Iceland’s strongest man, Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson, has been receiving a lot of attention from the international media in recent days due to his role as The Mountain in Game of Thrones.
Hafþór made his debut on the show on Sunday night. Hafþór finished second in this year’s World’s Strongest Man competition and third in 2012 and 2013.
According to Entertainment Weekly, Game of Thrones recast the role of The Mountain this season due to the demands of a fight sequence against the character Oberyn, signing Hafþór to take over the part.
“It’s one of those fights that from the very beginning of the process of planning the show before season one we knew would be a high point if done properly,” showrunner Dan Weiss said. “And it’s a real challenge because The Mountain is The Mountain—you need to find an enormous human being who can also deliver what you need on physical front ... And Hafþór for The Mountain is a truly unusual specimen—I believe he’s the third-strongest man in the world and a former basketball player, so he knows how to move. To see somebody who is 6′ 9″ and moving the way he does in person is a surreal sight to behold,” Weiss said, adding that the fight is one of the best, if not the best, fights in the series.
The fight episode will be aired in the U.S. on June 1.