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Sandor Clegane

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"- Does it give you joy to scare people?
- No, it gives me joy to kill people. Killing's the sweetest thing there is.
Sansa Stark and Sandor Clegane[src]

Sandor Clegane, nicknamed The Hound, is a major character in the first, second, and third seasons. He is played by starring cast member Rory McCann and debuts in the series premiere. Sandor is the personal bodyguard of Joffrey Baratheon. He joined the Kingsguard when Joffrey took the Iron Throne, but deserted his post during the Battle of the Blackwater. He is taciturn and brutal but not without compassion.



Sandor Clegane is a skilled warrior in the service of House Lannister, although he refuses to take holy vows and is not a knight. His face bears scars from burning and he is known for his fierce demeanor and lack of chivalry. He is the younger brother of Ser Gregor Clegane, nicknamed "the Mountain", a monstrously huge knight and arguably the most feared man in Westeros. In his youth Gregor nearly burned off half of Sandor's face: Gregor found Sandor playing with a toy that Gregor had discarded, and without warning or uttering a word, Gregor grabbed Sandor and "punished" him by holding his head into a burning brazier. Gregor was only forced to stop after half a dozen servants managed to pry him away from his brother. The incident left severe burn scars over the right half of Sandor's face, thus he usually wears his hair long on that side to cover them. Ever since, Sandor has been deeply afraid of fire.[1]

Young Sandor

Sandor's first kill

A large man and formidable fighter in his own right, Sandor gutted his first man in combat when he was twelve years old (given the date, this was probably as a young soldier during Robert's Rebellion). Sandor finds killing to be the best thing in the world, and although he isn't a crazed killer who will kill anyone regardless of the law like his brother, he cynically pursues occupations as a bodyguard and soldier which allow him to kill legally - though he scoffs at the hypocrisy of people who think there's really that much difference. Sandor has extreme contempt for romances and songs which present knights and wars as chivalrous and glorious, as he has witnessed all too well that supposedly honorable knights frequently butcher the innocent while claiming glory. Thus, Sandor has steadfastly refused to be knighted.[2]

Sandor is the personal bodyguard of Joffrey Baratheon. He chafes under Joffrey's sadistic whims but always follows his orders.[3]

Season 1

Sandor 1x01

Sandor arrives in Winterfell fully armored

Sandor is part of King Robert Baratheon's retinue when he visits Winterfell in order to offer Eddard Stark the role of Hand of the King. He acts as the bodyguard of Prince Joffrey and is present at the feast held in the King's honor. Robert offers a betrothal between Joffrey and Sansa Stark and Eddard accepts both engagements.[4]

On the kingsroad back to the capital the royal party reaches the Crossroads Inn. Sandor introduces Sansa to Ser Ilyn Payne, the king's headsman, a fearsome man who had his tongue torn out on the orders of the Mad King many years ago. Joffrey saves Sansa from this unpleasantness and takes her for a walk along the riverbank. Joffrey provokes an argument with the butcher's son Mycah and Sansa's sister Arya and is bitten by Arya's pet dire wolf Nymeria when he attacks them. Joffrey lies about the incident and Sansa supports his version of events. Queen Cersei orders Sansa's dire wolf Lady executed. Sandor chases down and kills Mycah. As Eddard goes to kill Lady he passes the Hound arriving with Mycah's corpse. "He ran, but not very fast," he says as Eddard passes by.[5]

On his return to King's Landing Sandor stands guard over Joffrey during the tournament held in honor of Eddard's appointment as Hand. Sandor watches distastefully as his brother Gregor kills Ser Hugh of the Vale. Littlefinger tells Sansa that Sandor and Gregor hate one another because, when he was very young, Sandor played with one of Gregor's toys without his elder brother's permission. Gregor held Sandor's face over an open fire, resulting in his hideous burns. They have been enemies ever since.[6]

Sandor champion 1x05

Loras proclaims Sandor the Champion

Sandor is amused when Gregor is unhorsed in a joust with Ser Loras Tyrell. Gregor attacks Loras and Sandor intervenes. They exchange blows until King Robert orders a halt to the madness. Ser Loras declares Sandor a champion and the smallfolk in the crowd cheer him, to Sandor's surprise and embarrassment.[7]

King Robert dies following a hunting accident. Sandor stands guard over King Joffrey as his advisers and vassals swear fealty to him. When Eddard attempts to have Joffrey and Cersei arrested, Sandor joins the Lannister soldiers and men of the City Watch in cutting down Eddard's bodyguards, allowing him to be taken prisoner.[8] Sandor leads a party of Lannister guardsmen to the Red Keep where they slaughter Eddard's entourage and capture Sansa.[9]


Sandor offers advice to Sansa

Sandor guards Joffrey during the execution of Eddard Stark on the steps of the Great Sept of Baelor.[10]

