Before you read any further, be aware that potential spoilers about Game of Thrones season six are coming.
If you’re not fussed, then skip on over this lovely picture of Hodor.
So… it would appear that Sandor Clegane – AKA the Hound – has not necessarily eaten his last chicken.
As you’ll no doubt remember, Clegane was last seen in series four finale The Children, dying on a barren hill, wounded from his grand fight with Brienne of Tarth. Bereft of medical aid, Arya left him to his (apparent) end. Speaking afterwards, director Alex Graves told Entertainment Weekly that, “the Hound, as I told the story… he’s gone. How is he going to survive that?”
Well, according to Game of Thrones fan site Watchers on the Wall, actor Rory McCann has been spotted, “staying at a hotel in Belfast commonly used by HBO and Game of Thrones cast members during filming” for series six. Maybe he was just visiting his former cast mates, maybe he’s playing the role of a corpse in a funeral scene – but maybe (and far more interestingly) it means the Hound is still alive…
There is a popular fan theory based on the A Song of Ice and Fire books which could back this up. In George RR Martin’s original story, Brienne and the Hound do not fight. Instead, the Hound is hurt in a pub brawl, his wound becomes infected and he is left to die by Arya. In her search for the Stark girls, Brienne instead stumbles on a place called the Quiet Isle, a monastery for brothers of the Faith, and asks the Elder Brother about the Hound. He reveals that he actually came across him while he was dying and did his best to help (although he is vague about his fate). It’s then that Brienne spots a larger-than-average grave digger. His head and face are obscured, but Brienne notices that he is limping from what could be a healing leg wound – the exact type that the Hound sustained…
Extrapolating from this, the theory goes that the Hound – whether out of fealty or gratitude –- will end up as the Faith’s champion in Cersei Lannister’s Trial by Combat. This, of course, would put him up against his hated brother, the now resurrected Mountain, in a grand, final showdown. Which sounds pretty damn perfect to us.
Speaking of returning actors, Natalie Tena (Osha) and Art Parkinson (Rickon) have also been spotted in Belfast.
And, of course, Kit Harrington, the actor behind everyone’s favourite dead-but-obviously-not-dead character Jon Snow, has also been spied on location.
Game of Thrones series six is expected to return early next year. Which characters will follow suit remains to be seen…