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Chebyshov

Trial by Folly: The Arianne Martell Reread Project [TWOW Arianne I spoilers]

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Welcome to the Arianne reread project!

This is a reread to examine Arianne's arc and analyze her actions/characterization. Our goal is to gain greater insight into our Dornish Princess. We will be reading her material split over the next month and a half or so, with the schedule loosely as follows (links will be updated):

Week 1: AFFC Arianne: Excerpts from Hotah I & Arys Oakheart I (Chebyshov)

  • Analysis centers on Arianne's reasonable motivations & the gender-dynamics of manipulating Arys

Week 2: AFFC Arianne: Arianne I, the Queenmaker (Dornish Vinegar)

  • Focuses on Arianne's self-identity/cognitive journey through the QM plot & her family relationships

Week 3: AFFC Arianne, Arianne II Part 1: The Princess in the Tower, up until Hotah wakes her (Julia Martell)

  • Analysis examines Arianne's competing instincts along with her mental state while imprisoned

Week 4: AFFC Arianne, Arianne II Part 2: The Princess in the Tower (Rhaenys_Targaryen)

  • Analysis includes an amazing breakdown of the use of cyvasse as an analogy/its symbolism and foreshadowing, as well as Arianne/Doran's relationship, shifting roles, Arianne's motivations, and more

Week 5: ADWD Arianne, Hotah I: The Watcher (stannis's_lawyer)

  • Continuing the focus on Arianne/Doran's relationship and Arianne's nature

Week 6: TWOW Arianne I, available on the app (Julia Martell)

  • Focuses on Arianne's self-conception, relationships, and path forward

Other related Analyses/Essays:


Each week, we will be posting a summary and analysis of the relevant chapter. A quick shout-out & thanks to my co-contributors and all their hard work!

As with other reread threads, do try to keep the conversation focused on the weekly chapter, though future and past chapters can me mentioned. Don't hesitate to share any observations, thoughts, questions, foreshadowing, symbolism, or just interesting tidbits, but we ask that everyone be respectful and keep to posts supported by the text.

Lastly, about 20% of Arianne's known material is from a TWOW sample chapter, currently available on the app. Because it comprises such a significant amount of Arianne's arc, we felt that we had to include it on the reread. For anyone spoiler phobic, the TWOW spoilers begin on page 11, post #216. Those who wish to remain unspoiled can safely read the conversation up until that point.

That's all, so sit back, and enjoy the Arianne reread project: Trial by Folly.

(bonus goodie under the spoiler tag)

To set the mood for this project, (play

in the background as you read, please):

Queenmaking is upon us! Princess Arianne

Nymeros Martell is in the middle of her plan for

justice: securing her birthright.

Ever since stumbling across an ill-fated letter

nine-years ago, our Princess has been led to

believe that her father is working to set her aside

as heir to DORNE in favor of her younger, leal

brother. BothanOrphan spy reports from

PLANKY TOWN reveal that Prince Quentyn is

currently traveling overseas with a suspicious party,

signaling the start of Doran's actions against Arianne.

Princess Myrcella and her Kingsguard, Arys Oakheart

have been staying in SUNSPEAR for months, the latter

of whom has become deeply infatuated with Arianne.

The beginning of Tommen's reign marks the beginning

of an opportunity for the Dornish Princess and the rest of

DORNE to gain their long-awaited justice.

Fueling tensions further, word has just reached Prince Doran

of his brother Oberyn's demise. With the incited the locals,

along with her cousins' imprisonments, Arianne has no choice

but to put her plan into action and defend what is hers by right...

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AFFC Arianne: Excerpts from Hotah I & Arys Oakheart I
Note: these are two non-Arianne chapters, but she is the focus of this reread. Therefore, my summary may be shorter than a normal chapter, and my analysis will be limited to the sections pertaining to her.

Hotah I: The Captain of Guards
Summary:
Word of Oberyn’s death has just reached Dorne. Hotah is watching over Doran at the Water Gardens, when Obara approaches him. We get our first mention(s) of Arianne here:

Obara Sand always walked too fast. She is chasing after something she can never catch, the prince had told his daughter once, in the captain’s hearing.

Obara asks,

“What do you mean to do about his death?”

The prince turned his chair laboriously to face her. Though he was but two-and-fifty, Doran Martell seemed much older. His body was soft and shapeless beneath his linen robes, and his legs were hard to look upon. The gout had swollen and reddened his joints grotesquely; his left knee was an apple, his right a melon, and his toes had turned to dark red grapes, so ripe it seemed as though a touch would burst them. Even the weight of a coverlet could make him shudder, though he bore the pain without complaint. Silence is a prince’s friend, the captain had heard him tell his daughter once. Words are like arrows, Arianne. Once loosed, you cannot call them back. “I have written to Lord Tywin—”

Obara wants to grab the Yronwood and Martell forces and torch Oldtown (???). Doran says he’ll sleep on it and decides to go back to Sunspear because Obara might enflame the people.

“So did we all.” He pressed his fingers to his temples. “No. You are right. I must return to Sunspear as well.”

The little round man hesitated. “Is that wise?”

“Not wise, but necessary. Best send a rider to Ricasso, and have him open my apartments in the Tower of the Sun. Inform my daughter Arianne that I will be there on the morrow.”

My little princess. The captain had missed her sorely.

They head out the next morning, and en route, Nym (on horseback) catches Doran, asking for permission to go to King’s Landing with Tyene and kill a few choice Lannisters. Doran prevaricates so she rides on ahead. At Sunspear, Doran is greeted by a crowd that pelts him with rotted citrus, demanding justice for Oberyn. Next:

Princess Arianne was waiting in the outer ward to greet her father, with half the court about her

We get our first description of Arianne & her kinky boots:

Princess Arianne strode to the litter on snakeskin sandals laced up to her thighs. Her hair was a mane of jet-black ringlets that fell to the small of her back, and around her brow was a band of copper suns. She is still a little thing, the captain thought. Where the Sand Snakes were tall, Arianne took after her mother, who stood but five foot two. Yet beneath her jeweled girdle and loose layers of flowing purple silk and yellow samite she had a woman’s body, lush and roundly curved.

Arianne greets him, and tells him Tyene wants a private word. Doran goes inside to talk to her, where Tyene tells him of her plan to crown Myrcella, thus allowing war to come to Dorne. Doran dismisses her, and then tells Hotah to lock up all the Sand Snakes.

Analysis:
As far as Arianne’s concerned, there’s a few good tidbits here. To begin, it is very much worth noting that our first two mentions of her are in the context of the wise words Doran has shared with her in the past. This indicates he has tried to act as a mentor to her, perhaps shaping her for rule. It’s counter to how Arianne explains their relationship later, but it’s possible these teachings came earlier in her life.

We also note that Hotah is incredibly fond of Arianne. This is clear from his “little princess” thoughts found in his other chapter as well. Given his mantra of “Serve. Obey. Protect,” it is interesting that he shows such a strong preference to her at all. She has the ability of inspiring loyalty, it would seem, even if undeserved at times.

We are told that “Only three leagues of coast road divided Sunspear from the Water Gardens.” This is around16.7 km, or 10.4 mi, and a typical, cantering horse could do this journey in an hour. Yes, GRRM numbers should be taken with a salt-lick, but it’s a nominal distance, nonetheless. Interesting information, given that Arianne later states that she was only summoned to Doran twice a year.

Arianne and Doran’s first on-page interaction is intriguing:

“Father,” she announced as the curtains opened, “Sunspear rejoices at your return.”

Yes, I heard the joy.” The prince smiled wanly and cupped his daughter’s cheek with a reddened, swollen hand. “You look well. Captain, be so good as to help me down from here.”

Arianne may have been a bit sardonic about his welcoming, and mayhaps it’s more than the gout that causes Doran’s smile to be a weak one. It feels a little stilted, and their conversation is remarkably brief thereafter:

“I have commanded the cooks to prepare a feast for this evening,” Arianne said, “with all your favorite dishes.”

Well, we learn that “feasts and frolics” are her purview, so it’s good to see her doing her duties.

“I fear I could not do them justice.” The prince glanced slowly around the yard. “I do not see Tyene.”

“She begs a private word. I sent her to the throne room to await your coming.”

This is where their conversation ends, but it’s notable that Doran sees Arianne, and immediately expects Tyene. That indicates just how close these two girls are, a reason later cited as being part of Doran’s anxiety and hesitation to trust Arianne with knowledge of her wedding pact. This closeness to Tyene is also notable, because our sweet Sand Snake explains the exact Queenmaker plot Arianne later enacts:

Oh, but they must, or see the realm riven once more, as it was before we wed the dragons. Father told me so. He said we had the Imp to thank, for sending us Princess Myrcella…Then we need only hail Myrcella as the First of Her Name, Queen of the Andals, the Rhoynar, and the First Men, and lawful heir to the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros, and wait for the lions to come.

So the idea seems to have originated with Oberyn (or even Doran), then passed to Tyene, and then to Arianne. For those curious, JonCon’s Red Beard has a provocative theory about that here.

