Literary Hero Of The Month: Prince Oberyn Martell from George R.R Martin’s ‘A Song of Ice and Fire’

Pedro Pascal as Prince Oberyn in HBO/Sky Atlantic’s Game of Thrones, with Indira Varma as Ellaria Sand, his paramour. Image via Google.

Happy New Year readers! Let’s kick off 2015 in style, with a new monthly feature- ‘Literary Hero of the Month’, where each month I will be looking at (and profiling) a literary (and or fictional) character that’s interested me or inspired me, and perhaps even others. This month- with the teaser trailer for Season 5 of George R.R Martin’s Game of Thrones lingering in the air, and George himself furiously scribbling the next literary installment (The Winds of Winter)- who better to profile than GOT’s very own Prince Oberyn Martell? For those not in the know, GOT is a medieval-inspired fantasy epic featuring dragons, incest (by way of knight Jaime and Queen Cersei Lannister) gore, death, brothels, infanticide, patricide, regicide, a whole lot of other ‘cides’, torture, and wonderful witticisms by the dwarf brother of Jaime and Cersei- Tyrion Lannister (called ‘The Imp’.)

Oberyn Martell 6Oberyn writes a poem for one of his (many) daughters (image from here)

But the one character who’s stayed with me (unfortunately not literally) is Prince Oberyn, a prince of the fictional kingdom of Dorne, a hot, sunny kingdom where desires are freely indulged and vengeance is stoked. Also known as the Red Viper, Oberyn (played wonderfully by Pedro Pascal) is a fearsome fighter, and fantasy fiction’s (probably) sole openly-bisexual-warrior-poet-lover. Seeking revenge for the savage murder of his sister Elia, Oberyn travels to Westeros (a kingdom in GOT ruled first by King Robert Baratheon, then by the Lannisters through his widowed Queen, Cersei) with dark vengeance in his heart, and his seductive paramour, Ellaria Sand, by his side.

Say it! You raped her! You murdered her! You killed her children!
―Oberyn to Ser Gregor Clegane

Cue multiple scenes set inside brothels, gratuitous nudity and man-on-man action. But both in the book and on screen it is really his fatal show-down with the murderer of his sister, Gregor Clegane, (known as ‘The Mountain’) that had me weeping. His war cry of ‘You raped her! You killed her! You murdered her children!’ and his shocking end, is truly bare-knuckle edge-of-your-seat reading, perfectly translated onto screen.

RIP Prince Oberyn, I will miss your accent and your brothel antics.

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