|First seen||The House of Black and White|
|Appeared in||5 episodes (see below)|
|Titles||Captain of the Guard|
|Portrayed by||DeObia Oparei|
- "When you were whole, it would have been a good fight."
- ―Areo Hotah to Jaime Lannister
Areo Hotah is originally from Norvos, one of the northern Free Cities. He joined the Martell household at Sunspear along with Prince Doran's wife, a Norvoshi noblewoman. He has been a trusted servant of the Martells for many years, and is renowned for his skill with his longaxe. Hotah's motto is "Serve, Protect, Obey".
Areo Hotah is overlooking the Water Gardens with Doran when Ellaria Sand tries to approach the Prince. Hotah blocks her passage, and tells her that the Prince does not wish to be disturbed. In turn, she threatens him, yet Hotah does not move until Prince Doran tells him to let her pass. She berates Doran for doing nothing about his brother's murder, and tells him that she and Oberyn's daughters want Dorne to take up arms and avenge Oberyn. She also wants to harm Myrcella Baratheon in order to send Cersei Lannister a message. Doran strictly forbids her from harming Myrcella while he rules. Ellaria voices doubts that Doran will remain in power if he continues to do nothing, and then storms off. Hotah lets her pass, yet meaningfully indicates his axe to the Prince, but Doran shakes his head and returns his attention to the Water Gardens.
As Trystane and Myrcella take a walk through the Water Gardens, Areo and Doran watch over them. The prince tells his captain that they need to protect the two, as a betrothal between two Houses who hate each other will only lead to danger for both of them. He asks if Areo remembers how to use his longaxe as it has been a long time since he used it last. Areo assures him that he still remembers how.
Areo leads the Prince's guard to break up the fight between the Sand Snakes and Jaime Lannister and his accomplice, Bronn, when they try to take Myrcella. Obara angrily claims that they fight for Dorne and asks who he fights for. Areo repeats his command that they drop their weapons. Surrounded and outnumbered, the Sand Snakes obey. Areo moves fast and places his longaxe at Jaime's neck, telling Jaime that he would have enjoyed fighting him had Jaime had the use of his right hand. Jaime then drops his sword and the guards take them all into custody. Ellaria Sand is also arrested for her part in the attempted kidnapping.
Areo later escorts Myrcella to visit Jaime in his chambers, saying that Doran sent her to quiet Jaime's concerns about her safety. Areo takes his leave, and Myrcella proceeds to have a tense conversation with Jaime in which she says that her mother doesn't really care about what she wants, that Dorne is her home now, and she still intends to marry Trystane Martell.
On Doran's orders, Areo frees Bronn from custody and takes him before his lord. On Trystane Martell's request, Areo strikes Bronn across the face in retaliation for Bronn striking him earlier, in exchange for Bronn being shown mercy.
|Season Five appearances|
|The Wars to Come||The House of Black and White||High Sparrow||Sons of the Harpy||Kill the Boy|
|Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken||The Gift||Hardhome||The Dance of Dragons||Mother’s Mercy|
In the booksEdit
In the A Song of Ice and Fire novels, Areo Hotah is described as a large, broad-shouldered man with white hair. He wields a large axe with a shaft six feet long. He is apparently Caucasian in the books - or at least, the line about his "white hair" inspired official artwork to depict him as Caucasian - while the TV series cast black actor DeObia Oparei in the role. This is not out of keeping for the Free Cities, whose populations are often diverse mixtures descended from Valyrian slaves brought in from far away lands. Westeros.org's review of the casting announcement pointed out that in some ways this could be seen as making up for the omission of Strong Belwas from the TV continuity, who is also a large, black, staunchly loyal guardsman, who entered into the service of Daenerys Targaryen (not that TV-Areo has been "combined" with Strong Belwas: Belwas is huge and strong but also very stout and fat, and is a eunuch).
As the youngest of six children, Areo was sold to priests of the local religion to be trained as a servant, which is a common practice in the Free Cities - similar to how Thoros, as an eighth son, was given over to the temple of the Lord of Light in Myr. The Bearded Priests of Norvos are a militant order, famed for training young boys into highly dependable guardsmen proficient in combat with an axe. Areo finished his training when he was sixteen years old, and as is customary, his chest was branded with his axe to signify the event.
