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"House Clegane - because every lord needs a beast from time to time."A young knightly house of the Westerlands with humble origins, one of the vassals to the Lannisters. It was raised to knighthood by Lord Tywin's father, the late Tytos Lannister.
— Tywin Lannister
- Animal Motifs: Their sigil is three dogs, and their members are often compared to them. Sandor — who is referred to more as The Hound or Dog than by his name — is gruff, but loyal and honorable in his own way; Gregor is Tywin's Right-Hand Attack Dog for all purposes.
- The Brute: They're simply the Lannister's muscle. They have almost no influence on the political side of Westeros.
- Cain and Abel: Gregor and Sandor despise each other intensely, and would rather fight each other than team up.
- Faceless Goons: Fully armoured, both◊ Cleganes◊ wear imposing helmets that almost completely obscure their faces.
- Just Following Orders: Be it Tywin's or Joffrey's, they often use this reasoning to their advantage when committing heinous actions. Even Sandor, the more decent half of the Clegane brothers admits to this when confronted over his murder of the butcher's boy Mycah and was very proactive when cutting down Ned Stark's guards.
- Nouveau Riche: Not Lords, but just a knightly house raised to nobility by Lord Tytos Lannister.
- Older Than They Look/Younger Than They Look: Gregor was old enough to be knighted by Prince Rhaegar approximately 18 years before the first season and he is five years older than his brother. Hafthór Björnsson plays a character ten years older than he is while Rory McCann plays a character at least 15 years younger than he is. In reality the older brother is 20 years younger than the younger brother.
- Professional Killers: They serve no other purpose than killing, Sandor makes numerous speeches that it is what knights are at the core and Gregor shows it. They are regularly used by the Lannister to kill specific target such as butcher's son and heir to the throne.
- Rags to Riches: The Clegane's grandfather was the kennelmaster serving Lord Tytos, who knighted him for saving his life from a lioness.
- Rape, Pillage, and Burn: This is basically their M.O. and sole function under Gregor.
- Red On Blue Oni: Kinda. Sandor isn't exactly serene and emotionless, but he's much more stoic and in control of himself than Gregor. Emphasised by their fight at the Hand's Tourney, when King Robert orders them to stop, Sandor immediately drops to one knee (handily ducking Gregor's swing), while Gregor tosses aside his sword and storms off in a rage.
- Right-Hand Attack Dog: To House Lannister.
- The Spartan Way: See Tykebomb.
- Tykebomb: Of the attack/guard dog variant. Both Clegane brothers were trained from a young age to serve as the Lannisters' most loyal, skilled and brutal fighters.Sandor: When Tywin Lannister became Lord of Casterly Rock, he wanted more from his former kennel-master than fealty, he bet that training hounds to kill isn't far from training boys to kill. In just two generations my brother Gregor and I proved him right. I gutted my first man at twelve.
- Unskilled, but Strong: Averted. Sandor is considered at least as skilled as Bronn and much stronger, whilst Jaime Lannister (in his prime at least) considers the Hound to have as much killing power and prowess as he does. As for Gregor, the Mountain is the World's Strongest Man, a One-Man Army, wields a BFS and has nigh-impenetrable armour, not to mention gigantic steeds.
- War Is Hell: The House that epitomizes this trope. Gregor's savagery is reflected by the men under his command, who commit atrocities on the Riverlands smallfolk with casual nonchalance. While Sandor, despite professing a distaste for random brutality or harming girls, never fails to remind everyone (even those he protects) of his love for killing and the realities of war.
Ser Gregor Clegane / "Robert Strong"
Played By: Conan Stevens (Season 1), Ian Whyte (Season 2), Hafþór "Thor" Björnsson (Season 4 onwards)
"Elia Martell! I killed her children! Then I raped her! THEN I SMASHED HER HEAD, IN LIKE THIS!!"Head of House Clegane. Called "The Mountain", he is a massive and obscenely brutal knight in the service of House Lannister and is the older brother of The Hound. Does most of Tywin Lannister's dirtiest work, and enjoys every second of it. After his duel with Oberyn Martell in Tyrion's trial by combat, Gregor is fatally wounded and poisoned, and is experimented on by Qyburn to save his life. He comes back among the living as Ser Robert Strong, a member of the Kingsguard whose identity is an Open Secret, and becomes Cersei Lannister's bodyguard from then on.
- Ascended Extra: He gets more screen time in season 6 after his "resurrection" because Cersei makes him as her Right-Hand Attack Dog.
- Ax-Crazy: There are a plethora of examples to list that show just how crazy he is. The list includes burning off half his brother's face when they were kids, killing a woman's children then raping and murdering her with their blood still on his hands, trying to kill a jousting opponent he lost to and his own brother when he interfered in the fight, personally picking out which war prisoner would be tortured to death each day in Harrenhal, murdering prisoners as part of his exercise routine, and murdering every Northen captive in Harrenhal before leaving as a final "fuck you!" to the Stark army, even though the nobles that could have been ransomed for money, without caring about the fact that he is setting a precedent and the Starks could very well retaliate by executing their far more numerous Lannister prisoners.
- Back from the Dead: It's unclear of Qyburn revived him after death or prevented it, but the effect is this trope either way, with how Gregor was wounded beyond normal means of healing.
- Badass Baritone: All three of his actors have deep voices; Conan Stevens has a harsh shout while Ian Whyte's voice is both sinister and magnificent. It's just about the only aspect of Whyte's portrayal that Thor Bjornsson carries over into his own. He is also one of the physically strongest fighters in the G.O.T universe; Jaime Lannister includes Gregor as one of the three people that could probably take him.
- Badass BoastGregor: Who am I fighting?
Cersei: Does it matter?
- Bare-Fisted Monk: Played with as Robert Strong. He does carry a sword but he doesn't really need it to kill a man, and so far he seems to prefer using his bare hands.
- Beard of Evil: One of the more repugnant characters in Westeros, with a sinister beard to boot. All three actors have one.
- BFS: It's about the size of a normal person.
- Big Brother Bully: To Sandor. He infamously pushed Sandor's face into a fire for playing with his toy.
- Black Eyes of Evil: The glimpse we get through his visor is black dots that are bloodshot and wide awake.
