Game of Thrones Warning – if you haven’t seen the first episode of season seven, look away now…
“You’re not fooling anyone with that topknot.”
The relationship between Sandor Clegane and Thoros of Myr is interesting, to say the least. I’ve just encountered some criticism online that the Hound’s vision in the flames doesn’t feel like Game of Thrones.
But… but… the exact same situation occurred a few seasons ago with Stannis and Melisandre. She used her magic, or acted as a conduit for the Lord of Light, maybe, to show him a vision in the flames. It was a major part of the tragedy that was Stannis’ character arc.
The Red Priests do this thing where they latch onto someone they see as critical to the future and guide them. Kinvara is doing a similar thing, albeit more at an arm’s length, with Daenerys, by preaching about her across Essos. Of course, it was Melisandre’s guidance that led Stannis to his death, but she was trying it again with Jon Snow until Davos called her out for murdering Shireen. It’ll be interesting to see where she shows up next in the series – perhaps at Dragonstone to adopt Daenerys, or maybe at King’s Landing to adopt Queen Firestarter herself, who’s already made mortal enemies of anyone who follows the Seven?
Thoros is doing this ‘trusted advisor’ thing with the Hound, and has also been doing it with Beric Dondarrion as well. He may not be as cold and ruthless about it as Melisandre, and he may have developed a far more humane outlook on life since he wound up with the Brotherhood Without Banners, but he’s still a devout Red Priest of the Lord of Light and he’s still working towards the same goal as Melisandre – the eventual defeat of the ‘darkness’ (presumably The Night King).
Game of Thrones is well onto the closing arc of its story, and narrative tropes that seemed to be consistently averted in earlier seasons (if you judge each season as a standalone piece, rather than as chapters in a larger book) are coming back into play.
Narratively, Sandor Clegane/The Hound still has an important role in the story. No one has more narrative right to kill Gregor Clegane/The Mountain than he does, not least for Gregor being the one who held his little brother’s face into a fire. Sandor’s pyrophobia has been a constant part of the character (remember what prompted his desertion at Blackwater?), and was flagged up again during the scene in which he has his vision. To close that arc, he’ll have to kill Gregor.
And how will anyone (Jaime, for example) kill Cersei without the Mountain being out of the way?
Cersei needs removing before the Seven Kingdoms can defend themselves against the Night King, because she’s threatening war against the North, which is where the battle with the White Walkers is going to happen. Thus, it serves the Lord of Light for her to be defeated. (And if Melisandre gets another karmic comeuppance for siding with the wrong monarch and helping bring them to their doom by isolating them from any allies they might have, all the better.)