Game of Thrones: The Mountain – Gregor Clegane Character Study

Game of Thrones: The Mountain – Gregor Clegane Character Study

“Has anyone ever told you the story
of the Mountain and the Hound?” On Game of Thrones,
the will to violence is made visible
and personified by one man. “Gods, who’s that?” “Ser Gregor Clegane. They call him the Mountain.” The knight who’s
Tywin Lannister’s enforcer and then Cersei Lannister’s
bodyguard is not a complicated guy — he’s strong, angry, and loves
to torture and kill. “Does he frighten you so much?” “I’d be a bloody fool
if he didn’t frighten me. He’s freakish big
and freakish strong.” The fact that he’s drawn so simply,
and even played by three different actors over the course of the series, makes him a walking symbol
of violence and brutality. When Cersei utters her
most defining line, “I choose violence.” that violence is embodied
by the man beside her. Through the Mountain’s
presence in the story, and the way he transforms from
a mad animal to a cold zombie, Game of Thrones offers us
a study of brutality and its impact on the world. “Some lucky boys just born
with a talent for violence.” Before we go on,
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to all classes for free. The defining aspects
of Gregor’s personality speak to the question
of what violence is and where this
impulse comes from. One of Gregor’s fundamental traits is
that he’s full of rage. As a child, he stuck his brother
Sandor’s face in the fire just for playing with his toy. “Gregor never said a word,
he just grabbed his brother by the scruff of his neck
and shoved his face into the burning coals.” His servants have been known
to go missing, and his sister and father also
had suspicious deaths — there’s an implication
Gregor likely killed them and then inherited
his father’s estate. These stories tell us that,
emotionally, the Mountain is an overgrown
bratty child who can’t handle it when
the tiniest thing doesn’t go his way. “He thought I stole
one of his toys. I didn’t steal it,
I was just playing with it.” So he illustrates the way
that violence is born of anger — if we never learn to control
or deal with not being able to have everything exactly
as we’d like it, then we resort to force to
make the world bend to our will. If we look closer at Cersei,
who also chooses violence, we can see that she, too,
is driven by rage. Her life has given her
a lot to be mad about, “Your sister was a corpse
and I was a living girl and he loved her
more than me.” but Cersei’s anger is more fundamental —
it stems from her being born a girl, in a world that detests women. “We don’t hurt little girls
in Dorne.” “Everywhere in the world
they hurt little girls.” And that anger intensifies
after she receives the prophecy that traps her in a life of misery
she’s powerless to evade. “Gold, their shrouds.” The valid causes for
Cersei’s rage make her tragic. But whatever its cause, excessive anger
is a kind of insanity — it reorients the entire world
around oneself. “No one walks away from me.” She’s framed everything in her head
as a question of whether a person
perfectly serves her — so even Jaime’s caring about
the future of humankind is a betrayal. “I pledged to ride north. I intend to honor that pledge.” “And that would be treason.” This total self-centeredness
leads ultimately to evil, as it seeks to violently remake
the world according to one’s whims, or else wills it to nothing. “I don’t care about
making the world a better place. Hang the world.” Despite the fact
that he’s a knight, the Mountain is the most
dishonorable man in Westeros, which symbolizes that
there is no honor in violence. “Who am I fighting?” “Does it matter?” When we’re introduced to the Mountain
at a joust in season one, he angrily tries to kill Loras Tyrell
for outsmarting him by distracting his stallion
with a mare in heat — “Loras knew his mare was in heat. Quite crafty, really.” so immediately Gregor’s character
is established as a mean, sore loser. This is a cynical world
that rewards Gregor’s bad behavior with knighthood. But the fact that Gregor himself is
so utterly disgraceful underlines that, though people make up falsely
noble justifications and titles for their brutality, in reality these dark impulses represent
only the worst way any man can behave. The Mountain is also an alcoholic, “See that he doesn’t get drunk
in the evenings. He’s poor company when he’s sober,
but he’s better at his work.” and this reminds us of the way
drinking can bring out rage and violence in people with those tendencies. The Mountain doesn’t just inflict
harm out of anger — he enjoys torturing and killing, telling us that violence
can be addictive and yield a perverse pleasure. He has fun toying with
the prisoners of Harrenhal. After he carries out his orders to murder Rhaegar and Elia Martell’s
son and daughter, he chooses to rape their mother
while he’s covered in the gore of her dead children,
before killing her. This relish for cruelty also reveals
something important about the Lannisters — for them, too, brutality is
not just a means to the end. Tywin and Cersei take pleasure
in hurting others — only, for them, psychological violence
can sometimes be even more satisfying. Another thing we know
about the Mountain is that he’s not
particularly smart. “Does he understand
what we’re saying? I mean, to the extent
that he ever understood complete sentences
in the first place.” So this tells us that pure