Areo Hotah is the only significant character from Norvos to appear within the first five novels: only two other named characters from Norvos are even mentioned. Lady Mellario herself is important to Areo and Doran's backstory, but because she moved back to Norvos she is mentioned but does not appear within the narrative. The only other named Norvoshi was Byan Votris, captain of the trade caravan to Vaes Dothrak which contained the Wineseller who tried to poison Daenerys.
It is not yet clear if the TV-version of Areo will still be from Norvos, or if the TV series will give the explanation that he is from the Summer Islands but grew up in Norvos, or if he was simply living in the Summer Islands immediately before he came to Dorne (and never lived in Norvos). When other characters such as Xaro Xhoan Daxos or Salladhor Saan were changed to be black in the TV series, the writers introduced the explanation that they were originally "from" the Summer Islands before moving to their current home (i.e. Xaro directly states that he was originally from the Summer Islands). The Summer Islands are very close to Dorne, being located directly south from Dorne across the Summer Sea, so it actually isn't implausible to find Summer Islanders living in Dorne. Then again, the Free Cities are ethnically very mixed and Areo could very easily just happen to be a black man from Norvos (also, given that he was sold by his poor family into the service of the Bearded Priests of Norvos in the novels, he might just be a freed slave). Actor DeObia Oparei has himself stated in interviews that Areo is from Norvos, but no official TV materials have ever mentioned it, so Oparei might just be going by the character in the novels - leaving it unclear if this is also the case in the TV continuity. Thus TV-Areo is assumed to still be from Norvos, unless stated otherwise.
Areo has been in Doran's service since he married Mellario of Norvos, a noblewoman from the Free Cities. Doran and Mellario wed for love, not to secure a political alliance, but as the years passed they became estranged and Mellario moved back to Norvos. Areo remained in Dorne to guard her and Doran's children: he has seen each of them grow up, and has an avuncular attachment to them. Still, his loyalty to Doran supersedes his loyalty to Doran's children. He lives up to his vow "Serve, Obey, Protect".
Areo found Dorne and its culture to be quite alien when he first arrived: Norvos is one of the northern Free Cities and has a relatively colder climate, very different from the hot deserts of Dorne with its spicy foods and exotic culture. Over time, however, he became quite attached to the Martells.
Areo's weapon in the TV series seems somewhat more like a glaive than a longaxe as described in the novels, though a glaive is still a kind of axe (it is still used for slashing attacks, not thrusting attacks like a spear). Norvoshi axes in the novels, however, are double-headed. Either way, the TV series Weapons Master Tommy Dunne, who designed and made it, describes Areo's weapon as as an "axe" in behind-the-scenes videos. The prop used for the TV version is over seven feet long. Areo and Doran also refer to it as an "axe" in-dialogue, such as in "Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken".
A fact which doesn't translate well into a live-action adaptation is that while Areo Hotah is a POV narrator for many scenes in the Martell household, he is a stolid bodyguard of few words, internalizing situations around him. In his internal thought monologue, he is constantly assessing each new person who comes to meet Doran, and weighing the context of their words and actions through lengthy internal deliberation - but he outwardly doesn't have as many lines of speaking dialogue, the result being that his characterization is difficult to convey on-screen.
|Lord:||Prince Doran Martell||Heir:|
|Title(s):||Prince of Dorne · Lord of Sunspear|
|Ancestors:||Princess Nymeria · Prince Mors Martell · Prince Maron Martell · Princess Daenerys Martell · Queen Myriah Martell|
|Current members:||Prince Trystane Martell · Ellaria Sand · Obara Sand · Nymeria Sand · Tyene Sand · Sarella Sand · Elia Sand · Obella Sand · Dorea Sand · Loreza Sand|
|Deceased members:||Prince Lewyn Martell · Princess Elia Martell · Prince Oberyn Martell|
|Overlord:||House Baratheon of King's Landing|