A bold new theory about Sandor “the Hound” Clegane and Arya Stark’s relationship on Game of Thrones unites two Season 8 events that have a lot of hype: Cleganebowl and the valonqar prophecy. The unfortunate part? It hinges upon the death of Arya Stark.
This new theory comes from redditor u/redsails8, who posted their idea to the r/gottheories subreddit Monday. They claim to have just binged the entire series for the first time, predicting that Jon and Gendry will be the ones to seize the Iron Throne in the end and that Jaime Lannister is Azor Ahai. They think some kind of Baratheon-Stark partnership will run Westeros after the show is done, but the most interesting prediction here involves who kills Cersei Lannister.
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“Hound kills Cersei,” they write. “He’s the younger brother. Arya dies and her dying words are for the Hound to finish her list. Cleganebowl happens and then he kills Cersei.”
Cleganebowl refers to a hyped battle between the Hound and the Mountain, the two largest fighters in Westeros. The history of their fraternal animosity goes all the way back to childhood, when these two brothers first crossed swords briefly in Season 1. Many fans hope that before Game of Thrones ends, the Clegane brothers will fight each other to the death. Most recently, Sandor threatened Gregor in the Season 7 finale.
The Hound being the “younger brother” also refers to the valonqar prophecy given to Cersei by Maggy the Frog, who said, “When your tears have drowned you, the valonqar shall wrap his hands about your pale white throat and choke the life from you.” In High Valyrian, “valonqar” means “little brother.” Most fans assume this refers to Jaime or Tyrion Lannister, but in theory, any little brother would suffice.
If Cleganebowl does indeed happen, then it already makes a lot of sense for the Hound to win and that he would be the one to kill Cersei, but this particular twist involving Arya makes this theory more of a tearjerker.
Season 8’s second episode, “A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms,” offered us a touching scene between Arya and the Hound. He’s drinking alone atop the battlements when she finds him and they talk about how much they’ve changed over the years.
“When was the last time you fought for anyone but yourself?” Arya asks him, wondering why he’d fight for the Brotherhood and for Jon Snow when it so obviously puts him in grave danger. “I fought for you, didn’t I?” he replies, referencing when he almost died fighting Brienne of Tarth to protect Arya. Their conversation even reintroduces Arya’s infamous murder list when Beric Dondarrion shows up.
For years, Arya has lived by the motto Syrio Forel taught her, which is to always say, “Not today!” to death. Yet, in “A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms,” like everyone else, Arya keeps talking about how they’re all going to die tomorrow. It leads her to hook up with Gendry, but all of these callbacks could be setting up Arya to die at the Great Battle of Winterfell.
If Arya does die and the Hound is with her when it happens, then he’d be the perfect person to entrust her list to. Clegane has always been a listless killer (pun intended) without any real purpose in life. He’s joined the Brotherhood and Jon Snow because he’s looking for meaning. Arya’s death could be the defining moment that could do exactly that for him, especially if it gives him the singular focus of completing her list by killing Cersei and everyone who stands in his way, including his undead brother.
As much as it would hurt to lose Arya Stark this late in the game, this huge twist would give the Hound enough drive to push south to finally slay his brother and kill Cersei Lannister, ending the Game of Thrones at last.
They just have to get through the Night King first, and then they can start working on Arya’s list.
Game of Thrones Season 8 airs Sundays on HBO at 9 p.m. Eastern.