- Black Knight: He wears a heavy suit of coal-black armour. A bit subverted in Season 2 when he drops the Shoulders of Doom and wears a Lannister cloak and helmet, but he goes back to full black armor when he appears in Season 4.
- Bling of War: Unlike the other Kingsguard, his armour is completely gilded.
- Blood Knight: It's pretty clear he became a warrior to quench his blood thirst. Subverted in that people who can actually put up a fight just angers him more, he likes killing but not the challenge.
- Boom, Headshot: A peasant who makes fun of Cersei gets a taste of this by Gregor by smashing the poor bastard's head to the wall.
- The Brute: He's a massive, muscled monster that exists to do the killing of House Lannister and its members.
- The Bully: His idea of a good time is raping and killing people — especially those who can't feasibly fight back. A woman and her baby in the backstory, his own little brother when they were both children, a surprised Loras Tyrell who had nothing but a wooden shield while he was swinging a huge sword, a bunch of helpless unarmed prisoners...and it's mentioned that he regularly goes raping and pillaging the smallfolk. Facing an actually challenging opponent like his brother Sandor and Oberyn Martell just makes him even angrier.
- Came Back Strong: When Cersei asks Qyburn if Clegane is going to come back weaker, he's quick to dismiss the notion, implying this trope. Bonus point for having "Strong" in his new name. He confirms this to be the case when he casually rips a man's head off with his bare hands.
- Can't Hold His Liquor: Tywin advises Arya to not serve him wine. It makes him worse.
- Cain and Abel: Cain to Sandor's Abel. Apart from being the source of Sandor's burns, the two of them appeared quite willing to fight to the death in full view of the court for very little reason.
- The Champion: For Cersei in Tyrion's Trial by Combat.
- Charles Atlas Superpower: Capable of crushing a man's head with his bare hands, as seen with Oberyn Martell. Elia went the same way. As Robert Strong, he's able to rip a man's head off with his bare hands.
- Cold-Blooded Torture: He is commanded by Cersei to inflict it on Septa Unella and prolong it as long as he can.
- Deconstruction: His brother Sandor points out that Gregor's very existence belies the image of knights as defenders of the weak and helpless; they're just particularly successful killers. Sandor learned the hard way when he was a boy that having "Ser" before your name doesn't make one any less of a psychopath.
- Disproportionate Retribution: According to Sandor, he once killed a man for snoring too loudly. As for Sandor, Gregor's reason for burning his face was that Sandor had played with one of his old toys, and Sandor emphasizes that he hadn't even stolen said toy (Gregor could have, you know, ''asked for it back'').
- The Dragon: To Cersei as Ser Robert Strong.
- The Dreaded:
- Feared for his cruelty, especially when he's leading his personal band of psychopaths throughout the Riverlands. Even other badasses like Bronn are unashamed of admitting fear of him.
- Also, in season 6 the lannister soldiers ordered by Tommen/Kevan to keep Cersei in the red keep, are clearly horrified at the sight of Gregor despite their superior number.Lord Tywin Lannister: Ser Gregor strikes terror into the hearts of our enemies and our friends.
- Dumb Muscle: The muscle part should be obvious. The dumb comes from having little to no sense of tactics or restraint, as he's too Ax-Crazy to consider whether his acts of brutality are actually detrimental in the long run. Nor does it seem likely that he cares, it's not like the Lannisters pay him for being smart, his job is to apply Disproportionate Retribution to those who cross the family. After his transformation into Robert Strong, Qyburn implies he's even dumber than before as the "experiments" he did to save him affected his mind.
- Establishing Character Moment: Due to his physical absences in the narrative, he gets two of these.
- He kills Ser Hugh in a joust, and after losing to Loras soon after he angrily kills his horse before trying to kill Loras.
- After sitting out Season 3 and being fairly inactive in Season 2, he then gets re-established in Season 4 with "Mockingbird"; where in which he cuts through several defenseless men, swinging an enormous greatsword like it was a stick.
- Evil Is Bigger: There's a good reason he's called 'the Mountain'. George R.R. Martin has said that there isn't anyone in the world who could physically match the way he's described in the books, but they sure try hard to get it close. By the time the 6'9 Bjornsson appears, they even use camera trickery to make him look even bigger. For the curious, he was originally construed as being nearly 8 feet in height and around 420 pounds which aren't measurements a human could reach and be able to walk.
- Evil Sounds Deep: Especially when played by Ian Whyte.
- The Faceless: As Ser Robert Strong, he wears a mask that conceals his face. Its unknown if there is some form of Facial Horror or if its a concealing his own identity.
- Facial Horror: It's the former. His face is rotten.
- Fate Worse Than Death: Despite being severely wounded by a poisoned spear courtesy of Oberyn Martell, Ser Gregor is kept alive by Qyburn and his medical treatment. When one considers what sort of physician Qyburn is, and that Qyburn barely escaped death at the hands of Gregor's men... the Mountain is going to be in for a long, painful time.
- Sadly subverted by the end of Season 6. While the transformation into Robert Strong was undoubtedly painful and has left him nightmarishly deformed and mute, Gregor ends up even stronger than before and seemingly invincible, and is allowed by Cersei to inflict his sadistic hobbies upon her prisoners and enemies. For someone whose life revolved around butchering enemies on the battlefield and raping/torturing anybody he could get his hands on off the battlefield, this is probably more than he ever wished he could have.
- Frankenstein's Monster: As Robert Strong, he's a giant, hulking, speechless monstrosity that lumbers about killing people.
- Giant Mook: He's little more than a brute to the Lannisters, but he's too damn huge and deadly to be considered "just a Mook" by everyone.
- Guttural Growler: Especially in Season 4, to the point of sounding animalistic.
- Hair-Trigger Temper: He chopped the head off his horse over losing a joust, and he pushed his brother into a fire for touching his toys. It doesn't take a lot to set him off.
- Hates Small Talk: When being welcomed back to King's Landing by the Queen Regent, he doesn't bother with chit-chat and plainly asks who he gets to kill this time.
- Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: Courtesy of Oberyn Martell. Unfortunately, it isn't immediately fatal.
- Implacable Man: Due in no small part to his size, it takes quite a bit of damage from Oberyn before Gregor finally goes down, and even then, he's strong enough to turn the tables and kill Oberyn before he collapses.
