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Oberyn Martell: "Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken", the words of House Martell - a promise to our enemies and a challenge to our lovers. Thousands of years ago, the warrior queen Nymeria crossed into Dorne from Essos, fleeing the dragonlords of Valyria. After she landed, she burned her ships, all ten thousand of them, so no cowards could slink home. What a woman, Dornish in spirit before she ever was in flesh.
She was lucky to land in Dorne, where powerful women are not locked away in septs and the beds of old men. My ancestor, Mors Martell, saw her and desired her, and proved that where armies fail, a tongue may succeed. Wedding his strength to hers, his spear to her sun, they subdued all of his rivals - together. After the tradition of her people, House Martell then ruled Dorne as Princes, not kings, unless the eldest child was a daughter. For unlike the rest of Westeros, our loyalty is not commanded by a cock. We follow a Prince or a Princess Martell just the same, and we always have.
Some people forget that Aegon Targaryen crowned himself lord of six kingdoms, not seven. When his sister marched on Dorne, she found no mighty hosts drawn up against her for her dragon to burn and her soldiers to slaughter. The sands swirled, men died and her dragon saw nothing. The sun shone, men died and her dragon bowed to our greater fire. The Targaryens retreated with their tails tucked between their legs.
Of course, in later years his descendants would try again. Daeron the First succeeded at great cost and reigned in Dorne for a few glorious months. One night, his steward pulled down a sash by his bed to summon his consorts. Instead, the canopy split open and one hundred red scorpions fell on him. He was a Tyrell, you would think he would he used to getting stung.
Within a fortnight, House Martell again ruled a free Dorne. Eventually, after centuries of courtship House Martell got into bed with the Targaryens. We took King Daeron II and his sister for our own before they could take each other and six kingdoms became seven. Even now, I do not blame his ancestors; one look at those long silver locks... it is not everyday a man gets to "ride" a dragon.
But they soon learned that you can't leap off a dragon at will. My sister, Elia. She married Prince Rhaegar Targaryen and became the Princess she already was. In Dorne, she walked among vipers and none would bite her; in King's Landing, she found herself surrounded by lions. When Robert Baratheon rebelled against his rightful king, his future father-in-law, Tywin Lannister, ordered his beast Gregor Clegane to rape and murder my sister along with her helpless children. And men call the Lannisters "heroes".
Now, Lannisters sit on the Iron Throne, surrounded by the blasted swords of Aegon's broken foes. I wonder if they remember, as I do, that none of those swords are ours. I wonder if they see, as I do, my sister's red blood soaking into the stones of their precious Red Keep. Maybe they need reminding. The lion may be a mighty beast, but pride always lifts his gaze to the horizon, never seeing - in the grass - the viper.
- Oberyn says that Nymeria and the Rhoynar came to Dorne "thousands" of years ago, but this is just speaking loosely: they arrived in Dorne about one thousand years ago. It might have been better to say they came "centuries" ago, but it was still long before the Targaryen Conquest (which was 300 years ago).
- Oberyn says that Daeron I ruled Dorne for "a few short months", which is basically accurate, though as Varys correctly states in the video "The Death of Kings", Daeron I held Dorne for only four years (few enough years that Oberyn chooses to scoff at it by measuring it in months).
- Mors Martell
- Aegon I Targaryen (mentioned)
- Queen Rhaenys Targaryen (indirectly mentioned)
- Meraxes (not mentioned by name)
- Lord Lyonel Tyrell (not mentioned by name)
- King Daeron II Targaryen
- Queen Myriah Martell (not mentioned by name)
- Princess Daenerys Targaryen (not mentioned by name)
- Prince Maron Martell (not mentioned by name)
- Princess Elia Martell
- Lord Tywin Lannister
- Ser Gregor Clegane
- Princess Rhaenys Targaryen (indirectly mentioned)
- Prince Aegon Targaryen (indirectly mentioned)
- Prince Oberyn Martell