Game of Thrones Season 4 Ep 8 "The Mountain and the Viper" Review

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Game of Thrones Season 4 Ep 8 "The Mountain and the Viper" Review

We got the fight choreography we were looking for in the latest episode of HBO's fantasy epic.

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I've found Dany's portrayal in the show to be annoyingly inconsistent as well. I'm not the biggest fan of her as portrayed in the books either but maybe the fact you spend more time with her there makes her at least seem less all over the place. I did like how they chose to play her being by Jorah's betrayal in this episode though. Of particular note was how they made it very clear that the part she was hurt by most was Jorah revealing she was carrying a child. That showed, to me at least, a little bit of actual political shrewdness. One lone girl on the other end of the world isn't much of a threat. A girl wedded to a Khal and carrying a child who could carry on the legacy of the Targaryen line however? That's something much more dangerous.

I also really enjoyed the scene with Jamie and Tyrion. Such a good moment that had me waiting for the big revelation. That big moment that would clarify the situation. And then there wasn't one, and that made me love the scene even more.

I actually found the Viper VS Mountain fight a little underwhelming. Maybe it was due to me knowing how it ended, but it just didn't feel very epic. It was too short and, despite his size, I was never convinced that The Mountain was all that much of a threat. As the fight was choreographed, Oberyn just made it look too easy. Had we at least recently seen The Mountain in action outside of slaughtering unarmed slaves it might have been different.

I sort of expected the fight to be the big episode 9 moment of this season so I'm quite interested in seeing what they choose instead. I also am very much looking forward to seeing how the apparent Arya/Sansa/Brienne collision is going to be handled.

I was also disappointed about the way in which Dany dismissed Jorah. I think the little details about him being self-righteous rather than humble was important. As was the fact that Dany really didn't want to dismiss him and it really tears her up that he doesn't give her a choice.

It seems like a small thing to nitpick about but Daenerys is straying away from being relatable and sympathetic and I think they need to show her softer and caring side a bit more.

Despite his description in the books, I had always imagined the Prince to be blond.

Another moment in the episode that jumped out to me was in the scene where Tyrion's listing off all the different words for murdering a family member, it's Jamie who brings up "cousin." I just thought that was a neat and subtle little call back to Jamie's escape from Robb's camp in season two.

Captcha: "the next level" - it truly is, captcha. It truly is.

Yea, holy shit, that ending was gross and undeserving. Then again, I should be getting used to Martin swiping the rug from under the "hero"s feet. I liked that character, too =/

freaper:
Yea, holy shit, that ending was gross and undeserving.

Preach.

I was fairly certain the Red Viper was going to get killed, I know how Georgie works by now, even after everything looked to be working out my thought process went basically like this: "Chop off his hands, chop off his hands, chop off his...why are you STANDING SO CLOSE?!?! Ope your fucking dead. I hate this show."

It is terribly unfortunate seeing as he was my favorite new character and the only decent fighter who isn't a complete pile of crap morally. Basically he was obvious fodder for our disgusting author. Those visuals went too far in my opinion, goddamn I didn't need to see that and I don't get squeamish at all. I'm curious as to how he died in the book and whether or not the skull pop was a new edition, I feel like it probably was.

freaper:
Yea, holy shit, that ending was gross and undeserving. Then again, I should be getting used to Martin swiping the rug from under the "hero"s feet. I liked that character, too =/

Of course you did, that was the calculation the writers made. XD Oberyn is the only character in the series who appeared in all 8 of the episodes up to the current this season, and he tended to give very charismatic performances, all the while detesting the detestable lannisters while showing sympathy for the sympathetic one. It was all a deliberate effort to endear him as much to the fans as possible before he died. Pack of trolls, all of 'em... though I guess GRRM did the same thing with him. XD (though, in his defense, I think he said he was surprised the character developed such a following)

Right Hook:
[quote="freaper" post="6.851620.21054124"]

It is terribly unfortunate seeing as he was my favorite new character and the only decent fighter who isn't a complete pile of crap morally. Basically he was obvious fodder for our disgusting author. Those visuals went too far in my opinion, goddamn I didn't need to see that and I don't get squeamish at all. I'm curious as to how he died in the book and whether or not the skull pop was a new edition, I feel like it probably was.

balladbird:

Ah, I figured, personally I feel like that would have been better just to be quick about it. From what I've been hearing about half the audience shuts their eyes as soon as Gregor gets a hold of him anyway, can't really blame them haha.

