[Warning: This story contains spoilers for "The Queen's Justice," the third episode of HBO's Game of Thrones' seventh season, as well as the books on which Thrones is based.]
This season, Game of Thrones has given all-new meaning to the phrase "Dornish red."
Following the events of "The Queen's Justice," every single character who hails from Dorne is officially dead and gone — or dying and gone, at least. No more Sand Snakes. No more Martells. No more "Mama." The show's single most maligned storyline has reached the end of the line, in a fashion as blood-red as Dorne's famous wine.
Of course, as those who have read George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire will tell you, the Dorne story in the books is a riveting tale of slow-simmering vengeance. Okay, "riveting" might be pushing it. But unlike the show's version of events, the people in charge of the southernmost region of the Seven Kingdoms have big plans in place for how to exact revenge on House Lannister for their many grievances toward House Martell, even if the optics suggest otherwise.
Even in Martin's novels, the Dornishmen and women often run into obstacles (or Mountains, as it were) that crush their violent dreams and lives in epic fashion. For instance, there's an entire storyline in the fifth book, A Dance With Dragons, centered on Quentyn Martell, a relatively meek prince from Dorne who travels across the world to Meereen with one goal in mind: marry Daenerys Stormborn (Emilia Clarke) and solidify an alliance between House Martell and House Targaryen, with an eye toward thwarting the Lannisters once and for all. It does not go well for poor Quentyn, who receives a hot breath of dragon fire to the face for all of his troubles.
And in that way, at least, both the show and the books' version of the Dorne story have something in common: tremendously epic death — for the most part. With all of the characters hailing from Dorne no longer on the show, here's our ranking for how Game of Thrones sent them all off to the great Water Gardens in the sky.
8. Areo Hotah (DeObia Oparei)
Quite simply, he deserved better. The axe-wielding bodyguard, who actually originally hails from the free city of Norvos in Essos, is a perspective character in A Feast for Crows, the fourth book in A Song of Ice and Fire. On the show, he was an afterthought at best, literally stabbed in the back with nothing more than a tiny knife. It's a disappointing way for one of the books' fiercest warriors to go out, to say the least.
7. Doran Martell (Alexander Siddig)
The Prince of Dorne deserved better, too, edging ahead of Areo for at least having something to do in his final scene on the show. It's worth reiterating that the Doran of the book is a fascinating figure, who has been slowly scheming behind House Lannister's back for years and years. It's hard to imagine him having much better luck in his plans on the page, but at the very least Martin can send off this careful strategist better than with an unforeseen dagger to the heart.
6. Nymeria Sand (Jessica Henwick)
It's a game of inches between the two Sand Snake sisters who died in the Silence attack. Ultimately, unlike the show's version of events, Nymeria goes first here, brutally strangled to death and last seen hanging from her own weapon. Hopefully, Henwick fares better in The Defenders and the next season of Iron Fist than she did here on Thrones.
5. Obara Sand (Keisha Castle-Hughes)
The eldest Sand Snake's death was a shocking moment for sure, killed by Euron using her own spear. It was the violent announcement of Thrones' intention to move on from the Dorne storyline, an image we won't soon forget.
4. Trystane Martell (Toby Sebastian)
Even though Game of Thrones robbed viewers of the tragic fall of Quentyn Martell (seriously, "The Dragon Tamer" boasts one of the single best endings of any chapter in Ice and Fire), the way it wrote out Prince Trystane was at least a spiritual successor: an anticlimactic spear through the face, ending his battle against the Sand Snakes before it even began.
3. Tyene Sand (Rosabell Laurenti Sellers)
The third and final Sand Snake sister didn't die onscreen, but the slow and painful poisoning process Cersei (Lena Headey) described sounds like an absolutely awful way to go. Tyene's suggested death is the culmination of one of the most emotionally draining scenes of season seven thus far, pushing it past the fate of her sisters.
2. Ellaria Sand (Indira Varma)
Again, we haven't seen Ellaria's death, and it sounds like we never will. In an interview with EW about her character's fate, Indira Varma says she won't be returning to Game of Thrones, which means this is the last impression we're ever going to have of Ellaria Sand. We'll likely never know the exact way in which she dies, but it will involve watching her own daughter decompose before her very eyes, all the while ruminating on the choices that led to such a harrowing fate. Stunningly brutal. It's a terrible testament to Cersei's cruelty — not that we weren't already painfully aware of her ruthlessness, what with the destruction of the Sept of Baelor, the fate she provided for Septa Unella, among any of the other copious ways the Mad Queen has earned her new nickname.
1. Oberyn Martell (Pedro Pascal)
Like there was another option. No need to revisit the scene. You remember exactly how it played out — and if you don't, lucky you! You're the one Game of Thrones fan who doesn't have the Red Viper's head being crushed like a duck egg (props to Cersei for that vivid description) seared in your mind for the rest of your life.
Watch the video below for the Game of Thrones cast's preview of season seven's battles.
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