Arianne Martell

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Arianne Martell
House Martell.svg
Ariannemartell1200 tizianobaracchi by thaldir-d8zs5u8.jpg
Illustration by Tiziano Baracchi, © Fantasy Flight Games

Title Princess
Allegiance House Martell
Culture Dornishmen
Born In 276 AC[1], at Sunspear[2]
Book(s) A Game of Thrones (mentioned)
A Clash of Kings (mentioned)
A Storm of Swords (mentioned)
A Feast for Crows (POV)
A Dance with Dragons (appears)
The Winds of Winter (POV)

Princess Arianne Nymeros Martell, better known simply as Arianne Martell, is a member of House Martell and is the eldest daughter of Doran Martell, the ruling Prince of Dorne, and his consort, Lady Mellario of the Free City of Norvos. According to Dornish customs, she is the heiress of Sunspear, and the future ruling Princess of Dorne. Arianne is a POV character in A Feast for Crows and The Winds of Winter.

Appearance and Character

See also: Images of Arianne Martell

As a young girl, Arianne was pudgy and flat-chested, and she would pray to the Seven nightly, hoping that she would be given beauty when she was older.[3] Now a woman in her early twenties, Arianne is buxom and beautiful, with olive skin, large dark eyes and long, thick black hair that falls in ringlets to the middle of her back. She has full lips and round ripe breasts with huge dark nipples. Favoring her mother, she is short, standing at five foot two.[4][5] When attending to matters of politics, she conceals her lush and curvaceous body with flowing silks, jewels, and other ostentatious displays of wealth.[6]

Arianne is calculating, adventurous, and fierce-tempered. When she sees something she desires, she strives to obtain it at all cost. She does not shy away from using her looks to get what she wants, nor from seducing men to get them to do her bidding, occasionally granting sexual favors in this context.[3] Ser Arys Oakheart thinks that Arianne's nature compares more to her uncle Oberyn's than to her father's.[5] Arianne considers handsome men her one great weakness, in particular when they have an air of adventure and the forbidden.[3][7] Arianne has a vivid sexual imagination[7] and has had sexual experiences from an early age.[5][8]


Early life

Born in 276 AC,[1] Arianne was the firstborn child of her father, Prince Doran Martell, and his wife, Lady Mellario of Norvos. As her father's firstborn, she was Prince Doran's heiress, according to Rhoynish customs and Dornish laws.[4][5] Arianne spent several years of her early life at the Water Gardens. She had two younger brothers, but since Quentyn was sent away as a page to Yronwood at an early age and Trystane was eleven years younger than herself, Arianne was never close to them. Instead, her best companions during childhood were Andrey "Drey" Dalt, Garin (whose mother had been her wet nurse[7]), Sylva Santagar, and her cousin Tyene Sand.[8]

Tyene in particular was Arianne's best friend, since they were the same age, and thus were as close as sisters.[5] Arianne and Tyene shared everything, including learning how to read, ride, and dance; they even shared a flagon of wine they had stolen at the age of ten, and an early attempted sexual experience with Drey.[8] On occasion, Arianne's older cousin Nymeria Sand would join Arianne and her four companions, and sometimes her cousin Sarella Sand would attempt to join them as well.[8] Once, Arianne crossed the Mander in the Reach, when she and three of her cousins went to visit Tyene's mother.[7]

Arianne held her young cousin Princess Rhaenys Targaryen once, but she was so young at the time that she no longer remembers.[3] She does remember her great-uncle, Prince Lewyn Martell, of whom she has cherished memories, and who used to tickle her until she couldn't stop laughing.[5] When Robert's Rebellion ended, Arianne was seven years old.[3] At the age of eight, Arianne became afflicted with redspots, and learned that the disease, while harmless for children, could be lethal for adults.[7]

From a young age, Arianne was half in love with her uncle, Prince Oberyn.[2] At some point, Prince Oberyn brought her, Tyene, Sarella Sand, and Garin to the abandoned holdfast of Shandystone. While Oberyn showed Tyene the best way to milk a snake's venom, and Sarella went exploring, Arianne sat on a rock, dreaming that a tall, hard robber knight, with black eyes and a widow's peak, had taken her there to have his way with her.[7]

Secret Betrothal

Arianne Martell - by Matt Olson ©

Arianne had a close relationship with her father, Prince Doran Martell, when she was a girl. She would run to him when she had hurt herself,[8] and would go give him a good night kiss.[5] However, when Arianne was fourteen years old, she stumbled across a half-written letter from Doran to her younger brother, Quentyn, who was being fostered at Yronwood. In the letter, Doran stated that Quentyn would one day sit in his place and rule Dorne, suggesting to Arianne that Doran intended for her younger brother to succeed him, passing over Arianne entirely. According to her own account, she cried about her discovery for many days.[5] Arianne longed to be a dutiful daughter, but wanted her father to show that he valued her.[2] She began to rebel against her father in small ways.[2] When she was still fourteen, she lost her virginity to Daemon Sand, the bastard of Godsgrace,[5] (an encounter which she still remembers as clumsy but sweet[3]), and told Doran about it immediately afterwards.[2] Doran did nothing about it, adding to Arianne's feelings that he was "very good at doing nothing".[5]

In truth, Doran was only planning for Quentyn to inherit the rule of Dorne because he intended for Arianne to become Queen of the Seven Kingdoms. Unbeknownst to Arianne, her uncle Oberyn had traveled to Braavos years before, where he signed a secret marriage pact in which Arianne was betrothed to the exiled Viserys Targaryen.[8][9] In return for Arianne marrying Viserys, Doran would support Viserys's claim to the Iron Throne.[9] He once planned to reveal the truth about the betrothal to Arianne, and was going to send her to the Free City of Tyrosh to serve as a cupbearer to the Archon of Tyrosh and secretly meet with Viserys. However, Doran abandoned that plan due to suicidal threats from Arianne's mother Mellario, who was already deeply upset that Quentyn had been sent away to be fostered.[8] Doran then planned to tell Arianne about her betrothal and his plans to help restore the Targaryens to the Iron Throne when Arianne turned sixteen. However, he changed his mind over time, and kept the betrothal a secret from Arianne because he felt that she was too willful, and feared that if he told her, she would tell her cousins (particularly Tyene), and there would be no way to ensure the secret would remain a secret.[8]

When Arianne reached the age of marriage, Doran presented her with several suitors, all of whom were elderly lords (including Ben Beesbury, Walder Frey, Gyles Rosby, Eldon Estermont, and Hugh Grandison), while rejecting an offer from Lord Hoster Tully, who had invited Arianne to travel to Riverrun and meet his heir Edmure. Arianne refused all of the elderly suitors, and asked to travel to Highgarden to meet Willas Tyrell. When Doran refused, Arianne and Tyene tried to go on their own, but were intercepted by Prince Oberyn at Vaith. Another time, when Lord Renly Baratheon visited Dorne, she attempted to seduce him, but he seemed confused by her attempts and she was not successful.[8] Because of having read the letter to Quentyn, the insulting marriage candidates Doran presented her with, and Doran's apparent coolness towards her, Arianne became convinced her father hated her.[2] But in truth, Doran merely presented her with the elderly lords as suitors because he feared that it would be suspicious if he did not attempt to arrange a marriage for her, and because he knew that Arianne would refuse them (which she forcefully did[7]), thus keeping her free to marry Viserys.[8]

During those years, Arianne also had suitors from Dorne. Her friend Andrey Dalt and his brother Deziel had both wanted to marry her, and her first lover, Daemon Sand, had even gone to Prince Doran to ask for her hand, though he was rejected. Arianne believed that her father did not wish for her to marry a Dornishman, and also realized that a bastard was not a worthy consort for a princess of Dorne. While her friendship with Daemon Sand was never the same after her father rejected his offer, Arianne took on multiple lovers over the years, including at least one of her childhood friends, as well as Ser Gerold Dayne of High Hermitage.[2][3][7][8]

