Game Of Thrones: How To Survive A Trial By Combat

In trouble in Westeros? Here's how to keep your head. (contains spoilers)

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It's unlikely the British justice system will change to allow trial by combat, but such is the popularity of Game Of Thrones we can't rule it out entirely.

Should you ever be called upon to defend yourself (or a physically disadvantaged friend) by pleasing the gods and killing someone else first, here are five lessons we've learned from Tyrion's mixed record in Westeros so far.

Good luck.


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1 | Don’t kiss your wife / girlfriend / lover before battle starts
It’s an old cliché in TV and cinema that the most cock-sure opponent will be the one to bite the dust. Similarly, declaring any sort of happiness / plans for the future before a fight is a sure fire way to get offed by the gods of television karma. Never have a Game Of Thrones couple looked as loved up as Oberyn and Elisa Martell before this week's fight. As such, Oberyn had to die. The lesson? Keep your loved ones at a distance.

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2 | Don’t drink
A bit of an obvious one, but a trial by combat isn’t a ruckus at the local Wetherspoons after eight pints, as Tyrion reminds his champion pre-fight. Get drunk and it's not only your life you're playing with, but that of the person you're defending. Keep your head clear, your mind focused on the task at hand and save the celebratory wine until you've actually won. 

3 | Fighting with honour will not win the day
As Bronn points out after saving Tyrion at the Eyrie, fighting with honour will kill you. Winning the fight at all costs will get you promoted to a member of the King’s Guard, and eventually your own castle and princess to marry. Similarly, there wasn’t much in the way of honour on display when Gregor Clegane plunged his thumbs into Oberyn Martell’s eyes.



4 | Always dress appropriately
A solid life lesson, but even more essential in a combat situation. While some viewers may have described the Viper’s outfit as a ‘skirt’ the Mountain came suited up in full armor and helmet. The lesson? Even the biggest man can use extra protection.

5 | Don’t be a show off
Again, Bronn is the man to look to for this one. Straightforward, no-nonsense fighting will win the day. While the Viper did his best display of baton twirling and Jedi flips in the latest episode, the Mountain took things slowly, and while his final crushing of Oberyn’s skull was undoubtedly rather showy, it did prove that slow and steady kills the Viper (and unfortunately, possibly Tyrion Lannister).


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