Bart the Bear II, who fought Brienne of Tarth on Game of Thrones in addition to many other screen roles, has passed away at the age of 21.
In the third season of Game of Thrones, Jaime Lannister leaves Brienne of Tarth at Harrenhal at the mercy of the sadistic Locke, who decides to have some sick fun by giving Brienne a wooden tourney sword and throwing her into a fighting pit with a bear. Happily, Jaime returns and saves Brienne from certain death.
Of course, actor Gwendoline Christie was never in any real danger. For one thing, they didn’t actually film the bear swiping at here; there was a lot of editing magic going on. Also, the bear was played by Bart the Bear II, who has a long list of Hollywood credits and knew how to comport himself on set. In addition to Game of Thrones, Bart also starred in Dr. Dolittle 2, Evan Almighty, We Bought a Zoo, Into the Wild, and much more.
And now, Bart has passed on, according to the Vital Ground Foundation. He is remembered by his trainers Doug and Lynne Seus, as well as everyone who knew him at Vital Ground and through his work onscreen. He was 21 years old.
As Vital Ground executive Ryan Lutey put it:
Bart was a grizzly who walked the Earth with intelligence, power, grace and purpose. All of us who knew him were made more whole by his incomparable spirit. We will miss Bart greatly and his memory will inspire us as we work to ensure his massive footprint endures for future generations across the wild landscapes of grizzly country.
The Vital Ground Foundation is a charitable organization that aims to protects grizzly bear populations by preserving their habitats. If you’re interested, you can find out more and make a donation here.