has convinced Myrcella to lie to Ser Balon and claim that Ser Arys Oakheart was slain by Ser Gerold Dayne. Under Arianne's direction again, Princess Myrcella pleads with Ser Balon to bring Ser Gerold to justice.[13]

The Winds of Winter

Arianne departs Sunspear on a mission from her father to discover the truth about the supposed Aegon Targaryen. She leaves with several companions, including Ser Daemon Sand, now Arianne's sworn shield, Joss Hood, Garibald Shells, Nate, Jayne Ladybright and her cousin, Elia Sand. During the journey they arrive at Ghost Hill, before departing via ship to the Stormlands.[5]


I was a foolish willful girl, playing at the game of thrones like a drunkard rolling dice.[5]

Pretty boys had ever been her weakness, particularly the ones who were dark and dangerous as well.[5]


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

References and Notes