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Ellaria Sand

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Cersei Lannister: "Can't say I've ever met a Sand before."
Ellaria Sand: "We are everywhere in Dorne. I have ten thousand brothers and sisters."
— Ellaria spars with Queen Cersei.[src]

Ellaria Sand is a major character in the fifth, sixth and seventh seasons. She initially appeared as a recurring character in the fourth season, debuting in "Two Swords". She is portrayed by starring cast member Indira Varma. Ellaria is the paramour of Prince Oberyn Martell of Dorne and a bastard of House Uller, carrying the bastard surname "Sand" like all bastards in Dorne.

After Oberyn's death while defending Tyrion Lannister in a trial by combat, Ellaria pushes for House Martell to go to war with House Lannister, but is refused by Oberyn's older brother, Doran Martell. In retaliation, Ellaria and the Sand Snakes murder Doran's ward, Myrcella Baratheon, and eventually Doran himself and his son, Trystane Martell, and usurp power in Dorne, pledging the army of House Martell to Daenerys Targaryen.



Ellaria is the mother of four of Prince Oberyn Martell's eight bastard daughters. Her eldest daughter is Tyene. Like Oberyn, Ellaria is attracted to both men and women.[2]

Season 4


Ellaria partakes of King's Landing's entertainment.

After their arrival in King's Landing, Ellaria and her lover, Prince Oberyn Martell, head to one of Littlefinger's brothels. Oberyn examines three whores while Ellaria lies on the bed, asking her which one she would like. She says that she doesn't want a timid one and he eventually finds one to her liking. When Olyvar calls Ellaria "my lady", she calls him out for using a lie to address her and tells him to call her what she is: a bastard. When Oberyn hears men singing the Rains of Castamere in the next room, Ellaria tries to stop him but can only watch as Oberyn takes out his rage on the Lannister men-at-arms. She proceeds to passionately kiss him as Tyrion Lannister and Bronn enter the room seeking Oberyn.[3]


Ellaria Sand and Oberyn Martell are greeted by Tywin and Cersei at Joffrey's wedding.

Ellaria and Oberyn attend Joffrey's wedding, where she is introduced to Tywin Lannister and Cersei Lannister. Cersei subtly mocks her bastard status, instigating a debate over the cultural differences between the Dornish and the rest of Westeros. She and Oberyn later witness the poisoning of King Joffrey.[4]

In the days following Joffrey's death, Ellaria and Oberyn again visit the brothel. On this occasion, Ellaria is serviced by Marei and another woman; Ellaria steals a kiss from Olyvar, who apologizes and says he simply hasn't developed the taste for women.

Oberyn and Ellaria - Breaker of Chains

Ellaria and Oberyn are interrupted.

Ellaria soothes Oberyn's anger at the suggestion that she is an "acquired taste", by reminding him that this means he has Olyvar to himself. Ellaria leaves when Lord Tywin unexpectedly shows up and asks to meet privately with Oberyn, but says that Oberyn need only call if he needs her.[5]

Ellaria terrified - The Mountain and the Viper

Ellaria screams in horror as she watches Oberyn's brutal death.

During Tyrion's trial by combat, Ellaria, in spite of having heard tales of the Mountain for years, is somewhat disturbed to see exactly how large he really is, expressing with disbelief, "you're going to fight that?!". Ellaria watches with Tyrion from the sidelines and is delighted when it looks like Oberyn has won. When Oberyn demands that Gregor confess his crimes before he dies, he meets Ellaria's eyes and she nods approvingly. Her delight turns to shock and horror when the Mountain gains the upper hand on Oberyn and crushes his skull, at which she can do nothing but scream.[6]

Season 5


Ellaria confronts Prince Doran.

At the Water Gardens, Ellaria, still in mourning clothes, observes Trystane Martell and Myrcella Baratheon from a distance. She approaches Prince Doran Martell, but her path is initially blocked by Captain Areo Hotah. Ellaria threatens Areo before the captain is ordered by Doran to stand down. Angrily, Ellaria scolds Doran for his apparent inaction at the news of Oberyn's death. Doran plans to bury and mourn his beloved brother, but Ellaria and Oberyn's daughters want the Dornish people to take up arms and avenge their fallen prince. She also voices her contempt for Myrcella and wants to harm her in order to take revenge on Cersei, who she deems responsible for Oberyn's death by falsely accusing Tyrion of Joffrey's murder in the first place. Doran strictly forbids this, stating that under his rule, they will not mutilate little girls for revenge. Ellaria voices doubts that Doran will remain in power if he continues to do nothing and leaves.[7]

Sand Snakes torture with scorpions

Ellaria plots with the Sand Snakes.

