Game of Thrones Season Four Episode 8: Trial By Combat Edition

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Game of Thrones is the best show on television because no one is safe from death. Evil often triumphs, the good guys rarely win, even today that’s still rare. Most popular media isn’t entirely dark, there are still vestiges of brightness within the darkness. The “good” side wins enough to keep you coming back for more. Not so with Game of Thrones.

Do you have a favorite character? He or she is probably going to die. 

Most likely, in a gruesome fashion while you stand up from your couch, jaw dropping, aghast at what you’ve just seen.

So too with last night’s episode. Here we go:

1. Gilly and Jon Snow’s girl see each other as the army of wildlings kills all the whores.

This was entirely predictable. What could go wrong with taking a mom and her baby outside of a fort and putting them in a whorehouse with no defenders? As stupid decisions go, I’m not sure Sam could have made a worse one. But, notwithstanding the stupidity of this decision, Ygritte, Jon Snow’s woman, finds Gilly and her baby hiding in a closet and allows them to live. 

This is great until you realize that at some point next in a future episode one of the cannibal raiders will likely make a baby smore out of Gilly’s baby and two roasted legs.

2. Daenerys calls the penis and testicles a “pillar and the stones.”

She and Missandhei also discuss whether or not the unsullied have penises and testicles. Seriously, I’m not sure if there has ever been a show more obsessed with the penis. This sets up a Game of Thrones relationship between a man without a penis and a woman who loves him anyway. Which is probably the most Game of Thrones story possible. They can, and probably will, go dildo shopping together. 

Anyway, we see a hot woman naked in the river. And it’s a hot woman, Missandhei, that I’ve wanted to see naked on the show for a couple of seasons now so I’m going to take this as a small victory. 

We immediately cut from the pillar and the stones conversation to Theon Greyjoy, who has no pillar.

3. Theon persuades a garrison to surrender by telling them that they will be given their freedom.

Then Ramsay slaughters the members of the garrison. That’s after, of course, the original leader is battleaxed in the head for refusing to surrender. 

Later Ramsay is given the last name of his bastard father and tells Theon/Reek to prepare him a bath. I think I speak for everyone when I say I have no interest in this storyline.

None at all.

I’m hoping Theon gets the disease that nearly killed the garrison back in the fort and finally dies. Along with Ramsay. 


4. Sansa finally does something!

After four years of controlling nothing, Sansa Stark finally speaks, delivering the greatest monologue in her character’s history. Given the chance to doom Lord Baelish for his murder of Lady Arryn, Sansa lies spectacularly and believably and says Lady Arryn committed suicide. I’ve ripped Sansa for years so it was nice to see her finally show some agency. Even if I didn’t believe there was any way that Baelish, who covers up everything he does, would have ever allowed Sansa to testify without having ensured she said what he wanted her to say.

Anyway, it seems clear that Sansa has a newfound power because she’s realized that Baelish wants to sleep with her. In most shows this would mean we’re in a for a romantic pursuit. This being Game of Thrones, I fully expect for Sansa to lose her virginity while being raped by a donkey.

5. Daenerys sends her top adviser, Jorah, back to King’s Landing for spying on her several years ago.

This means Jorah, who has not aged since starring in The Ten Commandments fifty years ago, is left without a home.

Meanwhile, all of the stories have been fine thus far, but I’m beginning to believe that Game of Thrones is going to neglect the trial by combat between Oberyn and The Mountain. Which is making me nervous. 


6. Arya Stark finally reaches her aunt’s home, only to discover that Lady Arryn died three days ago.

Meaning the Hound can’t be paid for her return here.

Arya erupts in laughter, but, admit it, you’re ready for Arya to finally be reunited with Sansa, right? Or at least for Arya’s never ending journey to be over. She fled at the end of season one. She’s now been on the run for almost three entire seasons. Given that Robin has to be trained not to be a wuss, doesn’t it make sense for the Hound to train and protect him as he once trained and protected Joffrey?

Plus, aren’t Lady Brionne and her assistant en route to the same kingdom?

Yes, right? So I’m hopeful Arya and the Hound will at least enter the kingdom and discover that Sansa is there. 

7. Finally, Tyrion’s on screen, delivering a long monologue about his cousin Orson the beetle killer.

Orson was dropped on his head as a baby and now spends all his days killing beetles. Why does he do it? No one knows. There’s probably a metaphor I’m missing here, but the monologue seems to reflect Tyrion’s belief that man, even in a natural state, is destructive and evil. 

Anyway, you don’t care about the beetles either, you just want to know whether or not the trial by combat is going to happen.

And I was terrified they’d end it right as the combat began.  

8. Oberyn is drinking and wearing light armor.

Tyrion suggests that, you know, maybe he shouldn’t be drinking before a fight to the mortal death. 

Oberyn’s mistress says, “You are going to fight that?” And Oberyn, who may be the most cocky man in Game of Thrones history, replies, “I’m going to kill that.”

