One of Game of Thrones' greatest villains scored a huge victory on Sunday when Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson, the man who plays Ser Gregor "The Mountain" Clegane won the 2018 World's Strongest Man competition.
Björnsson, 29, is best known to the public as the massive figure in golden armor who always stands beside Cersei Lannister. However, in weightlifting circles he has been lauded for years as one of the toughest competitors in the sport of strongman.
This year, Björnsson took home is first ever first-place win in the Worlds Strongest Man competition, according to a report by PEOPLE. He has consistently placed second or third in the past several years, but his victory on Sunday cements him as an icon of the sport.
The competition was filmed, and will air on CBS in the United States starting in June. It may serve as something of a consolation prize for fans who can't wait for Björnsson to return as the zombified bodyguard of Westeros' self-proclaimed queen.
Strongman competitions consist of outlandish tests of both strength and endurance, including truck-pulls, car deadlifts and keg-tosses, sprinkled in with more traditional weightlifting events. The sport gained some prominence in 2015 with the documentary Eddie Strongman, currently on Netflix.
The movie traced the rise of Eddie Hall, another famous strongman and one of Björnsson's biggest competitors. Björnsson himself features heavily in the movie as Hall struggles to find his place among the greats. In it, filmmakers follow him throughout his day at his home in Iceland, showing the outrageous lengths he goes to to get a competitive edge.
Björnsson is shown consuming up to 10,000 calories per day in the documentary. His grueling training schedule includes some of the most taxing lifts possible. Another top competitor, Brian Shaw, is even filmed alternating between an ice bath and a hot tub in order to stimulate muscle recovery and growth.0comments
While working toward the height of glory in a niche sport, Björnsson has the fortunate side effect of being a cast member on one of the most beloved series in recent memory. Game of Thrones is currently filming its eighth and final season, and fans are on the edge of their seats awaiting the epic conclusion, which is expected to air in 2019.
Meanwhile, fans of the novels that the show is based on are not so lucky. Last month, author George R.R. Martin announced that the sixth book would be delayed yet again, for the seventh year in a row. Instead, he is publishing another fictional history of the fantasy world his work is set in. The nearly 1,000 page volume, Fire & Blood, is expected out in November.