House Nymeros Martell of Sunspear is one of the Great Houses of Westeros and the ruling house of Dorne. 'Nymeros' indicates "of the line of Nymeria," but generally it is simply called House Martell. The Martells of old used a spear as their emblem, while Nymeria and the Rhoynar used the sun as theirs. These were combined when Nymeria wed King Mors Martell into a gold spear piercing a red sun on an orange field. Their words are, "Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken." In appearance they are classic salty Dornishmen, with dark eyes, dark hair in ringlets, and olive skin.
Sunspear is the ancient stronghold of House Martell and the capital of Dorne. It is located on the far southeastern coast of Westeros and is surrounded on three sides by the sea. The princely Water Gardens lie three leagues away on the coastal road.
Sunspear is a walled settlement, protected by three massive winding walls encircling one another. Entry to the city is by means of the Threefold Gate, where the gates are lined up one behind the other allowing straight passage, leading all the way up to the Old Palace. Otherwise one must travel through miles of narrow alleys, hidden courts, and noisy bazaars. Outside of the walls one can find mud-brick shops and windowless hovels.
Clinging to and overshadowed by the castle's massive walls, the so-called shadow city spreads westwards. Mud-brick shops and windowless hovels are closest to the walls, then west of those are stables, inns, winesinks, pillow houses, some with walls of their own. More hovels and buildings then spread beyond those walls. The shadow city is no more than a town when compared to the Free Cities, but it is the closest thing to a true city that the Dornish have.
Prior to the First Era
House Martell's founding is unknown, except that they were one of the ruling families of Dorne, which, since the Andal invasion, had been a collection of feuding petty kingdoms even as the other regions of Westeros began to consolidate into larger realms. When Nymeria, the warrior queen of the Rhoynar, came with her people to Westeros from Essos, the Martell lands were dwarfed by those of House Yronwood. However, Nymeria took Lord Mors Martell as her husband and, combining their strength, the two managed to unite all of Dorne under their rule in Nymeria's War; House Nymeros Martell has reigned since.
The union of their peoples saw the Martells abandon many of their older Andal customs in favor of those of the Rhoynar. Specifically, they began to call their rulers "princes" instead of kings, and their lands and title passed down to the eldest child regardless of gender.
At the start of the first era, the Baratheon King began to court a Tyrell. The move deeply offended those of House Martell, who were appalled that he would think to replace his Dornish Queen with someone from their enemy house.
Sarella Martell married Martyn Dayne in the second era, and later gave birth to his son, Lewyn Martell. A failed assassination attempt on King Damon Lannister left House Martell in poor standing with the crown. Sarella schemed Danae Targaryen onto the throne as the Lannister's bride, forming an alliance with House Targaryen.
House Martell led Dorne to victory alongside Lys in the War of the New Princes.
At Dragonstone, Princess Sarella Martell urged the Queen to seize the Iron Throne for herself, but was ultimately rebuked.