Unmarked spoilers for the 4th season and the 3rd book.

I have been wondering:

Did Oberyn actually want to fight for Tyrion? Or did he simply want to kill the Mountain for the disgrace he brought to the Martells?

Would he fight against the Mountain anyways if he got the chance?

1 Answer 1


I think he liked Tyrion but I in no way think that his main motive for fighting was his fondness for Tyrion.

The whole reason he came to King's Landing was to find out what happened to his sister, who gave the order and if the Mountain did what Oberyn thought he did.

Tyrion Lannister: Why did you come to King's Landing, Prince Oberyn?

Oberyn Martell: I was invited to the royal wedding.

Tyrion Lannister: I thought we were speaking truth.

Oberyn Martell: [pause] The last time I was in the capital was many years ago. Another wedding. My sister Elia and Rhaegar Targaryen, the Last Dragon. My sister loved him. She bore his children. Swaddled them, rocked them, fed them at her own breast. Elia wouldn't let the wet nurse touch them. And beautiful, noble Rhaegar Targaryen... left her for another woman. That started a war, and the war ended right here, when your father's army took the city.

Tyrion Lannister: It wasn't actually...

Oberyn Martell: They butchered those children. My nephew and niece. Carved them up and wrapped them in Lannister cloaks. And my sister. You know what they did to her?

[Tyrion has been staring at the ground uncomfortably for some time; Oberyn lifts his chin with a finger]

Oberyn Martell: I'm asking you a question.

Tyrion Lannister: I've heard rumors.

Oberyn Martell: [chuckles] So have I. The one I keep hearing is that Gregor Clegane, the Mountain, raped Elia and split her in half with his greatsword.

Tyrion Lannister: I wasn't there. I don't know what...

Oberyn Martell: If the Mountain killed my sister, your father gave the order. [pause]

Oberyn Martell: Tell your father I'm here. And tell him the Lannisters aren't the only ones who pay their debts.

[Oberyn walks away]

Spoilers about the fight:

Throughout the fight scene he is constantly shouting "Elia Martell of Dorne, you raped her, you murdered her. You killed her children." This is aimed at the Mountain and is also for the crowd. He also looks to Tywin when he says "Who gave you the orders?"

The fight results are featured in this spoiler:

He is so obsessed with getting the Mountain to admit to what he has done that he eventually loses the fight because of this.

In conclusion Oberyn's reasons for fighting were mainly his own for his pride and for his sister and for the house of Martell, however he did also like Tyrion. The opportunity to fight the Mountain arose and clearly he seized it.

  • 5
    I do not have much to add to this, very good answer, other than fighting the Mountain in such a grand public area would have been more satisfying than in private. His plan was to get Gregor to confess and admit who gave the order, this would be far more effective if done in public.
    – Stefan
    Commented Jun 3, 2014 at 12:17
  • I wouldn't say he loses the fight... it was a draw; he fatally wounded the Mountain, who rolls over and dies just after crushing Oberyn's skull... at least that's the impression given by the TV show. At the very least, he stabbed him in the gut/side (usually a fatal blow) and just below the throat/near the heart (also usually a fatal blow). At the very least those injures plus his inability to walk again without a cane make him easy pickings for pretty much anyone.
    – TylerH
    Commented Jun 3, 2014 at 13:27
  • 1
    @TylerH I wouldn't say it was particularly obvious we shall find out at a later stage. Surely if both combatants die there would be some other circumstance than Tyrion getting beheaded. Commented Jun 3, 2014 at 13:41
  • @Simon Hmm, I interpreted it as your champion has to survive/win in order for you to be pardoned under the gods. Since Oberyn didn't win (at best, it was a draw; at worst, The Mountain survived for a few hours/days), Tyrion didn't get pardoned. Of course, he isn't dead yet, so something may happen.
    – TylerH
    Commented Jun 3, 2014 at 13:52
  • 2
    @madfriend Since there is a headline in bold saying "Spoilers" at the beginning of the entire page, it's not really a concern.
    – TylerH
    Commented Jun 3, 2014 at 14:34

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