The Rhoynar are one of the three major ethnic groups from which the humans of Westeros descend, the others being the Andals and the First Men. They were a culture of river-faring people who dwelt on the banks of the immense river Rhoyne in Essos. After being forced to flee in ten thousand ships during the Rhoynish Wars with Valyria, the surviving Rhoynar eventually settled in Dorne in southern Westeros.
While most Rhoynar integrated into Dornish society, especially into the so-called "salty Dornishmen", the orphans of the Greenblood have retained their Rhoynish heritage and language. The Lord of the Seven Kingdoms, who sits Iron Throne, claims the title of King of the Andals, the Rhoynar, and the First Men.
The Rhoynar were a slender people with smooth olive skin, black hair, and dark eyes. Some maesters have controversially theorized that the people of Myr are related to the Rhoynar because of their similar olive skin.
The Rhoynar practiced a number of customs that differ from mainstream Andal culture. These included equal primogeniture, granting inheritances to the eldest child regardless of gender. They also tolerated homosexuality. Due to their origin in city-states, the Rhoynar titled their rulers Princes and Princesses. Their influence made these customs standard in Dorne as well.
The Rhoynar worshipped a number of river-themed nature gods. Their primary god was Mother Rhoyne, or Mother River, the personification of the river Rhoyne itself. Other gods include the Old Man of the River, a turtle god, and his adversary, the Crab King.
Art and music flourished in the ancient cities of the Rhoynar. They were by and large a peaceful people, but were fiercely independent, and could be formidable when roused to wroth.
The Rhoynar lived in city-states along the vast network of the river Rhoyne, including Ar Noy, Chroyane, Ghoyan Drohe, Ny Sar, Sar Mell, and Sarhoy. The Rhoynish civilization was as storied and ancient as the Old Empire of Ghis.
The Rhoynar taught the Andals how to work iron, although the Seven-Pointed Star of the Faith of the Seven teaches that the Andals received this gift from the Smith. The Rhoynar used water magic to defend themselves from enemies. Garris the Grey, Prince of Ny Sar, is said to have driven hairy men from the Noyne.
However, the Valyrian Freehold's expansion from the east threatened to overtake the Rhoynar hundreds of years before Aegon's Landing. For some two and a half centuries, the Rhoynish Wars were fought between the Valyrians and the Rhoynar. In the last of the these, Garin the Great, Prince of Chroyane, led two hundred and fifty thousand Rhoynar to their deaths in battle against the Valyrians. Nymeria, Princess of Ny Sar, led the surviving Rhoynar, mostly women and children, in fleeing Essos in ten thousand ships. During and after the Rhoynar evacuation, the Valyrians destroyed the great cities of the Rhoynish realm; their massive ruins are still easily observed from the Rhoyne.
Rhoynar in Dorne
Nymeria led her followers on dangerous journeys to the Basilisk Isles, Sothoryos, Naath, the Summer Isles, the Stepstones, and finally Dorne in southern Westeros. Nymeria married a Dornish lord, Mors Martell of the Sandship, and helped him consolidate Dorne under his rule through Nymeria's War. Under the rule of House Nymeros Martell of Sunspear, the Rhoynar have lived and intermingled with the native Dornish since that time.
Having abandoned the Rhoyne, most Rhoynar adopted the Faith of the Seven in Westeros. In The Conquest of Dorne, King Daeron I Targaryen differentiated between three sorts of Dornishmen, so-called stony, sandy, and salty Dornishmen. The salty Dornishmen are held to have the most Rhoynish blood, being dark haired, olive skinned, and living close to the shore. The salty Dornishmen no longer speak the language of the ancient Rhoynar, although they do speak the Common Tongue with a distinctive drawl. Unlike the rest of the Seven Kingdoms, equal primogeniture is practiced in Dorne as it was along the Rhoyne.
Some descendants of the Rhoynar did not assimilate and continue to practice the traditions of their ancestors, however. Called the "orphans of the Greenblood", these individuals live on rafts along the river Greenblood and consider themselves orphaned from their Mother Rhoyne. They are of pure Rhoynar blood and still speak the Rhoynish language in secret.
- The World of Ice & Fire, Ancient History: Ten Thousand Ships.
- The World of Ice & Fire, Dorne: Queer Customs of the South.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 1, Bran I.
- The World of Ice & Fire, The Free Cities: The Quarrelsome Daughters: Myr, Lys, and Tyrosh.
- The Lands of Ice and Fire, The Free Cities.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 5, Tyrion II.
- The World of Ice & Fire, The Free Cities: Norvos.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 8, Tyrion III.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 18, Tyrion V.
- A Feast for Crows, Chapter 13, The Soiled Knight.
- A Feast for Crows, Chapter 40, Princess In The Tower.
- A Feast for Crows, Chapter 21, The Queenmaker.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 38, Tyrion V.
- A Feast for Crows, Prologue.