Oberyn Martell

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Oberyn Nymeros Martell
MagaliVilleneuve Prince Oberyn Nymeros Martell.jpg
Oberyn Martell by MagaliVilleneuve©

Alias The Red Viper
Title Prince
Allegiance House Martell
Second Sons (formerly)
Race "Salty" Dornishman
Culture Dornishmen
Born In 257 AC or 258 AC[1]
Died In 300 AC, at King's Landing
Book(s) The World of Ice and Fire (mentioned)
A Game of Thrones (mentioned)
A Clash of Kings (mentioned)
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 a member of House Martell and is Prince Doran's hot-headed younger brother. He has eight bastard daughters, called the Sand Snakes, the four youngest of which are by his current paramour, Ellaria Sand. In the television adaptation Game of Thrones Oberyn is portrayed by Pedro Pascal.

Appearance and Character

See also: Images of Oberyn Martell

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.[3]

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. Some rumors hold that he is bisexual.[3] His squire (and one of his many rumored lovers) is Daemon Sand.

Oberyn rides a black stallion with a tail the color of fire. He wears a pale red silk cloak and a shirt armored with overlapping discs of bright copper. His helm is adorned with a copper sun and he owns a steel round shield in the Dornish style that is decorated with the sigil of House Martell.[3]

Oberyn is an exceptional fighter, his speed and skill with both spear and sword are renowned. In battle, along with his brightly-polished round shield, Oberyn wields an ash spear eight feet long with a steel spearhead and spike. He chooses to wear lightly armored greaves, vambraces, gorget, spaulder and steel codpiece, in addition to supple leather and flowing silk. He wears a helm without a visor and scales of gleaming copper over his byrnie. [4]


Early Life

In his youth, Oberyn was fostered at Sandstone.[5] When in his teens, Oberyn travelled with his mother, the ruling Princess of Dorne, and his sister, Princess Elia Martell, and met multiple potential marriage candidates for his sister. The castles they visited included Starfall, the Arbor, Oldtown, the Shield Islands and Crakehall. Oberyn spent his time mocking Elia's suitors. The last castle they visited was Casterly Rock, where they arrived shortly after the death of Joanna Lannister in childbirth. According to Oberyn, his mother and Lady Joanna had planned to wed either Oberyn to Cersei Lannister, or Elia to Jaime Lannister, or both. Lord Tywin Lannister, however, was unreceptive of the suggestion, stating that his daughter would marry Prince Rhaegar Targaryen. He offered the newborn Tyrion Lannister as a husband for Elia instead, which was seen as an insult.[4]

At the age of 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.[3] Afterward, Oberyn was sent to Oldtown and then to Lys in temporary exile (though none dared call it exile) in order for House Martell to make peace with House Yronwood, and Prince Quentyn Martell was sent as a ward to House Yronwood.[6]

Oberyn 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 eight bastard daughters, called the Sand Snakes.[3] 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.[7]

Prince Oberyn was unhorsed by Prince Rhaegar Targaryen and Ser Barristan Selmy at a tourney at Storm's End.[8][9] He was also present during the Tourney at Harrenhal in 281 AC, where he danced with Lady Ashara Dayne.[10]

Oberyn had a very close relationship with his sister Elia. It is currently unknown where Oberyn was during Robert's Rebellion. However, following the Sack of King's Landing, when he learned that Elia had been raped and murdered by a Lannister knight, Gregor Clegane, along with her son, and how her daughter had been killed by another Lannister knight (Amory Lorch), he attempted to raise Dorne for Viserys. The new Hand of the King, Lord Jon Arryn, travelled to Sunspear in the year following the was, and was able to keep the peace, but Oberyn has desired revenge ever since.[3] After the war, Oberyn seldom left Dorne.[11]

Oberyn is 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. Oberyn struck Willas's breastplate clean, but the boy's foot caught in a stirrup as he fell and his horse fell on top of him. Oberyn sent his own maester to help treat Willas. Willas himself holds no grudge against Oberyn and the two correspond via raven message even after the accident as both share a passion for horses.[3]

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.[7] Oberyn traveled to Braavos, where Viserys Targaryen and Daenerys Targaryen were living with Ser Willem Darry. Oberyn and Darry signed a secret marriage pact, with the Sealord of Braavos as witness, promising Viserys the hand of Princess Arianne Martell im marriage, in return for Dorne's help in reclaiming the throne.[12]

Recent Events

A Storm of Swords

The Red Viper vs The Mountain - by zippo514 ©

Prince Oberyn comes to King's Landing to claim the seat on the small council on Prince Doran Martell's behalf and obtain justice for his sister Elia Martell's murderer, as was agreed with the acting Hand of the King, Tyrion Lannister.[3] However, it soon becomes clear that the new Hand, Lord Tywin Lannister, means to forgo that promise. Tywin plans on lying to Oberyn and claiming that the now deceased Ser Amory Lorch is responsible for all three deaths (Lorch was guilty of the death of only Rhaenys).[11]

Oberyn gives King Joffrey Baratheon a red gold scorpion brooch for the royal wedding. [13]

When Tyrion is accused of Joffrey's murder, Oberyn is one of the judges. The day before a judgement is to be pronounced, Oberyn offers to be Tyrion's champion in a trial by combat, if Tyrion tells who is guilty of the murder of Elia. Tyrion takes Oberyn up on his offer. He denies any involvement of his father but tells Oberyn that Lorch killed Rhaenys and Ser Gregor Clegane killed Elia and Aegon.[14] Oberyn knows already that Ser Gregor will be his adversary.

Despite his enormous physical disadvantage, Oberyn using speed manages to wound Clegane several times and cripple him by finding chinks in his armour and severing his hamstring after the Mountain tired from chasing him. As Oberyn approaches Gregor to finish him, the prostrated Clegane grabs hold of Oberyn and smashes his armoured fist into Oberyn's face, killing him: dashing out his brains after first destroying his teeth and knocking out his eyes. Before killing Oberyn however, Clegane roars his guilt in killing Elia and Aegon for for all to hear. [4]

A Feast for Crows

Oberyn achieves posthumous vengeance by having coated his spear in a special kind of poison, leaving Clegane to die slowly and in tremendous agony.[2]

Oberyn's daughters, the Sand Snakes, seek vengeance for his death; Prince Doran Martell orders Areo Hotah to place them under arrest to keep the peace.[2]

A Dance with Dragons

Tyene Sand mentions that she knows about the poison her father used on the Mountain and that if his spear so much as broke Cleganes skin then he is dead. [15]

Quotes by Oberyn

Oberyn Martell by Paul Phillips ©

Ellaria: You're going to fight that?
Oberyn: I'm going to kill that.[4]

– Oberyn and Ellaria Sand

Elia Martell, Princess of Dorne, you raped her. You murdered her. You killed her children.[11]

– Oberyn while fighting Gregor Clegane

Quotes about Oberyn

Oberyn has always been half-mad.[11]

Tywin Lannister to Tyrion Lannister

The man's infamous, and not just for poisoning his sword. He has more bastards than Robert, and beds with boys as well.[16]

Jaime Lannister to Tywin Lannister

He knew the man only by reputation...but the reputation is fearsome...His tourneys, his battles, his duels, his horses, his carnality.[3]

- Thoughts of Tyrion Lannister

Oberyn was ever the viper. Deadly, dangerous, unpredictable. No man dared tread on him.[15]

Doran Martell to the Sand Snakes


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.