The Mountain and the Viper

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"The Mountain and the Viper"
Game of Thrones episode
Gregor "the Mountain" Clegane and Oberyn "the Red Viper" Martell fighting in a trial by combat.
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 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]

Gilly has a tense conversation with one of the prostitutes at Mole's Town, before the village is attacked by Styr, Tormund Giantsbane, and the other wildlings. Gilly is discovered by Ygritte, but Ygritte notices Gilly's baby and spares them. News of the attack reaches the Wall, where Samwell laments his decision to move Gilly to Mole's Town, and ponders whether she is still alive. With Mance Rayder's attack on the Wall imminent, the men of the Night's Watch contemplate their chances against the wildling horde.

At Moat Cailin[edit]

Ramsay Snow rehearses his plan with Reek, who will be masquerading as his former self, Theon Greyjoy. Riding a horse with a white flag, Theon enters Moat Cailin and is received by Ralf Kenning. Theon gives him the terms for their surrender, which Kenning intends to decline, before he is killed by one of his own men, who assumes command and accepts the terms. However, after the Ironborn open the Moat's gates, Ramsay and his army flay and slaughter them. As a reward for retaking the Moat, Lord Roose Bolton legitimizes Ramsay as a true Bolton. The Boltons, their army, and Reek then depart for their new seat at Winterfell.

In Meereen[edit]

Missandei catches Grey Worm watching her bathe. Although she protects her modesty after seeing him, she later seeks advice from Daenerys and expresses a desire to have a relationship with him. However, as all Unsullied are made eunuchs at an early age a relationship is practically impossible. Speaking with Missandei later, Grey Worm admits that he is not sorry that he was castrated, as had he not become Unsullied he would have never met her.

Later, Ser Barristan receives a letter sealed with the Hand of the King's seal. He shows it to Ser Jorah, explaining that it is a royal pardon signed by Robert Baratheon, in exchange for spying on Daenerys. After Jorah admits his spying to Daenerys, she exiles him.

In the Vale[edit]

Having murdered Lysa Arryn, Petyr Baelish is interrogated by Lord Yohn Royce and a few of the nobility of the Vale. Petyr claims that Lysa committed suicide by jumping through the Moon Door, but they do not trust him, citing his brothels in King's Landing and his foreign blood. Royce demands to speak with Sansa, who is acting as Petyr's niece, Alayne. Sansa appears to crumble under the pressure of the situation, admitting her true identity to the group, but eventually corroborates Petyr's story, and convinces them of his innocence. As Petyr walks the group out of the Eyrie, he makes plans to have Robin tour the Vale. When Petyr confronts Sansa about her lie to the Lords of the Vale, she tells him that she doesn't know what they would do with her if they executed him for Lysa's death. She also tells Petyr that she knows what he wants. Later, Petyr, Sansa and Robin leave the Eyrie to tour the Vale, with Sansa having dyed her hair black and adopted a new, darker wardrobe to hide her identity.

Meanwhile, Sandor "The Hound" Clegane and Arya walk the narrow path toward the Eyrie. Coming to the Bloody Gate, they are informed of Lady Arryn's death by Donnel Waynwood. Arya, rather than mourn the loss of her aunt, breaks into hysterical laughter at the irony of their situation.

In King's Landing[edit]

Shortly before his trial by combat is to begin, Tyrion discusses his chances with his brother, Jaime. When Tyrion is taken outside, he has a brief conversation with his champion, Oberyn, who is confident. Ser Gregor "The Mountain" Clegane arrives shortly thereafter, and the trial commences. During the fight, Oberyn demands the Mountain admit to raping and murdering his sister, Elia, and her two children. Oberyn lands several skillful attacks on the Mountain, seemingly toying with the much larger man. He knocks the Mountain to the ground and lands a near-fatal blow. Oberyn then screams at the Mountain to confess, hoping the Mountain will admit that it was Tywin who gave the order. As Oberyn circles him, he lets his guard down and the Mountain knocks him to the ground, knocks his teeth out and then gouges out his eyes while confessing to the murder of Elia and her children, and subsequently crushes Oberyn's skull with his hands, killing him. The Mountain then collapses to the ground from his wounds. Tywin rises and 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 the following consensus: "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, Todd 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, Todd (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]