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Obara Sand

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"When I was a child, Oberyn came to take me to court. I'd never seen this man, and yet, he called himself my father. My mother wept, said I was too young... and a girl. Oberyn tossed his spear at my feet and said, "Girl or boy, we fight our battles- but the Gods let us choose our weapons." My father pointed to the spear, and then to my mother's tears. I made my choice long ago."
―Obara to her sisters and Ellaria Sand.[src]

Obara Sand is a recurring character in the fifth and sixth seasons, but was first alluded to in the fourth season. She is played by Keisha Castle-Hughes and debuts in "Sons of the Harpy". She is the eldest child of Prince Oberyn Martell, one of the Sand Snakes, and a formidable warrior.

BiographyEdit

BackgroundEdit

Obara Sand is the eldest of the "Sand Snakes", the eight bastard daughters of Prince Oberyn Martell, and was named in honor of her father. Her mother was a peasant.

Even more than her sisters, Obara inherited her father's martial prowess, particularly his skill with a spear. She is a very tough warrior and the most overtly martial of the Sand Snakes. The other Sand Snakes will change out of their light leather armor when traveling in the hot deserts of Dorne, but Obara always wears her leather armor. She also tends to dress in a more masculine style than her sisters, even when not in combat; her robes greatly resemble the ones her father wore. When she sees an obstacle, she does not attempt to undermine it with deception or intrigue, but will attack it head-on, relying on her skill and the strength of her weapons. This is in contrast with her sister Nymeria, who prefers to hold off and analyze her foes to calculate a more efficient means of defeating them. [1]

Obara is the Sand Snake most like their father. He taught her the ways of war himself, training her in the use of a traditional Dornish spear like he used. Unlike most Dornishmen, who are overtly passionate, Obara is staunchly disciplined to not overtly display her emotions. This is largely due to her origins: unlike her sisters Nymeria and Tyene, Obara's mother was not a noblewoman, so when Oberyn came to take her to court, she had to choose between staying or going, the latter meaning she would never see her mother again. As a result, she has a cold and hardened demeanor, though she deeply loves her family.[2] This is not to say that Obara is the most rational of the sisters (Nymeria is the most rational and calculating one). She is actually quite irrational and ruled by her emotions, she just doesn't outwardly show them that much. The difference is that in a situation where Tyene would aggressively shout insults at an enemy and attack them, Obara would just silently walk straight up to them and stab them without saying a word. Nymeria, in contrast, would hold back and attempt to assess if there would be a more opportune moment to strike at a later time. [3]

Obara is loosely the lead Sand Snake, because she is eldest and probably the best fighter. Her sister Nymeria does nothing without her approval. Her father Oberyn and Nymeria were the only two people that Obara ever fully trusted. As her close confident, Nymeria is also the only person who can say "no" to Obara: while they may seem to argue at times, conversely this is because Nymeria is the only person that Obara will at least pay heed to - for anyone else, arguing with Obara is useless once she has her mind set on something. Nymeria is the only person Obara will ever take advice from (after their father's death).[4]

Season 4Edit

Oberyn mentions his eight bastard daughters to Queen Cersei Lannister while the two discuss Cersei's own illegitimate daughter Myrcella Baratheon, who has been sent to Dorne. [5]

Season 5Edit

When Ellaria Sand goes to the Water Gardens to scold Doran for his inaction to Oberyn's murder, she tells the Prince that Dorne must go to war against the Lannisters, and points out that the Sand Snakes, who have the love of their people, agree with her, and that they will avenge their father if Doran does not. [6]

The Sons of the Harpy 07

Obara about to kill the merchant captain from Planky Town, who tried to sell her the information that Jaime Lannister arrived in Dorne.

