Sandor Clegane

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Sandor Clegane
A Song of Ice and Fire character
Game of Thrones
Sandor Clegane-The Hound-Rory McCann.jpg
Rory McCann as Sandor Clegane
First appearance
Last appearance
Created by George R. R. Martin
Portrayed by Rory McCann
(Game of Thrones)
  • The Hound
  • Dog
Gender Male
Family House Clegane
Relatives Gregor Clegane (brother)
Kingdom The Westerlands

Sandor Clegane, nicknamed The Hound, is a fictional character in the A Song of Ice and Fire series of fantasy novels by American author George R. R. Martin, and its television adaptation Game of Thrones.

Introduced in 1996's A Game of Thrones, Sandor is the estranged younger brother of Ser Gregor Clegane, from the fictional Seven Kingdoms of Westeros, serving as King Joffrey Baratheon's personal bodyguard. He subsequently appeared in Martin's A Clash of Kings (1998), A Storm of Swords (2000) and A Feast for Crows (2005). Sandor is not a point of view character in the novels, so his actions are witnessed mainly through the eyes of Sansa Stark and Arya Stark, with some narrations from other characters such as Ned Stark, Tyrion Lannister, and possibly Brienne of Tarth.[1]

Sandor Clegane is portrayed by Scottish actor Rory McCann in the HBO television adaptation.[2]

Character description[edit]

Sandor Clegane, known as the Hound, is a retainer to House Lannister and the younger brother of Gregor Clegane, a.k.a. The Mountain. He is regarded as one of the most dangerous and skilled fighters in Westeros. His face is distinguished by gruesome burn scars, which he received as a child when his brother pushed his head into a brazier. Consequently, he fears fire and hates his brother. He is also scornful of knight's vows, as his brother is a knight, who indulges in rape and murder in spite of his knightly vows. He is described as a tormented man driven by anger and hate, aspiring only to kill his brother.


Sandor Clegane is played by the Scottish actor Rory McCann in the television adaptation of the series of books.[3] McCann has received acclaim for his role.[4]


A coat of arms showing three black dogs on a field of yellow.
Coat of arms of House Clegane

In the books[edit]

In A Game of Thrones, he acts as bodyguard and servant to Prince Joffrey Baratheon, who calls him Dog. While escorting Sansa home, he reveals to her how his face was scarred and expresses much resentment of his brutish older brother and towards the concept of knighthood in general. Clegane leads the attack on the Stark forces in the Tower of the Hand.

He is named a knight of Joffrey's Kingsguard towards the end of A Game of Thrones. Clegane advises Sansa to do whatever Joffrey tells her to do as the best way of staying alive. He is often assigned to guard Sansa, trying to protect her from Joffrey's abuse in A Clash of Kings. He flees King's Landing during the Battle of the Blackwater, due to the widespread use of wildfire, a fictional substance similar to Greek fire.

In A Storm of Swords, he is captured by the Brotherhood Without Banners which sentences him to trial by combat. Sandor prevails and is set free. He later kidnaps Arya to ransom her to her brother Robb Stark and hopes to earn a place in Robb's service. He takes her to the Twins, where Robb is attending a wedding. However, just as they arrive, the Freys begin slaughtering the Starks. Sandor and Arya escape. They encounter three of Gregor's men at an inn, and Sandor is seriously injured in the ensuing fight. Arya abandons him to his apparent death.[5]

He is mentioned a few times in A Feast for Crows (2005), where the Elder Brother mentions to Brienne of Tarth that he found Sandor, who is now "at rest". However, the appearance of a mute gravedigger who matches Sandor physically and the Elder Brother's refusal to confirm if Sandor is dead imply that he may still be alive.

In the show[edit]

First season[edit]

Clegane accompanies the royal court on Robert Baratheon's visit to Winterfell. On the way back to King's Landing, Joffrey falsely accuses a butcher's boy, Mycah, of threatening him, and Clegane kills the boy, attracting the hatred of Mycah's friend Arya Stark. During the Tourney of the Hand, Sandor's sadistic elder brother Gregor tries to kill Ser Loras Tyrell after he is unhorsed, but Sandor defends Loras from Gregor until Robert orders the men to stop fighting. When Ned Stark accuses Joffrey of being a bastard born of incest and orders his arrest, Clegane assists the Lannister soldiers in the subsequent purge of the Stark household and Sansa Stark's capture, though he later comforts Sansa when Joffrey orders her beaten. With Joffrey's ascension to the throne, Clegane is named to the Kingsguard to replace the ousted Ser Barristan Selmy, though Clegane refuses to take his knight's vows.

