Before we delve into the Hound theories, let’s talk about what happened to him in the books versus the TV series. In the books, the Hound is seriously injured by Gregor’s (the Hound’s brother) men at an inn and Arya leaves him to die under a tree near the Trident. In the series, Brienne and Pod show up and Brienne seemingly dispatches/gravely wounds the Hound, after biting his ear off, beating him with a rock, and then pushing him off a cliff. Arya finds him and he looks pretty messed up. He begs her to kill him. Instead, she takes his money and walks away, saying nothing. He calls out, “Kill me!” again. She doesn’t turn around. Pretty dramatic, right? Is the Hound dead?
If so, how did the Hound die? Did he bleed out over a few hours, filling the sky with curse words he invented as he peaced out? Maybe. Other Sandor Clegane theories strongly suggest that he ended up on the Quiet Isle as a novice in a religious order. GRRM certainly makes it seem that way in the books, but he’s also clever at deflecting and distracting readers, so who knows?
The reason we need the Hound to live is because someone needs to kill the Mountain - and who if not the man who had made Gregor’s death his life’s goal? Maybe you’ve heard about a much-hyped theory called Clegane Bowl. What is Clegane Bowl? A healed Hound makes his way back to King’s Landing and enters into combat by trial with his brother. The Mountain fights for Cersei and Sandor fights for the Faith Militant. It’s full of violence and screaming and blood and gore. The Hound is victorious. Who wants to see that? Everyone.
Or maybe Sandor shows mercy and allows his reanimated Buick-sized brother to live, demonstrating that his new faith is real. Doesn’t seem very George R.R. Martin-y, does it? Also, the Mountain needs to die, right?
How about this? The Hound follows Arya to Braavos and trains to be a Faceless Man, returns to King’s Landing, poses as Cersei, and kills the Mountain? Or Arya takes on the Hound’s face when she kills the Mountain, avenging her protector, who is with the Old Gods, the Seven, or the Drowned God now? Anyone?
Whether the Hound is still with us will get solved soon enough as Season 6 rolls along. Mainly because the Elder Brother has been selected. Don’t know who that is? We’ll fill you in. Keep reading…
The Hound Is Actually a Gravedigger at a Monastery, Pt. 1
In the books (A Feast of Crows), Brienne, Podrick, and Hyle Hunt follow a septon, Meribald, to a monastery on the Quiet Isle on their way to the Saltpans. Rorge, Biter, and other ruthless Brave Companions rape and pillage the Saltpans in a way that would make the Mountain blush. Because Rorge is wearing the Hound’s helm, rumor spreads that it is Sandor Clegane who lead this brutal attack and raid. The village is a ruin and Meribald suggests they stop at the monastery on the Quiet Isle before crossing over to the Saltpans the next day.
The group encounters a gravedigger, taller than Brienne, digging a resting place for Brother Clement, who was probably killed by Rorge or Biter. The gravedigger is a novice in the brotherhood. And the brothers take a vow of silence.
It’s not clear, possibly on purpose, but other brothers were described as wearing cowls and cloth wrapped around their faces. Was Sandor’s face covered like the other brothers, hiding his famous burn scars so no one in the group would be able to identify him? The gravedigger also has a limp. Could this be from the Hound’s wounds at the inn when Gregor’s men gravely injured him before Sandor and Arya killed them?
The Hound Is Actually a Gravedigger at a Monastery, Pt. 2
The Elder Brother of the septry tells Brienne that he found the Hound at the Trident, following the attack at the inn, gravely wounded, begging to be killed. He had vowed never to kill again and nursed the Hound as much as he could. The monk tells her, “The Hound died there, in my arms.”
He tells her he buried the Hound. He says he placed the Hound’s helm on top of his grave. He also tells Brienne, “That was a grievous error. Some other wayfarer found my marker and claimed it for himself.” This would be Rorge, who takes the helm. Finding The Hound’s body may not be so easy now.
The Elder Brother tells Brienne to lay down her sword, return home to her father, and seek peace. He says he was once a knight himself and “died” at the Battle of the Trident, fighting for the Targaryens. He was at the same battle where Robert Baratheon killed Rhaegar Targaryen and when he was knocked unconscious, his body floated down the Trident and he ended up at the Quiet Isle.
Brienne says, ”It is true then. Sandor Clegane is dead.” The Elder Brother responds, “He is at rest.”So… is the Elder Brother, weary of war and all of its horrors that have floated up to the Quiet Isle, telling Brienne that the man the Hound was is dead and that Sandor Clegane is at peace, digging graves as a novice in the monastery? Many think so.
The Hound Is Actually a Gravedigger at a Monastery, Pt. 3
The brothers took in the Hound’s war horse, Stranger. They renamed the horse inappropriately enough Driftwood, he who likes to bite off ears and break bones when he’s hooked up to a plow. No one can get near the beast, it seems. So if you go with the theory that the Elder Brother found a gravely injured Hound, nursed him back to health, and the Hound became a novice in the order… then maybe Sandor looks after the horse when he’s not digging graves and the brothers have learned the hard way to leave the task to Sandor.
Also, how did Stranger get to the Isle? Sure, the Elder Brother could have easily led him in, although the way to the septry is treacherous. Again, Stranger wouldn’t be cool with the Elder Brother, would he? Or maybe the brother had the touch with the war house, having been a knight himself?
The Classic Clegane Bowl Theory
Cersei will duke it out with the Faith Militant in the form of trial by combat. She’ll choose the Mountain. The Faith will choose the newly recovered Hound, returned from the Quiet Isle atop Stranger/Driftwood, and he’ll finally get the very thing he’s always wanted and super kill his brother Gregor.