I'm so freaking furious with that fight... I mean, I'm not against Oberyn dying, I'm against how he died. It just felt so completely forced. Are you seriously telling me that a warrior of Oberyn's skills and reflexes wouldn't just, you know, ROLL AWAY after getting swiped to the ground? Or that he wouldn't be able to simply block a direct hit to the face? Or are we just gonna dismiss that The Mountain was able to do all that after getting pierced, cut, and poisoned while wearing a HEAVY ARMOR! And not just that, that fucking caricature of a character even had a whitty remark to say as a final nail polish on the middle finger to the whole audience. It just felt forced. I don't think I was ever so disappointed with that show before. It just feels that everyone does deliberately things just so that bad guys would win. Oh sure, give up to the army that has A FLAYED MAN as their flag, no way it's gonna backfire.

And also, when Mortal Kombat feels less violent that this, you know you're trying too hard.

Right Hook:
I'm curious as to how he died in the book and whether or not the skull pop was a new edition, I feel like it probably was.

The Mountain started confessing to get his attention and he told Oberyn what he did and then said "I smashed her skull, like this!" and then smashed Oberyns skull like a watermelon with a single punch with blood and brains going everywhere, the way it happened was different but the end result was the same.

IllumInaTIma:
*Snip*

This, so much this. Why the flying fuck did Oberyn try to get on top of The Moutanin like he was going to punch him out, what the fuck? Oberyn could of just rolled to the side and got his spear but nope. He thought he could take on the pissed off near steroidal psychopath. Even more so in the book when he's supposedly 8ft and has the equivilent of a tank hanging off him as armor.

This is episode 8, not episode 7.

DerangedHobo:

IllumInaTIma:
*Snip*

This, so much this. Why the flying fuck did Oberyn try to get on top of The Moutanin like he was going to punch him out, what the fuck? Oberyn could of just rolled to the side and got his spear but nope. He thought he could take on the pissed off near steroidal psychopath. Even more so in the book when he's supposedly 8ft and has the equivilent of a tank hanging off him as armor.

I don't think Oberyn tried to get on the top of The Mountain, but rather the Mountain lifted Oberyn above himself to punch him. It's still freaking bullshit though.

"Got to keep up appearances," Snow says to Reek. "Flaying's a lost art." I guess Ramsay is the hipster of Westeros. "I was into flaying the skin off my enemies before it was cool."

I think you missed a bit of neat phrasing there. IIRC, Ramsey said something like, "Did they really expect me to keep my word? It's something of a lost art. Flaying is difficult, but it's important to keep up traditions." There's a lovely bit of ambiguity about the "lost art".

IllumInaTIma:
I'm so freaking furious with that fight... I mean, I'm not against Oberyn dying, I'm against how he died. It just felt so completely forced. Are you seriously telling me that a warrior of Oberyn's skills and reflexes wouldn't just, you know, ROLL AWAY after getting swiped to the ground? Or that he wouldn't be able to simply block a direct hit to the face? Or are we just gonna dismiss that The Mountain was able to do all that after getting pierced, cut, and poisoned while wearing a HEAVY ARMOR! And not just that, that fucking caricature of a character even had a whitty remark to say as a final nail polish on the middle finger to the whole audience. It just felt forced. I don't think I was ever so disappointed with that show before. It just feels that everyone does deliberately things just so that bad guys would win. Oh sure, give up to the army that has A FLAYED MAN as their flag, no way it's gonna backfire.

And also, when Mortal Kombat feels less violent that this, you know you're trying too hard.

I think the Mountain grabbed him right as he fell, preventing him from getting away. And it shows the character of the Red Viper well; he was skilled and cocky, he thought he had won and was about to reap his vengeance, and his lack of care was met with an utterly brutal end. The victory of viciousness over honour, skill, cleverness and grace (at least short-term) has been hammered in with this show over and over again.

As for the Mountain being able to do that... that's kind of the point. He's a freak of nature, unnaturally strong and tough. Unfortunately, the show didn't show him off as much as they could have (change of actor didn't help) but he was still clearly not exactly human. To me, his 'witty' response felt justified as the sort of nasty thing a bully might say when he has you entirely in his power.

