We haven’t seen Sandor “the Hound” Clegane since the premiere episode of Game of Thrones season 7, but we certainly haven’t forgotten him — that’s impossible. Speaking to The Sunday Morning Herald, actor Rory McCann got frank about life on set and what might be in store for everybody’s favorite murderer on the mend.
“At the end of last season [the Hound] found himself with the Brotherhood without Banners and he had to make a choice,” McCann summarized. “It was basically, ‘Do you wanna do the right thing? Do you wanna find peace within yourself? Join us and fight the fight against evil.’ And that was what he chose. So this time round he’s on a road trip with the brotherhood when we join him. And there’s a lot going on.”
We saw a lot of that play out in “Dragonstone,” which found the Brotherhood on their way north. But what’s coming next? McCann was tight-lipped about it, but the Herald did reveal that the Hound has a “major role” in season 7, and McCann couldn’t hide the fact that he had a knee injury, and eventually confessed that he’d gotten it on the job.
OK, it was from the show. I can’t tell you exactly how but I had this guy on my shoulder for days and days – it didn’t work with a dummy so I had to carry a real guy and we had to run and run … No wonder I’m f—ed.
At 6’6”, McCann is the kind of guy who could probably get away with carrying a guy on his shoulders for days on end, but nobody’s superhuman. The real question is: what scene required him to pull this stunt off? We’ve seen glimpses of the Hound fighting in the snow in promotional materials — might he need to eventually carry a wounded comrade through the blizzard?
And McCann admitted that he worked with a lot of snow this year, or fake snow, as it were.
The mad thing was in Belfast there weren’t real blizzards going on, so they had these massive fans, like the ones on those airboats in swamps,” he said. “We’d have at least two of them going with guys throwing paper snow in front of it and you couldn’t hear what the next actor was saying. Everyone was just lip reading and eating paper.
The cold also caused problems with the prosthetic that McCann has to wear to pull off the Hound’s intense facial scarring, wounds he sustained as a child when his older brother Gregor shoved his face into a fire. “With the latex you sweat whether you like it or not. You’re all wrapped up in some heated trailer or make-up truck and then you go out on set and it’s freezing. Then the sweat underneath your latex freezes.”
Overall, McCann described filming season 7 as “pretty f—ing hardcore,” which is good for the fans, if not for his knee. “We filmed by this quarry in Belfast about 1000 feet up. We had hard weather there and then in between scenes we’d be going back to our trailers and everyone was covered in shit. Some days were actually brutal.”
But hopefully the Hound won’t spend the entire season freezing his latex off. McCann also addressed Cleganebowl, the long-running theory that the Hound will eventually face off against his brother, Gregor “the Mountain” Clegane. “That Cleganebowl shite,” McCann said, getting things off to a good start.
“I have met him, yes.” (“Him” would be Icelandic strongman Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson, who plays the Mountain.) “He’s not that much taller than me. But if it kicks off I’m still gonna be the Jack Russell and he’ll be the Rottweiler….Guess I’d better start training.”
Finally, McCann gave some insight into what the day-to-day experience of filming season 7 was like. Apparently, like the Hound, McCann is the kind of guy who likes to keep to himself — he lives on a boat, and didn’t get close to too many people before season 7. (With the exception of Maisie Williams, of course, cause how can you not bond with her?)
The first problem has been that I don’t watch the show,” he said. “I’m a bit different that way, I don’t watch telly at all. So when I met the other actors [for season seven] I didn’t know who they were. I’d be asking people, ‘So who’s the big guy over there then?’ ‘Oh, he’s Lord whatever of House whatever.’ ‘Well, is he a good guy or a bad guy? And who are you?’ And some of them are going, ‘Are you f—ing joking? We’ve been here on the show for three years, man!’
This year, things were different, and he managed to “socialize” for the first time with actors like Richard Dormer (Beric Dondarrion) and Paul Kaye (Thoros of Myr). They even formed a makeshift band called the Brotherhood Without Banjos. “Richard Dormer, great ukulele player. Paul Kaye’s a wonderful guitarist and he plays all sorts as well. Normally everyone else on the show is always playing Risk apart from me. But the jams we had I’ll never forget,” says McCann, who sings and plays piano, banjo and mandolin.
God, I hope that turns up on the blooper reel.