and simple violence on its own isn’t all that powerful. “I wanted him to chase us,
as he would have done because he is a mad dog without
a strategic thought in his head.” The Mountain’s force has
to be harnessed by the Lannisters’
intelligent strategy, in order to become
truly fearsome. While the Mountain is not
the sharpest tool in the shed generally, he does have an instinctive
understanding of people’s weaknesses, revealing that violence has
an animalistic insight to it. One of the character’s
biggest moments comes when he fights Oberyn Martell
in “The Mountain and the Viper.” “Have they told you who I am?” “Some dead man.” At first, Oberyn’s agility and speed
make the Mountain look slow and inept. Yet in a stunning surprise,
Oberyn loses at the last minute, when the Mountain trips him
and smashes his head in. The obvious explanation for
why Oberyn loses here is his arrogance. “He is the biggest man
I’ve ever seen.” “Size does not matter
when you are flat on your back.” He puts on a show for the crowd, and he assumes the Mountain is
incapacitated too soon, underestimating
a deadly foe. But the second explanation,
and in fact the true reason Oberyn loses, is his grief. “You raped my sister. You murdered her. You killed her children.” We see him start to get panicked
when he thinks that the Mountain may die before admitting his war crimes
against Elia Martell. “Wait, you’re dying. No, no, no, you can’t die yet. You haven’t confessed.” He’s obsessed with getting
the Mountain’s confession and bringing down Tywin Lannister. “Who gave you the order?” And he starts to feel hysterical
when he thinks the Mountain may die before providing this emotional closure. “Say her name!” So the Mountain seizes on
Oberyn’s desperation — he withholds what his opponent wants,
stirring him into a terror. And then as makes his final move,
he delivers that longed-for confession as a taunt to make the violence
hurt even more, proving his innate instinct
for how to destroy people. “I killed her children. Then I raped her. Then I smashed her head in
like this!” This moment of the Mountain’s
victory is so bone-chilling because it reminds us
that this is a world where justice is
so often not served. Those who seek to right
terrible wrongs are crushed, while the brutish, evil violence
that the Mountain represents triumphs, time after time. “I always thought you had
a talent for violence. Burn the villages,
burn the farms. Let them know what it means
to choose the wrong side.” The way the Lannisters
utilize the Mountain reminds us that this family rules
via the implied threat of brutality. “Seems every bad idea has
some Lannister c[BLEEP] behind it.” “And some Clegane c[BLEEP] to
help them see it through.” In key moments of Lannister victories,
the Mountain is there. The figure’s centrality to
their regime exposes that, while they claim nobility
and legitimacy as rulers, they’re essentially thugs. The rule of force is
their bottom line. “Saw him cut the blacksmith in two, saw him take the head off a horse
with a single swing of his sword.” “That sounds like
someone we know.” At first the Mountain is known
as ‘Tywin Lannister’s Mad Dog.’ “I’ve heard him called
‘Tywin Lannister’s mad dog.’” Tywin keeps his own hands clean,
but he uses the Mountain for the darkest, most evil acts
imaginable, to get his way. “The Mountain follows your orders. Of course I blame you.” At the same time,
Tywin is always strategic — so he will hold the Mountain back
from totally senseless violence — like when he stops Gregor from
continuing to torture and kill the prisoners at Harrenhal
for no reason. “We can afford to discard
able young bodies and skilled laborers?” Notice Tywin’s logic here —
he objects to these men being killed and tortured only because
they have another usefulness to him. Later, when the Mountain
leaves Harrenhal, he executes the remaining prisoners — and we can infer that,
as the prisoners have no more use, Tywin either didn’t mind
or approved — as he must have assumed
his mad dog would do this, even if he didn’t
directly order it. “If the Mountain
committed an atrocity, it was with Tywin’s —
at least his permission, and possibly his direct command.” After the Mountain
and the Viper fight, Oberyn manages to get
his posthumous revenge through the poison
on his spear. As Tywin’s now dead,
Cersei gives Qyburn the go-ahead to bring Gregor back to life
as a Frankenstein-like monster. “The process may change him… somewhat.” “Will it weaken him?” “Oh no.” “Very well then.” The Mountain 2.0 serves
as Cersei’s loyal bodyguard — in the books he has a different name,
Ser Robert Strong. This zombie-like incarnation
of the Mountain represents a new,
more virulent version of violence. Whereas before he was
the ‘mad dog’ — the animalistic brute
fueled by rage and bloodlust — now he’s the quiet zombie —
soulless, obedient, and… even stronger than before. This change reflects Cersei’s brand
of violence compared to her father’s — it’s quieter, more internal,
yet even more cold-blooded and dangerous. Cersei’s rage is like the green wildfire
she uses to blow up the Holy Sept — it’s not a hot red fire,
but a cooler color. She’s held in
and controlled her feeling so it’s less obvious, but thanks to this restraint
it’s warped into something even more explosive
and unnatural. In season seven, the Mountain
becomes an extension of Cersei’s inner thoughts
and feelings. When she considers killing Tyrion,
the Mountain steps forward, visualizing her anger
