Everything You Need To Know About House Clegane To Understand Where Game Of Thrones Is Going
Of all the many houses in Game of Thrones and A Song of Ice and Fire, House Clegane is among the smallest, newest, and least politically relevant. But the Cleganes still manage to make an enormous impact on the story, despite the fact that only two members of the House, Gregor and Sandor, still live. The Cleganes have already played an important role in Westerosi history thus far, and their story doesn’t appear to be over quite yet.
Gregor, the Mountain Who Rides, and Sandor, the Hound, are two of the most violent individuals alive in Westeros, and that’s definitely saying something. Despite the humble origins of House Clegane, both brothers have found themselves intimately involved with the wars and politics of Westeros, with Gregor becoming one of history’s greatest monsters and Sandor attempting to forge his own unique path in the world. Of course, this being the work of George R. R. Martin, no family is too small to have an intriguing backstory and a number of possible mysteries surrounding them, and the Cleganes are no exception.
A (Very) Brief History Of House CleganePhoto: gameofthronesfan94 / via YouTube
House Clegane is one of the youngest noble houses in all of Westeros, having received their land only two generations prior to the main story. Tytos Lannister – Tywin’s father and Jaime, Cersei, and Tyrion’s grandfather – was ironically attacked by a lioness, with only his kennelmaster on hand to save him. The kennelmaster lost his leg and three of his dogs in the effort, but saved Tytos’s life.
A Lannister always pays his debts, so Tytos rewarded the kennelmaster handsomely, granting him a title, lands near Casterly Rock, and a towerhouse that already existed on those lands. The Clegane sigil, three dogs on a yellow field, is in honor of the loyal pets that helped save Tytos and springboard the Clegane family into nobility.
Loyalty To House LannisterPhoto: HBO
Tytos Lannister didn’t just create House Clegane and grant them lands; he immediately brought the family into his personal fold. Tytos named his kennelmaster’s son as his own personal squire, and that boy grew up to be Sandor and Gregor Clegane’s father.
The two sons continued the family tradition of showing loyalty to the Lannisters, with Gregor serving Tywin Lannister for decades and Sandor acting as Joffrey Baratheon’s personal bodyguard and eventual Kingsguard.
A Legacy Of ViolencePhoto: gameofthronesfan94 / via YouTube
The Clegane family history is short, but brutal. After the bloody incident that boosted their family to nobility, the Cleganes appeared to develop a taste for violence. Gregor Clegane was a monster from a young age, suspected of having something to do with the mysterious death of his younger sister.
There’s no mystery, however, about what Gregor did to his younger brother, Sandor. When Gregor caught Sandor playing with a toy of his, he held Sandor’s face over a brazier, which left Sandor with his trademark disfigurement and a lifelong fear of fire. Growing up in the Clegane household wasn’t easy.
Dunk’s DNA?Photo: HBO
George R. R. Martin says the star of his prequel series, Tales of Dunk and Egg, ended up spreading his DNA all over Westeros, meaning that there's a handful of Dunk descendants running around during A Song of Ice and Fire. While most people believe that Brienne of Tarth is the most likely candidate to be descended from Dunk, others believe the Cleganes could be as well, mostly due to their monstrous size and martial prowess, which were Dunk’s trademarks. Sandor’s noble streak could also be inherited from Dunk, one of the land's greatest knights.
Gregor, The Mountain Who RidesPhoto: HBO
Gregor Clegane is the eldest member of the current Clegane generation, and undoubtedly the cruelest. Gregor has done much of his butchery in the name of House Lannister, but he was originally knighted by Rhaegar Targaryen – the man whose wife and children Gregor would go on to brutally slay. Gregor’s gargantuan size earned him the nickname "The Mountain Who Rides," but it was as much a curse as a blessing as it left Gregor with excruciating migraines, which he treated with opiate abuse. This left Gregor as a nearly uncontrollable animal, prone to extreme violence and despicably cruel acts.
One man, however, could control Gregor: Tywin Lannister. Gregor committed horrific acts for Tywin, from the murder and rape of Elia Martell to the slaughter of her young children. During the opening stages of the conflict in A Song of Ice and Fire, Tywin sets the Mountain loose on the Riverlands, resulting in a multitude of atrocities.
Gregor’s actions finally caught up to him during a trial-by-combat against Oberyn Martell, champion of Tyrion Lannister and the brother of the slain Elia. Oberyn’s quest for revenge was successful as he fatally poisoned Gregor, albeit at the cost of his own life. However, Gregor’s story didn’t end there; he was soon resurrected by Qyburn so he could keep serving the Lannisters as the undead Ser Robert Strong.
Sandor, The HoundPhoto: HBO
Sandor Clegane is marginally more heroic than Gregor Clegane, though the bar is admittedly low. It was actually the atrocities committed by his brother that turned Sandor away from thoughts of knighthood. Instead, he served as the personal bodyguard to Prince Joffrey Baratheon, earning him the nickname of "the Hound." Sandor’s hatred of his brother and all other knights even led to him refuse his knightly vows when he was made a member of the Kingsguard.
Sandor didn't end up keeping those vows, either. Although he bravely protected Sansa Stark on numerous occasions, the Hound eventually left his post at a crucial moment. During the Battle of the Blackwater, Sandor’s fear of fire led to him abandon King Joffrey and flee northward, where he encountered Arya Stark and the Brotherhood Without Banners. After a bit of roadtripping with Arya, the Hound was eventually wounded and left to die, with his story appearing to end there. However, that wasn’t actually the case.