And surrendering to the Boltons was basically the only option the ironborn had. The show only gave it a brief time (I liked this episode, but by golly it was fast-paced), but the garrison was dying of disease and harassment. If they didn't give up, they'd be whittled down; the leader decided to fight to the end, but clearly his men weren't so keen and seized whatever out they could. Plus, the banner doesn't mean they are untrustworthy per se: they have a sinister reputation, but they say (both in the books and some time in the second season) that the Boltons are supposed to have given up flaying centuries ago. They're a noble house who spit upon the honour of their word by going back on the surrender. Even the ironborn, who don't like the rest of the kingdoms, wouldn't massacre people who had surrendered.

IllumInaTIma:
It's still freaking bullshit though.

This pretty much sums up the ending. I feel like everyone involved (not sure if it's less stupid in the books) decided that they were going to stick a bit too strongly to the "anyone can die" idea and decided to make the next big death the most contrived thing imaginable, because Arya suddenly dying of dysentery would be less so.

The Mountain decides to just sit around for a bit while Oberyn rants, and even has a little quip planned for when he gouges his eyes out. Meanwhile, Oberyn, the guy who just spanked the Mountain, decides to parade around (naturally not even paying attention to his opponent) within reach of a giant that he knew was still alive and had only suffered leg and stomach wounds. And then he apparently hits his head when he's tripped, since he forgets how to be that agile guy who was doing flips for the fun of it before.

Thunderous Cacophony:
[quote]
I think the Mountain grabbed him right as he fell, preventing him from getting away. And it shows the character of the Red Viper well; he was skilled and cocky, he thought he had won and was about to reap his vengeance, and his lack of care was met with an utterly brutal end. The victory of viciousness over honour, skill, cleverness and grace (at least short-term) has been hammered in with this show over and over again.

As for the Mountain being able to do that... that's kind of the point. He's a freak of nature, unnaturally strong and tough. Unfortunately, the show didn't show him off as much as they could have (change of actor didn't help) but he was still clearly not exactly human. To me, his 'witty' response felt justified as the sort of nasty thing a bully might say when he has you entirely in his power.

I rewatched that scene couple times and I'm pretty sure he didn't. Oberyn was just kinda lying there. And this is the thing, no matter how arrogant or unfocused you are, the warrior of his level has to have this kind of thing trained to the reflex. Regrouping before falling is one the most basic things that every martial art teaches. Show just decided that Oberyn must die and that was it. He will forget the most basic thing and die. Period.
And no matter how freakish you are it is still bullshit. It is medieval heavy armor. That shit was so heavy that falling from your horse would basically pin knight to the ground, not being able to get up. Add to that multiple injuries, fatigue, bloodloss and poison and the only thing saving you would be writer's decision.

IllumInaTIma:
I don't think Oberyn tried to get on the top of The Mountain, but rather the Mountain lifted Oberyn above himself to punch him. It's still freaking bullshit though.

Ah yeah you're right, it was a split second and I didn't see The Mountain's arm, I still think Oberyn could of got away or resisted a little bit more though or could of kept his distance.

DerangedHobo:

IllumInaTIma:
I don't think Oberyn tried to get on the top of The Mountain, but rather the Mountain lifted Oberyn above himself to punch him. It's still freaking bullshit though.

Ah yeah you're right, it was a split second and I didn't see The Mountain's arm, I still think Oberyn could of got away or resisted a little bit more though or could of kept his distance.

Oh man, totally. And he could've easily blocked that direct hit as Mountain didn't hold Oberyn's hands.

IllumInaTIma:
Oh man, totally. And he could've easily blocked that direct hit as Mountain didn't hold Oberyn's hands.

That would of actually been way better, if The Mountain knocks his teeth out and you think Oberyn is done for but then he goes for the eyes and takes the Mountain down (I mean let's face it, not like Oberyn is big on "honor" himself). I think the Game of Thrones TV show should divert from the books more and take more risks.

You guys are forgetting that Oberyn was surprised and thrown onto his back with no cushion onto a solid floor. He's stunned by having the wind knocked out of him. He did try to move away, but it took longer than the second it took the Mountain to grab his face and punch him in the mouth. The sequence sucked for the "good guys" sure, but it's not as implausible as you make it out to be.

Greg Tito:
You guys are forgetting that Oberyn was surprised and thrown onto his back with no cushion onto a solid floor. He's stunned by having the wind knocked out of him. He did try to move away, but it took longer than the second it took the Mountain to grab his face and punch him in the mouth. The sequence sucked for the "good guys" sure, but it's not as implausible as you make it out to be.

