Ellaria Sand was a cool chick. Stylish, elegant, quick-witted and frank, everyone liked Ellaria. Well, everyone except Cersei. That was in Season 4, which by the way seems an awfully long time ago. Then she went back to Dorne, got a haircut and mutated into Super Bitch #1, possibly ousting Cersei from that dubious honour. Maybe it was the hair thing, or perhaps the whole Disaster-That-Was-Dorne should be blamed.
We Don’t Hurt Little Girls in Dorne.
Whatever the case, the new Ellaria is vindictive, sly and deliberately shortsighted. Revenge poisoning Myrcella for Oberyn’s death doesn’t compute with ‘the punishment should fit the crime’. Oberyn seeking justice for the slaughter of his sister Elia and her children does. It is safe to say that Oberyn would never have approved of Ellaria’s misguided loyalty and murderous treachery. Cersei was right, people hurt little girls everywhere.
The Hair Thing.
An interesting equation could be drawn between Ellaria’s coupe and Cersei’s crop. Ellaria may have cut her hair in mourning, and as a declaration of war. Cersei’s blonde tresses were shorn to an inch of her scalp, courtesy of the implacable lady of the bell, Septa Unella. In both instances austerity, punishment and retribution are implied. Will Cersei plummet from awful to terrible? Probably. Jaime’s return with dead Myrcella is likely to trigger a complete Cersei meltdown culminating in a frenzy of madness and blood revenge.
So What Happened On That Ship.
This has been on my mind since last year. Did Jaime do the right thing? Did he sail back and deliver Trystane Martell safely on the shores of Sunspear? The old Jaime would head on to King’s Landing. He would deposit young Trystane, dead or alive, at the feet of his irrational sister, thereby justifying his failure to return Myrcella safe and sound, a ‘look what I brought you’ tactic. Jaime’s arc has been profound. The transformation from over-privileged rich kid with a cruel streak is a very different image from the one we have today. Losing a hand (he didn’t actually lose it, it was dangling like a daisy chain around his neck), goes a long way to building character.
Will It Be War Or Peace.
House Martell has a complicated relationship with House Lannister. Tywin Lannister slighted young Elia Martell when she and her brother travelled to Casterly Rock in search of potential marriage suitors. Tywin offered the dwarf baby Tyrion as future husband to Elia. A greater insult could not have been possible.
On the other side of the spectrum, Dorne was the only one of the seven kingdoms to withstand the Targaryen onslaught of Aegon the Conqueror. Eventually Houses Martell and Targaryen were united in marriage, the most recent being between Elia Martell and Rhaegar Targaryen. During Robert’s Rebellion and the Sack of King’s Landing, Tywin Lannister ordered the murder of Elia and her children by Gregor Clegane the Mountain and Amory Lorch. Rhaegar was killed by Robert Baratheon at the Battle of the Trident. Mad King Aerys Targaryen was slain by his own Kingsguard, Jaime Lannister, hence and forever known as “Kingslayer’.
With the death of Myrcella, all ties between House Martell and House Lannister are severed. This, along with war, was Ellaria Sand’s intention. If Jaime kills Trystane Martell or takes him to Cersei, Prince Doran’s hand would be forced. The question is this; when will Doran discover the truth. Will it be disdainfully revealed by Ellaria herself in a show of bravado or by a freed Prince Trystane? Or will it be weeks before the news leaks back to Sunspear?
Any one of these scenarios should result in the execution of Ellaria Sand.
As for war, House Lannister is in turmoil. The King is weak, the Queen Mother scorned, the High Sparrow and Faith Militant run amok in King’s Landing. The Iron Hand of the King, Tywin Lannister, is no longer. Rumours of troop deployment to the North and Riverrun are rife. The Lannister army can advance north or south. It cannot do both. And who would march as far south as south goes for a dead princess and a Dornishman?
From House Martell’s point of view, a successful defence of Dorne would require support from other Dornish houses. An attack on King’s Landing in the event of Trystane’s death seems ambitious, a fool’s errand. Prince Doran is a cautious man, not inclined to seek out war unless it is thrust upon him. Or until he forms an alliance with a new Targaryen Queen.
Photos Helen Sloan / HBO