Prince Oberyn was the younger brother of Prince Doran Martell and Princess Elia Martell, and like most members of House Martell, he was styled “Prince” instead of “Lord”. He was nicknamed “the Red Viper” for his knowledge of poisons and for his unusual, deadly style of combat. Oberyn was known for being an accomplished warrior, but he was just as infamous for his sexual appetite, which extends to both men and women; Tyrion Lannister tells Bronn that Oberyn is “famous for fucking half of Westeros”. Oberyn’s paramour was Ellaria Sand; she is his wife in all but name, and Doran once noted that Ellaria made Oberyn very happy. She was also the mother of four of Oberyn’s infamous eight bastard daughters, all of whom he has acknowledged and given his love and care. He named the fifth one, Elia Sand, after his late sister.
When he was a teenager, Oberyn accompanied his sister Elia on a visit to Casterly Rock. While there, Oberyn and Elia were eager to see the “monster” that had just been born. Cersei finally showed them Tyrion, but the Martell siblings were somewhat disappointed to see that he was merely a baby, and somewhat disturbed by Cersei’s already strong hatred of him.
Prince Oberyn trained at the Citadel in his youth, to become a maester. Although he ultimately grew bored and abandoned his studies, he managed to forge several links in a maester’s chain and became well versed in the use of poisons in the process. When he was sixteen, an older nobleman caught Oberyn in bed with his mistress and challenged Oberyn to a duel to first blood. Oberyn won the duel. Several days later the man died from festering wounds. It is suspected it happened because Oberyn had poisoned his blade.
Oberyn also traveled to Essos in his youth. For a time, he served in the mercenary company known as the Second Sons. He once went to the city of Astapor and saw the Unsullied there. Oberyn later remarked they were impressive on the battlefield but less so in the bedroom. He lived in Essos for a total of five years. It is implied that Oberyn fought duels in the infamous fighting pits of Meereen, as he mentions to Tyrion that he learned some of his combat techniques “during his years in the fighting pits”.
Despite his wayward ways and liberal attitude towards sexuality, Oberyn was very devoted to his family, telling his lover Ellaria that any other person would always have to wait behind her for his affection. He was very close with his sister, Elia, and took her death very hard. As a result, he had a strong and fierce hatred for House Lannister, especially towards Tywin Lannister, whom he believed ordered his sister’s murder. He also developed a resentment toward his deceased brother-in-law Rhaegar Targaryen for (from Oberyn’s perspective) being unfaithful to Elia and “stealing away another woman”, which in turn led to a war that cost all of them their lives.
Skill is born of repetition, repetition of experience and experience of passion. As told above Oberyn Martell is a prime example of a passionate man. He has lived his life following his whims, Travelled the world, bedded many beautiful women. Oberyn experienced and learned things because he followed his pleasure, which wasnt unlikely for the prince of his standing. He did all things unfettered by cares of power, survival, commitments and only until he derived pleasure from it.
There are other notable individuals that achieve great skill in the story. There’s Jamie Lannister before he lost his sword hand. There’s Daario Naharis from the Second Sons. And recently there is Ser Arthur Dayne. Oberyn, however, is the paragon of physical skill for the sheer range of subjects he has achieved mastery in, He, in essence, is a polymath. A Master of all trades. Be it Love, war, poison medicine, poetry, intrigue, he knows all because he has done it all. He’s a well-liked character despite his ill-fortuned demise. A Leonardo da Vinci in his own right.
The most common factor of All polymaths is that they LOVE to learn. They have an intense and passionate belief that anything they are either ignorant about and or have no interest in. They will eventually become both mastered and in love with. The reason that they have this belief, and a skill they’ve either had or cultivated. They have the ability to see connections between seemingly different fields.
Here’s how to start.
Pick 5 completely different subjects, (e.g. business, health, art, politics, science), part of your goal will be drawing connections between vastly dissimilar them. There are all sorts of connections.
Get 3 books on the same subject with dissimilar viewpoints (e.g. an intelligent design book, vs a skeptic/atheist, Read either from each of the books at once, every day. Your goal here is to get a complete picture of opposing viewpoints, and if so inclined be able to argue for/against either side.
Enroll in 3-5 different skills, playing music or singing lesson, moving (dance sports, karate), public speaking (toastmaster). You’ll find odd complementary and oppositional forces. Like breathing lessons in singing helps you speak better, but playing trombone ruins your saxophone embouchure. Every martial art has a flow.
Davinci had a keen eye, look at his drawing of moving water. Try doing this at home or around. You aren’t trying to be the best drawer on the planet, you are trying to get good at seeing.
Polymaths were more common centuries ago due to the fact that there was not a lot of depth in the various disciplines during that time. However, as humanity began to expand its knowledge base in various fields especially the sciences its has by extension become more difficult to be adept at multiple fields (which is why right from high school one begin to choose specific subjects and in college one can only major in one or two courses). However, all hope is not lost.
1. Decide what your interest are: You will need to decide what field you want to acquire knowledge to have a clear focus on what resources to procure. This fields that you choose should be preferably ones that you have the highest aptitude at. Also, this fields should preferably overlap to some extent so as to facilitate the synthesis of knowledge (for example psychics and maths or literature and history).
2. Read up: This is an obvious one. You will need to read a lot of books and other resources on you chosen fields. The resources you choose should be books that give a general idea of the field for example if philosophy is one of your chosen fields. You can start by reading History of Western Philosophy by Bertrand Russell. This will delineate most of the main areas of the field, then you can now proceed to acquire resources in the main areas.
3. YouTube: I know what you are thinking but you tube has very innovative and informative videos on several subjects. Also you can watch university lectures online as well.
4. Think: Spend as much free time as you can thinking about you chosen fields and how they relate to the real world and each other this will help you internalize them.
5. Talk: Find other people who share similar interest with you and discuss with them about your field. Articulate your knowledge, make it more understandable to you since you have to explain it to others.
6. Do not give up having fun
Having said that, you can develop your ability to see connections simply by taking what you are already passionate about. Slowly delving into foreign fields through the eyes of your passion. And sooner or later, by using what you love to see connections in new fields. It will not only increase your ability to see patterns but increase your love for learning!
What’s also important is having goals as well as following a schedule that works towards them. When making a schedule, make sure the activities are geared towards the body, mind and ‘soul’. For the body, it should be some form of exercises and a decent diet and for ‘soul’- regardless of your spiritual beliefs- can be meditation or walking.