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The Mountain actor: meet Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson, the Icelandic strongman who plays Game of Thrones' massive killing machine

The i logo The i 6 days ago David Hughes
a statue of Hafthor Julius Bjornsson in a suit and tie © Provided by Johnston Publishing Ltd

Ser Gregor Clegane, the colossal, red-eyed knight known simply as The Mountain, has become a cult antihero on Game of Thrones.

Having been snatched from the jaws of death after his gory duel with Oberyn Martell, he now exists as a ghastly, silent, zombie-like killing machine, dispatching Cersei Lannister's enemies with brutal efficiency.

With his similarly-oversized brother Sandor Clegane (The Hound) also still very much in the thick of the action, fans are desperate for the siblings to clash in season eight with the 'Cleganebowl'.

a person standing in front of a building © Provided by Johnston Publishing Ltd

The Mountain is currently portrayed by Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson, the third actor to play the role following in the hefty footsteps of Conan Stevens and Ian Whyte – here's what you need to know about him.

The Mountain: literally the strongest Viking ever

Hafthor Julius Bjornsson et al. posing for the camera © Provided by Johnston Publishing Ltd

Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson was born on 26 November 1988 in Reykjavik, the Icelandic capital, and embarked on a career in professional basketball as a teenager.

Standing at 2.06m (6ft 9in), he played for a series of Icelandic top-flight sides as a centre before an ankle problem forced his retirement from the sport at the age of 20 in 2008.

He switched to strongman, and has been named Iceland's strongest man every year since 2011, as well as winning the brilliantly-named Iceland's Strongest Viking title three times.

Dominance on the European stage followed, with Björnsson winning Europe's Strongest Man in 2014, and repeating the feat four out of the next five years.

The only title to elude him was the World's Strongest Man, despite never being out of the top three from 2012 to 2017.

a group of people wearing costumes © Provided by Johnston Publishing Ltd

However, in last year's contest he finally took the top spot on the podium in Manila, becoming the first Icelander to claim the title in over 20 years.

Björnsson holds the world record for the deadlift – a frankly absurd 474 kg (1,045 lbs) – and in 2015 carried a 10 metre, 650 kg (1,433 lb) log five steps, breaking a Viking record supposedly set by Orm Storolfsson over 1,000 years before.

He joined the cast of Game of Thrones in 2013 for his first acting role and has now played The Mountain for five seasons.

Last year, he married the Canadian blogger Kelsey Henson, 29, who stand over a foot-and-a-half shorter than her husband at 5 ft 2 in.

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💐❤️👫 . . #iceland #viking #canadian #wedding #love #tietheknot #couple #fitness #fitcouple #goals #strongman #strength #together #family #love #united

A post shared by Kelsey Henson (@kelc33) on Apr 12, 2019 at 11:28am PDT

How can I be as big as The Mountain?

Since he entered the world of strongman, Björnsson has bulked up from around 105 kg (16 and half stone) to a terrifyingly massive 180-185 kg (around 28 and a half stone).

In order to maintain his bulk, the 30-year-old says he eats six to eight meals a day, consuming up to 10,000 calories.

He told GQ: "It’s just like constantly work for me: I have to eat every two hours to maintain my body mass. It is not easy. When I’m filming, I always have to have breaks to eat."

(Photo by Jamie McCarthy/WireImage,) © Getty (Photo by Jamie McCarthy/WireImage,)

But what is The Mountain actually eating? Apparently, he revealed during the same interview, largely whatever he likes.

Björnsson said: "I eat very healthy overall—but because of my weight, I need fast carbs, easy carbs.

"So maybe before a training session or after a training session, I eat what I want."

Related: Here's What The Game Of Thrones Cast Is Worth [Refinery 29]


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