and hate for her brother, “Do it! Say the word.” while her conflicting emotions
hold her back from following through. Then at last when she has Jaime
as her only remaining ally, she pushes even him away. “Are you going to
order him to kill me?” and keeps just the Mountain by her side. And this symbolizes that she has
given in so fully to her will to do violence on the world, that this is the only part of her left. The Mountain’s key relationship
in the story is with his brother, Sandor, aka the Hound —
and these two brothers are bound by hatred. “Pressed me to the fire like I was
a nice juicy mutton chop.” The wounded Hound illustrates the psychological impact
of violence on its victim. He displays symptoms of PTSD. Just as he bears the scars
of what his brother did on his face, he carries the emotional scars
deep within. “But the worst thing was
that it was my brother who did it. My father, who protected him.” Despite what an awful person
his brother is, Sandor has watched
Gregor become a knight. So because he’s seen the worst
of humanity in his brother, and seen that worst thing
rewarded in society, he believes two basic things: that people are fundamentally bad
and that the worse you are, the easier it is to succeed
in this world. “The world is built by killers.” As a result, the Hound gives up,
retreating into hate and cynicism. And as much as he detests
everything Gregor stands for, “I owe you my life, Ser.” “I’m no Ser.” for many years the Hound embraces
his own violent impulses and doesn’t concern
himself with honor — making him not much different
from his brother, just another thug
for the Lannisters. “Does it give you joy
to scare people?” “No, it gives me joy
to kill people.” He gets the Hound name not only
because he’s fierce, but also because he does
his master’s bidding without question. “He ran. Not very fast…” The Hound may believe
that he’s just being honest in a terrible world, “Plenty worse than me. I just understand the way things are.” but he’s become as bad as that world,
by not fighting it. So in Sandor we see a profile
of the victim of violence who tragically ends up adopting
that violence as a result of their trauma. “Hate’s as good a thing as any
to keep a person going. Better than most.” Over time, though,
his cynicism isn’t enough to swallow up his better nature. When he sees good people threatened —
like Sansa and Arya — he reveals an instinct
to do the honorable thing and eventually stops denying
that it matters to be on the right side. The Hound’s one great fear
is fire, representing the way
his childhood trauma continues to define him — yet in Season 7,
he ends up again with the Lord of Light worshippers
in the Brotherhood, “It’s my f[BLEEP]ing luck I end up
with a band of fire worshippers.” and Sandor sees a vision
in the fire. “What do you see?” “Ice. A wall of ice.” So the symbolism here
is that while he’s been fleeing the source of his pain, in fact the universe is pushing him
to open up and look toward it. By finally facing the fire
he’s experienced, he has a breakthrough. He can at last look beyond his hurt,
toward a greater purpose. One of the main fan anticipations
when it comes to the Mountain is what’s called the Cleganebowl theory,
which is basically just that the Hound
and the Mountain will fight. “Remember me? Yeah you do.” The two men are significant
foils to each other: as the abuser versus victim; and as the unrepentant,
dishonorable man versus the reformed,
honorable one, who both share
an inclination for violence. There’s an interesting parallel
in the fact that both brothers have very nearly died
(or arguably have died) and come back changed. “When I found you, I thought
you’d been dead for days.” The Hound was either comatose,
or actually did die, before being mysteriously revived. “Was gonna give you a proper burial
and then you coughed.” And the Mountain was
considered a goner until he was revived
by Qyburn’s dark science. “What did you do to him exactly? I haven’t been able to get a clear answer.” “Oh, uh, a number of things.” Yet while one has been brought back
by an unknown higher power, presumably to serve
a greater purpose, the other’s revived
by unnatural means, only to serve Cersei. The old Gregor doesn’t seem
to be fully there. “If it please, Your Grace,
he has taken a holy vow of silence. He has sworn that he will not speak
until all His Grace’s enemies are dead.” One reddit user theorized
that when Sandor looked into the flames as a young child he actually
had a vision then, too — he foresaw that one day
he would kill his brother. According to this theory,
this vision is the true reason Gregor attacked Sandor,
and that’s why Sandor says, “It’s not how it ends for you, brother. You know who’s coming for you. You’ve always known.” This would make Gregor
much more like Cersei — his original anger would
stem from powerlessness, and from the terrible certainty of
seeing a hellish future he can’t escape. Looking into the red, sad-looking eyes
of the new Mountain, we might observe that
the impulse to do violence betrays a deep inner hurt — we might even feel the slightest
bit of pity for the despicable Mountain. Because at his core this man
who is violence incarnate must be one big ball
of constant, howling pain. “You’re even f[BLEEP]ing
uglier than I am now.” Have you always wanted
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100 thoughts on “Game of Thrones: The Mountain – Gregor Clegane Character Study

