Dorne is a hot and arid land with the only desert in Westeros. It is home to the dornish people, descendants of the Rhoynar. The ruling house of the region, House Martell, calls themselves Prince and Princesses, unlike the rest of Westeros, who call themselves lords. Bastard children of noble birth take the surname, Sand.
- Name: Dorne.
- Region: Westeros.
- Ruling House: House Nymeros Martell.
- Religion: Faith of the Seven, R’hllor.
- Year Founded: The Dawn Age.
- Notable Houses: Allyrion, Yronwood, Qorgyle, Dayne, Fowler, Santagar, Vaith, Wyl.
Dorne is in the southernmost part of Westeros. It gets bordered by the Sea of Dorne to the north, the Summer Sea to the south, and the Stepstones to the East. Spanning across the southern region of Westeros is the Red Mountains, which separates it from the Stormlands.
Through the mountains are two primary passages, the Boneway, and the Prince’s Pass. They both cut through the mountain range into the Dornish Marches. Most of it is a wasteland with soil unfit for agriculture. Eastern Dorne has arid lands that are terrible for farming, while Western Dorne has red and white deserts.
Though dry, some rivers feed the Dorne population with fresh water. The rivers also provide fertile soil for growing crops. The primary Dornish river is the Greenblood. It is in Southeastern Dorne and comes from two smaller rivers, Vaith and the Scourge.
Dorne is the least populated region of the Seven Kingdoms. Unlike the rest of the Seven Kingdoms, there is a distinct culture centered around Rhoynish customs. Though descendants of the First Men and Andals, the dornish people stick more to their Rhoynish heritage.
They are hot-blooded and sexually promiscuous and have gained a reputation of distrust among the people of Stormlands and the Reach. One of the most distinctive traditions of the dornish people is the laws of inheritance which gives a woman the right to inherit their father’s possessions.
Economy and Military
Dorne relies on the existence of exotic products for trading with the rest of the Seven Kingdoms. It deals with products like olives, plums, cloth, spices, blood oranges, lemon orchards, dornish wine, and pomegranates. Water is the most valuable resource. Apart from exotic crops, Dorne is known for having sand steeds, an elegant horse breed. Besides trading with the rest of Westeros, Dorne also trades with ships from across the Narrow Sea.
Though it is the least populated region of the Seven Kingdoms, Dorne is stipulated to raise about fifty thousand soldiers; this number got theorized by King Daeron I Targaryen, who tried to defeat the dornishmen in his conquest. However, the numbers put forward by King Daeron were false, and in some reports, Geroge R. R. Martin stated the actual army size of Dorne was the same as the North and the Vale.
The First Men and Andals
Before the arrival of the First Men, the Children of the Forest called Dorne the Empty Land. The First Men reached Westeros by crossing the Arm of Dorne, a land bridge linking Westeros to Essos. On getting to the new continent, they began cutting weirwood trees leading to a war between them and the Children of the Forest.
During the conflict, the Children of the Forest shattered the Arm of Dorne with the hammer of the waters. Later, an agreement got reached, and some of the First Men became Kings, including House Dayne, who called themselves the Kings of the Torrentine, and House Yronwood, who styled themselves the High Kings of Dorne.
When the Vayrian Freehold began expanding throughout Essos, the Andals migrated to Westeros. They avoided Dorne as it was a barren land and focused on the Reach. However, the Martells arrived in Dorne and defeated two of the First Men’s houses, Wades, and Shells; this gave them charge over their territories.
After fighting and losing wars against the colonies of the Valyrian Freehold, the Rhoynish people left Essos, led by Princess Nymeria. On getting to Greenblood, Nymeria allied with Lord Mors Martell leading to the creation of a new house, Nymeros Martell.
House Targaryen Era
In 2 BC, Aegon I Targaryen invaded Westeros in what came to be known as Aegon’s Conquest and subdued the continent with the power of dragons. However, the dornishmen refused to surrender, and he declared war against them; this led to the dornish wars.
Though Aegon had the might of dragons, he failed to defeat Dorne due to its guerilla fighting style. Over time more conflict arose between the Targaryens and Dorne, but the region was never lost. During the Dance of the Dragons, Price Qoren chose not to side with the Blacks or Greens.
After Qoren’s death, King Daeron I Targaryen planned another invasion of Dorne. However, the rebellion from the dornish people made occupying the region nearly impossible. King Daeron got assassinated, and the projected losses were over ten thousand men. With his brother’s death, the Iron Throne passed unto Baelor, and peace got restored when both factions came to a mutual settlement with the wedding of Prince Daeron and Myriah Martell.
After Robert’s Rebellion ended in victory for the Lannisters and Starks, Lord Robert gets crowned King of the Seven Kingdoms. Doran Martell, the Prince of Dorne, got furious at how his sister and her children got killed during the Sack of King’s Landing and began plotting revenge against House Lannister. He sends his brother, Oberyn Martell, to betroth his daughter, Princess Arianne Martell, to Prince Viserys Targaryen. However, Viserys’s guardian, Ser Willem Darry, died, causing Viserys and his sister Daenerys to begin wandering the Free Cities of Essos.
Relevance in A Song of Ice and Fire
After getting freed from the Eyrie, Tyrion returns to his father’s camp. Tywin Lannister decides to send him to King’s Landing to become the acting Hand of the King. Tyrion Lannister tries to ally with Dorne by sending Princess Myrcella to the city. He also offers Prince Doran Martell a small council seat.
Due to his sick condition, Prince Doran sends his brother, Oberyn, to King’s Landing to take his seat in the small council. However, on getting to the city, King Joffrey gets killed, and Tyrion gets blamed for the death. Oberyn agrees to fight for Tyrion but gets killed in combat.
After Oberyn’s death, his daughters, the Sand Snakes, ask for vengeance for their father’s death. To stop them from hurting Myrcella, Doran asks Areo Hotah, his guard, to place them under arrest. However, his daughter, Arianne, tries to make Myrcella Queen, but the plan gets foiled by Areo.
After getting placed under arrest, she reveals to her father that she knows his plans to make her younger brother, Quentyn, heir. Doran then explains to his daughter how he had planned to restore Viserys to the Iron Throne, but the prince got killed at Vaes Dothrak.
Dorne: The Hot City
With the Dornish sun being the hottest in all of Westeros, the region got seen as a hellish place on Earth. However, from the arid dry lands of the region came exotic crops and animals. Though Dorne was the smallest region in the Seven Kingdoms, it impacted the politics of Westeros intricately.
Why is Dorne so different from the rest of the Seven Kingdoms?
Dorne is culturally distinct because its citizens are descendants of the Rhoynar. They practiced different laws and even looked different due to their weather.
Why does Dorne have a prince, not a King?
Because it is a part of the Seven Kingdoms, Dorne could not have a King. Instead of using the Lord title like the rest of Westeros, it used Prince and Princess, one inherited from Rhoynish customs.
How did Dorne prevent the Taragaryen from conquering them?
The Doenish people used a guerilla-style to fight their wars. When the Targaryens invaded, they retreated into hiding and attacked in small groups; this made it difficult to destroy their forces at once.