Rory McCann (the Hound) feels “blessed to be given this storyline”

Image: Game of Thrones/HBO
Image: Game of Thrones/HBO /

CAUTION: This post contains SPOILERS for the latest episode of Game of Thrones, “The Bells.”

Last night on Game of Thrones, the Hound died, tackling his brother over the walls of the Red Keep into a flaming inferno below. “I hope I have enough gas in the tank to do it right,” actor Rory McCann told Entertainment Weekly days before filming his big brawl. “It’s a massive fight. I think it’s going to take three days to film it.”

"He’s going to be throwing me. I’m absolutely sure I’m going to be limping for months after it and that’s the reason my last filming days are the fight. It’s a glorious death. He’s laughing at it. The Hound can see that [The Mountain] can’t be killed by sticking a dagger in his eye. He has to be burnt. Of all the things Cleagane has to do, he has to go into the fire. That’s the sacrifice. But his pain is over."

It was indeed a richly textured death, and it looked spectacular. “I’m very happy with the way The Hound’s story ends, thank you very much,” McCann said. “I love all the endings. I don’t know how they managed to sew it all together. I don’t know how it goes with George R.R. Martin’s ending, if it’s the same or no. I haven’t watched the series much. Only watched a few episodes. I don’t watch the telly. And when the show’s on I’m usually out in the wild sailing or something. I’m looking forward to getting the whole box set and then I’ll watch it when I get the flu.”

That’s a pretty typical sentiment for McCann, who sounds like a solitary sort of person. “Before each season, I phone all my friends and tell them I don’t want to speak or have any contact with anyone at all,” he revealed. “I make myself lonely before every season, purely because I’m going onto Thrones. I don’t want contact with anyone before starting the job.”

"I was doing a scene with [Tormund Giantsbane actor Kristofer Hivju] and he went to hug me as his character and I said, “Don’t touch me.” And I’m so like that home. I’m very close to being The Hound. I’m not used to human touch. I’m a bit of a recluse. Now I’ve made some friends. I’ve started to relax. I’ve learned a lot. It’s been a hell of an education. But now I’m just itching to get the hell away in this boat I’ve been building…"

Where is he taking that boat, EW asks? “That’s my f—ing business.” Oh my god, he is the Hound, right down to his bond with the Stark sisters. “It’s been great seeing [Maisie Williams] again. The last parting shot with Arya and The Hound is lovely. She calls him ‘Sandor’ for the first time in the whole 7, 8 years. It’s a lovely moment. And the parting moment with Sansa was lovely too.”

And really, thank goodness for that parting shot with Arya. Otherwise, the episode was threatening to become overwhelmingly dark. In the end, the Hound couldn’t let go of his vengeance, but at least he did Arya a solid by helping her let go of hers. “Maybe he could have found peace and wandered off,” McCann mused. “But this is a fine way to go. It seems pretty beautiful to me. How lucky to be an actor who gets ends up on one of the biggest and best shows in the world.”

And if you’re wondering, yes, the road trip stuff with Arya in season 4 was McCann’s favorite material to play. I’m sure he speaks for a lot of fans there.

So far as Williams and McCann go, the respect and affection is mutual. “Rory would always chat with me [when filming the earlier seasons] about adventures he’d have in his life — buying a piece of land and living in bunker — all these crazy things he’d do,” Williams said. “Before I was like, ‘Wow, that’s crazy.’ Now I’m like, ‘Oh, I just bought a piece of land next to the sea too.’ I realized he’s really shaped me quite a lot as a person. I’ve realized his way of life does seem really appealing and I’ve learned a lot from him. I respect his friendship and loved working with him this year.”

Well, that’s just adorable.


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Cleveland Indians Francisco Lindor Game Of Thrones Iron Throne Bobblehead /

Cleveland Indians Francisco Lindor Game Of Thrones Iron Throne Bobblehead

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You can head to EW to read more of the interview, although we have to mention McCann’s reaction to the group table read at the start of the season:

"It was quite emotional. You’re seeing deaths and it’s all happening in front of you and you’re seeing people get upset and then you get to your bit. It was quite funny when the so-called Cleganebowl started. I secretly brought a trumpet with me. [Co-executive producer Bryan Cogman] is reading [the stage directions] and I’m like, “Can you pause right before I say one of my last lines?” He did and I brought out this trumpet and [blew it]. I got butterflies in my stomach over that fight."

As did we all. Goodbye, Sandor Clegane.

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