He was around for less than one season – brutally killed in hand to hand combat by the man they call the Mountain – but in that short time many Game of Thrones fans fell for Oberyn Martell in a big way.
The smouldering Prince of Dorne was a fighter and a lover (of both men and women), an enlightened thinker who saw those others would label ‘bastards’ – such as his paramour Ellaria – as the products of passion, to be cherished rather than made second class citizens.
In a patriarchal society like Westeros, Oberyn was way ahead of his time.
So was he a feminist?
“Absolutely,” says Pedro Pascal, the actor who played Oberyn. “It’s just intrinsic and logical to him. Ellaria Sand is the love of his life because she is his equal, if not his superior, in certain ways. That’s part of what makes him such a fierce man because he knows who to take his lead from.
“I think there’s a depth in the way that Oberyn perceives the world and the way he lives in it,” Pascal told HBO. “I think there’s a lot of woman inside of Oberyn, which attributes to his strength… Perceptiveness. Intelligence. In the world of Game of Thrones, which can harshly reflect some of the darker elements of our reality, I would argue that women are often forced to be smarter and more in touch with themselves because their circumstances are so ruled by men. Women’s survival skills kick in a bit earlier.”
Pascal also points to the fact that, as a family man, Oberyn is surrounded by women. “I see him as an extremely contemporary, progressive and loving father. I think it’s so suitable that he had nothing but daughters to raise. He doesn’t shape ideas based on old conventions so his daughters are not limited by backwards, medieval morality.”
In a world where justice, equaity and smouldering sexuality are often in short supply, Oberyn Martell, Prince of Dorne, you’ll be missed…