Sandor Clegane

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Sandor Clegane
Sandor Clegane Portrait by Amok©

Alias The Hound
Allegiance House Clegane
House Lannister (formerly)
Kingsguard (formerly)
Born In 270 AC or 271 AC[1]
Died In 300 AC (supposedly)
Book(s) A Game of Thrones (appears)
A Clash of Kings (appears)
A Storm of Swords (appears)
A Feast for Crows (appears)
A Dance with Dragons (mentioned)

Played by Rory McCann
TV series Season 1 | Season 2 | Season 3 | Season 4

Sandor Clegane 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 arms. In the television adaptation Game of Thrones he is played by Rory McCann.

The Hound is considered one of the most dangerous fighters in Westeros. As a child, Sandor received gruesome facial burns when Gregor shoved his face into a brazier.[2] He came to loathe fire, his brother, and the hypocrisy of knighthood in general.


See also: Images of Sandor Clegane

Sandor is 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 long hair is dark and thin and brushed so that it covers the left side since no hair grows there. The left side of his face is a ruin with no ear but only a hole. There is a twisted mass of scar around his good left eye. Slick black flesh is pocked with craters and deep cracks that ooze red and wet. His eyes are grey. On his jaw, bone shows.[2] He regularly wears plain armor and a distinctive helm sculpted into the shape of a snarling dog's head.


Sandor's childhood appears to have been overshadowed by his older brother Gregor's brutality and martial prowess. Aged seven, his father explained away the burns inflicted by Gregor by claiming his bedding caught fire.[2] There are rumours of a sister who died young in mysterious circumstances, and their father was killed in a hunting accident shortly after King Robert I Baratheon came to the throne, which is also implied to have been suspicious, leaving the family estates to Gregor.[3]

Sandor left to join the Lannister household the same day Gregor came into his inheritance.[3] He claims to have killed a man when he was twelve years old,[4] possibly during Robert's Rebellion. Sandor has never taken a knight's vows.[5]

Recent Events

A Game of Thrones

Sandor is the bodyguard and servant of Prince Joffrey Baratheon, who regularly calls him "Dog". Queen Cersei Lannister suggests that he looks to the Hound as a surrogate father. En route from Winterfell to King's Landing, Sandor earns the enmity of Arya Stark by acting on Lannister orders to kill her friend Mycah, the son of a butcher, believed to have harmed Joffrey.

The Hound vs The Mountain - by Cristi Balanescu ©

The first night of the Hand's tourney, after the feast, Joffrey has him escort Sansa back to the castle. Drunk, despite the final jousts the next day, Sandor becomes enamored with Sansa Stark. Angry that she cannot look him in the eye due to his disfigurement, he mocks her for her polished manners, calling her a "little bird" who chirps on command. He wins the tourney after saving Ser Loras Tyrell from Gregor's wrath. He fights heatedly with his brother, but kneels when King Robert I Baratheon commands them to stop.

Sandor Clegane by Ammotu©

When Eddard Stark attempts to take Cersei and her illegitimate children into custody with the help of the gold cloaks—unbeknownst to the fact that Janos Slynt is already been under the employ of the treacherous Petyr Baelish—Sandor participates in the widespread slaughter of Eddard's remaining household guard alongside his erstwhile allies, personally killing Cayn.

After Ser Barristan Selmy is dismissed from the Kingsguard, Sandor is named as his replacement despite refusing to become a knight. In this capacity he is often assigned to watch over Sansa. Despite his loyalty to the new king, Joffrey I, he strategically defends her from Joffrey's wrath several times and is the only Kingsguard who is never commanded to beat her. Instead he treats her with relative kindness and tries to spare her from Joffrey's sadism.

A Clash of Kings

Sandor is present for the tourney on King Joffrey's name day as Joffrey's bodyguard. He is dismissive of the competitors, calling them gnats, that it would be a waste of effort to compete himself, and that even Joffrey could beat them. When Joffrey suggests he should fight the champion to the death, the Hound replies “You’d be one knight the poorer.”[5]

When returning from the godswood after meeting with Dontos Hollard for the first time, Sansa Stark runs into a drunk Sandor. He admires her blooming womanhood, but sees her as still a “stupid little bird […] singing all the songs they taught you”. He asks her to sing “some song about knights and fair maids”, and mocks Sansa's admiration of true knights. Sansa is frightened by him during this encounter, but though he hurts her by grabbing her wrist, he takes her back unharmed to the Red Keep.[6]

