Alright, Game of Thrones fans, you may want to sit down for this. As the debut of Season 6 gets closer and closer, cast and crew have become increasingly tightlipped about what's in store. But, even so, speculation is rampant. British actor Ian McShane spoke recently — and vaguely — about his new role on the show, but even more importantly he may have dropped a major spoiler. In short, Ian McShane hinted that one Game of Thrones character might return: The Hound!
The last time fans saw The Hound he was incapacitated and bleeding out on a deserted mountainside. His captive-turned-friend-turned-enemy, Arya Starck, left him there to die after an intense sword battle. But, importantly, that death is not shown on screen.
So did it really happen? Perhaps not. When Entertainment Weekly first announced that McShane had been cast, it was supposed that he would play Randyll Tarly, Sam's dad, or perhaps Euron Greyjoy. Those roles have since been filled by other actors. So, where does that leave McShane? Originally, the only clue was that McShane was given a “relatively small amount of screen-time during the season, yet his character is of key importance." Since then, he appeared on BBC Breakfast, a popular British talk show, and managed to give away more key clues, despite saying that he "can't talk about" the show.
Of his character, McShane said he's "like an ex-warrior who's become a peacenik." He also said, and this is the big one, "I bring back a much-loved character who everybody thinks is dead." Fans' first thought may be Jon Snow, yet there's a theory, dubbed "The Gravedigger Theory" that's gaining some real traction among Game of Thrones aficionados. In this theory, Sandor Clegane, aka The Hound, is not dead at all. At the doorstep of death, he was found and nursed back to health by an enigmatic man called the Elder Brother. The Elder Brother used to be knight who fought for House Targaryen during Robert’s Rebellion. But, after seeing so much bloodshed, he turned away from that life, took a vow of silence, and spent many years a part of a peaceful, yet strict, religious sect on Quiet Isle. All this is pieced together from clues in the book series, as well as McShane's own hints about the nature of his role.
Importantly, Season 6 is venturing into uncharted territory not yet laid out in the novels, so any sort of twists and turns in the upcoming season may be very hard to predict. To get the full rundown on the "Gravedigger Theory," which supposes that The Hound has been healed and rehabilitated by this sect, watch the video below.
Though it seems tenuous at first, this theory makes a lot of sense. Why else would Arya Starck leave The Hound alive when she could have so easily killed him? Surely his role in this saga isn't over yet.