~Guest post from the lovely Lauren~
So before I start I just want to state that Dorne is my favourite place in the ‘A Song of Ice and Fire’ world. I love the dynamic and complex characters, I love the shrewd political intrigue and I love the unusual (in Westerosi terms) political system and most of all I LOVE LOVE LOVE Arianne Martell. This is NOT a critique on the ASOIAF story. It is a critique on the unrecognisable shower of shit that D&D have created for Game of Thrones. After Pedro Pascal’s stellar portrayal of the Red Viper of Dorne, Oberyn Martell in season 4, Dorne was the most anticipated part of season 5. Everyone was so excited to see a region of Westeros that had not been featured on the show before. But what we got in season 5 has been one of the biggest let downs in the history of Game of Thrones. The show runners have reduced Dorne to the absolute bare minimum that they could get away with and it is beyond underwhelming.
If you’re not familiar with Dorne let me just quickly explain this beautiful region of Westeros. Dorne is the southernmost region in Westeros. It’s completely different to the rest of the world in regards to its climate, its people and its customs. Dorne is described as being mostly an arid and mountainous desert. There are many different regions in Dorne with a diverse population. Sunspear is the ancestral seat of House Martell who rule over all of Dorne and is the capital of the region as well.
Let’s begin my critique by starting with this important fact: Queen Nymeria and her people (the Rhoynar) fled to Dorne and under her leadership (and the marriage to the Martells) united the whole region which soon became known as Dorne. The point I’m making here is that a woman did this. Queen Nymeria united the region, she led a successful campaign, and she led her people safely away from their destroyed homeland. Another event in Dornish history that is of note is at the time of Aegon’s Conquest, Dorne was the only region to remain unconquered. This is thanks to the might of Dorne and the unwavering bravery and cunning by Princess Meria. Dorne has never been conquered but instead voluntarily joined the seven kingdoms through marriage alliances; a testament to their incredible political intrigue. Furthermore, this is an important event in Dornish history because it set up the fair and equal political system where the eldest child can inherit titles regardless of gender, unlike the rest of Westeros. Is there any mention of this in the television show?!?! Nope, Trystane is the heir to Dorne now completely disregarding his older sibings Arianne (the number one bae) and Quentyn.
Arianne Martell (and Ser Aerys Oakehart who mysteriously vanished from the show)
So basically what I’m trying to say is that throughout Dornish history women have been important players, but there is no mention of or even allusion to this in the show. They cut Arianne (arguably one of the most powerful and important female characters in ASOIAF), they cut five of the sand snakes and even cut Quentyn (which had a pretty interesting storyline IMO). D&D did away with important female Dornish characters and their agency and completely transformed Ellaria’s personality from a caring and peaceful mother to this vengeful, bitter woman set on avenging Oberyn. One of the best parts of Ellaria’s character is that she does NOT desire revenge! Her speech to the Sand Snakes in A Dance with Dragons is one of the best in the series:
Oberyn wanted vengeance for Elia. Now the three of you want vengeance for him. I have four daughters, I remind you. Your sisters. My Elia is fourteen, almost a woman. Obella is twelve, on the brink of maidenhood. They worship you, as Dorea and Loreza worship them. If you should die, must El and Obella seek vengeance for you, then Dorea and Loree for them? Is that how it goes, round and round forever? I ask again, where does it end?” Ellaria Sand laid her hand on the Mountain’s head. “I saw your father die. Here is his killer. Can I take a skull to bed with me, to give me comfort in the night? Will it make me laugh, write me songs, care for me when I am old and sick?”
“What would you have us do, my lady?” asked the Lady Nym. “Shall we lay down our spears and smile, and forget all the wrongs that have been done to us?”
“War will come, whether we wish it or not,” said Obara. “A boy king on the Iron Throne. Lord Stannis holds the Wall and is gathering nothmen to his cause. The two queens are squabbling over Tommen like bitches with a juicy bone. The ironmen have taken the Shields and are raiding up the Mander, deep into the heart of the Reach, which means Highgarden will be preoccupied as well. Our enemies are in disarray. The time is ripe.”
“Ripe for what? To make more skulls?” Ellaria Sand turned to the prince. “They will not see. I can hear no more of this.”
Instead of this, we now have an Ellaria who wishes to send Myrcella back to Dorne in pieces which is not only disturbing in itself, but is a stark contradiction to Oberyn’s comment to Cersei in season 4!
Speaking of Doran, he has all of what, 3 minutes of screen time thus far? Doran Martell is one of the most underrated players in the game and instead of portraying Doran as this understated but nevertheless shrewd diplomat, we’ve only seen him arguing with Ellaria so far. We’ve seen Dorne many times this season yet I don’t remember anything of consequence to have actually happened?
D&D have also reduced the Sand Snakes down to just 3 and they have made them SO one dimensional and boring, which the Sand Snakes are not! They are the embodiment of Dorne: passionate, fiery, intelligent, diverse etc… and D&D have taken this and have completely fucked it up. Where is the agency? Where is the diversity? Where are the personalities?! – Side note, what the fuck did they do to Tyene in episode 7? 1) that is not Tyene’s personality 2) Since when do the Sand Snakes give antidote to their victims? Especially after having to be told ‘they are the most beautiful’ by some random. Answer: they NEVER do. Don’t even get me started on their costumes, let alone their armour. Why do they need nipples on their armour? Why do they need to sexualise them?! The show runners have essentially taken 3 strong and unique personalities and rolled them into 1 character. Now, instead of these unique personalities, we are left with ethnic ninja Barbie dolls.
The Sand Snakes that D&D chose…..
Let’s thank our lucky stars they didn’t cast Arianne, she would have just been objectified, her powerful agency taken away and would have been reduced down to just her sex and would have been a victim of their misogynistic crap like so many of the other wonderful and powerful female characters (#protectSansa). How shit is that? That we have to be THANKFUL that they didn’t include a character because they would ruin them!
D&D GET YOUR MISOGYNISTIC BULLSHIT AWAY FROM DORNE.
Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken.