What the F*** Was I Just Watching?: Game of Thrones, Season 4, Episode 8 “The Mountain and the Viper”
What the F*** Did I Just See?: The Mountain vs. the Red Viper
We should all know better at this point, shouldn’t we? George RR Martin hasn’t just fooled us once (shame on him), nor has he fooled us twice (shame on us). No. He’s fooled us countless times at this point. We try to keep his characters at arms length, telling ourselves that nothing will last, that winter WILL come. Our favorite characters are just a short trip out the moon door or a quick flick of a sword away from departing our beloved Westeros forever-ish.
We’ve moved on from pretending that the Starks are untouchable, even if there are only
two four (EDIT: Forgot about the boys) left. We grow wary of the fact that nothing shitty has happened to Jon Snow in a long while. We even scoff at the fact that they couldn’t possibly kill off Peter Dinklage, because he’s easily the most bankable actor the show has going for it. We should all know better.
But time heals all wounds and before you know it, a dashing prince from Dorne comes into our lives. We learn to love again. We get swept up in his charm, his magnetic charisma. We feel for his sympathetic motive of revenge. We’re enamored by his ethnic good looks and cavalier attitude towards sex. He’s the swashbuckler, the rogue. He’s everything we want in a hero and before you know it, he’s become the guy we’re rooting for. It comes on slow, as he stays in the background for much of the season, preferring to occupy time in the brothels of King’s Landing than in the current storylines. He bides his time, until he finds his window of opportunity: a trial by combat.
And then the f***ing Mountain crushes his skull like a goddamn watermelon.
Once again, we are broken-hearted. How many times can we suffer at the hands of a benevolent god before we grow callous? Is there anyone that is safe? Anyone that we care about that won’t be taken from us before we’re ready to let go? Is there anybody up there?
Oberyn Martell was not long for the world of Game of Thrones, but the fact that the Mountain popped his head like a zit left an enormous crater in the souls of just about anyone that didn’t see it coming, and even still those that had read the books. Arguably, despite how short his storyline wound up being, his death could be worse than the Red Wedding.
The Red Wedding was a game-changer, sure. We had no idea (obviously, you did if you read the books) that we were about to lose Robb, Catelyn, Talisa, and fetus Stark. It came as a shock, rightfully so. But that was different. It was supposed to be a nothing scene; a break from more interesting things that were bound to happen in that episode. In the grand scheme of things, we weren’t supposed to care about the Freys and Walder’s many children. It was suppose to be filler, so while it was a surprise, our mood was neutral going into everything.
Oberyn’s gruesome demise was preceded by a moment of pure joy and triumph. Oberyn had bested the Mountain and Tyrion looked poised to escape death once again. All he had to do was finish the job. In a world where good things usually don’t happen, this was the closest taste we’ve gotten in a long time. And then… the tables turn.
He waits too long. Caught up in his own ego, in his own vengeance, he forgot the Golden Rule in revenge and sales: Always Be Closing. A. B. C. It doesn’t take long for the Mountain to regain himself and pummel Oberyn into corned beef hash. Or scrapple, if you’re from Pennsylvania. And we’re all just left to think of what might have been if he just stayed on task. Always. Be. Closing.
This is a peak and a valley of epic proportions. We are the 1986 Red Sox. Oberyn Martell is Bill Buckner and the Mountain is the ball that goes through his legs. Or in this case, his eye sockets. And Martell’s brain splatter is Ray Knight. Man, f*** Ray Knight. We’re forced to watch in horror as the bad guys win again. Maybe it’s all a dream. Maybe someone is going to come in at the last second and put a spear through the Mountain’s back. Nope. This ain’t a fairy tale and the Mets win in 7.
So thanks, Game of Thrones, for creating serious trust issues for a generation of television viewers. I can’t wait until I start to get over this and then Ghost disembowels Jon Snow because she contracts rabies right before he’s set to marry Daenerys Targaryen-Lannister. It’s called the White Wedding and Billy Idol sings “Rains of Castamere”. Season 6.