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How sympathetic of a character Oberyn Martell ?


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Oberyn Martell is without a doubt amongst the most amazing characters created by GRRM, being a very memorable character with a complex and very entertaining personality, great charisma and amazing fighting skills that allowed him to utterly dominate the Mountain during their duel with his agility, speed and spear, until he made the terrible mistake of exposing himself to Gregor Clegane's hands reach leading to his very brutal and cruel death at the Mountain's hands.

 

But how sympathetic or unsympathetic of a person Oberyn Martell is ? 

When you take in account his personality, his relations with his family, lovers, enemies and Tyrion and others, as well as the actions he did in the past and present story, how sympathetic/unsympathetic do you find him to be ?

 

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Oberyn Martell is 9/10 sympathetic.  Revenge is a universal motivator.  Ob was motivated by revenge for his beloved sister and her innocent children.  Despite his reputation as a reactionary nihilist, he did sit on his vengeance for almost two decades under his brother Doran's guidance before making his move(s) against the Lannisters.

He is also a renaissance man who perhaps cultivates his air of brashness and bravado in an effort to subvert is opponents' expectations.

In summary, Ob is a straight-up badass who tempered his burning desire for vengeance for years and years, planning a masterful stroke against the Lannisters.  He gets points off for grandstanding against the Mountain, but sympathetically speaking, he earned that.  It blew up in his face, literally and I feel sorry for him. 

He also gets points off for using poison against Gregor and (probably) Tywin, but at the same time, he wanted his vengeance to hurt and to succeed even if he himself didn't live to see the end.   

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I'm a fan of the guy, but he's a crap father and a poisoner and he gets himself killed by not knowing when to stfu and finish a job. These are all qualities that I have troubles sympathizing with, but I like the guy all the same.  THe guy's got a way with words. His little speech to Tyrion starting off with something like "you were the greatest disappointment on our visit to Casterly Rock" and ending with "Not as your judge, as your champion" is one of the story's great passages, in my mind on a par with Manderley's the North remembers speech... I hope things go better for Davos than they did for Tyrion after hearing it though.

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he is one of the more sympathetic characters of the series . he may be a dangerous guy but he is neither ambitious nor cruel and his motivations come from familial love . he also seems to be a good and devoted lover to his paramour which I appreciate , although the one thing I do not like about him is regarding his treatment towards Obara's mother which is just horrible . I like the kind of brother he is described to have been . too bad we don't get to see any interaction between him and Doran . he also seems to have a good sportsmanship , indicated by the friendship he and Willas built after a tourney accident . 

32 minutes ago, Aejohn the Conqueroo said:

I'm a fan of the guy, but he's a crap father and a poisoner and he gets himself killed by not knowing when to stfu and finish a job.

how so? he is definitely not the best dad by modern standards but he is one of the best Westerosi dads right alongside Ned Stark ! 

32 minutes ago, Aejohn the Conqueroo said:

These are all qualities that I have troubles sympathizing with, but I like the guy all the same.  THe guy's got a way with words. His little speech to Tyrion starting off with something like "you were the greatest disappointment on our visit to Casterly Rock" and ending with "Not as your judge, as your champion" is one of the story's great passages, in my mind on a par with Manderley's the North remembers speech... I hope things go better for Davos than they did for Tyrion after hearing it though.

good call . yeah that was one of my favorite speeches .

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He is one of my favorite characters. But I don't know if he is sympathetic.

His actions towards the Lannisters are and I have a soft spot for tragedy, but what about everything else? Cheating in a duel and killing a powerfull lord over a pointless affair, kidnaping his bastard from the arms of the mother that is crying and begging to keep the child, raising his kids to become either complete idiots or psychos with some being both...

He is very charismatic, but I don't know about sympathetic.

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34 minutes ago, EggBlue said:

how so? he is definitely not the best dad by modern standards but he is one of the best Westerosi dads right alongside Ned Stark ! 

Yeah, maybe a little cultural relativism there. Upon reflection I should probably strike that.  He is one of the few fathers in the story who doesn't see their children for their utility first, so that raises him above many of the Westerosi lords. 

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5 hours ago, Moiraine Sedai said:

I liked Oberyn but he doesn’t hold the moral high ground by much. He had charisma and backed it up with skill. The more savage of the beasts won though. Gregor got him. 

