After a long time coming, the Dorne-dwelling trio known as the Sand Snakes made their debut on Game of Thrones in Season 5, Episode 4. Obara, Nymeria and Tyene Sand were introduced as fierce warrior women, each extremely proficient in combat, and a collective force to be reckoned with.
Since their introduction, the trio have made a handful of appearances in the series, most recently popping up in the Season 6 finale when Olenna Tyrell met with Ellaria Sand to discuss an alliance between House Tyrell, Dorne and Daenerys Targaryen. But who exactly are these Sand Snakes, what is their history, and why are they often considered some of the most badass supporting characters in the book series?
Eight beloved bastards
One of the most surprising things to know about the Sand Snakes is that in total there's actually eight sisters! So far in the TV series we've met Obara, Nymeria and Tyene, but there's also Sarella, Elia, Obella, Dorea and Loreza Sand. They're all the daughters of Oberyn Martell, who mentioned his eight bastard daughters to Cersei back in Season 4 (RIP Oberyn).
All eight of the girls are bastards, though Oberyn's lover (but not wife), Ellaria Sand, is the mother of Tyene (though not in the books), Elia, Obella, Dorea and Loreza. Meanwhile Obara's mother was a Dornish peasant, Nymeria's was an Eastern noblewoman and Sarella's a Summer Island ship captain. Despite having different mothers, in the books it's said that they all have their father's eyes, as well as each having a variety of his other traits.
Fierce warrior women
Dorne is a much different place to the rest of Westeros, and the eight Sand Snakes were all much loved by Oberyn, and treated well by House Martell. The oldest three bonded the most to Oberyn, having been trained in combat by him. Each of the three are proficient in a different weapon, Obara in the traditional Dornish spear, Nymeria the bull whip and Tyene in long daggers as well as poisons.
Loyal to a fault
In A Feast of Crows, the fourth installment in the book series, following their father's death the three eldest Sand Snakes each put forth a plan to avenge his death:
- Obara demands an army from her uncle for her and Nymeria so she can sack Oldtown while Nymeria takes on King's Landing.
- Nymeria concocts a plan for her and Tyene to assassinate Tywin, Cersei, Jaime and Tommen.
- Tyene plans to crown Myrcella, provoking the Lannisters and Tyrells into attacking Dorne, where the Dornish would kill their forces and bury them beneath the blowing sands.
Their uncle, Prince Doran refuses their plans and instead arrests them, and confines their mother to the Water Gardens with their younger sisters. However Doran's daughter, Princess Arianne attempts Tyene's plan, and Myrcella is terribly injured and disfigured in the process, though does not die. As a result, Doran also has Arianne imprisoned like her cousins.
But, by the sixth novel, the Sand Snakes were released from prison after Myrcella is retrieved by Ser Balon Swann. The three were then all given tasks:
- Obara to lead Ser Balon in the chase after Darkstar (Ser Gerold Dayne).
- Tyene to accompany Myrcella to King's Landing and disguise herself as a septa in order to befriend the new High Septon.
- Nymeria to also go to King's Landing and take her father's seat on the Small Council.
The three also have a renewed loyalty to there uncle Doran, after they learn that he has spent years conspiring to take down the Lannisters by working to restore House Targaryen. Though Doran was killed by Ellaria in the TV series, this is the same plot that was revealed in the Season 6 finale, when Olenna Tyrell was offered an alliance in order to take down the Lannisters with Dany's fleet.
With the Sand Snakes of the TV series now up to date with the Sand Snakes of the book series, and this new alliance between them, House Tyrell and Daenerys, Season 7 presents a great opportunity to see these warrior women in even more action than we've seen to date. Yes please!
Do you hope to see more of the Sand Snakes in Season 7?
Source: Game of Thrones wikia