This upcoming season in A Game of Thrones, viewers are headed to Dorne. VIEWERS ARE HYPED. Here's a brief history of Dorne to explain why many viewers are rejoicing over finally getting a glimpse of Sunspear.
Dorne is the Southernmost land in the Seven Kingdoms and arguably the most feminist. Dorne is arid, so much so that the sigil of the ruling house, the Martells, includes a sun. Dorne is also ethnically diverse, with some of the populace being descended from the Rhoynar, a group of people that fled from Essos during a war with Valyria, as opposed to First Men or the Andals like the rest of Westeros.
Dorne's feminist roots go back to the said Rhoynar migration. Prior to the migratory event, Dorne was a collection of Andal and petty Kingdoms, with no sole ruler with the fortitude to reign over the entirety of the region. That all changed with the arrival of Nymeria, a badass warrior Queen of the Rhoynar of Essos. Nymeria appeared at the shores of Dorne with 10,000 ships. Nymeria married into House Martell, and proceeded to conquer (and unite) the entirety of Dorne.
Several belief systems that were practiced by Nymeria and the Rhoynar soon became ingrained in the culture of Dorne itself. This includes the practice of inheritance by the eldest child- regardless of gender- and the acceptance of homosexuality. Rulers of Dorne are also not referred to as "Kings," or "Queens". Rulers take the title as "Prince," or "Princess" instead. No other Kingdom in Westeros is as tolerant, or as progressive, as Dorne in this regard.
Dorne was also the sole Kingdom to successfully avoid being bested by Aegon I during the War of Conquest. Dorne was able to successfully fend off the Targaryen's (and their dragons) by using guerrilla warfare. In lieu of fighting the Targaryen's in open combat, the Dornish used ambush and raids before retreating to the desert or Mountain passes.
Eventually, Rhaenys Targaryen, one of Aegon I's two sister-wives, flew to Sunspear (the capital of Dorne) on her dragon Meraxes, and demanded surrender to the Princess of Dorne, Mariya Martell. According to legend, Mariya responded:
"This is Dorne. You are not wanted here. Return at your peril."
Furious, Rhaenys retorted that she would return with "Fire and blood," to which Mariya calmly uttered:
"Unbowed. Unbent. Unbroken."
Having been told, Rhaenys and Meraxes flew away. Dorne remained unconquered. Both Rhaenys and Meraxes would meet their deaths in Dorne when Aegon attempted a second campaign to capture the Kingdom.
Even when the Kingdom was eventually conquered by Daeron I Targaryen (who used a goat track to bypass Dornish watchtowers in a major pass in the Mountains), Dragon rule did not last long. Daeron left Lord Tyrell of Highgarden to rule Dorne in his stead. This proved to be a mistake. Tyrell was constantly fending off rebels. Peace in Dorne was ever fleeting. Tyrell was eventually assassinated by having a thousand red scorpions fall from the canopy of his bed, stinging him to death. After Tyrell's demise, more rebels rose in Dorne, undoing Daeron's work, and once again rendering Dorne as an independent Kingdom.
Eventually, Dorne joined the Seven Kingdoms via marriage to the Targaryen dynasty, the most notable of which being the marriage of the first Daenerys to the then ruling Prince of Dorne, Maron Martell.
The Red Viper, Oberyn Martell, has progressive views in regards to raising his daughters as well. Collectively known as The Sand Snakes, Oberyn's eight bastard daughters, were all doted on and acknowledged by their father. The eldest four Sand Snakes were taught the ways of warfare by their father, and each have a different Mother. The eldest four Sand Snakes are born of prostitutes, noblewomen, and Septas, but are each said to have their Father's eyes. Regardless of the circumstances of the Sand Snakes births, Oberyn claimed each one of his daughters, and tucked them under his proverbial wing. Because of Oberyn's tutelage, all of the Sand Snakes are all proficient in weaponry and poison. This is unusual when compared to noblemen who reside in the other kingdoms of Westeros. Many noblemen in the other Six Kingdoms on the continent would lament the fact that they did not have a son and heir (with perhaps the exception of House Mormont). Oberyn claiming his bastard daughters as his own is additionally something that is rare in Westeros, as most Lords neglect their illegitimate children. The youngest four Sand Snakes are all Oberyn's daughters by his paramour of many years, Ellaria Sand. The younger Sand Snakes worship their older sisters, and will undoubtedly follow their footsteps.
Recent events in Westeros have many fans of the books and television series alike riddled with sympathy for Dorne, the catalyst of which being the death of the Red Viper, Oberyn Martell. That being said, fans of this Kingdom should take courage. Direwolves, lions, and even dragons die. But no matter how far the sun falls (or sets) it always rises again.
Unbowed. Unbent. Unbroken.