You are right about all of that, but to me as I am sure to others, that last bit makes him more sympathetic.  There is always someone more brutal, more committed, more ruthless.  He fought a monster because he had to, and he was out-monstered because, well, like you said, he fought the most savage of beasts. He was doomed to fail, and we hoped he would win, and he almost did, and he almost had it, then we believed... then he failed.  That's like a lot of life, right? 

Sympathy intensifies.

 

Edited by Reekazoid
speling
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34 minutes ago, Craving Peaches said:

If his four eldest daughters are anything to go by, I can't rate Oberyn very highly as a father. They are all rash, foolish and hypocritical. They have all of Oberyn's (bad) traits and none of his sympathy.

It's sure that he wasn't a great influence for Obara to be such a whore (and I am not saying this because of her mother) and for Tyene to be a little demon. 

Edited by Terrorthatflapsinthenight9
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10 minutes ago, Terrorthatflapsinthenight9 said:

It's sure that he wasn't a great influence for Obara to be such a whore (and I am not saying this because of her mother) and for Tyene to be a little demon. 

Nymeria is perhaps the worst of the lot. She seems to believe that she is completely justified in murdering a sweet, innocent child just because her father got himself killed in legally sanctioned duel he cheated in. I hope she doesn't get anywhere near poor Tommen. She is either completely deluded or just detestable.

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People find Oberyn cool but I just find him annoying. I mean he cheats in a fight and still manages to lose because he wastes time doing an anime rage scream. He threw away his life for a public confession from someone that everyone who mattered knew to be guilty anyway. It was a waste. He could have just poisoned Gregor and not died while doing so. And he seems to have taught his daughters that innocents are fair game when going for revenge....revenge for innocents being harmed...Honestly the Sand Snakes have to be some of the biggest hypocrites in the series. Just look:

Quote
Areo Hotah would not have believed it possible to shock the Sand Snakes. He would have been wrong.
"Seven save us," whispered Tyene. "Trystane? Why?"
"The woman must be mad," Obara said. "He's just a boy."

Also Tyene:

Quote

"We could kill him, to be sure," said Tyene, "but then we would need to kill the rest of his party too, even those sweet young squires. That would be … oh, so messy."

Also Obara:

Quote

"Obara would make Oldtown our father's funeral pyre"

How many boys is that going to kill?

But Nymeria is the worst.

Quote

"And last of all the little king, for my father."

Tommen has done absolutely nothing to them, Doran says this immediately. Furthermore, Oberyn wasn't murdered. He died in legally sanctioned combat that he entered of his own free will. I don't know why these supposedly educated people call it murder.

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3 hours ago, Craving Peaches said:

If his four eldest daughters are anything to go by, I can't rate Oberyn very highly as a father. They are all rash, foolish and hypocritical. They have all of Oberyn's (bad) traits and none of his sympathy.

 Arya is on the verge of becoming an assassin , Rickon already attacks people with his wolf just because he is mad at something and Bran possesses a simpleton's mind . do you think Ned taught them so?

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During his time in Kings Landing he seems too focused on fomenting conflict, generally causing trouble, and seeking revenge against the Lannisters for his long-dead sister for my liking.  I understand where he's coming from, but I can't bring myself to like him.  He's too focused on conflict and violence.  I will say he's a fascinating character to read about, though.

Edited by Nevets
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57 minutes ago, Nevets said:

During his time in Kings Landing he seems too focused on fomenting conflict, generally causing trouble, and seeking revenge against the Lannisters for his long-dead sister for my liking.  I understand where he's coming from, but I can't bring myself to like him.  He's too focused on conflict and violence.  I will say he's a fascinating character to read about, though.

And that GRRM can't equal (read: Darkstar).

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6 hours ago, EggBlue said:

 Arya is on the verge of becoming an assassin , Rickon already attacks people with his wolf just because he is mad at something and Bran possesses a simpleton's mind . do you think Ned taught them so?

No. Ned didn't teach his children to use weapons and poisons from childhood, and Oberyn does have a nasty and vicious side that Ned doesn't have.

Most of the moral issues with Ned's children come from the many terrible traumas they went through, and of the absence of their parents or parental figures in their time of need, and we saw that Ned did work to instill morals and values in his children, with the exception of Rickon since he was too young and that Ned died before he could do that, not counting how Catelyn and Robb left and never returned.

Oberyn was obviously a loving father, and his daughters really loved him and love each other as sisters, as well as their cousins, but he clearly wasn't the best parent to instill and teach morals into his children with the results that we see in Obara, Nymeria and Tyene who are not sympathetic persons to say the least.

Edited by Terrorthatflapsinthenight9
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