Well, that is the thing. First of all, it is incredibly difficult to swipe someone's leg so hard that he would fall. But ok. Here comes the thing, even god damn figure skaters train themselves to regroup their body in such a way to minimize the damage. Martial arts have such a thing as "Ukemi". Basically why fighters are able to toss each other around without breaking skulls or bones. Warrior of Oberyn's level must have this kind of thing memorized to the level of reflex. And even if Mountain was able to grab him and somehow lift him up there was nothing preventing Oberyn from simply putting a palm in front of his face. You do not establish a character as a fighter genius and then make him forget the most basic things. This is my problem with the whole sequence. It felt forced. If Oberyn died during the duel, like a warrior then I wouldn't have problem with it. The Mountain is just a better warrior. But no, deus bullshit machina had to interfere. And it's even more jarring when you finally see The feared Mountain in battle. No skill, no grace, no tactics. Just a brute, a caricature and a slap to the face of the audience.

Whelp, my kill list just got a little bit bigger. It wasn't enough foe Gregor to murder and rape Oberyn's sister and kill her kids; it wasn't enough for him to kill Oberyn; he had to taunt him about his dead sister while he did it, what a cunt!

Figures now that Joffrey is out of the picture, there are more people for us to hate. Maybe all these people really are better off dead; that frozen zombie apocalypse is looking more and more appealing.

Weirdly enough, I'm far more mad at Cersei than I am at the Mountain. That smile she had when Oberyn died was way too much smugness for me to handle.

If there's one character who I want to see die a slow, painful, lonely, dog's death - it's Cersei.

EDIT: Just thought of this, but there's a very serious issue with the whole "any character can die" thing - you cannot get attached to any character, ever. Knowing the fact that they could literally die an episode later kinda makes me think that it's pointless to care about them.

When I first started watching the series, the whole "vulnerable heroes" was an interesting change of pace (at first), but I just don't know if I really care anymore. Let's see how this season ends; I'm not sure I might continue after that.

Here's the thing I've always felt about this fight (and it was perfectly done IMO) The Red Viper has absolutely no interest in winning. All he wants is the confession out of The Mountain and he'll do anything to get it. Honestly in the books it read to me as he could win at any point and it slowly dawns that he doesn't want that.

One of the things I love about this scene(and this series contains many of my favorites form the books) is he's probably the first character to die who probably knows it's going to happen but has done it to get exactly what he wants and gets it.

IllumInaTIma:

And no matter how freakish you are it is still bullshit. It is medieval heavy armor. That shit was so heavy that falling from your horse would basically pin knight to the ground, not being able to get up. Add to that multiple injuries, fatigue, bloodloss and poison and the only thing saving you would be writer's decision.

Medieval armor even full plate with mail under is NOT so heavy it will pin you to the ground. It is actually easier to get up from a fall wearing it than it is for a modern soldier to get back up fully kitted out. You have to consider at the most 80lbs covering your whole body with armor and a modern soldier has that around the torso mostly. Average for full armor is far less than 80lbs but it might get there with an 8ft man named "The Mountain". Also he wasn't wearing plate armor but a generic scale mail with leather plates attached to the chainmail. A much lighter armor.

As for falling from a horse a fully kitted out knight has a far better chance of getting up quickly than you or I would wearing jeans, shirt, and cowboy boots would. There is a thick padding between the armor and flesh that absorbs shock. The force from falling they would feel would be far less than what we would and they have less to worry about bones being broken.

IllumInaTIma:
And it's even more jarring when you finally see The feared Mountain in battle. No skill, no grace, no tactics. Just a brute, a caricature and a slap to the face of the audience.

That was kind of the point of the Mountain though. Other men fight with skill, or ability. The Mountain is a freak of nature who wins not through skill but unstoppable brutality.

The graphical nature of the Mountain's eventual victory went too far for me. Even after everything else in the TV show it felt gratuitous.

The fight was so much better in the book...

The Mountain didn't even bring his god damn shield in the tv-series.

I am reminded of the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly and Tuco line "If you are going to shoot someone, shoot, don't talk."

Btw, if Eli Wallach plays Doran Martell, I'll mark out so hard.

I am still hoping for Alexander Siddig as Doran Martell.
Loved the episode. Everything was just beautiful.
Best part was Aryas laughing, though. Just awesome.

Ralancian:
Here's the thing I've always felt about this fight (and it was perfectly done IMO) The Red Viper has absolutely no interest in winning. All he wants is the confession out of The Mountain and he'll do anything to get it. Honestly in the books it read to me as he could win at any point and it slowly dawns that he doesn't want that.

Nice to see someone else on these forums who gets it.

