It seems like everyone’s favorite new character on Game of Thrones Season 4 is Oberyn Martell (Pedro Pascal), and it’s no shock to us... the Red Viper is awesome! So what’s in store this season for the revenge-driven Dornishman? We’ve got the scoop, based on the A Song of Ice and Fire books.
Warning! This article contains spoilers from the A Song of Ice and Fire book series, click away now if you don’t want to know!
Oberyn’s going to be a pretty busy guy this season. First up, as you no doubt recall from Episode 2, Tyrion has just been arrested. Tyrion’s going to have a trial, and every trial needs judges, three in the case of Tyrion’s trial. The three chosen to preside over the hearing are Tywin (who you would think would have a conflict of interest, but hey), Mace Tyrell, and Oberyn. Oberyn sits with the rest of the judges, acting like a little bit of a devil’s advocate until it becomes clear that Tyrion has zero chance of getting off the hook. That’s when Oberyn steps into his Red Viper shoes.
Oberyn visits Tyrion on the eve before his verdict is to be announced and tells him to request a trial by combat. Tyrion thinks he’s insane, since the defense plans on utilizing the practically invincible Gregor Clegane, the Mountain, in such a situation, and no one in their right mind would want to fight the Mountain. Except for Oberyn. Oberyn is desperate to avenge his sister Elia, who was raped and murdered by the Mountain during Robert’s Rebellion, so he instructs Tyrion to name him his champion in a trial by combat. Having nothing to lose, Tyrion obliges, and the Mountain and Red Viper duel for Tyrion’s freedom.
It turns out Oberyn is a nasty fighter, and he utterly dismantles and embarrasses the Mountain. However, he's so desperate to get a confession from the Mountain about what he did to Elia that he lets his guard down and the Mountain manages to kill him. This is where Oberyn’s journey ends, unfortunately, but he does get the last laugh. The spear he uses in the fight is tipped with poison, and the Mountain suffers a very long, drawn out, painful death. They don’t call him the Red Viper for nothing!
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