Hafþór Björnsson on How Becoming the Mountain Changed His Life

Hafþór Björnsson as Gregor Clegane on Game of Thrones

It’s no secret why Hafþór “Thor” Björnsson was cast as Gregor “The Mountain” Clegane on Game of Thrones. The 29-year old Icelander stands six feet nine inches tall, currently weighs 431 pounds, and has fallen just short of becoming the World’s Strongest Man twice. According to an interview with Men’s Health, Björnsson is currently bulking up in an attempt to claim that title along with another that has eluded him, the Arnold Strongman Classic.

Maintaining his fearsome girth is no easy feat, as Björnsson eats 10,000 calories per day in addition to daily workouts and heavy lifting four days per week. “It’s a full-time job to be this size,” he admits. Perhaps it’s worth it, though, as his large stature was to him receiving an audition for Game of Thrones back in 2014 – a moment which had a profound impact on his life.

Björnsson was surprised to get the call. “I thought it was some kind of joke. I had no acting experience. I was just a big dude competing in Strongman.” He did have to recite a few lines during the audition, but his size and athleticism were instrumental in winning the role of The Mountain. “A lot of big guys can’t bend down, have knee pain, are slow,” Björnsson says. “I’m fast. I’m flexible, especially for my size.” He even impressed the sword fighting specialist, CC Smiff, who ultimately offered him the part.

Being on Game of Thrones allowed Björnsson to quit his job in bank security and focus solely on strongman contests and playing The Mountain. “I knew it was a huge thing for me, but I didn’t know how huge. It was a fucking huge U-turn,” he states. His fame led to commercials, becoming part owner and spokesman for Icelandic Mountain Vodka, and opening his own gym.

Björnsson may even consider moving to America to pursue acting full-time once he finishes achieving his goals in strongman competitions. He certainly fills a niche, admitting, “I’m unique. You cannot go out on the street and find guys my size. If you want a big ass motherfucker with a lot of muscles – and great ass – call me!”

Be sure to check out the entire interview with Björnsson over at Men’s Health.

27 responses

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    1. A good read, i’m happy for Björnsson.
      i’ll always remember The first time I’ve watched the Mountain vs The Viper for the first time, Bloody chilling 🙂

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    2. The sad thing is that I keep expecting him to keel over, while fervently hoping he doesn’t. There’s a reason why a higher than normal number of ‘strongmen’ die young.

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    3. Shouldn’t we have the official trailer released by now

      Does anyone know the dates of first trailer released and season premiere for the previous seasons .so we can able to guess how long we have to wait for the new trailer .

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    4. He’s “fallen just short of becoming the World’s Strongest Man twice.”

      I take it that The Warrior of Light aka The Valonqar aka a Sandor is #1.

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    5. “He is currently bulking up..”????????
      Yeah,I thought he was looking a little anorexic when he fought the Viper…

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    6. Pigeon:
      The sad thing is that I keep expecting him to keel over, while fervently hoping he doesn’t. There’s a reason why a higher than normal number of ‘strongmen’ die young.

      Yeah, it’s not very “natural”… Btw, the same probably goes for most Hollywood action actors as well. And those not “bulking up” are often starving themselves of food to fit the insane norms in the worlds of tv, movie, and modeling.

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    7. Pigeon: te  

      I think he looks adorable pre-steroids. However I understand & appreciate his bulk for the role. On an aesthetic level, I prefer his ‘natural’ look.

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    8. Interesting read. Thanks Vanessa for linking the Men’s Health article.

      Funny how normal sized his girlfriend is looking in the video from MH when they cook together in their kitchen. Like sitting next to a giant. And I bet she’s pretty fit and tall herself.

      I wish he would gain the two elusive titles that he wants fast. Looks like forced body mass gain doesn’t agree with his body considering the breathing problems and sleeping issues he has. At that weight 431, the massive and sharp gain would probably kill me. Nevermind the 10,000 cal per day.

      Pigeon,

      Whoa! he looked fine. I mean I don’t see the great ass from this position but I bet he had one then too LOL

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    9. The Strongman competitions are mind blowing. Those dudes are huge and move mountains. Best of luck to him.

      The impacts to ones health long term are something he clearly knows and feels. Hope get gets those titles and can pull back some.

      Absolutely despise the character he plays on GoT…except for when he messed up those Sparrows last season. Thank goodness that storyline is over. Yuck.

      Got a feeling Sir Robert Strong’s time on GoT will come to an end this season. No spoiler material since I really am just guessing. But…can’t last much longer, right? Dany and Winter are coming.

      Ready for the first full trailer. I may explode with joy.

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    10. duckandcover:
      I want to eat 10,000 calories with him one day.

      Some days I feel like I’ve eaten 10,000 calories… On those occasions I typically end up just taking a nap rather than working out though. 😛

      Speaking of a trailer… I kind of thought that just maybe there would be one this past Sunday since The Leftovers and VEEP were premiering. I even turned to the channel to watch the “break” even though I’m not current with those shows. Oh well.

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    11. “Conan Stevens is and always wil be THE ONLY MOUNTAIN!”

      Oh man, I miss the old controversal days when we fought over stupid things like Ian Whyte’s lanky bod and whether or not Talisa was a Lannister spy.

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    12. Rygar:
      “Conan Stevens is and always wil be THE ONLY MOUNTAIN!”

      Oh man, I miss the old controversal days when we fought over stupid things like Ian Whyte’s lanky bod and whether or not Talisa was a Lannister spy.

      Stop bitching. He has a great ass!

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    13. The Night King,

      That just means he’s upping his daily caloric intake. Every serious lifter does this for the most part during the winter. Bulk, cut, repeat. It’s the way to add lean mass, that’s all. I felt the need to say this because it’s totally normal to do this

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