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Villain Overview

Look at me! Stannis is a killer. The Lannisters are killers. Your father was a killer. Your brother is a killer. Your sons will be killers someday. The world is built by killers... so you better get used to looking at them.
~ The Hound to Sansa Stark shortly before deserting the Battle of the Blackwater.
Those are your last words, "f-ck you"? Come on, you can do better than that.
~ Sandor Clegane
F-ck the Kingsguard, f-ck the city, f-ck the king.
~ Sandor Clegane's most famous line.

Sandor Clegane, also known as "The Hound", is a main character in the A Song of Ice and Fire book series and its TV adaptation Game of Thrones.

He is a member of House Clegane. He is the younger brother of the current head, Ser Gregor Clegane. He is nicknamed "The Hound" for his savage nature and unquestioning obedience to his masters and for the three dogs featured in his family's crest. He is considered one of the most dangerous fighters in Westeros, though he frequently drinks himself into stupors. As a child, Sandor received gruesome facial burns when Gregor shoved his face into a brazier. He came to loathe fire, his brother, and the hypocrisy of knighthood in general.

Sandor is very fond of his big black stallion Stranger, a very dangerous and wild animal, full of rage, who behaves quietly only in his master's presence. He is named after the death aspect of the Seven-Faced God.

In the eighth season of the TV show, the long awaited battle between Sandor and his brother finally took place. Sandor sacrificed himself by tackling his brother off a ledge in the Red Keep and falling into a burning mass, finally ending his undead brother's existence.

In the HBO series, he was portrayed by Rory McCann, who also played Jurgen the Brutal in Jumanji: The Next Level, Michael “Lurch” Armstrong in Hot Fuzz, and Duke Vedmire in The Legend of Vox Machina.


The Hound was one of the most renowned fighters in the Seven Kingdoms of his time. He was known for his large size, great strength and skill with the sword. According to Jaime Lannister, Sandor was deceptively fast, much more so than a man of his size should have been. The Hound was an extremely skilled warrior, and was the only man alive truly brave enough to stand up to his older brother, the Mountain. That said, Sandor was also one of the few people who could match the Mountain for strength and skill, shown during a significantly brutal duel between the two. However, in this duel, it is unclear who was better than who, as the Hound was not trying to kill his brother, despite the fact that he had every single reason to do so. However, when the Hound fought to kill, he was almost unstoppable, able to combat with around three opponents at once and defeat Beric Dondarrion. In the television series he could fight on reasonably even footing with Brienne of Tarth, who's more stronger than she is in the original novel series.

Personality and Appearance

The Hound was hard and brutal, filled with hatred, especially for his brother. He frequently drank himself into a stupour, and suffered from pyrophobia, a crippling fear of fire, brought about by his brother holding his head into a fireplace for playing with one of his toys. He sometimes displayed a tender side, shown almost exclusively with Sansa Stark. Despite his vicious personality and intense hatred of his brother, Sandor Clegane was a very honorable man, shown when he courageously went to the aid of Ser Loras when Gregor attacked him in a violent rage

Throughout the fight, the Hound did not attempt to strike his brother dead at all. He admitted, though, that he still had a fiery hatred of Gregor. The Hound's embittering experiences with his older brother led for him to have extremely nihilistic and brutally negative views of the world: Gregor mutilated him for life, and he was protected by his father all the same. Not only that, Gregor was the one who was knighted for his murderous and sadistic actions, which led to Sandor viewing the prospect and idea of knighthood as hypocritical and callous. He would never accept being addressed as a knight, even if he was addressed out of honour or respect or gratitude. The Hound had a cold, brutal sense of humour, and would often make inappropriate and callous jokes in uncomfortable situations.

In the TV series, after facing a near death experience at the hands of Brienne of Tarth, Sandor grows remorseful of his past crimes and attempts to start over and live a peaceful life, shown living with some villagers under the guidance of Brother Ray, a former warrior turned septon. However, after the Brotherhood without Banners massacre the entire village and hangs Brother Ray, the Hound decides to get revenge for this atrocity. When he gets the chance, Sandor returns to his fiery nature and easily kills three of them without taking a blow himself. He also maintains his savage wit, making jokes about Beric Dondarrion's immortality and even remarking that one of the Brotherhood outlaws was shit at dying on the basis that his last words were derivative.

The Hound is described as a huge and heavily muscled man. The right side of his face is gaunt, with sharp cheekbones and a heavy brow. His nose is large and hooked, his hair long, dark, thin and brushed so that it covers his burned left side, where no hair grows. The left side of his face is a ruin. His left ear is gone, leaving only a hole. His eyes are grey, and his left eye is covered by a twisted mass of scars and slick black flesh is pocked with craters and deep cracks that ooze red and wet mark the left side of his face. On his jaw, bone shows.

He wears plain armour, and is denoted by his distinctive helmet, sculpted into the shape of a snarling dog's head. He classically carried an enormous greatsword which suits his incredible strength, and brutal nature.


  • In the TV series, Sandor did survive due to being saved by a septon known as Brother Ray, while in the books his fate left unknown though he is very likely survived as well. Brother Ray is the television counterpart of Septon Meribald, who's a former war veteran like Ray. Apparently, he joined with the Brotherhood without Banners. In the novels it is always reminded how his horse Stranger is impossible for any human to control, yet Brienne sees the beast in the Quiet Isle and by his violent behavior in the place it seems impossible that the brothers would have been able to bring him there without Sandor. While Sandor's presence in the show couldn't necessarily confirm his book status, as the show took a different path from the novels, Ray's speech and character have been taken from Meribald and likely confirms that Clegane is indeed the limping gravedigger in the isle and that Brother Ray is the TV series' replacement of Septon Meribald and the Elder Brother, who are both related to Sandor's "end".
  • In the novels Sandor's facial scars are more hideous and a piece of bone is even visible. Like in the show, Sandor puts some of his hair to cover what he can. According to the novels, Sandor's left ear was completely burned by his brother and nothing of it has been left. In TV version Sandor had both ears until Brienne bites off his burned ear during their fight, which is what actually happens to Vargo Hoat in the books, when he tries to rape Brienne at Harrenhal.
  • Sandor's temper, sadism, violence and drunkness have all been toned down in the television series. He acts a lot meaner, aggressive, and offensive to Arya in the novels.
  • Sandor and Sansa's relationship in the television series has been toned down and almost completely erased, except for a few bits, most likely due to the age difference between the characters. During the second season Sansa is 13/14 years old, while her actress Sophie Turner was 16 during the filming. In the novels Sansa is 11 years old when Sandor gets infatuated with her and 12 when he deserts the Lannisters. Ever since he left Sansa fantasizes about Sandor very often and wonders where is he, thinking every time about their "kiss", even in the Vale. The TV series choses to focus on Sansa and Baelish's relationship more, while in the novels Sansa doesn't trust him much and is learning how to play the games of nobility.
  • In the TV series Sansa learns about Sandor's story and how everyone is a liar in the capital by Petyr Baelish, while all of those things came from Sandor in the books.
  • Arya Stark in the novels doesn't know anything about Sandor's past. In the show she learns the story of his burns by hearing Baelish.

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