Sansa and Sandor on the eve of the Battle of the Blackwater - by Luaprata91 ©
Sandor flees King's Landing on Stranger by M.Luisa Giliberti ©

After the Battle of Oxcross, Sandor brings Sansa before King Joffrey. She protests that she had no part in her brother's treasons, at which Clegane snorts: “They trained you well, little bird.” Joffrey orders the three Kingsguard present to beat her, but Sandor does not obey, being interrupted by Ser Dontos. The beating is only stopped by the arrival of Tyrion Lannister with Bronn and Timett. Tyrion asks for someone to give Sansa something to cover herself, and Sandor undoes his cloak and tosses it to Sansa.[7]

During the riot of King's Landing, Sandor comes to the aid of Sansa when the girl is nearly dragged from her horse by the angry mob. Sandor's savage fury and sword fighting drives the mob away from her in fear, saving her from rape and possible murder.

The Hound fights heroically during the Battle of the Blackwater, but he eventually deserts after refusing Tyrion's command to return to the fiery battlefield.[8] Before fleeing, he waits for Sansa Stark in her chambers and drunkenly offers to take her with him, but instead settles for a song elicited at knifepoint.[9] Sansa believes that he kissed her, and keeps the bloodied Kingsguard cloak he leaves behind.

A Storm of Swords

Sandor Clegane vs Beric Dondarrion - by Michael Komarck ©

As a vagabond, Sandor is arrested in the riverlands by the brotherhood without banners, who also have Sansa's younger sister, Arya, in their custody. Taken to the hollow hill, the brotherhood put Sandor on trial for various atrocities committed by Lannister soldiers, but no crime can be attributed to him personally until Arya testifies to his killing of Mycah, the butcher's boy. Since there is not enough evidence for a court trial, the brotherhood's leader, Lord Beric Dondarrion, decrees that Sandor will face him in a trial by combat. A follower of R'hllor, Beric fights with a magic flaming blade, but Sandor manages to defeat him despite his hangover and fear of fire.[10]

The brotherhood strip Sandor of most of his possessions, including the remains of his winnings from the Hand's tourney, and set him free, though he is allowed to keep his arms, armor and warhorse, Stranger. When several of the brotherhood state that Sandor should be killed, Lord Beric says R'hllor must have a purpose for the Hound.[11] Sandor soon returns to try to reclaim his gold by force, upon which he stumbles across Arya as she tries to escape. He kidnaps her instead[12] and intends to ransom her her back to her brother, Robb Stark, the King in the North.[13][14] Sandor and Arya arrive at the Twins just as the Red Wedding massacre takes place, however.[15][16] Amidst the fighting, Sandor kills several men—possibly including Tytos Frey and Garse Goodbrook—and incapacitates Arya.[17]

Clegane steals Arya off again in the hopes of finding another relative to whom he can ransom her. With Riverrun besieged by the Lannisters and the Eyrie inaccessible,[18] the prospect of the ransom faded and they spent some time living rough and moving from village to village. Arya continued to name the Hound every night among the people she wanted to kill.

Arya refuses Sandor the gift of mercy - by Mike S Miller ©

Seeking shelter at the inn at the crossroads, they run afoul of two of Gregor's men and their squire from House Sarsfield. When the two groups come to blows, Sandor kills Polliver and holds off the Tickler but is seriously injured in the fight due to inebriation and hunger. Sandor and Arya are victorious, and though Arya dresses his wounds, they quickly became infected. Still hating him, Arya refuses to grant him the gift of mercy. She abandons Sandor to die under a tree by the Trident, and his fate becomes uncertain after this point.[19]

A Feast For Crows

Reports spread of the Hound leading a pack of outlaws in a brutal spree of banditry near the Trident,[20] and there is confusion whether he has joined Beric Dondarrion's brotherhood.[21] Witnesses state a roaring brute in a hound's head helm led the vicious raid on Saltpans. Bonifer Hasty, Kevan Lannister, and Randyll Tarly intend to bring outlaws like Sandor to justice near Darry, Harrenhal, and Maidenpool.[22][23][24]

During dinner at Darry, Ser Lyle Crakehall claims to have been moved by the distress of Mariya Darry and Amerei Frey, and gives them his word that once Riverrun has fallen he shall return to hunt down the Hound and kill him for them, adding that dogs do not frighten him.[25]