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  2. I will watch with glee as either Gregor is killed by sandor when the brotherhood fight Cersei Lannister or is eaten by Drogon

  3. These videos are hard proofs that the show should have stuck to the unbelievable source material, instead of turning one of the most grounded and liked TV series to just another cool CGI Hollywood bullcrap that doesn't make any sense anymore!

  4. pedro pascal as oberyn really looks and sounds like another person crazy acting, if you watch an interview of pedro you can't find oberyn anywhere

  5. Great video, but you overlooked one thing (granted, it's also never adressed in the show): In the books, the Gregor has a birth defect, where his brain is a little too large for his skull. Because of it, he experiences constant, agonizing migranes (thus, his drinking) which drive him completely mad because he's unable to sleep for days unless he drinks himself into a stupor. The last line in the vid about him being a ball of constant pain is therefore exactly on the money.^^"

  6. The Hound is dead. Only Sandor remains.

    I hope they don't make Cleganebowl. It would undermine the entire arc of his character.

  7. on the whole, according to martin, no good deed goes unpunished. moral behavior in westeros is something that's far more likely to get you killed.

  8. The mountain is no long his brother. The mountain doesn't even have his brothers head anymore, just his body. He is fighting a dead zombie. His revenge is his brother is already dead.

  9. " the red, sad eyes of the mountain" I don't know sads not exactly the feeling I get when I look at them lol but… each there own, cause he's a physcopath right and they don't have the ability to feel sadness, cool video though thank you!!

  10. In the books, the mountain gets frequent headaches and he drinks a lot of milk of the poppy (opioids). In fact, when he fought the red viper, he started shouting "my head hurts" then kills a bystander who was too close to the fight

  11. You lost me at the end there, implying that the mountain is akin to an emo kid acting out.

    The dude is evil, some people are just born psychopaths.

  12. i love Gregor. I don't know why. he's a silent evil monster, yes but he equals Ramsay for sheer sadism and cruelty, is one of the most terrifying warriors to ever live (evil Robert Baratheon), and managed to take alot with him when he finally did meet his end (killed both Oberyn and Sandor, two of the greatest fighters at the time). all his life he just wanted to fight and kill as many as he can, with barely a care for orders or loyalty. as long as Tywin provided him with the chance to kill, he'd do it.

