Sibling rivalry, one of the central tenets of all good story lines and one very close to the watchability stakes of Game of Thrones.
As the eighth and final season nears, we’ve seen the Stark sisters grow from aggy little girls into murderous and Machiavellian political geniuses; we’ve seen Theon Greyjoy hit on his sister; let’s not even go into what those Lannisters have been up to.
Westeros may be a world away but nothing touches our hearts like a dysfunctional family dynamic. HBO really have turned this into a multi-billion dollar business.
So as the story comes to a close, the proof of character development really is in the hot pie, as fans salivate over the possibility of Cleganebowl actually happening.
In case you’ve accidentally clicked on here and are thinking ‘what’s a Cleganebowl when it’s at home?’ then let me fill you in.
Sandor ‘The Hound’ and Gregor ‘The Mountain’ Clegane are estranged brothers. Originally both lackeys of the Lannisters, their animosity to each other was first pointed out in season one, episode four, that when they were children Gregor deformed his little brother’s face with a burning brazier for playing with one of his toys.
Skip forward six and a bit seasons and much has changed.
Sandor, once the bodyguard to King Joffrey Baratheon, has proved he’s not just a heartless child killer (RIP the butcher’s boy), by denouncing the Lannisters, helping Arya Stark on her journey back to Winterfell, getting over his fear of fire in a fight to the death with Beric Dondarrian of the Brotherhood without Banners, and helping bring a white walker back from beyond The Wall.
The Mountain, on the other hand, has stayed loyal to Cersei Lannister. Evolving from a huge bloke you really wouldn’t want to get into a fight with, to a somewhat undead bloke you wouldn’t want to get into a fight with after his epic and skull crushing Trial By Combat with the Viper.
He was brought back to life using somewhat unorthodox methods by Maester Qyburn which has left him ‘changed’. Alive, dead, undead, whatever you want to call him, he’s one of Westeros’ most intimidating fighters.
As we reached the end of season seven, and The Hound returning alongside Jon Snow to King’s Landing with proof of white walkers, the younger Clegane gave his older brother an ominous message:
Remember me? Yeah, you do. You’re even fucking uglier than I am now. What did they do to you? Doesn’t matter.
That’s not how it ends for you, brother. You know who’s coming for you. You’ve always known.
And if that recap isn’t enough to get your pulse pumping, then take a look at the special edition covers from Entertainment Weekly.
They’ve come up with 16 different cover shots (genius move, marketing department), but it’s the one featuring the Cleganes which suggests we’re finally going to get what we want: a brutal, bloody, brotherly battle – aka Cleganebowl.
Thrones fans on Twitter have accordingly got excited:
— James Hibberd (@JamesHibberd) March 4, 2019
This is happening and the hound will win!
— Captain_confused (@Captain_of_alts) March 5, 2019
— Kyle Butler (@Inglorious1995) March 5, 2019
I’m geeking the fuck out. Oh my god. Winterfell will fall.
— stillphill (@stinkuslinkus) March 4, 2019
Add to all this the trailer for the final season, where I’m sure that’s The Hound about to square up:
If these two don’t end up going toe-to-toe, the Night King can take Westeros for all I care.
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Tim Horner is a sub-editor at UNILAD. He graduated with a BA Journalism from University College Falmouth before most his colleagues were born. A previous editor of adult mags, he now enjoys bringing the tone down in the viral news sector.