So after receiving good feedback for my first entry, which poured some light on the abilities and personality of Ser Jaime Lannister, now comes part 2. The Hound is a character with many fight scenes and he has shown many skills and traits so there's a lot of material to work with here. I was actually pretty undecided at first whether I should make my first entry about him or Jaime, but decided to make one for Jaime first. Like the first entry, this one will also discuss solely the show version of The Hound, and not his book counterpart.
Sandor Clegane, better known as "The Hound", is considered one of the most fearsome fighters in Westeros, by both reputation and actual achievements. He is younger brother to Ser Gregor Clegane, better known as "The Mountain". He is famous for his abnormal size and strength, although he does not equate to his monstrous brother in either category.
When they were children, Gregor saw Sandor playing with one of his toys, and in response, without saying anything, shoved his brother's face into a brazier. This resulted in an ugly scar that covers half of Sandor's face ever since, as well as a harsh fear of fire.
In the series, Sandor is introduced as the Sworn Shield (bodyguard) of Joffrey Baratheon. When Joffrey becomes king, he dismisses Ser Barristan Selmy from his Kingsguard and appoints Sandor in his stead. Sandor does not remain in the Kingsguard for long however. In the Battle of the Blackwater, he decides that he doesn't care for the king, nor the kingdom, and deserts from duty.
Although he isn't a sadistic psychopath like his brother, Sandor has absolutely no mercy in battle, and often executes his enemies in the goriest ways imaginable. He is not a bad person, however, and can often even be kind. He has a very cynical worldview, and does not hold much in high regard. He was never anointed as a knight, and he loathes how most knights hold themselves in such high regard. Whenever people call him "Ser", he makes sure to mention that he is no knight. Even when King Joffrey promoted him into the ranks of the Kingsguard, he refused to take the vow of knighthood, and joined the order without ever being anointed. His contempt for knights started when his brother Gregor was anointed by Prince Rhaegar Targaryen, despite him being a notoriously dishonorable and evil man.
In the series, The Hound is portrayed by the actor Rory McCann.
The Hound is a very skilled and quick fighter. Along with his insane strength, this makes him one of the most dangerous warriors in Westeros.
In the Tourney held in King's Landing in honor of Ned Stark, The Mountain is put against Ser Loras Tyrell in a match of jousting. The Mountain loses quickly, and in his rage, he grabs his greatsword and attacks Ser Loras. The Hound immediately rushes in to save Ser Loras from his older brother and the two clash briefly:
Their short fight is interrupted when King Robert orders them to stop, and Sandor displays some impressive speed and skill with this sweet move:
When The City Watch and King Joffrey's forces attack Ned Stark's men, The Hound kills one of Ned's men, and right after that he is seen in the background (look closely) killing another man:
The Hound is also skilled with a morning star (spiked mace). At the tourney in honor of King Joffrey's birthday, Sandor fights an opponent with a morning star and easily defeats him, throwing him off the ramparts to his death:
The Hound fights Lord Beric Dondarrion, the leader of "The Brotherhood Without Banners" - a small militia that ambushes and kills soldiers who prey on the smallfolk of Westeros. Beric used a flaming sword, and despite his fear of fire - The Hound still won:
Arya Stark approaches a group of Frey soldiers, who sit around a campfire and laughing at "The Red Wedding" - in which her brother, her mother and a lot of their men were murdered. She tricks and kills one of them, and when the other three get up and are about to get her, The Hound jumps in and kills them all in a few seconds:
The Hound and Arya arrive at a crossroads inn, where some of The Mountain's men are having a drink. Arya recognizes one of them as Polliver, one of the men who captured her on her way to The Wall, and killed her friend Lommy in cold blood. Polliver, who doesn't recognize Arya, initiates a conversation with Sandor. The conversation quickly escalates into a fight, in which The Hound kills all of Polliver's men (except for two that Arya killed, one of them being Polliver himself):
Brienne and Podrick Payne encounter The Hound and Arya on the road. After Podrick realizes that the man in front of him is The Hound, Brienne realizes that the girl that with him is Arya Stark. She pleads Arya to come with her, as she had sworn a vow to find her and Sansa and protect them. Sandor doesn't believe her because he recognizes that she is carrying a Lannister sword, and he believes that Brienne is there on behalf of the Lannisters. A harsh exchange of words between Brienne and Sandor quickly escalates to - you guessed it - a fight. This is considered by many to be one of the very best fight scenes in the show:
The Hound and Arya are sneaked upon and attacked by two men. The first one jumps at The Hound's back and bites his ear, and Sandor grabs his head and snaps his neck. Could also count for a strength feat, but since it really pales in comparison to all of Sandor's other strength feats, I put it under skill:
Sandor seeks out the men who massacred Septon Ray and his community. He comes across 4 members of The Brotherhood Without Banners, and kills them all with his hatchet before any of them can even react:
The Hound has demonstrated his uncanny strength consistently throughout the series, and is easily one of the strongest characters in the series. In fact, while his brother Gregor is known by reputation to be stronger, The Hound actually has better showings in my opinion.
