Tuesday, 22 April 2014

A Game of Thrones History: Dorne

Season 4 brings us a few new families. My personal favourite is House Martell of Dorne.


Is located in the southernmost region of Westeros, it is located thousands of miles from Winterfell and The North and has a harsh dessert climate.The customs and traditions of the Dornishmen are quite different to those of the rest of Westeros. This is as a result of the Rhoynar refugee's intermarrying with the Andals and the First Men approximately a thousand years ago.

The area in red shows the area in Westeros that Dorne governs.
Dorne is the only kingdom to have weathered the attacks of Aegon the Conqueror and remain a sovereign nation. It joined the seven kingdoms through peaceful marriage alliance almost two centuries later. Only one century before Robert's rebellion. As a result of joining through marriage and not conquest, Dorne was allowed to keep many of it's local customs and laws, such as equal inheritance laws for males and females. Due to the fact that the Dornishmen have very different ethnic, legal and political factors compared to those of the rest of the seven kingdoms, the Dornish are very independently minded and have a stronger sense of national identity. Bastards Born in Dorne are given the surname Sand.

Dorne is ruled from the castle of Sunspear by House Martell. 

House Martell

House Martell was originally a small, obscure noble house in Dorne back when the peninsula was home to numerous small warring states about one thousand years ago. After the war in the east against Valyria, the Rhoynar, refugees from the war, fled to Westeros led by their warrior queen Nymeria. They landed in Dorne and allied with Lord Mors Martell. A brief war followed, after which Mors named himself the ruler of the unified kingdom of Dorne, using the title ''Prince'' rather then ''King'' in Rhoynish fashion. 

Mors married Nymeria, this united the bloodlines of the Rhoynar with the native First Men and Andals. Under the ruling of the Martell's, Dorne used guerilla tactics to evade Aegon I Targaryen's conquest. Approximately a century and a half later Dorne was briefly occupied by King Daeron I, but overthrew him in a bloody rebellion.

Almost a century before the series begins, Dorne joined the 7 kingdoms through a peaceful marriage alliance. 

The Martells were loyal vessels to the Iron Throne, marrying Princess Elia Martell to Prince Rhaegar Targaryen, who bore him two children. However during Roberts rebellion the Martells were unhappy with the fact that Rhaegar set Elia aside and took Lyanna Stark as his paramour, and thus provoked a war. The Martells stayed reluctantly loyal to the Iron Throne, mostly due to the fact that Aeyrs Targaryen was holding Elia as a hostage to ensure their loyalty.

The needless murder of Princess Elia and her children, quickly ended the alliance between Dorne and the Iron Throne and turned Dorne into an angry nation, bubbling over with hatred towards the Targaryens.  After the war and some powerful peace negotiations, House Martell swore fealty to King Robert Baratheon but still held a lot of anger and resentment towards the Lannisters for their part in Elias murder. Since then the Martells became very isolated and only mixed with the other big houses in Westeros when absolutely necessary. In conjunction with this they have stronger alliances with the free cities in Essos than the rest of Westeros.

The Tyrells and the Martells have been sworn enemies for generations. With Prince Oberyn being the one responsible for maiming Willas Tyrell, although Willas does not hold a grudge against Oberyn for this.

At present the Head of House Martell is Prince Doran. However he is ageing and, so, is preparing his eldest daughter Princess Arianne Martell to take over in his place. Prince Doran is semi retired and is leaving much of the day to day running of Dorne to Arianne. 

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