“Game of Thrones” fans should be ready to meet their new favorite character when the Red Viper is introduced in Season 4. Pedro Pascal plays the Dornish prince, Oberyn Martell, who comes to King’s Landing to attend King Joffrey’s wedding — and exact a bit of revenge.
Though the events that took place before “Game of Thrones” aren’t touched on much in the TV show, one in particular hugely affects Oberyn’s storyline. His sister Elia was married to Rhaegar Targaryen, both of whom were killed during Robert’s Rebellion. But rumor has it Elia was raped and murdered by the Mountain while her two children were brutally killed, and Oberyn holds the Lannisters accountable.
“It could very well be the tragedy of when and how he lost his sister and niece and nephew that basically set the stage for him to live a life of no consequences, or it’s kind of the major ingredient that was added to a character who was already bare in his soul, which is a lover and a fighter,” Pascal tells Zap2it. “I understood the way that tragedy can shape an agenda, and how much of a focal point the goal that was born from a particular tragedy can be. How totally driven by one thing he is, and how it also sort of branches itself out into how he lives his life.”
Without giving away any spoilers, Oberyn — who is known as the Red Viper — has an amazing introduction in “Game of Thrones” Season 4. His is a character who fights well and loves better, and Pascal had fun getting into that mindset.
“He is a person who lives through his passions, and there are no compromises he’s willing to make as far as what he feels in his heart, whether it be something of love or hate — or lust [laughs] or pleasure,” Pascal says.
“With [showrunners] David [Benioff] and Dan’s [Weiss] guidance so early, before even getting the part, I was able to identify with that; identify with the kind of fantasy of just living life the way you really want to live it, and not giving a s*** about the consequences — and knowing that it’s probably going to be a short life because of it, and not caring,” he continues. “And doing it anyway, and still having the ability in your heart, still being a good lover — being good in bed but being a good partner, and being a good father, and being a loyal family member.”
If Cersei Lannister thought Margaery Tyrell was racy in the way she dresses, then the queen is going to be in for quite a shock when she sees Oberyn and his paramour, Ellaria Sand. “He comes from a culture that is a lot more punk than the rest of Westeros,” Pascal says. “They’re more sensual people. They don’t live so conventionally, and so that changes his character. From the beginning, he was always going to be kind of a rebel.”
Because of the bad blood between the Martells and the Lannisters, this is a new family that could potentially be a threat to the reigning house in Westeros. Pascal says the introduction of Oberyn and the Martells will change the dynamic in Season 4.
“Here is a character for the first time that kind of comes up against all the most feared people and does not fear them at all. I think that we haven’t seen that,” Pascal says. “I would say Oberyn is the only one who does not fear the consequence of coming up against the most powerful people in the land. He is the only who doesn’t fear them. That’s what makes him such a wild card. That’s what makes him so dangerous.”
So is an enemy of an enemy a friend with the Red Viper? Tyrion Lannister is on the outs with his family, and there could potentially be room for something of an alliance between Tyrion and Oberyn.
“What he sees first is a Lannister,” Pascal says with a laugh of the relationship between the two men “Therefore, you’re on his s*** list from the get-go. But he’s not a dumb person, so he can’t deny a person’s intelligence and resilience. I think that with somebody like Tyrion who has basically been fighting for his life from the very, very beginning in such a dangerous world, it’s inevitable that he recognizes a real soul there, and then must inevitably give it respect.”
“Game of Thrones” Season 4 premieres April 6 on HBO.