Sandor Clegane Portrait by Amoka©
|Born||In 271 AC|
|Died||In 300 AC (supposedly)|
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|
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 crest. He is considered one of the most dangerous fighters in Westeros, though he frequently drinks himself into stupors. As a child, Sandor received gruesome facial burns when Gregor shoved his face into a brazier. He came to loathe fire, his brother, and the hypocrisy of knighthood in general.
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 grew 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. He regularly wears plain armor and a distinctive helm sculpted into the shape of a snarling dog's head. See also this collection of images.
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. 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 came to the throne, which is also implied to have been suspicious, leaving the family estates to Gregor.
A Game of Thrones
Clegane acted for a time as bodyguard and servant of Prince Joffrey Baratheon, who regularly called him "Dog". Cersei suggests that he looked to the Hound as a surrogate father. En route from Winterfell to King's Landing, he earned 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 first night of the Tourney of the Hand, 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 can't 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 won the tourney after saving Ser Loras Tyrell from Gregor's wrath. He fights heatedly with his brother; however when King Robert commands them to stop, the Hound takes a knee.
When Eddard Stark attempted to take Cersei and her illegitimate children into custody with the help of the goldcloaks (unbeknownst to the fact that Janos Slynt had already been under the employ of the treacherous Littlefinger all along and was plotting betrayal), Sandor Clegane participated in the widespread slaughter of Eddard's remaining household guard alongside his erstwhile allies, personally killing Cayn.
After Barristan Selmy was dismissed from the Kingsguard, Clegane was named as his replacement despite refusing to become a knight. In this capacity he was often assigned to watch over Sansa. Despite his loyalty to Joffrey, he strategically defended her from Joffrey's wrath several times and is the only Kingsguard who was never commanded to beat her. Instead he treated her with relative kindness and tried to spare her from Joffrey's sadism.
A Clash of Kings
Sandor is present for the Tourney for King Joffrey's 13th 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.” Sandor has never taken a knight’s vows.
When Ser Dontos disgraces himself by turning up for the tournament drunk and improperly dressed, Sansa saves him from Joffrey's wrath, making up a story that it is bad luck to kill a man on one’s name day. Joffrey mocks the idea and suggests that she should be drowned in wine with Ser Dontos, but the Hound comes to her rescue by telling Joffrey “What a man sows on his name day, he reaps throughout the year.” 
Later, Tyrion Lannister arrives with the Lannister troops and the mountain clans. Sandor comments to Tyrion “They said you were dead,” to which Tyrion replies “I was speaking to the king, not to his cur.” After Joffrey leaves with his brother and sister, the Hound tells Tyrion “I’d guard that tongue of yours, little man.”
When returning from the Godswood after meeting with Dontos Hollard for the first time, Sansa runs into a drunk Sandor as he lurches out of a hidden doorway on the serpentine stairs. He grabs her roughly and questions her about where she has been. He does not believe her lie that she has been praying for her father and the king, but backs her up when Ser Boros Blount asks the same questions: “You expect her to sleep with all the noise?” 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.
When they arrive at the drawbridge, Ser Boros Blount is there and Sansa is alarmed (“the worst of the Kingsguard”, she thinks). The hound tells her “That one is nothing to fear, girl. Paint stripes on a toad, he does not become a tiger,” and to Ser Boros: “Fuck your ser, Boros. You’re the knight, not me. I’m the king’s dog, remember?” Blount tells Sandor that the noise was caused by “fools at the gate” protesting Tyrek Lannister's wedding feast, and that Joffrey led a sortie against them. Clegane remarks “A brave boy,” his mouth twitching.
After crossing the drawbridge, Sansa asks the hound why he lets people call him dog but not knight. He replies by telling the story of his house's founding. “I like dogs better than knights. […] A hound will die for you, but never lie to you. And he’ll look you straight in the face. And that’s more than little birds can do, isn’t it?” Before he leaves her he says “Pretty thing, and such a bad liar. […] They’re all liars here … and every one better than you.”
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 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.
