Given that “trial by combat” was a major plot point in tonight’s episode of Game of Thrones (“The Mountain and the Viper”), we’re sure most viewers had some expectation of violence. (Also, have you seen this show? Not exactly PG.) That said, no amount of familiarity with the series or book spoilers could have prepared us for the gruesome visual that was the death of Oberyn Martell (Pedro Pascal).
As champion for defendant Tyrion Lannister (Peter Dinklage), Oberyn looked to be on his way to besting Gregor Clegane, aka The Mountain (Thor Bjornsson). And most viewers were pulling for Oberyn — his victory would mean not only freedom for Tyrion, but also revenge for the deaths of Elia Martell and her children. And that should have made it plain to viewers that Oberyn would lose; George R.R. Martin kind of has a thing for killing your darlings.
What we weren’t expecting was to see The Mountain squish the Red Viper’s skull in such a vivid manner. In fact, we certainly don’t remember the death being quite so graphic in the book. Maybe we’ve blocked it out?
While we all ponder over what will happen to The Imp now that he’s been found guilty, we have to ask viewers like you — was this the most gruesome death so far on the show, or are we having selective amnesia?