Onto a meatier chapter for our princess…

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The Soiled Knight: Arys Oakheart
Summary:
Poor Ser Arys is wandering through the streets of Sunspear alone at night, which we later learn is at the behest of Arianne [through her letter]:

Past the candlemaker’s shop, she wrote, a gate and a short flight of exterior steps.

While Arys is wandering, he notes that the Red Viper’s death has made Sunspear even more of a dangerous place than it was for a Kingsguard of the Reach. He also thinks about Myrcella seeming happy in Dorne, and Doran’s conversation where he tells Arys that he means to depart for the Water Gardens in a fortnight, taking both Arys and Myrcella with him. These details are punctuated by Arys’s thoughts of Arianne and the related, overwhelming guilt. It is clear he means to end their affair:

I am a Kingsguard still, even uncloaked. She must respect that. I must make her understand. He should never have let himself be drawn into this…


He gets to Arianne’s location, and perhaps sensing his trepidation about another meeting, Arianne answers the door completely naked. They immediately go at it.

“Touch me, ser,” the woman whispered in his ear. His hand slipped down her rounded belly to find the sweet wet place beneath the thicket of black hair. “Yes, there,” she murmured as he slipped a finger up inside her. She made a whimpering sound, drew him to the bed, and pushed him down. “More, oh more, yes, sweet, my knight, my knight, my sweet white knight, yes you, you, I want you.” Her hands guided him inside her, then slipped around his back to pull him closer.

(Also, we meet her noteworthy nipples. Figured I had to mention this).

Post-coitus, Arys feels disgraced and abruptly gets out of bed. Arianne notices that she scratched him during the act, and tries to tend to his wounds. He pulls away from her and says he must go. She then pulls out all stops to get Arys back into bed: at first disparaging his duty, then trying to make his duty kinky, then affirming her own wants, then trying to turn him on with masturbation, then appealing to his ego, then asserting that there’s no dishonor in their acts, then outright guilting him by feigning jealousy, then calling him a liar, then asserting loopholes in his vows, then explaining how others have broken the vows and it’s no big deal, then blaming the system that even put these vows into place, before finally turning the conversation towards Myrcella and her crown. A few choice quotes from this:

“You know I have no other woman. Only... duty.”
She rolled onto one elbow to look up at him, her big black eyes shining in the candlelight. “That poxy bitch? I know her. Dry as dust between the legs, and her kisses leave you bleeding. Let duty sleep alone for once, and stay with me tonight.”

She sighed. “With your other princess. You will make me jealous. I think you love her more than me. The maid is much too young for you. You need a woman, not a little girl, but I can play the innocent if that excites you.”

“She touched a finger to her breast, drawing it slowly round her nipple…“[i can tend] to my own pleasures, if need be. I am a woman grown.”

“My father is many things, but no one has ever said he was a fool. The Bastard of Godsgrace had my maidenhead when we were both fourteen.”

“I swore a vow...”
“... not to wed or father children. Well, I have drunk my moon tea, and you know I cannot marry you.” She smiled. “Though I might be persuaded to keep you for my paramour.”


During this part of their interaction, Arys doesn’t think he’s being manipulated, but rather allows his strange racism to explain away her actions:

Remember, she is Dornish. In the Reach men said it was the food that made Dornishmen so hot-tempered and their women so wild and wanton. Fiery peppers and strange spices heat the blood, she cannot help herself.


Arys and Arianne then discuss Myrcella’s birthright. Even Arys I-would-want-my-son-to-follow-me-as-well Oakheart thinks the crown is more suited to Myrcella. And as Arianne points out, it was that pesky Kingsguard Ser Criston Cole that established the system of royal male inheritance in Westeros anyway. Arianne suggests that Arys now has the chance to set Cole’s mistake right:

… but perhaps the Seven sent you here so that one white knight might make right what another set awry.


Arianne then goes on to assert that while Oberyn may have wanted to crown Myrcella, Doran wouldn’t, and means to take her to the Water Gardens as a form of imprisonment. She makes an appeal for Arys to defend Myrcella’s rights. When he hesitates, Arianne presses herself against him and promises marriage.

Arianne put her arms around him and laid her face against his chest. The top of her head came to just beneath his chin. “You can have me and your white cloak both, if that is what you want.”


Arianne, now trembling, tells Arys about her own fear: that her rights are endangered too, as Doran means to name Quentyn as his successor. She points out how her “sweet cousins” were imprisoned, and the same could happen to her. She insists her cause is the same as Myrcella’s. Arys seems unsure that Arianne is going to be passed over, so she offers him her own evidence:
-Doran tried to marry her off to old, gross men, and has never given her serious or suitable prosects
-She was given no true power or leadership at Sunspear when Doran was at the Water Gardens, but rather became the party planner of Dorne
-Doran summoned his brother to visit him “twice a fortnight” (so once a week?), but Arianne was only summoned once every 6 months
-Doran wrote a letter to Quentyn that Arianne read saying “one day you will sit where I sit and rule all Dorne, and a ruler must be strong of mind and body
-Arianne knows Quentyn is sneaking into Essos in a disguise with five important companions

Arianne then speculates that it’s no coincidence that Quentyn is headed to Essos just as the Golden Company broke their company with Myr. She implies that Quentyn’s foster-father, Anders Yronwood (whose house has supported 3/5 Blackfyre rebellions) means to place Quentyn as Doran’s successor with the aid of the Golden Company. After laying out this evidence, she again declares that she and Myrcella share a common cause. Arys agrees to fight for both of them and their rights, and the chapter ends with Arianne asking him for Myrcella, so her plan can go ahead.

Analysis
Oh boy. There’s a lot to unpack here, but first I think it should be noted that Martin made a very conscious decision to set this chapter inside Arys’s head, rather than having it be Arianne I. It’s possible Martin wanted to keep her tepid feelings for Arys hidden from us, while demonstrating how earnest his love for her is, to better provide us with an understanding of her ability to control men, as well as his motivation for the mission. But it is still a decision worth stating.

This chapter is our first substantial look into Arianne’s character, and it not one that is inherently endearing. On the surface, she comes across as manipulative, lascivious, and combative, especially when juxtaposed with Arys’s innocence, guilt, and “ponderous gallantry.” Digging deeper, however, we find that there’s a lot of complicated emotions at play on her end.

To start, even though it takes Arianne a bit to get to this point, her motivations and rationale are established in this chapter. As was noted in the summary, she has 5 very good reasons to fear for her birthright. Frankly, just Doran’s letter alone would be enough to come to that conclusion.

I found a letter lying incomplete beside it, a letter to my brother Quentyn, off at Yronwood. My father told Quentyn that he must do all that his maester and his master-at-arms required of him, because ‘one day you will sit where I sit and rule all Dorne, and a ruler must be strong of mind and body.’” A tear crept down Arianne’s soft cheek. “My father’s words, written in his own hand. They burned themselves into my memory. I cried myself to sleep that night, and many nights thereafter.”

Now that’s not exactly esoteric. Add that to Doran’s inability to produce a proper suitor for Arianne and her relegation to party planning, and it’s a small wonder she didn’t attempt to seriously rebel sooner.

Half a dozen times he has tried to marry me to toothless greybeards, each more contemptible than the last. He never commanded me to wed them, I grant you, but the offers alone prove how little he regards me.”

My charge was feasts and frolics, and the entertainment of distinguished guests. Oberyn would visit the Water Gardens twice a fortnight. Me, he summoned twice a year.


What other conclusion could Arianne reasonably reach? That Doran was obviously saving her for an exiled king of a toppled dynasty? Had he shown any interest in shaping her for rule, Arianne might have had doubts. But there’s really little else she could think, given the evidence. More heartbreaking still, she’s known that Doran intended for Quentyn to rule Dorne since she as 14.

Arianne draws much criticism for being too rash and myopic. But for 9 years she sat on this knowledge before truly acting on it. So why act now? There were two main motivators that spurred her to action: Oberyn’s death, and Quentyn’s trip to Essos.

The death of the Red Viper made for an incensed, war-ready Dorne, noted by both Areo and Arys. This is actually the perfect opportunity for Arianne to secure her birthright; the people of Dorne want justice (war) for Oberyn, making her rallying of bannermen an easier task. Tying her own birthright to Myrcella’s was also an incredibly smart move, because the crowning of Myrcella promises a war in Dorne, which is what the people seem to want. If successful, Dorne, led by Arianne, rising up against the Iron Throne to defend Myrcella’s claim would ensure Arianne’s eventual spot as the ruling Princess.

Coupled with a simmering kingdom, Quentyn’s quest forces further forces Arianne’s hand into action. As she explains to Arys, she is convinced her brother is going abroad to get an army, which will enable him to “conquer” Dorne (with Doran’s approval) and rewrite the inheritance laws.

Arianne demurred. “So my father wishes us to believe, but I have friends who tell me otherwise. My brother has crossed the narrow sea in secret, posing as a common merchant. Why?”

“How would I know? There could be a hundred reasons.”

“Or one. Are you aware that the Golden Company has broken its contract with Myr?”

“The Golden Company is different [and won’t break contracts flippantly]. A brotherhood of exiles and the sons of exiles, united by the dream of Bittersteel. It’s home they want, as much as gold. Lord Yronwood knows that as well as I do. His forebears rode with Bittersteel during three of the Blackfyre Rebellions.”

