As far as Game of Thrones characters go, Rory McCann’s Sandor “The Hound” Clegane is known for being brutal, gruff, and generally unfeeling — not exactly the kind of companion you’d choose for a road trip. Poor Arya Stark didn’t get much of a choice, though, when she was taken hostage last season after trying to hunt down a group of Lannister soldiers in hopes of getting revenge for her father’s death.
Over the course of three seasons, we’ve gotten to see a bit of the humanity that exists underneath The Hound’s hard exterior, and season 4 — premiering this Sunday — will unearth even more about the character. EW spoke to McCann recently to find out about what he could tease regarding Thrones‘ upcoming episodes, his relationship with Arya, and more.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: So, what can you tease for fans about this upcoming season, both for your character and the series in general?
RORY MCCANN: I haven’t really looked at other storylines, to be totally honest, because there’s been so much going on with my own. That sounds like the usual selfish actor stuff, but it’s just the way it is. All I can say is, for my character, I’m with Arya for this journey, and it’s just going to be this road trip that’s just going to be crazy. It’s going to be like Scooby-Doo and Scrappy-Doo, leaving a trail of death and destruction behind. I’ve seen a bit of it, and you’ll be surprised how much there is of comedy, as well. But there’s a great storyline, great road trip, and as for the show, it’s bigger and better and I’ve still got the bruises to prove it. [laughs]
In the books, and in the show as well, The Hound has some of the most prominent character growth. Do we get to see more of that in season 4?
Yes. It’s the first time, I think, that The Hound is going to reveal his colors a little bit — you’re going to really see what makes him tick. We know he’s damaged goods, we know there’s a few layers to him, he’s carrying around a lot of anger with him and he’s got the scars to prove it. But he’s kind of on his own journey, so he’s going to reveal a lot, and probably in interactions with Arya, he’s going to come out and explain what makes him tick. I think the viewers will like that. It’s taken him four years to come out and say, “this is the way I am, this is the reason.” I think the idea was to bring in my character a bit slower, and that’s what happened.
Out of this huge cast, you’ve obviously spent the most time working with Maisie Williams. How has that relationship grown and changed since the first season?
It’s great. I mean, I’m the sort of the daft one on set, the goofy one, and she’s the one that keeps me in shape. She tells me, “it’s not that line,” and, “the reason we’re here is because…” The storylines are all over the place, and we don’t do it in that timeline, so she keeps me in check. Gets me into trouble, though! [laughs] It’s quite funny. But she’s great, it’s just been great working with her — she’s fantastic.
Your chemistry with each other really helps sell the relationship between these two characters who have such dislike towards each other, but have to learn to more or less live with it because of the situations that have occurred.
There’s this relationship forming now, and you’re going to see The Hound offering skills to survive and stuff. She’s going to be sometimes a student. We’re arguing the whole way through, it’s going to be very entertaining.
Was there a particular scene that you enjoyed filming, or that was your favorite of the season?
Further on in a few episodes, there’s going to be the biggest fight I’ve ever seen. It’s going to go on for so long, you wouldn’t believe. There’s going to be so much blood and guts, and I can’t wait for everyone to see it. There’s going to be some right shockers — people wouldn’t even imagine what’s going to happen. It’s funny how the fans think they know what’s going to happen, and then there’s going to be a right angle turn, and they’re going to either think it’s great or go, “What the hell is going on?”
Have you read the books? Do you keep up on your character?
I do. I keep in touch just enough to help me.
In The Hound’s opinion, who would be best suited for the throne?
I want to see Tyrion on the throne. I believe in him, I think he’s sharp, and he’s got balls. I think he’s got character. I think The Hound respects him as well. So bring on Tyrion! He’s our man.
Game of Thrones premieres April 6 at 9 p.m. ET on HBO.