Sandor Clegane

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Sandor Clegane
A Song of Ice and Fire character
Game of Thrones
The Hound in 'The Children'.jpg
Rory McCann as Sandor Clegane
First appearance
Last appearance
Created byGeorge R. R. Martin
Portrayed byRory McCann
In-universe information
  • The Hound
  • Dog
OccupationKingsguard (formerly)
FamilyHouse Clegane
RelativesGregor Clegane (brother)

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. Sandor serves 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). Like his brother, Sandor is regarded as one of the fiercest and strongest fighters in the Seven Kingdoms. His face is marked by gruesome facial burns he received when his brother shoved his face into a brazier as children; ever since he has retained a crippling fear of fire. While initially appearing brutal and fatalistic, he later proves to be more sympathetic and compassionate, particularly through his relationships with Sansa and Arya Stark.

Sandor is portrayed by Scottish actor Rory McCann in the HBO television adaptation.[1]

Character description[edit]

Sandor Clegane, known as The Hound, was the younger brother of Gregor Clegane, and was a retainer to House Lannister. He was regarded as one of the most dangerous and skilled fighters in Westeros. His size (in the novels he is 6'8", or 2 m and over 300 lbs, or 140 kg) and strength make him an imposing figure, though he is not quite as large as his brother Gregor. His face was distinguished by gruesome burn scars, which he received as a child when his brother pushed his head into a brazier. Consequently, Clegane feared fire and hated his brother. He was also scornful of knight's vows, as his brother was a knight who nonetheless is a sadist who indulged in rape and murder. Clegane was described as a tormented man driven by anger and hate, aspiring only to kill his brother.



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

Sandor Clegane is not a point of view character in the novels, so his actions are witnessed mainly through the eyes of Sansa and Arya Stark, with some narrations from other characters such as Ned Stark and Tyrion Lannister.[2]

A Game of Thrones and A Clash of Kings[edit]

In A Game of Thrones, he acts as bodyguard and servant to Crown Prince Joffrey Baratheon, who calls him "Dog" but is somewhat attached to him, as Joffrey lacks a father figure from King Robert. 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 hunts down Arya Stark's friend Mycah, and leads the Lannister attack on Eddard Stark's men in the Tower of the Hand during the purge of the Starks.

Sandor is named Joffrey's Kingsguard towards the end of A Game of Thrones, but always refuses to become a Knight. Clegane is often assigned to guard Sansa, and becomes protective over her, calling her "little bird." He tries to protect her from Joffrey's abuse in A Clash of Kings, and advises her to do whatever Joffrey tells her to do as the best way of staying alive. He even saves Sansa's life when the king is attacked at the streets of King's Landing by his hungry people. Sandor becomes disillusioned during the Battle of the Blackwater and abandons his duty as Joffrey's guard due to the widespread use of wildfire (a fictional incendiary substance inspired by Greek fire) on Tyrion's orders. He secretly goes to see Sansa and offers to escape King's Landing with her, and gets unpredictable when she refuses. He threatens her, but then calms down after she sings him a song about mercy, before fleeing the capital on his own.

A Storm of Swords[edit]

In A Storm of Swords, the lordless Sandor gets drunk and is captured by the Brotherhood Without Banners, who sentences him to a trial by combat on charge of murder accused by Arya. Sandor prevails against the Brotherhood leader Beric Dondarrion and is set free. He later kidnaps Arya and hopes to ransom her to her brother Robb Stark at Riverrun in order to earn a place in Robb's service. He takes her to the Twins, where Robb is attending the wedding of his uncle. However, just as they arrive, the Red Wedding happens and the Freys begin slaughtering the Starks. Sandor knocks Arya unconscious to prevent her from running into the castle and fights his way out, killing three Frey knights. They later encounter three of Gregor's men — Polliver, Tickler and a pimply squire from House Sarsfield — at the Crossroad Inn. Sandor is provoked while drunken and kills Polliver in the ensuing fight, but gets seriously injured. He becomes critically ill when his wounds begin to fester, so Arya abandons him under a tree to await his apparent death.[3]

A Feast for Crows[edit]

He is mentioned a few times in A Feast for Crows (2005), because stories are spreading that somebody using the Hound's helmet is committing atrocities. But the Elder Brother mentions to Brienne of Tarth that he found Sandor moribund, and is now "at rest", so his helmet was doubtless stolen from his graveyard. 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. As for the Hound's helmet, it is after revealed to Brienne and Podrick that it was Rorge and his criminal band who took it. And when the two of them are captured by the Brotherhood Without Banners and Rorge's band is killed, Lem decides to keep the helmet for him, despite Thoros' opposition.

TV adaptation[edit]

Scottish actor Rory McCann[1] has received acclaim for his portrayal[4] of Sandor Clegane in the television adaptation of the series of books.[5]

Season 1[edit]

Clegane is first introduced in the pilot episode when he 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 having attacked 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 Tyrell has unhorsed him, 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, although he later comforts Sansa when Joffrey orders her face slapped and advises how to avoid future pain. With Joffrey's ascension to the throne, Clegane is named to the Kingsguard to replace the ousted Ser Barristan Selmy.

