The first episode of Game of Thrones Season 7 caught up with Sandor Clegane, a.k.a. the Hound, as he travelled with Beric Dondarrion, Thoros of Myr, and the rest of the Brotherhood Without Banners. After they stopped in a small house for shelter, something happened that had fans taking notice. A scene in which the Hound was counseled by Thoros to look into open flames seemed like it could be deeply significant. Some even thought it could support a certain fan theory about the identity of the Prince That Was Promised. So, with that in mind: is the Hound Azor Ahai on Game of Thrones?
If you need a reminder about just who Azor Ahai is (so many names on this show, so little time), then look no further. Azor Ahai was a warrior back in the old, old, old days of Westeros who forged a flaming sword called Lightbringer and gave it power by plunging it through the heart of his wife Nissa Nissa. He then used Lightbringer to beat back the encroaching darkness. Many have come to believe that Azor Ahai will return, but it's hard to determine just who will be that promised hero reincarnated. Is there a chance that it could be the Hound?
Anything's possible, but the evidence for this theory is relatively thin. Many fans focus on the fact that the Hound was terrified of fire after being burned by his brother as a child, so if he ended up wielding a flaming sword then the narrative would come full circle. He could fit with some of the more generic Azor Ahai clues: the Prince That Was Promised was allegedly born "amidst salt and smoke," and Sandor's "rebirth" as the Hound after being burned could allude to that. The Hound has certainly metaphorically been reborn more than once. Some believe he will kill his brother Gregor Clegane, which could fulfill the same function as the sacrifice of Nissa Nissa. But Azor Ahai supposedly has a connection with dragons that the Hound lacks, and as far as anyone knows he wasn't born under a bleeding star like Azor Ahai either.
But both Beric and Thoros seemed convinced that the Lord of Light had some kind of plan for the Hound. What the Hound saw in the fire definitely seemed intriguing, but didn't necessarily support the idea of him being Azor Ahai. Though what he described sounded far from pleasant, the Hound almost seemed to smile as he looked into the flames. He said he saw a castle where the Wall met the sea; there was also a mountain there that looked like an arrowhead. Finally, he spoke of thousands of the dead walking past — presumably an army of White Walkers.
The castle by the Wall and the sea appeared to be a reference to Eastwatch-by-the-Sea, the same place that Jon mentioned to Tormund earlier in the episode. Several hints about that location in one episode indicate that it will be important later in the season, but doesn't necessarily have anything to do with Azor Ahai. At the end of the day, staring into some flames does not Azor Ahai make. The show could surprise everyone by going there with the Hound, but right now there just isn't enough evidence to give this theory real weight.