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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 Ser Jaime Lannister, with Ser Bronn, try to rescue her.

History

Prelude

506 Myrcella and Trystane in Water Gardens

Prince Trystane and Princess Myrcella walking through the Water Gardens.

The southernmost of the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros, Dorne, pursued a policy of isolationism after Robert's Rebellion due to the gruesome deaths of Princess Elia Martell and her children, Rhaenys and Aegon, at the hands of the royalist forces led by Lord Tywin Lannister at the Sack of King's Landing. Eighteen years later, at the onset of the War of the Five Kings, Tyrion Lannister, the acting Hand of the King to the new King Joffrey I in his father's stead, arranged for Princess Myrcella Baratheon, the sister of King Joffrey and Prince Tommen and only daughter of Queen Regent Cersei Lannister, 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.

After Prince Oberyn Martell, brother of Prince Doran and the late Princess Elia, was slain at the second trial by combat of Tyrion Lannister two years later at the hands of Ser Gregor Clegane, the same man who had murdered Elia and her children, his paramour, Ellaria Sand, fled King's Landing and returned to Dorne, where she plotted vengeance against House Lannister for their constant unanswered abuse against the Dornish. However, she was unable to garner the support of Prince Doran, who refused to play a role in her plot to mutilate Princess Myrcella (sharing the belief of Ellaria's own lover that children are innocent), and pointed out that Oberyn had been slain legally in a trial by combat. She was backed, however, by the three eldest Sand Snakes - the eight bastard daughters of Prince Oberyn - Obara and Nymeria Sand, plus her own daughter Tyene Sand.

After stealing a necklace from Myrcella's chambers and sending it in the jaws of a viper statue to her mother, Cersei Lannister, now only the Queen Mother, Ser Jaime Lannister resolved to find Myrcella and bring her home. Though Joffrey, Myrcella, and Tommen were all legally the children of Queen Cersei and the late King Robert I Baratheon, all three were in fact bastards born of incest between Cersei and Jaime. Not wanting to officially start a war, Ser Jaime aims not to march an army south on Dorne, but instead recruits Ser Bronn, a sellsword and former companion of his brother Tyrion who also trained with Jaime after he lost his right hand, ending his arrangement to Lady Lollys Stokeworth and promising a better wife and castle.

Ser Jaime and Ser Bronn are smuggled into Dorne by a merchant captain and sneak to the Water Gardens, killing four Martell men-at-arms on the way there after they are spotted on the beaches. The Sand Snakes, meanwhile, learn from the merchant captain, whom they kill, that they are in Dorne, and deduce that they are trying to rescue Princess Myrcella. They follow Ellaria Sand's plot to murder Princess Myrcella to start a war with House Lannister and the Iron Throne, and seek to capture her before Ser Jaime Lannister can.

Confrontation

Hotah-5x06-Promo

Areo Hotah arrives with the Palace Guards of House Martell.

Wearing the garments of the Martell men-at-arms they slew earlier, Ser Jaime Lannister and Ser Bronn successfully infiltrate the Water Gardens, where they find Princess Myrcella Baratheon kissing her intended, Prince Trystane Martell. Jaime urges Myrcella that they need to go, and when Trystane notices the blood on their garments, 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, Obara, Nymeria, and Tyene Sand, who were just previously dispatched by Ellaria Sand. 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.[1]

Aftermath

Doran, Ellaria, Areo & Sand Snakes

Ellaria Sand pledges fealty to Prince Doran after her actions.

In their cells, Ser Bronn nearly succumbs to the poison of Tyene Sand's daggers until she, seducing him, throws an antidote to him, letting him live.[2]

Ser Jaime Lannister is escorted by Areo Hotah to Prince Doran Martell, who dines with his son Prince Trystane, Princess Myrcella Baratheon, and the released Ellaria Sand. Doran questions as to why Jaime sneaked into Dorne, and Jaime informs him of the threatening message received by Queen Cersei Lannister at the Red Keep. Myrcella points out how the necklace was stolen from her. Doran drinks to the new King Tommen I (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 his son Trystane take Oberyn Martell's seat on 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 in the face as Bronn did to Trystane during the confrontation.[3]

Doran gives Ellaria an ultimatum: to end her rebellion or to be put to death. With Tyene, Obara, and Nymeria Sand, Ellaria drops to her knees and kisses Doran's hand. Doran warns Ellaria that he believes in second chances, but not third.[4]

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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