Game of Thrones season 4 has already broken with tradition when in only its second episode there was the shocking (though not entirely unwelcomed) death of King Joffrey. Up until then, Game of Thrones had made a habit of holding major battles or main characters deaths until the ninth episode (see: “Baelor,” “Blackwater,” and “The Rains of Castamere“).
Season 4′s later episodes will no doubt still be the season’s most climactic, but before then there’s another battle fans are itching to see: Oberyn “The Red Viper” Martel vs. Gregor “The Mountain” Clegane. The showdown is not only a battle to the death between the two, but it will also decide the fate of Tyrion Lannister, who is on trial for the death of Joffrey and chose to have matters decided through combat.
This isn’t the first time Tyrion’s been accused of murder and, just like before when Bronn fought for him in the Vale, Tyrion is in need of a champion. But with his brother, Jaime, no longer as capable a fighter without two hands, and Bronn’s allegiance so easily bought, it was beginning to look like Tyrion would be fighting The Mountain – Cersei’s champion – himself.
Enter Oberyn. The Dornish Prince may have been invited to King’s Landing for Joffrey and Margaery’s wedding, but seeking revenge for his sister, Elia, and her children’s deaths (at the hands of Clegane no less) has been his true agenda. Which makes his choice to fight for Tyrion so perfect. Were he to win, not only would Elia be avenged, but the villainous Mountain would be dead and Tyrion cleared of all charges.
If he wins, that is. Because as any viewer of Game of Thrones knows, the good guys rarely win. Check out a few photos from this week’s episode, “The Mountain and the Viper,” below: