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Characters / A Song of Ice and Fire - House Clegane

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This is a listing of members of House Clegane who appear in A Song of Ice and Fire.

For the main character index, see here

For the main Westerlands entry, see here

House Clegane of Clegane's Keep

A relatively new knightly house created by Lord Tytos Lannister after his kennelmaster lost a leg and three dogs saving him from a lioness. In reward, the kennelmaster was granted a keep and his son taken as a squire. Two generations later, House Clegane gives Lord Tywin Lannister two of his best and most ferocious killers: Gregor and Sandor Clegane. Their sigil is three dogs on a golden field. Sandor and Gregor are the only living members at the beginning of the series; it is strongly implied that Gregor killed the rest of the family, his father and sister at the very least.

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    House Clegane 
  • Animal Motifs: Dogs
  • Badass Family: The only two surviving members of House Clegane at the start of book one consist of the eight foot tall and freakishly strong Ser Gregor Clegane, and the not quite as large or strong but far more sympathetic Sandor Clegane. Their grandfather himself was also pretty badass for such a minor character, being a kennelmaster who bodily put himself in the path of a lioness to save his liege lord, with only his dogs to defend himself.
  • Bad Guys Do the Dirty Work: For House Lannister. Which tells you just how dirty the work can get.
  • The Berserker: They are well-known for their unmatched ferocity in battle.
  • Bling of War: Nope. Cleganes generally go for quality and utility over bling — the closest they come to it is Sandor's snarling hound helm and the stone fist punching out the top of Gregor's helm, and both helmets still place practicality first, even if they are sculpted (in melee fights, it can be of some help when your allies know who you are, as well as when your enemies' knees turn to water dreading that you are coming for them as you do). Additionally, by action and word, both Gregor and Sandor make their opinions on the topic of overly fancy, useless armour very, very clear.
    • Played completely straight when Gregor is transformed into Ser Robert Strong, receiving an expensive and pristine white suit of armor emblematic of the Faith of the Seven. Yup, he's screaming inside.
  • Blood Knight: They are the bloodiest you are likely to find in this entire series, even if one of them despises knights.
  • The Brute: Both Cleganes are used in this capacity by the Lannisters against their foes.
  • Cain and Abel: Oh, my, but do the Clegane brothers want to kill each other. It's more like Cain+ and Cain-lite: the original "Abel" (Sandor) wants to turn Cain in order to get back at Cain+ (Gregor) and turn him into an Abel for multiple family murders and one attempted one.
  • Conditioned to Accept Horror: Both Sandor and Gregor were specifically trained to be attack dogs for House Lannister. It worked. Perhaps too well: neither are what you'd call well-adjusted individuals — and, both manage to complicate Lannister plots in their own ways thanks to their background.
  • Crippling Overspecialization: They are incredibly effective murder machines like few others. However, their Training from Hell, quite literally Spartan, childhood left both Clegane brothers functionally incapable of behaving normally outside a warzone. To the point that neither of them have legitimate children to pass the family titles or holdings on to.
  • The Determinator: In terms of combat and survival, Gregor and Sandor rarely lose. Even when the odds are against them and they should be half-dead, they still fight their way to victory. Not that it does them much good.
  • Dumb Muscle: The two brothers are often generalized by the rest of Westeros as two imbecilic monsters who are totally irredeemable. They're half-right. And, even then... Gregor can be very canny in a fight, so underestimating his tactical ability is generally a Very Bad Idea. You really don't have to be in Mensa to know how to fight cleverly — training your instincts works.
  • Dysfunction Junction: So very dysfunctional. With a mix of enough battlefield trauma for a squad of PTSD suffers, personality "quirks", horrendous childhoods, terrible working conditions and so much more, you strain to find the word "family" hidden in their relationships with other Cleganes. Or, "relationship" regarding their interactions with most other people, even.
  • Faster Than They Look: Both Gregor and Sandor are faster than men of their size and build have any right to be, and as a result Bronn and Jaime have noted that it makes them lethal opponents. The Red Viper finds this out first hand at the cost of his life.
  • Hate Sink: Due to the brothers' reputations as Elite Mooks who have ruined countless lives and Westerosi people's tendencies to condemn whole families for the actions of individual members, House Clegane has become this.
    • It is not entirely warranted, since Gregor is the extraordinarily savage member who has killed (in the case of his father and sister) or corrupted (in the case of his brother, Sandor) every decent member of his family. The original Clegane also lost a leg to save the life of Lord Tytos Lannister from a lioness, so he couldn't have been all bad though. Interestingly, Gregor is this for Sandor. It's strongly implied Sandor needs Gregor around so he can have something to focus his life around and hatred upon.
  • Jerkass: Neither of the Cleganes we meet could ever be mistaken for nice guys. The Mountain is an inhuman, raging homicidal maniac, and The Hound is a quarrelsome, mean-spirited outcast.
  • Knight of Cerebus: Expect things to get deadly serious whenever The Mountain or the Hound show up. Especially The Mountain.
  • Large and in Charge: Have become warriors and commanders of some prominence on the side of the Lannisters. At near eight feet tall, Ser Gregor is the biggest man in Westeros (and possibly the entire world), and his younger brother Sandor, while not near his size, is still around 6'7".
  • Lightning Bruiser: Both Sandor and Gregor.
  • Made of Iron: The two Cleganes in-universe are very tough and very hard to kill.
  • Nouveau Riche: The founder of the family went from kennelmaster to knight just two generations ago. Not bad.
  • Pet Rat: House Lannister uses the Cleganes to do that which is dirtier and more violent than even they wish to be too directly associated with. And, that says a lot. They even get to carry the can, lucky devils.
  • The Red Baron: Gregor Clegane is called "The Mountain" or "The Mountain That Rides." His brother Sandor is called "The Hound."
  • Right-Hand Attack Dog: Their sigil evokes this. And they serve in this capacity to House Lannister.
  • Unskilled, but Strong: Averted. Beyond the incredible strength that both of them possess, they are each among the most skilled fighters on the entire continent. Anyone who thinks otherwise does so at their own risk.

