Elia Martell

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Elia Martell
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Elia martell by daenerys mod.jpg
Illustration by Elia Fernandez©

Alias Elia of Dorne
Title Princess

House Martell

House Targaryen
Born In 257 AC
Died In 283 AC, at King's Landing
Spouse Rhaegar Targaryen
Book(s) A Game of Thrones (Mentioned)
A Clash of Kings (Mentioned)
A Storm of Swords (Mentioned)
A Feast for Crows (Mentioned)
A Dance with Dragons (Mentioned)

Elia Martell (257 AC - 283 AC) was princess of Dorne. She married the crown Prince, Rhaegar Targaryen, and by him birthed Rhaenys and Aegon. Elia was murdered by Ser Gregor Clegane during the sack of King's Landing.

Character and Appearance

Elia Martell was a good and gracious lady, but frail due to her delicate health. She had a very sharp wit.


Early years

Elia Martell was the fourth child and first daughter of the ruling Princess of Dorne. The name of her mother and father are not stated in the books. During her youth she was very close to her younger brother Oberyn Martell.

When she became old enough to marry, her mother arranged a number of suitors to come to Dorne. Mostly due to the behavior of her brother Oberyn, Elia rejected them all. Her mother, who was good friends with Lady Joanna Lannister, invited Oberyn and Elia to Casterly Rock with the idea of marrying one or both of them to Lady Joanna's twin children, Cersei and Jaime. On the way, the Martell siblings stopped at Starfall, the Arbor, Oldtown, the Shield Islands, and Crakehall, but Casterly Rock was the true destination. Unfortunately, during the Martells' journey, Joanna died giving birth to Tyrion Lannister, and when the Martells arrived Lord Tywin was very unreceptive to the proposal. He told them that Cersei was meant for Rhaegar Targaryen.


Elia's mother was able to arrange her marriage to the Crown Prince Rhaegar Targaryen. Rhaegar and Elia had two children, Rhaenys and Aegon. The marriage seemed happy although Elia's health, which had always been problematic, remained fragile. Barristan Selmy stated that Rhaegar was quite fond of Elia.

Marriage to prince Rhaegar Targaryen
Elia and her husband Rhaegar Targaryen say goodbye for the last time - by Denkata5698 ©
Princess Elia's last moments - by Achen089 ©

Jon Connington once stated that Elia was bedridden for half a year after giving birth to Rhaenys and nearly died giving birth to Aegon. After which the Maesters told Rhaegar she would be unable to have any more children.[1]


At the Tourney at Harrenhal Elia's husband met Lyanna Stark and became infatuated with her. He won the tournament and crowned her Queen of Love and Beauty, passing over his wife.[2] Elia's reaction to the event remains unknown. A year later Rhaegar either abducted or ran off with Lyanna, and this event sparked Robert's Rebellion.

During the war her husband Rhaegar was killed by Robert Baratheon at the Battle of the Trident. The Mad King Aerys, due to his paranoia, believed that Prince Lewyn must have betrayed Rhaegar on the Trident and kept Elia and both of her children in King's Landing as hostages against possible Dornish betrayal. Weeks later, during the Sack of King's Landing, her daughter was killed by Amory Lorch while Elia was raped and killed by Ser Gregor Clegane after Gregor murdered her son Aegon in front of her. Both Lorch and Clegane were following Lord Tywin's commands.[3]

Tywin later said that he had instructed his captains to kill the royal children to secure the throne for Robert Baratheon, but had forgotten about Elia herself and had not intended for her to die. Oberyn Martell, however, believes Tywin Lannister had Elia and her children killed to remove the supposed slight he suffered when Aerys II refused the marriage of his son and heir Rhaegar to his daughter Cersei.

Her body along with that of the two children were wrapped in crimson Lannister cloaks and presented to Robert Baratheon as a token of fealty. While Eddard Stark was appalled, Robert was callous and apathetic to the young children's bodies and that of their mother's.

Results of the murder

Eddard Stark was enraged with the hideous act and was haunted afterwards with the memories of Elia & her children's bloody bodies. Robert Baratheon however was secretly pleased about their deaths and apathetic to the bodies of the young mother and her two children.

The Martells were enraged with the murder of Elia and her children. Oberyn wanted to continue the war and champion the cause of Viserys Targaryen, the only surviving Targaryen prince, but Doran Martell, who had succeeded his mother as ruler of Dorne, knew that they were not strong enough and made his peace. In A Feast for Crows it turns out that Doran has been plotting secretly to restore the Targaryens and revenge himself on Tywin Lannister, whom he and his brother hold responsible for the murders.

Oberyn saw another opportunity for revenge: when Tyrion Lannister stood on trial for the murder of King Joffrey and his adversary in a trial by battle would be Gregor Clegane, Oberyn championed Tyrion. He extracted a confession from the Mountain after mortally wounding him, but Ser Gregor took advantage of Oberyn letting his guard down, and killed him.


"Princess Elia was a good woman, Your Grace. She was kind and clever, with a gentle heart and a sweet wit." - Ser Barristan Selmy, to Daenerys [4]


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

References and Notes