Game of Thrones will be taking viewers to the desert sands of Dorne for the first time in the series when season five of the show debuts April 12.
Living in Westeros' southernmost kingdom is all manner of new characters for viewers meet, first among them the trio of women known as the Sand Snakes.
These women will play a major role in shaping the future of the seven kingdoms.
Here is everything you need to know about the Sand Snakes going into season five.
Who Are They?
The Sand Snakes are the bastard daughters of Prince Oberyn Martell. Oberyn met his end at the hands of Gregor Glegane last season, something his numerous daughters aren't happy about. Oberyn has eight bastard daughters in total, but the three eldest will be the primary focus of the show. Their collective nickname comes from combining the Dornish bastard name of Sand with their father's "Red Viper" title. The Sand Snakes are:
Obara Sand: The warrior of the group, she is well accustomed to using spears and whips in battle. Her mother is a whore from Oldtown.
Nymeria Sand: Elegant and refined, Nymeria is renowned for her beauty. Her mother was a noblewoman from Old Volantis.
Tyene Sand: The daughter of a septa and one herself, Tyene is known for her innocent and pious persona on the outside, but is also quite dangerous, as she has skill in crafting poisons.
The oldest Sand Snakes are each companions of Arienne Martell, Princess of Dorne, giving the group of women considerable influence.
How Will The Show Characters Be Different From The Books?
The characters in the show will differ from their book counterparts in a number of ways, the largest change being that each woman will be the daughters of Oberyn's paramour Ellaria Sand, who we meet in season four. In the books Ellaria is the mother of Oberyn's four youngest daughters. Visually the daughters will also be much different from their novel counterparts. Tyene in the books is a blonde septa, but can be seen in trailers wielding daggers. Nymeria is the most refined of the group, but can be seen using a whip. The only warrior among them is Obara, which the show seems to get mostly right. Regardless of the changes, each woman will have a major role to play in the events that transpire in Dorne this season.
Who Is Playing Them?
Obara will be portrayed on screen by Keisha Castle-Hughes, Tyene by Rosabell Laurenti Sellers and Nymeria by Jessica Henwick. There has already been a minor controversy over HBO's casting decision, with some deeming the three actresses "too white" when compared to their book counterparts, though that doesn't exactly match what Game of Thrones author George R.R. Martin had to say about the skin color of the men and women of Dorne.
What Book Were They Introduced In?
The Sand Snakes make their appearance in Martin's fifth book of his Song of Ice and Fire saga, A Feast For Crows. This latest season of Game of Thrones will be drawing material from both A Feast for Crows and A Dance with Dragons. None of the Sand Snakes are point of view characters in the books, but that hasn't stopped the show in the past. Robb Stark was featured heavily throughout the show's first four seasons, despite not being a POV character in the books.
What Do They Want?
In short: vengeance. The Sand Snakes want blood for Oberyn's death, and are willing to plunge Dorne into war to see justice brought to the Lannisters. The Martells have shared a long history of hate between the Lannisters of Casterly Rock ever since Tywin's role in butchering the royal children of Dornish blood during Robert's Rebellion. At this point the Dornish have not yet entered the War of the Five Kings that has raged across the kingdoms. Expect to see plenty of Sand Snake plots and conspiracies this season as the three women attempt to provoke war with the house of Lannister.