Skip to main content

Seeing Pedro Pascal Every Week Is Making Me Miss My Charming Vengeful Bisexual Prince

Red Viper of Dorne ilysm

Pedro Pascal as Oberyn Martell in Game of Thrones

*** Spoilers for the events of Game of Thrones and A Song of Ice and Fire ahead. Be warned.***

The Last of Us is currently airing on HBO, breaking our hearts every week with the story of jaded-and-traumatized father figure Joel Miller and Ellie Williams, a chatterbox teenager who happens to be immune to the Cordyceps Brain Infection that has consumed the world. The series is barely on its third episode but it has already garnered immense hype and praise, as well as an official Season 2 renewal.

While there are definitely a lot of factors contributing to what seems to be the immediate (and well-deserved) success of The Last of Us, one of them is definitely its lead actor—Pedro Pascal, who plays Joel.

Pedro Pascal as Joel Miller in the second episode of 'The Last of Us.'

I don’t think it’s just my social media that have been flooded with Pedro Pascal fancams over the last few weeks, but it’s something that I truly appreciate so incredibly much. I am not joking when I say that I have been head over heels in love with him ever since he strutted onto Game of Thrones wearing the sun-embroidered yellow robes of Prince Oberyn Martell.

So in case waiting between one episode and the other of The Last of Us is not proving enough Pedro content for you and if you have already watched every fancam circling around Twitter and TikTok and everywhere else, let’s all take a walk down memory lane to back when Game of Thrones was still a great show and recap Oberyn Martell’s entire arc in the series. It was short, yes, but oh-so-sweet.

What season of Game of Thrones was Oberyn Martell in?

Oberyn Martell appears in all his glory in Season 4, the last truly good Game of Thrones season before the whole circus devolves into a mess of bad writing, character arcs that go nowhere, and events that feel like items checked off of the writers’ to-do list. The things that the absence of source material coupled with creators who Do Not Care will do to you, really.

Still, Season 4 was peak Game of Thrones, and Oberyn’s introduction definitely helped immensely. So, first, a bit of history, so that we’re all on the same page on who this man actually is. 

I maintain that Oberyn Martell and Daemon Targaryen could be besties—or they could also brutally murder each other), it’s just something about being unhinged second sons (HBO)

When Prince Oberyn Martell appears in the series, he’s the youngest brother of the current ruling Prince of Dorne, Doran Martell. If you’re wondering why the Martells title themselves as Princes, unlike all other Great Houses in the Seven Kingdoms, it’s because they descend directly from Princess Nymeria of the Rhoyne and because they were the only ones to resist Targaryen conquest for a good 170 years, staying very, very true to their words: “Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken”.

Doran and Oberyn also had a sister—the middle child between the two of them—Princess Elia Martell, who had been married to Rhaegar Targaryen, Prince of Dragonstone and heir to the Iron Throne after his father, the Mad King Aerys. 

Rhaegar Targaryen as he appeared in the eighth season of Game of Thrones
One of the first hints that something was going to go horribly wrong was Rhaegar Targaryen riding past his wife Elia to famously crown Lyanna Stark the Queen of Love and Beauty at the Tourney of Harrenhal with a wreath of blue winter roses (HBO)

We all know what happened to the Targaryens by the time the events of Game of Thrones rolled around. Prince Rhaegar’s kidnapping of Lyanna Stark (or her deciding to run away with him, according to what was revealed in Season 8) created a chain of events that would devolve into Robert’s Rebellion—and one of the last acts of the civil war that would bring the Targaryen dynasty off of the Iron Throne was the sack of King’s Landing, ordered by Tywin Lannister and carried out by his bannermen, House Clegane included. 

Tywin in HBO's Game of Thrones.
It all comes back to this man every time, doesn’t it? (HBO)

Elia Martell, who the Mad King had commanded to remain in the Red Keep to ensure that her family wouldn’t turn against the Targaryens instead of fleeing to Dragonstone with a pregnant Queen Rhaella and little Prince Viserys, was one of its victims. Gregor Clegane raped her and killed both her and her two young children by Prince Rhaegar, the toddler Princess Rhaenys and the baby Prince Aegon. (For ease of discussion, let’s keep the rumors that Prince Aegon might be alive in the books and traveling under the name of Young Griff out of this for a second and just assume that both of Rhaegar’s children died alongside their mother.)

What episode of Game of Thrones does Oberyn Martell appear in?

House Martell, understandably, did not take the deaths of Princess Elia and her children lightly and have nurtured their desire for revenge against House Lannister for a very long time. By this point, they can’t say for sure that it was Tywin Lannister who ordered the murder of Elia, but they can very well guess at it.

