This "Game of Thrones" Fan Theory Shows Why Cleganebowl Is Inevitable Next Season

Photo credit: Helen Sloan/courtesy of HBO
Photo credit: Helen Sloan/courtesy of HBO

From Esquire

Warning: This article contains spoilers for Season Seven of Game of Thrones.

Sunday's Game of Thrones Season Seven finale saw a long-anticipated reunion between brothers Sandor "The Hound" Clegane and Gregor "The Mountain" Clegane, whose epic staredown might have hinted at one fan theory finally coming true. Season Eight might bring anything from Cersei and Jaime's death to the birth of a Targaryen baby. But what fans have really been asking for is Cleganebowl, the ultimate face-off between these rival brothers.

So, why exactly are the Clegane brothers enemies? As the Hound tells Arya, when they were children, Sandor was playing with one of Gregor's toys without his permission. Without warning, Gregor decided to punish Sandor for this by shoving his face into a blazing bowl of fire, and he only stopped after several servants pried him away from his younger brother. The incident not only left the Hound with severe burns on the right side of his face but also left him deeply traumatized, resulting in his intense fear of fire to this day and his unending hatred for the Mountain.

But one fan theory suggests that might not be the whole story. While it's entirely fitting of the Mountain's character to have gone into a wordless rage without thinking about it, something doesn't quite add up. Reddit user 440k believes that the Hound may have actually said something to his brother to offset this seemingly unpredictable behavior. Earlier in Season Seven of the show, the Hound looked into a fire and saw the White Walkers marching past the wall, something nobody else around him could see.

So far, only Melisandre, the Red Priestess of the Lord of Light under the religion of R'hllor, has been seen to possess this "firesight," which only followers of R'hllor are capable of having. And, even when Melisandre is having a vision, it takes her more than a few seconds to actually see something the way the Hound did. So why is the Hound capable of having these visions?

As the Reddit theory suggests, it's possible that the Hound has always had some kind of "firesight," and may have even seen something about his brother in the flames when they were children. "Sandor saw his brother's death in the fire, and told him of it," the Reddit user suggests. "Gregor became enraged at the thought of his death and so he pushed Sandor into the fire he was reading."

Not only would it make more sense why a fire was Gregor's weapon of choice in that moment, but it also explains Gregor's rage at the time. Shoving your brother's face in a burning fire because he's playing with one of your toys already seems wildly irrational, even for the Mountain, but shoving your brother's face in a burning fire because he said he just witnessed your death and described it to you in detail might be a little more justifiable.

This theory is further supported by the Hound's interaction with the Mountain in the Season Seven finale. "What did they do to you?" the Hound asks after he sees his brother's face. "Doesn't matter. That's not how it ends for you brother. You know who's coming for you. You've always known."

This scene seems to suggest the Clegane brothers both know something about the Mountain's death in the future. What exactly they were talking about is up for debate, but one possibility is that the Hound was referring to his vision of his brother's death in the fire that he saw when they were children, which he references as a threat for the future and a testimony to their hatred for each other. This scene might have also simply been the Hound warning the Mountain that he's coming for him and always has been because of their mutual hatred for each other.

If the Hound is capable of having these visions, there's no saying what role he might play in Season 8. Either way, after that last interaction in King's Landing, there's almost no denying that Cleganebowl is happening, and it will be a fight to the death. Place your bets now, because the Clegane brothers are not messing around.

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