“Anders Yronwood is Criston Cole reborn. He whispers in my brother’s ear that he should rule after my father, that it is not right for men to kneel to women... that Arianne especially is unfit to rule, being the willful wanton that she is.”

Now, as it happens, Arianne is wrong about the Golden Company having anything to do with Quentyn, but you can see why she’d make the leap. She believes Quentyn means to rule Dorne one day, so why else sneak into Essos (while disguised) if not to carry out that mission? Additionally, his foster father (later admitted by Doran as being “more of a father” to Quentyn than Doran ever was) has old familial ties to the Golden Company, whose broken contract has been of high interest to many. In one way it’s definitely Arianne seeing something that isn’t there, but in another, she was left with no other reasonable conclusion about Quentyn’s relationship to Doran based on that letter.

So yes, while Arianne might be willing to use less-than-savory means to bind people to her cause, she does believe her cause is justified, and has strong evidence to back it up. The Sand Snakes imprisonment is the final straw for her, as she realizes that Doran isn’t afraid to act openly against her allies, all of whom are well-loved in Sunspear.

Moving past her understandable motivation for seducing Arys, we also learn quite a deal about Arianne’s personality. She is presented as being the one who takes charge in their relationship, from initiating their meeting, to verbalizing her wants and physically guiding him. Her choice to answer the door naked intimates that she is both an intuitive person, as well as a strategic one (though he does verbalize his guilt clear often enough, so it’s not the biggest leap).

We also find that Arianne is empowered and direct. There’s no shame for her in this act, and even though she likely understands where Arys is coming from, she doesn’t walk back her assertions or concede any point.

“I fear for my honor,” he said, “and for yours.”
“I can tend to my own honor.”

“…you are not your white cloak, ser”
“I am,” Ser Arys said. “I am my cloak. And this must end, for your sake as well as mine. If we should be discovered…”
“Men will think you fortunate.”

“Tell me true, ser, is it my dishonor that concerns you, or your own?”


Though Arianne is definitely combative in these quotes, she’s coming from a position of strength, and a position that she views as being morally defensible. She is not afraid to demean his job and the blatant hypocrisy of the Kingsguards’ vows, though she is never unkind to Arys personal level for his chaste views. Rather, she uses them against him in her manipulation without ever attacking his personality directly.

Strikingly, it’s not until Arianne allows herself to fall into the typical, gendered role of damsel-in-distress that Arys agrees to her cause. And I think it’s notable that this is the absolute last tactic to which Arianne resorts. We saw her try every angle to get Arys back in bed, even going so far as to eroticize his relationship with Myrcella, making him [and us] uncomfortable.

Yet as soon as we see Arianne framing herself as the persecuted maiden needing his help, Arys is suddenly a bit more responsive to her assertions (which is also right after she tells him that Queen Myrcella would allow the two of them to be married).

When he put his arms upon her shoulders, he realized she was trembling. “Arianne? My princess? What is it, my love?”
“Must I say it, ser? I am afraid. You call me love, yet you refuse me, when I have most desperate need of you. Is it so wrong of me to want a knight to keep me safe?”
He had never heard her sound so vulnerable.


She sells this role well, trembling, tearing-up, and devaluing her own capabilities.

Arys, my heart, hear me for the love you say you bear me. I have never been as fearless as my cousins, for I was made with weaker seed, but Tyene and I are of an age and have been close as sisters since we were little girls. We have no secrets between us. If she can be imprisoned, so can I, and for the same cause... this of Myrcella.


After Arianne lays out her fairly convincing case for Quentyn stealing her birthright to Arys, she ties it back to Myrcella’s rights as well, which brilliantly uses Arys’s position as a Kingsguard as a way to make her own cause seem more honorable.

So your two princesses share a common cause, ser... and they share as well a knight who claims to love them both, but will not fight for them.

By defending the “true” heir for both Dorne and the Iron Throne, Arys would be embracing his vows, rather than damning them.

“The Soiled Knight” is a problematic introduction for Arianne, but digging deeper we see that she has a legitimate and rightful motivation for manipulating Arys, good intuition, and a very quick mind, immediately countering any points he raises. Yes, she is operating under false assumptions in this chapter, which often draws criticism. But they’re not far-fetched assumptions. And in this scene, Arianne’s revealing herself to be quite a strategic thinker, at least in terms of moving others with her speech and steering the conversation to her benefit. So while this chapter allows for Arianne’s characterization as “manipulative, lascivious, and combative,” looking closely, it also allows for her to be viewed as incredibly driven, empowered, and astute; in short, full of potential.

Possible questions for discussion:
-Why did Martin set “The Soiled Knight” from Arys’s POV? What did it serve other than providing us with the male-gaze for that scene?

-Arianne is clearly well-liked in Sunspear, given that she and the snakes were able to whip everyone into a frenzy. Was Doran actually being strategic in making her charge feasts and frolics?

-How old do we think Arianne was when Doran would say things like “words are like arrows..”?

-How disingenuous was Arianne being to Arys when she starts trembling and seeming weak? Arys notes (during this part of the conversation) that her eyes are bold and unflinching, but the subject matter she talks about to him is highly upsetting, so I’m curious what everyone else thinks.

Random observations/thoughts
-Arianne apparently planned ahead and brought a soothing balm with her…I guess she often scratches her sexual partners?

-Arianne implies that she takes a regular dosage of moon tea; it would suggest that part of the reason for lower Dornish population is readily available birth control, with no stigma against women controlling their pregnancies. Let’s hope the price of tansy doesn’t fluctuate too much…

-Arianne says that Robert was “no Joffrey.” How is it that she knows of his reputation? This seemed odd to me. I thought the stories of his nature had to be spread by Littlefinger for the Tyrells to hear about it. So how did Arianne hear? Was Oberyn writing her?

-I don’t want to give Arys’s thought about Arianne’s wanton nature much credence, but hot peppers are aphrodisiacs. Still, hilarious logic on his part.

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I haven't even read the write up yet, but I wanted to be the first to say: Thank You and Congratulations to Chebyshov for organizing this.



I know it will be an awesome six weeks.


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Introduction by Outsiders



I find it interesting that the first two Dornish chapter we have are both from the point of view of an outsider.



Areo is a much more sympathetic outsider. The Martells are clearly the closest thing he has to a family. He's often described as a blank video camera, or something, but I think his views of Arianne could stand in for Doran's. They both seem to have trouble seeing her as an adult. To them she's the "little princess" or "that little girl with the skinned knee". It's only her physical maturity that either of them seem to concede. Areo actually specifically say she has "a woman's body" TWICE, once in this chapter, and another time in aDwD. (In case the reader forgot, I guess.)



Incidentally, I'd be interested to know how Doran managed to get Areo in the divorce.



Arys, on the other hand, doesn't love Dorne the way Areo does. He brings a thousand years of cultural baggage and fantastical racism into the situation, so perhaps its not surprising.



I think one of the most important thing we learn from him about Dorne, is that Arianne's attitudes towards sex, relationships between men and women, and political power is not unusually, and is, in fact, typically Dornish. His awesome "It's not her fault, it's the food" quote is the best example of this.



I'm finding it difficult to get a handle on how Arys views his relationship with Arainne. He seems quite desperate to frame her as some kind of victim. (Any kind!) First as a victim of her crazy Dornish hormones/peppers (see above), then as a victim of him.





“I am,” Ser Arys said. “I am my cloak. And this must end, for your sake as well as mine. If we should be discovered . . .”



“Men will think you fortunate.”


“Men will think me an oathbreaker. What if someone were to go to your father and tell him how I’d dishonored you?”



So even though Arianne could probably make a living traveling around college campuses to show everyone what "enthusiastic consent" is, Arys has difficulty seeing their relationship outside of the pattern we've come to know and love from the rest of this series. That pattern being, of course, that a woman's sexuality is something that belongs to her menfolk. Arys seems himself as having stolen something from Doran.



Even when Arianne poop poop this idea, she reenforces this to him, and I'm not sure it wasn't intentional.





“My father is many things, but no one has ever said he was a fool. The Bastard of Godsgrace had my maidenhead when we were both fourteen. Do you know what my father did when he learned of it?” She gathered the bedclothes in her fist and pulled them up under her chin, to hide her nakedness. “Nothing. My father is very good at doing nothing. He calls it thinking. Tell me true, ser, is it my dishonor that concerns you, or your own?”



“Both.” Her accusation stung. “That is why this must be our last time.”


“So you have said before.”



What she's saying is "My father doesn't care who I sleep with. (Possibly because he doesn't care about me at all)" But I suspect Arys heard something like this: "Another man already dishonoured me, and my father refused to defend me."



Note especially the bolded part that describes her body language. Knowing Arianne as well as we do, this is probably her expressing her anger and disappointment at her father for ignoring her. But Arys interprets it as an expression of shame.



How to Win Dornishmen and Influence Sexually Repressed Warrior Monks



Arianne is popular in Sunspear, possibly because of all those feats and frolics, this is know.



