Nowadays, articles and videos of the “Game of Thrones” are just as common as crows on the battlefield, and the eighth and last season of the fantasy epic of HBO over the horizon. But few of them refer to the fact that, in my opinion, is the most exciting development of the plot over the past few seasons: namely, Haftor Julius Bjornsson, who plays Gregor's "Mountain" Clegane, jumped off the screen and became terrible, dominant world power in the real sport of a strong man.
It doesn't matter if you are a complete newcomer for Westeros or you are one of those millions of patients obsessively watching The Mountain compilations on YouTube, enjoy this epic project of an epic recovery from the Icelandic warrior. In (approximately) chronological order, one for each season “GoT”, here are his greatest feats.
2015: Log Carry, 1411 pounds, the most powerful viking in the world
Competitive strongman has a stronger connection with history and legend than most strength sports. But this rise, from the time when Bjornsson was the strongest man in Europe and appeared only in one season, “GoT”, was especially loaded with a mythological surge.
At the World Championships for the Strongest Vikings in Fefor, Norway, in 2015, Bjornsson suffered the re-creation of a mast from a Viking ship in five steps – and, presumably, was the first person to do it for 1000 years, ”tell stories. "But all the stories aside, it's damn stupid and a sign that Bjornsson will not be intimidated by any superhuman challenge."
2017: Weight Over Bar, 100 pounds, Rogue Record Breaker
Who said that the power is slow, lifting? Anyone who has ever shook a heavy weight can testify that bringing a subject to the navel level in a repeat or two may seem like a battle for your life. But Bjornsson not only swings this 100-pound bell easily, he launches it much higher than a 20-foot bar and slightly smaller than the mesosphere.
This is one of those climbs that really shows how much I don’t want to be in a position where Bjornsson finds it necessary to leave me. Or hit me. Honestly, I'm fine with him, just staying in ignorance about my existence completely.
2018: Atlas Stone, the most powerful man in the world
Bjornsson was so dominant over the last couple of years that it is easy to forget that he tried and failed to win the strongest in the world seven times, starting in 2011, when he was only 23 years old, and some other dude played Mountain in 1- m season "Got it."
After he finished second or third in six consecutive WSM championships, he seemed to win someday. But this was not a certainty before the final event, atlas stones, in the Philippines in June 2018. Bjornsson always coped well with an insane quick pace with satin stones, but he was able to walk to win with time to save money.
2018: Elephant Draft, 1,041 pounds, Arnold Strongman
Yes, he broke this record by five pounds at the same competition in 2019. But there is something special about Bjornsson’s triumphal striving to set records on Arnold Strongman in 2018. The 9.5-foot bar bends and then rises above the ground like magic. And then, when he freely blocks it, Bjornsson nods, then holds it for what looks like eternity.
He had yet another event before defeating Brian Shaw for his first victory of Arnold Strongman, but at that moment he said: "The game is over." This is a lifting equivalent of the time when he grabbed this gloating Dornish by the leg and pulled him into a bear hug, although a spear stuck in his guts.
2019: Deadlift Elephant Bar, 1042 pounds, exercise lift
This is just one pound more than Bjornsson’s record-breaking 2018 Arnold Classic, but he announced to the other competitors that he reached the maximum and is ready to repeat a week later in Columbus, Ohio. The fact that he nailed this silky jerk with an army of screaming Icelandic strong people, and Larry Wils behind his back, made him even more amazing.
And if you think about it, it was also probably a huge hint that Larry would unexpectedly take on the role of the brother of the Mountain "Dog" in the eighth season, preparing for the epic battle of Clegan in the final episode. Probably.
2019: natural stone shoulder, 410 pounds, Arnold Strongman
This one is really just a personal favorite. Bjornsson did not win the event, and he needed only one representative to secure his overall victory in Arnold Strongman. But what was that representative?
Being an experienced bricklayer, Bjornsson did not have to fight to deliver the stone to his chest. But in order to reach him to the shoulder, he used his head – indeed, his cheekbone – as a foothold under the narrowest edge of the rock. If it were “GoT”, then a terrible death killing a head would be (forgive me) an easy task at the moment.
Watching live, with a 7-year-old child, we shouted incredulously on the TV. No one should be able to balance the 410-pound stone on the bony part of their face. And yet he did. I'm still nervous watching this thing travel around his circle.
2019: Husafell Stone, 410 pounds, Arnold Strongman
Husafell stone carriers are an integral part of a strong man’s high-level competition, so this may not sound like much. But this Husafell was not your ordinary metal box in the form of a tombstone with a bunch of weights inside.
For Arnold Strongman, in 2019, Rogue Fitness hired a monument carver to create an exact replica of the stone, based inch by inch on a real Husafell stone, which is located in Husafell, Iceland. Their video "Road to Arnold" about the stone and the event is definitely worth watching. If ever there was an event that seemed to Bjornsson to win, then it was he – and he confidently moved along the stone-marked course intended to reproduce the sheep pen, where the Husafell stone is located.
2019: Squatting, 440 pounds for 29 reps, exercise lift
Nobody is going to make a documentary about this. This is just an excerpt from the fruitful Bjornsson channel on YouTube, where he chronicles the highlights of daily workouts. But this … 440 pounds for 29 reps in less than a minute. No spotters, no security measures, just a man and a moving barbell. The first 20 reps take just 30 seconds. The next 7, well, they look tough. And the final 2, they are completely terrible.
Whatever happens in Westeros, this is why my money is on the Mountain.