The Mountain and the Viper

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"The Mountain and the Viper"
Game of Thrones episode
GOT-S04-Ep08 The Mountain and the Viper.jpg
Gregor "The Mountain" Clegane (left) and Oberyn "the Viper" Martell (right) engage in a trial by combat. This scene was acclaimed by critics.
Episode no.Season 4
Episode 8
Directed byAlex Graves
Written byDavid Benioff
D. B. Weiss
Featured musicRamin Djawadi
Cinematography byAnette Haellmigk
Editing byTim Porter
Original air dateJune 1, 2014 (2014-06-01)
Running time52 minutes
Guest appearance(s)
Episode chronology
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"The Watchers on the Wall"
Game of Thrones (season 4)
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"The Mountain and the Viper" is the eighth episode of the fourth season of HBO's acclaimed fantasy television series Game of Thrones, and the 38th overall. The episode was written by series co-creators David Benioff and D. B. Weiss,[1] and directed by Alex Graves.[2] It aired on June 1, 2014.[3]

This episode marks the final appearance of Pedro Pascal (Oberyn Martell).


At the Wall[edit]

Mole's Town is attacked by wildlings, but Ygritte spares Gilly and her son

At Moat Cailin[edit]

Theon enters Moat Cailin and gives the terms for their surrender to Ralf Kenning. Ralf declines, but is murdered by one of his men, who agrees. However, after the Ironborn open the Moat's gates, Ramsay's army slaughters them. As a reward for retaking the Moat, Roose legitimizes Ramsay as a true Bolton. Bolton's army and Reek depart for their new seat at Winterfell.

In Meereen[edit]

Barristan receives a letter with the Hand of the King's seal. The letter is Jorah's royal pardon signed by Robert for spying on Daenerys. Jorah admits his spying on Daenerys and she exiles him.

In the Vale[edit]

Petyr is interrogated by the nobility of the Vale about Lysa's death. He claims that Lysa committed suicide. Lord Yohn Royce demands to speak with Sansa, who reveals her identity, corroborates Petyr's story and convinces them of his innocence. Petyr, Sansa and Robin leave the Eyrie to tour the Vale. Sansa dyes her hair black to hide her identity. Sandor and Arya arrive at Bloody Gate, only to be informed of Lysa's death, by Donnel.

In King's Landing[edit]

Tyrion's trial by combat begins. Oberyn knocks Gregor to the ground, but instead of finishing him, Oberyn screams at him to confess that Tywin gave him the order to kill Elia and her children. Gregor knocks Oberyn down, confessing to the murder of Elia and her children and crushing Oberyn's skull with his hands. Tywin sentences Tyrion to death for regicide.



The episode was written by series co-creators David Benioff and D. B. Weiss.

This episode contains content from three of George Martin's novels: A Storm of Swords, chapters Daenerys V, Daenerys VI, and Tyrion X; A Feast for Crows, chapters Alayne I and Alayne II; and A Dance with Dragons, chapter Reek II.[4]



"The Mountain and the Viper" was watched by an estimated 7.17 million people during its first airing.[5] In the United Kingdom, the episode was viewed by 1.811 million viewers, making it the highest-rated broadcast that week. It also received 0.062 million timeshift viewers.[6]

Critical reception[edit]

The episode received high praise from critics and audiences alike, with the fight between Prince Oberyn and the Mountain being hailed as the episode's highlight. On Rotten Tomatoes it obtained a 97% score, based on 32 reviews, with an average rating of 9/10. The website's critical consensus reads, "With one of the most gruesome scenes to date, 'The Mountain and the Viper' delivers a tense, twisty final scene well worth the wait."[7]

Writing for The A.V. Club, Emily VanDerWerff gave the episode an A- and praised the staging of the final fight by director Alex Graves.[8] Erik Adams, also writing for the A.V. Club gave the episode an A.[9] Terri Schwartz, writing for, wrote the episode was "one of the strongest Game of Thrones episodes to date, and that's just the type of episode that the death of Oberyn Martell deserves."[10]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Award Category Nominee(s) Result
2014 Primetime Creative Arts Emmy Awards Outstanding Art Direction for a Single-Camera Fantasy Series Deborah Riley, Paul Ghirardani, and Rob Cameron Won
Outstanding Music Composition for a Series (Original Dramatic Score) Ramin Djawadi Nominated
2015 ADG Excellence in Production Design Award One-Hour Single Camera Fantasy Television Series Deborah Riley Won
SFX Awards Best TV Episode Nominated
Hugo Awards Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form David Benioff, Alex Graves, and D. B. Weiss Nominated


  1. ^ "Here is your season 4 writers breakdown". February 26, 2014. Retrieved May 16, 2014.
  2. ^ Hibberd, James (July 16, 2013). "'Game of Thrones' season 4 directors chosen". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved May 16, 2014.
  3. ^ "Shows A–Z – Game of Thrones". The Futon Critic. Retrieved May 16, 2014.
  4. ^ Garcia, Elio; Antonsson, Linda (June 8, 2013). "EP408: The Mountain and the Viper". Retrieved November 11, 2014.
  5. ^ Kondolojy, Amanda (June 3, 2014). "Sunday Cable Ratings: 'Game of Thrones' Wins Night + NHL Conference Finals, 'Real Housewives of Atlanta: Kandi's Wedding', 'Silicon Valley' & Moreh". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved June 3, 2014.
  6. ^ "Top 10 Ratings (2-8 June 2014)". BARB. Retrieved January 19, 2017.
  7. ^ "The Mountain and the Viper - Rotten Tomatoes". Rotten Tomatoes. Flixster, Inc. Retrieved 4 June 2014.
  8. ^ VanDerWerff, Emily (June 1, 2014). "Game of Thrones (experts): "The Mountain And The Viper"". The A.V. Club. Retrieved June 2, 2014.
  9. ^ Adams, Erik (June 2, 2014). "Game of Thrones (newbies): "The Mountain And The Viper"". The A.V. Club. Retrieved June 2, 2014.
  10. ^ Terri Schwartz (June 1, 2014). "'Game of Thrones' Season 4, episode 8 'The Mountain and the Viper' recap: Tyrion gets served justice". Retrieved June 6, 2014.

External links[edit]