Tower of the Hand

Book 3, Chapter 39.
Tyrion greets Prince Oberyn Martell upon his arrival at King's Landing.
Questions? Corrections?
Contact Us! Contact Us

Tyrion awaits the arrival of Prince Doran's entourage. With him are Ser Addam and an escort of goldcloaks and a contingent from the court. Tyrion is not happy by the number of banners he sees. He turns to Bronn and asks how many there are, and Bronn answers there are nine. He then calls Podrick up to tell who the banners belong to; he has been studying Dornish heraldry at Tyrion's command. They are waving too much, so Bronn describes each in turn and Podrick identifies the house. They belong to Martell of Sunspear (red sun on orange with a spear through its back), Dalt of Lemonwood (purple field strewn with lemons), Blackmont of Blackmont (a vulture with a baby in its talons on a yellow field), Manwoody of Kingsgrave (a crowned skull on black), Qorgyle of Sandstone (three black scorpions on a red field), Uller of Hellholt (red and yellow separated by a jagged line), Allyrion of Godsgrace (a pie of red and black slices with a gold hand in the middle), Gargalen of Salt Shore (a cockatrice eating a snake), and Jordayne of the Tor (a golden quill on green checks). Tyrion is even more disquieted that these represent most of the greatest houses of Dorne. Podrick points out there is no litter; Prince Doran has gout and always travels in one. As they get closer, Tyrion spies their leader and knows who he is dealing with.

As the two groups meet, he greets them and feigns confusion as to which one is Doran. The leader says Doran's health requires he remain at Sunspear, and Tyrion greets Prince Oberyn Martell. Oberyn introduces his companions: Ser Dezial Dalt, Lord Tremond Gargalen, Lord Harmen Uller, his brother Ser Ulwyck, Ser Ryon Allyrion, his son Ser Daemon Sand, the Bastard of Godsgrace, Lord Dagos Manwoody, his brother Ser Myles, his sons Mors and Dickon, Ser Arron Qorgyle, Myria Jordayne, heir to the Tor, Lady Larra Blackmont, her daughter Jynessa, her son Perros, and Ellaria Sand, his own paramour. Tyrion introduces his own companions: Ser Flement, Lord Gyles, Ser Addam, Jalabhar Xho, Ser Harys, Ser Merlon Crakehall, Lord Philip, Bronn, and Podrick. He only knows Oberyn by reputation, but that reputation is truly formidable. When he was sixteen, Oberyn was found in bed with the paramour of Lord Edgar Yronwood, resulting in a duel between Oberyn and the older and much larger lord. Because of the Prince's youth and high birth, the duel was only to first blood and ended after both combatants took cuts. Lord Yronwood's wounds festered and killed him, however, and Oberyn has been known as the Red Viper ever since due to rumors that he fought the duel with a poisoned blade. He travelled extensively in the Free Cities, where he learned much about poisons and perhaps even darker arts. He studied at the Citadel, forging six links of a maester's chain before growing bored and later served as a soldier in the Disputed Lands, first as a member of the Second Sons and later as the captain of his own company. He has reputedly bedded men and women all over Dorne and fathered a large number of bastard daughters known as the sand snakes. He also crippled Willas Tyrell, heir to Highgarden, in a tournament. Tyrion realizes that the enmity between Oberyn and the Tyrells could lead to disaster at the wedding.

Oberyn and Tyrion talk as they ride. Oberyn speaks of the time they met years ago, right after Tyrion was born, when he visited the rock with his mother, her consort, and his sister Elia. Lady Joanna had died giving birth to Tyrion, and the castle was in mourning. It was said in those days that Lord Tywin, still Hand of the King at the time, ruled the Seven Kingdoms, but Lady Joanna ruled Tywin. Tyrion's uncles had often commented that her death greatly changed Tywin and that the best part of him died with her. Lord Tywin ignored his guests, but Cersei and Jaime had taken Oberyn and Elia to see him when they were at Casterly Rock discussing potential marriages. Cersei twisted his cock and made him scream until Jaime made her stop. Next they talk of whores and taxes. Tyrion, at his father's behest, has instituted a penny tax on whoring to help pay for the wedding. Oberyn quips that he should keep pennies around, as he and Ellaria want to have some fun with a blonde or two. Next Oberyn asks when the justice will be served. Tyrion says that there has not been time for inquiries, but Oberyn says that he already knows that Gregor is responsible. He means to kill the Mountain and find out who gave him his orders. Tyrion says his three hundred are no match for the thousands in the city, but Oberyn is not intimidated. Tyrion threatens him again and rides past him.



  1. Dornishmen - The people of Dorne. There are three distinct groups of Dornishmen: the salty Dornishmen of the coast, the sandy Dornishmen of the deserts and river valleys, and the stony Dornishmen who live in the Red Mountains. The salty Dornishmen have the most Rhoynish blood, while the stony Dornishmen have the least. The salty Dornishmen are lithe and olive skinned, the sandy Dornishmen are dark brown, and the mountain Dornishmen, descended from the Andals and the First Men, are bigger with brown or blond hair. In combat, Dornishmen prefer round shields, throwing spears, and double-curved horse bows.


1.  Prologue 29.  Sansa III 57.  Bran IV
2.  Jaime I 30.  Arya V 58.  Daenerys V
3.  Catelyn I 31.  Jon IV 59.  Tyrion VII
4.  Arya I 32.  Jaime IV 60.  Sansa IV
5.  Tyrion I 33.  Tyrion IV 61.  Tyrion VIII
6.  Davos I 34.  Samwell II 62.  Sansa V
7.  Sansa I 35.  Arya VI 63.  Jaime VII
8.  Jon I 36.  Catelyn IV 64.  Davos VI
9.  Daenerys I 37.  Davos IV 65.  Jon VIII
10.  Bran I 38.  Jaime V 66.  Arya XII
11.  Davos II 39.  Tyrion V 67.  Tyrion IX
12.  Jaime II 40.  Arya VII 68.  Jaime VIII
13.  Tyrion II 41.  Bran III 69.  Sansa VI
14.  Arya II 42.  Jon V 70.  Jon IX
15.  Catelyn II 43.  Daenerys IV 71.  Tyrion X
16.  Jon II 44.  Arya VIII 72.  Daenerys VI
17.  Sansa II 45.  Jaime VI 73.  Jaime IX
18.  Arya III 46.  Catelyn V 74.  Jon X
19.  Samwell I 47.  Samwell III 75.  Arya XIII
20.  Tyrion III 48.  Arya IX 76.  Samwell IV
21.  Catelyn III 49.  Jon VI 77.  Jon XI
22.  Jaime III 50.  Catelyn VI 78.  Tyrion XI
23.  Arya IV 51.  Arya X 79.  Samwell V
24.  Daenerys II 52.  Catelyn VII 80.  Jon XII
25.  Bran II 53.  Arya XI 81.  Sansa VII
26.  Davos III 54.  Tyrion VI 82.  Epilogue
27.  Jon III 55.  Davos V
28.  Daenerys III 56.  Jon VII