Second season[edit]

Sandor continues to defend Sansa, including by covering her after Joffrey orders her stripped and rescuing her from being gang-raped during the King's Landing riots. He participates in the Battle of the Blackwater against Stannis' Baratheon's forces, but is visibly horrified when Tyrion Lannister uses wildfire to incinerate much of Stannis' fleet, and ultimately deserts after witnessing a man burning alive in the battle. Before he leaves, he offers to take Sansa north to Winterfell, but she ultimately refuses.

Third season[edit]

The costumes worn by Arya and her companion Sandor Clegane
The costumes worn by Arya and her companion Sandor Clegane in the TV series Game of Thrones.

In the Riverlands, Clegane is arrested by the Brotherhood Without Banners, a group of knights and soldiers sent by Eddard Stark to kill his brother Gregor and restore order to the Riverlands. While being transported to their stronghold, he meets other members of the Brotherhood who are traveling with Arya Stark, and tells them of her true identity. At the Brotherhood's hideout, their leader Lord Beric Dondarrion accuses Clegane of being a murderer; though Clegane asserts that the murders were done in order to protect Joffrey, Arya testifies that he had killed Mycah despite the boy not harming Joffrey. Lord Beric sentences Clegane to a trial by combat, which Clegane wins to secure his freedom, although Lord Beric is immediately resurrected by the Red Priest Thoros of Myr. Clegane later captures Arya, intending to ransom her to King Robb Stark at the wedding of Edmure Tully and Roslin Frey at The Twins. However, as they arrive at the Twins the Freys turn on the Starks and attack them, and Clegane and Arya barely escape the massacre.

Fourth season[edit]

With the rest of House Stark believed dead and the Riverlands now under the rule of House Frey, Clegane decides to ransom Arya to her aunt Lysa Arryn in the Vale. During their journey, Arya reveals to Clegane that she has not forgiven him for killing Mycah and has vowed to kill him. The duo arrive in the Vale to find that Lysa has ostensibly committed suicide. Returning from the Bloody Gate, they encounter Brienne of Tarth, sworn sword to Arya's mother Catelyn, who had promised to take the Stark children to safety. When Arya refuses to go with Brienne, she and Clegane engage in a brawl that culminates in her throwing Clegane off a cliff, gravely wounding him. Though he begs Arya to kill him, she instead leaves him to die.[6]

Sixth season[edit]

It is revealed Clegane had been discovered by a warrior turned septon, Ray, who nursed him back to health. Clegane assists Ray and his followers in building a sept, but one day after a brief journey into nearby woods, he returns to the community to find the villagers slaughtered by members of the Brotherhood Without Banners. Clegane takes up arms again to hunt down those responsible, killing four of them before discovering the remaining three about to be hanged by Lord Beric Dondarrion and Thoros of Myr, who inform him that the group were acting independently of the Brotherhood. Lord Beric allows Clegane to kill two of the outlaws, and asks him to join the Brotherhood in their journey north to fight the White Walkers.

Seventh season[edit]

During their journey north, the Brotherhood stops at a farm owned by a farmer that Clegane had previously robbed; inside, they find the bodies of the farmer and his daughter. Remorseful, Clegane digs them a grave with the help of Thoros. Thoros has Clegane look into the flames of Brotherhood's campfire, and in it he sees the White Walkers and their forces marching towards the Wall.

The Brotherhood attempts to cross the Wall via Eastwatch-by-the-Sea, but are intercepted by wildling scouts manning the castle and locked in the ice cells. Soon after, Jon Snow, Davos Seaworth, Jorah Mormont, and Gendry arrive at Eastwatch, intending to capture a wight to present to Cersei (now Queen of the Seven Kingdoms) as evidence of the White Walkers. Clegane, Beric, and Thoros are released to accompany Jon, Jorah, Gendry and Tormund Giantsbane beyond the Wall. The group soon captures a wight but are surrounded by the White Walkers and their army of wights, though not before Gendry flees to Eastwatch to request Daenerys Targaryen's aid. Daenerys arrives with her dragons before the group can be overrun; though one dragon is killed and reanimated by the Night King, they are able to flee. Clegane joins Jon, Daenerys and Davos as they sail to King's Landing.

At King's Landing, he meets Brienne of Tarth. Despite their previous brutal fight, they converse on civil terms. Sandor learns that Arya is alive and with her family, prompting a rare smile. During the summit in the Dragon Pit outside King's Landing, Sandor confronts his brother, promising that Sandor will eventually kill him. Sandor brings out the trunk containing the wight, revealing to Cersei and Jaime Lannister the threat that lies beyond the wall. In the aftermath, Sandor sails to White Harbor with Daenerys's forces with the intention of travelling to Winterfell to aid Jon and Daenerys against the Night King.