- ...In That Order: In their duel, Oberyn demands that Gregor makes a confession for his crimes against the Martells. Although less clearly shown than in the books, Gregor's problem is not the accusation itself, but that Oberyn got the events in the wrong order:Oberyn: You raped her! You murdered her! You killed her children! (multiple times)
Gregor: I killed her children. Then I raped her, then I smashed her head IN LIKE THIS!
- In-Series Nickname: "The Mountain."
- Irony: He was knighted by Prince Rhaegar Targaryen on Tywin's recommendation. One year later, after Rhaegar's defeat at the Trident, Lord Tywin ordered him to kill the Prince's children and Gregor took the extra step of raping and murdering Rhaegar's wife too.
- Ironic Hell: He is saved from death by Qyburn, a renowned maverick physician, known for having... rather unorthodox methods of prolonging life - whom Ser Gregor had previously attempted to summarily execute back at Harrenhal.
- It Can Think: If his reaction to Jaime calling him an idiot even before is any indication, there is still a somewhat of sentience in Robert Strong.
- Kick the Dog:
- Beheading his own horse after he loses a joust.
- Torturing prisoners to death just because there is no room left in the dungeons, and executing the prisoners that had room as psychological warfare.
- Knight in Shining Armor: The gilded armor he wears as Kingsguard member Robert Strong is clearly meant to invoke this.
- Lady and Knight: As Robert Strong he's the Knight to Cersei's Lady. He kills on her command and is never far from her side for long.
- Lightning Bruiser: As Bronn notes, the Mountain is not only "freakish big, and freakish strong", he's also a lot faster than you'd expect for a man as huge as he is. Though after becoming Ser Robert Strong he seems to have lost this aspect, becoming more of a Mighty Glacier.
- Malevolent Masked Man: The Mountain becomes this after "becoming" Ser Robert Strong. As the name suggests, and combined with his lust for killing, the Mountain is essentially one step away from joining the ranks of Jason Voorhees and Michael Myers.
- Meaningful Name: Well, with Robert "Strong" you'd think Qyburn probably didn't spend a lot of time finding a name for the Mountain once he came back.
- Mook Lieutenant: Reinforced in Season 2, where he drops his trademark black armor and black & yellow colors for the usual red Lannister soldier garb.
- Offstage Villainy: Most of Ser Gregor's worst acts, and those of the soldiers he commands, have occurred offscreen. Though given the sheer level of brutality described, this is certainly a blessing. In his most infamous act, before the events of the series, he murdered and raped the Princess Elia Targaryen but not before killing her infant son Aegon in front of her.
- One-Hit Kill: As Bronn stated, one can attempt to fight Gregor by out-maneuvering him. But if he gets one hit in, that person is dead. This is illustrated in "The Mountain and the Viper." After spending an entire fight flailing at— and missing— the much more nimble Oberyn Martell, Gregor manages to get his hands on him and ends the fight in seconds.
- Our Zombies Are Different
- Paper-Thin Disguise: Qyburn isn't really fooling anyone withholding the identity of "Robert Strong," this new, mysterious, helmed and mute Kingsguard who is built like a mountain. In Season 6 he and the other Small Council members drop the pretense in private.From the books...
- Parental Favoritism: According to Sandor, Gregor was their father's favorite who hoped he would become a knight and also gave a cover for his scarring of little Sandor so as to protect him from justice. The same father Gregor later murdered (probably).
- Perpetual Frowner: His unfriendliness is always reflected in his face. And that's one of his less distasteful traits.
- Pre-Mortem One-Liner: Gregor isn't usually the most charismatic of folk, but he does manage to deflect Oberyn's My Name Is Inigo Montoya moment.Oberyn: Have they told you who I am?
Gregor: Some dead man! [swings at Oberyn's head]
- Psycho for Hire: Tywin Lannister is his "employer" and unleashes him on the peasantry of those whom he feels have acted against Lannister interests.
- Pyrrhic Victory: Despite managing to kill Oberyn during the trial by combat, the Mountain is ultimately rendered comatose by Oberyn's poisoned spears and left at the mercy of the torturously pragmatic Qyburn.
- Rape, Pillage, and Burn: Seems to be his day job, when he's not "accidentally" killing people in tourneys.
- Red Baron: He's known as "The Mountain" for his immense size and unstoppable nature.
- Sadist: Gregor does not specifically love battle, just wanton slaughter—he gets just as many jollies from butchering civilians, raping women and murdering children. When he asks Cersei who he's going to kill in a Duel to the Death, she asks him if it matters. He merely shakes his head. Ser Gregor cares not from where the blood flows, only that it flows.
- Self-Made Orphan: Season 2 extras (and the books) all but state outright that he murdered his father, and probably his (unnamed) sister as well.
- Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: Abandons Harrenhal, not before massacring all the North and Rivermen captive there.
- Shoulders of Doom: Wears a pair of awesome pauldrons. Though he doesn't wear them in the second season, he puts them on again when he appears in the fourth.
- The Sociopath: The most clear-cut example in the entire series (which is saying something in a story overflowing with vile and loathsome characters). While his appearances are few and far between, the few scenes in which he does appear along with the sheer magnitude of his crimes make it glaringly apparent that he lives only for wanton carnage and brutality. Likewise, he is consistently portrayed as almost entirely lacking in impulse control except at the basest levels of Pragmatic Villainy. Furthermore, he is COMPLETELY devoid of empathy or principles given that he permanently maimed his brother for playing with one of his toys and is all but explicitly stated to have murdered his father simply to expedite his own inheritance (while being the object of Parental Favoritism no less).
- Stupid Evil: Noted to be this In-Universe. Gregor's Ax-Crazy, but he's so Ax-Crazy that he's incapable of showing restraint or strategic thought (though Robb never gets a chance to fully exploit this). Attempting to kill the heir of a great house in a fit of rage is a good exemple too.
- Sore Loser: After Loras beats him in a joust, the angry Gregor kills his own horse and then proceeds to attack Loras in front of the entire royal court.
- Sociopathic Soldier: It's why Tywin keeps him around!
- Taking You with Me: Gregor kills Oberyn before succumbing to poison shortly after.
- Tested on Humans: Who needs things like practice dummies when you can train by chopping up real prisoners instead?
