The Sand Snakes are the bastard daughters of Prince Oberyn Martell. The collective name references the Dornish bastard surname, Sand, and their father's nickname, the Red Viper. Oberyn's eight daughters have been born to five different mothers. While they differ in appearance, they are said to all have their father's eyes in shape if not in color.
The Sand Snakes
In birth order, Oberyn Martell's daughters are:
- Obara Sand, daughter by a whore from Oldtown
- Nymeria Sand, also known as Lady Nym, daughter by a Volantene noblewoman
- Tyene Sand, daughter by a septa
- Sarella Sand, daughter by a trader from the Summer Isles
- Elia Sand, also known as Lady Lance, daughter by his long-time paramour, Ellaria Sand
- Obella Sand, daughter by Ellaria
- Dorea Sand, daughter by Ellaria
- Loreza Sand, daughter by Ellaria
A Feast for Crows
The three eldest Sand Snakes—Obara, Nymeria, and Tyene—try to stir Doran Martell, Prince of Dorne, into declaring war against the Iron Throne in revenge for the death of their father, Oberyn Martell, at the hands of Ser Gregor Clegane in King's Landing. Doran orders his captain of guards, Areo Hotah, to take all Sand Snakes into custody, however. While the youngest Sand Snakes pose no threat, Doran wants to prevent anyone from using them against him. Sarella remains free, however, because she is outside of Dorne.
Obara, Nym, and Tyene are confined to cells in the Spear Tower of Sunspear. Elia, Obella, Dorea, and Loreza are secluded in the Water Gardens along with their mother, Ellaria Sand. Doran's daughter, Princess Arianne Martell, plans to crown Princess Myrcella Baratheon and then free the Sand Snakes. Her plot is halted by Areo at the Greenblood, however.
A Dance with Dragons
|Obara Sand||Tyene Sand||Elia Sand||Dorea Sand|
|Sarella Sand||Obella Sand||Loreza Sand|
|“||His tourneys, his battles, his duels, his horses, his carnality ... it was said that he bedded men and women both, and had begotten bastard girls all over Dorne. The sand snakes, men called his daughters. So far as Tyrion had heard, Prince Oberyn had never fathered a son.||”|
|“||All of Prince Oberyn's daughters have his viper eyes, Hotah realized suddenly. The color does not matter.||”|
|“||It would gladden my heart if I could assure you that the Sand Snakes were alone in wanting war, but I will not tell you lies, ser.||”|
|“||Arianne: Are you certain you are not off to some other bed, some other woman? Tell me who she is. I will fight her for you, bare-breasted, knife to knife. Unless she is a Sand Snake. If so, we can share you. I love my cousins well.
Arys: You know I have no other woman. Only ... duty.
|“||Arianne loved all her bastard cousins, from prickly, hot-tempered Obara to little Loreza, the youngest, only six years old. Tyene had always been the one she loved the most, though; the sweet sister that she never had.||”|
- A Feast for Crows, Chapter 2, The Captain Of Guards.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 38, The Watcher.
- A Feast for Crows, Appendix.
- A Feast for Crows, Chapter 13, The Soiled Knight.
- A Feast for Crows, Chapter 40, Princess In The Tower.
- A Feast for Crows, Chapter 21, The Queenmaker.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 6, The Merchant's Man.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 38, Tyrion V.