    Ser Gregor Clegane 

Ser Gregor Clegane

The Mountain that Rides
"Elia of Dorne. I killed her screaming whelp. Then I raped her. Then I smashed her fucking head in. Like this." *CRUNCH*

Called "The Mountain That Rides," Ser Gregor Clegane is the biggest man in Westeros. Apart from his freakish size, he is feared for his cruelty and unstoppable force on the battlefield. His most famous deed was smashing the baby Aegon's head apart against a wall and then raping his mother Princess Elia with the infant's brains still covering him before killing her. As the older brother to Sandor Clegane, he's responsible not only for Sandor's horrific burn scars, but also for the murder of their little sister and miserable childhood that made the Hound such a brutal and cynical man. He is a monster even among others, and his overlord Tywin Lannister often uses him as a scourge and enforcer to spread terror.

  • Ambiguous Disorder: He is almost impossibly huge and Qyburn observes he often has splitting headaches and difficulty sleeping, requiring huge amounts of Milk of the Poppy to deal with said headaches and then sleep. This may hint he suffers from Acromegaly, a genetic disorder that causes the body to keep manufacturing growth hormones until way past the point it is supposed to, thus making the sufferer a giant of sorts (and eventually killing them). Sufferers from the disorder often have splitting headaches like the Mountain is described to have.
  • Artistic License – Biology: From a biological standpoint, someone like Gregor should make for a terrible warrior. His insanely large size should render him far more susceptible to crippling injuries. What's more, he seems to shrug off most physical attacks and it's implied he would have recovered from his fight with Oberyn Martell, despite being repeatedly stabbed in the joints, if he hadn't been poisoned. Also, if he really does have some extreme case of gigantism then he should suffer from decreased sex drive or outright impotence, but there's rarely a time when he isn't in the mood to rape and kill whatever poor woman who's unfortunate enough to be around him. In other words, this is another reason why Gregor is a monster, since, like most monsters, someone as terrifying as him shouldn't exist.
  • Asshole Victim: His fate at the hands of Oberyn Martell was absolutely horrific, but considering who Gregor is, it's not like he didn't earn it and then some.
    Doran Martell: If ever a man deserved to die screaming, it was Gregor Clegane.
  • Autocannibalism: What he does to Vargo Hoat. Gregor entertains himself by cutting off his victim's limbs and feeding them to him.
  • Ax-Crazy: Highly unstable with a violent temper, Gregor is prone to flying into murderous rages at the slightest provocation. For example, in his second appearance, he is unhorsed by Ser Loras Tyrell in a joust, and after getting up he immediately grabs his sword, beheads his own horse, and then attacks Ser Loras.
  • Back from the Dead: It is heavily hinted that he is the newest member of the Kingsguard, "Ser Robert Strong". Who is eight feet tall and has conveniently taken a vow of silence until all of King Tommen's enemies are dead.
  • Badass Beard: And is one the strongest men in Westeros — well THE strongest to suit the badass part.
  • Badass Boast: His almost last words, before his final fight.
    Oberyn: Have they told you who I am?
    Gregor: Some dead man.
  • Bad Boss: He killed one of his own men for snoring too loudly. This tidbit is rather telling as well:
  • Beard of Evil: The few times his face is seen a beard is mentioned.
  • Berserk Button: He can find just about any reason to kill people, but he's primarily set off when he is either antagonized or annoyed. Which is why his duel with Oberyn Martell is so frustrating for him, on top of the fact that he can't land a single hit on the guy.
  • The Berserker: Although he uses heavy armor his approach in battle is this.
  • Big Brother Bully: Oh yeah. When he was twelve, he shoved his little brother Sandor's face into a fire for playing with his toys, causing his lifelong facial scars. The family also had an unnamed younger sister who Gregor is rumored to have murdered (technically nothing is confirmed, but we definitely wouldn't put it past him).
  • Big "SHUT UP!": During his duel with Oberyn Martell he's rather swiftly reduced to screaming at him to shut up.
  • Black Knight: A sodding big and very loomingly effective one, too. And, black in a number of ways, to boot.
  • Blood Knight: Subverted-he enjoys fighting, but mainly the "hurting" and "killing" parts. While a traditional Blood Knight would relish the opportunity to fight equal opponents, he prefers those who don't fight back and gets annoyed at equal opponents.
  • The Bluebeard: Is know to have married at least two times. Both wives have died under "mysterious circumstances". Other women are said to mysteriously disappear around his keep when he is in situ. It's not exactly hard to figure out what is going on, given Gregor's track record when out "foraging".
  • Body Horror: Courtesy of Oberyn Martell and Qyburn.
  • The Brute: He does nothing but fight for the Lannisters because he's just that good at it.
  • The Bully: While his brother enjoys the fight in itself, Gregor only cares for fighting so he gets to hurt and kill other people. He mainly goes after people who can't defend themselves against him, and those who can only make him angrier than he already is. Unlike most bullies though he's no Dirty Coward, which just makes him more dangerous.
  • But for Me, It Was Tuesday: Doesn't remember his victim when Oberyn Martell accuses him of murdering his sister. Given Gregor's propensity for murder and rape, falling into this trope would be understandable, except that it's rather unlikely, since the woman in question was Princess Elia of Dorne, the wife of the former heir to all of Westeros, and her husband was the one who knighted him.
    • Subverted, he actually does remember killing Elia. He was just taunting Oberyn before killing him.
  • Cain and Abel: Gregor and Sandor. The fact that Sandor, a murderer and (attempted) rapist (maybe) who could easily qualify as the Big Bad in any other story, is the Abel of this relationship tells you something about just how bad Gregor is. He's also suspected of murdering his sister.
