10:58am PT by Josh Wigler
Life Imitates Art as 'Game of Thrones' The Mountain Battles a UFC Champion
It doesn't require much imagination to predict how a battle against the impossibly muscular Icelandic actor Hafthor Julius Bjornsson from Game of Thrones might turn out. All it requires is an HBO subscription.
Viewers of Game of Thrones remember all too well the outcome of the season four death match between Bjornsson's Gregor "The Mountain" Clegane and Pedro Pascal's Oberyn "The Red Viper" Martell — and those who don't recall the battle have done a miraculous job of ridding the brain matter and skull fragments from their memories.
In any event, anyone in need of a reminder does not need to scroll back through the Game of Thrones archives; they only need to watch a new three-minute video of Bjornsson sparring with Conor McGregor, the UFC Interim Featherweight Champion from Dublin, Ireland.
No heads were squashed in the making of this video — indeed, only smiles are cracked between the combatants — but the sight gag alone makes the battle feel like the real life equivalent of "The Mountain and the Viper."
Bjornsson is the third and most enduring actor to play Clegane on Thrones, following on the heels of Conan Stevens (season one) and Ian Whyte (season two). The character is the brother of Sandor "The Hound" Clegane, and is widely known throughout Westeros as one of the most brutal killers in the land. His bone-braking battle against the Red Viper of Dorne stands as a testament to his barbaric ways.
Despite his victory against the Viper, however, Clegane didn't walk away from the duel unscathed, sustaining serious injuries due to his opponent's poison-tipped spear. Following the fight, Cersei Lannister's dark-hearted new confidant Maester Qyburn took it upon himself to experiment with the Mountain's body, resulting in a new monster with a new name: Robert Strong, lovingly referred to by some fans as "The Mountainstein."
In the season five finale, Qyburn introduces Strong as the newest member of the Kingsguard, and explains that the gigantic guardian has taken a vow of silence that he will only break once he has crushed all of Cersei's enemies. Sounds like a good friend to have in your corner.
Watch the clip below.