After Ser Barristan Selmy is dismissed of the Kingsguard, Sandor is made a member of the sworn brotherhood, though he refuses to take the vows of knighthood. He accompanies Joffrey when then takes Sansa to see her father's head and cruelly mocks her, even having Ser Meryn Trant beat her when she suggests that Robb might win the war. When the Hound alone notices that Sansa plans to throw Joffrey from the battlements, he offers Sansa a handkerchief for her bloodied mouth, rescuing Sansa from Joffrey's rage as well as Joffrey from a quick death.[11]

Season 2

Main: Sandor Clegane Season 2

Sandor fights in King Joffrey Baratheon's name day tournament, killing his opponent.[12] Joffrey has Sansa Stark stripped and publicly beaten following Robb Stark's victory at the Battle of Oxcross. Sandor gives her his white cloak to cover herself after Tyrion Lannister orders an end to the beating.[13]

Joffrey's rule sees increasing public dissent. While in public he is hit by thrown excrement and triggers a citywide riot by demanding the deaths of all the smallfolk present. Sandor fights through the crowd to get him to safety and then goes back for Sansa, rescuing her from a gang of would be rapists.[14]

Sansa and the hound

Sansa talking to Sandor.

Sansa approaches Sandor to thank him for rescuing her. He tells her that he revels in killing and she questions his hatefulness. He says that she will one day be glad of the hateful things he does when he is all that stands between her and Joffrey. Sandor later catches Sansa and Shae trying to conceal evidence of Sansa's first period. He informs Queen Cersei Lannister, who begins to mentally prepare Sansa for motherhood.[15]

Joffrey terrified 2x09

Sandor Clegane on the walls of the Red Keep in "Blackwater".

He guards Joffrey during the Battle of the Blackwater. He is horrified when Tyrion uses Wildfire to decimate the attacking fleet. Tyrion orders him to lead a sortie to repel Stannis Baratheon's troops from the Mud Gate. He kills several men but is overwhelmed by his fear of fire and freezes in the midst of the fighting. He is nearly killed but Bronn intervenes, saving his life. He retreats back inside the walls and demands wine to drink. After being chastised by Tyrion Lannister, Sandor deserts from the Kingsguard and leaves the battle. When Sansa Stark retreats to her chamber for safety, the Hound is sitting in the shadows waiting for her. He offers to protect Sansa and take her north to Winterfell. She refuses him, believing that Stannis Baratheon has won the battle and that she will be safe once his men find her. He explains that she will be surrounded by killers and promises to protect her. Though having not been able to convince Sansa Stark to leave King's Landing, he walks out of her Chambers, and left the city.[16]

Season 3

Sandor is captured by the Brotherhood Without Banners. He reveals the identity of Arya Stark. The Brotherhood tries to convict of crimes, because of his long service to the Lannisters, but cannot find anything against him. Arya speaks up, and accuses him of killing her friend Mycah. Sandor does not deny this, but says he was in no place to question then-Prince Joffrey's orders. The Brotherhood charge him with the crime of following orders to kill Mycah, but will give him a fair trial by combat.[17]

Beric vs. Clegane s3e5

The Hound vs Lord Beric

Beric Dondarrion is Sandor's opponent during his trial. Using magic, Beric ignites his blade with fire, initially giving him an advantage during the fight due to Sandor's fear of fire. However, Sandor's superior strength eventually is enough to overpower Beric, and with a powerful downward swipe Sandor cuts deep into Beric shoulder, nearly cutting off his entire arm and cutting right through Beric's flamming sword. Arya attempts to kill the Sandor while he tries to extinguish his shield which had been set a flame during the fight, but she is stopped by Gendry. He taunts Arya over how the gods prefer him over her friend, but he is interrupted and shocked by Beric, who has been revived and healed by Thoros using the Lord of Light's power. Beric honors their agreement, and Sandor is released.[18]

After Arya flees from the Brotherhood in outrage over them handing Gendry over to the Red Priestess Melisandre in exchange for gold and preferring to hunt down a group of Lannister soldiers instead of delivering her to Riverrun, Sandor takes her hostage.[19]


Throughout the series, the Hound is seen as a violent, aggressive and brutal man. He doesn't hide his love of killing people, believing all men love it, and he generally hates soldiers who try and convince themselves otherwise. However, he also displays small hints at being a reasonably affectionate and compassionate man throughout the show. This is largely a result of his disgust at the brutality of his older brother Gregor: the respect and knighthood given to Gregor for his extreme brutality left Sandor thoroughly disillusioned that honorable men succeed in the real world they way they do in romantic songs. This is first shown through his care of the Stark children and disgust at Joffrey. There were a few times when Clegane showed visible signs of hatred of Joffrey, such as when he orders Sansa Stark to be stripped and beaten. The Hound was the first to offer Sansa a cloak to cover herself with. His affection for Sansa is also demonstrated at the Battle of Blackwater when he offers to take her back to Winterfell, which she declines. He also seems intent on lecturing her about killers such as Joffrey, Tywin and even her brother Robb Stark, trying to inform her about how brutal the world really is. In Season 3, when he has Arya, it is also interesting to note that he tries to takes her to Robb, rather than the Lannisters, who could probably afford to pay more for her. Arya repeatedly shows her hatred of the Hound, which he doesn't seem to care for. But he does inform her of how he saved Sansa's life and that she should be more kind towards him.


