To Sandor, nothing is more painful than feeling useless. And desperately more than anything, The Hound needs a burden to carry. Perhaps he had naturally felt this overwhelming duty from a very young age, or perhaps it had been beaten into him. All the same, he has longed for a meaningful responsibility throughout his entire life. It is a never-ending chase, and a mentally exhausting one at that. Searching hungrily for his place in the machine, he has never been quite satisfied with himself. Over time, his consistent failure to achieve this satisfaction lead him down a spiral into a nihilistic outlook on life and the nature of the world. To others, his outlook may seem rather bleak, but the Hound considers himself one of the few people to see the world for what it truly is.
His only talent, by his own admission, is his enormous body size and his love for killing. For the Hound, a deeply internal dread of becoming a victim to the chaotic world he inhabits has manifested itself in an addiction to fighting. And to the Lannisters, this was valuable enough. In fact, valuable enough to earn him a spot as a bodyguard under Jaime Lannister's command. Before he even realized what was happening, he was years in to his position under Jaime. And by the time he submitted to his own nature and accepted what he was, he had become one of the most feared warriors in the West; House Lannister's guard dog.
'The Hound' was a name he had heard most of his life, leaving him almost unable to recognize the sound of his birth name at times. It was a nickname chosen for him to strike fear into commoners, and strip him of his humanity all the same.
Over the years, House Clegane had developed a fanatic loyalty to House Lannister. And although loyalty is a valued trait within royal circles, to the outsiders and common folk, Sandor's devotion may strike as rather severe. Although vividly remembered, past faults or wrongdoings of the family he serves are overlooked in favor of obedience. And although he may grit his teeth or curse under his breath, it is his duty to follow any order given until his last days on earth. It is his destiny to live and die like a dog. And this ability to take orders and execute them all with predatory efficiency and monstrous strength is what makes The Hound an incredibly valuable asset.
A man of little fears he may seem. However, the Hound is only a man, and with that comes a slew of terrors, mistakes and faults. He wouldn't be the one to divulge them, though. To learn the details of Sandor's history would have to be the work of an incredibly devoted investigator, as there are very few in the west who ever dared ask, and even fewer who are still living.
In the absence of activity, his mind wonders to these deep cracks of the unconscious, and scrape away at his mental wellbeing. The abusive nature of his brother is one such fear that Sandor has struggled with ever since the scalding pain of fire, a memory that is re-ignited with every passive touch to his face. Brothers united under one banner, and Gregor serving the same side with the same blood inside his very veins. And all Sandor can dream about in his wildest fantasies is draining every last drop.
The Lost Chronicles of The Hound
Part 1. The Mirror
As a child, Sandor was not blessed with innocence. Ever since he can remember, he had long been subjected to his brother's violent fits. It was not clear why Gregor had such an affinity and attraction to violence, or why his temperament was this way, but his short fuse introduced a chaos to the Clegane house that hardened Sandor for life.
As the two boys grew, and Gregor's reputation began to solidify, Sandor found it difficult to make friends. And even then, an unusually large Sandor had the startings of fierce tendencies himself. He was not one to start fights with other children, but was a furious force to be reckoned with when he found himself caught in one. However, unlike his brother, Sandor was obedient to adults. Any young boy unlucky enough to end up in a scrap with Sandor could be saved by the sharp tongue and watchful eye of his father. Over time, it became clear that the mountain was unmovable, but the hound could be reasoned with.
Navigating through a turbulent childhood, he established an affection for animals, one that would continue into his adulthood as he bonded with his rebellious black stallion, Stranger. There was no shortage of stray animals in the Westerlands, or even within the confines of the Clegane's territory. Stray cats and dogs often found their way to Sandor, who would occasionally feed them. He didn't realize that there was something within him that he was feeding, too. An ancient instinct to protect and help those that couldn't help themselves, and with each new animal he passively cared for, that instinct grew stronger. And why wouldn't he? He was strong, smart, and kinder than his brother, even if others couldn't see it.
