- "Oh, there's plenty of pious sons of bitches who think they know the word of god, or gods. I don't. I don't know their real names. Maybe it is the Seven. Or maybe it's the Old Gods. Or maybe it's the Lord of Light, or maybe they're all the same fucking thing. I don't know. What matters, I believe, is that there's something greater than us. And whatever it is, it's got plans for Sandor Clegane."
- ―Ray to Sandor Clegane.
Brother Ray is a minor character in the sixth season. He is played by guest star Ian McShane and only appears in "The Broken Man". Ray was a veteran of the War of the Ninepenny Kings and a former mercenary who reformed himself and served the Faith of the Seven.
Ray was once a sellsword, who would do whatever he was told. His friends believed he was not afraid of anything, but he admits he was only brave because he was worried people would see him for what he truly was: "a coward who followed orders". He burned down villages, stole crops, and killed anyone he was told to. He once cut the throat of a young boy as the mother, held back, screamed. That night, he could not forget the mothers screams, and became ashamed of what he was. After that, he became a man of peace, and an ordained septon.
Ray discovered Sandor Clegane, the Hound, in the Vale, apparently dead. He had a broken leg, and was covered in bugs. When Ray tried to bury him, the Hound coughed, so Ray loaded him onto a wagon and took him to be nursed back to health. According to Ray, the Hound appeared to die a dozen more times while he was helping him to recover from his near death experience, but always survived. Eventually the Hound became healthy enough to help Ray and his "flock" in the construction of what appears to be a small sept.
Ray and his followers, including the Hound, are building a sept by a forest in the hills. He goes to talk with the Hound, and asks how many men it took to take him down. When he hears it was a woman that wounded him, he laughs. During a lunching break, Ray sits with the Hound and recounts the story of his discovery. He asks what it was that kept the Hound alive, and is told that it was down to "hate", and being "tough to kill". Ray disagrees, and tells the Hound that he is alive because the gods have a plan for him. In this conversation, Ray admits that he does not know much about the gods and wonders aloud if the Seven, the Old Gods, and Rh'llor are all the same deity; he concludes that the most important thing is that there is a force greater than humankind out there. Later, he tells the story of how he became a religious man to his followers. During the story, three riders from the Brotherhood Without Banners, Flynn, Lem, and Morgan, arrive. Ray tells them the group has nothing to give the riders: no horses, gold, or weapons; only rest. The riders leave upon hearing this, and Ray refuses to fight them, claiming violence is a disease that should not be spread, despite the Hound arguing that it would spread anyhow if they did not prepare for combat. In exasperation, the Hound decides to go off into the woods to cut more firewood, saying that it would be a cold night. Ray offers to save some of the ale from dinner for him.
However, later on in the evening, the building site is sacked and every one of Ray's followers are mercilessly killed. Ray himself is hanged from the rafters of the unfinished sept. His body is discovered by the Hound, who in retaliation picks up an axe to take revenge.
When Sandor finally catches up with Lem who is about to be hanged for his crimes, Beric Dondarrion and Thoros ask Clegane why he is after Lem. He replies, "he killed my friend", implying that Ray's teachings have had a significant impact on Sandor.
In his sellsword past, Ray was craven and willing to commit atrocious acts of violence. However, after the harrowing incident in which he killed the boy in front of his mother, shame washed over Ray, causing him to follow a new path.
In the present, Ray is a wise, kindly man who dedicates his life to helping others. He reveals to his group that his main goal now is to "bring a little goodness into the world", if only to make up for the wrongs he committed in the past. Ray firmly believes in redemption at any time, as shown when he tells his congregation that it is never too late for someone to turn their lives around. In regards to the gods, Ray takes a somewhat universalist stance, stating that he does not know much about the gods and that the Lord of Light, the Seven, and the Old Gods could be the same thing, and that what he knows is that there is simply some force greater than humanity out there. Not wishing to bring more violence into the world, Ray has adopted a pacifist attitude and eschews violence even when threatened; unfortunately, this love of peace proves to be his and his followers' downfall.
Behind the Scenes
|Season Six appearances|
|The Red Woman||Home||Oathbreaker||Book of the Stranger||The Door|
|Blood of My Blood||The Broken Man||No One||Battle of the Bastards||The Winds of Winter|
In the books
Ray appears to be a combination of two book characters, Septon Meribald and the Elder Brother.
The Elder Brother is a member of a community of male penitents living on the Quiet Isle. He tells Brienne and Podrick that he found Sandor Clegane, but that the Hound was dead and was buried by the Elder Brother himself.
Neither of the two characters is known to have been killed like their TV series counterpart was. Sandor's return suggests that a future novel will reveal the Elder Brother's description was figurative: the Hound is dead, but Sandor still lives. A hooded gravedigger matching Sandor's physique appears in A Feast for Crows who could very well be Sandor himself; the character is left unnamed because the chapter is from Brienne's POV, and Brienne has not yet met the Hound in the novels.