- Tranquil Fury: As Robert Strong. Just because he's not screaming bloody murder as much as before, doesn't mean his Hair-Trigger Temper has become much better.
- The Quiet One: In the first season, he's only said two things, "Sword!" and screaming. As of "Garden of Bones", he's had a few more lines, but is hardly what one would call verbose. In Season 4, he's had a grand total of three lines of dialogue, but all memorable. In Season 5, "Robert Strong" is mentioned to have taken a vow of silence by Qyburn - perhaps it just means that he can't speak.
- The Undead: The third variation introduced in the series.
- Undeathly Pallor: His skin seems to be a pale purple, likely a result of congealed blood and/or partial decomposing.
- Unstoppable Rage: Seems to fall into these rather often, given his temper.
- Vader Breath: Very noticeably breathes heavily as robert Strong.
- Villainous Breakdown: Gregor is already murderously angry and unhinged when on his best behavior, but he really loses his cool during his fight with Oberyn.
- The Voiceless: He doesn't speak as Robert Strong, voluntarily according to Qyburn, until the crown's enemies are defeated. More likely he simply can't speak anymore.
- We Can Rebuild Him: Oberyn Martell's spear's venom almost killed him but Qyburn found a way to heal him, albeit with a process that is best left to imagination. It also presumably made him stronger. His Vader Breath, Frankenstein's Monster-like behavior and concealing armor make him very close to a medieval fantasy version of the trope.
- World's Strongest Man: Even in comparison to the show's other hulking badasses, such as Hodor and Tormund, the Mountain is insanely strong. Fittingly, as of the fourth season, he's played by the second-strongest man on Earth. As Robert Strong, he seems to be even stronger — but he's not exactly human anymore.
- Would Hurt a Child: He killed the Targaryen crown children during the Lannister army's sack of Kings Landing, possibly on Tywin's direct orders. During the present-day campaign in the Riverlands, it's reported that he and his contingent slaughtered every peasant they could find, including the rape and murder of children.
- You Have Failed Me: Apparently, the reason why he beheads his horse after losing to Ser Loras.
- You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: As the war starts winding down, Tywin has no problem selling him out to Oberyn Martell.
- Your Head Asplode: Appears to be one of his favorite methods of execution, considering he crushes the skulls of Elia Martell, Oberyn Martell and a a random civilian who was badmouthing Cersei.
Played By: Rory McCann
"There's plenty worse than me. I just understand the way things are."Called "The Hound," personal bodyguard to Prince Joffrey Baratheon. His brother shoved his face into a fire when he was a child, burning and scarring him horrifically. He's briefly a member of Joffrey's Kingsguard (despite not being a knight) before abandoning Joffrey, the Kingsguard, and the city during the Battle of Blackwater Bay. Since then, he's wandered the Riverlands and taken Arya Stark as his captive, hoping to ransom her first to Robb and Catelyn, and, after their deaths, to Lysa Arryn. He encountered Brienne of Tarth and fought her to defend Arya, and was wounded and left for dead.
- Adaptational Attractiveness: His facial burns are much less extensive than they are described in the book series (but still fairly gruesome all the same). Apparently the actor couldn't see out of a truer-to-the-book prosthetic, which would naturally be rather important when filming swordfights.
- Age Lift: From 27 in the books to... late 30s? Although this range could easily be thrown off by his facial scarring and Perma-Stubble, which naturally make him look older than his character probably is. Rory McCann, at 46, is notably older than most of the actors that have played Gregor, who is stated to be five years older than him - and in the case of the most recent (Thor Bjornsson), there's a twenty-year age-gap. (Although, to be fair, the casters were likely looking more at body type than age range.) For the record, in all incarnations, Gregor appears at a glance to be in the mid-30s to 40 at most.
- A Lighter Shade of Black: He's brutal, but unlike Gregor has some sort of morals (see more at Even Evil Has Standards)
- Ain't Too Proud to Beg: After being gravely injured fighting Brienne, he asks Arya to Mercy Kill him, and when she refuses he's soon tearfully begging her to do it, then screaming after her when she walks away after robbing him.
- Ambiguous Situation: At the end of Season 4, Sandor is badly wounded and believes that he's finished, but the audience doesn't learn if he actually does die. Made further ambiguous when the Blu-ray's roundtable discussion of actors who were killed off in Season 4 doesn't include Rory McCann. His survival is finally confirmed in Season 6; he was found and brought back to health by Septon Ray. The end of Season 6 has another instance, as it's left open whether he'll join the Brotherhood Without Banners, or go off on his own again.
- Animal Motifs: In addition the obvious connection between his nickname, former job and sigil there is significance to him becoming a loyal (if reluctant) guardian to Sansa and Arya, as the sigil of their house is a direwolf.
- Anti-Hero: Hovers between Unscrupulous Hero and a Nominal Hero at the end of Season 3 during the Red Wedding where he goes out of his way to save Arya from being slaughtered with her mother and brother (despite there obviously not being a ransom anymore) as well as trying to shield her from the nightmarish aftermath, and is even fully on board with helping her kill squad of Frey soldiers (so long as she tells him before she tries it again) thus putting him on the "good" side of things. Further, his utter butchery of Polliver's squad in Season 4 seems to be at least partially triggered by how unrepentantly awful they are, on top of their being his brother's men. He moves more firmly into this role after Septor Ray's community is massacred. He's willing to resume his killing again, but targeting people who far worse than him.
- Anti-Villain: While a brutal warrior, Sandor both demonstrates compassion (primarily towards Sansa) and honour. In Season 3, this is further emphasised by his defection from the Lannisters and his willingness to bring Arya back to her family for a ransom reward despite their mutual hatred.
- Ascended Extra: In the books and the early seasons, Sandor is seen from the perspectives of Ned, Sansa, Arya and Tyrion. He has his own story starting from season 6.
- Badass Beard: He has a pretty thick, scratchy beard. He also fought his Axe-Crazy brother to a draw.
- Badass Boast:
Polliver: You lived your life for the King. You gonna die for some chickens?
- See Enemy Eats Your Lunch below.
Sandor: Someone is.
- Also, from "A Man Without Honor"Sandor: A dog doesn't need courage to chase off rats.
- Badass and Child Duo: With Arya, though the relationship is tenuous at best.
