Pedro Pascal, who played the Dornish Prince Oberyn Martell in Game of Thrones, has admitted that he loves his character’s notoriously gruesome death scene. The actor joined the cast of HBO’s hit fantasy series in season 4, appearing as the sexually fluid and proficient fighter Prince Oberyn, who arrives in King’s Landing to attend King Joffrey’s marriage in place of his brother Prince Doran. However, it soon becomes clear that Oberyn has an ulterior motive for representing his home kingdom at the royal wedding. The prince reveals that his sister, Elia Martell, and her children were murdered by Tywin Lannister’s knight, Gregor “The Mountain” Clegane, during the Sack of King’s Landing decades earlier. Pascal’s Oberyn seeks a chance to avenge them by killing “The Mountain” himself. Oberyn character quickly became a fan favorite among Game of Thrones devotees, with Pascal garnering much praise for his performance.
Oberyn is finally granted his opportunity to kill “The Mountain” when he offers to be Tyrion Lannister’s champion in a trial by combat, with his sister Cersei Lannister choosing the enormous Clegane as hers. In the confrontation between the two warriors, Oberyn appears to have the upper hand against Clegane, with his agile movements allowing him to inflict deadly wounds on the knight using his spear, tipped with the poisonous manticore venom. However, as Martell starts to boast, demanding a confession from his opponent, Clegane knocks the prince off his feet and manages to kill him by gouging out his eyes before crushing his skull. This brutal and gory exit has become one of Game of Thrones’ most iconic deaths.
Despite his character leaving Game of Thrones in one of the most gruesome ways seen on the series, Pascal has claimed that he is very fond of Oberyn’s death scene. This is largely thanks to the notoriety it’s earned since the episode’s broadcast. When asked about how he feels having one of the most memorable death scenes in Game of Thrones, Pascal confesses in an interview with Esquire that it makes him “feel like a boss.” Check out the Red Viper’s full thoughts on his death scene below:
“[It] makes me feel like a boss. If I’m actually up there, and if I’m in the top three [most memorable death scenes], I mean…everything thereafter is a bit futile. It’s like, what am I doing? Why am I still trying? I did it.”
The actor’s tongue-in-cheek response to Oberyn’s Game of Thrones death indicates that his gory exit remains a career highlight for Pascal. Pascal certainly loved filming this episode and it’s clear that he is thrilled to be considered for the “top three” best deaths in a show that became infamous for its unforgiving character kill-0ffs. Given that Oberyn’s demise also set up a number of course-changing events in Game of Thrones — from Tyrion’s trial sentence and escape from King’s Landing, to Ellaria Sand’s revenge on Cersei — his death has remained fervently present in viewers’ minds for its wider plot implications, as much as for its stomach-churning particulars.
Pascal’s fondness for his death scene and its fame may come as a slight surprise to some fans. Sean Bean’s “disbelief” over his character Ned Stark’s death in Game of Thrones season 1, as well as the reactions of some cast members to being killed off in season 8, proves that not every star of the fantasy series was happy about their exit. And even though the upcoming prequel House of the Dragon may have some memorable kills of its own, it will seemingly have a hard time trumping Pascal’s unforgettable Game of Thrones death.