Arianne had long been dissatisfied with her father and his style of rule, thinking him weak and vacillating.[8] When her father moved to the Water Gardens in 298 AC, Arianne remained in Sunspear. However, instead of being made the castellan, or given a position of power, she was put in charge of "feasts and frolics", while Prince Oberyn was given the highest place of power at Sunspear's court. While her uncle would visit Doran at the Water Gardens twice every fortnight, Arianne was summoned by her father only twice a year, which all further enforced her belief that her father did not want her as his heir.[5]

Recent Events

A Game of Thrones

Princess Arianne Martell - by Katherine Dinger ©

The death of Viserys Targaryen on the Dothraki Sea, commanded by his sister Daenerys Targaryen's husband, Khal Drogo,[10], puts an end to the marriage plans Prince Doran Martell had for Viserys and Arianne, and to his hope that his daughter would one day become Queen of the Seven Kingdoms.[8]

A Clash of Kings

As part of an alliance Tyrion Lannister has struck between the Iron Throne and House Martell, Princess Myrcella Baratheon is sent to Dorne as a ward, and to marry Prince Trystane Martell when she turns fourteen.[11] She is accompanied by Ser Arys Oakheart of the Kingsguard as her sworn shield.[11][12] With Prince Doran Martell away at the Water Gardens, it falls on Arianne to greet Myrcella and Ser Arys upon their arrival at Sunspear.[5] Arianne soon tries to seduce Ser Arys, but it takes half a year before she is successful.[8]

A Storm of Swords

Lord Tywin Lannister informs his son Tyrion that Ser Arys Oakheart has written in a letter that Myrcella and her betrothed Trystane Martell get on well and that Myrcella has taken a great liking to Princess Arianne.[13]

A Feast for Crows

Arianne and Arys, by Magali Villeneuve©

After the death of Prince Oberyn in King's Landing, Dorne is in uproar, with Oberyn's elder three bastard daughters, Obara, Nymeria and Tyene, in particular arguing to avenge the Red Viper. Prince Doran, who seemingly pursues a conciliatory approach, returns to Sunspear after having spent two years at the Water Gardens. Upon arrival in the city, he is greeted Arianne, who has ordered a feast prepared in his honor.[4]

Unbeknownst to Doran, Arianne has learned that her brother, Quentyn, has secretly traveled across the Narrow Sea. Arianne fears that Lord Anders Yronwood, Quentyn's current foster-father, is part of the plan to make Quentyn Doran's heir, displacing Arianne. When the Golden Company breaks its contract with Myr, she fears that Quentyn might have hired them to rob her of her birthright, and that he has Doran's support.[5][7][8] In addition, Doran has arrested the Sand Snakes (including the younger ones, but excluding Sarella, who is absent from Dorne) in an apparent attempt to placate the Iron Throne.[4][5]

To fight the supposed challenge to her own birthright, to avenge Oberyn and Elia, and to free her cousins,[7][8] Arianne puts into motion her scheme: she wants to crown Myrcella Baratheon as Queen of the Seven Kingdoms, based on Dornish law - in which an older sister would inherit before a younger brother - thereby precipitating a war with the Iron Throne and King Tommen Baratheon. She also hopes that her own people will rally to this cause with the support of the released Sand Snakes. Arianne assumes this would make her the inevitable choice to replace her father, whom she wants to live out his days as captive at the Water Gardens together with her brother Quentyn.[5][7]

During one of their amorous encounters, Arianne manipulates Ser Arys Oakheart into aiding and abetting her plan. She promises him that, as queen, Myrcella would permit Arianne and Arys to marry in spite of his vows as a knight of the Kingsguard. She also shares her suspicions about her father's intention of stealing her birthright and the supposed plot of Lord Anders Yronwood and the Golden Company. Arianne convinces Arys that they need to act before her father brings Myrcella from Sunspear to the Water Gardens.[5] In truth, Arianne has no intention of marrying Arys, whom she likes but does not love, considering him a pleasant-enough bed companion, but witless and mainly a gallant fool.[3][7]

