The Citadel

The Archive of 'A Song of Ice and Fire' Lore

So Spake Martin

The Martell Name’s Inheritance

Thanks for writing A Song of Ice and Fire. It's simply terrific, which I'm sure you hear all of the time but I felt nonetheless moved to say. I enjoy it as much as if not more than the Lord of the Rings.

That's high praise indeed. Thanks.

May I ask a clarifying question about Dornish succession? It's been said that in Dorne women have the same inheritance rights as men; therefore, first-born daughters inherit their parents' titles. However, in most of Westeros, women take their husbands' names, and so do the trueborn children they produce. How, then, does the Martell name continue? If Arianne Martell is heir to Doran, won't she become a non-Martell when she marries, and won't her children and heirs bear the name of her husband? Doran's mother ruled Dorne, and yet he bears the name Martell? Can you clarify this?

Actually the name "Martell" has used by the other (non Dornish) characters is an oversimplification. If you look in the appendix, you'll see that the ruling prince of Dorne is Doran Nymeros Martell. The ruling family always uses this formulation, to signify the union of Mors Martell with Queen Nymeria of the Ten Thousand Ships.

A ruling princess of Dorne would =not= take the name of her consort. And some of the major Dornish lordlings also follow this custom, in imitation of the ruling house.