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Interview with Pedro Pascal

Oberyn

HBO

At what point did you learn Oberyn's fate?

Pedro Pascal

I was told right off the bat. It was in the description of the character arc when I auditioned for the part. I didn't know how he died, until I met [series creators] David Benioff and Dan Weiss in Belfast. They mentioned the crushing of my head in three steps: first the teeth, then the eyes, and finally the entire melon head. My first thought was, "Hopefully I'll be able to compete for a top spot for the most gruesome death on 'Game of Thrones,' " which is saying a lot.

HBO

Have you seen the finished scene?

Pedro Pascal

I haven't, but I can't imagine. [This interview took place before the episode aired.] I have to watch it in time with everyone else. I worry for my family; I really do.

HBO

As gruesome as it is, it looks authentic. Did they make a cast of your head?

Pedro Pascal

They made a cast of my head from the shoulders up and dressed it with facial hair and the expression of violent agony.

HBO

Have you seen it?

Pedro Pascal

Yes! They caught me staring at my head on set. We never get a chance to see ourselves three-dimensionally, and it's totally different. Maybe there was a little narcissism or just the fascination of seeing myself in 360 degrees. I was like, "Holy sh*t. I really look like my dad."

HBO

How much training did you have with the spear?

Pedro Pascal

HBO and 'Game of Thrones' put me in training with a master of wushu, an acrobatic martial arts. People train their entire lives to master this skill, so in a couple of weeks Master Hu could only show me the basics.

HBO

What was the most challenging thing about it?

Pedro Pascal

Everything. Mostly working with a spear that was a foot taller than me. There was sort of a helicopter-propeller move with the spear that I wanted to achieve the "woosh woosh woosh" of. I bought a curtain rod from Home Depot and practiced in my apartment because I was too shy to do it in public.

HBO

What was it like to film the combat scene? Can you explain Oberyn's decisions?

Pedro Pascal

It was very challenging because there was a physical aspect of it - which was the most demanding work that I've ever done - but also Oberyn is climaxing emotionally. Those two things synchronize themselves really beautifully.

I had a fascinating conversation with Lena Headey on set where we discussed the entire arc of the character. Oberyn is desperate to hear the Mountain make his confession. Although it's a violently tragic end, he does ultimately hear the words. There is this bittersweet ecstasy in the idea of delivering oneself to one's own end. It's a very cathartic moment.

HBO

In a previous episode, Oberyn is writing a poem for his daughter. Have you thought through his life in Dorne?

Pedro Pascal

I see him as an extremely contemporary, progressive and loving father. I think it's so suitable that he had nothing but daughters to raise. He doesn't shape ideas based on old conventions so his daughters are not limited by backwards, medieval morality.

HBO

He's very emotionally intelligent.

Pedro Pascal

I think there's a depth in the way that Oberyn perceives the world and the way he lives in it. I think there's a lot of woman inside of Oberyn, which attributes to his strength.

HBO

Can you explain what you mean by "a lot of woman"?

Pedro Pascal

Perceptiveness. Intelligence. In the world of 'Game of Thrones,' which can harshly reflect some of the darker elements of our reality, I would argue that women are often forced to be smarter and more in touch with themselves because their circumstances are so ruled by men. Women's survival skills kick in a bit earlier.

HBO

Would you say that Oberyn is a feminist?

Pedro Pascal

Absolutely. Without choosing to be. It's just intrinsic and logical to him. Ellaria Sand is the love of his life because she is his equal, if not his superior, in certain ways. That's part of what makes him such a fierce man because he knows who to take his lead from.

HBO

How do you hope that fans remember Oberyn?

Pedro Pascal

As a lover and a fighter. As a fun character who ushered in something new to King's Landing and stirred some sh*t up: Big in, big out.

HBO

Fans are bound to be brokenhearted.

Pedro Pascal

As am I. As I have been all along.

HBO

Would you like to see Oberyn's death avenged?

Pedro Pascal

F*ck yeah.

HBO

If you were on trial, what would your crime be?

Pedro Pascal

Oberyn would probably go a little too high up the chain in his sexual escapades. He'd probably sleep with the king's wife or the queen's husband.

HBO

You're invited to a GOT wedding. Would you accept or decline?

Pedro Pascal

I accept. Any opportunity to go hand-in-hand with Ellaria, because there's always an opportunity to get laid at the wedding.

HBO

The Hound says he'd go to Braavos next. Where would you reinvent yourself?

Pedro Pascal

I would stick around King's Landing. There's a nice brothel room open to the ocean.

HBO

What would you name your sword?

Pedro Pascal

Sammy the Sand Snake

38: The Mountain and the Viper

Season 4

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