Ellaria later meets with Obara and Obara's two younger half-sisters, Nymeria and Tyene. Obara reveals that she captured the merchant captain who smuggled Jaime Lannister and Bronn into Dorne, and the Sand Snakes and Ellaria deduce Jaime is coming for Myrcella, robbing them of their chance for revenge. Ellaria tells the sisters they must either choose Doran's way and peace, or her way and war. After Tyene and Nymeria agree to side with Ellaria, Obara makes her point by recounting how her father came to claim her, though her mother protested that she was too young and a girl. Oberyn tossed his spear at Obara's feet and said: "girl or boy, we fight our battles, but the gods let us choose our weapons." He pointed to the spear and then to her mother's tears, and Obara picked up the spear. Then, Obara needlessly kills their hostage, saying she made her decision a long time ago. [7]

When the Sand Snakes make their attempt to kidnap Myrcella, Obara leads the attack, going after Jaime Lannister herself while her sisters battle Bronn. Having her father's skill with a spear, Obara is able to easily force Jaime back, allowing Nymeria to seize Myrcella without interference. However, the battle is quickly broken up by Areo Hotah and the rest of Doran's personal guard. Obara angrily challenges Areo by saying she fights for Dorne, asking who he fights for; Areo simply repeats his command that she drop her weapon. After a tense pause, Obara nods to her sisters and they do so. They, along with Jaime, Bronn and Ellaria Sand, are taken into custody. [8]

Doran, Ellaria, Areo & Sand Snakes

Obara watches as Ellaria swear fealty to her uncle.

The Sand Snakes end up sharing a prison cell next to Bronn, which proves irritating to Obara and Nym as Bronn continues singing "The Dornishman's Wife". When Bronn mentions that he can't hurt a woman because of his "code" Obara sarcastically remarks that she and her sisters have beaten a lot of men with the same code. When Tyene begins flirting with Bronn, Obara looks bored until he begins succumbing to his poisoned wound; she and Nym watch with amusement as Tyene toys with Bronn's life before finally giving him the antidote. [9]

510 Martells assembled

Obara bids farewell to Jaime, Myrcella and Trystane.

Later, Tyene and Nym spar in the cell while Obara tries to ignore them and get some sleep, calling Tyene a slut when she teases Bronn. She and her sisters later witness Ellaria's swearing of fealty to their uncle Doran Martell. [10]

Obara, her sisters, and Ellaria gather on the docks to see Jaime, Myrcella, and Trystane off; Obara is dressed in robes that are remarkably similar to her father's. When the poison Ellaria used on Myrcella begins to affect her as well, Ellaria quaffs the antidote, while Obara seems pleased. [11]

Season 6Edit

Nym and Obara-601

Obara and Nymeria Sand confront Trystane.

Ellaria dispatches Obara and her sister Nymeria to King's Landing with the intention of killing Prince Trystane, which Obara obeys with no objection. The sisters ambush the young prince aboard his ship, Obara telling him of their intentions, and laughing at him when he attempts to reason with them since they are family. Though Trystane chooses to fight Nymeria first, Obara kills him by stabbing him through the back of the head with her spear, and smiles at his bloody corpse. [12]

Months later, the Sand Snakes are present when Ellaria meets with Olenna Tyrell in the Water Gardens. The Queen of Thorns shuts down Obara when she attempts to speak, condescendingly asking if her name is "Barbaro". Ellaria claims that Dorne and House Tyrell must work together for justice and vengeance, as Queen Cersei has declared war on both of their factions. Varys then appears, claiming that they will defeat Cersei with "Fire and Blood", making it clear that Ellaria, the Sand Snakes, and House Tyrell will support Daenerys Targaryen's claim to the Seven Kingdoms. [13]

AppearancesEdit

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

Image GalleryEdit

PersonalityEdit

Though staunchly loyal to her people and the future of Dorne, Obara is a formidable and somewhat ruthless warrior, exhibiting several traits that suggest that not only can she defeat the worthiest of opponents, but she enjoys watching them suffer for a while before finishing them off, whether or not her adversary has a chance to defend themselves. Of the Sand Snakes, Obara appears to be the least emotional, as she is frequently seen meditating or sleeping while her sisters bicker, to the point of being almost machine-like in nature.