During the Riot of King's Landing, Sandor comes to the aid of Sansa Stark 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.
He fought heroically during the Battle of the Blackwater, but eventually deserted after refusing Tyrion's command to return to the fiery battlefield. Before fleeing, he waited for Sansa Stark in her chambers and drunkenly offered to take her with him, but instead settled for a song elicited at knifepoint. Sansa believes that he kissed her, and kept the bloodied Kingsguard cloak he left behind.
A Storm of Swords
As a vagabond, he was arrested in the Riverlands by the Brotherhood Without Banners, who also had Arya Stark in their custody. The Brotherhood put Sandor on trial for various atrocities committed by Lannister soldiers, but no crime could be attributed to him personally until Arya testified to his killing of Mycah the butcher's boy. Since there was not enough evidence for a court trial, the Brotherhood's leader Beric Dondarrion decreed that Sandor would face him in a trial by combat. A follower of R'hllor, Beric fought with a magic flaming blade, but Sandor managed to defeat him despite his hangover and fear of fire.
Please, I’m burned. Help me. Someone. Help me. Please. 
- Sandor's fear of fire
The Brotherhood stripped him of most of his possessions, including the remains of his winnings from the Tourney of the Hand, and set him free, though he was allowed to keep his arms, armor and warhorse Stranger. When several of the Brotherhood stated that Sandor should be killed, Lord Beric said R'hllor must have a purpose for the Hound. Clegane soon returned to try to reclaim his gold by force, upon which he stumbled across Arya as she was escaping. He kidnapped her instead and intended to ransom her her back to her brother Robb Stark at the Twins, but arrived just as the Red Wedding massacre was taking place.
Clegane stole Arya off again in the hopes of finding another relative to whom he could ransom her. With Riverrun besieged by the Lannisters and the Eyrie inaccessible, 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.
Seeking shelter at the Inn at the Crossroads, they ran afoul of two of Gregor's men and their squire. When the two groups came to blows, Sandor killed Polliver and held off The Tickler but was seriously injured in the fight due to inebriation and hunger. The two were victorious, and though Arya dressed his wounds, they quickly became infected; still hating him, Arya refused to grant him the mercy of a quick death. She abandoned Sandor to die under a tree by the Trident, and his fate becomes uncertain after this point.
A Feast For Crows
Rorge, Biter, and some of the remaining Brave Companions travel east to the town of Saltpans where Rorge recovers and dons Sandor Clegane's snarling dog helm from his purported grave site, and embarks upon a brutal spree of banditry across the region, culminating in the vicious Sack of Saltpans.
With reports identifying the culprit only by the helm, Rorge's crimes have been attributed to Sandor, which results in rumors of Sandor Clegane’s alleged atrocities spreading throughout the region. 
Just prior to King Tommen’s nuptials Kevan Lannister comes over to Cersei and mentions that Sandor Clegane was reported to have joined Beric Dondarrion's outlaws. The queen is already aware of this, having read a report that outlaws had pillaged Saltpans and savagely raped the townswomen. The report had come from a septry on an island hard by the mouth of the Trident; she read that included in the band of outlaws was a roaring brute in a hound's head helm. Cersei suggests that Lancel Lannister hunt down the Hound, but her uncle is displeased by this insolent comment and answers that his son is not the man to deal with Sandor Clegane. When she then suggests that he go after Clegane, Ser Kevan responds, "When a dog goes bad, the fault lies with his master."
Rorge is later killed by Brienne of Tarth at the Inn at the Crossroads. The snarling dog’s helm came to be in the possession of Lem Lemoncloak when the Brotherhood arrived. Thoros of Myr advised Lem to abandon the helm, seeing it as a symbol of Sandor's rage, but the bitter Lem refused.
Prior to Rorge’s death, Brienne acts on information that she received from Timeon that Sansa Stark had been stolen and carried away by the Hound. Her travels with Septon Meribald take her to a monastery on the Quiet Isle. On the isle she speaks privately to the Elder Brother of the monastery and tells him of her quest and her past. The Elder Brother informs her that it was the other sister that Sandor made off with, the younger one, Arya Stark.