Dornishmen in general seem to be quite crazy devoted to the Martells in principle, and they seem to expect two things form their Prince(ss); that they be visible, and that they kick ass when required. They loved Oberyn because he gave them those things, especially at a time when Doran didn't, and Arianne's popularity might also be based on her visibility in Sunspear and on her being associated with Oberyn and the Sand Snakes's bellicose ways.



I say she's associated with those bellicose way, rather than ascribing those ways to her because Cheb made a very good point that I had never really articulated in my brain before; Arianne's been sitting on this for nine years. And she's been a grown woman for six of those years. She's been a lot less impulsive than people seem to give her credit for.



In any case, Arianne seems to have those qualities that the Dornish love in their rulers, (Whether those are the qualities of an actually good or effective ruler is another matter) she's assertive, she's protective of Dornish ways, laws, and culture, and she's not afraid to stand up to superior forces. Dorne's national self concept is based on those things, and so is Arianne's. And it comes with a health dose of what I like to call "Polish Perpetual Victim Complex", that is, the need to see yourself as a noble people who is constantly forced to defend itself from hostile outside forces.



I mention this all, believe it or not, because the qualities that serve her so well in winning over her fellow Dornishmen are exactly the qualities that didn't work for her when she was trying to manipulate Arys Oakheart.



This is why I have trouble seeing her "damsel in distress" routine as anything other than conscious manipulation, or at least making honest feelings do dishonest work. (Did I just quote the show? I feel dirty.) If it wasn't clear to her already, the conversation in the Pillow House probably made it so; Arys wants a lady to defend, not a lord to follow. That's why she begged for protection when she already expects that half of Dorne will protect her, and that's why she claimed to be afraid of Areo, a man it is later made quite clear she trusts and maybe even loves.



I'm not sure how you can defend this, she manipulated him into falling in love with a person who didn't exist, when she knew full well that it was destroying him inside. It's cold. But I guess you can't argue that it wasn't done well.



I have so much more to say about her relationship with Doran, but I feel like I should save it for The Princess in the Tower.


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We also note that Hotah is incredibly fond of Arianne. This is clear from his “little princess” thoughts found in his other chapter as well. Given his mantra of “Serve. Obey. Protect,” it is interesting that he shows such a strong preference to her at all. She has the ability of inspiring loyalty, it would seem, even if undeserved at times.

I'd say it was more a case of Arianne being viewed as a surrogate daughter, much as Ser Barristan (who also gave up family for a life of service) does with Danerys.

Arianne says that Robert was “no Joffrey.” How is it that she knows of his reputation? This seemed odd to me. I thought the stories of his nature had to be spread by Littlefinger for the Tyrells to hear about it. So how did Arianne hear? Was Oberyn writing her?

Well we know from the first chapter that part of Oberyn's task was to report back on the situation in KL, so he'd be sending reports to his brother at least. Arianne would be getting some information if not from her father then from the Sand Snakes, who'd be getting their own letters from dad, and from other friends in the Dornish train.

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I'll read more tomorrow (it's kinda late here) but...




We also note that Hotah is incredibly fond of Arianne. This is clear from his “little princess” thoughts found in his other chapter as well. Given his mantra of “Serve. Obey. Protect,” it is interesting that he shows such a strong preference to her at all. She has the ability of inspiring loyalty, it would seem, even if undeserved at times.



It's not loyalty what she inspires. As a very petite woman I can say that is tenderness what she portrays. A need to be protected. Specially by strong tall men.

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RE: JonCon's Red Beard & Odon on the "inspiring loyalty" point.
It's actually really funny you mentioned that, because I had an explanatory paragraph to that point that I ended up deleting. I guess what I meant is that Arianne is loathe to play the victim, as we see in her chapter with Arys, so it kind of lessons her neediness when it comes to Hotah? But looking at it again, "loyalty" is not what I meant. More that she has the ability to endear people to her. Julia Martell also brings up a good point, where he can't seem to view her as an adult, despite being a "woman grown" by all accounts for seven years. I think the reason he mentions her body twice is because it is still an uncomfortable observation for him.

Well we know from the first chapter that part of Oberyn's task was to report back on the situation in KL, so he'd be sending reports to his brother at least. Arianne would be getting some information if not from her father then from the Sand Snakes, who'd be getting their own letters from dad, and from other friends in the Dornish train.


Yeah, that's where I've landed on this. We already know Oberyn told Tyene of some schemes, and according to Doran, the sisters keep no secrets from one another (and then by extension, Tyene keeps nothing from Arianne). So there was probably a good deal of open communication.

Introduction by Outsiders
I'm finding it difficult to get a handle on how Arys views his relationship with Arainne. He seems quite desperate to frame her as some kind of victim. (Any kind!) First as a victim of her crazy Dornish hormones/peppers (see above), then as a victim of him.


Excellent, excellent point. Arys is so uncomfortable being outside of a traditionally gendered relationship, that he misinterprets her actions (hiding her body) and twists her words (or outright ignores them) so he can play a part he understands. She's a smaller woman, and not one who travels with weapons like her cousins, so the role of protector/victim probably naturally follows in his mind. This is why he can't just accept when she says "let me tend to my own honor." Clearly, she needs him [a man] to step in and help.

How to Win Dornishmen and Influence Sexually Repressed Warrior Monks

This needs to be a tv series.

I say she's associated with those bellicose way, rather than ascribing those ways to her because Cheb made a very good point that I had never really articulated in my brain before; Arianne's been sitting on this for nine years. And she's been a grown woman for six of those years. She's been a lot less impulsive than people seem to give her credit for.

Yes! People act like the Queenmaker plot was so dumb and impulsive, but really it was based on Oberyn's recommedation and she waited for an incredibly opportunistic time to act on it. Also, her seduction of Arys was entirely for this purpose, so we know that she has the ability to plan in advance and think things out. Her biggest error was underestimating Doran's understanding of her.

This is why I have trouble seeing her "damsel in distress" routine as anything other than conscious manipulation, or at least making honest feelings do dishonest work. (Did I just quote the show? I feel dirty.) If it wasn't clear to her already, the conversation in the Pillow House probably made it so; Arys wants a lady to defend, not a lord to follow. That's why she begged for protection when she already expects that half of Dorne will protect her, and that's why she claimed to be afraid of Areo, a man it is later made quite clear she trusts and maybe even loves.

I'm not sure how you can defend this, she manipulated him into falling in love with a person who didn't exist, when she knew full well that it was destroying him inside. It's cold. But I guess you can't argue that it wasn't done well.

...yeah. I did my best to defend it, but really, it just comes down to her own ends. I believe her ends are more morally justifiable than the ends of someone like Cersei. Yet it is manipulation, plain and simple. Now, she does feel bad about it on reflection, and the ability to move someone is incredibly important. So hopefully she's learned her lesson in this respect.

Though

it's still her first inclination when strategizing about how to approach JonCon. I guess she figures this is the weapon she has at her disposal?

It's a shame really, because she's so verbally quick that she can likely match most people with speech alone. I just really hope she sees that soon.

ETA:

I also realize I spelled poor Arys's name wrong the entire time. Fixed. :blushing:

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Really, truly awesome job here :cheers: I look forward to keeping up with this re-read as best I can. So many things have already been so adroitly touched on here by our resident Dorne experts that I feel I have a shameful amount to add aside from this token bowing smiley: :bowdown:



I will mention on this note...





Introduction by Outsiders



I find it interesting that the first two Dornish chapter we have are both from the point of view of an outsider.





Really great catch, and it reminded me of something we picked up on earlier in the Cat re-read (shameless plug) that not only are these characters outsiders to this culture, we as readers are outsiders as well, so our introduction to this place is a bit more... like we're tiptoeing into the pool as opposed to doing a cannonball because we're piggybacking with someone who is also very curious/new to this place (or skeptical/cynical in Arys case, respectful/admiring in Hotah's case). It's used by GRRM in several different places all throughout the series but it works exceptionally well here, I feel.



I also love that Arianne resorts to the damsel in distress only as a last and final (almost desperate) resort. As has already been wonderfully analyzed, it speaks to her character wonderfully. The similarities between her and Cersei appear at first to be plentiful, but that's only a shallow reading of the two, when under the surface there are very different things going on. Nice work again, keep up the great job!


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Really, truly awesome job here :cheers: I look forward to keeping up with this re-read as best I can. So many things have already been so adroitly touched on

I also love that Arianne resorts to the damsel in distress only as a last and final (almost desperate) resort. As has already been wonderfully analyzed, it speaks to her character wonderfully. The similarities between her and Cersei appear at first to be plentiful, but that's only a shallow reading of the two, when under the surface there are very different things going on. Nice work again, keep up the great job!

She lacks Cersei's cruelty and paranoia. I could never imagine Arianne ordering the murder of a child, or supervising a torture session. Obara, Tyene, and Nymeria on the other hand..........well, they have their own way of doing things.

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A very nice analysis.

Arianne was fully entitled to draw the conclusion that she was going to be disinherited, and resent it, but she ought to have argued it out with her father, rather than hatch a conspiracy that could only have a disastrous conclusion, even if it succeeded. Dorne could never wage war for the Iron Throne, on its own.

