If Ned Stark returning for the upcoming season wasn’t enough to get you excited, another dead character has been spotted filming for Season Six of Game of Thrones. Although we never saw him die onscreen, most were confident that Sandor Clegane or “The Hound” had met his death after a vicious battle with Brienne of Tarth towards the end of Game of Thrones’ fourth season. However, fans of the delightfully morally ambiguous character will be excited to hear that there is a good chance that the The Hound will be returning in some way, shape, or form to Game of Thrones. This Sunday, the reputable fansite, Watchers on the Wall reported the sighting of actor Rory McCann, who plays Sandor Clegane, at a hotel in Belfast. Belfast is currently the hub of Game of Thrones’ production, drawing many actors to the location (including, most notably, Kit Harrington–another actor whose character is supposedly dead). The fact that McCann is in Belfast is certainly suggestive that he will play a role in the upcoming season, as the location is currently buzzing with Game of Thrones actors, producers and writers. But how could the Hound be back in the show if his character presumably died? There are several explanations.
The most obvious reason for the Hound’s return to Game of Thrones is found buried in George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series. In the books, upon which the Game of Thrones TV show is based, the Hound’s fate is equally as questionable in the show, but further information gained later in the story offers clues that the character might still be alive. Many believe that The Hound was spotted in a chapter of Feast for Crows which is written from the perspective of Brienne of Tarth. In the books, Brienne’s search for Sansa Stark leads her to a monastery where she sees a grave-digger, who despite the scarf wrapped about his face has many of the same characteristics as Sandor Clegane. Many speculate that the Hound was found at the brink of death and rescued by the Brotherhood of the monastery, only to take on the disguise of a grave-digger as he rested and regained his health. Many who believe that the Hound is still alive, perpetuate a popular theory that he will return to fight his brother (now Robert Strong) in Cersei’s trial by combat, finally exacting revenge for his brother’s many wrongs. If indeed this is a storyline the show decides to follow, Season Six could potentially have another very interesting trial by combat.
While there is a good chance that the Hound is still alive, there is also the possibility that Rory McCann is only back in Belfast to film flashbacks. With Game of Thrones‘ move to include flash-backs in the show, and the return of Bran Stark, whose visions often look into the past, there is a good possibility that we may only be seeing the Hound in scenes set before the present day. Perhaps he will only play a minor role, or perhaps he will become an important part in one of the back-stories that flashbacks offer the chance to explore.
Whatever Rory McCann is doing in Belfast, it is certainly exciting to know that we will be seeing the Hound again–whether he be alive or preserved only in other’s memories.
Game of Thrones Season 6 returns to HBO’s air next spring.