So when Oberyn Martell arrives in King’s Landing in the first episode of Season 4, officially to represent his brother Prince Doran at the royal wedding of King Joffrey and Margaery Tyrell, it becomes very clear early on that his main objective is exacting vengeance for Elia’s fate. This leaves Tyrion (who goes to greet Oberyn and his paramour, Ellaria Sand, played by Indira Varma) clearly concerned.

In the books, Ellaria is the mother of four of Oberyn’s eight bastard daughters, known as the Sand Snakes—in order of age, they are Obara, Nymeria, Tyene, Sarella, Elia, Obella, Dorea, and Lorenza Sand (HBO)

How many episodes was Pedro Pascal in Game of Thrones for?

Oberyn’s quest for revenge—mixed with the occasional brothel visit and subtext-charged conversation with his enemies because this is, after all, Game of Thrones—continues throughout the days that lead up to the royal wedding. 

When King Joffrey ends up poisoned at his own wedding feast, Tywin initially suspects Oberyn himself— because the “Red Viper,” as he’s known throughout the Seven Kingdoms, is famous for his use of poisons. Oberyn denies it and counterattacks with the accusation that Tywin was the power behind Elia’s death, and so the two strike a deal: Tywin will give Oberyn the chance to exact his revenge on the Mountain if the Prince agrees to serve as one of the judges on Tyrion’s trial.

After Tyrion’s trial—one of the best pieces of television ever produced by Game of Thrones don’t fight me on this because I know you all agree, Peter Dinklage really did That™— turns into a trial by combat during which Gregor Clegane himself is named Cersei’s champion, Oberyn sees his opportunity to strike and offers himself as Tyrion’s champion and the Mountain’s opponent.

The acting? Incredible. The memes? Amazing. Tyrion’s characterization? Forever missed (HBO)

All this tension culminates in the eighth episode of Season 4, “The Mountain and the Viper”. The two champions face each other in the arena, and it seems like Oberyn is actually going to win—he wounds the Mountain with his spear and knocks him to the ground. Instead of immediately killing him, though, Oberyn wants Clegane to admit what he did to Elia and keeps on taunting him to make him confess.

Of course, this being Game of Thrones, all this stalling means that the Mountain manages to knock Oberyn down and smash his head in. Literally. Busted watermelon imagery and all that. Clegane does it while indeed admitting his role in Elia’s murder, whom he says he killed in the same way he’s now killing her brother, but the trial ends with Tyrion’s champion dead anyways—and Tyrion is therefore condemned to death.

Oberyn Martell and Gregor Clegane fight in a trial by combat during Game of Thrones' season 4
Why were you monologuing, Oberyn, instead of securing the kill? Come on these are the basics (HBO)

Still, not all is lost. Tyrion manages to escape with Jaime’s help and embarks on his journey to Essos and Daenerys Stormborn after having killed Tywin. What’s more, the spear that Oberyn had used to wound Clegane was coated in poison, in true Red Viper of Dorne fashion, which means that the Mountain ends up dying from his wounds. Qyburn brings him back, turning him into pretty much a shell of his former self who does everything that Cersei requires from him. I guess that at least some of the vengeance Oberyn so desperately sought was accomplished.

How many seasons of Game of Thrones was Pedro Pascal in?

Sadly, we got to enjoy Pedro Pascal as Oberyn Martell for just one short season—and not even a full one, at that. Then again, considering the devastation that was brought upon the Dorne storyline—one of the most interesting in the books, in my opinion, but then again I might be biased—in the following seasons makes me sort of happy that he wasn’t there to take part in that circus. I am once again here asking why have a Dorne subplot at all if you’re not!!! going to include!!! Arianne Martell!!! then what is the point!!! please!!! tell me why!!!

The whole tension between Doran and his daughter Arianne? The duality of the brothers, with Doran being the apparently safe grass hiding Oberyn’s deadly viper? The grand plot of House Martell to bring forward a Targaryen restoration? All butchered (HBO)

Still, there will always be those amazing eight episodes—which The Last of Us is making me want to rewatch, despite me vowing never to spend my precious time watching Game of Thrones again because the knowledge of where it’s heading makes me too mad—to remind us of one of the best characters in the entire story. 

Actually, he appears in some of the Game of Thrones Histories and Lore videos as well—where Pedro Pascal reprises his “Oberyn Martell voice” to discuss the history of House Martell from the times of Princess Nymeria onwards, the fateful events of Robert’s Rebellion and the use of poisons throughout Westeros, of which he was an expert connoisseur.

(image: HBO)

Have a tip we should know? [email protected]

Filed Under:

Follow The Mary Sue:

Benedetta (she/her) lives in Italy and has considered being in fandom a defining character trait since she was in middle school and wasn't old enough to read the fanfiction she was definitely reading. She loves dragons, complex magic systems, unhinged female characters, tragic villains and good queer representation. A Targaryen stan first and a human second. In this Bangtan Sonyeondan sh*t for life.