Is What the Mountain Did in a GoT: ‘The Mountain and the Viper’ Possible?

Spoiler alert – If you haven’t watched Game of Thrones season 4, “The Mountain and the Viper,” you may want to view that before continuing with this article.

Few will disagree that “The Mountain and the Viper” was one of the most intense episodes of George RR Martin’s televised adaptation of A Song of Ice and Fire, but many are still reeling from the path that lead us here and the consequences of what occurred.

In short, Prince Oberyn’s attempt to clear Tyrion’s name and achieve his goal of punishing his sister’s murderer fail somewhat…spectacularly. Indeed, Prince Oberyn’s exit from the show is quite explosive from multiple perspectives. One question nagging this viewer’s mind, however, was: Is this actually possible?

Sure, this is a romp with dragons, shadow-birthing fire mages, and wargs but, still, some allowances must be made for some sort of set of physics or boundaries for this world which, of course, coincidentally mirrors our own in so many ways that, well, if it’s not possible here, it’s not possible there, right?


Perhaps that’s not the best logic to apply to a fantasy show. In fact, the only appropriate times I can think of to pursue the above train of thought is sometime between never and ever. Yet, I can’t resist the urge…so I went to Google.

And I found this.

Yes, tl;dr a human’s head can explode if enough pressure is applied to it. Approximately 520 pounds of force I believe.

From Time

There’s no way to calculate the exact answer, since we’re missing a lot of necessary data, but we can certainly guess. The Mountain weighs more than twice what the average man of today does, and he’s about two feet taller. He also has the advantage, within the context of the fight with the Viper, of not relying on muscle strength alone; he has the assistance of gravity and is leaning his entire upper-body weight on Oberyn Martell’s head. At the same time, he has the disadvantage of the fact that his arms are starting out still, so they don’t benefit from any major acceleration; acceleration is why a boxer’s fast-moving punch can generate a force of way more than the 520 required. Despite that, we’re going to say that yes, the Mountain probably could crush Oberyn Martell’s skull into smithereens using only his hands.

So there you have it. Yes, the Mountain could literally pop Oberyn’s head like a tomato. Shocking, yet totally plausible.

Of course, in the interests of science, you can click here to see the process for yourself.

Now, I’m off to never ponder whether or not Westeros is on a tidally-locked planet or if it’s even on a planet that’s possible at all since there are few other explanations for generations-long winter seasons. But I babble.
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