Sandor Clegane

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Sandor Clegane
MiguelRegodónHarkness theHound.jpg
Sandor Clegane © 2012 Miguel Regodón Harkness

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 (mentioned)
A Dance with Dragons (mentioned)

Played by Rory McCann
TV series Season 1 | Season 2 | Season 3 | Season 4 | Season 6

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.

Appearance and Character

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, and 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 Sandor's 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. Sandor's eyes are grey and bone shows on his jaw.[2]

Sandor speaks in a rasping voice.[3] He has a temper,[3] but is dutiful.[4]

The Hound regularly wears an olive-green cloak over plain, soot-dark armor[5] and a distinctive helm sculpted into the shape of a snarling dog's head.[3] He also sometimes wears a brown roughspun tunic and studded leather jerkin.[6] Sandor wields a longsword[7], a warhammer,[8] and a dagger.[9] His stallion is a heavy courser named Stranger.[10]


Sandor's childhood appears to have been overshadowed by his older brother Gregor's brutality and martial prowess. When Sandor was seven, his father explained the burns inflicted by Gregor by claiming his bedding caught fire.[2] There are rumors 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.[5]

Sandor left to join the Lannister household the same day Gregor came into his inheritance.[5] He claims to have killed a man when he was twelve years old,[11] possibly during Robert's Rebellion, as he was part of Tywin Lannister's host during the Sack of King's Landing.[12] Sandor has never taken a knight's vows.[6]

Ser Barristan Selmy unhorsed Sandor during a tourney a year ago.[13]

Recent Events

The Hound vs the Mountain - by Cristi Balanescu ©

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, who is believed to have harmed Joffrey.[14]

Sandor rides well during the first day of the Hand's tourney, unhorsing Lord Renly Baratheon.[2] After that night's feast, Joffrey has Sandor escort Sansa Stark back to the Red Keep. Drunk, despite the final jousts the next day, Sandor becomes enamored with Sansa. 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.[2] Sandor defeats Ser Jaime Lannister to advance to the finals.[5] Sandor saves Ser Loras Tyrell from the wrath of his brother, Gregor Clegane, during their joust. He fights heatedly with his brother, but kneels when King Robert I Baratheon commands them to stop. Loras allows Sandor to be the champion without a final joust, and the Hound is cheered by the smallfolk.[5]

When Lord Eddard Stark attempts to take Cersei and her illegitimate children into custody with the help of the gold cloaks—unbeknownst to the fact that Commander Janos Slynt is already 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.[15] The Hound also takes Jeyne Poole into custody after breaking down her door with a warhammer.[8]

After Ser Barristan Selmy is dismissed from the Kingsguard, Sandor is named as his replacement despite refusing to become a knight.[16] In this capacity he is often assigned to watch over Sansa, treating her with relative kindness and trying to spare her from Joffrey's sadism.[17]

A Clash of Kings

Rory McCann as Sandor in Game of Thrones

Despite his loyalty to the new king, Joffrey I Baratheon, Sandor strategically defends Sansa Stark from Joffrey's wrath several times and is the only Kingsguard who is never commanded to beat her.[6] 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.[6]

When returning from the Red Keep's godswood after meeting for the first time with Ser Dontos Hollard, Joffrey's new fool, 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.[18]

After the Battle of Oxcross, Sandor brings Sansa before King Joffrey. She protests that she had no part in the treasons of her brother, Robb Stark, at which Sandor snorts, "They trained you well, little bird." Joffrey orders the three Kingsguard present to beat her, but Sandor does not obey, being interrupted by 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, so Sandor tosses his cloak to Sansa.[19]

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.[20] He is cynical when the girl later thanks him, and he thinks Stannis Baratheon is a coward for burning the kingswood.[7]

The Hound fights heroically during the Battle of the Blackwater, leading the defense against a group of Stannis's archers who land on the shores of the Blackwater Rush.[21] Frightened by wildfire, however, he eventually deserts after refusing Tyrion's command to return to the fiery battlefield.[22] Before fleeing King's Landing, Sandor waits for Sansa in her chambers and drunkenly offers to take her with him, but instead settles for a song elicited at knifepoint.[9] and Ser Osmund Kettleblack replaces the Hound as Joffrey's bodyguard.[21]

