One of the most popular, fan theories surrounding the Game of Thrones universe — and oh boy there are many — is about everyone’s favorite, miserable bastard, the Hound.
[Warning: The following could contain spoilers for something that may or may not happen this upcoming season on Game of Thrones. But at least you can’t say we didn’t warn you.]
Simply referred to as Cleganebowl, the theory suggests that sometime in the near future, Sandor Clegane, otherwise known as the Hound, will take on his older, more detestable brother, Gregor “The Mountain” Clegane in a fight to the death. Remember, Gregor was the sadistic little twerp who burned Sandor’s face, giving him the fearsome burn that he’s become partially known for. Although the brothers have technically fought on the same side since then, it would be difficult to find two people who hate each other more in Westeros, which says a lot considering nearly all of Westeros is at war.
So how would this fight come to be? The answer is pretty simple: Cersei Lannister still needs to go to trial for her crimes and is certainly going to ask for a trial-by-combat. When she does, she’ll use the monstrous Mountain to take on whoever the opposing side calls up. This is the crux of the theory: Wouldn’t it be great if the Hound was called up, allowing the brothers to have the battle they’ve been aching for since they were children?
The theory, which has spun its own subreddit that boasts more than 12,000 subscribers, took a bit of a lull after the fourth season. When the Hound, accompanied by Arya Stark, runs into Brienne of Tarth, the two engage in one of the better hand-to-hand combat scenes the series’ has ever had. By the end of the battle, viewers were left under the assumption that the Hound had been defeated ... except that wasn’t the case. Toward the end of the sixth season, it was revealed that the Hound had survived. The Cleganebowl theory, for a second, was alive and well. Except for the fact that when we saw him last, he was headed north with Beric. This seemed to put a wedge in the theory, considering the Mountain was still in King’s Landing with Cersei.
This brings us to the new trailer. There’s one particular scene that has gotten everyone who believes in the Cleganebowl whispering animatedly in the bowels of the subreddit. It occurs at the 1:22 mark and showcases the Hound wielding a sword under the hot, hot heat of what appears to be King’s Landing.
The question is whether or not this alludes to the Cleganebowl? Everything we’ve seen leading up to this moment seems to imply that the theory will eventually become canon. Quite frankly, it’s the perfect way to end either the Hound or the Mountain’s story. There’s also the fact that recent set visits seem to insinuate that the Hound will be in King’s Landing this season.
If it’s going to happen — it’s looking more likely with each passing loop of that GIF — it’s going to be based on this scene. Naturally, the tight-lipped Game of Thrones cast and crew haven’t hinted at anything, so only time will tell.
Game of Thrones returns for its seventh season on July 16 at 9 p.m. ET on HBO.