Game of Thrones last night re-re-introduced us to the Mountain, a.k.a. Gregor Clegane, the vicious brother of the Hound and the guy who Cersei deemed worthy of fighting Tyrion’s champion. Gregor was having a grand ol’ time disemboweling prisoners—or were they unlucky villagers? who knows!—and his rampage caused Cersei to carefully step over small intestines to deliver the good news to Clegane that he would get to use his sword again very soon.
I say “re-re-introduced” because this is the third actor to play the role. In season one, the Mountain was played by guest star Conan Stevens. In season two it was Ian Whyte. And last night Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson took the mantle.
Each time, the character seems to have gotten bigger and scarier. Björnsson’s Gregor cut a more imposing figure than any other dude I’ve ever seen on TV. Which led to me wonder: is Björnsson actually the world’s biggest guy? Or did he benefit from some camera trickery?
Nah. This is all him. It turns out that the Iceland-born Björnsson is a professional strongman, who finished second in the World’s Strongest Man competition this year and is just breaking into acting after some time in powerlifting. He stands 6-foot-9; he weighs 403 pounds. In a highly entertaining Reddit AMA, he said he consumes around 10,000 calories a day and that pulling airplanes is a hobby of his.
He also said Jim Irsay tried to sign him to the Colts—which is pretty funny in and of itself—and that he gets his daily cardio from “sex.” Vice just did a documentary on him and his fellow Icelandic strongmen. I came away from it convinced that we are not the same species.
This is what he lifts (… bro):
Squat – 360 kg/794 lbs. Raw
Bench press – 230 kg/506 lbs. Raw
Deadlift – 410 kg/904 lbs. Raw
So yeah. This is who Oberyn Martell has to go up against in a couple of weeks. It’s an uneven battle to say the least.