  13. did we just say cercei's anger was justified because she was a girl? what about the slaves .they were treated worse than everyone else (men and women ) . guess they all should just become mass murders

  14. To be fair, Cersei and Gregor are pretty much alike from birth. Cersei has always been a bratty, selfish little sociopath from childhood, same as Gregor. Difference is, she's a girl in a medieval world that doesn't have combat skills, supernatural powers or even long-term cunning. The only options she ever felt like learning were A) seduce people to do my will) or B) have servants brutalize people who don't do my will. The "prophecy", the generalized sexism and "Robert's abuse" are just her excuses for being the bitch she's always been.

    If Cersei was a man, or at least had Gregor's strength, she'd do the exact same things he does. Like Gregor, she gets off on violence, sadism and oppression of others. Worse even. Since she has marginally better mental faculties and impulse control, she has the intellectual capacity to ponder and appreciate it beyond momentary whims. She literally gets off on making people suffer through her actions, directly and passively. For similar individuals, think of Dolores Umbridge, the Joker, any serial rapist character like Freddy Krueger, Cinder Fall, etc.
    Simply put, Cersei looks pretty and regal, but Gregor Clegane is what she looks like on the inside, especially when he's become a zombie.

    With Tywin, the theme is similar, but even more conniving. Tywin is hailed as being a "great king that never was", the best King's Hand and Warden who's ever lived and the best military leader. Thing is, you can see numerous hints around the plot that Tywin really isn't that smart or competent, just very wealthy and very lucky. His "great victory" against the Reynes and Tarbecks was more due to them underestimating him for his youth and his father's incompetence, much like Tywin himself would do with Robb Stark. His "great reforms" as Hand of the King, at least in the books, were pretty much "reduce the smallfolk's rights and increase the noble houses' power", which implies he's only great from the aristocrats' perspective. And finally, given his go-to strategy is always "Release The Kraken, I mean, Mountain", he also thinks the best strategy to any conflict is rape, pillage and burn people to submission; Machiavelli and Sun Tzu can tell you that is a horrible idea in the long run. That plus his personal family relationships make it clear that while Tywin's promises of a thousand-year dynasty sound glorious, Gregor Clegane is what they would look like to anyone except himself and like-minded relatives like Cersei: bloody, savage, sterile and monstrous.

    No matter what Tywin or Cersei claim about knowing how to rule or the "greatness" that Westeros would have if the Lannisters win, what you see in Harrenhal and the Twins what Westeros would really look like under their rule.

  15. I actually pity him at least the book version since in then he is constantly tormented by hellish headaches which makes drink huge amounts of painkillers without avail

  16. The character is portrayed as having terrible head aches in the books and self medicating with milk of the poppy… This is actually a common symptom of Gigantism in the real world. The character is still portrayed as having his problematic behavior enabled and unpunished from a young age but he's certainly more nuanced.

  17. Violence is not pretty. But affected PEOPLE tend to respect what they fear the most. Power and strength is something that the average person don't have the nerve to take control of the situation. Donald Trump is the embodiment of that it's better to be strong and wrong "trumps" RIGHT AND WEAK" ALL the time.

  18. Bronn wanted no part of "The Mountain" he told Tyrion to bug off. Smart guy that Bronn. Imagine the visual of Tyrion fighting the Mountain. That was what Tywin wanted for his son. Loyalty meant everything to rulers, it could mean the difference between life & death. No honor in violence? How hypocritical & pompous. Why are war heroes celebrated? Elia wasn't even in the show but I was immediately on her side. Injustice such injustice poor Elia.

  19. Makes you wonder about how it might have just been easier for psychopaths and killers to live out their urges and live a fairly acceptable life centuries ago

  20. Weak video. You can't discuss the Mountain without looking at his gigantism and the crippling head aches it caused, the traditional role of House Clegane to the Lannisters and how Sandor and Gregor are two of the key figures used to examine the concept of knighthood and what that means.

  21. What I expected: This is where the mountain was born, why he believes what he does, what his childhood might have taught him.

    What I got: The mountain is everything wrong with men.

  22. The “mountain is an extension of Cersei’s internal rage” makes a lot of sense because she doesn’t even have to signal him half the time he just does what she wants without needing to be told, as if he was a limb for her to move with just a thought.

  23. You got Tywin all wrong. Also you got the Ob/mountain fight wrong. Ob only was able to hang with the mountain due to his cheating with poison. Ob wasn't skilled enough. That's what killed him.

