Obvious Spoiler Warning. This Theory Covers the Fate of Sandor “The Hound” Clegane.
If you’re not up to date with the end of Season 5 of Game of Thrones, Stop Reading.
Last We Saw The Hound…
Last We Saw Our Favorite Chicken Eater, Sandor “The Hound” Clegane, was left abandoned by Arya Stark near The Vale of Arryn after his Defeat to Brienne of Tarth. He is heavily injured and cut from both the fight and the fall during that fight.
Begging Arya to give him a quick death, he was left there to rot and die slowly, even cracking a joke that he might live “if there’s a maester behind that rock”. Arya takes his silver, since “Dead Men Don’t Need Silver” and leaves him there to rot slowly and miserably.
So he’s pretty much gone, Right? NOT SO FAST!! If there’s one thing Game of Thrones is great at doing, is reminding us that no one is dead, until we see the actual death scene, or a corpse.
The Gravedigger Theory
First things first about the books, one needs to know that the fight between Brienne and the Hound never happened. Instead, the Hound’s wounds from the fight at the Inn (“Bring Me One Of Those Chickens”) are what cripple him, and leave him almost dead. Readers are left to believe Arya left him to die here the same way she did in the show.
In A Feast For Crows, the fourth book of the series, Brienne, on her quest to finding Sansa Stark, along with Podrick end up on an isolated island called the Quiet Isles in the Riverlands. The island serves as a monastery for the Faith of the Seven, for which all monks and inhabitants choose a vow of silence. The exception to this lies with Septon Maribald and the Elder Brother who aid Brienne and her companions during their passage there.
Brienne notices a man of rather large stature, his face covered, digging graves. The Elder Brother tells Brienne to ignore him, as he is a Novice. She even notices him petting a dog when the dog comes to him (Maybe a hint from George R.R Martin?)
The Elder Brother mentions to Brienne, that he witnessed The Hound die of his wounds, and that he buried him himself. He informs her that it was not Sansa, but Arya Stark that was with him before his demise, and that her search for him should end.
That Doesn’t Explain Anything. How Is He Still Alive Then?
Well, for someone to have only spoken to the man right as he died, the Elder Brother seems to know an awful lot about the man that Sandor Clegane was, even mentioning his torments and hatred towards his brother Gregor, The Mountain.
The Elder Brother is also very vague while speaking of the Death of Sandor. He mentions that “The Hound is Dead”, while at later mentioning that he himself, “Died on The Trident”, using the term as a metaphor for when he used to be a Warrior during Robert’s Rebellion (The Trident refers to the Battle of the Trident where Robert Baratheon killed Rhaegar Targaryen).
He could be using the same metaphorical terms when mentioning that “The Hound is Dead”, the same way he refers to it when talking about his re-birth in this new life of isolation in a monastery of the faith, something the Hound may have also taken.
Also, when Brienne asks him again if “Sandor Clegane is Dead”, he answers with “He is at rest”, which could also be a play on words as “The Hound”, the monster of a human that enjoyed killing is dead, but Sandor Clegane, the man behind the monster, is at rest, in this new life, away from Kings Landing and all the torments of his life.
Another Hint is the presence of Sandor’s black horse Stranger on the Quiet Isle is another clue. It is often stated in the books that only Sandor could lead or ride the horse as it is particularly hard to handle. That extra detail is not too relevant to the show since he loses the Horse before reaching the Bloody Gate
So He Could Still Be Alive? Why Would He Return
Before we explain why, we got to remind you that English Actor Ian McShane was cast in August 2015 to play for a “mystery role” in Game Of Thrones. He then mentioned in an interview at the Los Cabos International Film Festival, where he mentioned that “I’ll give you one hint. I am responsible for bringing somebody back that you think you’re never going to see again. I’ll leave it at that.”
Now who is he talking about could be an entire Theory Article of its own. But for the sake of this article, he could very well be talking about bringing Sandor Clegane back to the delight of the fans.
Which could mean having McShane cast as Septon Maribald or the Elder Brother, or maybe a composite of both characters blended in to a new one; something the show has done multiple times already (Ros, Gendry, etc…)
Having the Hound come back could solidify one of the Internet’s most popular memes with regards to Game Of Thrones and A Song Of Ice And Fire..
UPDATE: On March 3rd 2016, Ian McShane was on BBC Breakfast, and may have revealed too much about his character. See for yourself:
“My character is an ex warrior who’s become a peacenik. So I have this group of peaceful, sort of like a cult peaceful tribe who have brought back… I bring back a much loved character everyone thinks is dead”.
If that’s not a perfect description of the Elder Brother and the Silent Monks from the Quiet Isles, then who really knows, really…..
ENTER CLEGANEBOWL (GET HYPE!!)
Remember what happened to Cersei Lannister at the end of Season 5? Yeah… That Penance Walk (of Shame).
Remember who picked her up? Yeah… A Zombified version of the Mountain renamed “Robert Strong”, vowing to remain silent until “All Of Her Graces’ Enemies Are Killed”
Now that Cersei awaits her trial, she has her champion, Robert Strong himself. Who will the Church of the Seven choose as their Champion? Hopefully the Gravedigger Himself, which turns out to be Sandor living in peace as a monk, only to now return to fight his brother, something we already had a glimpse of in Season 1
YouTube User Alt-Shift-X gives us all the details on how that theory might prove to be valid, with all the passages in the books that pertain to Sandor “The Hound” Clegane possibly still being alive.
Great Video that’s Worth the Watch
DO NOT GO TO THE NEXT (AND LAST) ENTRY IF YOU ARE NOT UP TO DATE WITH SEASON 6 OF GAME OF THRONES, AND DON’T WANT TO READ ABOUT POTENTIAL SPOILERS ABOUT UPCOMING EPISODES!!
The Broken Man
It’s been confirmed that Episode 7 of the 6th season will be titled “The Broken Man”. While many are speculating that it could refer to Davos finally finding out what happened to Shereen Baratheon in the previous season, it is more likely to refer to Septon Meribald or the Quiet Man’s speech about both himself and the Hound, and their journey to find peace within themselves (Which we mentioned in the Gravedigger Theory earlier).
Actor Paul Kaye, who portrayed Thoros of Myr from the Brotherhood without Banners in Season 3, has been listed in the cast and crew of the episode. Reports have surfaced that his group of outlaws ambush a convoy of Septons headind for Kings Landing and led by Ian McShane (So McShane is definitely one of the two Septons). One of the men among the group is The Hound himself. A battle occurs, and a one on one between Thoros and Clegane occurs, with Clegane winning and going back to his old ways.
We’ll have to see when the episode airs if these reports are true…