- Bad Guys Do the Dirty Work: The Hound's massive, Ax-Crazy brother Ser Gregor attacks Ser Loras after losing a joust to him. Sandor jumps in and blocks the blow because he hates his brother, not because he cares about Ser Loras.
- He is impressed with Loras for taking his asshole brother down a peg, and is unwilling to allow the young knight to be murdered for it.
- Battle Cry: One that also happens to be a particularly vulgar threat directed at his own men.Sandor: Any man dies with a clean sword, I'll rape his fucking corpse!
- Because You Were Nice to Me: He turns up in Season 6, having been saved and brought back to health by Septon Ray and his people. Though Clegane is gruff and grouchy as ever, it's clear that he cares about them. He is truly horrified later when he finds them butchered by Lem Lemoncloak and the other rogue Brotherhood men. When Sandor retrieves his axe, it's clear that Lem and his buddies done fucked up.
- Beneath the Mask: Arya suggests that for all his talk, he really doesn't like half the things he's been forced to do and acts like a brutal thug and hurls insults around, as a coping mechanism. For his part, the Hound actually is a little bit taken aback by this, suggesting that this might not be too far off the mark.
- Berserk Button: He's not a knight, so don't call him "ser". Really, don't.
- BFS: Carries one of these, though only uses it in specific circumstance, such as open battle, or against his brother, who uses an even bigger one. He has a short sword for quick draw.
- Big Damn Heroes: Saves Sansa single-handedly from an attempted gang rape in "The Old Gods and the New". Heroic music and all.
- Likewise, when Gregor's response to losing a joust against Ser Loras Tyrell is to behead his own horse and attack the unarmed Loras with a live blade Sandor runs in without prompting and fights off Gregor.
- Big Eater: In the latter part of Season 3 and the beginning of Season 4 Sandor has formed a habit of immediately tucking in to the food of the poor schmucks who get in his way and end up very very dead or very very unconscious, which makes sense given he has spent much of his life guarding (and getting paid and fed by) the richest family in Westeros and now he is living rough. Justified as maintaining the strength in such a large body requires a high energy intake.
- Black Knight: In both appearance and effect. His armor is uniformly ominous black, and like the black knights of historical Europe, he no longer serves a master. Granted, he was never officially a knight, but still. Particularly noticeable after Arya gets a White Stallion, while Sandor rides his dark courser.
- Blood Knight: Insists that "killing's the sweetest thing there is". And he further goes on to say that everyone who has ever done it loves it on some level. May be partially subverted, despite his above quote. Most of his fighting he's done has been a means to an end, and he certainly doesn't glorify the act of killing.
- Brutal Honesty: Some of the things he says to Sansa about her situation are very blunt, but they're not wrong either, and are even good advice in the sense that he was urging her not to have any naïve illusions. For example, when he says he's a good killer and she's upset, he accurately points out that both her father and brother Robb are soldiers and both killed men too, whatever reasons they had for it.
- The Brute: To Joffrey. However, his Screw This, I'm Outta Here! at the Battle of Blackwater has put an end to this.
- The Bus Came Back: After being presumed dead for all of Season 5 and most of Season 6, he makes a triumphant return in "The Broken Man".
- Cain and Abel: Abel to Gregor's Cain. Gregor burning his face seems to be only the tip of the iceberg between them, and he's more than willing to "defend" Ser Loras. DVD extras reveal that this relationship is actually the basis for why he worked for the Lannisters more directly; he was unwilling to live under the Clegane roof once Gregor became head of the house.
- Career-Ending Injury: His fight with Brienne which ended with him being thrown off the side of a cliff to a good ten feet drop is this. Even if he survives his wounds by some miracle, he's severely fractured enough of his bones to never regain his strength again. He confesses as much to Arya, telling her that he's finished. Not the case as of 6X07, when he's reintroduced. Though his knee isn't up to par, he's cleaving logs in one axe swing and hulling logs big and heavy enough for three men to carry and struggle with. Sandor's getting back to 100% fast.
- The Champion: Is supposed to serve as one to Joffrey. He actually is one towards Sansa. He offers to protect her from the brunt of Joffrey's malice, but admits he might not succeed. By the end of Season 3, he can be considered a champion for Arya Stark.
- Combat Pragmatist: Watch him when he fights Polliver's men. He spends almost as much time punching his enemies in the face as he does tearing them apart with his sword — to say nothing of the man whose crotch he rips out. It speaks volumes of how little he thinks of honorable knightly standards.
- Composite Character
- He, rather than Vargo Hoat (or his show counterpart Locke), gets his ear bitten off by Brienne. Though this is after he escaped losing an ear in the fight with Polliver's men as in the books, so it evens out.
- Like Victarion Greyjoy, Sandor is a big brute of a man being told by a follower of the Lord of Light (Beric instead of Moqorro) that he has some great destiny ahead of him.
- The Cynic: Shows his rather justified apathy and world-weariness in almost every conversation.
- Dangerous Deserter: How the Lannisters regard him, especially after news of his slaughter of Polliver and his goons reaches the Small Council, after which Lord Tywin puts a sufficiently large bounty on him to tempt any idiot to take a shot at the Hound.
- Deadpan Snarker:
- He's quite blunt and not at all subtle about it, but Sandor gets a bit of snark in every now and again.Sandor: Of course you named your sword.
Arya: Lots of people name their swords.
Sandor: Lots of cunts.
- Following his return in season 6, The Hound somehow got even snarkier. Particularly while chasing down the murderers of Septon Ray.Rogue: Fuck you!
Sandor: Those are your last words? "Fuck you"? Come on, you can do better.
Sandor: You're shit at dying, you know that?
- Later...Sandor: There was a time I would have killed all seven of you just to gut these three.
Thoros: (Amused) You're getting old, Clegane.
Sandor: He's not. (Kicks out stool, hanging Septon Ray's murderer.)
- He's quite blunt and not at all subtle about it, but Sandor gets a bit of snark in every now and again.
- Declaration of Protection:
- With Sansa. He genuinely despises the abuse she goes through, saves her from an Attempted Rape and clearly states he's going to protect her from Joffrey when they'll eventually marry.Sandor: You'll be glad of the hateful things I do, one day, when you are Queen and I will be all that stands between you and your beloved King.