Sandor Clegane with a little bird - Artwork by Asiulus ©

Seeking Sansa Stark, Brienne of Tarth acts on information that she received from Timeon of the Brave Companions that Sansa had been carried away by the Hound. Her travels with Septon Meribald take her to a monastery on the Quiet Isle. The Elder Brother of the monastery informs her that it was the younger sister that Sandor made off with, Arya Stark. The Elder Brother knows they were headed for Saltpans, but he states Sandor is dead, "by the sword, as he had lived". The Elder Brother buried him personally and left his dog helm as a marker — a mistake, as someone else found and claimed it, and went on, with others, to rape and kill at Saltpans. The Elder Brother tells Brienne,

I know a little of this man Sandor Clegane. He was Prince Joffrey's sworn shield for many a year, and even here we would hear tell of his deeds, both good and ill.

If even half of what we heard was true, this was a bitter, tormented soul, a sinner who mocked both gods and men. He served, but found no pride in service. He fought, but took no joy in victory. He drank, to drown his pain in a sea of wine. He did not love, nor was he loved himself. It was hate that drove him. Though he committed many sins, he never sought forgiveness.

Where other men dream of love, or wealth, or glory, this man Sandor Clegane dreamed of slaying his own brother, a sin so terrible it makes me shudder just to speak of it. Yet that was the bread that nourished him, the fuel that kept his fires burning. Ignoble as it was the hope of seeing his brother's blood upon his blade was all this sad and angry creature lived for ... and even that was taken away when Prince Oberyn of Dorne stabbed Ser Gregor with a poisoned spear.[26]

The Elder Brother says Brienne would have pitied Sandor if she had seen him at the end, crying in pain and begging for the gift of mercy. He says the Hound died in his arms, leaving his big black stallion, Stranger, in their stables.[26]

While at the crossroads inn, Brienne encounters a group of broken men led by Rorge, who wears Sandor's hound helm.[27] Prior to the capture of Harrenhal, Rorge, Biter, and other former Brave Companions had traveled east to seek ship at Saltpans. Rorge had taken Sandor's snarling dog helm from his grave site, and Rorge was responsible for Sandor's alleged atrocities, such as the raid on Saltpans. Rorge is slain in a duel with Brienne.[27]

When the brotherhood arrives at the inn, Lem Lemoncloak takes Sandor's helm from Rorge's corpse. Thoros of Myr advises Lem to abandon the helm, seeing it as a symbol of Sandor's rage, but the bitter Lem refuses. This new Hound serves Lady Stoneheart.[28]

With the siege of Riverrun ended, Lyle Crakehall tells Jaime Lannister he is going to hunt down Beric and the Hound.[29]


Many readers of the series believe that there are hints in what the Elder Brother has said about the Hound to Brienne of Tarth, that the Elder Brother considers "the Hound" to be simply an aspect of Sandor's personality — the same way that “the Cobbler Above” is an aspect of the Smith, who in turn is an aspect of the one God — and that Sandor himself may have survived and is living as a novice on the Quiet Isle's monastery. Some believe Sandor is the novice gravedigger espied by Brienne.[26]

Quotes by Sandor

Sandor Clegane - © 2012 Miguel Regodón Harkness
Eddard: You rode him down.

Sandor: He ran. But not very fast.[30]

– Sandor and Eddard Stark regarding Mycah

Spare me your empty little compliments, girl ... and your ser’s. I am no knight. I spit on them and their vows. My brother is a knight.[31]

– Sandor, to Sansa Stark

The septons preach about the seven hells. What do they know? Only a man who's been burned knows what hell is truly like.[2]

– Sandor, to Sansa Stark

Gods, too much wine. Do you like wine, little bird? True wine? A flagon of sour red, dark as blood, all a man needs. Or a woman.[6]

– Sandor, to Sansa Stark

I like dogs better than knights.[6]

– Sandor, to Sansa Stark

A hound will die for you, but never lie to you. And he’ll look you straight in the face.[6]

– Sandor, to Sansa Stark

Killing is the sweetest thing there is.[32]

– Sandor, to Sansa Stark

What do you think a knight is for, girl? You think it's all taking favors from ladies and looking fine in gold plate? Knights are for killing. I killed my first man at twelve. I've lost count of how many I've killed since then. High lords with old names, fat rich men dressed in velvet, knights puffed up like bladders with their honors, yes, and women and children too- they're all meat, and I'm the butcher. Let them have their lands and their gods and their gold. Let them have their sers.[32]

