Game Of Thrones Co-Creator Explains Why Killing Off Pedro Pascal’s Fan-Favorite Character ‘Worked Out’

Game of Thrones Oberyn Martell Pedro Pascal Ellaria Sand Indira Varma HBO
(Image credit: Helen Sloan / HBO)

Pedro Pascal burst onto Game of Thrones like a bolt of lightning back in Season 4, and his role is impossible to forget. Pascal took on the part of Oberyn Martell to fan-favored acclaim during his brief, albeit memorable, run. Like many before and after him, Oberyn’s time on Game of Thrones came to a deadly end, but why does the show’s co-creator feel that killing off Pascal’s character “worked out?"

Well, you have to consider the context. That's part of what Game of Thrones co-showrunner David Benioff had to say about killing off Pedro Pascal’s Oberyn. On that note, it didn't turn out any better for the character's kids either, as Game of Thrones progressed. Pascal expressed his feelings regarding that development. Asked if there was a moment that he second-guessed killing off the fan-favorite, Benioff told Variety:

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 (which feature a few thousand brutal killings, so that’s saying something). 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.

Of course, it's worth mentioning that Pedro Pascal has gone on to do plenty of other major projects since Game of Thrones. Not only has he starred in Netflix’s crime drama, but he's currently the star of a pretty big Disney+ series known as The Mandalorian, wherein he plays the title role opposite pop culture sensation Baby Yoda (aka The Child). It goes without saying that Pascal has seized all of the momentum from his fan-favorite role on GoT.

Pedro Pascal’s life on Game of Thrones was one fuel to the fire, while his character’s death was another one. The horrific moment arrived when the “Red Viper” went up against The Mountain, and it proved to be one of Game of Thrones’ most notorious death scenes. It began when Oberyn agreed to represent Tyrion in a trial by combat in an effort to avenge his sister and her children.

The Mountain murdered all of them. The trial by combat got off to a great start, with Oberyn seeming ready to defeat The Mountain, and that was when things went haywire. In the end, The Mountain came out on top, smashing his fingers into Oberyn’s eye sockets before crushing his head. It was grizzly and made multiple deposits into the brain banks of those watching.

The good news is that Oberyn managed to (sort of) take The Mountain with him thanks to his poisoned spear tip. For Pedro Pascal, there was much better news. The actor has found himself on a successful career path that seems to grow by the year. While Pascal is now heavily into the world of Star Wars, he has not lost sight of the comparisons between that world and Game of Thrones’ dramatic universe.

All's well that ended well, as Oberyn’s short-term storyline concluded with the same ending he experienced in the books. You can check out Pedro Pascal’s fan-favorite run as Oberyn Martell by streaming the fourth season of Game of Thrones on HBO Max. As you wait for the next chapter to get turned in the franchise thanks to House of the Dragon, check out this fall’s premieres.

Britt Lawrence

Like a contented Hallmark movie character, Britt happily lives in the same city she grew up in. Along with movies and television, she is passionate about competitive figure skating. She has been writing about entertainment for 5 years, and as you may suspect, still finds it as entertaining to do as when she began.