House Martell is one of the Great Houses of Westeros. It rules the peninsular of Dorne in the far south of the continent from the castle at Sunspear. Though loyal to the Iron Throne, it has pursued a more isolated role in events since Robert's Rebellion.
House Martell's sigil is a golden sun pierced by a spear. Its words are, "Unbowed, Unbent, 'Unbroken."
- Prince Doran Martell, the current Lord of Sunspear and ruler of Dorne.
- Princess Arianne Martell, his oldest daughter and heir, since the Martells allow the eldest child to inherit regardless of gender.
- Prince Quentyn Martell, his oldest son, fostering with Lord Yronwood.
- Prince Trystane Martell, his youngest son.
- Prince Oberyn Martell, Doran's younger brother, called the Red Viper.
- The Sand Snakes, Prince Oberyn's bastard daughters.
- Princess Elia Martell, Doran and Oberyn's sister, married to Prince Rhaegar Targaryen. Slain in the Sack of King's Landing along with her two children.
Sworn to House Martell
- House Dayne of Starfall
- House Jordayne of the Tor
- House Yronwood of Yronwood
In the books
In the Song of Ice and Fire novels, House Martell does not play a major roles in events until the third and fourth books in the series, only being referenced in the first two.
House Martell was originally a tiny, obscure noble house of Dorne back when the peninsular was home to numerous small, warring states, approximately one thousand years ago. The Rhoynar, refugees from a war against Valyria on the eastern continent, made landfall in Dorne and allied with Lord Mors Martell. After a brief war, Mors named himself the ruler of the unified Kingdom of Dorne, adopting the title 'Prince' rather than 'King'.
When Aegon I Targaryen invaded Westeros, he conquered six of the seven kingdoms extant at that time, but the Dornish refused to give open battle where Aegon could destroy them with his dragons, instead resorting to hit-and-run attacks which severely damaged his army through attrition. Aegon agreed to leave Dorne to its own devices. A century and a half later, Dorne was briefly occupied by the armies of King Daeron I, but overthrew them in a bloody rebellion. Eventually, roughly a century before the events of the series, Dorne joined the Seven Kingdoms through a peaceful marriage alliance.
The Martells were loyal vassals of the Iron Throne, with Princess Elia Martell marrying Prince Rhaegar Targaryen and bearing him two children. During Robert's Rebellion, the Martells were unhappy with Rhaegar's betrayal of Elia by taking Lyanna Stark as his paramour and sparking a war over the matter. Still, they supported King Aerys II Targaryen's bid to retain the throne. The Martells lost many soldiers at the Battle of the Trident and Princess Elia and her children were brutally killed during the Sack of King's Landing by Lannister soldiers. Though House Martell swore fealty to King Robert Baratheon after the war, they have harbored anger and resentment towards the Lannisters ever since and have adopted a mostly isolationist policy ever since, not mixing with the other houses unless totally necessary.
It is unclear how prominently the Martells will be mentioned in the television series.