Arianne is not made to play the Game of Thrones. To succeed, you need the morality of a sociopath, which she doesn't possess. Nymeria, Obara, and Tyene do, and will no doubt carry out the most horrendous acts on her behalf in the future. I don't see her story ending any better than Quentyn's.

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A very nice analysis.

Arianne was fully entitled to draw the conclusion that she was going to be disinherited, and resent it, but she ought to have argued it out with her father, rather than hatch a conspiracy that could only have a disastrous conclusion, even if it succeeded. Dorne could never wage war for the Iron Throne, on its own.

You know, I often wonder why it is that she sat on this knowledge for almost a decade without ever confronting Doran. I guess the amount of hurt that letter caused made it difficult for Arianne to want to talk about it (crying herself to sleep), and she may have figured he'd deny it, or worse still, act on his "plans" to name Quentyn his successor sooner. As the years went on, she could have been hoping for a sign that he changed his mind, yet only became more convinced through his sidelining of her duties, the awful suitors, and his exceedingly rare meetings with her once he left for the Water Gardens. So over time, she became more bitter and angry. Why give Doran any heads up? Her better play was to gain support and popularity among Dornish nobles, so if/when the time came, she could fight.

What is truly, truly amazing is that Oberyn never found out about Arianne's suspicions. I'm sure she told at the least Tyene, and we know from Doran this means all the older Sand Snakes would know as well. They viewed Oberyn as the opposite of Doran (made clear in their remarks to him about their father), and I'm guessing would have thought Oberyn would support Arianne's birthright. Hell, Tyene was in on the plan with Arianne to sneak into The Reach for a proper suitor...Tyene must have known why. When Oberyn turned them around and brought them back, he never asked why Arianne did this? Is it possible Oberyn knew and told Doran, but Doran was too nervous about the risk of telling Arianne about Viserys, so they both just kept quiet?

Arianne is not made to play the Game of Thrones. To succeed, you need the morality of a sociopath, which she doesn't possess. Nymeria, Obara, and Tyene do, and will no doubt carry out the most horrendous acts on her behalf in the future. I don't see her story ending any better than Quentyn's.

I don't know if I agree with that. I don't consider Doran a sociopath by any means, yet he's a skilled player. I think it's possible to be a moral player, but you just have to have clear goals in sight. We'll see, because Arianne has all the potential of a good player in terms of charisma and intellect. She just needs to learn strategy and maybe read up on a few history books.

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You know, I often wonder why it is that she sat on this knowledge for almost a decade without ever confronting Doran. I guess the amount of hurt that letter caused made it difficult for Arianne to want to talk about it (crying herself to sleep), and she may have figured he'd deny it, or worse still, act on his "plans" to name Quentyn his successor sooner. As the years went on, she could have been hoping for a sign that he changed his mind, yet only became more convinced through his sidelining of her duties, the awful suitors, and his exceedingly rare meetings with her once he left for the Water Gardens. So over time, she became more bitter and angry. Why give Doran any heads up? Her better play was to gain support and popularity among Dornish nobles, so if/when the time came, she could fight.

What is truly, truly amazing is that Oberyn never found out about Arianne's suspicions. I'm sure she told at the least Tyene, and we know from Doran this means all the older Sand Snakes would know as well. They viewed Oberyn as the opposite of Doran (made clear in their remarks to him about their father), and I'm guessing would have thought Oberyn would support Arianne's birthright. Hell, Tyene was in on the plan with Arianne to sneak into The Reach for a proper suitor...Tyene must

have known why. When Oberyn turned them around and brought them back, he never asked why Arianne did this? Is it possible Oberyn knew and told Doran, but Doran was too nervous about the risk of telling Arianne about Viserys, so they both just kept quiet?

I don't know if I agree with that. I don't consider Doran a sociopath by any means, yet he's a skilled player. I think it's possible to be a moral player, but you just have to have clear goals in sight. We'll see, because Arianne has all the potential of a good player in terms of charisma and intellect. She just needs to learn strategy and maybe read up on a few history books.

Perhaps, I exaggerate. But, I think you need a certain hardness; the ability to instil fear, in your subordinates, and enemies. The ability to take harsh decisions. The ability to sentence someone to execution, without flinching. Could you see Arianne in a torture chamber, inhaling the smell of burning flesh, as she interrogates a gibbering suspect? There could be no harsher decision than taking a country to war, and I don't think Arianne appreciates how high the stakes are. She's wagering her life, her family's lives , her peoples' lives, on the outcome, and I don't think she realises how much danger is involved. For her, it's a jolly game.

The Sand Snakes can take all these harsh decisions, but their problem is they're mad for revenge. I doubt if they care how much hardship they inflict in their determination to ruin the Lannisters. I'm sure they'd make themselves hated, outside Dorne.

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What is truly, truly amazing is that Oberyn never found out about Arianne's suspicions. I'm sure she told at the least Tyene, and we know from Doran this means all the older Sand Snakes would know as well. They viewed Oberyn as the opposite of Doran (made clear in their remarks to him about their father), and I'm guessing would have thought Oberyn would support Arianne's birthright. Hell, Tyene was in on the plan with Arianne to sneak into The Reach for a proper suitor...Tyene must have known why. When Oberyn turned them around and brought them back, he never asked why Arianne did this? Is it possible Oberyn knew and told Doran, but Doran was too nervous about the risk of telling Arianne about Viserys, so they both just kept quiet?

Well, either he never found out or he never told Doran. If he never found out it would be because Arianne didn't tell anyone, not even Tyene. If he never told Doran it would be because he didn't want Doran to respond to it. The Doran show is actually the Doran and Oberyn show, after all. It's just obfuscated to the point that Oberyn's own daughters don't have a clear idea who he is or what is going on, even as they idolize and emulate him. It is possible that he hid the information in order to not endanger the plan- I don't think that would work for long, though.

Since it isn't Dornish common knowledge, I believe that Arianne never confided this to anyone before Princess Myrcella's sworn shield was a few heartbeats from extricating himself from the conspiracy, and his contributions were a point-failure source. At least, not until very recently.

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Well done, wonderful analysis on both chapters :)

1. Arianne draws much criticism for being too rash and myopic. But for 9 years she sat on this knowledge before truly acting on it. So why act now? There were two main motivators that spurred her to action: Oberyn’s death, and Quentyn’s trip to Essos.


The death of the Red Viper made for an incensed, war-ready Dorne, noted by both Areo and Arys. This is actually the perfect opportunity for Arianne to secure her birthright; the people of Dorne want justice (war) for Oberyn, making her rallying of bannermen an easier task. Tying her own birthright to Myrcella’s was also an incredibly smart move, because the crowning of Myrcella promises a war in Dorne, which is what the people seem to want. If successful, Dorne, led by Arianne, rising up against the Iron Throne to defend Myrcella’s claim would ensure Arianne’s eventual spot as the ruling Princess.

Coupled with a simmering kingdom, Quentyn’s quest forces further forces Arianne’s hand into action. As she explains to Arys, she is convinced her brother is going abroad to get an army, which will enable him to “conquer” Dorne (with Doran’s approval) and rewrite the inheritance laws.


2. Though Arianne is definitely combative in these quotes, she’s coming from a position of strength, and a position that she views as being morally defensible. She is not afraid to demean his job and the blatant hypocrisy of the Kingsguards’ vows, though she is never unkind to Arys personal level for his chaste views. Rather, she uses them against him in her manipulation without ever attacking his personality directly.

3. “The Soiled Knight” is a problematic introduction for Arianne, but digging deeper we see that she has a legitimate and rightful motivation for manipulating Arys, good intuition, and a very quick mind, immediately countering any points he raises. Yes, she is operating under false assumptions in this chapter, which often draws criticism. But they’re not far-fetched assumptions. And in this scene, Arianne’s revealing herself to be quite a strategic thinker, at least in terms of moving others with her speech and steering the conversation to her benefit. So while this chapter allows for Arianne’s characterization as “manipulative, lascivious, and combative,” looking closely, it also allows for her to be viewed as incredibly driven, empowered, and astute; in short, full of potential.

1. Oberyn´s death would surely have been a factor. But perhaps not in the way that it made the people of Dorne more willing for war. Oberyn was summoned twice every fortnight (so yeah, once a week ;) ), Arianne twice a year. A logical thing for Arianne to assume is that Doran and Oberyn were thus rather close. And if there was anyone who could get the people of Dorne to fight for Doran, should Arianne indeed make an attempt to rebel, it would have been Oberyn. That is important, I think, to keep in the back of our minds.

A nice observation, that the fact that Quentyn took off made Arianne take action. Perhaps that fits into something I said earlier on the Dornish Debates thread, that Quentyn's quest most likely formed because of the news of Viserys' death, not because of Oberyn's death. Arianne spend 6 months seducing Arys, and when we finally see her with Arys, their relationship has been going on for some weeks at least. So if the motivation of seducing Arys truly was solely the Queenmaker plot from the start, that would mean that her friends had

2. I like it that, despite trying to shame Arys, she never personally attacks him. I'd like to think that it shows a difference between her and some of the other players of the game. Take Cersei, for example. She would not have had a problem with shaming Arys to get what she wanted, (had she been in a position where she would have believed that shaming him would have benefited her). Though Arianne by no means is innocent, it does show some morals.

