Game of Thrones, Oberyn vs. The Mountain: Historic influence on epic battle

On Sunday night, Game of Thrones fans will learn the fate of Tyrion Lannister following the duel between The Mountain and Oberyn Martell.

The scene promises to be one of the most epic moments in recent television history, but what some may not know is there are actually some historic influences and echoes for the battle that will play out on season 4, episode 8, “The Mountain and the Viper.”

From as early as 1040 to the 12th and 13th century, there are plenty of battles that actually played out and have historic significance and parallels to the duel between The Mountain and Oberyn.

What are some of those moments?

Matthew McWilliams of Longwood University summarized some of the research that was done by Longwood professor Dr. Steven Isaac that Game of Thrones fans will be able to see influences from when The Mountain and Oberyn face off Sunday night.


  • Iron Herman vs. Guy of Steenvoorde: Recorded in 1127-28, Guy and Herman engage in a trial by combat. Guy has the better of the fight, unhorsing Herman early and toying with him (much like the Viper keeping the Mountain alive). Herman was eventually on the ground and seemingly finished—Guy was preparing to deliver the coup de grace, as the Viper was Sunday night—when Herman saw a brutal path to victory: He reached up and grabbed Guy’s testicles, destroying them to the point that Guy gave up, and Herman was declared the winner of the fight.
  • Bernier vs. Gautier, 12th-13th century: In an epic poem by Raoul de Cambrai, champions Bernier and Gautier fight in an epic single combat. Gautier eventually has a spear embedded in his side but continues to fight—landing a monumental blow that takes off six inches of Bernier’s face (including an ear)—before the fight is stopped.
  • Nameless champions, 1150s: King Louis VII ordered a judicial duel to solve an ongoing complaint between Stephen of Massy and the monks of Saint-Germain-des-Pres. A charter written by one of the monks records the bloody combat—the monks’ champion eventually won by gouging out his opponent’s eye.
  • Pinabel vs. Thierry, 1040-1115: In the climactic final battle in The Song of Roland, the oldest surviving major work of French literature, Ganleon’s guilt is established when his champion, Pinabel, is killed by a single brutal stroke from Thierry. Thierry cleaves Pinabel’s iron helmet in two, dashing out his brains—and Ganleon is sentenced to a painful death.

The full research and essay from Dr. Isaac can be seen by clicking here.

Tonight’s episode should be a great one, but until then you can catch up with the action that we saw the last time Game of Thrones aired with the episode, “Mockingbird,” by checking out our very own Game of Thrones recap show, “Winter is Coming Live.”

Winter is Coming Live Game of Thrones Season 4 Episode 7 “Mockingbird” Recap – May 19 by Winter Is Coming


Need more Game of Thrones in your life? Then check out FanSided’s very own Game of Thrones recap show, Winter is Coming Live, each Monday after a new episode at 12pm ET on and You can also check out episodes and segments you may have missed by visiting the Daily Motion WIC Live page here.

Tags: Game Of Thrones Oberyn Martell The Mountain

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