One of the greatest moments from this past Sunday’s episode of Game of Thrones was, without a doubt, Prince Oberyn Martell offering to be Tyrion Lannister’s champion in his upcoming trial by combat.
So, after an agonizing break this Memorial Day Weekend, Oberyn (Pedro Pascal), the Red Viper of Dorne, will come face to face with the brutally vicious and massive Gregor Clegane (a.k.a. The Mountain That Rides, played by Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson), Cersei Lannister’s (Lena Headey) own champion against her little brother, the Imp (Peter Dinklage).
Oberyn's reasons for volunteering to be Tyrion's champion? Why, good ol' fashion revenge, of course! Ser Gregor killed the Prince's little sister Elia and her babes, after all.
This is a scene book fans have been waiting to see translate to TV for years, and it will undoubtedly be the major highlight of this episode (aptly titled "The Mountain and the Viper")—if not the whole series. Even showrunners David Benioff and Dan Weiss called the upcoming fight sequence “a surreal sight to behold,” and we’ve already seen small glorious snippets of it in the various Game of Thrones season four trailers.
Here’s what Benioff and Weiss had to say in an interview with Entertainment Weekly:
“It’s one of the best — if not the best — combat scenes we’ve done so far,” Weiss said. “It’s not just people hacking at each other with spears and swords. It’s the culmination of 20 years of anger and hatred and thirst for vengeance coming to a head in this amazing set piece that [stunt coordinator Paul Herbert and swordmaster C.C. Smiff] have put together. The fight delivers beyond our expectations.”
Battle scenes are certainly not a first for Game of Thrones but this upcoming onscreen battle royale is of the first importance because it is Tyrion’s neck—and life—that’s in the balance here.
Weiss says that he knew that fight scene would be pivotal if executed properly, and talked about the challenges of creating this scene:
“It’s one of those fights that from the very beginning of the process of planning the show before season one we knew would be a high point if done properly,” Weiss said. “And it’s a real challenge because The Mountain is The Mountain — you need to find an enormous human being who can also deliver what you need on physical front. And you need an Oberyn who delivers what you need as an actor and pull off the extremely strenuous side of that fight, which we shot over several days. We were lucky to find Pedro Pascal for Oberyn, who gives such a stunning, fun, and dangerous performance. And Hafþór for The Mountain is a truly unusual specimen — I believe he’s the third-strongest man in the world and a former basketball player, so he knows how to move. To see somebody who is 6′ 9″ and moving the way he does in person is a surreal sight to behold.”
Are you guys looking forward to seeing The Mountain Vs. The Viper?
Game of Thrones returns June 1st.