3. As I said above, it is quite possible that Arianne began secuding Arys solely for the purpose of her plot (something which she managed to do either by avoiding detection form Oberyn, who would have spend time at Sunspear shortly after Arys had arrived with Myrcella, or, perhaps an even more interesting notion, Oberyn did notice, and Arianna managed to make it seem like she was just doing it all gor fun*). That would mean that Arianne showed patience, capability of planning ahead, and much more. And people usually don't give her credit for such things.

*See my response to the last quoted part ;)

Possible questions for discussion:
1 -Why did Martin set “The Soiled Knight” from Arys’s POV? What did it serve other than providing us with the male-gaze for that scene?

2 -Arianne is clearly well-liked in Sunspear, given that she and the snakes were able to whip everyone into a frenzy. Was Doran actually being strategic in making her charge feasts and frolics?

3 -How old do we think Arianne was when Doran would say things like “words are like arrows..”?

4 -How disingenuous was Arianne being to Arys when she starts trembling and seeming weak? Arys notes (during this part of the conversation) that her eyes are bold and unflinching, but the subject matter she talks about to him is highly upsetting, so I’m curious what everyone else thinks.

Random observations/thoughts

-Arianne apparently planned ahead and brought a soothing balm with her…I guess she often scratches her sexual partners?

-Arianne implies that she takes a regular dosage of moon tea; it would suggest that part of the reason for lower Dornish population is readily available birth control, with no stigma against women controlling their pregnancies. Let’s hope the price of tansy doesn’t fluctuate too much…

5 -Arianne says that Robert was “no Joffrey.” How is it that she knows of his reputation? This seemed odd to me. I thought the stories of his nature had to be spread by Littlefinger for the Tyrells to hear about it. So how did Arianne hear? Was Oberyn writing her?

-I don’t want to give Arys’s thought about Arianne’s wanton nature much credence, but hot peppers are aphrodisiacs. Still, hilarious logic on his part.

1. Why indeed? Perhaps because it gives us a less biased view, in one way. We've already seen the bias against the Dornish, so the fact that Arys shows it as well should not be so surprising. Especially after having seen the attitude from people from the Reach towards people from Dorne.

So why show Dorne through the eyes of a person who is most likely to show prejudice against the Dornish? Well, for one thing, Arys has ties to Myrcella, and opens door to get Arianne and the Queenmaker plot going. Second, we stay out of Arianne's head a little while longer, while we do get involved in her plots. It happened to Cersei for three books, for example. It happened to Theon for one book. Arianne got the two chapters.

2. When you think about it, leaving Arianne in charge for feasts and such was good preparation for what Doran had in mind for her. What is a Queen supposed to do? Look at how Margaery acts, as Joffrey's Queen-to-be. She doesn't throw parties, but does a lot of charity, getting the people to love her, and her king, after all the horrors they have been through because of the war. Arianne, as Viserys' queen, would have become queen to a new dynasty. She would have to make the people love her in peace time, and getting to get people to love you, and inspire loyalty to your subjects, that's a thing that Arianne has been trained in.

3. I imagine her as having been a child at the Water Gardens, perhaps after an argument with one of the other children. In that case, she would be between the age of 5 and 10, as those are the ages of the children at the Water Gardens, according to Hotah.

4. I personally think that the trembling was fake, but the fear was real.

5. Dorne still has friends at court. And Oberyns letters would surely have helped.

Analysis:

As far as Arianne’s concerned, there’s a few good tidbits here. To begin, it is very much worth noting that our first two mentions of her are in the context of the wise words Doran has shared with her in the past. This indicates he has tried to act as a mentor to her, perhaps shaping her for rule. It’s counter to how Arianne explains their relationship later, but it’s possible these teachings came earlier in her life.

We also note that Hotah is incredibly fond of Arianne. This is clear from his “little princess” thoughts found in his other chapter as well. Given his mantra of “Serve. Obey. Protect,” it is interesting that he shows such a strong preference to her at all. She has the ability of inspiring loyalty, it would seem, even if undeserved at times.

We are told that “Only three leagues of coast road divided Sunspear from the Water Gardens.” This is around16.7 km, or 10.4 mi, and a typical, cantering horse could do this journey in an hour. Yes, GRRM numbers should be taken with a salt-lick, but it’s a nominal distance, nonetheless. Interesting information, given that Arianne later states that she was only summoned to Doran twice a year.

Arianne and Doran’s first on-page interaction is intriguing:

Arianne may have been a bit sardonic about his welcoming, and mayhaps it’s more than the gout that causes Doran’s smile to be a weak one. It feels a little stilted, and their conversation is remarkably brief thereafter:

Well, we learn that “feasts and frolics” are her purview, so it’s good to see her doing her duties.

This is where their conversation ends, but it’s notable that Doran sees Arianne, and immediately expects Tyene. That indicates just how close these two girls are, a reason later cited as being part of Doran’s anxiety and hesitation to trust Arianne with knowledge of her wedding pact. This closeness to Tyene is also notable, because our sweet Sand Snake explains the exact Queenmaker plot Arianne later enacts:

So the idea seems to have originated with Oberyn (or even Doran), then passed to Tyene, and then to Arianne. For those curious, JonCon’s Red Beard has a provocative theory about that here.

Onto a meatier chapter for our princess…

I explained a bit about the feasts above already (it seems my multiquote switched the orders of the quotes for some reason..). Though Arianne might feel now that it is an ungrateful job, and that Doran is not showing much trust in her, it in reality could have been part of Dorans plans for her all along, training her for becoming Queen, who should be capable of making people love her (and her king), receive people... She should be the face of the Kingdoms she and her husband would hope to rule.

And seeing as how the people in Dorne love her (at least, according to her description later on in the book), Doran succeeded.

As to Tyene.. Not only does Doran expect Tyene immediately, she's there, confirming that his fears on Arianne and the possibility of her exchanging secrets is a real one.

Incidentally, I'd be interested to know how Doran managed to get Areo in the divorce.

"Ok, honey, you can take the drapes, and the winebox, and those mirrors that you love, but I want Hotah in exchange."

On a serious note, perhaps Mellario left him with the idea that he would be around to protect her children, and even though Hotah spends most of his time around Doran, protecting Arianne is what he does later on.

What she's saying is "My father doesn't care who I sleep with. (Possibly because he doesn't care about me at all)" But I suspect Arys heard something like this: "Another man already dishonoured me, and my father refused to defend me."

It really is a shame that we didn´t get to see Arys´ thoughts on Ser Daemon. Of course, Arys and Daemon would have barely spend any time together, as Daemon would have left Sunspear (if he had even been there when Arys arrived) shortly after Myrcella's arrival (I think we're talking weeks here, perhaps a month or two, at most) with Oberyn to go to KL, and when Arys dies, Daemon has yet to return.

Arianne is popular in Sunspear, possibly because of all those feats and frolics, this is know.

Which, I emphasize once more, might seem like nothing important at first, but in truth is rather important for the future Doran had in mind for Arianne.

I mention this all, believe it or not, because the qualities that serve her so well in winning over her fellow Dornishmen are exactly the qualities that didn't work for her when she was trying to manipulate Arys Oakheart.

Which will become rather interesting, once she meets up with a certain prince. Is Arianne capable of winning over non-dornish better now, or will she continue to try and win them over as if they were dornish?

It might become a proof of whether or not she learned from the whole Arys-thing.

You know, I often wonder why it is that she sat on this knowledge for almost a decade without ever confronting Doran. I guess the amount of hurt that letter caused made it difficult for Arianne to want to talk about it (crying herself to sleep), and she may have figured he'd deny it, or worse still, act on his "plans" to name Quentyn his successor sooner. As the years went on, she could have been hoping for a sign that he changed his mind, yet only became more convinced through his sidelining of her duties, the awful suitors, and his exceedingly rare meetings with her once he left for the Water Gardens. So over time, she became more bitter and angry. Why give Doran any heads up? Her better play was to gain support and popularity among Dornish nobles, so if/when the time came, she could fight.

Perhaps she thought that while she didn't speak about it, there was less to fear. Also, it must have hurted a lot, thinking that your father is going to set you aside, while constantly pretending that all is nice and well. And with who could she discuss this? Tyene? It is interesting that she hasn't mentioned (yet) to have done so.

Perhaps, over the years, she tried to prove herself, but there kept being more and more signs that Doran preferred Quentyn over her.


What is truly, truly amazing is that Oberyn never found out about Arianne's suspicions. I'm sure she told at the least Tyene, and we know from Doran this means all the older Sand Snakes would know as well. They viewed Oberyn as the opposite of Doran (made clear in their remarks to him about their father), and I'm guessing would have thought Oberyn would support Arianne's birthright. Hell, Tyene was in on the plan with Arianne to sneak into The Reach for a proper suitor...Tyene must have known why. When Oberyn turned them around and brought them back, he never asked why Arianne did this? Is it possible Oberyn knew and told Doran, but Doran was too nervous about the risk of telling Arianne about Viserys, so they both just kept quiet?

