ByPramit Chatterjee, writer at
Enthusiastic reviewer of anything that moves. My undercover Twitter id is: @pramitheus
Pramit Chatterjee

Throughout the seven seasons of Game of Thrones, fans around the world have been introduced to a plethora of characters and the vast expanse of the Known World. From the conniving Petyr Baelish to the honorable Ned Stark, the record-breaking show has often given us believable characters made possible by stand-out performances. As the show's cast have to portray otherworldly characters every time we tune into on Sundays, they usually take inspirations from places fans can easily relate to. While we might never get to know what goes on in Kit Harington's mind as he's brooding or the inspirations behind Lena Headey's smug smile, Kristofer Hivju has revealed his simple yet effective process of becoming Tormund Giantsbane.

Tormund's Wildling Training Montage

'Rocky IV' (Credit: MGM)
'Rocky IV' (Credit: MGM)

Tormund Giantsbane began his journey North of the Wall as a trusted leader of Mance Rayder's squad. He has fought many battles under Mance's command and Jon Snow's subsequent leadership. Season 7's "Beyond the Wall" had him facing a horde of Wights alongside the King in the North, just as they had during "Hardhome".

As the entire sequence took over a month to shoot, Hivju had to don his 18 kilo costume everyday and deliver his best impression of taking down wave after wave of the undead. So, how did he get into character?

When asked about how he psyches himself up before a scene, Hivju shared his personalized method when it comes to maintaining Tormund's energy levels.

"For Tormund, I always go with the Rocky Balboa in 'Rocky IV'. When he has to face Dolph Lundgren [playing Ivan Drago] Dolph is running in a fitness center, with barometers everywhere on his body, but Rocky goes out in the woods and he chops wood and lifts trees. So that’s how I get in my wildling mood."

If it's been a while since you saw Rocky IV's famous montage sequence, check out the clip that hypes Hivju up to play Tormund below.

While Jon Snow and Ser Jorah Mormont have comparatively graceful way of dispatching their enemies, Tormund's rustic origins have shaped him into a fearsome killing machine. As many of us have grown up watching training montages to get our adrenaline pumping, who can blame Hivju for resorting to one of the most iconic sequences to help him transform into the ruthless Wildling?

Considering how barren the Northern region of Westeros are, we can assume that Tormund had to rely on heavy boulders and chopping wood to maintain his dominating physique. As Rocky took a similar 'back to basics' approach by traveling to the snowy village of Krasnogorsk while prepating for his fight against Ivan Drogo, it's likely that Khivju's comment wasn't just an anecdote but also a fascinating insight into the actor's methods.

Assuming Kristofer Hivju is a fan of the Rocky franchise, news of Ivan Drogo's inclusion in the upcoming Creed sequel is certainly going to get him excited. As for his Wildling persona, let's hope the actor has multiple viewings of the training montage lined up in preparation for the Long Night.

Do you want to see a Rocky-inspired training montage starring Tormund Giantsbane?

(Source: Making Game of Thrones)


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