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The Hound and The Mountain: Everything Cleganebowl for ‘Game of Thrones’ Season 8

Ever since the Tourney of the Hand, held to celebrate Ned Stark’s move to King’s Landing in the first season of Game of Thrones, we’ve been waiting for a rematch between the two Clegane brothers: Sandor “The Hound” and Gregor “The Mountain That Rides.” Hype for the fight between brothers—unconfirmed but likely coming to Game of Thrones Season 8—has given the showdown a name amongst series fans: Cleganebowl.

Will The Hound and The Mountain Fight?

game-thrones-season-7-finale-the-hound-the-mountain-clegane-bowl-20010998 This is so happening. HBO

The animosity between The Hound (Rory McCann) and The Mountain (Conan Stevens / Hafþór Björnsson) runs deep, at least back to childhood, when Gregor burned Sandor’s face in a brazier for playing with one of his toys. But the origins of Cleganebowl are much more recent, first emerging as a possibility in the fifth episode of the first season of Game of Thrones, “The Wolf and the Lion.”

At the Tourney of the Hand, The Mountain jousts against famous knight of the Vale, Ser Loras Tyrell, who unseats him. Furious, Gregor decapitates his horse and attacks Loras, until his brother, Sandor, steps in. After a brief sword fight between the Clegane brothers, King Robert Baratheon calls out, “Stop this madness, in the name of your king!” Sandor, a Lannister vassal but not a knight, bows. His older brother, Ser Gregor, storms off. We’ve been waiting for Cleganebowl ever since.

Cleganebowl Confirmed?

While there’s been no official confirmation that Cleganebowl is coming to Game of Thrones Season 8, a lot of people are dropping hints. Replying to questions on Instagram, Björnsson said his favorite scene in the series “happens in Season 8… so I can’t speak about it.”

This Entertainment Weekly cover at least demonstrates the Game of Thrones creators know exactly what we expect to see in Season 8:

Where Are the Cleganes From?

Despite sending two brutal brothers to the top of Westerosi society, we learn very little about House Clegane in Game of Thrones. Disconnected from complicated family trees typical of Westeros, the Clegane brothers each chart their own course through life. It has brought the Cleganebowl combatants to very different places, but not yet their final confrontation.

Sandor “The Hound” Clegane

game-of-thrones-season-8-the-hound-cleganebowl-sandor The Hound has come a long way. HBO

Sandor Clegane is one of the characters who has changed the most over seven seasons of Game of Thrones. At the beginning of the series, The Hound does dirty work for the Lannisters, but abandons them during the Battle of the Blackwater. While it’s never explicitly stated on the show, his nickname likely stems from a combination of his ruthless personality and the coat of arms for House Clegane: three black dogs on a yellow field.

While still a misanthrope, The Hound takes on certain virtues after leaving Lannister service; still killing freely, but now guided by an honor shaped by his contempt for upper-class hypocrisy and the false nobility of knightly cruelties. After nearly dying after facing off against Brienne of Tarth, The Hound tries out a peaceful life. This time, the violence finds him. He now rides with Beric Dondarrion and the Brotherhood Without Banners.

Gregor “The Mountain” Clegane

game-of-thrones-season-8-gregor-mountain-cleganebowl The Moutain has seen better days. HBO

Ser Gregor Clegane, The Mountain, was knighted by Rhaegar Targaryen as a favor to the Mad King’s hand, Tywin Lannister (Charles Dance). A year later, The Mountain killed Rhaegar’s family. The Mountain and his men commit many atrocities during the War of the Five Kings, but Gregor’s terror spree is only stopped in a trial by combat against Oberyn Martell (Pedro Pascal). Though triumphant, Gregor succumbs to the manticore venom on Oberyn’s spear. Experimented upon by Cersei’s Hand, Qyburn, The Mountain survives, but his corpse-like visage suggests he’s both more and less than he once was. Though he’s now more of a Frankenstein-like monster than a human, The Mountain remains a formidable opponent.

Cleganebowl: Who Wins?

The most likely time for Cleganebowl will come when the war against the Night King reaches King’s Landing, or when the victors of the war against the dead in the North sweep down to depose Queen Cersei (Lena Headey). Predicting whether The Hound or The Mountain wins Cleganebowl really comes down to how much hope Game of Thrones has for humanity. Whereas The Mountain has only grown more monstrous over the seasons, The Hound is now a grumpy hero, fighting against the Night King and the advent of a new Long Night. A Mountain victory refutes all of Sandor’s progress—his best simply wasn’t good enough. A victory for The Hound is like the entire conflict of Game of Thrones in miniature, as Sandor overcomes a seemingly unstoppable threat.

Start watching out for Cleganebowl when Game of Thrones returns to HBO for its final season on Sunday, April 14.

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