  • Cold-Blooded Torture: He's quite fond of this, sometimes because he wants information, but as often as not because he just enjoys hurting people.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: Inflicts many of these to his victims. Gregor's poisoning at the hands of The Red Viper. The venom had eaten a hole in his side the size of a fist and his constant screams of agony kept the entire Red Keep awake. Qyburn surmises it was a poison likely enhanced by magic to prolong the victim's suffering. After days of lingering in pure agony Gregor was then handed over to Qyburn, who brutally experimented on him until he finally expired.
  • Decapitation Presentation: His skull is sent to Dorne as proof that the killer of Elia and Oberyn is dead. Considering it's strongly implied he's Back from the Dead, it's ambiguous whether it was really his skull or if he's currently without a head.
  • Deconstructed Character Archetype: Of the Giant Mook: As a result of his gigantism, he suffers constant pain and migraines.
  • Dramatic Irony: Prince Rhaegar knighted the man who ended up killing his wife and son.
  • The Dreaded: Lampshaded by Lord Tywin. "No knight is more feared by our enemies."
  • Dumb Muscle: He doesn't talk too much so the reader doesn't get to see this but Jamie's POV has him thinking of Gregor as quite unintelligent. See Stupid Evil as well. At one point, he flat out blurts out his most notorious crime to countless onlookers. Granted, given he'd been impaled by his victim's brother, he likely wasn't in the most stable frame of mind. Even on a good day he is downing milk of the poppy to lessen his migraines, which impairs his mental faculties.
  • Evil Is Bigger: He's quite probably the biggest man in Westeros, and possibly the entire world, and one of the most depraved. A lot bigger than his Anti-Villain brother, who himself is a huge man by normal standards.
  • Evil vs. Evil: His campaign against the Brave Companions.
  • Eviler Than Thou: He's bad enough that a face-off against Smug Snake Oberyn "The Red Viper" Martell leaves the guy who has a snake theme and likes to use poisoned weapons looking like a Lovable Sex Maniac in comparison.
  • Face Palm Of Doom: How he kills Oberyn Martell, and beforehand how he killed Elia of Dorne.
  • Fan Nick Name: "The Mountain That Rapes". Guess why.
  • Foil: He and Hodor are both ginormous, incredibly strong and a little lacking in long term planning. Both may have Gaint lurking in their genes... But, it's Hodor who takes after the herbivorous, slow to anger, determined big guys we get to meet North of the Wall. Gregor is definitely more along the mythological, bloodthirsty, fee-fi-fo-fum kind.
  • Feel No Pain: He doesn't feel blows the way a normal man does, probably because of his ridiculously thick armor as well as all the poppy milk he drinks.
  • For the Evulz: Gregor takes a sick pleasure in the rape, torture and slaughter of innocents, with looting as an afterthought. This is called "foraging" in polite conversation.
  • Freudian Excuse: Suffers constant painful migranes as a result of what may be gigantism or acromegaly - and in the latter case, he may have a brain tumor. While it doesn't excuse his actions, it does go to explain why he's such a violent psychopath—it's the closest outlet he has for his migraines. His father covering up can't have helped.
  • Frontline General: From what we have seen, Gregor prefers a more hands-on approach to warfare and since he is a full plated giant who can destroy a line with one swing it is the best approach for him. During the Battle of the Green Fork, he is given command of the vanguard. He is the first to reach the enemy lines.
    "Any man runs, I'll cut him down myself," he was roaring when he caught sight of Tyrion. "Imp! Take the left. Hold the river, if you can!"
  • Functional Addict: He appears to be addicted to Milk of the Poppy (basically opium) which he takes to deal with his constant migraines. It doesn't impair his abilities to any visible degree. It doesn't even seem to work.
  • Guttural Growler: Gregor is described as having a voice like breaking stone.
  • Hair-Trigger Temper: Gregor has serious anger issues, likely stemming from his endless headaches.
  • Hidden Depths: He is much more intelligent than what The Brute trope encompasses. He is not only tremendous on one-to-one combat, he is a capable front-line commander. Gregor also displays frightening savvy in his sadism: when he desires to, he can be ridiculously talented at inflicting pain on others.
  • Hero Killer: Whenever he shows up, things get serious. He's a vicious warrior and many who cross him will end up dead or on the run.
  • I Lied: When having prisoners tortured to death for information, one woman volunteers to be tortured on the condition that her daughter be spared. The next day, Gregor has the daughter tortured too, just to make sure the woman didn't leave anything out.
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: A variation. Oberyn Martell uses an infantry spear against him and impales him many times, but that is technically not what finishes him off, despite the spear driven right through the breastplate. The poison from the end of the lance is what does it, and it's a very long and drawn out process. It might even have been possible that without the poison or prior, weakening injuries, he might have won the fight and survived, even without Oberyn's arrogance.
  • Implacable Man: For years he is infamous for being Tywin's indestructible knight who can kill anyone. However, Gregor ends up being Hoist by His Own Petard when he is critically wounded and poisoned in a duel with Oberyn Martell, suffering unimaginable agony for weeks due to his physical resilience keeping him from dying. The trope seems to be played completely straight now that he is implied to be Qyburn's monstrous super-knight, Ser Robert Strong.
  • Immune to Drugs: It is mentioned that he regularly took Milk of the Poppy to deal with migraine headaches, which made it less effective when Qyburn was treating him after he got poisoned by Oberyn Martell.