Following the death of Oberyn (or maybe even before then), Obara becomes a vengeful person and willingly goes along with Ellaria Sand's plot to kill Myrcella Baratheon and plunge Dorne into war with the Lannisters, completely ignoring the fact that Myrcella is an innocent girl who had nothing to do with Oberyn's death, and that thousands of people will die as a result of these actions (though it is mentioned that the Dornish are willing to go to war for Oberyn anyway). Though Obara does not share the same evil and psychopathic traits as kinslayers such as Ramsay Bolton, she is shown to be a very dirty fighter if the situation calls for it. Her lack of emotions prevents her from objecting to Ellaria's plan to assassinate both Doran and Trystane, who are Obara's uncle and cousin by blood; instead, while ambushing Trystane, Obara and Nymeria make a joke out of it by arguing over who will kill him, and though Trystane attempts to reason with them, Obara merely laughs, and while Trystane's back is turned, she literally stabs him in the back, watching him bleed out with obvious satisfaction, indifferent to the fact that she has just committed one of the worst crimes in all of Westeros, particularly against a defenceless and innocent target. Her actions in the sixth season overall suggest that Obara is incapable of feeling love or any emotion whatsoever, given that even though it appeared that her desire was to avenge Oberyn, she insulted Oberyn's memory by murdering his brother and nephew. This hints that instead, Obara is indifferent to committing cold-blooded murder; she does it just for her own amusement, such as with the merchant captain, Myrcella and Trystane.

Family TreeEdit

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
House-Martell-heraldry
Ruling Princess Martell of Dorne
Deceased
 
House-Martell-heraldry
Consort of the Princess of Dorne
Deceased
 
Lewyn Martell familytree
Lewyn Martell Kingsguard-Main-Shield
Deceased
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Doran Martell family tree
Doran Martell
Deceased
 
House-Martell-heraldry
Mellario of Norvos
 
Rhaegar-family-tree
Rhaegar Targaryen House-Targaryen-Main-Shield
Deceased
 
Elia-family-tree
Elia Martell
Deceased
 
Oberyn-Martell-family-tree
Oberyn Martell
Deceased
 
Unknown tree
Dornish Peasant
 
Unknown tree
Eastern Noblewoman
 
EllariaTree
Ellaria Sand
of House Uller
 
Unknown tree
Summer Islands
Ship Captain
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Trystane Martell family tree

Trystane Martell

Deceased
 
Mycella Season 5 family tree pic

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

Deceased
 
Rhaenys tree
Rhaenys Targaryen House-Targaryen-Main-Shield
Deceased
 
House-Targaryen-heraldry
Aegon Targaryen
Deceased
 
 
 
 
 
Obara Sand familytree
Obara Sand
 
Nymeria Sand familytree
Nymeria Sand
 
Tyene Sand familytree
Tyene Sand
 
Martell bastard
Sarella Sand
 
Martell bastard
Four younger Sand Snakes
 

Quotes Edit

Obara Sand: "I am Obara Sand, daughter of Oberyn Martell! I fight for Dorne - who do you fight for?"
Areo Hotah: "Drop your weapon!"
— Areo Hotah arrests Obara.[src]
Bronn: "It's against my code to hurt a woman."
Obara Sand: "It's amazing how many men we beat seem to have this code."
— Bronn and Obara.[src]
Trystane Martell: "I told you, I'm not hungry."
Obara Sand: "We're not here to feed you, we're here to kill you."
— Obara and Trystane.[src]
Obara Sand: "We invited you to Dorne because we needed your help. You came to Dorne because you needed our help."
Olenna Tyrell: "What is your name again? Barbara?"
Obara Sand: "Obara."
Olenna Tyrell: "Obara. You look like an angry little boy. Don't presume to tell me what I need."
— Obara Sand and Olenna Tyrell.[src]

In the booksEdit

In the A Song of Ice and Fire novels, Obara is Oberyn's daughter whom he fathered on a whore in Oldtown. She is the least pretty and the most aggressive of all the Sand Snakes. She is the first Sand Snake introduced in the novels, and is depicted in a far more positive light than in the television series.

When her father came to claim her, her mother did not want him to take her. He threw a spear down at her mother's feet and slapped her mother. Then Oberyn asked Obara which weapon, the spear or the tears, Obara chose the spear. Her mother drank herself to death within a year.