A Storm of Swords

Sandor Clegane vs Beric Dondarrion - by Michael Komarck ©

Ser Jaime Lannister considers Brienne of Tarth to be "the Hound with teats".[23] Arya Stark includes Sandor in her prayer of those she wants to die.[24] Sansa Stark keeps his bloodied Kingsguard cloak hidden in a chest,[25] and she believes that he kissed her the night of the Blackwater.[26] When Sansa is forced to marry Tyrion Lannister, she considers the Imp to be uglier than the Hound.[27]

The Mad Huntsman captures the vagabond Sandor and brings him to Stoney Sept in the riverlands. The Hound is taken into custody of the brotherhood without banners, who also have Sansa's younger sister, Arya.[28] In 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.[29]

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, Beric says R'hllor must have a purpose for the Hound.[30] 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[31] and intends to ransom her back to her brother, Robb Stark, the King in the North, who is going to attend the wedding of Lord Edmure Tully and Roslin Frey at the Twins.[32][33]

Sandor and Arya cross the Trident at flooded Harroway, where the Hound pays outraged ferrymen with a promissory note from Beric instead of gold.[32] They arrive at the Twins[33] shortly before the Red Wedding massacre takes place, however.[34] Amidst the fighting, Sandor kills several men—possibly including Tytos Frey and Garse Goodbrook—and incapacitates Arya.[35][36]

Sandor steals Arya again in the hopes of finding another relative to whom he can ransom her, possibly her aunt, Lysa Arryn, in the Vale. While traveling away from the Twins, Sandor gives the gift of mercy to a Piper archer who was wounded by Boltons during the Red Wedding.[37] They stay at a village in the foothills of the Mountains of the Moon for a few weeks, but the village elder turns them away after work is finished on a palisade. With the high road to the Eyrie closed, Sandor decides to bring Arya to Ser Brynden Tully, her great-uncle at Riverrun.[37]

Seeking shelter at the inn at the crossroads, Sandor and Arya encounter two of Gregor's men and their squire, who inform them of the siege of Riverrun by House Frey. When the two groups come to blows, Sandor kills Polliver and holds off the Tickler until the torturer is killed by Arya, who also kills the squire. The hungry and inebriated Sandor is seriously injured and though Arya dresses his wounds, they quickly became infected during their journey to Saltpans. Still hating him, Arya refuses to grant him the gift of mercy despite his pleas. She abandons Sandor to die under a tree by the Trident.[38]

A Feast For Crows

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

Reports spread of the Hound leading a pack of outlaws in a brutal spree of banditry near the Trident,[39] and there is confusion whether he has joined Beric Dondarrion's brotherhood.[40] Witnesses state a roaring brute in a hound's head helm led the vicious raid on Saltpans. Ser Bonifer Hasty, Ser Kevan Lannister, and Lord Randyll Tarly intend to bring outlaws like Sandor to justice near Darry, Harrenhal, and Maidenpool.[41][42][43]

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.[44]

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.[45]

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.[45]

While at the crossroads inn, Brienne encounters a group of broken men led by Rorge, who wears Sandor's hound helm.[46] 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.[46]

When the brotherhood returns to 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.[47]

With the siege of Riverrun ended, Lyle Crakehall tells Ser Jaime Lannister he is going to hunt down Beric and the Hound.[48]


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.[45]

Quotes by Sandor

Sandor Clegane with a little bird - Artwork by Asiulus ©
Eddard: You rode him down.

Sandor: He ran. But not very fast.[14]

– 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.[49]

– 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

I like dogs better than knights.[18]

– Sandor, to Sansa Stark

A hound will die for you, but never lie to you. And he'll look you straight in the face.[18]

– Sandor, to Sansa Stark

Killing is the sweetest thing there is.[7]

– 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.[7]

– Sandor, to Sansa Stark

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

Sansa: True knights protect the weak.
Sandor: 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.
Sansa: You're awful.
Sandor: I'm honest. It's the world that's awful.[7]

– Sandor and Sansa Stark

Even a dog gets tired of being kicked.[32]

– Sandor, to Arya Stark

Archer: You're Joffrey's dog.

