Game of Thrones fans were cheering on Oberyn Martell when he took on the giant known as The Mountain. And the reason we were cheering, besides a fondness for the character, was the motivation behind his vendetta: Oberyn, much like Arya and other Game of Thrones characters, seeks revenge for a noble reason. And honestly, who hasn’t yearned for that sweet, cathartic experience of a well-executed act of vengeance?
Even the most kind-hearted, good-natured amongst us would probably feel a twinge of vengeful malice at least once in our lives. After all, we’ve all likely been witness to monstrosities during our lifetime – either directly or through the media. Look in the news and you’ll probably see revenge-worthy incidents happening daily.
Sometimes, comeuppances can be brutal: Gang retaliation, spouses killing their partners over affairs, and more. As with the recent high-profile case of the woman scorned, Jodi Arias, many are too gruesome to provide a satisfying feeling of schadenfreude. But in other cases, we can’t help but relish the tales of baddies getting their ‘just desserts’.
If you thought Game of Thrones was bloody and brutal in its tales of revenge, take a look at the history books. Some of the best cases of revenge in human history were very real; the following five crazy tales of real-life revenge might just surprise you.
5. Frank Eaton
There are few things as tragic for a child as watching their parent die. And when they watch their father being brutally murdered right in front of them, well, that tends to stick with them. In the case of Frank Eaton, he was 7 years old when he saw some men shoot his father dead in front of him. But little Frank saw their faces, and he vowed to a family friend that he would seek revenge as soon as he was old enough to do so.
Frank learned how to handle a gun from an early age, dedicating his life to the art of sharpshooting. Once he was ready, he set out to kill the men who made up his rival’s families. He killed all five of the six men involved with the death of his father (one died before he could get to them). In the second killing, the man rode up to Frank, not recognizing him, and asked what he wanted. In a line that could be straight out of a movie, he told his father’s killer point blank exactly what he was going to do and why before shooting him dead. He spent his entire life waiting for the moment to seek revenge, and he succeeded.
Frank “Pistol Pete” Eaton later went on to be one of the top lawyers in Oklahoma, and he’s the basis for the Oklahoma State University mascot to this day.
4. Operation Wrath of God
In 1972, 11 members of the Israeli Olympic team were killed by members of Palestinian militant groups. But this tragic event was the start of one of history’s greatest revenge stories. A covert operation called Operation Wrath of God was put into place to achieve justice for those killed. In total, 18 people were killed, and hours before each assassination, the Operation sent their condolences to the target’s family members in the way of a card and flowers – a polite reminder that they did not forget or forgive.
The executions were carried out in a variety of ways, some via a simple silenced gun and others with nerve agents that smelled like spring flowers. Regardless of the way they were killed, however, the outcome was still the same; revenge was served. All in all, the Operation is said to have taken place over the span of 20 years.
Mothers only want the best for their children, and when someone harms them, some women will do anything to seek revenge. Celtic queen Boudicca was no different, except for the fact that her revenge included razing two Roman towns to the ground.
Boudica’s husband was king of the Iceni, and when he died in 60 A.D, he left his wife and two daughters behind. However, his wife was pretty badass, so he probably didn’t worry too much. When Boudicca was abused and her daughters sexually attacked, she fought back. And she fought hard.
Boudica led a revolution against the Romans, and destroyed the town of Camulodunum before heading to London. The Romans just let London go, so when Boudica and her army arrived, it was theirs for the taking – they annihilated the city, slaughtering all the Romans they could find. Boudica knew her killing spree couldn’t last forever, though, and instead of being captured and tortured by her enemies, it’s believed that she and her daughters killed themselves with poison.
2. The Trung Sisters
Throughout history there are stories about men raising armies and fighting brutal wars against those who’ve done them wrong. What about the women? Trung Trac’s husband was executed by the Chinese governor after he protested tax rates. While many woman would need a mourning period, not Trung Trac. Instead, she rallied supporters and troops, many of them woman, to fight back against the Chinese. In the end, they drove the Chinese out of Vietnam, and Trung Trac was named Queen of Northern Vietnam with her sister, Trung Nhi as her top advisor.
The two of them engaged in near constant battles, and the tales from these battles are the stuff of legends. It’s said that one of their female captains, Phung Thi Chinh, gave birth on the battlefield and went on fighting with a sword in one hand, her newborn in the other. Unfortunately, that was the last battle for the Trungs and Phung, and instead of being killed by the opposition, they all took their own life. Phung also took the life of her child.
1. The 47 Ronin
Ronin means leaderless in Japanese, and in the case of the 47 Ronin, they were left without a master after he was sentenced to seppuku, Japanese ritual suicide. Asano, the leader, attacked a high-ranking official named Kira. Kira’s wounds were not severe, but it was against the rules, and Asano carried out the sentence.
However, his men weren’t so willing to let it go. Knowing that it meant certain death, they spent two years planning their revenge. They knew Kira would be on guard, so they waited… They slowly infiltrated themselves into Kira’s inner circle, with one man marrying the daughter of the person who built Kira’s home just so he could have access to the house plans. Oishi, their leader, went to great lengths to look like a drunk, someone who wouldn’t be a threat. Once Kira let his guard down, however, they attacked and killed him along with the men serving him (though they were told to do everything possible to avoid harming women and children). Once Kira was dead, they turned themselves in and 46 of the 47 were sentenced to Seppuku, just as they expected. The youngest was Oishi’s son who was only 16 at the time of the suicide.