9. Oberyn displays his stellar talents with a spear, knocks the Mountain off his feet, stabs him, and then, instead of killing him, demands that The Mountain confess to raping his sister and killing her children. 

He preens around the prostrate body of the Mountain putting on a show for those watching. 


10. The Mountain ain’t dead yet. 

In an epic turn of events, the Mountain sweeps Oberyn off his feet, grabs him, and turns his head into jelly. This has to be the most graphic death scene in television history. If either of my kids had snuck downstairs to see this, they’d be sleeping in our bed until they’re 12. 

But just how unexpected of a sporting turn is this?

I asked you for your nominations. And you sent dozens. 

11. The Mountain vs. Oberyn is the sporting equivalent of…

Here’s my reverse top 12 of the most similar sporting events to the Mountain’s collosal upset win over Oberyn. 

12. The Leon Lett Super Bowl fumble

Yes, for the showboating, but the stakes weren’t substantial here. The Cowboys were routing the Bills in the Super Bowl when Lett fumbled as he prepared to corss the goal line so the outcome didn’t change.

Here we had a full reversal in the victor.

11. The Arkansas-Tennessee fumble in 1998.

All Arkansas had to do was run out the clock and the Razorbacks win. Instead, Clint Stoerner fumbles. Here we have the reversal, but we don’t have the taunting or celebration.

10. Mizzou vs. South Carolina in the first overtime of last year’s game.

It’s 4th and 15 and all Mizzou has to do is stop South Carolina from scoring. Instead, the Tigers allow a touchdown pass. This was a crushing and unexpected turn of events, but it merely extended the game for a second overtime.

We were still just tied. 

9. The Sean Woods hook to the Christian Laettner shot in Duke vs. Kentucky.

Once more, we have the epic reversal, but not the taunting. 

8. The Kick Six.  

Yes, it was an improbable end, but Alabama’s chances of victory weren’t very high on this kick. It was a tie game at that point so the Tide weren’t actually in the lead.

It was an amazing ending, but it really wasn’t that similar to Oberyn vs. the Mountain.  

7. Bills come back from a 35-3 deficit against the Houston Oilers.

Here we have the epic reversal, but it wasn’t sudden. It was shocking, to be sure, but you had time to realize that this might become a reality. What we had in Game of Thrones was Oberyn, up 35-3 and then, out of nowhere, the Mountain scored 33 points in one play. 

6. Nebraska’s kick ball TD as Mizzou fans storm the field to celebrate the win.


This is up there for the swing and the improbability factor. Plus, you had the Mizzou fan celebration. The only reason it isn’t higher is because Nebraska was throwing into the end zone. While the way Nebraska scored was improbable, the fact that a touchdown pass could be thrown there wasn’t shocking. 

5. Georgia at Auburn

Knock. It. Down. 

If Auburn had won the national title this game would have become even more iconic than it already is.

But this play didn’t end the game. Georgia still drove back down the field with a chance to win.

4. The Music City Miracle

If they had papers, the headline in Westeros would have been: King’s Landing Miracle. 

3. Derek Dooley’s Vols lose to LSU with 13 men on the field. 

After celebrating an improbable victory. 

Yep, this one still stings. 


2. The Cal-Stanford band on the field game.

My wife actually came up with this analogy.

I’m still stunned.

It’s nearly perfect.  

1. The Bluegrass Miracle

Knock. It. Down. Part Two. 

This is the best comparison because the LSU at Kentucky game actually ended on this hail mary play. The Kentucky fans even stormed the field in the other end zone thinking they’d actually won.

We need someone to mix the Game of Thrones ending with the Bluegrass miracle ending.  

Written by Clay Travis

Clay Travis is the founder of the fastest growing national multimedia platform, OutKick, that produces and distributes engaging content across sports and pop culture to millions of fans across the country. OutKick was created by Travis in 2011 and sold to the Fox Corporation in 2021.

One of the most electrifying and outspoken personalities in the industry, Travis hosts OutKick The Show where he provides his unfiltered opinion on the most compelling headlines throughout sports, culture, and politics. He also makes regular appearances on FOX News Media as a contributor providing analysis on a variety of subjects ranging from sports news to the cultural landscape. Throughout the college football season, Travis is on Big Noon Kickoff for Fox Sports breaking down the game and the latest storylines.

Additionally, Travis serves as a co-host of The Clay Travis and Buck Sexton Show, a three-hour conservative radio talk program syndicated across Premiere Networks radio stations nationwide.

Previously, he launched OutKick The Coverage on Fox Sports Radio that included interviews and listener interactions and was on Fox Sports Bet for four years. Additionally, Travis started an iHeartRadio Original Podcast called Wins & Losses that featured in-depth conversations with the biggest names in sports.

Travis is a graduate of George Washington University as well as Vanderbilt Law School. Based in Nashville, he is the author of Dixieland Delight, On Rocky Top, and Republicans Buy Sneakers Too.