She later meets with Obara, Nymeria, and her daughter Tyene, telling them that Doran will mourn for Oberyn but won't do anything. As Obara points out that they have no army without the support of the Prince to challenge the Lannisters, Ellaria says that they won't need an army because they have Myrcella, despite Oberyn's earlier promise that they would never harm her. Nymeria informs her that there's perhaps a problem, presenting her the merchant captain who smuggled Jaime Lannister to Dorne and tried to sell this information to Obara, just to end up buried in the sand.

Ellaria realizes that Jaime has come for Myrcella and asks the three which way they choose, Doran's or hers. Tyene is the first one declaring for her, followed by Nymeria and then Obara, who makes her point by telling how she first met Oberyn, when she made her choice, and then she uses her spear to kill the captain.[8]

Meeting in dorn jaime myrcella

Ellaria is present when Jaime Lannister is brought before Prince Doran.

Ellaria and the Sand Snakes return to the Water Gardens to kidnap Myrcella and use her for their revenge against the Lannisters. They swear, by the words of House Martell, to do what is needed to avenge Oberyn. However, Prince Doran had foreseen their attempt to take Myrcella and his guard, led by Aero Hotah, arrests the Sand Snakes and Ellaria for their treachery.[9]

Ellaria is later brought before Doran to receive Jaime, though she is openly hostile towards him, calling him Kingslayer and refusing to drink a toast to Tommen as the new King. She is visibly shocked when Doran announces he will send Myrcella back to King's Landing along with Trystane, robbing her of her revenge.

On her way out, she insults Doran, who in turn threatens to kill her if she speaks to him like that again. Later, Doran issues Ellaria an ultimatum: pledge allegiance to him, or die. She tearfully complies.


Ellaria poisons Myrcella with the kiss of death.

She later visits Jaime in his quarters and pretends to make amends with him, acknowledging that neither he nor Myrcella played any part in Oberyn's death, but expresses her knowledge that Myrcella is not Jaime's niece, but his daughter. Before leaving, she mocks him for not being born centuries ago into the Targaryen family, in which position his incest would have been accepted.[10]

As the Sand Snakes say goodbye to the expedition back to King's Landing, Ellaria kisses Myrcella on the lips. As the ship is away in the horizon, Ellaria wipes blood from her nose and takes an antidote for the poison coated on her lips, which has just taken Myrcella's life on the boat, and walks away silently, contemplating what will follow when Doran finds out that she has betrayed him and put his son's life in danger.[11]

Season 6

The Red Woman 21

Ellaria betrays and murders Doran Martell.

Ellaria takes a stroll with Doran in the Water Gardens, with Areo Hotah and her daughter Tyene following. As she aids her prince to his seat, they discuss how her paramour Oberyn would have been a terrible ruler, and Doran a terrible adventurer. After Doran tells Tyene what a brilliant woman her mother is, flattering Ellaria, Maester Caleotte arrives with a message informing him that Myrcella was poisoned. As Doran immediately realizes what happened, Tyene stabs and kills Areo, allowing Ellaria to stab Doran in the chest with a concealed knife. Before Doran can strangle her, Ellaria pulls him out of his chair while Tyene dispatches Areo and Caleotte. Dissatisfied with Doran's decisions, the other guards simply stand and watch. Ellaria reprimands the prince for allowing the Lannisters to get away with the deaths of both his siblings. Slowly bleeding to death, Doran begs for his son's life. Ellaria refuses, as Trystane Martell's death is also a part of her coup, already having sent Obara and Nymeria to ambush and kill him.[12]

Jaime Lannister later receives word in King's Landing that Ellaria and the Sand Snakes have taken over Dorne and will likely soon declare war on the Lannisters.[13]

Following the Destruction of the Great Sept of Baelor, Ellaria and the Sand Snakes extend an invitation for Olenna Tyrell to meet them at the Water Gardens. Upon their meeting, Lady Olenna reminds the Sands of the fate of Lyonel Tyrell when he came to Dorne, prompting Ellaria to assure her that she has nothing to fear from them, even though they practically murdered their own family to seize power in Dorne.

Ellaria sand and the sand snakes game of thrones finale s6

Ellaria discusses revenge plans with Olenna Tyrell.

Ellaria insists that they must work together now for survival, as Queen Cersei has declared war on both of them. Olenna objects, saying that survival is not what she is after due to the loss of her son and grandchildren. Ellaria offers Olenna her heart's desire, which she identifies as "justice and vengeance." She then summons Varys, who further clarifies that he and Ellaria are offering "fire and blood", signifying that Ellaria has declared for Daenerys Targaryen after hearing of her recent alliance with Theon Greyjoy and Yara Greyjoy.

