House Martell

With the term Nymeros coming from their Rhoynish descent, House Martell has a culture not revolving around the conscripts of gender roles.

The Definitive Glossary for Game of Thrones

House Nymeros Martell is one of the great houses of Westeros and rules the peninsula of Dorne. It got founded by the union between the Martells and the Rhoynish Queen, Nymeria, in 700 BC. Over the years, the Martells have entered conflicts. Though they have been relatively small in military strength, they have been an almost impossible enemy to kill because of their tactic of hiding and killing their enemies in sudden attacks. When Lord Mors Martell formed an alliance with his marriage of the warrior-queen, Nymeria, a golden spear piercing a red Sun on an orange field, a combination of the original Martell sigil and the emblem of Princess Nymeria, got adopted.

House Martell Details

  • Name: House Nymeros Martell.
  • Year Founded: 700 BC.
  • House Martell’s Sigil: A golden spear piercing a red Sun on an orange field.
  • Words: Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken.
  • The Seat of Power: Old Palace in Sunspear.
  • Region of Power: Dorne.
  • Allegiances: House Targaryen.
  • Overlord: House Baratheon of Dragonstone.
  • Title: Lords of Sunspear, Prince of Dorne, Princess of Dorne, Lords of the Water Gardens, Lords of the Sandship.
  • Current Ruler: Prince Doran Nymeros Martell.
  • Culture: Dornish.
  • Religion: Faith of the Seven.
  • Distinctive Eye Color: Black.
  • Skin Color: Olive.

Appearance and Culture

House Martell are natives of Dorne and follow the Dornish customs. As its members are of Rhoynish descent, they have unique features of smooth olive skin, dark hair, and dark eyes. The Martells believe in the customs of the Rhoynar and laws of inheritance which give women the right to inherit their father’s titles and properties. They are the only house in Westeros that does this. There is also a subtler view of bastards than the rest of the seven kingdoms.



House Martell got founded by an Andal adventurer called Morgan Martell. When the Andals arrived in Dorne, Morgan settled between the mouth of the Greenblood and the Broken Arm (later destroyed by the Children of the Forest). Upon arriving in Dorne, Morgan led some men against House Wade and Shell of First Men men descent. Because of superior weapons, he easily defeated the houses and took control of most of the lands in the region.

Nymeria’s War

After losing to the Valyrian Warlords of Old Valyria, the Rhoynar, led by Nymeria, sailed from Essos on ten thousand ships and arrived in Westeros around 700 BC. As House Martell was smaller than its superiors from House Yronwood, Lord Mors Martell arranged an alliance with Nymeria and married her. The Martells and Rhoynar united the rest of Dorne under their rule in Nymeria’s War.

The union between the Martells and Nymeria made them drop their Andal culture in favor of Rhoynish customs. Mors became the Prince of Dorne. With women having the power to rule, Nymeria’s eldest daughter became the heir. The Old Palace got constructed in Sunspear using Rhoynish architecture. The palace became the seat of House Nymeros Martell.

The Targaryen Conquest

After House Targaryen left Old Valyria, they arrived in Westeros. Aegon I Targaryen later began a conquest of the lands on the continent. He defeated many houses with the power of the dragons, but one refused to bend its knee to him, House Nymeros Martell.

When Queen Rhaenys Targaryen confronted Meria Martell, the princess of Dorne, she demanded that Dorne submit to the Targaryens. However, the old princess refused to agree to the terms of the Targaryens. In 4 AC, King Aegon and his wife, Rhaenys, returned to Dorne but realized Meri was missing. They declared themselves victorious and left the city. However, the Martells came out of hiding and retook Sunspear. The war lingered for a while, and Queen Rhaenys’s dragon got shot down.

The First Dornish War came to an end. Meria died and her son, Nymor, took over as Prince of Dorne. In favor of wanting peace, he sent his daughter, Deria, to King’s Landing with a letter and the head of Meraxes, Rhaenys’s dragon. After reading the letter, Aegon agreed to peace. For his remaining rule, Dorne and the Targaryens remained on good terms.

