NOTE: FOR THE SAKE OF THIS WIKI, THIS PAGE MAINLY ACCEPTED THE VILLAINOUS VERSION OF ELLARIA IN THE TV SERIES.

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When was the last time you left this palace? You don't know your own people. They are disgust for you. Elia Martell, raped and murdered and you did nothing. Oberyn Martell, butchered, and you did nothing. You're not a Dornishman. You're not our prince. [...] Your son is weak. Just like you. And weak men will never rule Dorne again.
~ Ellaria to a dying Doran Martell

Ellaria Sand is a recurring character in A Song of Ice and Fire and a major character in Game of Thrones, its TV series adaptation. While she is not a villain at all in the original novel series, in the TV series, she is the main antagonist of Jaime Lannister's storyline in Dorne in Season 5, and a minor antagonist in Seasons 6 and 7.

She was portrayed by Indira Varma.

Personality

Ellaria is fierce-headed, willful, hateful, vengeful, treacherous, self-confident, cunning, and fairly intelligent. Though knowing that Myrcella is innocent, she is determined to kill her merely to make Cersei suffer. Ellaria is able to play the reasonable woman when she sees no choice but to submit, as she tearfully pledges allegiance to Oberyn's brother and King of Dorne, Doran, just to keep plotting vengeance in secret.

She shows no remorse in murdering Doran when she sees she will get no support from him in starting a war against the Lannisters and avenging the death of Oberyn. Her cruelty reaches an extreme level when she has Oberyn's nephew, Trystane murdered as she suspects he is weak like his father.

While in the novels, her sexuality is a source of speculation, in the television series, Ellaria is confirmed as bisexual, being shown sleeping with both men and women. In Dorne, bisexuality is commonplace to high lords and high-born bastards.

In both versions, Ellaria is fiercely in love with Oberyn, and unlike in the novels, her grief causes her to take a much darker turn.

Despite her fierce coup against House Martell, Ellaria remains cautious after she takes control of Dorne, avoiding an immediate attack on the Lannisters and rallying the Dornish army behind Daenerys Targaryen after she sails for Westeros, thus giving her an upper hand in her mission to avenge the death of Oberyn.

History

Background

Ellaria is the bastard daughter of Lord Harmen Uller and the paramour of Prince Oberyn Martell of Dorne. She is one of the "Sandy Dornishmen" of the central desert of Dorne, who possess particularly dark skin, burned brown by the hot desert sun, unlike the Dornishmen like the Daynes or the Santagars. She is the mother of Oberyn's four youngest bastard daughters named Elia, Obella, Dorea, and Loreza.

Season 4

Ellaria is introduced when Prince Oberyn and his Dornish party arrive at King's Landing, as Oberyn was sent to take the place of his brother, Prince Doran, on the small council due to his ill-health. Ellaria and Oberyn both attend King Joffrey 's wedding, where she and cultural differences between the Dornish and the rest of Westeros are mocked by Cersei Lannister, she subseqeuntly witnesses the poisoning of Joffrey the accusation of Tyrion Lannister's involvement.

In the days following Joffrey's death, during another visit to the brothel, Ellaria leaves the room when Lord Tywin Lannister unexpectedly appears and asks to meet privately with Oberyn, but says that Oberyn need only call if he needs her. After Oberyn offers himself as Tyrion's champion in trial by combat, due to the crown's champion being Ser Gregor Clegane, the man responsible for the murder of his neice and nephew, and the rape and murder of his sister. During Tyrion's trial by combat, Ellaria is somewhat unsettled by Gregor's size. Just before the battle, she pulls Oberyn into a passionate kiss and warns Oberyn not to leave her alone in the world. When Oberyn appears to have won, he makes eye contact with Ellaria, the distraction allows Gregor to overpower Oberyn and crush his skull, killing him, the sight of which causes Ellaria to scream in horror.

Season 5

Doran plans to bury and mourn his beloved brother, but Ellaria and Oberyn's daughters want the Dornish people to take up arms and avenge their fallen prince. She also voices her contempt for Myrcella and wants to harm her in order to take revenge on Cersei, who she deems responsible for Oberyn's death by falsely accusing Tyrion of Joffrey's murder. Doran strictly forbids this the notion of mutilating little girls for revenge. She provokes Jaime Lannister into travelling to Dorne by sending Cersei Myrcella's necklace in the jaws of a viper ornament.