Sandor: My own dog now.[37]

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

Bugger that. Bugger him. Bugger you.[38]

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

Quotes about Sandor

Sansa and Sandor on the eve of the Battle of the Blackwater - by Luaprata91 ©
He is a dog, just as he says. A half-wild, mean-tempered dog that bites any hand that tries to pet him, and yet will savage any man who tries to hurt his masters.[7]

- thoughts of Sansa Stark

He is no true knight, but he saved me all the same. Save him if you can, and gentle the rage inside him.[50]

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

Sandor Clegane would kill us all gladly, but not in our sleep.[30]

Beric Dondarrion, to Watty

When a dog goes bad, the fault lies with his master.[40]

- 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.[44]

- 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.[44]

- thoughts of Jaime Lannister

Sandor Clegane was a man in torment.[51]

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 2.4 2.5 A Game of Thrones, Chapter 29, Sansa II.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 A Game of Thrones, Chapter 9, Tyrion I.
  4. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 15, Sansa I.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 A Game of Thrones, Chapter 30, Eddard VII.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 A Clash of Kings, Chapter 2, Sansa I.
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 7.4 7.5 A Clash of Kings, Chapter 52, Sansa IV.
  8. 8.0 8.1 A Game of Thrones, Chapter 51, Sansa IV.
  9. 9.0 9.1 A Clash of Kings, Chapter 62, Sansa VII.
  10. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 49, Catelyn VI.
  11. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 7, Arya I.
  12. So Spake Martin: US Signing Tour (Madison, WI), November 14, 2005
  13. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 25, Eddard V.
  14. 14.0 14.1 A Game of Thrones, Chapter 16, Eddard III.
  15. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 49, Eddard XIV.
  16. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 57, Sansa V.
  17. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 67, Sansa VI.
  18. 18.0 18.1 18.2 A Clash of Kings, Chapter 18, Sansa II.
  19. A Clash of Kings, Chapter 32, Sansa III.
  20. A Clash of Kings, Chapter 41, Tyrion IX.
  21. 21.0 21.1 A Clash of Kings, Chapter 60, Sansa VI.
  22. A Clash of Kings, Chapter 59, Tyrion XIII.
  23. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 1, Jaime I.
  24. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 3, Arya I.
  25. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 6, Sansa I.
  26. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 16, Sansa II.
  27. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 28, Sansa III.
  28. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 29, Arya V.
  29. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 34, Arya VI.
  30. 30.0 30.1 A Storm of Swords, Chapter 39, Arya VII.
  31. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 43, Arya VIII.
  32. 32.0 32.1 32.2 A Storm of Swords, Chapter 47, Arya IX.
  33. 33.0 33.1 A Storm of Swords, Chapter 50, Arya X.
  34. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 51, Catelyn VII.
  35. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 52, Arya XI.
  36. A Storm of Swords, Epilogue.
  37. 37.0 37.1 37.2 A Storm of Swords, Chapter 65, Arya XII.
  38. 38.0 38.1 A Storm of Swords, Chapter 74, Arya XIII.
  39. A Feast for Crows, Chapter 14, Brienne III.
  40. 40.0 40.1 A Feast for Crows, Chapter 12, Cersei III.
  41. A Feast for Crows, Chapter 16, Jaime II.
  42. A Feast for Crows, Chapter 25, Brienne V.
  43. A Feast for Crows, Chapter 27, Jaime III.
  44. 44.0 44.1 44.2 A Feast for Crows, Chapter 30, Jaime IV.
  45. 45.0 45.1 45.2 A Feast for Crows, Chapter 31, Brienne VI.
  46. 46.0 46.1 A Feast for Crows, Chapter 37, Brienne VII.
  47. A Feast for Crows, Chapter 42, Brienne VIII.
  48. A Feast for Crows, Chapter 44, Jaime VII.
  49. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 19, Jon III.
  50. A Clash of Kings, Chapter 57, Sansa V.
  51. A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 42, The King's Prize.

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