In the finale of season 7 of Game of Thrones,

An active wight

was released at an audience with Cersei, which then ran directly at her only to be restrained by its chains barely before reaching her.

What struck me as odd is that no one near Cersei seemed to even try to get between her and her attacker, who had started running from a considerable distance (spoiler link). Even the Mountain barely moved, who is arguably the most unstoppable man-shaped thing in Westeros. Even if he wasn't an extremely experienced warrior, a bodyguard of that size could simply protect by sheer mass. In fact, bodyguards in real life generally get between the guarded and the attacker as soon as possible.

What plausible reasons could there be for the Westerosi Terminator not getting between them? — Am I gauging the speed of the attacker and/or the Mountain's reaction time incorrectly?

  • 1
    @Paul I was writing that up as a comment but then remembered earlier in the scene he steps in front of Cersei when Sandor approaches her.
    – TheLethalCarrot
    Aug 29 '17 at 11:20
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    Heck why limit this to the Mountatin... IIRC she had all seven of her guard there....
    – Skooba
    Aug 29 '17 at 11:57
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    As to why he stepped forwards to Sandor, Sandor was probably making eye contact with him while approaching, and it's also somewhat clear that Sandor has more to say to him than anyone else. As to the wight charge, I was expecting him to block the wight, and I seem to remember him making a move (seen in the shot of Cersei), but he was never shown to actually stand in front of her. While the viewer did not see the chain well until the wight got yanked back, Gregor and Cersei should have seen that chain well before the wight got close.
    – Flater
    Aug 29 '17 at 12:31
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    @Flater See my answer below I've added a video. He is startled and then makes a move to take his sword out and moves in front of her when Sandor pulls the wight back. It seems he was just slow to react. Also the wight got right in her face or at least one or two foot away at most.
    – TheLethalCarrot
    Aug 29 '17 at 12:33
  • 1
    Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat.
    – Null
    Aug 30 '17 at 21:57

In Universe

According to the official script for the episode the Mountain feels "no undead camaraderie with the creature whatever". According to the script he steps to her side; no mention is made of hesitating so it looks as if he moved as quickly as he could.

He no longer wears his winter clothing, only scraps of cloth that reveal the rotting mess of his body, and the holes where the Hound slammed him down on Drogon’s spikes. He has a metal collar around his neck...

... but we don’t have a chance to properly register this as he’s making for Cersei, snarling and gnashing.

Cersei recoils.

Feeling no undead camaraderie with the creature whatever, the Mountain draws his sword and steps to Cersei’s side, ready to slice the thing in two.

The creature is almost upon Cersei. It reaches for her --

-- and is roughly jerked to the ground.

Game of Thrones, Season 7 Episode 7, "The Dragon and the Wolf"

We don't know but it actually appears to be a lack of time for the Mountain to get in the way. The Mountain is a slow moving beast as we've seen previously but he does protect Cersei as his number one goal. We see him move in front of her for protection a few times, even in the same scene when Sandor approaches.

As for why he doesn't in this occasion he doesn't have enough time to actually block the wights path as it approaches quickly. However, if you watch closely in the background he does grab his sword but we don't see if he pulls it out or not. He also appears to be as startled as the rest of them when it starts approaching her.

Also note that once Sandor pulls the wight back both Jaime and the Mountain have moved into protective positions around Cersei. The Mountain has also drawn his sword at this point. This backs up the theory that they were just slow to react and were startled at first.

As for why the other 6 Queensguard, Jaime and Euron don't react:

  • 6 Queensguard: Are startled and don't have the time to get there anyway and also probably thought The Mountain would handle it.
  • Jaime - Too startled and again probably thought The Mountain had it covered.
  • Euron: Doesn't really care but is resolved enough to keep it together so probably thought someone else would deal with it.

Out of Universe

It is to show Cersei that the threat is real and to scare her into making her "decision" to help them on her conditions. If you have The Mountain protecting her and stood in the way you wouldn't really get that.

  • 5
    I agree with what you've said, but I was also thinking about it; maybe in The Mountains...uh..."New Condition" he's more like the wights than he is like the humans. Maybe they don't show up on his 'radar' because they aren't alive/don't have 'hot blood' in them... Aug 29 '17 at 12:39
  • 1
    @Phlegon_of_Tralles To be honest I'd need more evidence before I can accept that as a theory especially as he moves in front of her with his sword drawn a moment later.
    – TheLethalCarrot
    Aug 29 '17 at 12:42
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    I also kind of like the idea that the Mountain noticed that his brother, the Hound, had the wight on a leash and perhaps that played a role in his hesitation of the threat. It hints at some kind of respect for the Hound's abilities.
    – DanK
    Aug 29 '17 at 12:44
  • @DanK Flater mentions in the comments to the OP about the chain but they didn't know how long the chain was so it doesn't hold much water. Also the brothers hate each other and even though there could be some respect there I doubt The Mountain has any.
    – TheLethalCarrot
    Aug 29 '17 at 12:47
  • Do we know who's in her Queensguard? Were the Kettleblacks reprieved? Aug 29 '17 at 15:12

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