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Monday, June 6, 2011

Greatest Warriors of the Westeros- #5 Sandor Clegane

I'm now up to #5 on the list of Greatest Warriors of the Westeros and its getting tougher and tougher to rank them as I go. It's with some trepidation that I place this next warrior at #5. But, when you consider who is on the list at spots from #1-4 you'll see why Sandor Clegane is here.

The Hound, or simply Dog as Joffrey refers to him is Sandor Clegane. Sandor is the younger brother of the Mountain that Rides. Has there ever been a family with such cool nicknames? The problem is that the Cleganes are far from a happy family. Sandor was burned horrifically by his older brother Gregor for playing with a unused toy of Gregor's. The result was that Sandor's face was burned, lost an ear and has no hair on the section of scalp where he was burned. With his innocence shattered Sandor grew to despise knights (which he has previously idolized) and harbor a great rage for his brother.

#5-Sandor Clegane
As warrior the Hound is one of the finest fighters in the Seven Kingdoms. His fearsome size and  abilities make him a intimidating foe. He has no real fear other then fire, which given the circumstances of his childhood are understandable. Despite this he does distinguish himself at the Battle of Blackwater during the War of Five Kings.

Sandor as noted has a contempt for knights and it is rather amusing that he is apponted to the Kingsguard without being one. He simply refuses to become a knight as his goals in life surround one thing: slaying his brother Gregor.

At the Battle of the Blackwater he fights valiantly and cuts through Renly's host. we also have reports of his prowess before and after but would have been a tad bit to young to have fought in Robert's Rebellion.

Other reports of his prowess are that he killed his first man at 12 and was able to slay Beric Dondarrion in single comabt after the assault on King's Landing. In short, crossing swords with Sandor is a risky proposition for an opponent and one that is likely to be fatal.

For all of his gruff exterior and claim of dislike of the hypocrisy of knights (as he sees it) he does have some curious "soft spots". First off as member of the Kingsguard he is often called on to guard Sansa when she is betrothed to Joffrey. While the other members of the Kingsguard obey Joffrey and hit her without question, the Hound doesn't. He deflects and shields her from his wrath. After the Battle of Blackwater he comes to Sansa in her room and could have had his way with her, but he doesn't. For all his mocking attitudes towards her the show of affection is there. Perhaps he sees her as he once was.

Secondly. Sandor saves the life of the Knight of Flowers during the tourney at King's Landing. Now whether he does this because of desire to get to grips with Gregor we might never know, but its clear that he didn't have to act. No one else did.

Another act revolving around Sansa is the riot that happens in A Clash of Kings. When Joffrey incites the mob to the noble party bolts for the Red Keep. Confusion reigns and several members of the party are dragged off to be killed or in the case of Lollys raped. Sansa is missing initially as is the Hound. Keep in mind that its unarmed smallfolk but where Ser Preston Greenfield, Ser Aron Santagar and others are slain, its the Hound comes through saving Sansa's life or at least from being violated.

He is tough as well. After taking some wounds that became infected he was able to cross some distances before his fate became unknown in A Storm of Swords. It's important to note that he was fighting three men at the same time, no small feat for anyone. 

Sandor is implied to lead forces at the Battle of Black Water and he at least survived so that is saying something, but we do not get any other indication of his abilities at leading a force. In this list I'm giving extra points for excellence in leading men in battle so he gets middling marks here. Rather its his downright impressive warrior skills that make up for it.

In closing Sandor is one of the best warriors of his generation and the only thing that is missing is for him to slay Gregor. But given Gregor's demise when he crosses paths with the Red Viper of Dorne... Well "Frankengregor" is always a possibility. He is also despite his claims a warrior with something of a conscience. Make no mistake he has his flaws like everyone else (killing Mycah for instance), but there is more then meets the eye when one considers the Hound.

I feel comfortable placing him here as he is in some mighty company and technically he is probably the greatest warrior in the series who is not a knight.


  1. Think your interpretation of sandor is a bit different to mine.. You seem to view him slightly as a villain, but i disagree.

    See, whilst he enjoys killing, and may do bad things, he only does what is necessary to look after himself, rather than being sadistic like gregor or ramsay bolton. He has a conscience, and it appears so many times throughout the book.

    1.He does do some evil things, such as try to go and sell Ayra. However, when he sees the red wedding, rather then letting her die, he takes care of her.

    2.Then there's him saving Sansa multiple times (and even offering to take her back to Winterfell, when even not-so villainous characters might've sexually assaulted her)

    3.Saving the knight of flowers.

    4.Honourably defending KL at the battle of blackwater, when he could've just fled.

    So, the way I see it - is that he is simply a bitter individual. Imagine how much mockery he has suffered, and it's not surprising really lol. His only place in society, and his only worth, is when he kills people. He couldn't even be a knight, because frankly, he's face is too mortifying. People cringe when they look at him.

    And it's this imo, (the process of accepting he is only good for killing) that has made him relish killing so much.

    But observe that you never see him just killing random peasants. He only enjoys killing other fighters. The sight or thought of hurting the innocent necessarily and just for a sadistic pleasure repulses him.

    So whilst I would never make him out to be a hero, I would compare him to a mercenary, and I happen to think he is morally very just.

    As a warrior? I would say he is on par with Gregor. As a commander, I would say neither are competent in the slightest.

  2. I think youre reading me wrong. The Hound is somewhere in the middle of the spectrum of the Westros. He is certainly not pristine like Ser Arthur Dayne nor is he as abhorrent as his brother, but he is certainly no angel.

    Martin writes him to have a certain sympathy for the character but he is hardly morally just, for example killing Mycah the Butcher boy because Joff told him to? Following orders doesnt get a free pass.

  3. he shouldnt be no.5......the two clegane brothers should be no.1 n 2 respectively with gregor bein #1, jaime n selmy come as 3 n four.....oberyn is 5