Game of Thrones Season 5
Dorne, the homeland of Oberyn Martell (Pedro Pascal), will be featured heavily in "Game of Thrones" Season 5. HBO

The world of “Game of Thrones” is about to get a whole lot bigger. Season 5 of the HBO series – which premieres on Sunday – will introduce two locations that have never been featured on the show. Arya (Maisie Williams), for example, will journey to the mysterious Braavos and enter the House of Black and White. And viewers might be even more interested to see Dorne – a region that will play a central role in the politics and drama of the new season.

Here is a recap of how Dorne has factored into “Game of Thrones” already and what fans can expect when the region appears in Season 5:

Seasons 1-4

Over the course of the first three seasons, Dorne played only a very minor role in the plot. In Season 2, when Stannis Baratheon’s army was knocking on the door of King’s Landing, Tyrion (Peter Dinklage) arranged to have Cersei’s (Lena Headey) daughter Myrcella (Nell Tiger Free) sent to Dorne to marry Trystane Martell (Toby Sebastian) and strengthen the two families' alliance.

In Season 4, Dorne arrived on the scene in a big way when Prince Oberyn Martell (Pedro Pascal) traveled to King’s Landing to attend the wedding of Joffrey (Jack Gleeson). The character – and his hedonistic lifestyle -- quickly became a fan favorite as viewers learned that the real reason Oberyn had come to the city was to get revenge on the Lannisters for the death of his sister, Elia. He eventually got his chance when he volunteered to be Tyrion’s champion in the Lannister outcast’s trial by combat for Joffrey’s murder. In the subsequent duel Oberyn mortally wounded Gregor Clegane (Hafthor Julius Bjornsson) – the man who had raped and killed his sister – but made the mistake of taunting the deadly knight and ended up meeting a gruesome end.

A Whole New World

Season 5 will see the introduction of Oberyn’s homeland, and viewers should find the region to be very different from any other locale that has been featured so far on the show. In the expansive “Game of Thrones” backstory, when Aegon Targaryen took over most of Westeros with his dragons, only Dorne, the jagged peninsula on the southern coast, remained unconquered. As a result, the region has a very different culture. Illegitimate children are not seen as dishonorable, women hold positions of power and greater equality, and sex is not treated as shameful. The new setting should provide an interesting contrast to the stark, depressing places where the show usually takes place.

The Sand Snakes

As Dorne makes its debut in Season 5, no characters face greater anticipation than the Sand Snakes – the illegitimate daughters of Prince. They all share the name Sand – the family name taken on by children born out of wedlock in Dorne. The snake moniker is a reference to their father’s “Red Viper” nickname.

The three daughters – Obara (Keisha Castle-Hughes), Nymeria (Jessica Henwick) and Tyene (Rosabell Laurenti Sellers) – are trained warriors and are not too happy about how their father fared in King’s Landing. The trio will be out for revenge in Season 5.

More New Characters

Dorne will also introduce a few other characters. Prince Doran Martell (Alexander Siddig) – the wheelchair-bound ruler of the region and brother of Oberyn – will become a major player, as well his personal bodyguard, Areo Hotah (DeObia Oparei).

Myrcella Returns

After being married off and sent to Dorne in Season 2, Myrcella Martell – formerly a fairly minor character – will have a much bigger role to play in Season 5. Readers of the "Song of Ice and Fire" books know that the Martell family decides to use Myrcella to make a claim to the throne – saying that Joffrey's sister is next in line, not her brother Tommen (Dean-Charles Chapman)!

Watch the trailer for Season 5 below:

Are you excited to see Dorne in Season 5? Tweet your thoughts to @Ja9GarofaloTV.