Rory McCann, better known as the actor who plays fan favorite The Hound in Game of Thrones, has been spotted in Belfast, spurring speculations about what a supposedly dead character who has not appeared on the show for an entire season could be doing in the series' filming location.
The actor was said to have been spotted by a fan writing for Watchers on the Wall, although it is always best to take things like this with a huge helping of salt, given the fact the website did not post a picture of the actor to fortify its claims.
According to the tipster, McCann was seen lounging in a Belfast hotel that is frequently used by the show's cast and crew while they film in Ireland. If the rumor is indeed true, it is unclear what the actor could be doing in the country, since Sandor Clegane, his character, has always been presumed dead by a mortal wound inflicted by Gwendoline Christie's Brienne of Tarth during a duel in season four.
Now that we come to think, however, The Hound's death has always been taken for granted, as the show and the books never really showed him taking his last breath. The last time we saw Clegane, he lay dying on the side of a hill, where Arya Stark left him, refusing to give him the mercy of a quick death. And yet we never really saw The Hound die.
If you don't like spoilers, best you stop reading here. You might actually hate us too much already just by seeing the headline, so move along now if you don't want us ruining the entire season six for you. Now, for those of you who can't wait to find out what next season has in store—because who can wait an entire year to find out what happens to our favorite high-born sons and daughters of the lords and ladies of the Seven Kingdoms?—here's some interesting tidbit that might explain McCann's presence in Belfast.
In George R.R. Martin's fourth book, A Feast for Crows, The Hound was wounded by men of Gregor Clegane, a.k.a. The Mountain, his brother, not Brienne. Instead, a popular fan theory, one that will no doubt gain more proponents in the coming weeks, posits that Brienne might have seen The Hound disguised as a grave digger for a monastery for a brotherhood of The Faith.
While speaking to the monastery's Elder Brother, Brienne spots a grave digger whose face was concealed by a scarf. She notices that the man was larger than most of the brothers at the monastery and is certainly larger than Brienne. He also appears to have a limp, the same one that The Hound suffered at the hands of The Mountain's Men. Moreover, the Elderly Brother himself says he came across Clegane as he lay dying on the hillside, but he never really categorically said that The Hound had died.
The theory goes on to say that The Hound lives for the sole and epically fantastic purpose of fighting his brother in Cersei Lannister's trial by combat. It is known that Cersei has chosen Robert Strong, believed to be a reanimated version of The Mountain, as her champion, and while The Faith has not yet named a champion, the theory points out that Sandor could be chosen to fight his brother to death in what could be Game of Thrones' most sought after fight ever, which, by the way, already has its own name—Cleganebowl.
Then again, McCann could only be there for the flashbacks, which are believed to make up a good portion of the upcoming season, with the casting of veteran actor Max von Sydow as the Three-Eyed Raven to mentor Bran Stark. Or he could just be there to film his funeral, but since he no longer had friends to give him a proper burial, who would bother giving him one? Better for The Hound to be still alive so that it's Cleganebowl for all of us.