– Sandor, to Sansa Stark

If there are gods, they made sheep so wolves could eat mutton, and they made the weak for the strong to play with.[32]

– Sandor, to Sansa Stark

There are no true knights, no more than there are gods. If you can't protect yourself, die and get out of the way of those who can. Sharp steel and strong arms rule this world, don't ever believe any different.[32]

– Sandor, to Sansa Stark

This cave is dark too, but I’m the terror here.[10]

– Sandor, to Beric Dondarrion

Please, I'm burned. Help me. Someone. Help me. Please.[10]

– Sandor's fear of fire

Even a dog gets tired of being kicked.[13]

– Sandor, to Arya Stark

Archer: You're Joffrey's dog.

Sandor: My own dog now.[18]

– Sandor, to another survivor of the Red Wedding, the dying bowman in service to Marq Piper

Bugger that. Bugger him. Bugger you.[19]

– Sandor, to the Tickler, before the fight at the inn at the crossroads

Quotes about Sandor

He is no true knight, but he saved me all the same. Save him if you can, and gentle the rage inside him.[33]

Sansa Stark, praying to the Mother during the Battle of the Blackwater

Sandor Clegane would kill us all gladly, but not in our sleep.[11]

Beric Dondarrion, to Watty

When a dog goes bad, the fault lies with his master.[21]

- Kevan Lannister to Cersei Lannister

Sandor had been hard and brutal, yes, but it was his big brother who was the real monster in House Clegane.[25]

- thoughts of Jaime Lannister

Both men were large and powerful, but Sandor Clegane was much quicker, and fought with a savagery that Lyle Crakehall could not hope to match.[25]

- thoughts of Jaime Lannister

Sandor Clegane was a man in torment.[34]

Thoros of Myr


Founder of House Clegane
Unknown Clegane
Gregor "the Mountain"
Sandor "the Hound"
Unknown daughter

References and Notes

  1. See the Sandor Clegane calculation.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 A Game of Thrones, Chapter 29, Sansa II.
  3. 3.0 3.1 A Game of Thrones, Chapter 30, Eddard VII.
  4. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 7, Arya I.
  5. 5.0 5.1 A Clash of Kings, Chapter 2, Sansa I.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 A Clash of Kings, Chapter 18, Sansa II.
  7. A Clash of Kings, Chapter 32, Sansa III.
  8. A Clash of Kings, Chapter 59, Tyrion XIII.
  9. A Clash of Kings, Chapter 62, Sansa VII.
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 A Storm of Swords, Chapter 34, Arya VI.
  11. 11.0 11.1 A Storm of Swords, Chapter 39, Arya VII.
  12. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 43, Arya VIII.
  13. 13.0 13.1 A Storm of Swords, Chapter 47, Arya IX.
  14. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 50, Arya X.
  15. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 51, Catelyn VII.
  16. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 52, Arya XI.
  17. A Storm of Swords, Epilogue.
  18. 18.0 18.1 A Storm of Swords, Chapter 65, Arya XII.
  19. 19.0 19.1 A Storm of Swords, Chapter 74, Arya XIII.
  20. A Feast for Crows, Chapter 14, Brienne III.
  21. 21.0 21.1 A Feast for Crows, Chapter 12, Cersei III.
  22. A Feast for Crows, Chapter 16, Jaime II.
  23. A Feast for Crows, Chapter 25, Brienne V.
  24. A Feast for Crows, Chapter 27, Jaime III.
  25. 25.0 25.1 25.2 A Feast for Crows, Chapter 30, Jaime IV.
  26. 26.0 26.1 26.2 A Feast for Crows, Chapter 31, Brienne VI.
  27. 27.0 27.1 A Feast for Crows, Chapter 37, Brienne VII.
  28. A Feast for Crows, Chapter 42, Brienne VIII.
  29. A Feast for Crows, Chapter 44, Jaime VII.
  30. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 16, Eddard III.
  31. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 19, Jon III.
  32. 32.0 32.1 32.2 32.3 A Clash of Kings, Chapter 52, Sansa IV.
  33. A Clash of Kings, Chapter 57, Sansa V.
  34. A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 42, The King's Prize.

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