HBO’s Game of Thrones’ eighth and final season is only two months away, and in its most recent efforts to hype up fans, the show appeared in a Bud Light commercial Sunday night during Super Bowl 53.
The commercial shows a king and a queen at a jousting event, merrily drinking Bud Lights and cheering on the Bud Knight. Moments later, however, the knight gets knocked off his horse by Gregor Clegane, the huge and notoriously violent fighter from Game of Thrones, who goes by the nickname the Mountain.
The Mountain is one of Game of Thrones’ most terrifying characters — after the Whites, of course. He is a loyal servant of House Lannister and has an ongoing feud with his brother, Sandor Clegane, who goes by the nickname the Hound. The last time Game of Thrones audiences saw the Mountain, he was living a half-dead, zombie-like existence and was serving as Queen Cersei Lannister’s private bodyguard. He got to his Frankenstein-esque state in season four, episode eight’s “The Mountain and the Viper,” when he was severely injured during a battle with Prince Oberyn of House Martell — a battle (spoiler alert) he won by gouging out Oberyn’s eyes.
The Bud Light commercial pokes fun at the eye-crushing of Prince Oberyn. In the commercial, after the Mountain knocks Dilly Dilly off the horse, he tromps right up to him and gouges out his eyes — although, unlike HBO, Bud Light spares the audience the gore, filling in the scene with gross sound effects and a screaming audience. A shadow then casts over the jousting stadium, and one of Daenerys Targaryen’s dragons shows up, lighting the entire place on fire.
The Super Bowl ad is part of the $20 million marketing campaign for the show’s final season, which debuts April 14, according to the Wall Street Journal. The Journal is calling the commercial “the biggest and boldest marketing tie-ins the AT&T Inc.-owned cable network has ever orchestrated.” Apparently, the commercial had input from a director of the HBO show, and a few other ideas for the spot were scrapped because the show was worried it would give away too much of the season finale’s plot line.
While this is the first time the Mountain has appeared in a Bud Light commercial, the company has been running its GoT-like “Dilly Dilly” campaign since 2017. The campaign is supposed to be a parody of the Game of Thrones world, and has scenes of medieval characters sitting around banquets or stone jail cells enjoying bottles of Bud Light and shouting “Dilly Dilly” (a riff on “cheers”).
That parent company Anheuser-Busch allowed HBO to take over one of its Super Bowl ads — and let the Mountain kill its beloved Bud Knight, nonetheless — speaks to the power of the HBO series and the limits people will go for it. To invoke the teasing tagline of the season finale, it’s clear that people will do anything “for the Throne.”