The Mountain and the Viper

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The Mountain and the Viper
Game of Thrones
Episode # Season 4, Episode 8
Airdate May 25, 2014
Director Alex Graves
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"Mockingbird" "The Watchers on the Wall"
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"The Mountain and the Viper" is the eighth episode of the fourth season of HBO's fantasy television series Game of Thrones, and the 38th overall. The episode was written by David Benioff and D.B. Weiss and directed by Alex Graves. It aired on June 1st, 2014.


In the North

In Mole's Town, a few whores are entertaining some of the Brothers of the Night's Watch who have come to visit. One of the whores goes to the back, where she argues with Gilly about her baby, who had woken her up in the morning. The whore threatens the child, but Gilly interrupts her when hearing someone making an owl's sound. She recognizes the sound as oncoming wildlings. Sure enough, a band of wildlings, including Tormund, Ygritte and the Thenns, attack the village, killing everyone they encounter. Ygritte kills the whore, and finds Gilly and the babe, but motions to her to be silent, and allows them to live.

Ramsay Snow sends Reek, "disguised" as Theon Greyjoy, to treat with the ironborn garrison holding Moat Cailin. Reek rides to the fortress, and sees corpses all along the way. He’s allowed entrance to the castle, and sees how disease is holding the ironborn in its grip. Ralf Kenning, the commander of the garrison, listens to Reek's offer from Ramsay, but Kenning does not seem to hold much faith in believing that Theon is who he says he is. He rebuffs the offer of safe passage in exchange for abandoning the castle. Kenning is cut down by one of his own men, however, who accepts the Bolton's offer of safe passage, and yields the castle in name of all soldiers. Ramsay has all the ironborn killed and flayed regardless of their surrender.

Moat Cailin in his hands, Ramsay meets with his father, presenting him with the banner that had been flying over the castle. They take a walk, and Ramsay informs Roose there has been no word from Locke. Roose calls it unimportant, as Bran and Rickon Stark are most likely dead. Most of the ironborn have fled the north, according to Roose, and more will follow. On top of a hill, he shows Ramsay that the north stretches out all around them, for many, many miles. He state the North is larger than the other six combined, and that he is the Warden of the North. In recognition of Ramsay delivering him Moat Cailin, Roose presents Ramsay with a decree of legitimization from the King, naming him officially Ramsay Bolton, making him an official member of House Bolton. Ramsay promises he will be worthy. Roose, Ramsay, Reek, and the rest of the army, begin their march home.

At the Wall

At Castle Black, the news of Mole's Town has arrived. Jon, Sam, Edd, Grenn and Pyp are sitting inside. Sam mourns Gilly, whom he believes to be dead, insisting that they could have known, as the wildlings had been raiding other villages close by. Grenn is furious, as they have been ordered to remain at Castle Black. Black Jack, Kegs and Mully were amongst those slain at the village, and Edd insists the brothers should not even have been there. Pyp tries to lift Sam’s spirit, suggesting that Gilly might have managed to hide herself. He once thought all of them were dead, as none came back for a long time after they had gone north with Lord Commander Jeor Mormont. Edd adds that Gilly had managed to survive Craster, and the long march to the Wall, and the White Walker who attacked them. Sam agrees that she might have gotten out.

Jon realizes that Castle Black will be next, and that Mance and his army must be close. Grenn makes the count: Mance has a hundred thousand, and they have a hundred and five brothers left. Edd asks whether Grenn included Black Jack, Kegs and Mully in that count. A hundred and two brothers of the Night’s Watch against a hundred thousand. Edd requests that, whoever survives the longest, should burn the others, as he does not wish to return as a wight.

