Game Of Thrones: Who Is Prince Doran Martell?

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Last night’s episode of Game of Thrones introduced us to a new player in the game, Prince Doran Martell of Dorne. Who is this pensive prince of Dorne? We can fill you in, but be warned that SPOILERS may follow.

Prince Doran Martell is the Head of House Martell, the great ruling house of Dorne. He is the brother of Oberyn “The Red Viper” Martell and Elia Martell, both dead at the hands of Gregor “The Mountain” Clegane. While he leads a people known for their passion and lust for life, Doran is a pensive and stoic ruler.

This may partly be due to his physical condition.  During his young adult years, Doran developed a severe case of Gout, which makes it difficult for him to move and walk. As a result, he spends most of his time in a wheelchair. In order to hid what made be perceived as a weakness from people and possible enemies, he relocated from the traditional seat of House Martell, Castle Sunspear, to the Hanging Gardens of Dorne. He is rarely seen in public, and spends most of his days watching his children play in the gardens.

Before developing the gout, Doran travelled the free cities and met his wife, Mellario. The two married for love, a rarity in Westeros, with no political gain to be had. They had three children: Arianne, Quentyn, and Trystane.

A rift began to form between Doran and Mellario soon after they were wed and moved into Sunspear. Mellario didn’t take to Dornish customs, and begrudged Doran for sending Quentyn to be fostered and trained as a squire with another house, in part to smooth over a slight by Oberyn.

Here’s where we get to the MAJOR SPOILERS, so stop reading here if you’re squeamish.

Doran had planned to send his daughter, Arianne, away as well, but Mellario forbade it after already losing Quentyn. Doran acquiesced, but what Mellario didn’t know was that Doran was sending Arianne to secretly meet with her betrothed, Viserys Targaryen. As will likely be revealed later in Season 5, Doran hasn’t been complacent over the murder of his sister. While Oberyn wanted to take an army and march against the Lannisters on the very same day, Doran has been playing a longer game. Unfortunataely, those plans were halted by Mellario being unwilling to lose another child, but Doran has more than one wheel in motion.

Game of Thrones airs Sundays at 9 p.m. ET on HBO.