  24. Whoever wrote the script for this video is doing a bunch of self reflecting.

    So many conclusions being made from little to no ground to stand on.

    I generally really like film and character analysis but this ain't it chief.

  25. Cersei takes pleasure in violence. Tywin does not. He does it, for one singular reason, and that is not joy. It's the family name.

  26. If you think about it Cersi is the reason all three of her children die
    Joffery was a brat and a horrible king that ended up at the wrong hit list. His brattiness comes from him never receving proper discipline as a child
    Her daughter was in Doorne a safe place and Cersi was too paranoid and she died on the boat as soon as leaving
    Tommie already felt unless and week but his wife dying from Cersi and him able to do nothing cause his death

  27. 15:45 Baloney, he just likes violence, he is a sadist, there is no moral reason behind what he does. He is very evil, the Lannisters give him the opportunity to do what he likes doing most. They feed his lust for cruel sadism by giving him hapless victims to torture. They make up the laws and this protects him so he can keep doing what he likes. He is just a monster. If he is howling in pain now it's only because now he's in hell.

  28. Violence caused by anger? Not always, and the least honorable man in westeros, never heard of littlefinger? He burned the 7 kingdoms so he could rule the ashes

  29. Mirri max dur the witch from season 1 who killed Karl drogon said when the mountains blow in the wind like leaves could that have some important to Gregor clegane

  30. Actually Green fire burns hotter than orange or yellow fire. ROYGBIV. Her anger burns hotter than her father's.

  31. The subhuman ape character that Gregor was got the death he deserved, dying from poison, paralised yet able to feel everything.

  32. the mountain would win hands down unless, he's tackled and falls off a cliff into a fiery ruin. but thats cheesy and HBO would never do that.

  33. Wow i was watching this while my brother and his girlfriend were fighting bc he gets angry when things dont go his way. Coincidence i think not

  34. When born he was known as the pebble. When he was a kid he was known as the hill. As an adult, he is the mountain.

  35. Whilst The Lannisters symbolize the excessive ego, pride, status and greed, Clegane represents the lap dog of the excessive ego: madness, violence, paranoia and psychosis.

  36. In the video essays that Lindsey Ellis made critizicing the horrible writing of the show on it's final season, she said something that I think is true: Cleganebowl is poetic justice for Gregor, but it does not work for Sandor. Not anymore. He is still "missing" in the books, yet when he comes back, because he will, it won't make sense that he will still pursue the revenge that has been eating him from the inside all those years. If he does come back, as he did in the show, it will come off as a pointless endeavor. And we know that George R.R. Martin is far more fond of storytelling and thematic narratives than those cynical Benioff and Weiss, so I believe in him, that he won't be doing Cleganebowl for fanservice like it did in the show, for he is indeed interested on telling the Hound's story.

  37. Grief was just his drive. Grief put him in the arena with the mountain and pushed him to best the Mountain, his negligence is all that killed him. Blaming a person's motive as the reason when they failed is stupid because motive is the only bit you have no control over, we can't decide what inspires to do things us for the most part. You wouldn't tell a last place Olympic athlete who wanted a Gold medal that they failed in their goal because they decided to do it for their dead nan instead of for the fame and glory.

  38. An accurate portrayl of the mountain would have a combination of the 3 actors: Conan's intimidating face + Ian's deep voice + Thor's strength and size.

  39. Wasnt Obryn's death in the book more over confident, by trying to use Gregor's sword to kill him which made him go off balance?

  40. He actually reminds me a bit of Joffrey. Neither was very smart, but they knew how to use cruelty in order to get what they wanted. Both also believed that they were untouchable, having never suffered consequences for the things they have done.

  41. This is talking for the sake of it. In GOT she would be named the Slavering Bitch by the Hound!

  42. I once read an essay about the connection to Gregor and the purging of giants of in old Westeros. Apparently many of the first men interbred with COTF and the giants. The Mountain is supposed to be an embodiment of the giants anger at the humans for their extinction. He’s just filled with the blind rage and pain of his giant ancestors. In the books history repeats itself through death and resurrection in a different form over and over.

  43. I'm confused, the guy just got a sword stuck through his torso and a knife stuck through his eye and brain and he's still walking as if nothing happened but falling off a tower into some burning wood instantly kills him?

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