I think I may have mentioned once or twice that I’m a sucker for stories in which two people who hate each other are forced together by extenuating circumstances and need to learn to get along. And that is exactly what we get in Of Sand and Snow by lj_todd. This is also the story that has single-handedly made me a shipper of, of all things, Oberyn Martell and Lyanna Stark.
This was not how it was supposed to be. But one mistake, one stupid mistake, has changed everything. Neither Lyanna nor Oberyn are happy with the demands of their families, neither wish to be married, most certainly not to each other, but they’ve little choice in the matter. They are expected to marry. To be husband and wife. Yet how can they be when they can barely be civil with one another? Dorne has seen its share of conflict, but nothing could have prepared the nation for the clash of wolf and viper that this union will bring about.
I can’t say that I ever thought about shipping Oberyn and Lyanna together until reading this fic, but now I’m obsessed with them—and mourning that they can sadly never be together in canon. Of Sand and Snow is yet another uncompleted work, but unlike many others I’ve recommended, this one is not abandoned. It’s also quite possibly my favorite piece of A Song of Ice and Fire fanfiction to date.
Of Sand and Snow begins with both Lyanna’s father and Oberyn’s brother making arrangements for our unhappy couple to be wed. The marriage is less than ideal, but due to Oberyn’s actions and reputation, after he is seen giving Lyanna a kiss at a tourney, people naturally assume that Lyanna is sullied. Rickard Stark, her father, then writes to the prince of Dorne to explain this dilemma, and before Lyanna and Oberyn know it, they’re getting married.
Lyanna only knows Oberyn by his reputation, and as such, she’s not too excited about being his bride. Oberyn in turn views Lyanna as little more than an unexperienced child with whom he wants nothing to do. Right away, the story also plunges its readers into a world of victim-blaming and double standards. Lyanna didn’t allow Oberyn to kiss her; he just did it. Despite this, she is the one constantly blamed for the kiss. Additionally, Robert, her former betrothed, also acts betrayed by her, demanding to know how she could do this to him. Lyanna, thankfully by this point in time, is sick of everyone else’s bullshit and pretty much tells Robert to go shove his double standard up his ass; he sleeps around with just about any woman he sees, but when someone else kissed her, suddenly he views her as a cheating “whore”.
Suffice it to say, I really loved lj_todd’s take on Lyanna’s character.
Right away, when I first read this, I initially assumed that Robert Baratheon would wage war on the Martells, not the Targaryens—which would greatly change the course of Westeros’s history. As of right now, a war is yet in sight, but the story has already built up Robert’s character as feeling both jealous of Oberyn and betrayed by Lyanna. As such, I would be surprised if a war didn’t happen. Or rather, I at least expect there to be more conflict between the Martells and the Baratheons in the future.
Only time will tell. Despite still being an in-progress fic, it’s a really good read, and you can check it out here.
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