Just when it seemed like Game of Thrones was going to end its run without the brawl to end ’em all, the HBO fantasy series used part of its second-to-last episode to ring the bell on Cleganebowl.
For those new-ish to the show (or not particularly invested in The Hound’s character arc), “Cleganebowl” refers to the long-awaited showdown between the Clegane siblings: Sandor, aka “The Hound,” and Gregor, aka “The Mountain.” Since Season 1, we’ve known that they hate each other: Sandor’s facial scars and fear of fire come from when Gregor smashed his face into a brazier when they were children, and we first witnessed them coming to blows after Loras jousted with Gregor in Season 1. The enmity continued throughout the series, with the brothers meeting up again at the Dragonpit summit in Season 7.
“Remember me?” Sandor asked at the time, staring into the eyes of his older brother, who’d been somehow resurrected by Cersei and Qyburn after Oberyn Martell’s weapon poisoned him in Season 4. “That’s not how it ends for you, brother. You know who’s coming for you. You’ve always known.”
Some fans of both the HBO series and George R.R. Martin’s books, too, have always hoped that we’d eventually see the pair come to blows — an event that came to be known as Cleganebowl. In last week’s episode (read full recap here), Arya’s exchange with The Hound on the Kingsroad seemed to tee up the fight.
ARYA | You heading to King’s Landing?
THE HOUND | I’ve some unfinished business.
ARYA | Me, too.
The fisticuffs finally began in Sunday’s episode as Gregor, Cersei and Qyburn attempted to flee the Red Keep (a result of Drogon dismantling King’s Landing building by building with Daenerys on his back). After killing Qyburn with, essentially, a flick of his wrist, Gregor waited for Cersei to skedaddle before dueling with his brother. But once the fight began, it was on.
The brothers began with swords in hand, and The Hound succeeded in knocking his brother’s helmet off his head, revealing The Mountain’s disfigured, purplish face. “Yeah, that’s you,” The Hound said. “That’s what you’ve always been.”
Unfortunately for Sandor, his upper hand was short-lived. He stabbed his brother in the stomach, but The Mountain merely ripped off his armor (including the sword that was wedged inside of it) and kept moving. He and The Hound then had a good, old-fashioned fistfight, which The Mountain seemed to win handily as he threw his brother into the wall again and again. He grabbed Sandor by the neck, choking him, then moved his hands up to Sandor’s eyes, intending to squeeze them right out of their sockets, Oberyn Martell-style.
Just when it seemed The Hound had lost the match, he used a smaller dagger — with which he’d been stabbing Gregor in the shoulder and neck repeatedly — and finally stuck it straight through The Mountain’s eye. Then, opting to finish off both himself and his brother, The Hound threw both of their bodies through a weakened stone wall, and both of them fell to their deaths in the fiery King’s Landing debris.
Video of the altercation will be added to this post as soon as it is available. In the meantime, weigh in on the kin combat via the poll below, then hit the comments to elaborate upon your thoughts!