As most Game of Thrones fans know by now, the coming season will take viewers to Dorne, the southernmost kingdom of Westeros, where the sun’s always shining and vows of sexual fidelity are only loosely enforced. Oberyn Martell, the free-loving fan favorite whose head was last seen splattered across a hot stretch of Kings Landing pavement, hailed from Dorne, and his three bastard daughters—Obara, Nymeria, and Tyene Sand, collectively dubbed the Sand Snakes—will feature heavily in Season 5. Jessica Henwick and Rosabell Laurenti, who respectively play Nymeria Sand and Tyene Sand, recently sat down with The Telegraph to give fans a glimpse into this new world.
“Dorne is very different from Westeros,” Henwick said. “It’s the only part of the kingdom that we haven’t really seen properly yet, I think. It’s very laid-back. Last season you saw Oberyn, and his costume and the way he talks and the way he walks were all very representative of how Dorne is. Dorne is not black and white, it’s not uptight, it’s very relaxed, it’s not a patriarchal society.”
The actresses also discussed how, in Dorne, women have more opportunities than in the rest of of the Seven Kingdoms. This tracks with the books, which describe Dorne as a place where women can inherit land and become warriors, things that are traditionally discouraged elsewhere, much to Cersei Lannister’s frustration.
It turns out that it’s also something of a swinger’s paradise. “Women have equal rights and you don’t have to be married to someone to go to bed with them,” Laurenti said. Henwick added, “Gender is a sliding scale. It’s interesting, it’s very different from anything we’ve seen.” Again, this roughly tracks with the descriptions of Dorne from A Feast for Crows, but one hopes that the producers don’t use the country’s more open-minded culture and warm climate as an excuse for lots of needless nudity. I wish we lived in a world where that thought didn’t even come to mind, but you have to be on the lookout when you’re dealing with the show that inspired the term ‘sexposition.’
Henwick and Laurenti also talked about their roles on the show, which seem to pretty much be in line with the books. The Sand Snakes are angry that Prince Doran Martell, Oberyn’s brother, isn’t doing anything to take revenge on the Lannisters for effectively killing their dad. “We also have very different mindsets to Doran,” said Laurenti. “He didn’t go to war for the last murder when we think he should’ve. We see him as an obstacle, definitely weak.” At the same time, Doran is still the prince and the Sand Snakes have to honor his wishes, unless they want to make like Game of Thrones characters and start plotting, I suppose.
Finally, the women spoke a bit about the weaponry they’ll be using to take down those nasty Lannisters. In the books, eldest sister Obara wielded a spear and a whip, Nymeria preferred knives, and Tyene used poisons. In the TV edition, Obara will still use a spear, but Nymeria will take up the whip while Tyene will employ both poisons and daggers, since poisons alone probably didn’t make for good enough action scenes. Henwick spends a good amount of time talking her about her whip training, which included knocking rolls of toilet paper out of the air and flinging sticks around a room. With any luck, that’ll make for some fun visuals once we arrive down south.
Read the full interview here.