Chicken-loving, Joffrey-hating Sandor Clegane is one of George R.R. Martin’s most complex and begrudgingly beloved characters. After some near-death experiences, a world of bloodshed, and some help from unexpected quarters, Clegane is ready for whatever the screenwriters can throw at him for the upcoming season.
Warning: Spoilers are coming
Where We Left The Hound
Sandor Clegane follows his own rules and has his own brand of loyalty. He’s not evil in the same way as some of the show’s other characters, but he definitely starts off as a villain. Bearing a scar across his face from when his elder brother Gregor burned him as a child, The Hound is a brutish, violent man. Despite that, he shows kindness to Sansa in a desperate time and later helps Arya Stark after most of her family is massacred at the Twins.
After battling Brienne of Tarth in some of the series’ most intense one-on-one combat, at the end of Season 5, Arya had left him for dead. Last season, The Hound, for his part, kept on kicking, showing up with Ian McShane’s Septon Ray. Clegane seemed to flourish in the Septon’s colony, doing honest work for the first time in his life. Septon Ray, a pacifist, attempted to teach the Hound about non-violence. He believed the Hound survived for a reason, and not just because he’s tough to kill.
Unfortunately for Sandor, three rogues from the Brotherhood Without Banners killed the Septon and his followers. He sought revenge, only to discover the Brotherhood leadership ready to hang the men. Eventually, he’s swayed to join the Brotherhood’s cause by his old nemesis Beric Dondarrion, who knows a thing or two about dodging the grave.
The Most Hype Fan Theory
Fan theories are a huge part of the Game of Thrones fandom, and with “R+L=J ” finally proving true last season, fans are hype for another theory to come true: Cleganebowl.
Cleganebowl is a fan theory with its own subreddit, hoards of memes, and one very fun premise. The basic concept is pretty simple: Sandor and Gregor Clegane will do battle once and for all. Sandor hates his elder brother more than he hates anyone, and Gregor… well, Gregor is basically FrankenMountain these days.
The initial fan theory, started on 4chan, pitted them against each other in a trial by combat for Cersei Lannister ‘s life. The Hound would fight in the name of the High Sparrow, while the Mountain would fight in Cersei’s name. This part of the theory went up in a pillar of green fire, however, when Cersei unleashed King Aerys’ wildfire upon the Sept of Baelor.
A Fighting Chance
With Cersei on the Iron Throne, there’s no official need for Gregor and Sandor to do battle. However, the Hound has shown he’s not particularly good at letting grudges lie. Septon Ray has taught him much, but he’s still prone to extreme violence. Who better to target his fury at than the man who tortured him from the start?
The last time viewers saw Gregor and Sandor battle, it was at Ned’s Hand of the King tournament way back in Season 1. Sandor was about to unfairly and brutally kill Loras Tyrell, but Sandor rushed in to save him. It looks almost as if Sandor would have won, but he stops and drops to one knee when ordered. It’s one of the first times Sandor reveals his true colors, and fans have been clamoring for a rematch ever since.
It should also be noted that the Hound is careful to not truly harm his elder brother in their first match. He can nearly match him in strength, but he is more agile and fares well.
The Mountain pivoted in wordless fury, swinging his longsword in a killing arc with all his massive strength behind it, but the Hound caught the blow and turned it, and for what seemed an eternity the two brothers stood hammering at each other as a dazed Loras Tyrell was helped to safety. Thrice Ned saw Ser Gregor aim savage blows at the hound’s-head helmet, yet not once did Sandor send a cut at his brother’s unprotected face.
Both Mountain and Hound have changed quite a bit, and a rematch could mean death for one or both characters.
All Roads Lead to King’s Landing
While Sandor has agreed to go north with the Brotherhood, it’s not likely that he’ll stay there too long. He can’t stand Dondarrion or Thoros of Myr, for starters. Then there’s the possibility of Lady Stoneheart finally appearing on the show, which could propel the Hound in new directions.
Lady Stoneheart is the name given to the undead Cat Stark. After Roose Bolton kills her at the Red Wedding, her corpse was tossed into the river. There the Brotherhood Without Banners discover her, and Thoros set to work doing his resurrection magic on her. While she should have shown up by now, and Dondarrion’s continued existence points to her remaining dead (he dies as a result of her resurrection), there’s still a chance we could see Stoneheart on screen.
Stoneheart could, in theory, push the Hound back toward finding Arya and Sansa. Or, in a bizarre twist of fate, the Brotherhood (with or without Stoneheart) could head to Winterfell on their way to the Wall. Since they’re headed north to help fight against the White Walkers, they would likely stop at the Stark’s ancestral home. Once reunited with Sansa, the Hound might try to do right by his “little bird”. Sansa’s proven herself to be skilled at the game of thrones. It wouldn’t be a stretch for her to convince the Hound to go after the Lannisters.
And if that happens? CLEGANEBOWL CONFIRMED.