Arys agrees to help her, and Arianne assembles her closest friends as co-conspirators to help her implement her scheme: Andrey Dalt, heir to his brother, the Knight of Lemonwood, Garin, an orphan of the Greenblood, and Sylva Santagar, the heir of House Santagar. She also recruits Gerold Dayne, known as Darkstar, whom she considers a fierce sword who can protect the band, although she doesn't trust him completely. Meanwhile, Ser Arys has the task of smuggling Myrcella out of Sunspear, using a feigned illness of the princess and her lookalike bedmaid, as well as a stand-in for himself, to win some time before the ruse is discovered. Arianne and the others wait for Ser Arys and Myrcella at the abandoned holdfast of Shandystone. From there, Arianne plans to head out to the Greenblood and travel with an orphan poleboat westward on that river and the Vaith, then continue by land. The final destination is to be Hellholt, the seat of Ellaria Sand's father Harmen Uller, where Arianne intends to crown Myrcella as Queen of the Seven Kingdoms and to raise her own banners.[7]

Arianne Martell and Arys Oakheart - by Sacha Angel Diener

While waiting at Shandystone, Arianne grows increasingly wary of Darkstar, in particular as he dismisses her plan as unrealistic, and alludes that killing Myrcella would bring the war Arianne seems to desire. He hints at the age-old rivalry of House Dayne and House Oakheart, suggesting a possible confrontation with Ser Arys. When Arys and Myrcella arrive, Arianne addresses the bewildered girl as "Your Grace" and introduces her co-conspirators as friends who are ready to secure Myrcella's birthright to the Iron Throne, while realizing that Arys had told Myrcella nothing of their intentions. Arys informs her that Lord Tywin Lannister has been murdered by his son Tyrion and that Dowager Queen Cersei Lannister has assumed the regency for her son King Tommen Baratheon. Arianne sees this as good news, as a dangerous foe is dead, the Lannisters are fighting amongst themselves, and a ruling queen makes it more likely that people will eventually accept Queen Myrcella, too.[7]

The venture comes to an early end when Arianne's band arrives at the poleboat, and Prince Doran's captain of guards, Areo Hotah, and a dozen guardsmen emerge from it. Arianne commands her company to escape and to protect Princess Myrcella, but when she sees the situation is hopeless, wishes to yield without bloodshed. However, Arys, despite the desperate odds, charges against Hotah and his men, making Arianne think that she has never seen something half as gallant or half as stupid. The guardsmen shoot Arys with crossbows, and then Hotah kills him with his longaxe, cutting off his arm and decapitating him. While Arianne falls to the ground in desperation and nausea, Gerold Dayne attacks Princess Myrcella, apparently in an attempt to kill her. Darkstar seriously injures Myrcella, who loses an ear, then manages to escape Hotah's men. While she is being arrested on her father's orders, Arianne wonders how her plan could have ended in such dreadful bloodshed. Hotah tells her that someone betrayed her plans.[7][8] Arianne later realizes that either Drey, Garin, or Spotted Sylva must have betrayed her, and that Ser Arys died in a suicide charge, which he undertook to wipe out his shame about his relationship with her.[3]

