As Game of Thrones Season 7 finally got underway this Sunday we were treated to the return of all of the series' main players. During "Dragonstone" we welcomed back the families in the North, the Lannisters in the South, and even Acting Lord Commander, Eddison Tollett. However there were two other characters who made a return to Game of Thrones that you might have had trouble placing, and not without good reason.
As you'll remember, during Episode 1 the Brotherhood Without Banners came across an abandoned house and decided to shelter there for the evening. Sandor Clegane (a.k.a the Hound) was far from impressed at the idea, claiming he didn't "like the look of it," though eventually relenting. Once inside we learned that the former occupants were the victims of a murder-suicide, an act carried out in order to save themselves from death by starvation. Clegane was obviously unsettled by the pair — a father and daughter — and later in the episode he buried them, revealing that he sort of knew them. But where from?
The Hound, Arya, Sally And Her Father
We first encountered this father/daughter duo way back in Season 4, Episode 3 when the Hound and Arya were watering their horses on their land. We learned that the little girl was named Sally and that she made "rabbit stew just like her mom used to do." Meanwhile her father was a poor crop farmer, loyal to House Tully and faithful the Old Gods.
The Hound and Arya stayed with the pair for the night, enjoying their food and the Hound even accepted an offer of employment from the farmer. However the next morning he overpowered the man and stole his silver. When Arya objected to his actions, the Hound replied:
"They'll both be dead come winter. ... He's weak. He can't protect himself. They'll both be dead come winter. Dead men don't need silver."
And lo and behold, by the time winter arrived, Sally and her father were indeed dead. Though it has to be said that it may have been a fate they could've avoided — or at least delayed — had their silver not been stolen.
A Reference To The Books
While the story of Sally and her father was a sad one, the storyline also caught fan's eyes for another reason, a scene which seemingly referenced a chapter from A Feast for Crows, the fourth novel in the Song of Ice and Fire saga.
During the Brotherhood Without Banner's stay in the cottage, Beric Dondarrion awakes in the night and finds Clegane digging graves in the icy ground for Sally and her father. As Redditor An_Lochlannach pointed out, this is surely the TV series paying homage to a character from A Feast for Crows known only as the gravedigger.
The gravedigger appears in the book when Brienne of Tarth and her companions arrive on the Quiet Isle — home to those who sworn to the Faith of the Seven — in search of Sansa Stark. There they see a enormous man digging a grave for a deceased Brother. The man not only walks with a limp, but also quickly bonds with the dog of one of Brienne's companions. On the isle they also find Clegane's former warhorse, Stranger, now called Driftwood. When Brienne questions the Elder Brother about Clegane's whereabouts he tells her that he's dead, however many fans suspect the Brother is referring to Clegane's Hound personality, not Clegane himself. And now this small tip of the cap to the gravedigger in "Dragonestone" has all but confirmed the gravedigger/Clegane theory for many.
For now though, Clegane is far from the Quiet Isles and with only 12 episodes left in Game of Thrones it seems unlikely this storyline from the book will come to life on screen. Instead, fans of the TV series are hoping for another storyline involving Clegane, that of an ultimate showdown between him and his brother, Ser Gregor Clegane, a.k.a the Mountain. Dubbed "Cleganebowl" (Confirmed! Get hype!), this theory seems much more likely to come to fruition in the show, though when the showdown will occur is anyone's guess.
Game of Thrones returns to HBO with Episode 2 "Stormborn" on Sunday, July 23.
Do you think the TV series was making a reference to the Gravedigger theory from A Feast for Crows?