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Oberyn Martell
Game of Thrones character
First appearance Novel:
  • A Storm of Swords (2000)


  • "Two Swords" (2014)
Last appearance Novel:
  • A Storm of Swords (2000)


  • "The Mountain and the Viper" (2014)
Created by George R. R. Martin
Portrayed by Pedro Pascal
Aliases The Red Viper
Title Prince
Family House Martell
Children Obara Sand
Nymeria Sand
Tyene Sand
Sarella Sand
Elia Sand
Obella Sand
Dorea Sand
Loreza Sand
Relatives Princess of Dorne (mother)
Doran Martell (brother)
Elia Martell (sister)
Arianne Martell (niece)
Quentyn Martell (nephew)
Trystane Martell (nephew)
Rhaenys Targaryen (niece)
Aegon Targaryen (nephew)
Lewyn Martell (uncle)

Oberyn Nymeros Martell, nicknamed the Red Viper, is a fictional character in the A Song of Ice and Fire series of epic fantasy novels by American author George R. R. Martin, and its television adaptation Game of Thrones.

Introduced in 2000's A Storm of Swords, Oberyn is the younger brother of Doran Martell, from the desert kingdom of Dorne. Unlike his sickly and pensive brother, Oberyn is notorious both for his dangerous and unpredictable nature as well as his affinity for poisons, for which he earned his nickname. He is subsequently sporadically mentioned in A Feast for Crows and A Dance with Dragons. As his brother is sickly, he travels to King's Landing in order to claim the Dornish seat on the small council, as well as to seek vengeance for his sister Elia Martell's death at the hands of Ser Gregor Clegane, whom he suspects acted directly on orders from Tywin Lannister.

Oberyn is portrayed by Chilean-American actor Pedro Pascal in the HBO television adaptation.

Character description

Oberyn Martell is the youngest brother of Prince Doran Martell, the ruler of the southern principality of Dorne. He is a hot-headed, forceful, and lustful man with a quick wit and a barbed tongue. He is a formidable fighter, and is nicknamed "the Red Viper" due to his preference for red clothing, as well as the rumor of him using poisoned weapons in duels. He has travelled the world, served in the famous mercenary company Second Sons before founding a company of his own, and briefly studied poisons and dark arts as a novice at the Citadel, managing to obtain six links of the maester's chain before quitting due to boredom. He has eight illegitimate daughters, collectively known as the "Sand Snakes". He was very close to his older sister Elia, and seeks revenge for her death.

Oberyn Martell is not a point of view character in the novels. His actions are directly witnessed and interpreted through the eyes of Tyrion Lannister, and is later mentioned via the chapters of his niece Arianne Martell and Areo Hotah, the bodyguard of his brother Doran.


In A Storm of Swords, Oberyn leads a Dornish envoy to King's Landing to claim the seat on the small council on Prince Doran Martell's behalf and obtain justice for his sister Elia Martell's murderer, as was agreed with the acting Hand of the King, Tyrion Lannister. When Tyrion is accused of murdering King Joffrey Baratheon, Oberyn volunteers to champion for Tyrion in the trial by combat, so he can fight and seek revenge from the rival champion, Ser Gregor Clegane, who is Elia's murderer. Though Oberyn manages to gain the upper hand in the duel and impale Clegane to the ground with his spear, Clegane manages to surprise him by foot sweeping him to the ground and bear-hugging him, then gouging his eyes, and finally killing him by repeatedly smashing his face with a mailed fist. However, it is later revealed that Oberyn has coated his spear in manticore venom to ensure that Clegane will die a slow and agonizing death.

In A Feast for Crows, Doran Martell reveals to his daughter Arianne that Oberyn has actually been acting as Doran's enforcer to carry out his secret plan for House Lannister's downfall. Three of Oberyn's bastard daughters, known as the Sand Snakes, are assigned missions to infiltrate the Iron Throne as sleeper agents.

TV adaptation

Oberyn Martell is played by Pedro Pascal in the television adaption of the series of books.

Season 4

Oberyn arrives in King's Landing with his paramour, Ellaria Sand, to attend Joffrey's wedding in his brother's stead, and his meeting with Tyrion makes it clear that he has actually come to take revenge against the Lannisters for their role in the deaths of his sister, nephew and niece. At the wedding, Joffrey dies after being poisoned, and Tywin initially suspects Oberyn of having a hand in the murder since Oberyn has a past with poison chemistry, while Oberyn denies involvement and accuses Tywin of ordering Gregor Clegane to rape and murder Elia. The two reach a settlement when Tywin promises Oberyn a meeting with Clegane in exchange for Oberyn serving as one of the three judges at Tyrion's trial. At the trial, Oberyn implies that he is not convinced of Tyrion's guilt, and openly questions Cersei's testimony and asks Shae why Tyrion would tell her about all of his plans to murder Joffrey if he was the perpetrator.

When Tyrion demands a trial by combat and Gregor Clegane is chosen as Cersei's champion, Oberyn volunteers to fight for Tyrion, proclaiming that he will exact his vengeance, starting with Ser Gregor. Martell valiantly fights Clegane, his superior speed making up for Clegane's size, and manages to wound him in the shoulder and the leg, flooring him. Refusing to kill him immediately, Oberyn furiously demands that Clegane admit to raping and killing Elia and her children, and that the order came from Tywin himself. Distracted for a moment, Oberyn is floored by Clegane, who – in a manner self-admittedly paraphrasing the murder of Elia – knocks out his teeth, straddles him and slowly gouges out his eyes, admitting to the rape and murder of Elia before crushing his skull. Tyrion is subsequently sentenced to death, but Oberyn's objective of vengeance was not in vain, since his spear is revealed to have been laced with the deadly venom of the manticore, which is slowly killing Clegane.