Ian McShane and The Hound’s storyline in the most recent episode of Game of Thrones was a departure for both the show and the books. For show-only fans, seeing a hippie commune filled with smiling people spouting peaceful proverbs felt wildly out of place. It was as jarring as it would be to see a Game of Thrones style battle would be on a family sitcom. For book fans, The Hound’s return wasn’t a surprise, but it was shocking to see his fellows chatting happily. After all, the book basis for the sequence takes place on The Quiet Isle.
Like the show, it’s a peaceful refuge from the harsh outside world, and it’s filled with men who follow the faith of the Seven. As you might have surmised from its name, they live under a vow of silence.
But unlike Arthur Dayne’s one-sword to two-sword change, which book fans were rather salty about, this tweak makes sense.
On the page, The Hound is known as The Gravedigger, a silent man who wears a cloak obscuring his face. While the reveal would have been dramatic in the show, filming his legs and cutting his face had the same effect. And while a community taking a vow of silence sounds good in theory and works nicely in a book, it would be much harder to convey The Hound’s changed attitude if he had no dialogue.
Plus, what kind of world would silence Ian McShane?
Tweaking the Quiet Isle in favor of Ian McShane’s hippie commune will go down in Game of Thrones history as arguably the most sensible book-to-show change.