The Dance of the Dragons

In 110 AC, Prince Qoren Martell allies with the Triarchy, an alliance of the Free Cities of Myr, Lys, and Tyrosh, against Prince Daemon Targaryen and Lord Corlys Velaryon in the Stepstones. King Viserys I Targaryen declared Rhaenyra heir to the Iron Throne. However, his son by Alicent Hightower, Aegon, rose to claim the throne sparking a civil war called the Dance of the Dragons. Prince Qoren Martell got contacted by Otto Hightower for an alliance, but he rejected his offer.

Post Targaryen Civil War

In 158 AC, the Prince of Dorne bent to King Daeron I Targaryen, the young dragon, at the Submission of Sunspear. However, rebellions erupted in Dorne until Daeron died in 161 AC. King Baelor I arranged a marriage between Myriah Martell and Prince Daeron Targaryen. Upon Daeron’s coronation as King, Dorne became a supporter of the Targaryens. During Daeron’s reign, House Martell’s influence in King’s Landing grew, creating dissatisfaction among other lords, leading to them opposing Daeron II during the First Blackfyre Rebellion.

Modern History

In 273 AC, the Princess of Dorne began seeking suitors for her children, Oberyn and Elia. She arrived in Casterly Rock and tried negotiating with Lord Tywin Lannister to have Elia marry Jaime Lannister or, Oberyn marry Cersei. However, Tywin rejected the proposal. Instead, he offered to wed Elia to Tyrion. Later, Prince Rhaegar Targaryen got married to Elia. Oberyn temporarily got exiled after getting caught in bed with Lord Edgar Yronwood’s paramour.

Robert’s Rebellion

In 279 AC, Princess Elia got betrothed to Rhaegar Targaryen. She eventually married him and conceived two children, Aegon and Rhaenys. After winning a tourney at Harrenhal, Rhaegar crowned Lyanna Stark Queen of Love and Beauty over his wife. A year later, he kidnapped Lyanna; this made her betrothed, Robert Baratheon, rise in rebellion against the Iron Throne.

Prince Doran Martell delayed aiding the Targaryens as they treated his daughter terribly. Finally, King Aerys II Targaryen got killed by Jaime during the Sack of King’s Landing. Elia Martell and her children got killed by Gregor Clegane, and their bodies were delivered to Robert Baratheon by Tywin of House Lannister, who became King.

Post Robert’s Rebellion

After the deaths of Elia and her children, Oberyn, Doran’s brother, tried raising Dorne for Prince Viserys Targaryen. He and Doran, the head of House Martell, began working towards ending Robert’s reign by forming a secret marriage pact between Viserys and Arianne Martell. Later, the Tyrells became enemies of the Martells when Oberyn accidentally crippled Willas Tyrell. Doran became ill and moved from Sunspear to the Water Gardens.

A Visual Guide to House Martell’s Historical Members

  • Morgan Martell, an Andal adventurer, finds House Martell.
  • Lord Mors Martell, who gets married to Nymeria, changes House Martell to House Nymeros Martell.
  • Meria Martell, the Yellow Toad of Dorne, refuses to bow to Aegon I Targaryen, leading to the death of Meraxes and Queen Rhaenys Targaryen. Her son, Nymor, makes peace with Aegon.
  • The Unknown Prince of Dorne gets succeeded by his son Morion Martell, who tried to invade the stormlands during the Fourth Dornish War.
  • Unknown Prince sends his daughter and twenty knights to the Great Council of 101 AC.
  • Qoren Martell supports the Triarchy against Prince Daemon Targaryen and Lord Corlys Velaryon.
  • Unknown Prince who kneels to Daeron I Targaryen.
  • Princess of Dorne, mother to Doran, Oberyn, and Elia.

Relevance in A Song of Ice and Fire

A Clash of Kings

When the War of the Five Kings begins, House Martell remains neutral. Tyrion tries to make Dorne support the Lannisters and makes a marriage pact between Princess Myrcella Baratheon and Prince Trystan, Doran’s youngest son. Doran calls his banners in support of the Lannisters. When Myrcella reaches Braavos, Doran sends his armies to the high passes of the Red Mountains but refuses to let them fight any battle.

A Storm of Swords

Due to his poor health, Doran sends his brother, Prince Oberyn Martell, to King’s Landing to attend Joffrey Baratheon’s wedding to Margaery Baratheon, get justice for Elia’s death, and claim the small council seat he got promised. However, Tywin Lannister concocts to lie to Oberyn that Ser Gregor Clegane did not kill Elia and that she got killed by Ser Armory Lorch. During the wedding, Joffrey dies from poison.