At Meereen

The Unsullied are washing themselves in the river, Grey Worm included. Across the river, he sees Missandei, and a number of other women, naked, bathing and cleaning their clothes. He stares at her, and she notices him looking, standing up slowly before covering herself. Later, Daenerys asks whether Grey Worm had been spying, but Missandei insist not. Daenerys mentions that the Dothraki see no shame in nudity, nor in love-making in public, though Missandei is not Dothraki. Dany doesn’t think it matters, as Grey Worm isn't interested, nor are any of the other Unsullied, but Missandei insists Grey Worm was interested. This surprises Dany, and she inquires whether bother the “pillar and the stones” are removed when the slaves are castrated. Missandei states she doesn’t know, to which Daenerys asks whether Missandei has ever wondered. Missandei confirms that she has done so indeed.

Grey worm approaches Missandei in Dany's audience chamber, where he apologizes to her, but she tells him there is no need to do so. Grey Worm hopes he hasn't frightened her, and she assures him he hasn't. Speaking in the Common Tongue, he reveals the lessons have been precious to him. Missandei corrects his speech, and notes that she never taught him the word "precious". Grey Worm tells her Jorah had taught him. Missandei, curious, asks whether Grey Worm can remember the name he had been given at birth, but he does not. Neither does he remember when they had cut him. When she tells him that she's sorry that all of that happened to him, he disagrees, stating that, had the masters not cut him, he wouldn’t have become an Unsullied. Had he not become an Unsullied, he would never have been freed by Daenerys, nor would he have met Missandei. Missandei is moved by this. Grey Worm apologizes once more, and when he tries to leave, she stops him, telling him that she's glad he saw her. He tells her he's glad as well.

Later, Ser Barristan Selmy oversees the Unsullied as they take down the corpses of the crucified Great Masters. When he turns to leave, he is approached by a small boy, who hands him a scroll bearing the sigil of the Hand of the King. Barristan reads the contents of the letter, and goes to confront Ser Jorah Mormont. The document is a royal pardon, signed by King Robert I Baratheon. Barristan accuses Jorah of having spied on Daenerys. Jorah returns the pardon to Barristan, and is told that Barristan has yet to tell Daenerys, as Barristan hadn't wanted to go behind Jorah's back. Jorah asks to speak with Daenerys in private, but Barristan kindly tells him that he'll never be alone with Daenerys again.

Jorah is summoned to Daenerys's audience chamber, where the angry Queen demands an explanation, refusing to be alone with him. Jorah says it is a plot by Lord Tywin Lannister, to try and divide them amongst each other. Dany informs him that the pardon was signed the year they had met. When she asks him, Jorah admits that the document was not forged. He confesses that he had send letters to Varys in King's Landing, containing information about Daenerys and Viserys, and their activities, including their arrival in Pentos and her marriage to Khal Drogo. Dany asks whether he also told them she was pregnant with Drogo's child, and states that the attempted poisoning was because of Jorah's information. Jorah protests, stating that he saved her, but she counters by stating that he only could because he knew it was poisoned. Jorah begs forgiveness, but Daenerys is too angry, though she refuses to look at him. She states he betrayed her, sold her secrets to the man responsible for the death of her family. She spares his life, but does not want him to remain in Meereen. He has until dawn the next day to leave the city. If he does not, she warns him, his head will be thrown into Slaver's Bay. Jorah is next seen leaving Meereen on a horse.

In the Eyrie

Petyr Baelish testifies before a tribunal, which consists out of Lord Yohn Royce, Lady Anya Waynwood, and Ser Vance Corbray. They inquire after Baelish' ancestors, who came from Braavos. Royce has heard quite a lot of things about Baelish, and not all positive. He insists that no one cared when Jon Arryn had named him master of coin, but his presence around Lysa Arry was another deal entirely. Petyr tries to spin Lysa's death as a suicide, and Lady Waynwood agrees that Lysa was an "odd fish". Still, Lysa adored her son so much, leaving Waynwood to be incapable of believing Lysa died of her own free will. Yohn Royce remarks the oddness of the timing of Petyr's marriage to Lysa, just a few days after he arrived, and that she had died so shortly after. Both Royce and Waynwood insist on speaking to the witness: Petyr's "niece". Petyr offers to go and get her, but she’s already there.

