The third time’s the charm? “Game of Thrones” has hired a new actor to play the role of Gregor Clegane, the terrifying warrior known in the world of Westeros as the Mountain.
Icelandic actor Hafthor Julius Bjornsson announced his involvement in the show on Twitter and Facebook. The casting was also confirmed by HBO. “For all my fans! I am happy to tell you that I will be THE MOUNTAIN In season 4 In Game Of Thrones :),” Bjornsson writes.
In Season 1, the role of the Mountain was played by Conan Stevens. He appeared in two episodes, but later left the show due to rumored scheduling conflicts. He was replaced by actor Ian Whyte in Season 2. Whyte also acts as a special effects actor for the series, playing a White Walker in “Game of Thrones'” pilot and in Season 2, and a giant in Season 3. The character of Gregor Clegane did not appear in Season 3, though his younger brother Sandor Clegane (also known as the Hound) did have an increased role.
No reason was given for why Whyte was replaced, but the actor made it clear in the past that he had a difficult time connecting to the character of the Mountain in the three episodes where he portrayed him. The Mountain will become a more prominent character in Season 4, which is likely why a new actor was brought in to play him fulltime.
Also new in “Game of Thrones” Season 4 are Roger Ashton-Griffiths as Mace Tyrell, Pedro Pascal as Oberyn Martell, Indira Varma as Ellaria Sand, and Joseph Gatt and Mark Gatiss in undisclosed roles. Meanwhile, Michiel Huisman has joined the cast to reportedly replace Ed Skrein as Daario Naharis.
“Game of Thrones” returns to HBO in Spring 2014.