When Daenerys's assembled armada sails for Westeros some time later, ships of Dorne are seen among them, supplied by Ellaria. However, Ellaria remains unaware that Tyrion Lannister, who was Myrcella's uncle, is now Daenerys's Hand and will likely demand justice for his niece's unjust murder.[14]


Before the death of her paramour Oberyn, Ellaria was shown to be an adventrous, carefree, and spirited woman who shared her lover's tastes and zest for life. She was also rather peaceful as shown when she initially tried to dissuade Oberyn from getting into a fight with two Lannister men at Littlefinger's brothel until one of them made a lascivious remark about her, implying that she must also be a whore, and a prejudiced remark about Oberyn and Dornishmen in general, even though she too is Dornish. Ellaria is also initially courteous to Tywin and Cersei at their first meeting but was rather quickly vexed when Cersei hypocritically mocked her bastard surname. When Oberyn went to fight the Mountain, Ellaria expressed shock that he had chosen to fight such a man, and pleaded that he not leave her alone in the world, and she reacted with horror when Gregor Clegane killed him. This shows that she and Oberyn had a genuinely loving relationship.

Since Oberyn's death, however, her personality has completely darkened. Despite the fact that it was ultimately Oberyn's hubris that got him killed, Ellaria has not only inherited his more vengeful side; she has transcended it to a whole new level. This started off as a considerably aggressive attitude towards anyone who crossed her, especially Jaime Lannister. She behaved in an aggressive and spiteful way, and when Doran treated with Jaime, expressing disgust that he was even considering breaking bread with Jaime. Beforehand, she was enraged that he hadn't declared war on the Iron Throne to avenge Oberyn. She became pitiless and dangerous, suggesting that they send Myrcella back to Cersei in pieces, and later killing her in front of Jaime, all so she could mount a war against House Lannister.

This being said, Ellaria isn't so blinded by her hatred and revenge that she isn't willing to make alliances as shown when she invites Olenna Tyrell, a member of a family that have been rivals of the Martells for centuries, if it meant that they could take their revenge on Cersei and her family for the damage that they caused to both their families. Still, for all intents and purposes, Ellaria fails to see that she has proven herself no better than the Lannisters by murdering an innocent child and then Oberyn's own brother in cold blood, despite Doran and Trystane having treated her like one of their own family.


Season Four appearances
Two Swords The Lion and the Rose Breaker of Chains Oathkeeper First of His Name
The Laws of Gods and Men Mockingbird The Mountain and the Viper The Watchers on the Wall The Children
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
Season Six appearances
The Red Woman Home Oathbreaker Book of the Stranger The Door
Blood of My Blood The Broken Man No One Battle of the Bastards The Winds of Winter

Family Tree

Ruling Princess Martell of Dorne
Consort of the Princess of Dorne
Lewyn Martell familytree
Lewyn Martell Kingsguard-Main-Shield
Doran Martell family tree
Doran Martell
Mellario of Norvos
Elia Martell
Rhaegar Targaryen House-Targaryen-Main-Shield
Unknown tree
Various women
Oberyn Martell
Ellaria Sand
of House Uller
Mother of 4 or 5 Sand Snakes
Trystane Martell family tree

Trystane Martell

Mycella Season 5 family tree pic

Myrcella Baratheon House-Baratheon-of-King's Landing-Main-Shield

Rhaenys tree
Rhaenys Targaryen House-Targaryen-Main-Shield
Aegon Targaryen
Obara Sand familytree
Obara Sand
Nymeria Sand familytree
Nymeria Sand
Martell bastard
One or two other Sand Snakes
Tyene Sand familytree
Tyene Sand
Martell bastard
Three or four younger Sand Snakes


Spoken by Ellaria

"You think I disapprove, why? Because people disapprove of that sort of thing where you are from? They disapproved of Oberyn and me where you are from. Here, no one blinked an eye. A hundred years ago, no one would have blinked an eye at you, if you'd been named Targaryen. It's always changing, who we're supposed to love, and who we're not. The only thing that stays the same is we want who we want."
―Ellaria to Jaime Lannister about love.[src]
"Why don't you use the right words. I'm a bastard, and she is a whore."
―Ellaria to Olyvar at the brothel.[src]
Cersei Lannister: "Can't say I've ever met a Sand before."
Ellaria Sand: "We are everywhere in Dorne. I have ten thousand brothers and sisters."
— Ellaria stands up to Queen Cersei's mockery of her bastard surname.[src]
Ellaria Sand: "You're going to fight that?"
Oberyn Martell: "I'm going to kill that!"
— Ellaria and Oberyn before the trial by combat.[src]
"Don't leave me alone in this world."
―Ellaria's last words to Oberyn Martell.[src]
"Oberyn is dead, and this Lannister girl skips about the Water Gardens, eating our food, breathing our air."
―Ellaria to Doran Martell[src]
"You must choose. Doran's way and peace, or my way, and war."
―Ellaria to the Sand Snakes[src]
"No wonder you can't stand, you have no spine."
―Ellaria to Doran[src]
"Forgive me, child. I wish you all the happiness in the world."
―Ellaria to Myrcella, just before she poisons her.[src]
Ellaria Sand: "You have nothing to fear from us, Lady Olenna."
Olenna Tyrell: "You murder your own prince, yet you expect me to trust you?"
— Ellaria Sand and Olenna Tyrell.[src]
Olenna Tyrell: "What is my heart's desire?"
Ellaria Sand: "Vengeance. Justice."
Varys: "Fire and blood."
— Varys and Ellaria promise Olenna Tyrell justice for her slain family.[src]