Season One appearances
Winter is Coming The Kingsroad Lord Snow Cripples, Bastards and Broken Things The Wolf and the Lion
A Golden Crown You Win or You Die The Pointy End Baelor Fire and Blood
Season Two appearances
The North Remembers The Night Lands What is Dead May Never Die Garden of Bones The Ghost of Harrenhal
The Old Gods and the New A Man Without Honor The Prince of Winterfell Blackwater Valar Morghulis
Season Three appearances
Valar Dohaeris Dark Wings, Dark Words Walk of Punishment And Now His Watch is Ended Kissed by Fire
The Climb The Bear and the Maiden Fair Second Sons The Rains of Castamere Mhysa

Image gallery

Family tree

Kennelmaster tree
100px House Clegane
Unnamed wife
100px House Clegane
Unknown Clegane
100px House Clegane
Unnamed wife
Gregor familytree
Gregor Clegane
Sandor tree
Sandor Clegane
100px House Clegane
Unnamed daughter


"If any man dies with a clean sword, I'll rape his fucking corpse!"
Sandor Clegane leading his troops in the Battle of the Blackwater.[src]
"Fuck the kingsguard, fuck the city, fuck the king."
Sandor Clegane to Joffrey Baratheon and Tyrion Lannister, during the Battle of the Blackwater.[src]
"You'll be glad of the hateful things I do some day, when you're Queen, and I'm all that stands between you and your 'beloved King'."
Sandor Clegane to Sansa Stark, whilst being thanked for rescuing her.[src]
"What in Seven Hells are you doing with the Stark bitch?"
Sandor Clegane to Thoros.[src]

Behind the scenes

In the books

In the A Song of Ice and Fire novels, House Clegane is a minor vassal house sworn to the Lannisters. Ser Gregor Clegane is an eight-foot-tall knight known as the "Mountain That Rides", and is the most feared warrior in the Seven Kingdoms, as well as Sandor's older brother. The Clegane brothers detest one another, resulting in Sandor leaving home at a young age to work as a sellsword and freerider. Sandor is known as "the Hound" for the three dogs which are his house emblem and for his fierce loyalty to House Lannister.

Sandor is very tall and well-built but not outright freakishly so, the way his brother Gregor is. George R.R. Martin described Sandor as taller than Brienne of Tarth (who is slightly over six feet tall), but shorter than Greatjon Umber (who is nearly seven feet tall) - actor Rory McCann matches this well, being exactly six and a half feet tall.

In the books, it is the opposite side of Sandor's face that is burned. His burns are also more severe than prosthetics can easily show on the TV series: his jawbone is exposed, as the skin above it was completely burned away, and his ear on the burned side is completely gone, leaving only a hole.

The history of Sandor's burns is revealed to Sansa Stark by Sandor himself, and delivered with a warning that he will kill her if she ever reveals it to anyone. In the television adaption, Littlefinger informs Sansa of the origins of Sandor's burned face as they attend the Hand's Tournament in King's Landing, with the same ominous warning as to what will happen to her should she tell anyone else.

In A Game of Thrones Sandor shuns the traditional white plate armor of the Kingsguard, instead opting to wear his white cloak over his original gray armor. This is not the case on first season. By the second season, Sandor dons the style described in the books, of just wearing the white cloak over his own gray armor.

See also


v  d  e
Lord: Ser Gregor Clegane Heir: Sandor Clegane
Seat: Clegane's Keep Lands: Westerlands
Title(s): None
Deceased members:Clegane
Household:Joss Stilwood · {The Tickler} · Weasel
Overlord:House Lannister
v  d  e
Lord: King Tommen I Heir:
House-Baratheon-of-King's Landing-Main-Shield
Seat: Red Keep, King's Landing Lands: The Crownlands
Title(s): King of the Andals and the First Men · Lord of the Seven Kingdoms · Protector of the Realm
Current members:Queen Mother Cersei Lannister · Queen Margaery Tyrell
Deceased members:King Robert I · King Joffrey I · Princess Myrcella Baratheon
Household:Lord Mace Tyrell · Grand Maester Pycelle · Ser Jaime Lannister · Ser Gregor Clegane · Ser Preston Greenfield · Ser Arys Oakheart · Ser Boros Blount · Ser Balon Swann · Ser Osmund Kettleblack · Ser Ilyn Payne · Lord Gyles Rosby · Ser Aron Santagar · Qyburn · Septa Eglantine

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