  • Jerkass: A volatile, angry sadistic knight.
  • Karmic Death: His slow and horrific death at the hands of Oberyn Martell's poisoned spear was a fitting end for a monster who had done nothing but spread unspeakable misery, fear and death his entire life.
    Doran Martell: If ever a man deserved to die screaming, it was Gregor Clegane.
  • Kick the Son of a Bitch: He murders Vargo Hoat by feeding him to himself. Gregor is far from a better person—he might even be worse—but it's still satisfying to read about.
  • Kinslaying Is a Special Kind of Evil: Gregor is established as a nasty customer early on by Littlefinger revealing he tried to kill his brother Sandor by shoving him in the fireplace, all over him playing with his favorite toy. It's also implied he killed him sister and father.
  • Losing Your Head: By all appearances happened to him posthumously, as his skull was gifted to the Martells as an apology for Elia and Oberyn. It is also implied to be the reason, why Ser Robert Strong (who is strongly implied to be Gregor's reanimated corpse) wears a face-hiding helmet and has taken a vow of silence; it is to prevent people from discovering that he has no head, and, of course, having no head makes it rather difficult to speak.
  • Made of Iron: Due to a combination of factors. His incredible size and strength make him naturally resistant to injury, and Bronn notes that he doesn't seem to feel blows like a normal man does, due perhaps to being in constant pain already (migraine headaches possibly resulting from his immense size), and constantly downing Milk of the Poppy to dull his pain. More than that, he wears the thickest, heaviest set of full plate mail in the series, with extra layers of chainmail and boiled leather below that. All these factors make Ser Gregor remarkably difficult to injure.
  • Mighty Glacier: Fits somewhere between this and Lightning Bruiser. Bronn comments that Gregor was "never fast", but admits he is faster than someone his size ought to be, and with his One-Hit Kill abilities, extreme speed is considered unnecessary for him.
  • Mutual Kill: Him vs. Oberyn Martell. Oberyn possibly gets the better half of it, dying more or less instantly, while Gregor's death takes a while and is excruciating the entire time.
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast: A man called "The Mountain That Rides" is unlikely to be a peaceful man.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: His imposing appearance, solitary lifestyle and Would Hurt a Child tendencies are reminding of French knight Gilles de Rais.
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: Has gained quite an infamous reputation for delivering these to his enemies. One punch from him can disfigure someone for life and two is a kill.
  • Not So Stoic: When his Hair-Trigger Temper is set off. Then you get a glimpse of why he is the most feared knight in Westeros.
  • Offing the Annoyance: According to his brother, he killed one of his own men for snoring too loudly. Later, in a possibly non-lethal but still horrifying example, on the way back from a lost tournament he's annoyed by the owner of an alehouse, who first fawns over having a knight at his establishment and then complains about Ser Gregor's men mistreating his thirteen-year-old daughter. His response is to lead his men in gang-raping said thirteen-year-old daughter.
  • One-Handed Zweihänder: Gregor is an eight-foot slab of muscle and can easily swing a sword meant to be used in two hands by a normal-sized man with one hand, which frees him up to carry a shield in the other.
  • One-Hit Kill: You can attempt to fight him by outmaneuvering him, but if he gets one hit in... yeah, you're not going to recover from it.
  • One-Man Army: Best shown during a battle in "A Game of Thrones". With a series of other knights, Clegane powers straight through the spears and crashes directly into the Karstark heavy infantry, probably killing four or five at least. Then, he rises completely unscathed while the other knights are dead, and then begins to wield his BFS with a single hand, smashing every enemy in the vicinity into oblivion with contemptuous ease.
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: Nobody is actually fooled for a minute when a mysteriously anonymous, eight-ish foot knight rampages anywhere. No amount of carefully generic helmet disguises who is under it.
  • Patricide: Heavily implied to have killed his father in a Hunting "Accident".
  • Pet the Dog: He spares the life of the cook who helped him and his men capture Harrenhal. Even Gregor can show gratitude every now and then. Who'd have thought?
    • Maybe Gregor has enough experience of the Tickler & Raff the Sweetling's cooking to decide that letting a trained cook live to serve him... for now was a Necessary Evil ?!!
  • Power Fist: His helmet is peaked by a fist punching toward the sky.
  • Psychopathic Manchild: He's... not good at sharing his toys.
  • Pyrrhic Victory: Him vs Oberyn. While he technically wins by crushing Oberyn's head in, he ends up horribly poisoned and either slowly dies or likely Came Back Wrong as Ser Robert Strong. That, and he reveals what he did to Elia Martell and her babe, which would've likely gotten the Lannisters to off him to appease Dorne had he survived.
  • The Quiet One: He's barely said anything onscreen but his character is well-established through his atrocities.
  • Rape Is a Special Kind of Evil: Referenced in-universe Conversational Troping to highlight how repellent he really is.
  • Red Baron: The Mountain That Rides.
  • Sadist: Pretty obviously one, considering his habits.
  • Scary Impractical Armor: Subverted for the most part — his armor is described as dull, plain, utilitarian steel lacking in any decoration or adornment... but the sheer size and weight of it, combined with the reputation of the man wearing it, make his appearance far more terrifying for those facing him than even the pointiest Spikes of Villainy could hope to be. Played straight, however, during the trial by combat; he wears so many layers of armor that, while he does indeed prove incredibly hard to injure, his skin is not gonna be able to breathe through all that clobber — in direct sunlight, too. Hence, Oberyn's Hit-and-Run Tactics tires Gregor faster, even if the Red Viper has to continuously move and precision aim for the joints and few openings.
