Whether we're proving Stannis is "the Mannis" with photoshopped lightsabers, or mocking Ser Jorah Mormont's unrequited love with a series of 'friendzone' memes, Westeros can be a bewildering realm if you're unfamiliar with the fandom's viral sensations. The HBO favorite has aired for six years, giving fans more than enough time to develop an abundance of in-jokes and prophetic memes. However, one particular Game of Thrones theory continues to ignite a passionate response like no other; a hypothetical event that fans want to see on the small screen so desperately that its trademark slogans include "what is hype may never die" and "f**king confirmed." I'm talking, of course, about the one and only Cleganebowl.
As fans anxiously await Cersei Lannister's fight to keep the crown, the upcoming Targaryen threat isn't the only reason fans are uncontrollably excited for Season 7. Cleganebowl has been a hot topic among Game of Thrones's online communities for years, and the prospect of a battle between the Hound and the Mountain is still a hype-generating machine like no other.
Although it may not occur in the way theorists had originally foreseen, the core concept behind Cleganebowl is still a possibility — and now the epic head-to-head has the perfect fan-made poster.
Get Hype: Cleganebowl Is Coming!
In case you're not familiar with Cleganebowl, and still wonder why the video above featured so many airhorns and 'dank memes,' allow me to explain. Back when Cersei Lannister was set to go on trail for her sins, many fans believed that she would most likely opt for a trial by combat. Gregor Clegane is now her very own submissive Franken-mountain, so Cersei would mostly likely have given Gregor the honor of being her champion. Before the events of Season 6, fans believed that this would lead to the return of Sandor Clegane, as he volunteers to represent the Light of the Seven during Cersei's trial. This would have given fans an epic head-to-head with multiple consequences, but it unfortunately wasn't meant to be.
Fans of Cleganebowl have had their hopes stripped away time and time again, but the show's many twists and turns mean that the impending clash between Sandor and Gregor Clegane continues to be a possibility. Initially, the presumed death of Sandor Clegane put an end to fan's hopes, before he made an emphatic return in "The Broken Man." Then, King Tommen Baratheon made trials by combat illegal, under the guidance of the High Sparrow. Cersei then put a definite end to this new ruling by torching the Sept of Baelor, murdering the High Sparrow and his minions.
Sandor Clegane is currently traveling with the Brotherhood without Banners, so many fans are confident that the Hound will reunite with Arya Stark this season. This seems likely, given that both characters are heading north, and Sandor can even be seen interacting with Jon Snow in HBO's latest trailer.
However, Arya still has a few names on her kill list, and would need to come face-to-face with both Cersei Lannister and Gregor Clegane if she wishes to complete her vow. This suggests that Sandor and Arya could eventually find themselves in King's Landing, opening a window of opportunity for the inevitable Sandor/Gregor face-off.
Sandor vs. Gregor: How Will Cleganebowl End?
It is a shame that, if Cleganebowl comes to fruition, Sandor will only be facing a muted Gregor Clegane that may be unaware of who he's fighting. However, the Hound still deserves his redemption, whether Gregor is aware of it or not. It would be typical of George R. R. Martin's writing style to have a bittersweet conclusion to the sibling rivalry, but perhaps this is also how Arya can complete her list, despite growing fond of Sandor (whose name is on that list).
Even if Sandor is able to defeat his sadistic brother, he's unlikely to be in a fit state afterwards. So, it's important to remember that in Season 4's "The Children," the Hound begged Arya to kill him, sparing him from a slow and painful death:
"Do you remember where the heart is? Fuck it, I'm ready. Go on Girl, another name off your list. You kept promising me."
Arya refuses, no matter how much he goads her. Instead, she leaves his fate to the gods. In a manner that is typical of Martin's writing, it could be that we see a similar occurrence in Season 7 — with a very different outcome. If Sandor gets the chance to murder the Mountain, Arya would be able to give peace to a wounded (but fully redeemed) Sandor Clegane. This way, Arya keeps her promise to kill Sandor, completes her ambitious kill list, and puts a close friend to rest.
Cleganebowl may not be as "f**king confirmed" as many Thrones fans would have you believe, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't "get hype" for one of the show's most exciting prospects. As Season 7 develops, be sure to keep your airhorns by your side at all times.
Winter comes on July 16, 2017.
Do you think Cleganebowl will happen in season 7? Let me know with a comment below.