- He makes another, more subtle declaration about Arya during a confrontation with Brienne.Sandor: There’s no safety, you dumb bitch. If you don’t know that by now, you’re the wrong one to watch over her.
Brienne: And that's what you're doing? Watching over her?
Sandor: Aye, that's what I'm doing.
- With Sansa. He genuinely despises the abuse she goes through, saves her from an Attempted Rape and clearly states he's going to protect her from Joffrey when they'll eventually marry.
- Defector from Decadence: He has enough of the Lannisters and leaves them in "Blackwater".
- Diagonal Cut: Cuts two people in half during the battle of Blackwater, one like this, one clean across the belly.
- Don't Call Me "Sir": People often mistake him for a knight and call him "Ser". He doesn't like this, since he hates knights, particularly because his brother is a vicious murderer but gets away with it because he's "an annointed knight".
- The Dreaded: Not quite as much as his brother, but he's more than capable of making an entire room full of happy go lucky Lannister soldiers go silent as the grave when he enters.
- Ear Ache: Has his ear bitten off by Brienne, when they fight over Arya in "The Children".
- Enemy Eats Your Lunch: Pulls this on Polliver shortly before slaughtering him and three or four of his men, complete with Badass Boast.Polliver: You don't seem to understand the situation.
Sandor: I understand that if any more words come pouring out your cunt mouth, I'm going to have to eat every fucking chicken in this room.
- Happens again after he and Arya butcher some Frey soldiers who were laughing about the Red Wedding. After they're all dead, Sandor sits down and starts eating the meat they'd been roasting.
- Establishing Character Moment: While he's in the first episode he doesn't actually do anything until the end of the second, where he murders Mycah and shows absolutely no remorse. His lack of action in the first episode can be one as well; when Tyrion slaps his royal nephew for being an obnoxious brat, he just stands there and watches with no intervention despite supposedly being Joffrey's bodyguard.
- Even Evil Has Standards:
- Despite his taste for violence and death, he defends Ser Loras from his brother Gregor when the latter goes batshit and immediately goes on one knee after being told to by the King while dodging his brother's sword in the process, and goes against Joffrey's orders to protect Sansa. At one point he actually abandons Joffrey's side to find and rescue Sansa in the middle of a massive riot.
- Even though he's not going to get a ransom payment for Arya — what with her mother and brother being killed — Sandor doesn't leave her behind in the chaos of the Red Wedding. When he sees what the Freys have done to Robb's corpse, he is horrified, and quickly leaves so Arya doesn't have to witness any more of it, and when she later kills a Frey soldier in front of the rest of his unit, he gladly slaughters them, only slightly irritated that Arya didn't tell him first.
- In the first episode of Season 4, Arya asks why Sandor didn't steal anything of Joffrey's when he fled King's Landing. His response? 'A man's got to have a code.' He backpedals on this two episodes later, stealing a farmer's money after he and his daughter had given them food and shelter and offered work. It says something about how deeply buried his decency is that the most heroic thing he does during the scene is to leave them alive after he robs them. Arya points out that he said he's not a thief, and the Hound simply tells her "I wasn't."
- He also has a subtle but very clear dislike towards seeing the women he cares even slightly about abused or hurt, with him going out of his way to protect Sansa in King's Landing from rioters (and promising to do the same from Joffrey) and in Season 4, his butchering of a squad of his brother's men was partially triggered by Polliver offering to trade food in return for being able to rape Arya.
- He is visibly distraught by the sight of the dead villagers and Brother Ray hanging at the end of 6x07.
- Face Your Fears: Despite being terrified of fire, he still manages to win when Beric Dondarrion fights him with a Flaming Sword.
- Freudian Excuse:
- Littlefinger tells Sansa that the Hound's scars come from his brother pushing his face into a fire when he was eight years old because he played with one of Gregor's toys, implying it's a reason for his roughness. Sandor openly suggests that the incident marked him psychologically even more than physically when he relates the story to Arya.Sandor: My brother gave me this. Pressed me to the fire like I was a nice juicy mutton chop. Thought I stole one of his toys. I didn't steal it. I was just playing with it. The pain was bad. The smell was worse. But the worst thing was that it was my brother who did it. My father, who protected him told everyone my bedding caught fire. You think you're on your own?
- His attitude towards Sansa (and to a lesser extent, Arya) could be partially because they remind him of his younger sister whom was murdered by Gregor years ago.
- Littlefinger tells Sansa that the Hound's scars come from his brother pushing his face into a fire when he was eight years old because he played with one of Gregor's toys, implying it's a reason for his roughness. Sandor openly suggests that the incident marked him psychologically even more than physically when he relates the story to Arya.
- Good Scars, Evil Scars: His horribly disfigured face can be... off-putting to say the least.Sandor: (to Sansa) Look at me! Stannis is a killer. The Lannisters are killers. Your father was a killer. Your brother is a killer. Your sons will be killers some day. The world is built by killers, so you better get used to looking at them.
- Heel–Face Door-Slam: In the fourth season finale, he does truly act to selflessly protect Arya, taking on a strong foe believing she's tied to the Lannisters. This gets him mortally wounded and abandoned by Arya.
- Heel–Face Turn: Deserts Joffrey and the Lannisters in "Blackwater".
- He's Back: When Sandor returns in "The Broken Man" he seems to have renounced violence and is living his life as a peaceful and humble villager. But then the Brotherhood Without Banners slaughters his friends, and the Hound returns with a vengeance.
- Hyper Awareness: Often demonstrates shades of this, presumably honed by having been around Lannisters for so long. He notices the riot in King's Landing before it even breaks out and in "The Rains of Castamere", as soon as the guard began to act suspicious, immediately figured out exactly what's about to go down at the wedding. He's also able to spot a Valryian steel sword and quickly piece together that Brienne of Tarth has been equipped by a Lannister, having spent so much time around their men.
- I Need a Freaking Drink: His reaction to seeing a man burn to death in front of him during the Battle of the Blackwater.Sandor: Fuck the water. Bring me wine.
- Insistent Terminology.Sandor: I am no Ser.
- Jerkass: Unrepentantly so, at least at the start of the series. Later appearances reveal that he is more of a Tragic Villain who is not without standards.