  • Screaming Warrior: "He doesn't use words, he just roars like an animal, Tyrion thought."
  • Serial Killer: His implied murder of his father, his younger sister and his two wives. And members of his household. And numerous peasants. And many, many others. It's strongly implied he does this when not at war.
    • If not stopped, he would have probably killed his younger brother, who got off with "just" half his face being burned.
  • Serial Rapist: His penchant for raping women is what he's most known and reviled for.
  • Smarter Than You Look: While Gregor is Ax-Crazy and Stupid Evil in general, Tyrion notes with dismay that he is actually capable of fighting tactically when he wants, most notably when the sun breaks through the clouds in his duel with Oberyn and Gregor immediately moves to put the sun behind him and thus blind Oberyn. It doesn't work due to Oberyn's mirror-polished shield reflecting the light back into his face, but at least he made the effort.
  • The Sociopath: A very chilling example. Frequently rapes, tortures, and brutally murders people (including his own family) as casually as taking a piss, sometimes over petty slights that other characters can see in his eyes mean nothing to him as he's doing it. (Except when his Hair-Trigger Temper sets off.)
  • Sociopathic Soldier: He only fights for Tywin because it gives him more opportunities to hurt people. In fact, it's implied he is a Serial Killer when he's not waging war; when he's at home many members of his household tend to go missing. In war, he also tends to surround himself with other soldiers of this type.
  • The Stoic: Is normally very quiet, and seems almost incapable of expressing, or even feeling human emotion. Except during battle where he feels wrath.
  • Stupid Evil: One of Gregor's problems. He's a capable commander in the field owing to his viciousness, but when it comes to taking prisoners of value he fails to do so, often killing them instead of taking them as hostages. This is brought up a few times by both friend and foe... though, not to his face.
  • Super Strength: He's undoubtedly the most physically powerful "human" in the series, that doesn't rely on some form of magic. He can cave in a man's skull with a punch, wield a six foot long greatsword in one hand as though it were a dagger, and use it to cut men in plate mail in half. He's even broken pike lines on foot. The only people who may come close are people he's never met: Victarion Greyjoy (who has had his strength enhanced with magic) and Greatjon Umber.
    • Should be noted that though very strong none of them has demonstrated feats to put them in Gregor's league.
  • Taking You with Me: Gregor kills Oberyn before succumbing to poison shortly after.
  • Teens Are Monsters: He's been this way since at least his early teens.
  • Troubling Unchildlike Behavior: If nothing else, the fact that at the age of 12 he casually stuck his younger brother's head into a burning oven (for stealing a toy he didn't even want) and probably would have killed him had several adults not heard Sandor screaming and wrenched Gregor off him, probably should have tipped his father off to the fact that something was seriously wrong with him.
  • Ungrateful Bastard: As Sandor points out, Gregor had the great honor of being knighted by Rhaegar Targaryen. This still didn't stop him from later on brutally murdering Rhaegar's wife (whom he also raped) and son.
    • His father favored him over Sandor because he thought Gregor's fighting proficiency would make him a great knight, and actively covered up his maiming of Sandor and other sociopathic behavior so as not to hurt his chances. Gregor thanked his father for this preferential treatment by murdering him in a Hunting "Accident" so he could inherit the Clegane lands and money.
    • Averted with that cook who aided him in his capture of Harrenhal. See Pet the Dog.
  • Villain with Good Publicity: Why Sandor detests concepts of knighthood, honor and vows. Gregor was given a knighthood despite (oh, who are we kidding? because of) his Ax-Crazy Sociopathic Soldier tendencies. While rumors circulate of his atrocities in and out of war, since those just make him a more effective killer for the Lannisters, it makes him that much more untouchable.
    • Gregor's atrocities are still quite well known around the Seven Kingdoms, so it's more a case of noble privileges and the fact he is an effective henchman.
  • Why Won't You Die?: As previously mentioned, Gregor isn't so much a warrior as he is a state-sanctioned Serial Killer, and his attitude towards Oberyn Martell is less "At last, a worthy challenger!", and more "Stand still so I can murder you!".
  • World's Strongest Man: Word of God states he is "the true giant of the series". Among other examples, he wields a gigantic two-handed greatsword one-handed, and at one point is noted as waving it around "like it was a dagger." Jaime clarifies it further when he lists the strongest men he knows, and states that "the Mountain's strength is like nothing human."
  • Would Hit a Girl: More like: would kill a girl's children, then rape her, then smash her fucking head in, like this.
  • Would Hurt a Child: One of the things he's famous for is smashing the infant prince's head against the wall when storming King's Landing. That's arguably not even the worst thing he did that day.
  • You Didn't Ask: According to Tywin he murdered Elia not on his order but because he saw her. Tywin said he didn't even mentionned Elia.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Averted; Lord Tywin considers Tyrion's proposal to hand over Gregor in exchange for an alliance with Dorne, but concludes that his role as The Dreaded makes him too useful to get rid of. At least until Gregor kills Oberyn Martell during their duel, leaving Tywin with no choice but to execute him to smooth over relations with Dorne. At least, he would have if Oberyn hadn't poisoned Gregor during their duel. As it was, Tywin tried and failed to have Gregor healed only so he could be killed at a proper execution.