She is prickly, hot-tempered woman who is given to martial pursuits as she considers herself a warrior, wielding a spear, a whip, and a round shield of steel and copper. She is hard, quick, and strong. She is fond of wine and is a confident rider who uses spurs, often to the point where the animal is bloody, and always rides stallions. Obara is a big-boned woman near to thirty, long-legged, with close-set eyes and rat-brown hair. 

Obara in the books is the daughter of a whore from Oldtown in the Reach, but the casting announcement stated that TV-Obara is the daughter of a "Dornish peasant girl" that caught Oberyn's eye. The difference is not particularly drastic, but it might alter Obara's complex relationship with Oberyn - though the general point stands that Obara's mother wasn't of noble birth, unlike the mothers of some of the other Sand Snakes such as Nymeria Sand. Either way, Obara in the books generally resembles other "salty Dornishmen". Keisha Castle Hughes is herself half-Maori. The character might also be younger in the series; Castle-Hughes is only 25.

It is Obara and not Ellaria Sand who confronts Doran Martell at the Water Gardens. She chides him angrily for doing nothing to avenge her father, declares that she wishes to drive her spear into Tywin’s belly, and demands that he will give her and Nymeria his and Lord Yronwood's hosts, that she can sack Oldtown while Nymeria takes the Kingsroad. Unlike in the show, she does not intend to harm Myrcella. Doran tells her that he will think it over and send her his answer at Sunspear. She says "So long as the word is war" and leaves. Maester Caleotte warns Doran that Obara is likely to inflame the common people. Doran agrees, returns to Sunspear and takes steps to make certain Obara and the other Sand Snakes will not ingnite a war.

Although Obara does not resent Myrcella, she is quite pleased to hear about the near-fatal attempt on her life, hoping it will result in an open war with the Lannisters. She points out Westeros is in disarray: a boy king sits the Iron Throne; Stannis holds the Wall and is gathering northmen to his cause; the two queens are squabbling over Tommen; the ironmen are raiding up the Reach, which means Highgarden will be preoccupied as well; therefore, the time is ripe for taking action against the Martells' enemies. Again, Doran rejects her advice, explaining that Dorne is not ready yet for an open encounter.

After Ser Balon Swann arrives at Dorne to take Myrcella back, Doran releases his nieces. He orders Obara to lead Ser Balon in chasing after Gerold "Darkstar" Dayne, who nearly killed Myrcella, and left her disfigured. Obara swears grudgingly that she will serve her uncle. Currently she and Ser Balon are still searching for Darkstar.

When the Mountain's skull is brought to the Martells, Obara is the only one who suspects trickery. Nymeria tells her sister to lighten up, as Gregor was the only 8-foot tall man in all of Westeros, and Cersei would be exposed as a liar before the entire continent if it turned out he was somehow still alive. What Nymeria says makes perfect sense, except that Cersei is far from being rational and clever - indeed, it is simply a matter of time before rumors about the mysterious "Ser Robert Strong" (the reanimated Gregor Clegane) reach Dorne, then Obara's suspicion will prove to be correct. 

On "Arianne I" sample chapter of the sixth novel, Arianne Martell expresses her hope that Obara has found Darkstar and killed him. Daemon Sand is worried, claiming that Darkstar is more a viper than Oberyn ever was. Arianne assures him Obara is safe, because Areo Hotah accompanies her.

It should be noted that as much as Obara and her sisters are angry at their uncle for lack of action against the Lannisters, none of them has ever harmed him or Trystane; even if they had such intentions, Areo Hotah would have never acted so carelessly as he did in the show: he always watches the Sand Snakes very carefully when they are around his prince (perhaps even more closely than he watches other people), knowing how deadly they are, ready to react to any potentially harmful move on their behalf. It's quite the contrary, after Doran tells them from a plot of Cersei to kill Trystane in an ambush, with the plan to get her daughter back and to blame Tyrion for this, all Sand Snakes are shocked; Obara is outraged and wants retaliation against Ser Balon and his party who are part of this scheme. Though in the novels they are fierce warriors, they adhere to a strong code of honor and absolutely refuse to harm innocent people, unlike in the television series where Obara is presented as almost machine-like in nature, ready to commit cold-blooded murder solely for her own amusement.

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

v  d  e
Lord: Heir:
House-Martell-Main-Shield
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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