In descriptions of new Game of Thrones character Oberyn Martell, the word “badass” gets thrown around a lot. We mean, the guy’s nickname is the Red Viper. But according to Pedro Pascal, who portrays Oberyn, there’s a lot more to the character than just his badassery.

“Ultimately, it's not about being a badass,” Pedro tells Rolling Stone. “All of his danger, all of his lust, all of his rage, comes from a very specific emotional truth. It's all shaped by a specific circumstance. He's not trying to prove anything; he's not there to intimidate — he's there to do, in his way and only his way. That's not to be like, ‘I'm gonna do it my way 'cause I'm just that badass.’ It's ‘I'm gonna do it my way because that's the only way I know how to do it.’”

The specific circumstance to which Pedro is referring is the murder of Oberyn’s sister and her children by the Lannisters during Robert’s Rebellion, 17 years prior to his arrival in King’s Landing. As Oberyn says in the promos, the Lannisters aren't the only ones who pay their debts.

While that event has shaped Oberyn, the facets of his personality still scream badass, but they add up to a complete character, as Pedro explains to The NY Daily News. “He's very dangerous, he's got swagger, he loves to fight, he loves to make love ... He's an impressive character to play.”

Source: Rolling Stone, The NY Daily News

Pedro makes his debut as Oberyn Martell in the season premiere of Game of Thrones, Sunday, April 6 on HBO.