After five seasons of Game of Thrones, it’s getting harder to think about what the show’s most violent scene has been, considering just how many brutal tragedies have occurred. But I’m pretty sure that every single viewer remembers back in Season 4, when Gregor “The Mountain” Clegane and Oberyn “The Red Viper” Martell faced off for a trial by combat. That scene, beyond giving us one of the show’s best fights, is most memorable for the eye-gouging and subsequent evisceration of everything above Oberyn’s neck. It turns out that scene was supposed to be even more gruesome.
Ben Crompton, the English actor who portrays Eddison “Dolorous Edd” Tollett of the Night’s Watch, revealed what fans didn’t get to see in that scene.
I went in one session and they were flicking through stuff and they showed the Red Viper Mountain fight and they showed an edit where he puts the fingers in and he just pulls his face apart, but instead of cutting like it does in the show he just pulls his face apart and I just said ‘Oh my god they are never going to be able to show that on telly,’ and they didn’t, but the effects were brilliant.
That sounds like it would have been spectacular! Granted, I’m a horror movie fanatic who adores disgusting physical effects – and this very same kind of death happened in Tommy Wirkola’s Dead Snow, for those interested – and I know not everyone shares that viewpoint. Even those who have no problem watching gory scenes might just have no interest in watching the fan favorite Viper getting his head treated like one of Gallagher’s watermelons. (A timeless reference, no?) And so all of those folks can be happy that the way the scene ended on HBO wasn’t as graphic, while the rest of us stare wistfully at broken jars of spaghetti sauce, contemplating what might have been.
The fight’s ending already went a little more into slasher movie territory even without Oberyn’s head getting pulled apart, though the bloody explosion that leaves everyone gasping is almost comical, and helps cut through some of the nastiness. I’m not sure that would have been the case had we actually watched his face being torn apart, but I guess it all depends on how it was handled. If it was a close-up of a slow and agonizing facial fissure, that would have been tough to watch. But pull the camera back to a wide shot and play some “Yakety Sax” over it, and that’s solid entertainment for all ages!
Ben Crompton shared this story while speaking at a recent event in London celebrating the Blu-ray and DVD release of Game of Thrones Season 5 (via Trusted Reviews), and he sadly didn’t share any gross tidbits about the massive fight against the White Walkers in Season 5. I guess my horror fanfic will just have to do.
Game of Thrones will return to HBO for Season 6 on Sunday, April 24, likely with a lot of bloodshed and the occasional skull explosions.