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 free.
- "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
When King Joffrey Baratheon is poisoned at the feast of his wedding to Margaery Tyrell, he points to his uncle Tyrion Lannister apparently accusing him, as he checks the goblet for poison and he is seized and arrested by members of the Kingsguard on Queen Cersei Lannister's orders.
Tyrion is later put on trial with the newly-crowned King Tommen Baratheon declaring himself unfit to sit in judgment and giving the responsibility to three judges: Tywin Lannister, Hand of the King and Protector of the Realm, as presiding judge, Lord Mace Tyrell of the Reach, and Prince Oberyn Martell of Dorne. Cersei has several witnesses testify against Tyrion, such as Ser Meryn Trant, Grand Maester Pycelle, and Varys. They all give strong (yet circumstantial) evidence of Tyrion's guilt. He seems particularly hurt by Varys's betrayal. After a one hour recess, his brother Jaime comes to Tyrion and tells him that, when the verdict of guilty is pronounced, he must ask for mercy and he will be allowed to join the Night's Watch. Secretly, Jaime had made a deal with Tywin: in exchange for sparing Tyrion, Jaime will renounce his vows and return to Casterly Rock as Tywin's heir. However, Cersei calls in her last witness: Shae. A hurt Tyrion can do little as Shae reveals his sexual pleasures in front of the court and his supposed desire to bed Sansa Stark, which she agreed to let him do if he killed the King for her. Tyrion's anger at the betrayal leads him to lash out: he angrily states that he had saved King's Landing from Stannis Baratheon and that when he saw how all turned on him for killing a king that they all hated, he wished that he had let Stannis kill them all.
Tywin attempts to silence Tyrion but his son turns on Cersei, declaring that he was innocent of killing Joffrey, but that he he wished he had, adding that he derived more relief from watching her "vicious bastard" of a son die than he could have gotten from a thousand whores. He then turns on Tywin and calls the trial a farce and that it is really a repetition of the trial he had been on since he was born: for the crime of being a dwarf. Not wanting to submit to the "justice" that was being served on him, Tyrion demands a trial by combat.Cersei appoints Ser Gregor Clegane, the Mountain That Rides, as the Crown's champion. Tyrion first asks his brother Jaime to fight for him, but he refuses, saying that he simply cannot fight like he used to. Tyrion then asks his friend Bronn to be his champion, but he too refuses, arguing that the Mountain is an incredibly dangerous fighter, one that would cost him his life if he makes a single mistake. Finally, Prince Oberyn Martell approaches Tyrion and volunteers to be his 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.
- "You raped my sister! You murdered her! You killed her children!"
- ―Oberyn's mantra during the trial by combat
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 part in the 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 manages to seriously injure Gregor, 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.
However, Oberyn gets too close, and Gregor manages to trip and seize 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 gets to his feet 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.
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 lying naked in Tywin's bed, making him realize 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.
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."
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.
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Purple Wedding · Tyrion Lannister (I) · Tyrion Lannister (II) · Tower of the Hand