Despite having every right to be hyped about Cleganebowl 2016 because of The Hound being so not dead and everything, Game of Thrones fans may need to dial it back on their excitement. I know, I know. But what if Cleganebowl doesn't happen? While having Sandor Clegane alive and well (and out of armor for the first time in, like, ever) is a serious relief, it still doesn't confirm anything for those jumping up and down for Cleganebowl. As seen in Sunday's episode of Game of Thrones, the Elder Brother, who The Hound had been following until now, was found dead, hanged among the slaughtered men, women, and children who'd been following him along with The Hound. And instead of turning Sandor into another killing machine, it may very well just give him the strength to get revenge and then carry on the Brother's message.
At the end of Episode 7, titled "The Broken Man", we see him come back from chopping wood to find everyone dead, obviously killed by the two riders who stole from them. Being the chill as Hell dude that he was, the Elder Brother had offered them spots alongside them, which they declined because they're bad guys and whatnot. When The Hound finds all of the men dead, along with a hanged Elder Brother, he's noticeably broken ("The Broken Man", right?) and grabs an axe to go and get all Hound-like. And who can blame him really, since fighting and bloodshed had been all he'd known since he was a kid?
But while some may be hyperventilating over the sheer hype of The Hound being alive for the Cleganebowl, what we're forgetting is that just because he seems to be out for revenge against these nobodies, it doesn't mean he's just going to forego everything the Elder Brother had been teaching him since he found him on the hillside way back between Seasons 4 and 5. In Sunday's episode of Game of Thrones, the Elder Brother gave an important speech that stands to support the possibility of The Hound truly giving up his old life, at least for the most part.
The Elder Brother is telling them about his own life before trying to be a good man, about living as a soldier and taking orders to kill pretty much anyone that was commanded of him. And of acting like an animal in doing so. Sound familiar? Only, the second half of his speech, which included lots of thoughtful looks from Sandor Clegane, is the most important:
"I cut that young boy's throat myself as his mother screamed and my friends held her back. And I never felt so ashamed. Shame was so heavy on me, I couldn't eat, I couldn't sleep, all I could do was stare into that dark sky and listen to that mother screaming her son's name. I'll hear her screaming the rest of my life. I know I can never bring that lad back. All I can do with the time I've got left is bring a little goodness into the world. That's all any of us can do, isn't it? Never too late to stop robbing people, to stop killing people, start helping people. Never too late to come back."
Of course this leads us to believe that maybe Sandor Clegane is going to consider The Hound part of himself to be dead and gone and allow himself to be "reborn", so to speak, as Sandor again, and be a good person, like the Elder Brother had tried to do with the remainder of his own life. But, if this is what happens, then we can say goodbye to the Cleganebowl.