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House Martell
A golden sun pierced by a spear
Princes of Dorne
Lords of Sunspear
Military strength
Cadet branches
Date of founding
Ancestral weapon
"I'm brokering an alliance with House Martell of Dorne."
―Tyrion Lannister[src]

House Martell is one of the Great Houses of Westeros. It rules the peninsula of Dorne in the far south of the continent from the castle at Sunspear. Though loyal to the Iron Throne, it has pursued a more isolated role in events since Robert's Rebellion.

House Martell's sigil is a sun pierced by a golden spear. Its words are, "Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken."




Season 1

Bran Stark recounts the motto of House Martell during a lesson with Maester Luwin.[2]

Season 2

Tyrion Lannister announces his plan to marry Myrcella Baratheon to Prince Trystane Martell of Dorne. The alliance is intended to take advantage of the historical enmity between Dorne and the Reach, to keep the Dornish from siding with their enemies in the War of the Five Kings, and to ensure the survival of a Baratheon/Lannister heir should King's Landing fall. Cersei is shocked, and tells her brother that the Martells hate them. Tyrion concurs, but says that this is exactly why they need to seduce the Martells back into allegiance, by offering them a royal marriage alliance.[3]

Some weeks later, Tyrion, Cersei, and Joffrey see Myrcella off from the docks at King's Landing for the first stage of her journey to Dorne.[4]

In the books

In the A Song of Ice and Fire novels, House Martell does not play a major roles in events until the third and fourth books in the series, only being referenced in the first two.

House Martell was originally a tiny, obscure noble house of Dorne back when the peninsula was home to numerous small, warring states, approximately one thousand years ago. The Rhoynar, refugees from a war against Valyria on the eastern continent, made landfall in Dorne and allied with Lord Mors Martell. After a brief war, Mors named himself the ruler of the unified Kingdom of Dorne, adopting the title "Prince" rather than "King".

When Aegon I Targaryen invaded Westeros, he conquered six of the seven kingdoms extant at that time, but the Dornish refused to give open battle where Aegon could destroy them with his dragons, instead resorting to hit-and-run attacks which severely damaged his army through attrition. Aegon agreed to leave Dorne to its own devices. A century and a half later, Dorne was briefly occupied by the armies of King Daeron I, but overthrew them in a bloody rebellion. Eventually, roughly a century before the events of the series, Dorne joined the Seven Kingdoms through a peaceful marriage alliance. House Martell's motto, "Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken", directly references the fact that they were never conquered by outsiders. Because they came under the authority of the Iron Throne through marriage instead of the sword, House Martell and the other Dornish houses continue to practice equal primogeniture, in which the eldest child is the designated heir, regardless of whether they are male or female. Another major difference is that the rulers of Dorne are styled ruling Princes (or ruling Princesses) instead of Lords Paramount. At the time of the beginning of the narrative the current head of House Martell is the aging Prince Doran. His daughter and eldest child is Arianne Martell: despite being female, she has been actively groomed to succeed her father, as are eldest daughters all over Dorne. In his old age and infirmity (though he retains his wits) Doran has semi-retired, delegating most of the day-to-day governance of Dorne to Arianne. 

The Martells were loyal vassals of the Iron Throne, with Princess Elia Martell marrying Prince Rhaegar Targaryen and bearing him two children. During Robert's Rebellion, the Martells were unhappy with Rhaegar's betrayal of Elia by taking Lyanna Stark as his paramour and sparking a war over the matter. Still, they supported King Aerys II Targaryen's bid to retain the throne, predominantly due to Aerys effectively holding Elia as a hostage to ensure their loyalty. The Martells lost many soldiers at the Battle of the Trident and Princess Elia and her children were brutally killed during the Sack of King's Landing by Lannister soldiers. Ironically, the Martells had only grudgingly stayed loyal to the Targaryens during the civil war, but the needless and brutal murder of Elia turned Dorne into a hotbed of pro-Targaryen sentiment. Though House Martell swore fealty to King Robert Baratheon after the war, they have harbored anger and resentment towards the Lannisters ever since and have adopted a mostly isolationist policy ever since, not mixing with the other Great Houses unless totally necessary. As a result, the Dornish have stronger relations with the Free Cities of Essos than the rest of Westeros.

The Martells and Tyrells have been sworn enemies for many generations. Over the centuries, they have fought border wars beyond count, and raided back and forth across mountains and marches even when at peace. The enmity between the two houses waned a bit after Dorne became part of the Seven Kingdoms, but the maiming of Willas Tyrell by the Dornish prince Oberyn Martell fanned the animosity between the families, though Willas himself does not hold any grudge against Oberyn.


  • Prince Doran Martell, the current Lord of Sunspear and Prince of Dorne.
    • Lady Mellario of Norvos, his wife. They married for love but the two later became estranged, and she has returned to Norvos.
    • Princess Arianne Martell, his oldest daughter and heir, since Dornish law upholds equal primogeniture, regardless of gender.
    • Prince Quentyn Martell, his oldest son, fostering with Lord Yronwood.
    • Prince Trystane Martell, his youngest son.
  • Prince Oberyn Martell, Doran's younger brother, called the 'Red Viper'.
    • The 'Sand Snakes', Prince Oberyn's bastard daughters:
      • Obara Sand, born of a whore of Oldtown.
      • Nymeria Sand, called 'Lady Nym', born of a noblewoman of Volantis.
      • Tyene Sand, born of a septa.
      • Sarella Sand, born of a trader of the Summer Isles
      • Elia Sand, born of Oberyn's Paramour, Ellaria Sand
      • Obella Sand, born of Oberyn's Paramour, Ellaria Sand
      • Dorea Sand, born of Oberyn's Paramour, Ellaria Sand
      • Loreza Sand, born of Oberyn's Paramour, Ellaria Sand
  • Princess Elia Martell, Doran and Oberyn's sister, married to Prince Rhaegar Targaryen. Slain in the Sack of King's Landing along with her two children.
  • Prince {Lewyn Martell}, a knight of the Kingsguard during the rule of Aerys II Targaryen. Slain at the Battle of the Trident.

With unspecified familiar relationship to the main branch there is also:

  • Ser Manfrey Martell, castellan of Sunspear. A cousin of Doran Martell, it is not stated of which degree.

Sworn to House Martell

  • House Dayne of Starfall
  • House Jordayne of the Tor
  • House Yronwood of Yronwood
  • House Wyl of Wyl
  • House Toland of Ghost Hill
  • ​House Dalt of Lemonwood
  • House Allyrion of Godsgrace
  • House Santagar of Spottswood.
  • House Qorgyle of Sandstone.
  • House Uller of Hellholt.
  • House Manwoody of Kingsgrave.
  • House Gargalen of Salt Shore.
  • House Fowler of Skyreach.
  • House Blackmont of Blackmont.
  • House Vaith of The Dunes.

Image gallery

See also


  1. Season 2 bluray: War of the Five Kings feature
  2. "The Wolf and the Lion"
  3. "What is Dead May Never Die"
  4. "The Old Gods and the New"
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House Martell
Lord: Heir:
Martell mini flag
Seat: Sunspear Lands: Dorne
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: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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