Game of Thrones just sent out press releases for the fifth and sixth episodes of its new season. And even though the year-long not-quite mystery of Jon’s return has been answered, there’s still no mention of the newly resurrected Lord Commander in sight. His plotline remains dark and full of terrors. There is, however, a tantalizing hint of a return as exciting as Jon’s: Sandor Clegane, aka The Hound.
We last saw The Hound get his ass kicked by Brienne in an epic fight at the end of Season 4. She brought it up just last episode to Sansa, when she inquired about her sister and Brienne told her about seeing Arya with “a man.” Considering how distinctive looking he is and how small the community of fighters, knights, and sellswords is, Brienne should know he’s not just “some guy.”
Arya left him for dead after the fight, but it didn’t happen onscreen. In the rules of TV, that means he’s fair game to still be alive.
Episode 5 will be called “The Door,” and does not suggest anything about The Hound. But to satisfy your curiosity, here’s its description.
Now, onto The Hound.
Episode 4 will have the ominous title “Book of the Stranger.” Recall that in the faith of The Seven, [The Stranger](http://awoiaf.westeros.org/index.php/Stranger_(the_Seven) is the mysterious cloaked god who leads the dead into the land beyond, like a more terrifying combination of Hermes and Charon.
Coincidentally, the Quiet Isle — a refuge for worshippers of The Seven — is where The Hound will probably be nursed back to health after his offscreen non-death at the end of Season 4. We know this because of a plot point in the books, in which an unnamed character who hides his face and matches The Hound’s description is on the Quiet Isle. We also know it because of new Season 6 cast member Ian McShane’s loose lips.
“I bring back a much-loved character everybody thinks is dead,” McShane said in an interview prior to Season 6. When pressed if it was The Hound or Jon Snow, he said, “It’s not the latter, it might be the former.”
Recall also that The Hound’s horse is named “Stranger.”
Episode 4 is the one, guys. The next best not-quite-dead character in Westeros is about to make a comeback. What will Arya say?