In a cold open that confirmed most Game of Thrones fans suspicions, the last episode brought the return of Sandor Clegane, most popularly known as the Hound. Presumed dead after he was bitten, beaten by Brienne of Tarth, and then left to die by Arya, the Hound is now back after being away for almost two seasons — and with his return comes many Hound theories for future Game of Thrones episodes. At first, it seemed that the Hound had changed from his violent ways, listening to the advice of the pacifist Brother Ray. But that all changed when he returned to the camp to find Brother Ray hanged, and everyone slaughtered by the Brotherhood Without Banners.
Now that he's picked up his axe once more, possibly to kill the Brotherhood, everyone is wondering what the Hound will do next? Killing those men isn't really a big deal in the grand scheme of Game of Thrones, so what is the real purpose of bringing the Hound back, especially now? Well if there's one thing Game of Thrones fans know how to do it's theorize and when it comes to Hound there's theories on top of theories.
There's Cleganebowl, a "SanSan" reunion, and so many more. Check out some of the more popular theories below.
Note: There are some small spoilers within these theories. Read at your own risk.
The most popular fan theory about Sandor Clegane's return is that he and his brother, Gregor Clegane, also known as the Mountain, will face off in what has become known as Cleganebowl. As Cersei prepares to stand for trial against the High Sparrow, she is expected to choose a trial by combat and have the Mountain fight for her, just as he fought against Oberyn Martell (R.I.P.) in Tyrion's trial by combat.
The idea is that the Hound will make his way to King's Landing and volunteer himself to be the champion of the Faith and fight against his brother. Why the Hound would do this is unclear. Some believed that it would be Brother Ray that persuaded the Hound to volunteer, but Brother Ray is now dead, so that's no longer an option. One reason the Hound could do this is simply so that he could fight and kill his brother. Gregor is the one who burned half of Sandor's face off and Sandor also suspects Gregor killed their father and sister. There's really no love lost between these two.
Hopefully, for Cersei's sake, this theory is wrong, because although the Mountain is huge, the Hound could be the one person to stop him.
The Hound Meets Lady Stoneheart
Although everyone is pretty certain Cleganebowl will happen this season, Reddit user m0ei has a different idea. In the books, Lady Stoneheart, the resurrected Catelyn Stark, leads the Brotherhood Without Banners. M0ei suggests the Hound will go after the Brotherhood to avenge Brother Ray's death, but instead of destroying them, he'll be captured by the Brotherhood and see Lady Stoneheart. Although she'll want to execute him, the Hound will talk his way out of it by telling her about Arya and that she's alive.
M0ei then suggests that Lady Stoneheart will send the Hound to King's Landing to kill Cersei for all that she's done, and thus we'll finally get Cleganebowl in the next season.
Sansa And The Hound Reunite
For shippers of "SanSan", the return of the Hound meant the return of their ship, and they couldn't be happier. Many fans are hoping the Hound will, for whatever reason, meet up with Sansa somehow and help her in the battle for Winterfell (also known as Bastard Bowl). This is a bit of a stretch, though, because the Hound is currently on the Quiet Isle, which is a good deal away from the North, however it is pretty close to the Vale.
It's possible Sandor might join up with the Knights of the Vale, which would be perfect since Sansa reportedly just asked Littlefinger to send the Knights of the Vale her way. #SanSan is (maybe) on!
Sandor Clegane Is Azor Ahai
This is an old theory, but now with the return of the Hound and Cleganebowl seemingly on the horizon, it has made a resurgence. Reddit user BeautifulMania explains that Sandor Clegane may be Azor Ahai, the champion of light of fire that Melisande (and the other followers of the Lord of Light) have been waiting for. A major part of Azor's story is that he kills his love, Nissa Nissa, using the sword that becomes the sword of light, Lightbringer.
BeautifulMania suggests that although Sandor hates his brother, he also loves him, too, and when it comes to the Cleganebowl, Sandor will kill his brother using a sword that will become Lightbringer. Additionally, because killing Gregor would also mean a terrible end for Cersei, Sandor will essentially be killing the "lion" as well, just as Azor killed a lion when he was trying to make Lightbringer.
The likelihood of this seems very slim, especially because it's much more likely that Jon Snow is Azor Ahai reborn, but as always anything is possible in Game of Thrones, and this theory continues to get traction amongst fans.