Since the beginning of Game of Thrones Season 6 we are hearing rumors of a fight between Sandor Clegane a.k.a the Hound and his brother the Mountain. Although we know that the Mountain has been brought to life again by Qyburn through his potions and tricks, we do not really know what happened to the Hound after Arya left him to die. However, the books contain a few clues which indicate that the Hound is indeed very much alive.
A brief on what the books mention about the whereabouts of the Hound – In A Feast for Crows Brienne travels to the Quiet Isle with Pod and Ser Hyle. There, they meet an Elder Brother of the order of silent monks who claims to have found the Hound during his travels. The Elder Brother said that the Hound died in his arms and that he had buried him personally and left his dog helm as a marker over his grave (a mistake as Brienne later found a group of broken men led by Rorge who wore Sandor’s Hound helm).
Why we think the Hound is still alive
1. The Gravedigger
At the beginning of the chapter, Brienne comes across a grave digger who is described as a man bigger than Brienne and is walking with a limp. Sandor had previously been injured in the leg and that wound was probably infected as Arya had previously mentioned that it ‘smelled peculiar’. His action of petting the dog and being comfortable around one is also a major hint towards the grave digger being Sandor as the sigil of house Clegane is 3 dogs. The grave digger also hides his face from Pod possibly because he knows that Pod would recognize him as soon as he saw him.
2. The conversation between Brienne and the Elder Brother is full of hidden hints
The meaning of death for a person like the Elder Brother is not the same as what it is for other people.
I never saw the blow that felled me. Before I could turn something slammed into my head and knocked me back into the river, where by rights I should have drowned. Instead I woke here, upon the Quiet Isle. The Elder Brother told me I had washed up on the tide, naked as my name day. We are all born naked, so I suppose it was only fitting that I come into my second life the same way.
This was the Elder Brother describing to Brienne how he actually ended up on the Quiet Isle after the Battle of the Trident. As is pretty evident the Elder Brother thinks of death as a means of shedding one personality and adopting a different one.
3. Elder Brother repeatedly talks about the Hound’s death in a symbolic manner
“The man you hunt is dead”
The Hound died there, in my arms.
As mentioned previously, it is possible that the Elder Brother is simply implying that Sandor was reborn as a good man after his confession.
4. Elder Brother seems to know a lot about the Hound
He seemed to know about Arya and Sanasa. He also quite accurately knew about Sandor’s life and his feelings towards his brother. Knowing such a lot of information is possible only if he has had a proper conversation with Sandor. A man just about to die would not be able to convey lengthy details about his life.
5. The Hound’s Horse
He also says that he came upon Sandor when he was dying but no amount of effort could save him yet how is it that he was able to bring Stranger, the Hound’s bad tempered horse, all the way to the Quiet Isle without Sandor. It is also mentioned that the passage to reach the island is very dangerous so it is not likely that the Elder Brother alone could have been successful in bringing Stranger to the place.
What do you think of this theory? Could the Hound actually be alive or could it just be George R.R. Martin throwing us off the scent?