    Sandor Clegane 

Sandor Clegane

The Hound
"Here's a brave man, baring steel on an unarmed captive. Untie me, why don't you? We'll see how brave you are then."

Called "The Hound," Sandor is the younger brother of Ser Gregor Clegane and the fiercely loyal bodyguard of Prince Joffrey. He is a badass but hideously scarred warrior with a brutally cynical attitude, and he hates his brother Gregor more than anything else. Built up in the first chapters as an unquestioningly obedient and sadistic enforcer of the Lannisters, he evolves into a very complex character. As of the end of the second book, he has ceased to work for Lannisters and has gone "rabid," wandering with no particular motive or allegiance. Despite his ugliness and callous behavior, he has deeply sympathetic traits. He currently has Unresolved Sexual Tension with Sansa.

  • The Alcoholic: In the first book, his second major appearance has his drunkenly leering at Sansa as he tells her how he was burned, and he even admits he drank too much wine. He later drinks himself stupid during the battle of the Blackwater after he witnesses the wildfire, and abandons his post. When he comes across Arya later, anytime they find themselves in a location where there is wine, he ends up getting drunk. It ends up getting him mortally wounded when he gets into a fight with some of his brother's men, and he's too drunk to fight properly.
  • Anti-Villain: He's done horrible things in his lifetime of service to the Lannisters, but unlike his brother he has the decency to acknowledge how horrible they are, and beneath his tough, jaded exterior he seems to feel some small measure of guilt over them. Furthermore, he absolutely loathes sadism done purely for its own sake.
  • Appropriated Appellation: Sandor is nicknamed "the Hound" and is often likened to a mad dog. Sandor gladly accepts this, and his helm is shaped like the head of a snarling dog. The sigil of House Clegane is three dogs on a yellow field, as his grandfather and his hunting dogs saved off his lord, and was knighted for it. It's also worth noting that "cynic", his main defining character trait, derives from the Greek word for "dog".
  • At Least I Admit It: Being a Professional Killer, that is.
    Sandor: 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... they're all meat, and I'm the butcher. Let them [knights] have their lands and their gods and their gold. Let them have their sers.
    Sansa: (later) You're awful.
    Sandor: I'm honest. It's the world that's awful.
  • The Atoner: If the gravedigger Brienne sees at the monastery is in fact him, he may be going in this direction as part of a possible Heel–Faith Turn. Beware all ye the power of the Morality Pet when branded "Stark" on the package.
  • An Axe to Grind: After going rogue, he carries a longaxe with him to use for killing and chopping firewood. At the Red Wedding, he uses the flat of it to knock out Arya so she won't run straight into the wedding hall and get herself killed.
  • Badass and Child Duo: Sandor and Arya.
  • Badass Boast: "Here's a brave man, baring steel on an unarmed captive. Untie me, why don't you? We'll see how brave you are then."
    • Also, "This cave may be dark, but I'm the terror here."
  • Beast and Beauty: Sandor is ugly, while Sansa is very pretty and growing to be one of Westeros' most beautiful women.
  • Berserk Button: He has a few distinct triggers, yes. In order, we have... 1) Don't call him ser or suggest in any other way (however oblique) that he's a knight with ideals. 2) Don't suggest he's at all like his brother. 3) Don't suggest the world is a nice or ordered place (heaven help you if you mention songs). 4) Don't hand him water when he wants wine or otherwise get between him and a drink. The good news is that you'll mostly only wind up with a rant, rather than losing a limb.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Gets a couple moments, a bit ironically considering his abhorrence of heroics. The first comes with his rescue of Loras Tyrell from Gregor; the second, his rescue of Sansa during the bread riots.
    • Don't forget how he saved Arya's life at the Red Wedding, despite herself.
  • Blood Knight: He invokes this himself by the way he describes fighting and his life. But, as it turns out, there's more to it — he really isn't the Blood Knight he was brought up to be, but a Knight In Sour Armor, instead. As in, "making grapefruit, lemon and aloe vera (hold the sugar) smoothies look sweet" levels of sour.
  • Bodyguard Crush: Seems to be reciprocal. Sandor obviously lusts after Sansa and displays apparent genuine affection for the "pretty little bird" in his tender actions towards her. Meanwhile Sansa is developing affection for him in turn.
  • Broken Pedestal: As a boy, Sandor was a lot like Sansa, believing in tales of knightly heroics and happy endings. And it's implied that he once looked up to Prince Rhaegar Targaryen, who in his time was the picture of chivalry. Needless to say, this all went down the drain when Rhaegar personally knighted Sandor's hated brother, Gregor, despite Gregor being nothing but an effective killer.
  • Brutal Honesty: About the Crapsack World. Comes with complimentary Lampshade Hanging and some blunt Captain Obvious moments. For when the obvious is escaping those who really should notice what is going down, but are choosing not to.
  • Cain and Abel: Gregor and Sandor. Even though Sandor is the more ugly one, Gregor is definitely the more evil one.
  • Cool Helmet: His most distinctive piece of equipment is a helmet shaped like a snarling dog. It's eventually stolen by the outlaw Rorge, which leads to Sandor getting blamed for several atrocities he didn't commit.
  • The Cynic: Yup. Why go for Mangsting over life, the universe and everything, when you can hit the sulfuric acid that is cynicism instead? In fact, Sandor very much approaches cynicism from a Straw Nihilist perspective for most of the books. However, he may have changed to something a little less bleak, if he is the gravedigger: still, most people would probably put money on him still being some form of cynic, though.
  • Cynical Mentor: To Arya, briefly.
  • Cynicism Catalyst: Gregor murdering their baby sister and burning half of Sandor's face off made the Hound a very cynical, violent man. Rhaegar Targaryen knighting Gregor soured Sandor on the whole idea of knighthood, hence why he never became a knight.
