Sometimes Game of Thrones theories are less theory and more straight up hype. And, in one case, the hype is just too real.
Cleganebowl is a prediction that has stayed with the Game of Thrones fandom since the days of yore, in 2013. Essentially, it’s fueled by the dream of watching the two most feared fighters in all of Westeros, the Hound and the Mountain (who are also brothers), face off in a fight to the death.
At this point, Cleganebowl is like a religion, with its own fervent following, hashtag, and dedicated subreddit. What is lacks in canonical evidence, it certainly makes up for in pure rad-ness factor.
Some might even tell you it’s time to stop trying to make Cleganebowl happen, Gretchen. But what do we say to the god of hype death? Not today.
Cleganebowl will be a fight to melt your eyes off (pun intended — sorry the Hound). And as far as the upcoming season finale is concerned, it’s now or never.
For those who may not remember, the Hound (Sandor) and the Mountain (Gregor) are actually brothers from the Clegane family — but not the chummy, best-man-at-your wedding kind of brothers. Actually, before Gregor graduated to terrorizing the entirety of Westeros for the Lannisters as an undead zombie monster, he started out by terrorizing his own little brother.
As children, Gregor pressed Sandors face to the fire “like I was a nice juicy mutton chop” for playing with one of his toys. In a rare moment of vulnerability in Season 4, the Hound confesses to Arya that, “The pain was bad. The smell was worse. But the worst thing was that it was my brother. And my father protected him — told everyone it was my bedding that had caught fire.”
So, really, a fight to the death between the two would be more than just awesome. It’d be an emotional sucker punch and perfect way to conclude their torrid family relationship. Over on io9, there’s even a shot from a Season 7 trailer that looks an awful lot like the Hound fighting someone in the dragonpit from the upcoming finale.
It’s easy to imagine that, at this upcoming rumble, Cersei will pull out her final ace in the hole by challenging Daenerys to a trial by combat, and sending the Mountain in as her champion. And, if the Hound is there, he’ll be their best bet at actually winning that fight.
And, I mean, even if there isn’t much book evidence for Cleganebowl, the show has already gone off the rails in terms of self-referential gags geared toward the fandom. It certainly wouldn’t be the worst fan service to happen this season (looking at you, Sheeran.)
As for the question of who would win, believers in the Cleganebowl religion are torn.
This redditor is praying that, if the Mountain wins, Arya will bust in with her Valyrian blade to knock another one off her list. It’d be an interesting twist, since, the post notes, “She’s too small and too fast for him. And him being killed by little girl would be the ultimate poetic justice.”
Another is putting their money on the Hound coming full circle with his traumatic experience at the hands of his brother. Because, now that the Mountain is a Frankenstein zombie, Game of Thrones rules state that he’ll only be vulnerable to fire.
Now, not to take steam out of this hyper train but in an interview actor Rory McCann referred to this beloved pet fan theory (in a very Hound-like manner) as “that Cleganebowl shite.”
While neither confirming nor denying its existence, he did weigh in on the question of who might win the dog fight: “[The Mountain is] 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.”
If the gods, old and new, are good — they will answer our prayers tonight.
Game of Thrones‘ Season 7 finale airs tonight on HBO.