Once again, George R.R. Martin built up our expectations around a savior character, and took them away in a matter of seconds.
Spoiler Alert: Do not read if you have not seen Season 4, Episode 8, "The Mountain and The Viper."
Over the course of this season, Oberyn Martell, better known as the Red Viper of Dorne, quickly became a fan favorite and antihero that we could all get behind to save Tyrion. However, the bloodthirsty author knew that his character archetype should die –- rather, needs to die -- and here's why:
1. It was in Oberyn Martell’s DNA to die
Besides providing the viewers with titillating sexcapades with his paramour, he had no other purpose in life but to seek vengeance for his sister and her children. This single-minded purpose left him open to death. Proven time and time again by characters like Ned and Robb Stark, if you do not not play the Game of Thrones across all boards you will meet your inevitable demise.
2. An extended lifespan serves little to no purpose
Like Boba Fett in "Star Wars," Oberyn was the wildcard whose presence has a greater impact by being short-lived because they are both ephemeral characters. If Oberyn lived, what would he do after all his enemies are dead? He has no interest in the Iron Throne, nor does he have any allegiances to any of the other houses.
3. Preserves the integrity the plot
Killing a wildcard character like Oberyn is what keeps a show unpredictable and fresh unlike in the "Walking Dead." Daryl Dixon is a longtime wildcard fan favorite. But he’s slowly dwindling into a pushover babysitter for Beth Greene, which is a completely unnecessary dynamic that has taken away from his badass factor. Daryl should have died in a grandiose act of courage to solidify his status as a rebel without a cause. The only reason he’s still alive is because the showrunners are pandering to fans to maintain their record-breaking ratings for cable television.
4. The wrath of Dorne
In season two, Myrcella Baratheon, Cersei’s daughter, was sent to Dorne to marry Oberyn’s nephew, Trystane Martell. Dorne has vast cultural difference from the other houses of Westeros, including the fact female heirs have an equal claim to to ruling. Plus we can't imagine that Oberyn's eight bastard daughters known as the sand snakes will be very happy when they hear about their fathers demise.
5. It makes him a legend
Oberyn has now earned his keep amongst short-lived but badass greats such as Khal Drogo, Boba Fett, Opie Winston ("Sons of Anarchy"), Shane Walsh ("Walking Dead"), Sirius Black ("Harry Potter") and Sonny Corleone ("The Godfather").
While broken hearted fans will swear off "Game of Thrones" after this episode. I urge you to keep watching, because as a book reader between the Red Wedding and Oberyn’s death in one book, I wanted to give up on the series. But I promise you it only gets better from here.