Spoiler alert, sweetlings! Please don't continue reading this post if you haven't yet watched the Sunday, June 1 episode of Game of Thrones.
Another day, another shocking, nauseating, public death in Westeros. With just two more episodes left for season 4, GoT bid a bloody goodbye to Prince Oberyn Martell, a.k.a. the Red Viper (Pedro Pascal)—the alluring, bisexual Dornish prince who quickly became a fan favorite upon his entrance into King's Landing at the start of season 4. Readers of George R.R. Martin's saga, of course, knew that Oberyn wasn't long for this world, but that didn't make his demise any easier to watch.
In one of the most gripping fight scenes ever on the HBO series, Oberyn does battle with Gregor "The Mountain" Clegane in what is both a trial-by-battle (Oberyn is fighting on behalf of Tyrion, accused of murdering his nephew King Joffrey) and a settling of old scores. As Oberyn chants repeatedly throughout the fight, supersized henchman Clegane (Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson) raped and murdered Oberyn's sister and killed as well. Although Oberyn, wielding his spear and showing off acrobatic skills during the fight, appeared to successfully impale the much, much larger Mountain during the skirmish, Clegane got his second wind—finally confessing his heinous crime as he crushes Oberyn's skull with his bare hands. Naturally, the entire battle is performed before a royal court at King's Landing; after Oberyn dies, Tywin Lannister sentences his son Tyrion to death for Joffrey's murder.
Time will tell what fate really befalls Tyrion, but the death of Oberyn certainly ranks among the most shocking and brutal so far on the series. Below, a quick ranking of other jaw-dropping GoT deaths.
5. Lysa Arryn's moon-door demise, season 4. Lest viewers forget, it was just last week that the late Catelyn Stark's kooky sister Lysa Arryn met her untimely end via the Moon Door: After the typically unhinged ruler of the Vale spotted her new husband Petyr Baelish kissing her niece Sansa Stark, a jealous fight ensues—with Baelish ultimately betraying his beloved and pushing her through the sky-high "Moon Door" to plummet to her death thousands of feet below.
4. Viserys Targaryen gets his "crown of gold," season 1. Remember when Daenerys Targaryen still had her pesky, mad-with-ambition brother Viserys? Danni's then-living husband Khal Drogo made quick work of Viserys, giving him a long-promised "crown of gold"—pouring hot molten gold atop Viserys' head while Danni watches, pleased.
3. Ned Stark beheaded, season 1. In arguably the very first major indication to GoT watchers that "all men must die"—even the apparent series protagonist—the patriarch of House Stark and former Hand of the King is double-crossed following the death of King Robert Baratheon, with a very public beheading at King's Landing.
2. King Joffrey's wedding death choke-fest, season 4. After tying the knot with Margaery Tyrell, the evil boy-prince humiliates his uncle Tyrion and chokes to death after swilling wine and chomping on pigeon pie. (As later revealed, Baelish did it.)
1. The Red Wedding, season 3. Duh! The most shocking and upsetting GoT massacre ever—and one of the biggest TV shockers of all time—saw Catelyn and Robb Stark, plus Robb's pregnant wife Talisa, butchered during a wedding hosted by the Freys at the Twins. We're still not over that!
Tell Us: What's the biggest GoT death ever?