Speaking gently to her, Lady Waynwood asks Sansa whether Baelish is truly her uncle, and her name is indeed Alayne, to which Sansa agrees. Lord Royce is a bit more harsh, demanding to hear what she had seen. Sansa apologizes to Petyr, stating that she has to tell the truth. She tells them that she is not Alayne, but Sansa Stark of Winterfell. Lord Royce is surprised when she tells him that they once met when he visited Winterfell, while escorting his son Waymar to the Wall. He's angered that Baelish had lied to his face, but Sansa insists that all of his lies had been to protect Sansa. She proceeds by telling them that, ever since her father's execution, she had been a hostage in King's Landing, a plaything for Joffrey, someone for Cersei to torment. She had no friends in King’s Landing, except for Petyr, who saved her, smuggled her away when there was a chance. He brought her to safety with Lysa, making her swear never to use her real name. Lord Royce remembers Eddard Stark fondly, and Lady Waynwood inquires after Lysa's fate. Sansa tells them that she was a troubled woman, who had married Lord Arryn only because her father had commanded it. Lysa had been a jealous woman, who had been terrified that Petyr would abandon her for a younger woman, Sansa tells. She lies, stating that Lysa had seen Baelish kiss Sansa on the cheek. She proceeds by telling them that Lysa had threatened to thrown Sansa through the Moon Door, and that Baelish had tried to calm Lysa, but she had struck him, and no matter what Baelish said to her, she eventually stepped through. Sansa breaks down in tears, and Lady Anya rushes to comfort her. The tribunal is convinced.

Royce, Waynwood and Baelish walk together, discussing how Lysa used to breastfeed Sweetrobin, despite the boy being ten years old. Baelish states that, while there is no justice to be gained from suicide, there is justice to be gotten for her son. Baelish asks whether the lords of the Vale support the Lannisters, who executed Eddard Stark, and Lord Royce seems insulted. According to Baelish, Tywin Lannister has had the opportunity to deal with his enemies because Lysa kept the Valemen out of the war. He asks them to support Lord Robin Arryn, who is a sickly little boy, but might grow up to become a powerful man. Baelish wants Sweetrobin to be trained in battle, to learn how to ride a horse, to visit the castles of the Vale. In other words, to "leave the nest".

Later, Petyr visits Sansa, and asks her why she lied on his behalf. Sansa is busy mending a dress, and without looking at him, explains that, had Royce, Corbray, and Waynwood executed Baelish, she wouldn't have known what would have happened to her. Baelish states that she gambled on the man she knew, instead of on the strangers that she didn’t know. Sansa claims to know what he wants, but does not respond when Baelish asks her "do you?".

Sandor Clegane and Arya Stark discuss how the news of Joffrey's death did not make Arya happy. She wishes she could have been there to watch, at least. Sandor agrees that Joffrey deserved to die, but calls poison a woman's weapon, and that men kill with steel. Meanwhile, Sandor is still troubled by his wound. They finally arrive at the Bloody Gate, where he is informed of Lysa Arryn's death, three days past. Sandor stares in disbelieve, whilst Arya begins laughing due to the irony of the situation.

Sweetrobin tells Petyr how he’s afraid to leave the Eyrie, as his mother had told him he belonged at the Eyrie, and that it wasn’t safe for him, inside. Petyr tells Sweetrobin that people die at dinnertables, in their beds, and squatting over their chamber pots. Sweetrobin should worry about life, not death, he tells the boy. Sansa arrives, with her hair died, dressed in a feathered black dress.