- Jerkass Has a Point: His Kick the Dog moments with Arya, while unpleasant, serve to teach her how to survive in a Crapsack World like Westeros, especially given how her family was decimated by those not willing to play by the rules.
- Just Following Orders: How he justifies his crimes when he's put on trial by the Brotherhood, including killing Mycah, as he had to obey Joffrey's commands.
- Kick the Dog:
- His murder of Mycah the Butcher's Boy.Sandor: He ran... but not very fast.
- Applies to the Stark guardsmen that he butchers in the throne room once Slynt has betrayed Ned. Also a case of Punch Clock Villain.
- After winning his Trial By Combat and being acquitted of Mycah's murder he needlessly mocks Arya, who has to be restrained from killing him.Sandor: Looks like the Gods like me more than your Butcher's Boy.
- Taken in by a man and his young daughter and trusted under Sacred Hospitality, he beats up the man and steals what few valuables he has. Arya gives him a brief but impassioned "The Reason You Suck" Speech for it.
- His murder of Mycah the Butcher's Boy.
- Knight in Sour Armor: More than hinted that despite his Blood Knight exterior he's this underneath.
- Lady and Knight: The closest thing you get in the Game of Thrones setting, with Sansa as the Lady.
- Lightning Bruiser: Sandor is a big guy, but he moves quickly. This is how he's become such a feared swordsman, and how he stands toe-to-toe with Gregor at the Tourney of the Hand.
- Lima Syndrome: Ends up identifying with Sansa (a hostage in Kings Landing) and Arya who is kidnapped by the Hound for ransom. It looks like Arya is starting to bond with him in return, but that turns out not to be the case - though she does start to sympathise with him, her hatred for him due to Mycah's death and her contempt for his more petty actions (such as robbing the poor farmer) mean that she is not quite able to truly make peace with him. Ultimately, she grants him Cruel Mercy because he wants to be given a Mercy Kill, and Arya doesn't want him going out on his own terms given all the things he'd done up until then.
- Named Weapons: Not a fan. Possibly exacerbated by Joffrey giving his swords delightful names like 'Hearteater' and then never actually using them.Sandor: Needle? Of course you named your sword.
Arya: Lots of people name their swords.
Sandor: Lots of cunts.
- Neck Lift: In "The Old Gods And The New", he does this to one of the men trying to rape Sansa. Then he disembowels the man with his dagger.
- Never Live It Down: In-universe. Arya will always despise him for killing Mycah. Killing Mycah was despicable but for the most part his later actions range from petty crimes to outright heroism and by the end of the fourth season he has come to care for Arya and serves as her loyal guardian. In the end the trope reaches it's logical conclusion and Arya, unable to forgive him for killing Mycah, leaves him to die slowly and painfull of wounds recieved while trying to protect her.
- Noble Demon:
- The Hound does not lie. When the Brotherhood tries to blame Gregor's crimes on him he rebukes the accusation, but when they bring his actual crimes he admits to them without hesitation.
- When Arya snaps and kills a Frey soldier out of revenge (and food and fire). Sandor pulls her aside afterwards and tells her if she ever does that again... at least warn him first.
- Not Quite Dead: He managed to hang on after his duel with Brienne, and survived to return in Season 6.
- Only Sane Man: Tries and fails to deal with Arya's psychotic bouts. This really says more about her than him.
- Opt Out: In "Second Sons", when Arya thinks he's taking her back to King's Landing, he makes it clear he's no longer allied with the Lannisters:Sandor: Fuck Joffrey! Fuck the Queen!
- Pet the Dog: It becomes exceedingly clear that he cares a lot about Sansa; despite being gruff to her, he treats her kindly, and even asks her to flee the city with him in "Blackwater". And then he offers to take Arya to the Freys to meet up with her mother and brother despite the fact that he knows Arya would rather kill him. Then he saves her at the Red Wedding, despite having no reason to do so.
- The Power of Hate: Septon Ray remarks that Sandor's wounds should have killed him several times over, and asks what kept Sandor alive. Sandor replies "hate."
- Pre-Mortem One-Liner: When he finds some of the men who murdered Septon Ray, he splits the last one's nutsack with an axe, then begins interrogating him. The man screams, "Fuck you!" Sandor replies, "Really? 'Fuck you?' That's your last words?" The man then stutters, "Cunt!" Sandor replies, "You're shit at dying, you know that?"
- Progressively Prettier: The makeup job becomes much less pronounced with each advancing season after 2, which coincides with his becoming a (marginally) more sympathetic character.
- Properly Paranoid: Being around Lannisters all the time, tends to have this effect.
- Punch Clock Villain: Looks like one. While he blatantly admits that he loves killing, he's also completely obedient to whoever he's serving and has a soft spot for Sansa, showing her small kindnesses wherever he can. He also stood up to his brother's attempt to kill Loras. He's also rather decent to Arya, who tried to kill him on at least two occasions.
- Rage Helm: His helmet looks like a snarling dog.
- Reformed, but Not Tamed: He's a better person after his near-death experience, but it hasn't softened him up very much. He even considers Beric and company "a bunch of Nancys" because they won't let him execute the outlaws who massacred his village with his axe.
- He didn't deride them as weak because they wouldn't let him execute them - they were going to execute them - he jeered at them for not letting him torture them a bit first.
- Retired Badass: He looks to be at peace with Septon Ray and his followers, and seriously considers just giving up his hate and living a normal life. The Brotherhood Without Banners derails that, though.
- The Rival: He and Bronn have a lot in common, as he points out. He'd also rather like to rip Bronn's head off for no other reason than Bronn working for Tyrion and being a bit grating on the nerves.
- Roaring Rampage of Revenge: He finds himself forced to help Arya carry out her own on Frey soldiers after the Red Wedding. In season 6, after the massacre of the smallfolk building the sept and Brother Ray's hanging, Sandor resolves to go on one of these against renegades of the Brotherhood Without Banners.
- Scarily Competent Tracker: They call him "The Hound" for a reason. He's an expert at locating and tracking people. He's even able to find and rescue Sansa in the middle of a riot in King's landing.
- Screw This, I'm Outta Here!:
- At the Battle of Blackwater.
- DVD extras for Season 2 show that this was actually the reason he served the Lannisters more directly in the first place; the day his father died and Gregor took over their family keep, he got the hell out of there and rode to Casterly Rock.