IllumInaTIma:

Greg Tito:
You guys are forgetting that Oberyn was surprised and thrown onto his back with no cushion onto a solid floor. He's stunned by having the wind knocked out of him. He did try to move away, but it took longer than the second it took the Mountain to grab his face and punch him in the mouth. The sequence sucked for the "good guys" sure, but it's not as implausible as you make it out to be.

Well, that is the thing. First of all, it is incredibly difficult to swipe someone's leg so hard that he would fall. But ok. Here comes the thing, even god damn figure skaters train themselves to regroup their body in such a way to minimize the damage. Martial arts have such a thing as "Ukemi". Basically why fighters are able to toss each other around without breaking skulls or bones. Warrior of Oberyn's level must have this kind of thing memorized to the level of reflex. And even if Mountain was able to grab him and somehow lift him up there was nothing preventing Oberyn from simply putting a palm in front of his face. You do not establish a character as a fighter genius and then make him forget the most basic things. This is my problem with the whole sequence. It felt forced. If Oberyn died during the duel, like a warrior then I wouldn't have problem with it. The Mountain is just a better warrior. But no, deus bullshit machina had to interfere. And it's even more jarring when you finally see The feared Mountain in battle. No skill, no grace, no tactics. Just a brute, a caricature and a slap to the face of the audience.

2 things.

1) Mountain's strong enough to smash a man in two, it's probably not that hard for him to swipe someone's legs from under them, and adding to that, Oberyn does not expect it at all. He's cocky and arrogant, and is honestly thinking he's won, so gets caught off guard and R_ekd, again, hammering home the idea that might is better than grace or morals.
2) the Mountain is a better warrior, it's been stated so many times in the books. Oberyn may be pretty, fast and have fancy gear, but he's still a hedonistic lordling.
Mountain's had non-stop fighting and killing for almost all of his life.
He's meant to be a brute, that's his characterisation. Big dumb muscle. The most important thing he's ever done is probably forcing his brother's face into the fire, sparking off Sandor's character development.

Malty Milk Whistle:

IllumInaTIma:

Greg Tito:
You guys are forgetting that Oberyn was surprised and thrown onto his back with no cushion onto a solid floor. He's stunned by having the wind knocked out of him. He did try to move away, but it took longer than the second it took the Mountain to grab his face and punch him in the mouth. The sequence sucked for the "good guys" sure, but it's not as implausible as you make it out to be.

Well, that is the thing. First of all, it is incredibly difficult to swipe someone's leg so hard that he would fall. But ok. Here comes the thing, even god damn figure skaters train themselves to regroup their body in such a way to minimize the damage. Martial arts have such a thing as "Ukemi". Basically why fighters are able to toss each other around without breaking skulls or bones. Warrior of Oberyn's level must have this kind of thing memorized to the level of reflex. And even if Mountain was able to grab him and somehow lift him up there was nothing preventing Oberyn from simply putting a palm in front of his face. You do not establish a character as a fighter genius and then make him forget the most basic things. This is my problem with the whole sequence. It felt forced. If Oberyn died during the duel, like a warrior then I wouldn't have problem with it. The Mountain is just a better warrior. But no, deus bullshit machina had to interfere. And it's even more jarring when you finally see The feared Mountain in battle. No skill, no grace, no tactics. Just a brute, a caricature and a slap to the face of the audience.

2 things.

1) Mountain's strong enough to smash a man in two, it's probably not that hard for him to swipe someone's legs from under them, and adding to that, Oberyn does not expect it at all. He's cocky and arrogant, and is honestly thinking he's won, so gets caught off guard and R_ekd, again, hammering home the idea that might is better than grace or morals.
2) the Mountain is a better warrior, it's been stated so many times in the books. Oberyn may be pretty, fast and have fancy gear, but he's still a hedonistic lordling.
Mountain's had non-stop fighting and killing for almost all of his life.
He's meant to be a brute, that's his characterisation. Big dumb muscle. The most important thing he's ever done is probably forcing his brother's face into the fire, sparking off Sandor's character development.

I think they could have generally done a better job of setting up Ser Gregor as being both a violent lunatic and an extremely powerful and seasoned warrior. Slaughtering unarmed prisoners with his shirt off didn't fully get that picture across. If Oberyn had one bad dodge then he's just dead.

I think they tried to balance the fact that they couldn't really get a suitable actor who was over 7 and a 1/2 feet tall with making him mega-muscular but this kinda just made him look clumsy and inelegant.

Still, I thought the fight was bloody good.

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