In King's Landing

With his trial soon to take place, Tyrion and Jaime are in Tyrion's cell, where Tyrion recalls the irony of trial by combat: deciding the innocence of a man by having two other man hacking each other to pieces. Tyrion asks Jaime whether Oberyn stands a chance. Tyrion fears Oberyn will lose when Jaime confesses he has never seen the Dornishman fight, but reminds Tyrion that Oberyn seems to believe in himself.

Tyrion begins to list all the names for all kinds of killing: fratricide, matricide, filicide, nepidicide, patricide. There isn’t a kind of killing in the world without its own name. Jaime can think of one, however: cousins. Tyrion agrees.

They speak about Orson Lannister, who had been dropped on his head by his wetnurse once. Simple-minded, the boy would spend his time in crushing beetles with a rock. Tyrion tells Jaime how he used to watch Orson, to try and figure out his motive. He had asked Orson, but there had been no clear answer. No matter what Tyrion tried, he couldn’t figure it out, though he was convinced that Orson had his reasons for smashing the beetles. Tyrion stopped his attempts when Orson died. When the bells begin to ring, Jaime takes his leave, wishing Tyrion luck.

Tyrion is escorted to the arena, where a large crowd has gathered. Finding Oberyn, helm-less and drinking while wearing very light armor, Tyrion grows anxious. Ser Gregor arrives, in heavy armor, wearing a helmet, holding a greatsword. Ellaria is shocked to see Gregor's size, but Oberyn assures her he's going to kill him. Size does not matter once you’re on your back, according to the Prince.

While Oberyn's squire oils Oberyn's blade, Pycelle begins a long speech, asking the gods to favor the innocent, but Tywin Lannister cuts him short. The trial begins, and Oberyn kisses Ellaria, promising her not to leave her behind. He steps into the arena, displaying acrobatic spear maneuvers, and the crowd cheers. He asks Gregor whether he is aware of who he is, and explains he's the brother of Princess Elia Martell, and that he only came to King's Landing for Gregor. All the while, Oberyn forces Gregor to chase him, by constantly moving out of his reach. Oberyn demands Gregor confesses his part in the rape and murder of Elia, and the murder of her children, so they can make this a quick battle. Taunting Gregor constantly about this, Oberyn knocks off Gregor's helmet. As the fight goes on, Oberyn manages to seriously injure Gregor more and more, by stabbing him in the chest, severing his hamstring, and burying his spear in his stomach. Jaime looks with confidence at Tyrion, while Cersei visibly worries more and more. Meanwhile, Oberyn, furious, circles Gregor, pulling out his spear, and demanding that Gregor confesses to the crimes before he dies. He wants to hear from Gregor that Tywin gave the order. He exchanges a glance with Ellaria, but stands too close. Gregor trips his, seizes him, and smashes out his teeth with a single punch. Climbing on top of Oberyn, Gregor confesses that he killed Elia's children and raped her, as he gouges out Oberyn's eyes with his thumbs. Then, he crushes Oberyn's skull, as he states he did to Elia. While Ellaria screams in horror, the crows falls silent, and Gregor falls down to the floor.

Tywin rises, and proclaims Tyrion to be guilty in the eyes of the Gods. In the name of King Tommen, Tyrion is sentenced to death.



"The Mountain and the Viper" was written by David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, based on the original series by George R. R. Martin.

The episode is adapted from the following chapters from the A Song of Ice and Fire series: Jon VII, Tyrion X, Daenerys VI and Jaime IX from A Storm of Swords, Sansa I and Alayne I from A Feast for Crows, Reek II and Reek III from A Dance with Dragons.

Regular cast members

Eighteen out of twenty-six members for the fourth season appeared in this episode. Carice van Houten (Melisandre), Liam Cunningham (Davos Seaworth), Stephen Dillane (Stannis Baratheon), Natalie Dormer (Margaery Tyrell), Isaac Hempstead-Wright (Bran Stark), Gwendoline Christie (Brienne), Jerome Flynn (Bronn), and Sibel Kekilli (Shae) are not credited and do not appear in this episode.

Guest cast