Dornishmen

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Salty Dornishman. © FFG

Dornishmen are the natives of Dorne in the southernmost part of Westeros. They have a reputation for hot-bloodedness and sexual licentiousness.[1][2] They are viewed with some mistrust and rivalry by the people of the Dornish Marches in the neighboring stormlands.[3] Dornish bastards of noble origin are given the surname Sand.

Culture

Dornish culture has First Men and Andal origins, but is also strongly influenced by the mass immigration of the Rhoynish people who settled in Dorne during the Rhoynar migration. Their influence can be observed in many Dornish customs, like equal rights of women in inheritance law,[4][5] the status of mistresses and paramours, and more permissive sexuality compared to the rest of the Seven Kingdoms.[2]

Dornish lords wear silk and satin robes with jeweled belts and flowing sleeves and favor light armor that is heavily enameled and inlaid with burnished copper, shining silver, and/or soft red gold.[6]

Dornishmen speak the Common Tongue in a drawling manner,[7][8] having been influenced by the Rhoynar. While marchers often find the Dornish accent impossible to understand, some other people find it charming.[2]

Ethnicity

The Rhoynar were a slender people with smooth olive skin, black hair and dark eyes. Their impact on the Dornish gene pool is strongest along the coast, and grows faint farther inland. Dornishmen with more Andal and First Men blood are larger and fairer than those with more Rhoynish blood.

According to King Daeron I Targaryen's observations during his wars in Dorne, there are three groups of Dornishmen:

  • Salty Dornishmen live along the coasts, mainly along the Broken Arm region, where the Red Mountains stretch out into the Sea of Dorne. These Dornishmen are lithe and dark, with smooth olive skin and long black hair, having been most strongly influenced by the Rhoynar.[9] They are fishermen and sailors, hard men who sail the ships of the Dornish fleet.[10] The Martells of Sunspear would be considered salty Dornishmen.[6]
  • Sandy Dornishmen live in the deserts and the long river valleys. With faces burned brown by the hot Dornish sun, they are even darker than the salty Dornishmen.[10] These may include the Ullers and Qorgyles, who were founded by adventurers who braved the deserts.[11]
  • Stony Dornishmen live in the passes and heights of the Red Mountains. They have the most Andal and First Men blood and mostly resemble the other people of the Seven Kingdoms in look, customs and traditions. A few stony Dornishmen may follow Andal rather than Rhoynar laws of inheritance.[12] They are brown-haired or blond with faces that are freckled or burned by the sun instead of browned.[10] These include the Yronwoods with their blond hair and blue eyes,[13] the yellow-haired Fowlers,[14] and the violet-eyed Daynes.[15][16]

Additionally, another, smaller group exists: the orphans are pure Rhoynar who ply the Greenblood in poleboats. They discretely can still speak the Rhoynish language, despite attempts by the Red Princes to outlaw it.[2]

Military

Dornishmen prefer round metal shields, spears, short throwing spears or double-curved bows. The Dornishmen are famous for their sand steed-riding light cavalry, and use their double-curved bows skillfully from horseback. Because of the heat, they wear lighter armor than in the rest of the Seven Kingdoms made of metal disks, sometimes decorated with copper, sewn in the manner of scales on the leather. To allow themselves to fight in the burning sun of Dorne, they wear brightly colored flowing robes covering the metal parts of their armor.[17]

Dorne is the least populous of the Seven Kingdoms. As such, it seems to favor different tactics than the rest of the realm, generally avoiding pitched battles and depending on the speed of their lightly armored men and their swift horses, which are more suited to their smaller numbers and allow them to take advantage of the harsh conditions of Dorne. Indeed, the heat and scarcity of water points make the movement and supply of a large army difficult. These techniques have proven effective in war against the dragons of House Targaryen and later against King Daeron during the conquest of Dorne and though their wars against the Reach and stormlands for a thousand years.

Influences

George R. R. Martin has acknowledged that historical influences for Dorne include Palestine, Spain, and Wales.[18]

References and Notes

  1. A Feast for Crows, Chapter 13, The Soiled Knight.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 The World of Ice & Fire, Dorne: Queer Customs of the South.
  3. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 43, Arya VIII.
  4. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 62, Tyrion VIII.
  5. So Spake Martin: Dornishmen, April 23, 2002
  6. 6.0 6.1 A Storm of Swords, Chapter 38, Tyrion V.
  7. A Feast for Crows, Chapter 20, Brienne IV.
  8. A Feast for Crows, Chapter 45, Samwell V.
  9. The World of Ice & Fire, Dorne.
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 A Game of Thrones - RPG book Page 56
  11. The World of Ice & Fire, Dorne: The Andals Arrive.
  12. So Spake Martin: Concerning Dorne, October 28, 2001
  13. A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 6, The Merchant's Man.
  14. A Feast for Crows, Chapter 40, Princess In The Tower.
  15. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 6, Catelyn II.
  16. A Feast for Crows, Chapter 21, The Queenmaker.
  17. A Feast for Crows, Chapter 3, Cersei I.
  18. So Spake Martin: Historical Influences for Dorne, February 29, 2000

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