The Sand Snakes of Dorne, the Red Viper's Daughters: A Game of Thrones Guide

Sand Snakes

The Sand Snakes are among my favorite characters in the entire series of A Song of Ice and Fire. In the books, it's not hard to like them at once. Of all the 'accessory' characters, they'd be the hardest to drop for tv viewing (because unfortunately Oberyn's niece, Arianne, will never make it).

For the sake of simplicity, the Sand Snakes will be introduced to the show as Prince Oberyn Martell’s and Ellaria Sand's daughters.

In the 4th book (A Feast for Crows) of the series, there are 8 Sand Snakes. Only four of which are Ellaria's and they're the younger half. Only 3 will be introduced in the show (as they are the only physically present in the books) and they are the oldest among Oberyn's daughters namely: Obara, Nymeria and Tyene. Needless to say, the 3 aren't Ellaria's. In fact, each of them was born from different women.

The producers stick to warm colors for the Sand Snakes' costumes perhaps to put emphasis on the warm climate of Dorne. Just like the true colors of the Ancient Greeks' clothing, the Sand Snakes wear colorful clothes even in their Warrior attire (with the exception of Obara, the hardest of the 3).

So let me introduce each of them:


Obara Sand

Obara is described to be long-legged whose stride is always hasty.

In the stables by the gates, her horse would be lathered, and bloody from her spurs. She always rode stallions, and had been heard to boast that she could master any horse in Dorne… and any man as well.

Obara was the eldest Sand Snake, a big-boned woman near to thirty, with the close-set eyes and rat-brown hair of the Oldtown whore who’d birthed her. Beneath a mottled sandsilk cloak of dun and gold, her riding clothes were old brown leather, worn and supple. They were the softest things about her. On one hip she wore a coiled whip, across her back a round shield of steel and copper. She had left her spear outside.

As you can see, not a big-boned woman was cast. Well, the show producers are always known to deviate from the original but they deliver well in doing so.

Obara Sand (Keisha Castle-Hughes) will use the same spear that Oberyn used from the 4th season last year. It's emphasized for the show that the spear will be her main weapon.

Nymeria (Lady Nym)

Even ahorse, the Lady Nym looked graceful, dressed all in shimmering lilac robes and a great silk cape of cream and copper that lifted at every gust of wind, and made her look as if she might take flight. Nymeria Sand was five-and-twenty, and slender as a willow. Her straight black hair, worn in a long braid bound up with red-gold wire, made a widow’s peak above her dark eyes, just as her father’s had. With her high cheekbones, full lips, and milk-pale skin, she had all the beauty that her elder sister lacked … but Obara’s mother had been an Oldtown whore, whilst Nym was born from the noblest blood of old Volantis.

They have not picked anyone better for the role as the actress (Jessica Henwick) looked best-fitted for Lady Nym although she kind of looked different up close and afar.

In the books, Nymeria uses a set of knives which she kept hidden as her primary weapon. For the show, she will be rocking a 6-footer whip instead. She looks too dainty (especially in her handling) in using a whip, but sure does she look nice. Later in the story, she will be sent to King's Landing to join the King's Council and be Dorne's eyes as well.

Nymeria Sand


Tyene is described to be very sweet and gentle and have blooming dimples.

Tyene Sand

The actress (Rosabell Laurenti Sellers) looks pretty and sweet but she lacks the long straight spun-gold hair and deep blue eyes. Moreover, she'll be using a pair of corrogated daggers in the show when poison has been her primary weapon in the books.

She was sitting cross-legged on a pillow beneath the raised dais where the high seats stood, but she rose as they entered, dressed in a clinging gown of pale blue samite with sleeves of Myrish lace that made her look as innocent as the Maid herself. Her hair was gold as well, and her eyes were deep blue pools… and yet somehow they reminded the captain of her father’s eyes, though Oberyn’s had been as black as night. All of Prince Oberyn’s daughters have his viper eyes, Hotah realized suddenly. The color does not matter.

Lady Tyene’s voice was gentle, and she looked as sweet as summer strawberries. Her mother had been a septa, and Tyene had an air of almost otherworldy innocence about her.

So those are the Sand Snakes. For those who don't read the books, there's just one thing I could guarantee to you: You will have instant love for them. I just hope that these actresses will portray them well to make us easily fall for them the characters did to me in words.

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