Spoken about Ellaria

"Your mother is a brilliant woman, you know that?"
―Doran to Tyene[src]
"The same women who murdered Myrcella have overthrown House Martell and taken control of Dorne."
―Jaime Lannister to Kevan Lannister[src]

Image Gallery

Behind the Scenes

In the books

In the A Song of Ice and Fire novels, Ellaria Sand is the paramour of Prince Oberyn Martell. She is the bastard daughter of Lord Harmen Uller, the Lord of Hellholt - thus she is one of the "Sandy Dornishmen" of the central desert of Dorne, who possess particularly dark skin, burned brown by the hot desert sun. Her hair and eyes are also black. She is described as not explicitly beautiful, as she is no longer a young woman and has borne four children, though still attractive and eye-catching, with an exotic, sensuous flair. Like her partner Oberyn, she expresses sexual interest in both women and men. It is not unusual for lords and ladies in Dorne to be openly bisexual, due to the relaxed attitude towards sexuality among the Dornish. She's rumored to worship a Lysene love godess and is dubbed "The Serpent's whore" - the serpent in question being Oberyn Martell - by Olenna Redwyne.

Ellaria is the mother of the four youngest of Oberyn's eight bastard daughters, who are all collectively known as the "Sand Snakes". Ellaria's four daughters with Oberyn are Elia, Obella, Dorea, and Loreza Sand. She is not Tyene's mother in the books.

In the books, Ellaria doesn't advocate war against the Lannisters, much less exacting revenge by harming Myrcella. In fact, she urges against war, because she is worried the cycle of revenge will continue until even her youngest daughters are eventually consumed by it. The role of going against Doran's orders by trying to spark a war is at first taken up by the three eldest Sand Snakes: Obara, Nymeria, and Tyene. In fact, Obara is the one who approaches Doran in the Water Gardens and accuses him of inaction. However, the Sand Snakes act independently instead of under Ellaria's directive, and are soon reined in by Doran anyway. Later, it is Arianne, Doran's daughter and heir, who urges for war and actually puts a plan in motion using Myrcella, though it doesn't involve harming her either.

During Arianne's failed plot, Myrcella is the target of an assassination attempt by one of Arianne's own supporters: Ser Gerold "The Darkstar" Dayne, the Knight of High Hermitage, head of a lesser branch of House Dayne, though Arianne was unaware of Dayne's motives. Unlike in the show, Myrcella survives the injury but is left disfigured, and Doran orders a manhunt for Dayne.

The television series, however, appears to have somewhat swapped Ellaria and Doran around from the books. In the novels, it is not Ellaria who pushes for war against the Lannisters, and while Doran initially appears to seek peace, he later reveals to his family that he secretly intends to ally House Martell with Daenerys Targaryen to avenge for Oberyn and Elia.

In the fifth novel, it is implied that Areo Hotah has feelings for Ellaria: listening to her imploring the Sand Snakes to forgo their vendetta, tears in her eyes, Areo thinks admiringly "Even weeping, she has a strength in her". He is saddened to see her leave the room, thinking "She is a good woman".

In "Arianne I" sample chapter from the sixth novel, it is mentioned Ellaria is currently travelling with her daughter Loreza to Hellholt, the seat of her father.

See also


v  d  e
Lord: Heir:
Seat: Sunspear Lands: Dorne
Title(s): Prince of Dorne · Lord of Sunspear
Ancestors:Princess Nymeria · Prince Mors Martell · Daughter of Mors · Meria Martell · Prince Maron Martell · Princess Daenerys Martell · Queen Myriah Martell
Current members: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 · Prince Doran Martell · Prince Trystane Martell
Household:{Areo Hotah} · {Caleotte}
Overlord:House Baratheon of King's Landing

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