Brienne is shocked by this news as she believed Arya to be dead. Elder Brother goes on to tell her that he is certain that Arya was with Sandor at the inn beside the crossroads, the one old Masha Heddle used to keep. He knows that they were headed for the Saltpans but beyond that he tells her that all he knows for a certainty is that he is dead, "by the sword, as he had lived". 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. “I will not call them wolves. Wolves are nobler than that … and so are dogs, I think.”
The Elder Brother tells Brienne what he knows of Sandor Clegane: Then he goes on to say to her what he knows of him,
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. 
Brienne remarks that its sounds as if Elder Brother pitied him. He replies that he did and that she would have pitied him as well if she had seen him at the end, crying in pain and begging for “the gift of mercy”. He says that the Hound died in his arms, leaving his big black stallion, Stranger, in their stables. “A blasphemous name. We prefer to call him Driftwood, as he was found beside the river. I fear he has his former master's nature.” Brienne’s thoughts turn to the black stallion she has seen, but she understands destriers are trained to kick and bite. “In war they were a weapon, like the men who rode them. Like the Hound.”
Many readers of the series believe that there are hints in what Elder Brother has said about the Hound to Brienne, that 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 Clegane himself may have survived and is living as a novice on the Quiet Isle monastery. Readers have identified Sandor as the novice gravedigger espied by Brienne.
Sometime later, while having dinner at Castle Darry, Jaime Lannister hears of the rumors concerning Sandor Clegane from the other people at the dinner table. He asks what makes them so certain it was the Hound at Saltpans. He thinks what the people at the dinner table are describing sounds more Gregor Clegane’s work than Sandor’s. Jaime nurses doubts about the rumors and thinks privately to himself:
Sandor had been hard and brutal, yes, but it was his big brother who was the real monster in House Clegane.
During the dinner Ser Lyle Crakehall claims to have been moved by the distress of Lady Mariya and Lady Amerei, 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. Jaime thinks that to himself this one should:
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.
Quotes by Sandor
- Sandor to Eddard Stark
- Sandor to Sansa
The septons preach about the seven hells. What do they know? Only a man who's been burned knows what hell is truly like. 
- Sandor to Sansa
- Sandor to Sansa
- Sandor to Sansa
A hound will die for you, but never lie to you. And he’ll look you straight in the face. 
- Sandor to Sansa
Killing is the sweetest thing there is.
- Sandor to Sansa
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.
- Sandor to Sansa
If there are gods, they made sheep so wolves could eat mutton, and they made the weak for the strong to play with.
- Sandor to Sansa
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.
- Sandor to Sansa
This cave is dark too, but I’m the terror here. 
- Sandor to Beric
Even a dog gets tired of being kicked. 
- Sandor to Arya
My own dog now. 
Bugger that. Bugger him. Bugger you. 
Quotes about Sandor Clegane
Sandor Clegane was a man in torment. 
References and Notes
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 29, Sansa II.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 30, Eddard VII.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 7, Arya I.
- A Clash of Kings, Chapter 2, Sansa I.
- A Clash of Kings, Chapter 18, Sansa II.
- A Clash of Kings, Chapter 32, Sansa III.
- A Clash of Kings, Chapter 59, Tyrion XIII.
- A Clash of Kings, Chapter 62, Sansa VII.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 34, Arya VI.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 39, Arya VII.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 43, Arya VIII.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 47, Arya IX.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 50, Arya X.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 51, Catelyn VII.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 52, Arya XI.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 65, Arya XII.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 74, Arya XIII.
- A Feast for Crows, Chapter 12, Cersei III.
- A Feast for Crows, Chapter 31, Brienne VI.
- A Feast for Crows, Chapter 30, Jaime IV.
- A Feast for Crows, Chapter 37, Brienne VII.
- A Feast for Crows, Chapter 42, Brienne VIII.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 16, Eddard III.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 19, Jon III.
- A Clash of Kings, Chapter 52, Sansa IV.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 42, The King's Prize.
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