Tyrion gets blamed for Joffrey’s death, and Obery agrees to fight for him in a trial by combat. After learning that Gregor killed his sister, Oberyn battles the knight as Tyrion’s champion with a poisoned spear. He gets killed brutally, and Gregor admits to killing Elia and her children before succumbing to Oberyn’s poison.

A Feast for Crows

As Doran’s condition worsens, he moves to the Water Gardens and learns of his brother’s death. With the news of Gregor’s confession reaching Dorne, Obara Sand, Oberyn’s daughter, meets Doran and asks that he marches on King’s Landing in retaliation. However, Doran refuses her suggestions and later tells Areo Hotah, his guard, to lock the Sand Snakes, Oberyn’s bastard daughters.

Meanwhile, Arianne Martell, convinced that her father plans to make Quentyn, her younger brother, his heir, plans with Ser Arys Oakheart to make Myrcella Queen. She smuggles the princess out of Sunspear and tries to take her to Hellholt to crown her. However, her plans get shattered as Arys gets sent by Doran to stop her.

Arys gets killed, and Myrcella gets mutilated across the face. Arianne gets arrested and locked up. He later meets her after many weeks, and when she confronts him about making her younger brother heir, he explains that he had planned to do so because he wanted her to be Queen by marrying Viserys Targaryen. Doran states he started planning revenge against Tywin after the murder of his sister. However, his plans got ruined when Viserys got killed. He then estates that Quentyn will try to seek an alliance with Daenerys Targaryen.

A Dance with Dragons

Ser Balon Swann arrives in Sunspear with Gregor Clegane’s skull. He invites the Prince to come to King’s Landing and claim his seat on the small council. Doran tells his daughter to convince Myrcella to lie about what happened to her and lie that Arys got killed by a rogue knight. After the feast, Doran reveals his plans to the Sand Snakes. He tasks Obara to go with Balon Swann in hunting Gerold Dayne, the knight who injured Myrcella and tells Tyene to travel to the Great Sept of Baelor and befriend the new High Septon.

Meanwhile, Quentyn travels to Meereen to meet Daenerys Targaryen. Upon arriving, he declares his intentions to marry her, but she rejects his proposal. Later, he conspires with the Tattered Prince to take one of Daenerys’s dragons after she disappears. Upon arriving at the pit where Viserion and Rhaegal got chained, he tries to use a whip to control the dragon, but it burns him and loses itself, unleashing carnage on Meereen.

Appearance in Adaptation

In HBO’s Game of Thrones, after Oberyn gets killed, his paramour, Ellaria Sand, and the three eldest Sand Snakes, Obara, Tyene, and Nymeria, kill Doran and Myrcella Baratheon in revenge. They also kill Trystane and join Daenerys when she claims the Iron Throne.

House Martell: Blood and Vengeance

House Martell is a house that tried to have a more isolated role in the political events of Westeros. However, their recent dark history made them seek out vengeance. Though to many people, Robert’s Rebellion led to the end of the Mad King, to the Martells, his rebellion led to Elia’s death; this became the premise of Dorne’s hatred towards the Baratheons and Lannisters. For many years, the resentment fostered between Dorne and King’s Landing eventually led to blood getting spilled on both sides.


Are the Martells part Targaryens?

Yes, they partly are. The Martells intermarried the Targaryens mixing their blood; this made them part Targaryens. Also, Elia Martell married Rhaegar Targaryen and gave birth to Aegon, who seems to be a primary contender for the Iron Throne.

Who would win in war House Martell or House Lannister?

Invading or defeating House Martell is almost impossible because the Martells fight guerilla style. When Aegon the Conqueror tried to subdue Dorne, he got destroyed as the Martells always hid and spawned out to kill in small groups.

Do the Martells hate the Lannisters?

Yes. House Martell hated the Lannisters so much because of what they did to Elia Martell, Rhaegar Targaryen’s wife. She got brutally murdered by Gregor Clegane on the orders of his liege lord, Tywin Lannister.

Who is Princess Nymeria?

Princess Nymeria of Ny Sar was a princess of the Rhoynar. After losing in battle to the Valyrian warlords, she sailed with her people on 10,000 ships to Westeros. Upon arriving, she allied with Mors Martell and burnt her fleet.

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