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The Hound, The Mountain and the Red Priestess, Gregor and Sandor Clegane and Melisandre.

Updated on June 9, 2013

Game of Thrones Minor Characters

Although they do not belong to the ruling noble houses, and they play smaller roles, the minor characters in Game of Thrones, such as the brothers Gregor and Sandor Clegane and the Red Priestess Melisandre are as colourful as the Lannisters and the Targaryens. The Song of Ice and Fire series is so full of houses, sigils, free city foreigners that it is difficult to keep track of all the personalities and motivations. In addition viewers of the HBO series who have not read the book, are deprived of some of the background information which could not find place in the 10 TV episodes to which each book has been reduced. Below is the background on three minor characters in season 2.

The sigil of House Clegane
The sigil of House Clegane | Source

The House Clegane

The House Clegane is a minor house in the Westlands that is a vassal of the Lannisters. The founder was the Lannister kennelmaster who was knighted and given some land, after he saved Tytos (father of Tywin) Lannister’s life during a lion attack. The sigil, three black dogs on a yellow background represents the dogs that died during the attack. The current head of the house is Gregor Clegane.

Gregor Clegane, the Mountain

Although steroid abuse does not seem very likely in the medieval setting of the series Gregor has all the signs of a serious user. He is enormous, almost 8 foot tall, extremely heavy and solid muscle. He is supernaturally strong, capable of beheading his stallion in one swing, and is generally referred to as “the Mountain that Rides”.

His temperament is equally worrying, he seems to enjoy extreme bloody violence. After he kills his horse in the Hand’s tournament, he is ordered by Tywin Lannister, angered that Catelyn Tully had abducted her son, to teach the Riverlands, Cat’s father’s region, a lesson. He causes havoc, riding through villages, pillaging and raping and indulging in more beheadings with his greatsword.

Sandor Clegane, the Hound

Sandor Clegane is Gregor’s younger brother, and possibly one of his first victims. When he was only 8 years old, Gregor caught his 6 years old brother playing with one of his toys. He held the boys face to the brazier and watched it melt. Sandor burns the scars of that incident, half of his face is burnt.

Sandor Celgane hates his older brother. He considers it the hight of hypocrisy that Gregor is a knight, and has always refused to take the knight’s vows, holding the order in deep contempt. Although not as big or strong as his brother, he is a formidable swordsman and is prince Joffrey’s personal bodyguard at court. Although Joffrey treats him with contemp, frequently referring to him as “Dog”, he appears not to mind, and is blindly loyal in his duty. Because of his loyalty and his helm, in the shape of a snarling dog’s head, he is commonly known as “The Hound”.

Sandor Clegane in the Hound helmet
Sandor Clegane in the Hound helmet | Source

Sandor Clegane is a more complex character than his brother, he is definitely no white knight in shining armour (although after he joins the Kingsguard, technically he becomes a whitecloak), his blind duty to Joffrey the psychopath, ensures that we are going ‘aww how sweet’ every time he shows up on the screen. One of the first actions of the Hound, in season 1, is chasing and killing Arya’s friend, Mycah, “He ran, but not very fast”, he tells Eddard who sees him with the butcher’s boy’s body.

However, the Hound does not arouse the same hatred as his older brother, or King Joffrey. Some of this is down to the fact that his bitterness and hatefulness is understandable given his history. There is a brutal honesty to his world views, much of the time the hateful things he says are true, it is just that most people are not comfortable with that kind of clear vision, and prefer their truths sweetened with some delusions.

Of course the fascinating angle about Sandor Clegane’s character development is the relationship he develops with Sansa Stark. They are as opposite in character and outlook as it is possible to be. Sansa is full of naïve dreams of noble knights and handsome princes, when life dashes all her dreams and turns them into nightmares, she does not fight back or do anything clever, but suffers in silence, her survival strategy is to robotically repeat that Joffrey is the love of her love. Lets face the girl is a major sissy! You would expect the Hound to be full of contempt.

GRRM on the Cleganes

The Red Priestess, Melisandre

Melisandre is a very different minor character to the Clegane brothers. She is a foreigner, who has not been in King’s Landing as far as we know, and is one of the first characters in Game of Thrones, who has definite magical powers. Melisandre comes from Asshai, in the Song of Ice and Fire books it is revealed that she was sold as a slave when she was a young girl called Melony, to the Red Temple that served, the God of Light, R’hllor.

Melisandre can foretell the future from flames, and she believes that Stannis Baratheon is the Light Warrior, Azor Ahai, who will be instrumental in the fight between the God of Light and the Great Other, using the magical sword, Lightbringer. After reaching Dragonstone, she gained influence by converting Stannis’ wife, Selyse, and several of the knights to the new faith, and finally convinced Stannis Baratheon that she could help him win the Iron Throne, if he embraces R’hllor. She makes him burn the idols which symbolize the faith of the Seven, and pull out a burning sword from the flames, which she claims is Lightbringer.

