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Game of Thrones Wiki
See also: First trial by combat of Tyrion Lannister

"I am going to hear you confess before you die. You raped my sister. You murdered her. You killed her children. Say it now, and we can make this quick."
Oberyn Martell demands the Mountain's confession.[src]

The second trial by combat of Tyrion Lannister is an event in the War of the Five Kings. In response to the biased trial that Tyrion Lannister is put on for the assassination of King Joffrey Baratheon, he demands trial by combat in a final attempt to stay alive and a free man.



"I will not give my life for Joffrey's murder and I know I'll get no justice here, so I will let the gods decide my fate. I demand a trial by combat."
Tyrion Lannister demands trial by combat[src]

Joffrey is killed after being poisoned.

Tyrion is put on trial.

Tyrion is put on trial for the murder of King Joffrey Baratheon, which he did not commit. The trial proves to be a farce, and eventually Tyrion demands a trial by combat.[1]

Oberyn agrees to be Tyrion's champion.

Cersei appoints Ser Gregor Clegane as the Crown's champion. Tyrion first asks Jaime, and later Bronn, to fight for him, but both refuse. Finally, Oberyn Martell volunteers to be Tyrion's champion, as he wants to avenge his sister Elia, whom the Mountain raped and murdered along with killing her children during the Sack of King's Landing.[2]

The Duel

"You raped my sister! You murdered her! You killed her children!"
―Oberyn's mantra during the trial by combat[src]

Oberyn kisses Ellaria, not knowing it will be their last.

Lannister guardsmen escort Tyrion to a plaza where the combat is to take place, where he finds a large crowd in attendance to watch. He is not impressed to see Oberyn wearing light armor and armed with a spear -- in contrast to his opponent, who is clad from head to foot in heavy plate and wielding a huge greatsword -- and is drinking before the fight. Oberyn is relaxed and confident of victory, stating that he always drinks before a fight and favors maneuverability over protection, dismissing both Tyrion's and Ellaria Sand's fears that he will lose. After Tywin cuts short a long-winded speech from Pycelle asking the gods to favor the innocent, the combat begins.

Oberyn, after impressing the crowd with some acrobatics, goes on the attack, stabbing out at Gregor and constantly moving out of the knight's reach, forcing him to tire himself out chasing Oberyn. All the while, Oberyn taunts Gregor by constantly bringing up his murder of Elia and her children and saying he will kill Clegane quickly if he confesses, only enraging Clegane further. Oberyn circles around his opponent, usually dodging his charges but sometimes parrying his swings and stabbing back; spinning behind Clegane, he manages to knock off his helmet. All the while, he chants vengefully in an ever-rising voice: "You raped her! You murdered her! You killed her children!" Cersei starts to look increasingly put-out, while Jaime and Tyrion look surprised and relieved by Oberyn's skill; Tywin looks vaguely amused.

Twice, Oberyn is knocked off his feet, and once Clegane manages to cut his spear in half, but Oberyn, unfazed, continues to evade the Mountain's wild swings and quickly grabs a replacement spear from his squire. As the fight progresses, Oberyn seriously injures Gregor, first stabbing him first in the chest, then severing his hamstring, and finally burying his spear in Gregor's stomach, pinning him to the floor and causing him to cough blood -- indicating a potentially mortal injury. As Jaime and Tyrion exchange a relieved grin across the arena, a furious Oberyn circles the prone Gregor, demanding that before he dies, Gregor confess to murdering Elia and her children, and that it was Tywin who gave the order.

Oberyn's head crushed in by Gregor Clegane.

However, Oberyn strolls too close to his opponent; Gregor trips and seizes him. Berserk with fury, Gregor roars for all to hear that he did rape and kill Elia and her children (which until then had been considered a mere rumor by most) as he smashes out Oberyn's teeth, gouges out the man's eyes with his thumbs, before crushing Oberyn's skull between his fists and collapsing next to his dead opponent. As Ellaria screams in horror and a stunned silence sweeps over the crowd, Tywin stands and proclaims the will of the gods is clear: Tyrion is guilty and sentenced to death. Tyrion cannot even reply, staring in catatonic astonishment at Oberyn's corpse, as does Jaime; the only different reaction is from Cersei, who smirks triumphantly at the death sentence.[3]


"The gods have made their will known. Tyrion Lannister, in the name of King Tommen of the House Baratheon, First of His Name, you are hereby sentenced to death."
―Tywin Lannister passes the sentence.[src]

Gregor Clegane's putrefying wounds, the result of being poisoned with manticore venom.

