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‘Game of Thrones’ star to compete in strength events

  • ASSOCIATED PRESS

    Hafthor Bjornsson, who portrays Gregor “The Mountain” Clegane, in the HBO series, “Game of Thrones,” gestures during an interview in Concord, N.H., today.

CONCORD, N.H. >> The Mountain is getting a chance to prove his might.

Hafthor “Thor” Bjornsson, the brutal, feared guard of Queen Cersei Lannister in the HBO “Game of Thrones” series, is competing in the annual New Hampshire Highland Games and Festival for the third time, starting on Saturday.

The 6-foot-9, 400-pound Bjornsson said he will be lifting heavy stones over his head and throwing a 56-pound weight with an attached handle over a horizontal bar with one hand. The Icelandic actor is also planning to lift a car in a strength demonstration event.

“The people here are so welcoming,” said 28-year-old Bjornsson, while sitting with other athletes at the backyard pool of a highland games official in New Hampshire on Thursday. “It’s great to come here.”

The 42nd annual highland games, one of the largest events of its kind in the country, will feature sheep dog trials, dancing and piping contests, and a kilted race. Over 30,000 people are expected to attend.

Bjornsson said he had no idea how much “Game of Thrones,” which recently wrapped up its seventh season, would change his life. “I didn’t realize how big it would be,” he said.

He said he’s much busier now, and people recognize him often. “I love my life, I get to travel the world, meet a lot of people.”

The most recent season gave a hint of a showdown in next year’s eighth and final season between The Mountain and his brother, The Hound, whom he had pushed into a fire years ago, disfiguring his face.

But Bjornsson is sworn to secrecy about the plot, and admits he doesn’t even know what will happen.

“I get my scenes maybe a day (before), or just on the spot when I’m there,” he said.

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