When three thugs try to rape Sansa Stark, The Hound comes to the rescue. He grabs one of them by the throat, easily lifts him up in the air, and guts him with a knife:
At the end of his fight with Beric Dondarrion, The Hound cut straight through Beric's sword and buried his own sword almost a foot through Beric's torso, with one overhead swing:
Ready for a pretty insane strength feat? In the Battle of the Blackwater, The Hound is put in the lead of a small force. During a clash with some of Stannis's men at the gates of the Red Keep, The Hound scores some solid kills. Two of them, however, are 2 of my favorite kills in the entire series, even though they are pretty casual and easy to miss. In the first, The Hound cuts a man wearing chainmail armor in two, straight through the waist. In the one right after, he cuts a man wearing similar armor in two with a cut that goes through the man's left shoulder, and down through his right hip. Insane:
On their travels, The Hound and Arya run into a man whose wagon went off-road and lost a wheel. The Hound asks the man if he needs help. The man jests that at least 8 men are needed to lift the wagon, but is taken by surprise when Sandor lifts it easily by himself:
Several days after losing his fight against Brienne, The Hound is found, nearly dead, by a Septon named Ray. Ray takes care of Sandor and nurses him back to health. Sandor then joins up to Ray's small community of smallfolk, and helps them build a sept. In his first appearance in season 6, The Hound is seen carrying a big log by himself, while it takes groups of 4 men to carry other similar logs:
Ray makes a comment on The Hound's strength:
The Hound is a very harsh, cynical man. He finds killing to be the best thing in the world, and although he isn't a crazed killer who will murder anyone regardless of the law like his brother, he cynically pursues occupations as a bodyguard and soldier which allow him to kill legally (he even pondered the idea of becoming a sellsword in Essos after he ransoms Arya), though he scoffs at the hypocrisy of people who think there's really much of a difference. Outside of combat, however, he is not at all merciless. He will help the helpless whenever he can. I think that his half-burnt face is a symbol for his complex personality: one side appears monstrous and ugly, and the other side is very human. All in all, The Hound is a complex character, that hides more than meets the eye.
After Gregor Clegane lost the joust against Ser Loras Tyrell, he furiously assaulted the young knight who had just unhorsed him. The Hound was the only person in the tourney to stand up to his crazed older brother, and immediately rushed in to save Ser Loras:
In battle, The Hound is one of the cruelest, most fearsome fighters in Westeros. As mentioned, although he isn't a murderer, he enjoys killing very much. Here, as a prisoner of the Brotherhood Without Banners, Sandor mocks their star archer - Anguy - and his weapon of choice:
At the battle of the Blackwater, The Hound comes to realize that he really doesn't care about the fight anymore and that he doesn't want to waste his time there anymore. He goes back into the Red Keep to drink some wine and Tyrion Lannister urges him to go back out there, telling him that he's a Kingsguard, and he should defend his king's city. This is Sandor's response:
Arya practices some of the moves that Syrio had taught her. The Hound asks Arya about Syrio, and she tells him that Syrio was the greatest swordsman who had ever lived, and that Meryn Trant killed him. This is Sandor's response:
Sandor and Arya come across a man whose village was attacked by soldiers, and is slowly dying from his injuries. After talking with him a little, Sandor stabs the man in the heart, to put a quick end to his misery:
While The Hound is in the forest chopping some firewood, three rogue members of The Brotherhood Without Banners slaughter Ray and his small community in cold blood. Sandor, furious with the massacre, grabs a hatchet and goes to seek out the murderers and avenge their helpless victims:
After Sandor, Beric Dondarrion and Thoros of Myr hang the three murderers for their crimes, Beric finally convinces Sandor to join The Brotherhood Without Banners, and fight a war that's worth fighting, against the White Walkers in the north:
Epic quotes by The Hound (he swears a lot):
To Loras Tyrell:
"I'm no Ser."
To the men under his command at the Battle of the Blackwater:
"Any man dies with a clean sword, I'll r*pe his f***ing corpse!"
"What the f***'s a 'Lommy'?"
"I understand that if any more words come pouring out of your c*nt mouth, I'm gonna have to eat every f***ing chicken in this room."
To Anguy (it could have been another archer frankly, but it doesn't really matter):
"Drop that arrow you bloody girl. Tougher girls than you have tried to kill me."
To one of the men of the Brotherhood, that he killed:
"You're sh*t at dying, you know that?"
"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."
To Brienne (regarding Arya):
"Safety?! Where the f*** is that?! Her aunt in The Eyrie is dead. Her mother's dead. Her father's dead. Her brother's dead. Winterfell is a pile of rubble. There's no 'safety', you dumb b*tch. If you don't know that by now, you're the wrong one to watch over her."
To Tyrion (after the latter thanked Sandor for rescuing Sansa):
"I didn't do it for you."
To Thoros of Myr:
"Hanging? All over in an instant. Where's the punishment in that?"
The Hound is a character that provides the best of two worlds: on the one hand, he is an amazing fighter, with many fight scenes that provide some killer moves and feats. And on the other hand, he is a very interesting character with a complex personality and original backstory. He also holds credit for many of the show's best punchlines, and he has the sweetest suit of armor in the entire series:
Hope you enjoyed the read!