Secretly, Oberyn had his spears coated with manticore venom, one of the deadliest poisons in the known world. Gregor is left in agony and ultimately loses consciousness. The venom causes his wounds to start putrefying, emitting an overpowering stench, and with dead flesh sloughing off. Even Grand Maester Pycelle regretfully tells Queen Cersei that Ser Gregor is beyond any hope of healing. Qyburn, however, an expelled former maester with extensive medical knowledge gained from "repugnant" and "unnatural" experimentation on living people, suggests that he may be able to save him. Cersei dismisses Pycelle and gives Qyburn permission to do anything he can to save Ser Gregor, though he says that his unorthodox methods will "change" him.

Meanwhile, Jaime secretly frees Tyrion and arranges to have him smuggled out of Westeros with help from Varys. Before leaving, however, Tyrion goes to confront his father in the Tower of the Hand and finds Shae sleeping in Tywin's bed, revealing that Shae was having an affair with his father and lied at the trial for him. In his rage, Tyrion strangles Shae to death and confronts Tywin in the privy, armed with Joffrey's crossbow. Tywin attempts to smart-talk his way out of the situation by falsely claiming he would never have let Tyrion be executed, and dismisses Shae as a whore, which prompts Tyrion to shoot his father to death. Tyrion then escapes King's Landing on a boat with Varys as the bells of the Red Keep begin tolling, signifying that Tywin's body has been discovered.[4]

Behind the scenes

For his fight training for Oberyn's duel with Ser Gregor Clegane, actor Pedro Pascal said:

"The production of Game of Thrones actually put me in some pre-training before I went to Europe to start shooting. I was put into some classes with a master of Wushu, an acrobatic martial art, and they put me with a master, his name is Master Hu, and he has a studio in Los Angeles where he sort of basically showed me the basics and taught me how to fight with a spear and twist my body around and move in ways I never thought possible. And this was a guy who actually did Shaolin movies with Jet Li very early in Jet Li's career, and fought alongside him as his sidekick, so he was the real deal. Then once I got to Europe and started shooting, there were really intensive fight rehearsals with me and the stunt team that was headed by C.C. Smiff, and other actors, and we did a lot of fight choreography and rehearsals. The Oberyn style of fighting is inspired by Wushu."[5]

In the books

In the A Song of Ice and Fire novels, the duel occurs very similar to the way it does in the TV series. There are only small differences, such as:

  • Before the duel Oberyn shows Tyrion the spear that he is going to fight with against the Mountain, warning him not to touch it. Tyrion notices the spearhead has a black glimmer. He wonders if it is oil or poison, but decides not to ask.
  • Ser Gregor, while swinging at Oberyn, accidentally cuts off the arm of a watching stable boy. Gregor then decapitates the boy with a second blow.
  • Tyrion vomits after Oberyn is killed once the reality of his fate hits him.
  • Oberyn does not demand Gregor to admit who gave him the order, and does not point at Tywin accusingly.
  • Gregor becomes enraged at Oberyn's repeated accusation, and demands him to stop saying it (similarly to the way Count Rugen reacts to Inigo Montoya's repeated line in the film "The Princess Bride").

During the fight, Oberyn, who does wear a light helmet, uses his shield to reflect sunlight into the Mountain's visor and blind him. The Mountain also carries a shield painted with the seven-pointed star of the Faith of the Seven. While Oberyn does wear a helmet in the duel, in the end it does not prevent Gregor from overpowering him: Gregor punched him directly in the face, in the region that the helmet did not protect. He then removed Oberyn's helmet before crushing his head in. Gregor's first punch either knocked Oberyn unconscious or killed him outright, but in the TV version he remains conscious and screaming as Gregor gouges out his eyes, through the moment when he cracks his skull between his hands.