Prince Doran keeps his daughter isolated in a pleasantly-appointed tower cell for several weeks. She is forbidden contact with the outside world and attended by servants who will not speak to her. Her attempt to send a message to Lord Harmen Uller is intercepted by Doran, after which Arianne begins a hunger strike. Eventually, Arianne is brought before her father. Doran informs her that Ser Balon Swann of the Kingsguard is traveling towards Sunspear; while he has ordered his bannermen to delay the Kingsguard knight as long as they can, Balon will eventually arrive at Sunspear, and thus learn of Myrcella's injury and Arys's death. Arianne realizes that Doran needs her help to convince Myrcella to lie about what has transpired. Though initially intent on receiving Doran's forgiveness, in her anger she accuses him of inaction over the deaths of his siblings and of attempting to cheat her of her birthright, revealing she had read the letter meant for Quentyn. Doran reveals the truth at last - that the letter and his apparent inaction were both part of a larger plan to avenge the deaths of Elia and her children. Furthermore, he says that he had only offered Arianne elderly suitors because he had secretly planned for her to wed Prince Viserys, the exiled Targaryen king, and to help restore him to the Iron Throne in an overarching scheme to wreak destruction on House Lannister. Doran also tells Arianne that Viserys has died, and that her brother Quentyn has been sent to Daenerys Targaryen in Essos to fulfill the secret marriage pact.[8]

A Dance with Dragons

At the feast welcoming Ser Balon Swann and his companions to Sunspear, Arianne sits on the right side of her father, a place of high honor. Together with Obara, Nymeria, Tyene, Ellaria Sand, Areo Hotah and half the nobility of Dorne, Arianne and Doran witness the delivery of the skull of, presumably, Ser Gregor Clegane.[14]

Arianne flirts with Ser Balon, but he is not as easily distracted or seduced from his duty as his sworn brother Arys was. Arianne, now privy to her father's plans, has convinced Myrcella to lie to Ser Balon and claim that Ser Arys Oakheart was slain by Ser Gerold Dayne. Doran has planned for them all to travel to the Water Gardens, where Myrcella is staying, and where Balon can learn from Myrcella what Gerold Dayne has done. According to Doran's plan, Princess Myrcella is to plead with Balon to bring Ser Gerold to justice. After Doran reveals to the eldest three Sand Snakes what their respective roles in his plans will be, Arianne wishes them well, and remains with her father after they leave. Doran, believing that Daenerys has begun her journey for Westeros, shares with his daughter that he has received news from Lys that a fleet has taken to water.[14]

The Winds of Winter

Doran Martell receives a letter from Jon Connington, revealing the survival of Elia's son Aegon Targaryen, and informs Arianne of this news the same night the letter arrives. She eventually departs Sunspear, sent by her father to discover the truth about Aegon and Connington. Arianne travels with several companions, including her new sworn shield Ser Daemon Sand, Joss Hood, Garibald Shells, Nate, Jayne Ladybright, and her cousin Elia Sand. During the journey, they arrive at Ghost Hill, before departing via ship to the Stormlands.[3]

Quotes about Arianne

Remember, she is Dornish. In the Reach men said it was the food that made Dornishmen so hot-tempered and their women so wild and wanton. Fiery peppers and strange spices heat the blood, she cannot help herself.[5]

- Ser Arys Oakheart

Quotes by Arianne

Arianne Martell: Are you certain you are not off to some other bed, some other woman? Tell me who she is. I will fight her for you, bare-breasted, knife to knife. Unless she is a Sand Snake. If so, we can share you. I love my cousins well.
Arys Oakheart: You know I have no other woman. Only... duty.
Arianne Martell: That poxy bitch? I know her. Dry as dust between the legs, and her kisses leave you bleeding.[5]
Do you see the white [star], Quentyn? That is Nymeria's star, burning bright, and that milky band behind her, those are ten thousand ships. She burned as bright as any man, and so shall I. You will not rob me of my birthright![7]
Anger was better than tears, better than grief, better than guilt. Someone told, someone she had trusted. Arys Oakheart had died because of that, slain by the traitor's whisper as much as by the captain's axe. The blood that had streamed down Myrcella's face, that was the betrayer's work as well. Someone told, someone she had loved. That was the cruelest cut of all.[8]
I was a foolish willful girl, playing at the game of thrones like a drunkard rolling dice.[3]
Pretty boys had ever been her weakness, particularly the ones who were dark and dangerous as well.[3]


of Dorne
Ellaria Sand
Obara Sand
Tyene Sand
Elia Sand
Dorea Sand
Sarella Sand
Obella Sand
Loreza Sand

References and Notes

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