- Shell-Shocked Veteran: Even if he wasn't this before, the Battle of the Blackwater (specifically the Blackwater being on fire) really screwed him up.
- Sir Swears-a-Lot: Few characters on the show swear more than he does. "Fuck the King" or some variation thereof is practically his Catch Phrase.
- Sitcom Archnemesis: To Tyrion. But considering the nastiness of the Lannister faction as a whole, it also resembles an Odd Friendship, especially in regards to protecting Sansa and being annoyed at Joffrey. And as of Series 3, he's shaping up to be this to Arya.
- The Snark Knight: Has a fatalistic view of the world, expressed through either complaints or snarky zings.
- The Stoic: The most emotion you get out of Sandor comes from brief flickers of expression on his face.
- Submissive Badass: Subverted. Joffrey would certainly like him to be this and he plays the part for a decent amount of time. Up until his cluster, precision, awessauce hybrid desertion at the Blackwater.
- That Man Is Dead: While Sandor Clegane may have survived the fight and the fall at the end of Season 4, Brienne killed "the Hound". Until the Brotherhood unintentionally resurrected it.
- Think Nothing of It: He refuses to be thanked or complimented for saving Sansa.
- Took a Level in Kindness: When returing in Season 6 he's still pretty cynical but is less of a Jerkass and tries to leave his past behind him to lead a normal life. Even when he returns to being "the Hound" while he's partly motivated by revenge he's also at least partly motivated to avenge the innocents he was living among, pushing him more in an Anti-Hero direction than before.
- Trademark Favorite Food: Sandor has a memetic love of chicken.
- Tragic Villain: As he tells Arya, Sandor has no one who loves him, with his only living family being his Ax-Crazy psychopath of a brother who burned half of Sandor's face off when they were children, and whom Sandor despises. The Hound is by no standard a nice person, but he's led a horrible life.
- Tranquil Fury: A particularly brutal example. Sandor rarely shows any emotion while slaughtering people. When he rescues Sansa from would-be rapists he does so with a grim, emotionless expression while ruthlessly gutting the rioters.
- Two-Faced: One half of his face was horribly burned by Gregor.
- Troll: Deliberately goads Polliver into attacking him after Polliver boasts about being able to rape and murder with impunity under his brother's command. (And for offering him food in exchange for raping Arya.)
- Unscrupulous Hero: Even at his least villainous, Sandor has no qualms with ruthless actions that benefit himself.
- Walking Spoiler: Brienne didn't kill him, and he returns in Season 6.
- Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Due to how he got his own burns, he is uncharacteristically unnerved by the sight of wildfire during "Blackwater". Visibly shaken he then threatens the man leading the fire arrow volleys that he'll strangle him with his own entrails should any land near him. The final straw however is when he sees a man burning alive charging toward him. It causes him to freeze up, quit from the battlefield and demand a strong drink. Probably also the reason why, when its demanded to return to the defense, he tells the Kingsguard and Joffrey to go fuck themselves.
- He does deal with it considerably better in Season 3 when Beric Dondarrion attacks him with a flaming sword- he even wins the duel!
- Worf Had the Flu: He gets bitten near the end of season 4 and the wound festers because he won't let Arya cauterize it. Arya points out that Sandor got a lot slower because of it and he's clearly not at his best when he fights Brienne.
- Would Hit a Girl: In "Blackwater", Sandor notes that he has put several women in the ground, and that Bronn has, too. In "The Children" he fights Brienne and doesn't pull any punches at all, even going far enough to kick her in the lady parts.
- Would Hurt a Child: Killed Mycah the Butcher's Boy when Joffrey commanded it. When he learns Arya did the deed that Mycah was accused of, he says he should have killed her.
- He also punches Arya in the face at once point while she's Water Dancing, knocking her to the floor and giving her a split lip.
- Would You Like to Hear How They Died?: After his rather impressive battle with Brienne of Tarth in the Season 4 finale; he tries to pull this on Arya, so that she would give him a quick death, by commenting on what he did to her friend Mycah the butcher's boy and talking of how he should have raped Sansa. It doesn't work at all, and he is left screaming for Arya to come and kill him.
Clegane retainers and household
Played By: Anthony MorrisA torturer and interrogator serving under "The Mountain".
- Asshole Victim: The Tickler is a ruthless sadist who tortures people to death in a particularly horrible way. His death doesn't exactly incur sympathy.
- Catch Phrase: "Where's the Brotherhood? Is there gold hidden in the village? Jewels?"
- Death by Adaptation: Type 2. He takes the place of Chiswyck, a man-at-arms sworn to the Mountain.
- For the Evulz: After he gets a prisoner to confess, he has the torture continue just to kill the man. The Tickler's set of four questions never changes, nor does his non-chalant way of asking them. It looks more like he is playing a creepy killing ritual than trying to obtain information at all.
- Icy Blue Eyes: He has them.
- In Universe Nickname: His real name isn't known, just 'Tickler'.
- Neck Snap: On Arya's orders, Jaqen snaps his neck.
- Only Known by Their Nickname: It's enough for Jaqen H'ghar, however.
- The Nondescript: He has a totally average, unremarkable appearance and carries out his horrible actions with casual nonchalance.
- The Snack Is More Interesting: He calmly eats a pear while supervising people being tortured to death. Appropriately, after Jaqen kills him, Jaqen is seen standing casually with a pear in hand.
- Soft-Spoken Sadist: He never raises his voice while conducting his interrogations.
- Torture Technician: His job under Gregor. With the help of Weasel, he asks a series of standard questions while torturing someone to death...with rats.
Played By: Paul KealynThe Tickler's torture assistant.
- Beard of Evil: He's bearded, and considering he's a sadistic Torture Technician, he's evil.
- Composite Character: Includes some traits of some of the Mountain's men.
- Demoted to Extra: In the books 'Weese' is the steward of Harrenhal with a more prominent role while 'Weasel' is actually a little girl whom Yoren finds in a burnt out holdfast. After she runs off when the party are captured, Arya adopts the moniker as a cover.
- Smug Smiler: Weasel constantly wears a sadistic smirk.
- Torture Technician: Or rather, assistant to the Torture Technician but he's the one who implements the Tickler's instructions.