Game of Thrones returns to the small screen this summer for the penultimate season, and fans are looking forward to all kinds of major developments as the show gears up for the final fight. Daenerys (Emilia Clarke) is finally returning to Westeros to claim the throne, and she's not to the only one coming home. Tyrion (Peter Dinklage) is also returning as the Hand of the Queen, Arya Stark (Maisie Williams) is back as a ruthless assassin, and her brother Bran Stark (Isaac Hempstead Wright) is back in the North with some newfound abilities of his own. Everything is coming together, as the survivors prepare for their final battles; for the Iron Throne, and to save Westeros from the White Walkers.
While the trailers for the season have so far put most of the focus on Jon Snow (Kit Harington) and Daenerys Targaryen, the third biggest player is the one currently sitting on the Iron Throne: Cersei Lannister (Lena Headey). Impressively, she's actually managed to stay in power since day one, despite her stay in the 'care' of the Faith Militant and her walk of shame in season 5. Now, the Evil Queen is back in the Keep, and following the death of her last child has crowned herself the Queen of the Seven Kingdoms. Fans are waiting to see if she survives season 7, but her death isn't the only major Cersei-related-event on the table. This season might also bring a throwdown that fans have been speculating about almost since the beginning: Cleganebowl.
What Is Cleganebowl?
Cleganebowl is the name coined by fans of the series to describe a probable future showdown between two of the most brutal fighters in the show: The Hound and The Mountain. The Hound is Sandor Clegane (Rory McCann), while The Mountain is Gregor Clegane (Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson). The two are brothers, but they are far from close. In fact, it was the Mountain who burned the Hound's face when the two were children, and there is no love lost between these two.
Given their history and their reputations as ruthless killers, fans have long expected to see a final fight scene between these two - one which would likely prove the end for at least one brother, and which would just be absolutely incredible to watch. These two may be heartless, but they are a lot of fun to see fighting. Who can forget the shocking moment when the Mountain burst a man's skull with his bare hands? Or when the Hound slaughtered the members of the Brotherhood Without Banners, telling one them that he was "sh*t at dying"? Seeing these two fight each other could be one of the biggest throw-downs of the series, so fans have been speculating how it could happen for a long time.
Originally, the Cleganebowl theory posited that Cersei would be brought to trial for her crimes (killing her husband, sleeping with her brother, seducing her guards, generally being evil), and that she would then demand a trial by combat. The Mountain would be her champion (as he was in a previous trial by combat), and he would go up against the Hound as the champion of the opposition. Cue massively entertaining battle.
Where Are The Cleganes Now?
At times, Cleganebowl has seemed imminent, but by the end of season 6 these two brothers are moving further away from each other than ever.
The Mountain: The Mountain was very nearly killed in season 4, when he battled Oberyn Martell (Pedro Pascal), who stabbed him with a poisoned spear. He would have died, had Cersei not turned him over to Qyburn (Anton Lesser), who took his massive body deep into the castle to perform all kinds of experiments on it. Now, he has returned - named Robert Strong in the books, but simply recognized as the resurrected Mountain in the series. FrankenMountain was brought back to a kind of life by Qyburn, and installed as a member of the Kingsguard who has taken a vow of silence. It's still not entirely clear exactly what Qyburn did to him, but from the looks of the dead skin and red eyes seen under his golden helm, FrankenMountain has gone through some stuff... and based on the Septa's screams, he's as vicious as ever.
The Hound: It looked like the Hound had met his end in season 4 as well, but like his brother, he pulled through. He was left broken and bleeding by Arya, who chose not to give him a merciful death, but was rescued by Septon Ray (Ian McShane) and nursed back to health. From there, he joined the Septon's flock, and was happily staying out of the war of the Seven Kingdoms until three rogue members of the Brotherhood Without Banners made the mistake of killing his friends. Enraged, Sandor hunted them down and slaughtered them, during which he bumped into Beric Dondarrion (Richard Dormer). At the end of the season, the Hound had agreed to join Beric and the Brotherhood, heading North to fight the White Walkers.