Killing Off Pedro Pascal’s Character in Game of Thrones Was Painful But It Was One of David Benioff’s Favorite Brutal Killings From George R.R. Martin’s Books

Oberyn Martell’s death is burnt in our minds because of just how heartbreaking and gruesome it was.

pedro pascal, game of thrones, david benioff
Credits: Wikimedia Commons/Gage Skidmore


  • Pedro Pascal played the role of Oberyn Martell in ‘Game of Thrones’ season four.
  • Creator David Benioff talked about Oberyn’s death and how it was one of his favorite brutal deaths from the books.
  • After working with Pascal, the creators of ‘GoT’ knew that he was going to be a star going forward.
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Throughout its eight seasons, Game of Thrones left no stone unturned to traumatize its fans by killing off characters whenever they got the chance. Both books and the television series have had fans bawling over the loss of their favorite characters, including Pedro Pascal’s Oberyn Martell.

Pedro Pascal in Game of Thrones playing the role of Oberyn Martell
Pedro Pascal as Oberyn Martell in Game of Thrones season 4

Pedro Pascal is one of those few actors who shine bright in whatever role they take. However, it was his time on Game of Thrones that truly showed his potential to the world and gave him a boost in his career. It didn’t take long for Oberyn Martell to become a fan-favorite character. This is why, when the show brutally killed him off, fans were devastated. Creator David Benioff once talked about why they decided to incorporate Oberyn’s death into the series.

David Benioff Talks about Killing Off Pedro Pascal’s Character in Game of Thrones

the mountain crushes oberyn's eyes through his skull in game of thrones
Oberyn Martell’s death in Game of Thrones

Pedro Pascal walked into Game of Thrones in season four, a time when the show had long established itself, and fans already had their favorites picked out. It was going to be difficult for the actor to make a mark on the show, but thanks to his immense talent, the audience fell head over heels for Oberyn Martell.


Unfortunately, Pascal’s time on the show was limited to season four. His first appearance was in episode 1, Two Swords, and he was last seen in episode 8, The Mountain and the Viper. In the episode, Oberyn engages in a trial by combat against the Mountain (Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson).

While Oberyn almost claimed victory for himself, he delayed it by demanding that the Mountain confess his sins. In doing so, the Mountain was able to turn the tables around, and he knocked Oberyn off his feet. He then proceeded to crush his opponent’s eyes through his skull as he confessed to r-ping and murdering Elia and her children.

Needless to say, this was one of the most gruesome and hard-to-watch scenes in the entire series. Talking to Variety, David Benioff revealed that he couldn’t possibly have left this moment from George R.R. Martin’s books out of his series. Why? Well, simply because it was one of Benioff’s favorite killings in the books.


When asked if he and D.B. Weiss, even for a moment, contemplated letting Oberyn live, Benioff replied,

“Nope. I mean, we love Pedro. And we loved that character. But his death at the hands of the Mountain was one of our favorite brutal killings from George’s books. Part of the reason people remember Oberyn is because he died so horribly. And if we hadn’t killed him, poor Pedro never could have done ‘Narcos.’ So, it worked out. Not for Oberyn. But for the rest of us.”

That’s true. After Oberyn made his exit from the show, Pascal went on to play Javier Peña in Narcos, something which he attributes to his time on GoT.

The Creators Knew that Pedro Pascal Was Going to be a Star

Pedro Pascal as joel in the last of us
Pedro Pascal in The Last of Us (2023 – present)

When Pascal auditioned for Oberyn, he sent in a video taken from his iPhone in selfie mode, which perplexed the team of GoT. Benioff stated that everything aside from the actor’s performance was “very amateurish.” Thankfully, he was able to look past the cons of the video and focus on the pros.


After watching the entire season unfold, Benioff and Weiss had no doubts that Pascal would go on to do great things in his career, which he did. He told Variety,

“Once we saw the entire season there was no doubt Pedro was going to be a star. I thought he deserved more recognition, frankly. Was he nominated for any awards? He should have been. But Dan and I were thrilled that we gave Pedro a job that helped his ascent, because he’s an absolute gem of an actor and a man.”

Before GoT, Pascal did quite a few roles here and there in shows like Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Law & Order, Charlie’s Angels, and more. However, his career graph took a turn for the better after playing Oberyn. He got the lead roles in shows like Narcos and The Mandalorian and was recently seen as Joel Miller in The Last of Us Season 1 and will be reprising the same for Season 2. Soon, he will be playing the role of Reed Richards in Marvel Cinematic Universe’s The Fantastic Four.

It looks like Benioff and Weiss were right to put their bets on Pascal!


Game of Thrones is available to stream on Max.


Written by Mishkaat Khan

Articles Published: 1142

Mishkaat is a medical student who found solace in content writing. Having worked in the industry for about three years, she has written about everything from medicine to literature and is now happy to enlight you about the world of entertainment. She has written over 500 articles for FandomWire. When not writing, she can be found obsessing over the world of the supernatural through books and TV.