Jaime Lannister: "We have to go, Myrcella, now!"
Myrcella Baratheon: "You hurt him!"
Jaime Lannister: "He'll be fine, I promise, but we have to-"
— Jaime and Myrcella, the latter speaking to Bronn after he punches Trystane, before being confronted by the Sand Snakes.[src]

The confrontation in the Water Gardens takes place in the Water Gardens of Dorne during the course of the War of the Five Kings, where the three eldest Sand Snakes attempt to capture Princess Myrcella Baratheon, following the plot of Ellaria Sand, while Jaime Lannister and Bronn try to rescue her.

History

Prelude

Prince Trystane and Princess Myrcella walking through the Water Gardens.

During the War of the Five Kings, Tyrion arranges for Princess Myrcella Baratheon to wed Prince Trystane Martell, the heir of Doran Martell, the Prince of Dorne, in an effort to bring House Martell of Sunspear back into the fold and rekindle relations between Dorne and the Iron Throne.

Oberyn Martell is slain at the second trial by combat of Tyrion Lannister by the Mountain, the same man who murdered Elia Martell and her children.[1] His paramour, Ellaria Sand, plots vengeance against House Lannister for their constant unanswered abuse against the Dornish. However, she is unable to garner the support of Prince Doran, who refuses to play a role in her plot to mutilate Myrcella (sharing the belief of Ellaria's own lover that children are innocent), and points out that Oberyn has been slain legally in a trial by combat. She is backed, however, by the three eldest Sand Snakes - Obara and Nymeria, and her own daughter Tyene.

Ellaria steals a necklace from Myrcella's chambers and sends it in the jaws of a viper statue to Cersei, who fears that Myrcella is in danger, and summons Jaime.[2]

Not wanting to officially start a war, Jaime decides not to march an army south on Dorne, but instead sneaks into Dorne, accompanied by Bronn, by a merchant captain. On the way to the Water Gardens, they encounter and kill four Martell men-at-arms. The Sand Snakes learn about Jaime and Bronn's presence, and deduce that they are trying to rescue Myrcella. They follow Ellaria's plot to murder Myrcella to start a war with House Lannister and the Iron Throne, and seek to capture her before Jaime can.[3]

Confrontation

Areo Hotah arrives with the Palace Guards of House Martell.

Wearing the garments of the Martell men-at-arms they slew earlier, Jaime and Bronn successfully infiltrate the Water Gardens, where they find Myrcella kissing her intended Trystane. Jaime urges Myrcella that they need to go. Trystane notices the blood on their garments and reaches for his sword, but Bronn punches him to the ground. Resisting her uncle (actually father), Myrcella rushes to Trystane, when Jaime and Bronn are suddenly confronted by the three eldest Sand Snakes.

Nymeria grasps Jaime's hand with her whip and pulls him back. She and Obara, who wields a spear like her father, fight off against Jaime while Bronn duels Tyene, who slices Bronn once on his arm with her poisoned daggers. While Obara fends off Jaime, Nymeria rushes to Princess Myrcella, holding a dagger at her face and grabbing her, dragging her away to Ellaria. However, before she can escape, Areo Hotah, the Captain of the Guards, rushes in with a group of the Palace Guards. Outnumbered, both parties are forced to drop their weapons. Though Jaime initially refuses, Areo swings his great axe at Jaime and holds it as his neck, telling him that if he still had his right hand, it would have been a good fight. They are arrested, while the rest of the Palace Guards rush to Ellaria and seize her as well.[4]

Aftermath

Ellaria Sand pledges fealty to Prince Doran after her actions.

In their cells, Bronn nearly succumbs to the poison of Tyene's daggers until she, seducing him, throws an antidote to him, letting him live.[5]

Jaime is escorted by Areo Hotah to Doran, who dines with Trystane, Myrcella, and the released Ellaria. Doran questions as to why Jaime sneaked into Dorne, and Jaime informs him of the threatening message received by Cersei. Myrcella points out how the necklace was stolen from her. Doran drinks to the new king (though Ellaria spills her wine) and, seeking to avoid war in order to keep his people safe and alive, complies with the Iron Throne's wish for Myrcella to return to King's Landing. However, in exchange for this, he has Trystane take Oberyn's seat at the small council in order to preserve Dornish influence in the royal government and allow for Trystane and Myrcella's marriage to continue. Ellaria walks out disgusted and insults Doran. Doran grabs her and warns her that he only has not executed her because she is the mother of four of his nieces, but will do so if she continues to threaten and disobey him. Bronn's fate is left in Trystane's hands; he agrees to release him and show him mercy, though he has Areo Hotah punch Bronn as a payback for hitting Trystane during the confrontation.[6]

Doran gives Ellaria an ultimatum: to end her rebellion or to be put to death. With Tyene, Obara, and Nymeria, Ellaria drops to her knees and kisses Doran's hand. Doran warns Ellaria that he believes in second chances, but not third.[7]

In view of the following events, however, it is evident that Doran's warnings have fallen on deaf ears.

In the books

In the A Song of Ice and Fire novels, there is no parallel scene. The confrontation scene is perhaps based - very loosely - on Arianne Martell's unsuccessful plan to crown Myrcella, which nearly cost Myrcella's life (for further details, see "Assassination of Myrcella Baratheon").

Jaime, Bronn, the Sand Snakes, Ellaria and Trystane are not involved at all in the above book scene (except that it was originally Tyene's idea to crown Myrcella). 

References

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