Game of Thrones Fans Believe Cleganebowl Ruined the Hound's Redemption Arc

Image credit: Legion-Media

The path to Sandor Clegane's redemption appears to have been derailed by questionable attempts to pander to fans.

George R. R. Martin is renowned for his skill in crafting morally ambiguous characters who are capable of committing atrocious acts and yet still manage to find a place in readers' hearts. The vast majority of Game of Thrones characters each have their own dedicated fan bases, supporting them even in their darkest moments, which is a testament to the richness and authenticity of Martin's universe.

However, as die-hard fans of the series are well aware, not all of the original storylines have transferred perfectly to the HBO adaptation.

Sandor Clegane's story arc, in particular, stands out as a glaring example of this.

Since his initial appearance in the series, Sandor Clegane has been a beloved character, captivating viewers with his broken, complex personality. As his villainous deeds gave way to good ones, many began to anticipate his eventual redemption. In the original books, Sandor survived the bloodshed and retired to a life of solitude as a gravedigger, completely eschewing violence.

However, the HBO version of his story concluded in a far less satisfying manner. Some attribute this to fans' demands, suggesting that the show's creators catered to viewers' desires rather than staying true to the spirit of the original narrative.

Since their initial introduction in the series, fans have longed for a climactic showdown between Sandor Clegane and his formidable brother, the Mountain, coining the term Cleganebowl and making it a rallying cry. With the start of each new season, devotees continued to push for this showdown, making it clear what they wanted HBO to deliver.

In season 8, the showrunners finally acquiesced, arranging a highly anticipated and extremely violent battle between the siblings that left both dead. True Hound fans were dealt a devastating blow to their metaphorical solar plexus as Sandor was robbed of his redemption arc.

While some fans contend that death was the only fitting end for Sandor, given his warrior nature and the violent world he inhabited, others insist that the original books had already provided Sandor with an ideal end to his story.

Naturally, it would be unreasonable to anticipate HBO to follow all of Martin's storylines to the letter, but the showrunners could have given Sandor a more fitting end to his story and, say, made him Arya Stark's devoted protector.