Throughout the annals of history, reality and fantasy have both given us examples of what could happen when the smaller, underdog-type Davids face-off against their physically superior opponent Goliaths.
This week in episode 8, we get the Game of Thrones version of these epic, seemingly mismatched battles when the Mountain squares off in the circled circle with the God of Tits and Spears, Oberyn Martell.
But was David really an underdog? And in the GRRM world, does history simply repeat? Let us compare and contrast past events, if for no other reason than to pass the time…
Let us look at some historical “mano y mano” battles of historic (and not so historic) proportions, their respective outcomes, and why Oberyn (and Tyrion) may have a better chance of surviving than many viewers believe.
First, the one on which many have been based. The battle has not yet been seen, but already there lies glaring similarities.
The Philistine Army sent their best warrior. The Israelites sent the only man that would face him.
The Lannisters are sending their best warrior. The Imp is sending the only man that will face him.
The Mountain is reportedly a 6’9” giant of a man (or at least, Björnsson is 6’9). I’m told that the Mountain from the books is around 8’0. Regardless, he is huge.
Goliath was reportedly a 6’9” giant of a man (according to modern translations, and what is considered to be the true measures of cubits and spans). Many a translation have Goliath as tall as 9’5”, but it was likely due to a typographical error that remained in order to help exaggerate his size. Regardless, he was huge.
David was quick. Oberyn is no slouch (see: Lannister soldier hand stab in brothel from Ep. 1).
David wore nothing but sheepherder clothing for he knew that armor would weigh him down. Oberyn looks to be wearing no armor, assumingly for the same reason.
Goliath was covered from head to toe in full bronze armor. The Mountain looks to be following suit.
Goliath went in armed with a sword, a javelin, and a spear, while the Mountain appears to only have a sword (not that he needs anything else).
In this bout, it looks like Oberyn might be wielding the spear (which would also make sense considering his house sigil). David merely had a sling.
But the difference here may very well be in the detail.
David’s sling was not merely a child’s toy made for aiming at mockingbirds (although I know one ripe for target practice, you damn moon-door murderer).
It was by all accounts, a verifiable weapon that carried a projectile that was accurate enough to be used in battle. And David was experienced with it from using it protecting his sheep.
The question is, does Oberyn have a secret weapon that will help his cause in defeating the Mountain?
If the similarities continue, the answer should be yes. But what in the world of Westeros would that be? It seems unlikely that a spear would be enough to defeat an armored giant of a man, but then again, that’s what Goliath thought about the sling.
In a not-so-historically importance of a matchup, the somewhat smaller Hulk Hogan squared off against the great Andre the Giant. The secret weapon here was not a sling or a spear, but the unknown realization that someone in this world could actually pick up and slam a 500 pound man. Yes, the outcome was planned. But so are movies and television and written verse, and this one packed in 93,000 people into the Pontiac Silverdome and was covered in national headlines. Would Oberyn even try to body slam Gregor? Unlikely. Nevertheless…
Winner: Hulk Hogan
Achilles versus Boagrius
In the first scene of the 2004 movie Troy, it was over before it started when Brad Pitt took out Nathan Jones simply because he was quicker, more precise, and ultimately a better warrior. Boagrius does not exist in Greek mythology and was in fact just the name of a river. But the point is, will Oberyn strike quickly?
The smaller horse faces the overall better and composite favorite horse and gives many during the Great Depression hope for the future. While War Admiral was known for being fast out of the gate, Seabiscuit accomplishes his feat by pacing. Will Oberyn wear down the bigger man and defeat him in a similar manner?
Rocky versus Thunderlips
“Why are they carrying him?”
In a role reversal from the Hulk and Andre ordeal, and included just for the fun of it, Rocky agreed to battle the hulking Thunderlips at the beginning of Rocky III in what was supposed to be an exhibition. Thunder came to kick his ass. Rocky eventually removes his gloves and uses his best tools to his advantage. The point is, will Oberyn have to resort to methods that were not originally intended?
Note: Rocky IV versus Drago could have been used. Or Rocky V. Or hell, really any of them.
Viewer logic screams in my head that there is no way both Oberyn and Tyrion die at this point in the story, especially to a character that has been recast three times in four seasons. But logic goes seemingly nowhere in this series, so all bets are off. My biggest hope is that this battle scene lives up to the hype, and I have no reason to believe that it won’t.
Winner: Game of Thrones fans
Looking Forward to Resolution
Once or twice a season, I make a list of situations or story lines I would like to see at least somewhat resolved before the season ends. Here is my short list that will most likely be concluded in next week’s LF installment. Please tell me yours below.
I’d like to see the Stark and the Hound get to a destination. If it’s the Vale, then so be it. Arya and Sansa reunited would be a nice end to the season, but not if it means losing the Hound or having them both stuck with Baelish.
I’d like to know what occurs with the Loras and Cersei wedding arrangement. This has been discussed on numerous occasions but has been placed on the backburner due to other events.
I’d like to see or at least get a mention as to the whereabouts and/or the current dealings with the Brotherhood. No Beric. No Thoros. No Anguy.
I’d like to get an update on Gendry and whether or not he is still rowing.
I’d like to know if Yara is still hanging around the mainland regrouping or if she really has retreated back to the Iron Islands after the convincing speech she gave to her father about going to save her brother.
I’d like to know if Osha and Rickon actually made it safely to the Umbers.
And for now, I’d really like to see more of where Bran’s story is going before we are tortured in wait for another ten months.
See you guys tomorrow for the Unsullied recap! Sincerely, thank you guys that commented the very nice compliments on the Curtain Call for Kate Dickie. It was my honor to provide it and I appreciate FaB and Fury for asking me to do it.
I can be followed in the land of ravens @ozofthrones.
Let’s get ready to rumble, and may there always be peace in your realm. –Oz
“Unbowed. Unbent. Unsullied.”
REMEMBER, NO SPOILERS in this post!!