To continue on two possible scenario's I mentioned above

*A third notion comes to mind, though it might go more into the direction of crackpots. Would it be possible that Oberyn had noticed that Arianne had been secuding Arys, and that she was suceeding? Oberyn would most likely have left for KL before Arianne and Arys actually had sex (it would be hilarious if Oberyn's absence was a factor in Arianne finally succeeding; in a way that he wanted Arianne, but feared Oberyn too much to go for it, and once Oberyn left... we know the rest), but the flirting could have been observed. He could have told Doran, who, as a player of the Game on his own, might have lead to manipulation of Arys to get him to sell Arianne out (making Arys the person who betrayed the Queenmaker plot). Though I'm not sure on where I stand on Arys having been the talker, I thought I'd throw the idea out here.

I doubt that Oberyn or Doran suspected any more on Arianne's part, besides being tired of being offered old men as suitors. If anything, Arianne trying to marry a young man (and get to him without their approval) was confirmation that their plans were working.

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Perhaps she thought that while she didn't speak about it, there was less to fear. Also, it must have hurted a lot, thinking that your father is going to set you aside, while constantly pretending that all is nice and well. And with who could she discuss this? Tyene? It is interesting that she hasn't mentioned (yet) to have done so.

Perhaps, over the years, she tried to prove herself, but there kept being more and more signs that Doran preferred Quentyn over her.

I've mentioned before how I SUPER identify with Arianne. This is for many reasons, but one of them is that I totally get why she didn't ever confront Doran. Yes, it could have potential solved all her problems, and she probably knows that on an intellectual level but, you know what, I've done the same thing. You're terrified of what a answer might be, so you just avoid the question. Arianne just couldn't stand the idea that the answer might be "Yup, you suck. Your brother is awesome and he'll be the Prince of Dorne while you will go to the Twins and get groped by Walder Frey." So the anger and the anxiety just builds, and it makes the fear even worse, making it even more difficult to confront the problem in a rational way, and it all spirals until all of a sudden you're busting into tears at Christmas dinner - I mean - you're so desperate that you would rather try to pull off a coup than ask your own father a simple question.

It makes so sense, but I get it.

Arianne cares about what Doran thinks of her, a lot. Her whole life she's been his heir. That's what she is, and that's WHO she is. I don't blame her for doing everything possible to not have to be confronted with indisputable proof from his own lips that he identity would be taken away from her.

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Since it isn't Dornish common knowledge, I believe that Arianne never confided this to anyone before Princess Myrcella's sworn shield was a few heartbeats from extricating himself from the conspiracy, and his contributions were a point-failure source. At least, not until very recently.

I'm beginning to think that as well. It's likely her co-conspirators were told after she got Arys on-board in this chapter, but I just don't see any way to close the leak if she had told Tyene. Which shows that Arianne can be tight-lipped when need be, but her reasons for not speaking about it were more personal. As Rhaenys_Targaryen said, she was hurt, and perhaps wanted to disprove it over time or look for a way for it to be untrue (though as time went on, only became more and more convinced). That's a rather heartbreaking idea.

Well done, wonderful analysis on both chapters :)

1. Oberyn´s death would surely have been a factor. But perhaps not in the way that it made the people of Dorne more willing for war. Oberyn was summoned twice every fortnight (so yeah, once a week ;) ), Arianne twice a year. A logical thing for Arianne to assume is that Doran and Oberyn were thus rather close. And if there was anyone who could get the people of Dorne to fight for Doran, should Arianne indeed make an attempt to rebel, it would have been Oberyn. That is important, I think, to keep in the back of our minds.

That's a good point. Even though the Snakes and Arianne view Oberyn was quite different from his brother, and more of a "proper" prince for Dorne, Arianne knowing about the frequency of the meetings between Doran and Oberyn might give her pause before assuming where Oberyn's loyalty would like in this matter.

A nice observation, that the fact that Quentyn took off made Arianne take action. Perhaps that fits into something I said earlier on the Dornish Debates thread, that Quentyn's quest most likely formed because of the news of Viserys' death, not because of Oberyn's death. Arianne spend 6 months seducing Arys, and when we finally see her with Arys, their relationship has been going on for some weeks at least. So if the motivation of seducing Arys truly was solely the Queenmaker plot from the start, that would mean that her friends had

On the edge of my seat! ;)

2. I like it that, despite trying to shame Arys, she never personally attacks him. I'd like to think that it shows a difference between her and some of the other players of the game. Take Cersei, for example. She would not have had a problem with shaming Arys to get what she wanted, (had she been in a position where she would have believed that shaming him would have benefited her). Though Arianne by no means is innocent, it does show some morals.

Exactly. She's not unkind, even though she is certainly manipulative. That's why her frequent comparison to Cersei has always irked me; their means may be similar, but their motivations and emotions are quite different.

3. As I said above, it is quite possible that Arianne began secuding Arys solely for the purpose of her plot (something which she managed to do either by avoiding detection form Oberyn, who would have spend time at Sunspear shortly after Arys had arrived with Myrcella, or, perhaps an even more interesting notion, Oberyn did notice, and Arianna managed to make it seem like she was just doing it all gor fun*). That would mean that Arianne showed patience, capability of planning ahead, and much more. And people usually don't give her credit for such things.

Yup! She waits for 9 years to be sure of what she read and to figure something out from there, and then once deciding to act, is able to take months to seduce Arys. In that time she's also likely to be figuring out her co-conspirators and planning which houses to involve so that Doran wouldn't risk retribution.

1. Why indeed? Perhaps because it gives us a less biased view, in one way. We've already seen the bias against the Dornish, so the fact that Arys shows it as well should not be so surprising. Especially after having seen the attitude from people from the Reach towards people from Dorne.

So why show Dorne through the eyes of a person who is most likely to show prejudice against the Dornish? Well, for one thing, Arys has ties to Myrcella, and opens door to get Arianne and the Queenmaker plot going. Second, we stay out of Arianne's head a little while longer, while we do get involved in her plots. It happened to Cersei for three books, for example. It happened to Theon for one book. Arianne got the two chapters.

That makes sense when you phrase it that way, and I have little to no issue with Hotah as the Dornish window (especially now that we know he and Arianne's plots are diverging). But the decision to not make Arys's chapter Arianne I feels a little weird, and given the inherent male-gaze of that chapter, a decision with which I'm not entirely comfortable. However, there is also merit to keeping us out of Arianne's heat to keep some suspense up of where her story is heading (worked for me on my first read). Also, Arys represents the only Reach POV in the entire series. And it was interesting to see how a typical Reach man views Dorne. Still, it makes me wonder.

2. When you think about it, leaving Arianne in charge for feasts and such was good preparation for what Doran had in mind for her. What is a Queen supposed to do? Look at how Margaery acts, as Joffrey's Queen-to-be. She doesn't throw parties, but does a lot of charity, getting the people to love her, and her king, after all the horrors they have been through because of the war. Arianne, as Viserys' queen, would have become queen to a new dynasty. She would have to make the people love her in peace time, and getting to get people to love you, and inspire loyalty to your subjects, that's a thing that Arianne has been trained in.

I've been wondering this more and more. Doran's no fool, and he sees Arianne's strengths and weaknesses. What's a weakness of hers? Pretty boys Willingness to learn mundane lessons (her unread books in the tower, for instance) and keeping important information secretive. But her charisma is certainly a major strength, so putting her in charge of the parties is [arguably] the best place for her. She is able to earn the favor of the locals, and being loved is just as important (if not more-so) as knowing troop numbers. Should Doran have been a little more intuitive about Arianne's obvious anxiety when it came to their relationship? Probably. But I do like to think that he had his reasons for not summoning her and his reasons for assigning her to feast-duty.

3. I imagine her as having been a child at the Water Gardens, perhaps after an argument with one of the other children. In that case, she would be between the age of 5 and 10, as those are the ages of the children at the Water Gardens, according to Hotah.

4. I personally think that the trembling was fake, but the fear was real.

5. Dorne still has friends at court. And Oberyns letters would surely have helped.

All three of these sound about right to me. I think she made herself cry, for sure, but we know that this is really upsetting to her anyway, so she just kind of played it up. She's had to sit with the info for almost a decade, but she's only just introducing it to Arys now. Tears behoove her.

Perhaps she thought that while she didn't speak about it, there was less to fear. Also, it must have hurted a lot, thinking that your father is going to set you aside, while constantly pretending that all is nice and well. And with who could she discuss this? Tyene? It is interesting that she hasn't mentioned (yet) to have done so.

Perhaps, over the years, she tried to prove herself, but there kept being more and more signs that Doran preferred Quentyn over her.

This sounds likely to me. It's depressing how much their relationship deteriorated, but neither one was willing to have an open conversation about the things that needed to be said. It's funny that we often talk of Arianne's personality as antithetical to Doran's, when in reality they both display similar characteristics: sitting on truly upsetting information for years and keeping true thoughts about that which is emotionally poignant inside.