  • Death Equals Redemption: Of the Unexplained Recovery variety, maybe. It's too early to tell, but clues on the Quiet Isle indicate that his Near-Death Experience has set him up for some serious Character Development and that he's the limping gravedigger of the monastery. For one, he's living in a religious order when he previously disdained all gods, and there are definite parallels to be drawn between his situation and the Elder Brother's story about his own near-death moral awakening. The overall indication is that Sandor's on the path to becoming a more moral, less bloodthirsty person. Also fits with the lyrics of the hymn Sansa sang him in the second book and her prayer that the Mother find a way to soothe the fury in his soul.
  • Don't Call Me "Sir": Doesn't technically have the rank anyway, but he functions as a knight in everything but name, and as such, other knights and courtiers often address him as "ser". He hates it. Direct use of the trope name occurs when Sansa makes this mistake and he snaps, "Don't call me Ser." A result of his thuggish psycho brother being knighted — by Rhaegar Targaryen no less, regarded as the personification of a Knight in Shining Armor.
  • The Dreaded: Although not as dreaded as Gregor, it's noticeable that few people choose to take Sandor on or get seriously in his grill unless they're pretty sure he's handicapped or incapacitated in some way. There're good reasons for that, since his abilities and deeds are notorious.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: He is not his brother and refuses point blank to sink that low (he'll kill, he'll pillage, he gets conflicted about rape and you have to outright force him to burn anything — but, he very clearly won't go as far as Gregor does doing any of it, ever — and only really does what he does because it's his job to and he doesn't know how else to be). He outright despises a world which finds ways to remunerate and justify what that brute does — or what he does. Which shows that he does, indeed, have standards. Even when he breaks 'em being what he is.
  • Emotional Bruiser: In public he's very much The Stoic. In private...
  • Foil:
    • To Jaime Lannister. Both are great warriors, both wear animal shaped helmets and both are disillusioned by knighthood's lack of chivalry. (The difference being that, with his devil-may-care attitude, Ser Jaime doesn't mind buying into that hypocrisy, while the Hound absolutely refuses to be knighted.)
    • To Victarion Greyjoy. Both are among the best fighters in Westeros, but they are overshadowed by their elder brothers; they both serve as the main muscle in their immediate courts. They both follow a twisted code of honor and hold severe grievances against their older brothers. While they are great warriors, they both disdain the idea of knighthood (Victarion being an Ironborn, Clegane disdaining the office). They both betray their respective kings to seek their own ends.
  • Freudian Excuse: Most of his can be summed up in one word: Gregor. His brother is his yardstick for what not to be and his target of hatred for what he's done — to the point he finds it hard to define himself when he finds out Gregor is dead.
  • Good Scars, Evil Scars: Half his face is horribly burned, which makes him even more threatening.
  • Heroes Love Dogs: He has several he uses for hunting.
  • Inferred Survival: The general consensus among fans; see Left for Dead below.
  • Insistent Terminology: Repeatedly points out that he is not a knight. This is likely due to his brother gaining a knighthood at an early age, simply for being a murderous thug with a sword.
  • Jade-Colored Glasses: Oh, boy, does he sport a pair. And, is quite willing to try tinting other people's lenses. Particularly, but not exclusively, Sansa's.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Zig Zagged, averaging about to a Jerkass Psycho for Hire with standards and Morality Pets.
  • Kick the Dog: "He ran. But not very fast."
  • Last of His Kind: If Sandor is the limping gravedigger at Quiet Isle, then he's the sole surviving Clegane.
  • Knight In Sour Armor: His level of morality vacillates throughout the series, but during his more admirable moments he serves as this. However, he always is consistently (and bluntly) sour: no contest.
  • Left for Dead: A wound on Sandor's thigh festers, and he ends up too ill to stand. Instead of killing him as he begs, Arya just walks away. While others have taken his distinctive helmet and get in Brienne's way — she kills the outlaw Rorge who is disguised as "the Hound" — she also notes a large man with a limp digging graves at the monastery of Quiet Isle...
  • Legacy Character: Rorge steals his helm off his grave and begins committing atrocities while wearing it. Since nobody knows Sandor is dead everybody blames him for the razing of the Saltpans, although the people who actually knew them note that it isn't at all like him. After Rorge is killed Lem takes to wearing the helm, becoming the third Hound. Neither man actually tried to assume his identity: good helmets are just hard to come by.
  • Lovable Rogue: Well, no; Sandor is many jerkass things and Flynning definitely ain't his thing. Yet, at the same time, there's more yes here than can be easily ignored. Sandor is definitely a rogue with little respect for the status quo — he's a dab hand at pillaging, willingly breaks the rules that don't suit his sense of fairish play when they cross over his limits, he moves about to where none expect him to be with his charges, he ducks the fuzz (when not too drunk), he kills when words won't work and he calls any stuck-up spades a spade to their faces with observations so blunt, they cause emotional damage. Yet, he's not lovable, charming nor even unselfishly, winkingly naughty by any traditional yardstick of the trope. In this series, however, that is his genuine charm (for the reader — other characters don't see it); the openly smooth, generous and dashing charmers other characters can't help but like are generally far less sympathetic and loveable in practice than Sandor turns out to be. His is a brand of walking anti-charisma, self-loathing and issues that still somehow manages to put itself out for a very small few and also does a lot of the plot-work we've come to expect of this archetype while sticking two fingers up at it whenever a would-be Robin Hood crosses his path. It's... quite compelling. Which... kind of works? In a rogue-like, not-knight, not-sociopathic, but quite punk way? YMMV.
