Game of Thrones has not suffered from a shortage of hardened warriors, but the Clegane brothers may be without equal in terms of brutality, might, and an almost completely unyielding desire to survive. Despite their similarities, though, the brothers have long been on the opposite sides of the spectrum. And as winter bears down, is there any doubt that these two will be pulled into an epic battle with each other? We’re almost certain that it’s going to happen, but the real question is: Who is more likely to win The Clegane Bowl?
To decide, we let two of our writers debate the topic in the spirit of Dewcision 2016. Here’s where they netted out:
Okay, so he beheaded a horse, laid waste to the Riverlands, brutally tortured prisoners, and crushed the head of Oberyn Martell, and that was all before he became some kind of Westerosi version of Frankenstein’s monster. For years, Gregor ‘The Mountain’ Clegane was Tywin Lannister’s most effective military asset, not just because of his size, but his “talent for violence,” as he used to call it. Now, after his makeover by Qyburn, he’s somehow gotten even bigger, stronger, and more effective at murdering people.
Sure, his brother, Sandor, better known as The Hound, has a significant amount of size and strength himself, along with all that animosity towards his brother, but the new-and-improved Mountain is not only effortlessly destructive, he does it with startling efficiency. Whether it’s bashing a drunk against a wall, or taking an ax to the chest before laying to waste a couple members of the Faith Militant, he does it all with such dutiful nonchalance that it’s terrifying to wonder what he’s got in store when someone actually challenges him.
At this point, both Clegane brothers seem virtually indestructible, but The Mountain is a walking science experiment, and The Hound is a man who seems to have found a new purpose in the world. Neither of these men have ever strayed from violence. In fact, both of them spent a hefty chunk of their respective lives reveling in it, but while The Mountain just seems to plain love crushing skulls, The Hound has a deeper connection to his capacity for killing, in part because his own origin story is derived from the cruelty of his big (Very Big) brother. And that hate is what gives him a clear edge over mindless muscle of The Mountain… even if he does have a size and power disadvantage.