She later meets with Oberyn's bastards Obara and Nymeria, and her daughter Tyene, where Nymeria presents her with the merchant captain that smuggled Jaime into Dorne and tried to sell this information to Obara, only to be killed. Ellaria and the Sand Snakes return to the Water Gardens to kidnap Myrcella, however, Doran foresaw their attempt to take Myrcella and has her and the Sand Snakes arrested.

Ellaria is later brought before Doran to receive Jaime where she is openly hostile to him. She is visibly shocked when Doran announces he will send Myrcella back to King's Landing along with Trystane. On her way out, she insults Doran, who in turn threatens to kill her if she speaks to him like that again. Later, Doran issues Ellaria an ultimatum: pledge allegiance to him or be executed, she tearfully complies. She later visits Jaime in his quarters to apparently make amends but instead ridicules him.

As the Sand Snakes say goodbye to the expedition back to King's Landing, Ellaria succeeds in killing Myrcella by kissing her on the lips, poisoning her with The Long Farewell coated on her lips. Ellaria later contemplates what will happen when Doran learns the truth.

Season 6

Immediately after Doran learns of Myrcella's murder, Ellaria stabs him the the chest as Tyene murders his bodyguard, Areo Hotah and Maester Caleotte. Expressing contempt for Doran's choices and her decision to kill his son despite his pleas. Trystane is later murdered by Obara and Nymeria. Jaime Lannister later receives word in King's Landing that Ellaria and the Sand Snakes have taken over Dorne and will intend to declare war on the Lannisters.

Ellaria and the Sand Snakes extend an invitation for Olenna Tyrell after her family's death at the hands of Cersei. Despite Olenna's initial skepticism, she agrees to join forces. Ellaria then summons Varys, who further clarifies that he and Ellaria are offering "fire and blood", disclosing that she is now supporting Daenerys Targaryen's claim to the Iron Throne, providing her with the Dornish fleet.

Season 7

After Queen Daenerys sets up her base on Dragonstone, Ellaria attends a meeting with Daenerys where she advocates attacking King's Landing, but ultimately reluctantly agrees to Tyrion's plan to use the Martell and Tyrell forces to lay siege to King's Landing via the Iron Fleet. While she and the Sand Snakes travel with Yara Greyjoy's faction of the Iron Fleet, they are ambushed by Euron Greyjoy and his larger faction of the Iron Fleet. Yara's forces are overwhelmed, Obara and Nymeria are killed, and Ellaria and and Tyene are taken prisoner.

Euron transports most of the survivors to King's Landing to present as his gift to Cersei. He parades them through the streets of the capital where the crowd pelts them. Ellaria and Tyene are sent to the Red Keep's dungeons where Cersei has her gagged and taunts her before poisoning her daughter in front of her the same way she poisoned Myrcella. Cersei then informs a distraught Ellaria that they will keep her alive to witness her daughter die and her corpse gradually decompose.

Following Daenerys' sack of King's Landing, Tyrion is held captive in a room within Red's Keep rather than in the dungeons, insinuating that the dungeons were destroyed; Ellaria was presumably killed in the process.