  • A Lighter Shade of Black: Sandor is a brutal warrior and not a pleasant person by almost every standard, but he does have a number of standards, sympathetic qualities and is implied to have a degree of remorse for his crimes. This is enough to almost make him look like a saint next to his virtually soulless older brother.
  • Lightning Bruiser: Jaime notes that what makes the Hound so dangerous is not only his immense strength and brutality, but the fact that he is far quicker than a man his size has any right to be.
  • Memetic Badass: In-universe. It helps that he's one of exactly four people to ever defeat the series' other Memetic Badass, Jaime.
  • Might Makes Right: Part of his cynical worldview.
    The Hound: 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.
  • Morality Pet: Has two — Sansa and Arya Stark.
  • Near-Rape Experience: The perpetrator. He gets so far as pinning Sansa down on the bed, knife at her throat. Later he admits, "I took the song, she never gave it. I meant to take her, too." The fact that he starts crying both during the near-rape and when later admitting to it suggests he has some mixed feelings about the whole affair.
  • Noble Demon: He's a savage warrior who revels in killing, but lacks the deliberate cruelty and sadism of his older brother, and his interactions with Sansa and Arya Stark shows a gentler side to him. Heck: he might be a battered "Professional Murderer" in Sour Armour, but... for those girls? He almost polishes it. In his own weird take on that: just... don't tell him he does it.
  • Not Worth Killing: Invoked against him by Arya when his wound from the fight at the inn leaves him feverish and dying. For all his talk about being honest about how cruel the world is, that doesn't justify the horrible things he's done and he ultimately doesn't deserve the gift of mercy.
  • Parental Substitute: Cersei believes this was what Joffrey was looking for in Sandor, since Robert wasn't so involved with him.
  • Percussive Therapy: After Robb and Catelyn Stark are killed at the Red Wedding, he's pissed that he doesn't have anyone to ransom Arya to, and takes out his frustrations on pieces of wood, "...hacking savagely at the tree or the deadfall or the broken limb until they had twenty times as much kindling as they'd needed".
  • Pet the Dog: Several moments. Most notable are preventing Sansa from killing herself when she considers it, rescuing Sansa from the rioting mob, saving Arya from certain death at the Red Wedding, attempting to build a fire when Arya is sick despite his intense fear of fire, and actually crying while he threatens Sansa (and when he recalls threatening Sansa).
    • He also seems on the way to approach Catelyn's death in a more gentle way, after seeing Arya's denial, but she cuts him short after a wolf dream.
      Sandor: This thing about your mother...
      Arya: It doesn't matter. I know she's dead. I saw her in a dream.
  • Professional Killer: Doesn't exactly hide what he is, does our Sandor, no. Nor, put a pretty set of armour on it and call it "ser".
  • Quit Your Whining: In his own way. After Arya witnesses the horrors of the Red Wedding, he keeps her from sinking completely into the Despair Event Horizon by waking her up every morning (not gently) and making her feed their horses.
  • Rage Helm: His helmet is forged in the shape of a snarling dog.
  • Red Baron: He's called "the Hound" in reference to both his family's coat of arms and his savage, unquestioning obedience.
  • Rule of Three: The Clegane sigil features three black dogs on a field of gold. While this is likely meant to represent either Gregor, Sandor and their father or the brothers and their unnamed sister, it becomes Fridge Brilliance later on when two other violent warriors, Rorge and Lem Lemoncloak, don the hound's head helm in addition to the helm's owner, Sandor. It's been noted in universe that the helm represents a bloody legacy that seems to continue with each person who wears it. As of AFFC there have now been three Hounds.
  • Sibling Yin-Yang: It's a grey and black Yin-yang, but "troubled and morally ambiguous" is still a diametric opposite of Gregor the mass-murdering rapist, who crossed the Moral Event Horizon at twelve.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: Deserts the Kingsguard during the Battle of the Blackwater.
  • Stalker with a Crush: He shows up an uncomfortable high number of times near Sansa, either to guard her or taunt her.
  • Stealth Hi/Bye: He spends half of A Clash of Kings doing this, mostly to Sansa, and once to Tyrion.
  • Straw Nihilist: Has a very cynical view of the world and considers concepts like honor and law pointless, as those concepts are decided by battle in the end.
  • The Only One Allowed to Defeat You: King Robert admits on his deathbed he was glad someone else told Sandor that Ned had sent forces out after his brother for this very reason. It was never confirmed, but the Hound indicated on several occasions that he was keen on the idea.
    • However the one time Sandor has the perfect excuse and opportunity (when Gregor goes Ax-Crazy on the Knight of the Flowers) he doesn't take it. For a possible reason, see Hate Sink.
  • Tsundere: A rare, Western and male example, but he is. Of the titanically, emotionally screwed-up variety. He's no stranger to his frustration and rage. Nor of lashing out and killing or maiming with it. But, that he could still find it in him to care about specific others? Pretty much knocked some very carefully built-up denial out from under him. Even though he could no more express how to care healthily than fly (neither Sansa nor Arya left unscathed by his worry over them — for all they both would have wound up in far worse places without him).
  • Two-Faced: Subverted; most characters assume his disfigured face is indicative of him being a monster, but while he's far from heroic he's not nearly as bad as his (unscarred) brother Gregor.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: A bunch of heroic Robin Hood-alikes capture him and accuse everyone associated with the Lannisters of being murdering scumbags. He calls bullshit on them. "Not So Different now, are we?"
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Afraid of fire ever since his brother burned his face. This is the impetus for his dereliction during the Battle of the Blackwater.


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