While Jon Snow was off causing a stir because he showed up on a Game of Thrones Season 6 promotional poster, the discussion of the prospect of Sandor "The Hound" Clegane returning to the HBO series was dying down. No new evidence has presented itself, but I still believe the Hound will be in GoT Season 6 . And as I've been researching the chances of the Hound showing his beautiful burnt face on the series again, I realized that he has had an eerily similar character arc to Jaime Lannister. Like Jaime, the Hound is a pretty horrible person who has somehow managed to transform into one of my favorite characters. With Jaime bound to face difficulties after unsuccessfully rescuing his and Cersei's daughter Myrcella in the Season 5 finale, a Hound spotting — or even a Hound-Jaime interaction — would be more than welcome in Season 6.
If I was told after watching the series premiere of Game of Thrones that two of my favorite characters (and to be fair, I do have many favorite characters in GoT) were going to be the Hound and Jaime Lannister, I would have attempted to scoff as hard as Cersei. Yet both men have evolved throughout the course of the show, and although they've maintained their despicable nature, they've become rather endearing. As a Lannister, Jaime has had a storyline that's never taken a break, but the Hound hasn't been seen dead or alive since the Season 4 finale. Though the Hound will never be as important of a character of Jaime (he just merely served the Lannister family), I don't believe that he is dead, and I expect to see him in Season 6.
While fans of the TV show have come to love the Hound as a character, he really is a vile person at times and not someone you'd want to cross — particularly when you look at the books and his inappropriate relationship with Sansa. (If you're not a book reader, but don't mind book spoilers, you may be interested in reading the Wikia page on the "UnKiss" moment from the books between Sansa and the Hound for an example of how truly awful he can be.) Meanwhile, Jaime is the king of inappropriate relationships with his sister Cersei, and while the Hound may be less repulsive on the show than in the book, the series made Jaime more contemptible by having him rape Cersei rather than engage in the consensual sex that was in the books.
However, just like when Jaime traveled with Brienne, Game of Thrones viewers got a different side of the warrior when the Hound traveled with Arya. Both Jaime and the Hound were challenged by their strong female traveling companions and ended up better for it. The Hound and Arya and Jaime and Brienne had beneficial relationships, albeit reluctant and dysfunctional ones, more times than not. And they both showed selflessness when it came to the women — for example, the Hound tried to protect Arya during the Red Wedding (after he brought her to the Freys) and Jaime jumped into a bear pit to help Brienne (after his lie put her there).
Now, I realize just because these men made for dynamic traveling buddies on the roads of Westeros doesn't mean that they should be forgiven for all of their sins. But when you're watching Game of Thrones, a series full of immoral people, it can be easy to move on from characters' past sins when they are as hilariously flippant and surprisingly observant and devoted as the Hound and Jaime. (Though it should be noted that Jaime raped Cersei after returning from his road trip with Brienne.)
Oddly enough, if the Hound is dead now, it's because of Jaime's traveling companion Brienne, since the two badass warriors battled over Arya and Brienne got the better of the Hound. For fans like me who think the Hound managed to survive, there is a theory from the book that may explain how the Hound returns. (Spoilers to follow.) Book readers have a theory that the Hound is now a gravedigger that Brienne encounters in the fourth book of the series, A Feast of Crows. There's no official confirmation of this, and a character in the book named the Elder Brother says he saw the Hound die and buried him, but seeing that actor Rory McCann was spotted in Belfast at a hotel used by Game of Thrones cast members, there is a reason to be confident that he'll return.
Although the Hound used to serve the Lannisters, I think his storyline will continue to diverge from Jaime's for a season or more if they does indeed return. The fighters may be similar in the fact that they have somehow redeemed themselves while still being highly flawed characters, but that doesn't mean they will — or need to — interact on screen.
But since the return of the Hound is just a rumor for now, fan theories linking the Hound and Jaime should be addressed. One is that if the Hound returns, he may fight his brother Gregor Clegane, or "The Mountain." At the demands of Cersei, the Mountain was saved by Qyburn after he almost died from his battle with Oberyn in Season 4. The scarily transformed man seems more powerful and more devoted to Cersei than ever, but if he went against his younger brother, most viewers would be rooting for the Hound. iDigitalTimes even theorized that hopefully, the Hound would kill Cersei after killing his older brother if a Mountain-Hound showdown occurred.
If the Hound did kill Cersei, then it would be hard not to imagine that Jaime and the Hound would cross paths, which would help feed into another fan-created theory: in a fight between Jaime and the Hound, who would win? While all of this is purely hypothetical since the Hound could be dead, the speculatation demonstrates what a beloved character, like Jaime, the Hound has become. And even if I'd prefer a Hound-Jaime friendship over a Hound-Jaime face-off, it's time for HBO — and George R. R. Martin — to bring back Sandor Clegane.
Images: HBO (3); Giphy (3)