Season 2[edit]

Sandor Clegane continues to defend Sansa, including by covering her after Joffrey orders her stripped in front of the assembled court 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; he ultimately deserts after witnessing a man burning alive in the battle. Before he leaves King's Landing, he offers to take Sansa north to Winterfell, which she refuses. It is during this season that Sandor Clegane admits to Sansa that he loves killing, saying "Killing is the sweetest thing there is".

Season 3[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 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 her true identity. At the Brotherhood's hideout, their leader Lord Beric Dondarrion accuses Clegane of being a murderer; although Clegane asserts that the murders were committed in order to protect Joffrey, Arya testifies that Clegane had killed Mycah despite the boy's not having harmed Joffrey. Lord Beric sentences Clegane to a trial by combat, which Clegane wins to secure his freedom. Although Clegane slays him, 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 and attack the Starks, and Clegane and Arya barely escape the massacre.

Season 4[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 the sworn sword to Arya's mother Catelyn, Brienne of Tarth, who had promised to take the Stark children to safety. When Arya refuses to go with Brienne, Brienne and Clegane engage in single combat that culminates in Brienne's knocking Clegane off a cliff, gravely wounding him. Although Clegane begs Arya to kill him, she leaves him to die.[6]

Season 6[edit]

It is revealed that Clegane survived; he had been discovered by Ray, a warrior turned septon. Clegane assists Ray and his followers in building a sept, but one day, after a brief journey into nearby woods to chop wood, Clegane returns to the community to find everyone slaughtered by rogue members of the Brotherhood Without Banners. Clegane takes up an ax to hunt down those responsible and kills 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 help hang two of the outlaws, followed by an offer to join the Brotherhood in their journey north to fight the White Walkers.

Season 7[edit]

During their journey north, the Brotherhood stops at a farm owned by a farmer Clegane had previously robbed. Inside, they find the bodies of the farmer and his daughter. Remorseful, Clegane digs them a grave with Thoros's help. Thoros has Clegane look into the flames of the Brotherhood's campfire, and in them the skeptical Clegane 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 are locked in the ice cells. Soon afterward, 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 the White Walkers exist. Clegane, Beric, and Thoros are released to accompany Jon, Jorah, Gendry, and the wilding Tormund Giantsbane beyond the Wall. The group soon captures a wight but is surrounded by the White Walkers and their army of wights, although not before Gendry flees to Eastwatch to request Daenerys Targaryen's aid. Daenerys arrives with her dragons before the group can be overrun. One dragon is killed and reanimated by the Night King, but Daenerys' group, minus Jon - who stays behind to fight back the White Walkers - is able to flee. Clegane joins Jon, Daenerys, and Davos as they sail to King's Landing.

At King's Landing, Clegane meets Brienne of Tarth. Despite their previous brutal fight, they converse on civil terms. Clegane learns that Arya is alive and with her family, prompting a rare smile. During the summit in the Dragon Pit outside King's Landing, Clegane confronts his brother and asks what they did to him then cuts off the answer and tells him he always knew who would come for him. Clegane brings out the trunk containing the wight, revealing to Cersei and Jaime Lannister the threat that lies beyond the wall. In the aftermath, Clegane sails to White Harbor with Daenerys' forces with the intention of travelling to Winterfell to aid Jon and Daenerys against the Night King.

Season 8[edit]

The Hound joins Daenerys, Jon, and their retinues as they march to Winterfell, where he is reunited with Arya and Sansa. The Hound and Arya make peace with one another before the dreaded Battle of Winterfell against the White Walkers. During the battle, the Hound is triggered by the use of fire to destroy the wights and is close to giving up, but is convinced by Beric to keep fighting, indicating towards Arya who is relentlessly fighting beside them.

The Hound then travels to King's Landing to kill his brother along with Arya, who intends to kill Cersei. The two infiltrate the Red Keep amongst a crowd of civilians Cersei is using as human shields, but Daenerys begins burning the city down and the Red Keep begins to crumble. The Hound urges Arya to leave as he goes to find his brother. Arya thanks him, calling him by his true name for the first and only time, and bids him farewell. A fight ensues between the Clegane brothers, and Sandor struggles to even injure his inhuman brother. Gregor is momentarily disarmed after the Hound stabs him through the head, and the Hound tackles him off a stairway into the inferno below, resulting in both of their deaths.


  1. ^ a b "HBO: Game of Thrones: Sandor Clegane ("The Hound"): Bio". HBO. Retrieved 27 December 2015.
  2. ^ "Game of Thrones Viewer's Guide". HBO.
  3. ^ "A Read of Ice and Fire: A Storm of Swords, Part 48".
  4. ^ Collins, Sean T. (7 April 2014). "Sandor Clegane: 'Game of Thrones' actor talks". Rolling Stone.
  5. ^ "'Game of Thrones': The Hound". Herocomplex. 25 April 2013.
  6. ^ "Rory McCann on The Hound and Brienne fighting dirty, and teaching Arya all too well". 23 June 2014.