To continue on two possible scenario's I mentioned above

*A third notion comes to mind, though it might go more into the direction of crackpots. Would it be possible that Oberyn had noticed that Arianne had been secuding Arys, and that she was suceeding? Oberyn would most likely have left for KL before Arianne and Arys actually had sex (it would be hilarious if Oberyn's absence was a factor in Arianne finally succeeding; in a way that he wanted Arianne, but feared Oberyn too much to go for it, and once Oberyn left... we know the rest), but the flirting could have been observed. He could have told Doran, who, as a player of the Game on his own, might have lead to manipulation of Arys to get him to sell Arianne out (making Arys the person who betrayed the Queenmaker plot). Though I'm not sure on where I stand on Arys having been the talker, I thought I'd throw the idea out here.

This is intriguing for sure...let's bring it up again next week when we'll likely be debating the talker in-depth. Do love me some Dornish crackpots. :thumbsup:

I doubt that Oberyn or Doran suspected any more on Arianne's part, besides being tired of being offered old men as suitors. If anything, Arianne trying to marry a young man (and get to him without their approval) was confirmation that their plans were working.

Yeah, and maybe it was after she tried Willas that Doran stopped proposing "suitors" altogether. At least, that'd be what I'd do in his shoes.

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I've mentioned before how I SUPER identify with Arianne. This is for many reasons, but one of them is that I totally get why she didn't ever confront Doran. Yes, it could have potential solved all her problems, and she probably knows that on an intellectual level but, you know what, I've done the same thing. You're terrified of what a answer might be, so you just avoid the question. Arianne just couldn't stand the idea that the answer might be "Yup, you suck. Your brother is awesome and he'll be the Prince of Dorne while you will go to the Twins and get groped by Walder Frey." So the anger and the anxiety just builds, and it makes the fear even worse, making it even more difficult to confront the problem in a rational way, and it all spirals until all of a sudden you're busting into tears at Christmas dinner - I mean - you're so desperate that you would rather try to pull off a coup than ask your own father a simple question.

It makes so sense, but I get it.

Arianne cares about what Doran thinks of her, a lot. Her whole life she's been his heir. That's what she is, and that's WHO she is. I don't blame her for doing everything possible to not have to be confronted with indisputable proof from his own lips that he identity would be taken away from her.

Ah yes! And that's why she she begins to see boogeymen all around her in things like the GC's broken contract and Quentyn adorning a fake mustache in Plankytown. It actually does make sense to me, and is exactly how my sister behaves as well (complete with a Thanksgiving meltdown once, now that I think about it; mercifully Hanukkah doesn't have that much forced family time).

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I've been wondering this more and more. Doran's no fool, and he sees Arianne's strengths and weaknesses. What's a weakness of hers? Pretty boys Willingness to learn mundane lessons (her unread books in the tower, for instance) and keeping important information secretive. But her charisma is certainly a major strength, so putting her in charge of the parties is [arguably] the best place for her. She is able to earn the favor of the locals, and being loved is just as important (if not more-so) as knowing troop numbers. Should Doran have been a little more intuitive about Arianne's obvious anxiety when it came to their relationship? Probably. But I do like to think that he had his reasons for not summoning her and his reasons for assigning her to feast-duty.

All three of these sound about right to me. I think she made herself cry, for sure, but we know that this is really upsetting to her anyway, so she just kind of played it up. She's had to sit with the info for almost a decade, but she's only just introducing it to Arys now. Tears behoove her.

This sounds likely to me. It's depressing how much their relationship deteriorated, but neither one was willing to have an open conversation about the things that needed to be said. It's funny that we often talk of Arianne's personality as antithetical to Doran's, when in reality they both display similar characteristics: sitting on truly upsetting information for years and keeping true thoughts about that which is emotionally poignant inside.

I thought she read the books, but thought they were boring. Whatever.

I've been saying for a while that Arianne is a lot like Oberyn, but now I'm starting to rethink that. The more I look that more of Doran I see in her. Especially the brooding. Oberyn didn't brood.
So Tyene and Garin and co. don't seem to know that Arianne thinks that Doran plans to disinherit her? I never noticed that before. So maybe she can keep her mouth shut when it matters.

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I've mentioned before how I SUPER identify with Arianne. This is for many reasons, but one of them is that I totally get why she didn't ever confront Doran. Yes, it could have potential solved all her problems, and she probably knows that on an intellectual level but, you know what, I've done the same thing. You're terrified of what a answer might be, so you just avoid the question. Arianne just couldn't stand the idea that the answer might be "Yup, you suck. Your brother is awesome and he'll be the Prince of Dorne while you will go to the Twins and get groped by Walder Frey." So the anger and the anxiety just builds, and it makes the fear even worse, making it even more difficult to confront the problem in a rational way, and it all spirals until all of a sudden you're busting into tears at Christmas dinner - I mean - you're so desperate that you would rather try to pull off a coup than ask your own father a simple question.

It makes so sense, but I get it.

Arianne cares about what Doran thinks of her, a lot. Her whole life she's been his heir. That's what she is, and that's WHO she is. I don't blame her for doing everything possible to not have to be confronted with indisputable proof from his own lips that he identity would be taken away from her.

Confronting Doran might have lead to Doran acting, or so Arianne might have thought. And she had nothing to fight Doran with. Sure, she was loved in Dorne, but so was Oberyn, and with Oberyn on Doran's side, combined with House Yronwood on Dorans side, that would pretty much leave Arianne unable to defend herself. So perhaps it was not only the fear of having her fears confirmed if she asked him, it was also the fear that Doran would immediately act upon those words.

On the edge of my seat! ;)

O darn, what was I typing here? Gosh, I was interrupted a few times whilst typing my post yesterday...

*thinks hard and tries to remember*

Let's try it again

A nice observation, that the fact that Quentyn took off made Arianne take action. Perhaps that fits into something I said earlier on the Dornish Debates thread, that Quentyn's quest most likely formed because of the news of Viserys' death, not because of Oberyn's death. Arianne spend 6 months seducing Arys, and when we finally see her with Arys, their relationship has been going on for some weeks at least. So if the motivation of seducing Arys truly was solely the Queenmaker plot from the start, that would mean that her friends had

... uncovered the Quentyn-queste quite some time ago. And it kind of makes sense, thinking about it.

Looking at it from Doran's perspective, you have been planning to marry your heir to the future King and to make your eldest son heir to Dorne. Then, a friend of you sends you a message from across the sea (I assume that Doran will have contacts somewhere in Norvos, Tyrosh, and possibly Braavos, if not also other Free Cities), stating that Viserys Targaryen died.. All of your carefully plotted plans are shattered. What to do?

Then another letter arrives, bearing the stamp of House Lannister. The letter proposes that Myrcella comes to Dorne, and Trystane will eventually marry her. Myrcella in Dorne? Ah, a hostage. Doran might not want to harm children, but he only needs people to fear and believe that he might. That's all that it takes.

Perhaps the security of Myrcella as a hostage, and next news of Dany's survival (and, the birth of her dragons, if Doran's contacts are really good), combined, will make Doran think "perhaps my plans should not all be lost. Just switch the roles of Arianne and Quentyn. Quentyn will become King consort (prince consort? Daemon was never called king..?), and Arianne will inherit Dorne."

Quentyn was with Lord Yronwood in the Prince's Pass, and the army moved there when Stannis laid siege to Storm's End (or at least, by the time Penrose died, the armies of Dorne were in place there). It would be easier for Quentyn to indeed leave Yronwood together with the army (to avoid curious eyes at Yronwood to report any "weird" movements on Quentyn's part, be they eyes from KL, or Arianne), but take a left turn with his five companions, where the army takes a right turn.

Then Quentyn and co go to the Water Gardens. As Arianne is summoned only twice a year, he won't risk running into her there. There, he is prepared for his journey, and eventually, leaves.

Someone recognized Quentyn leaving Planky Town, IIRC, so we can assume he wasn't discovered before this point. So it was only when he left, that Arianne learned of it.. But how long ago was this?

Using this timeline as a rough reference, Quentyn's 20th day in Volantis (The Merchant's Man) is at 2/27. This means he arrived at 2/7. Before that, he had gone from Planty Town to Lys, stayed in Lys for four days, and gone from Lys to Volantis. Those are quite some distances, so by the time we actually see Quentyn for the first time, he seems to have been gone for a couple of months already.

Taking into account that Arianne's "half a year" for seducing Arys can be 5 months as well, It might just be possible that Quentyn left Dorne around the time of Arys' arrival.. Which coincides with the host of Yronwood arriving at the Prince's Pass, roughly.

Of course a 5 month journey for Quentyn until we reach The Merchants Man is too long to reach Volantis and remain there for 20 das (it would mean it took him 4 months to get there..). But the description from The Queenmaker on how Quentyn's mission was discovered suggests that it took Quentyn some time before finding passage at Planky Town, so perhaps he spend another month there (with Arianne discovering his mission at the beginning of that month)? A three month journey from Planky Town to Lys, and from Lys to Volantis, with a short stop in Lys (seasickness), might just take 3 months..

Which is actually all a long way of saying: I personally think, as explained in detail here, that Arianne seducing Arys was never just "for fun", until he actually became usefull to her. There was always a reason to it.

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