Trivia

  • In the books series, Ellaria doesn't advocate war against the Lannisters, urging against it, in worry the cycle of revenge will continue until even her youngest daughters are eventually consumed by it. Where the most prominent characteristic of Ellaria in the series is a desire for vengeance, the most prominent characteristic of her book counterpart is a desire to avert it.
  • The TV series Ellaria is a combination of the name and identity of her original counterpart, the position and personality of Arianne Martell, and the villainy of Gerold Dayne. She also swapped role with Doran Martell, who is the one who allies with the Targaryens in the books. The book counterpart of Doran insists to bring Dorne in a pointless war, while Ellaria wants it to end (the difference is that Doran and Ellaria are friends). Doran can't accept the fact he has wasted 14 years plotting vengeance against Tywin Lannister only to outlive all those who wronged him and his family. Book-Doran's unreasonable desires of revenge already got his son Quentyn killed at Meereen and will bring unncessary deaths in the south of Westeros, all for the sake of dead people to get revenge at other dead people. The same applies to Ellaria in the TV series.
  • Her relationship with Doran is negative in the TV series, while in the novels they are genuine friends.
  • Ironically, in the finale of Season 6, hers and Varys' lines, which implied their alliance to Targaryens, was in fact spoken by Doran Martell in books when he revealed his true intentions to Arianne.
  • While in the books the Dorne storyline is seen by the POV of Arianne Martell, Areo Hotah, and Arys Oakheart, in the show the main focus of the storyline is on Ellaria and the 3 eldest Sand Snakes, who are minor characters in the novels. Doran and Areo are less important in the TV series and are both killed in the first episode of season 6. Doran's "Dornish masterplan" to support the Targaryens has been removed from the TV version and Ellaria rules in Dorne now, planning to attack the Lannisters.
  • Fans and critics both have negative feelings for the drastically change of Dorne subplot, Ellaria and Sand Snakes' personality and House Martell's fate, regarding it as one of the worst parts of the TV series ever. Also, they find the set of Ellaria's coup has many extreme and illogical mistakes, including:
    • Obara and Nymeria were last seen staying behind at the dock in Dorne while the ship carrying Trystane to King's Landing departed over the horizon. Then, they seemingly teleported to the ship at King's Landing, without explanation.
    • The ship might have continued on to King's Landing because the crew was loyal to Ellaria - but if that were the case, if they controlled the entire ship, they would have killed both Trystane and Jaime himself immediately, not deliver them back to the Lannister seat of power at King's Landing.
    • If the ship's crew was not secretly loyal to Ellaria, but to Prince Doran who desired peace, Jaime and Trystane himself could have ordered the crew to immediately turn the ship around and head back to Dorne, to demand Ellaria's execution - not continue on to King's Landing then send a letter to the same effect. Given the way Jaime's letter was worded her certainly didn't seem to think Doran's hold on power was weak, but that it was still within his means to simply command that Ellaria and the Sand Snakes be executed. Trystane also probably woudn't feel inclined to sail to King's Landing and face Cersei's wrath at Myrcella's death (if anything, Ellaria would have wanted him to go so Cersei would kill him - in which case, there would have been no need to send the Sand Snakes as well).
      • Generally it seems that this scenario is what was presented: the ship's crew was loyal to Doran, as if it had been loyal to the Sand Snakes, they'd have killed Trystane before he even arrived at King's Landing, instead of waiting for the Sand Snakes themselves to infiltrate his cabin after letting Jaime go free.
    • The poison that Ellaria gave Myrcella with a kiss may have taken hours or even days to take effect, and she thus died when they were already more than halfway to King's Landing. After all, Bronn was nicked by a blade coated in the same poison, but he only starts showing symptoms several hours or days later while in prison - though even then, Bronn didn't drop dead instantly but gradually grew sick, as Tyene taunted him with the antidote for some time before giving it to him. This scenario raises several other issues about pacing and how the events were presented: the episode itself presented it as if Myrcella died during the first private conversation she had with Jaime while on the ship. The camera shows Jaime and Myrcella boarding the ship, then cuts to their conversation in their cabin, then as she dies cuts back to show Ellaria still at the dock with the Sand Snakes - still looking at the same ship, which is close enough to the shore to still be visible. It's possible that this was just misleading camera editing, and that Myrcella actually died from the poison some hours or days later.
      • A point against this, however, is that as Ellaria was waiting at the dock, Ellaria herself started showing symptoms of the poison, her nose started bleeding and she immediately had to take the antidote. Ellaria and the Sand Snakes aren't presented as just standing at the docks for hours or days looking out at the sea - they are presented as lingering at the docks for only a short amount of time as the boat passes the horizon - in which case, the boat was close enough to turn back to shore.
    • With Doran dead and none of his other children (Arianne and Quentyn) established as existing in the TV show, House Martell is legally extinct. Ellaria cannot make any claim to rule because she was only Oberyn's paramour, not even his legal wife, and even if she as his wife she has no blood claim to House Martell. Oberyn's eldest daughter is Obara Sand - but by definition, all of the Sand Snakes are bastards and thus cannot lawfully inherit any of House Martell's lands and titles.
      • However, since Ellaria has rallied behind House Targaryen, it's possible that the Sand Snakes may be legitimized as true Martells by Daenerys if she takes the Iron Throne in reward for their service, or at least it's implied that they will ask for it. As proof, the Sand Snakes continue to use House Martell' sigil for Dorne. This legitimization would make Obara the rulling Princess of Dorne and Lady of Sunspear. It would be similar to how a legitimized bastard, Ramsay Bolton, killed his father and trueborn infant half-brother to take over the North.
  • Above all, Ellaria's coup is highly unlikely to be present in future novels. Doran, Trystane and Areo Hotah may die in future novels, but it is very unlikely to be killed by Ellaria and Sand Snakes like that in the TV series

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