But one day, his father killed one of the strays for mistakenly attacking him in defense of Sandor. His father demanded that his son quit feeding the animals and attracting them closer and closer to the home, Sandor obeyed. Though he was young, and the memory is fragmented, he can recall the parts of the confrontation even today. He tried protesting that the dog thought his father meant him harm, but it was over before he could blink. His father pulled the dead dog into a small cart to dump its body into the woods. Sandor looked upset, and his father gave a sympathetic smile. "Don't look so grim," he cooed, "It's only a dog."
Part 2. A Spiral
His brother's voice thundered over the two of them as they struggled on the floor desperately. There was a furious growling, cut short by small whimpers and the sound of crashing as the two boys tumbled and wrestled on the floor. This was the first time Sandor ever remembered being utterly terrified. And little did he know at the time, it was a memory that would haunt and shape him for the rest of his days. When Gregor finally overpowered him and forced his face down in the fire, he felt every last bit of love for his brother burn away along with his flesh. In a single moment, Sandor developed a debilitating fear of fire. Its unpredictable and chaotic nature reminiscent of his brother's personality, and its potential to torture and destroy everything it touched kept him awake at night-- long after his face had finally healed.
With the physical transformation, came a mental one. And the withering instinct that begged him to be everything he could was obliterated. He no longer wished to be the wooden knight he dared play with that night which earned him his scars. No, he had nothing but contempt for that naive little boy now. And here began a rift between him and his father, which grew so wide that he did not weep for his father's eventual death. And as he was further alienated by his peers for his name and disfigured face, his rage was steeled and became a core part of who he was and what he was known for.
This rage was soothed by one outlet; fighting. Aggression and skill in the art of combat soon earned him the watchful eye of the lion, and by the time he had killed his first man at the age of 17, he had been recruited by the Lannisters.
Part 3. Only a dog
By the time he was 32, there were only two times in life where Sandor had been bested. Once by his brother, when he was held over the fire screaming. And once by a nameless bunch who ambushed him and a Lannister caravan he was tasked by Jaime to escort. He was sure he'd die that day. He didn't. He wished he'd die that day, but after 3 long nights in the mud and rain, he picked himself up and trudged his injured body back to the Lannisters.
The attack happened too quickly for him to remember vividly. One moment he was riding alongside the convoy. And the next he lay on the ground bleeding, broken and fading as the surviving Lannister soldiers loomed over his body, poking and prodding.
"Leave him," one soldier broke the silence.
"He'll die." Another man commented, interrupted only by Sandor's ragged breath.
"You volunteering to pick this big fucker up and sling him over a horse?" the first soldier spoke again, sloshing through the mud back to his horse while he cleaned his bloody sword. "Leave him, It's only a dog."
Part 4. What's left?
"Don't touch me." A thunderous voice echoed, "I'm not your damn puppy." His gruff attitude was contrasted only by his slow clunky movements. He lazily pulled himself away from the woman's hands that attempted to care for a wound on his shoulder. He laid on his side instead, with his back turned towards her, staring sleepily into the dark wooded forest ahead. Unaware of his sincerity, she attempted to reach out again, softer this time. But when she touched him, he ripped away as if her hand had burned him, and scrambled to his feet.
"Did you hear me, you dumb bitch?!" He barked as he withdrew wildly away from her.
"Why are you such a monster?!" She gasped now, startled. His voice was like lightning, and it made her body tense. The woman recoiled her offer of care, and instead brought her arms and legs towards herself, curling up submissively. "I was only trying to help." she spoke calmly, but was quickly growing frantic. Still, she managed to pull herself up to her feet. "Yelling at a woman like that," she trailed off for a moment, before gathering the courage to challenge him further. "Where's your honor?"
"Honor?" The Hound condescended with a nasty sneer, and his jaw tightened. He loomed dangerously, straightening his posture to tower over her. "My brother burned it away with my fucking face."
Disoriented, and surprised by his admission, her fear manifested in a single step backward. "And what's left?"