The night is dark and full of terrors: Melisandre
The night is dark and full of terrors: Melisandre | Source

In a demonstration of the value of her support, Melisandre spawns a shadow assassin which kills Renly, Stannis’s brother and rival to the throne. R’hallor appears to be very enthusiastic about having people burned in his name and “For the night is dark and full of horrors” appears to be the religious incantation of his followers.


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    • kw colorado profile image

      kw colorado 

      5 years ago from colorado

      I've read all the books, but it's been awhile. Am I wrong, or is the whole interaction between Arya and Melisandre in the HBO series completely different than the books?

      It's very intriguing to suppose that Arya may assassinate Melisandre in the future, which is what the latest HBO episode implies. However, I don't think that these characters ever met in the books.

      It may be just another example of how HBO is trying to both shorten things up and add more sex and suspense.

      On the "sex" aspect, I was kind of appalled to see the last shot of "Ros", killed by Joffrey. While his character in Game of Thrones is a sick sadist, I don't recall any intimation that he actually killed anyone.

    • aa lite profile imageAUTHOR

      aa lite 

      6 years ago from London

      Thanks for your opinion Dawn. I don't hate Sansa, I just find her not very interesting. I don't particularly admire Cersei, she is power mad and immensely self-absorbed, but I do admire characters like Kat, Daenerys and especially Arya.

      They were all brought up in the same society, but they react to adversity in somewhat different ways. I feel they are far more interesting and stronger characters than Sansa.

      Society can't be blamed for everything. Ok I'm straying off topic now, but look at Scarlett O'Hara. She was surely brought up to be as "girly" as you can get, but when circumstances changed, she wasn't at all girly.

      Perhaps my impressions of her come more from reading the books than the TV series. I have to say there was the bit in Season 2 when Joffrey was getting the White Guard to beat her in the throne room and was stopped by the Imp. Tyrion then asks Sansa whether she truly wants to marry Joffrey and she replies with her usual robotic "I love Joffrey etc.", Tyrion obviously quite admires that and says "Lady Sansa, you will outlive us all".

      I have read all the books, and Sansa's circumstances change dramatically, but she is still just passively going along with whatever happens to her. However, there is always the possibility that she will end up doing something surprising and dramatic and important. Maybe she is just a late bloomer. In fact I think this is what will happen, because George RR Martin is spending a lot of time on a not very interesting character. He might be setting us up for Sansa to do something that we can all be proud of.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Sansa is a girly girl, not a "sissy". I find all the Sansa hatred misogynist in the extreme to be frank. Wooow, its such a crine to be a teenaged girl nowadays. Lets remember: in the medieval socuety in which she was raised, ALL girls were trained to be as Sansa, which is why Cersei is soooo bitter. Society as a whole failed them, and in her case, imho both of her parents failed her! Knowing that they were throwing her into a potential lion's den of danger, they never thought to try to open up her eyes/teach her better as Margaery's family does...but lets not forget, that was what I call "the training" back then: not an education, just teach the girls to be little willing robots so that they can be used as bargaining chips in the game of thrones. By their own fathers, no less! No wonder Cersei is bitter.

      And Sansa is strong, btw: she is only doing what she must in order simply to survive, just as Sandor himself told her: "give him what he wants". He is fascinated in pointnof fact with her because (as one comes to know better in the books)she trues to survive AND keep her naturally inclined-towards-kindness nature and empathy(as demonstrated with Dontos, whom she saved, btw); unlike Cersei, who just let it all mould her into the cold-hearted witch she is. So Sabsa has a woman's ourage, just like Brienne said about Cat. Not all "strength" (or courage!)derives from waving a stick around and shouting.

      Besides: she was going to KILL Joff on that battlement when he showed her Eddard's head....or don't you remember that? Not the actions of a so-called "sissy", are they? Especially one who lost her "inner wolf" along with her dire wolf, Lady.

    • aa lite profile imageAUTHOR

      aa lite 

      6 years ago from London

      You're right the Hound is a pretty interesting character. Superficially pretty nasty and hard to like, but with a lot of depth. Then there is the fact that he loves Sansha. However I would say that the eunuch Master of Whispers is a lot more interesting. He's also pretty repulsive to start with, but you end up really liking him. He seems so effeminate and weak at the beginning, but then you realise he's really strong and wise.

    • cryptid profile image


      6 years ago from Earth

      I think the Hound is one of the more intriguing characters is ASOIAF. The way he evolves through the novels keeps you guessing. George RR Martin sure doesn't let any of his characters become predictable!

    • barry1001 profile image


      6 years ago from North Wales

      Loving Game of Thrones. Really want to read the books after seeing the TV show, but just can't find the time.


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