asked me to talk about Dorne.
First, a fact that might get me run out of ASOIAF fandom on a rail, the first time I read the books I didn't care for Oberyn Martell as a character. I wasn't actually interested in Dorne at all, really. But I think a lot of that was that by AFFC... you know how at this time of year if you're going to a lot of parties, and drinks, and Christmas whatevers, there comes a point where you're going: No, George, I can't possibly meet any more new people... Well, it was like that.
But then I wasn't interested in Sansa either during my first read of the books. Clearly I didn't know my own mind.
Oberyn I didn't really connect with until season four of the show, and the casting of Pedro Pascal, which was basically the only thing the show did right this year, and they're lucky that they got it so, so right. It's actually bought them more good will from me than they frankly deserve at this point. This is why I'm not too perturbed by the spoilers that Jaime's heading for Dorne in S5; Oberyn made you want to see more Martells, to visit Dorne. Was there anything about the show's take on the Tullys and Riverrun that made anyone want a season of Jaime wandering around the Riverlands?
This actually brings us neatly to the elephant in the room when it comes to S5, which is the show's writing out of Arianne. I'm... miffed, but perhaps not as miffed as you might expect me to be. I think because I'm not at all surprised; I remember thinking, ages ago, before we even knew that Dorne was going to appear in S5, certainly before any casting announcements happened, I thought, I bet the show will leave out Arianne and make Trystane the heir to Dorne.
Actually, the thing that annoyed me more than the omission of Arianne - and on some level I've accepted that Arianne was the sacrifice I had to make in exchange for never having to see a Greyjoy nuncle on my screen - was a tiny little thing. There's a scene in Tyrion's cell when Oberyn says that his father took him and Elia to visit Casterly Rock. It was his mother! His mother who was the ruling princess of Dorne! And why change that? It's such a tiny little thing; it'll mean nothing to non-book readers, and a lot to
some people. I mean, if you're writing out Arianne anyway the fact that Dorne has equal primogeniture isn't really going to be a plot point, but why not just let it exist quietly in the background?
Actually, when I want to annoy myself, I indulge my suspicion that one of the reasons Arianne was written out (another, I think, and a not totally invalid one, was to make the Trystane/Myrcella romance more prominent) was that with the Sand Snakes there too, they didn't want that storyline to be too female heavy.
I will concede that Arianne is not immediately the easiest character to like or sympathise with, but then look at the wonders the show has worked with Cersei Lannister and thwarted avenues of female power.
I'll also say that I adore that huge swathes of tumblr have mentally fancast Ayisha Hart as Arianne and just carried on like the show isn't ass-backwards stupid. I also adore that literally the only time I see Atlantis on my dash is when people have chopped up footage of Ariadne scenes to recreate the Arianne ones. I was especially impressed with this one
Back to the books, obviously I love that Dorne practices equal preference primogeniture. For all the canonical parallels between the North and Dorne I wish this was another one. I want Sansa Stark, reluctant and kind of rubbish heiress to Winterfell. I mean, I like the Queen in the North stuff as never gonna happen wish fulfillment, though I can see her as regent/castellan for one of her younger siblings; but I think Sansa has to go south to realise how much she wants the North.
I love how many great female characters Dorne gives us. The Dornish/Rhoynar stuff was worth the price of AWOIAF to me; I was a little surprised that Nymeria of the Rhoynar wasn't the warrior queen a lot of fandom had cast her as, but ultimately I really liked what we saw of her; I could completely see how she'd be Arianne's hero. As an aside, I love that Arya names her direwolf Nymeria; I love that Arya knows about Princess Nymeria, and Visenya Targaryen, and Wenda the White Faun. I think the fact that Arya, and Brienne and Asha too, essentially like and respect other women is one of those awesome little details that sometimes gets lost in translation.
I love Meria Martell, a fat old woman, whose response to people trying to conquer her country with dragonfire was basically, no, you fuck off
. I love that, ultimately, she won. I like to think of her as the logical predecessor to Genna Lannister and Olenna Tyrell.
I want all the fics about Elia Martell that make her the protagonist of her own life. The ones where she survives on a wave of righteous, impotent fury; the ones where Lyanna survives too, and well, this is awkward.
As an aside, I sometimes get into fannish arguments about Sansa or Dany and whether it was normal for girls in Westeros to be married in their early teens; and my argument is that a) as far as my layman's knowledge will take me, that wasn't even true in medieval Europe, and b) doesn't even seem to be true in Westeros; girls (and boys) are betrothed at an early age, but unless there's some sort of immediate land grab happening the actual marriage takes place much later. Catelyn and Cersei were both wed in their late teens; Elia in her early twenties. Although, I have a headcanon that the reason Elia's marriage was so comparatively late was that up until Arianne was born she was Doran's heir and couldn't be married outside of Dorne. Actually, not that I harbor any ill-will towards Doran, but what I wouldn't give for ruling princess of Dorne!Elia and her biggest supporter Oberyn fic.
Actually, I've always wondered how marriages work with equal opportunity primogeniture. Not so much inside Dorne, where you arrange the marriage of your heiress to somebody else's second born son and vice versa, but when an heiress marries outside Dorne-- Like, we know Arianne harbored hopes of marrying both Edmure Tully and Willas Tyrell. How would that have worked. I mean, time share? Would Arianne have given up Sunspear (seems unlikely), did she think either Edmure or Willas would have given up their claims and ruled as her consort?
To be fair, all that really tells us is that teenaged Arianne was a hormonal idiot who thought she could have her cake and eat it, which only makes me like her more, really.