Remember when everybody thought Ian McShane would be responsible for bringing Jon Snow back to life on Game of Thrones because he kept hinting that his character would bring another back? They were wrong, it was Melisandre (Carice van Houten) who revived the dear Lord Commander, but McShane wasn't lying about having a hand in bringing a character back: it was Sandor Clegane aka The Hound (Rory McCann).
The Hound was living life away from violence, but death and bloodshed found him once again. According to co-executive producer Bryan Cogman, the character was always going to return, it was just a question of how.
"Ian McShane is a New Age ex-warrior with a painful history of violence, and he's found his own flock trying to rebuild their lives. He sees Sandor as a candidate. He recognizes in Sandor a bit of himself. The Hound, apart from being grateful, starts to open up to him. He's the first and only friend he's ever had in his life. And that was an interesting relationship to explore," Cogman explained to EW. "The scenes have a light touch and gentleness and humanity and humor that you don't find on the show – then the raiders ride in. The Hound is few miles away chopping wood and they come back and slaughter everybody, pushing him back into the cycle of violence."
The return of The Hound followed the not-so-surprising revival of Jon Snow (Kit Harington) and the shocking reappearance of Edmure Tully (Tobias Menzies).
McShane's time on Game of Thrones generated a lot of headlines, but was pretty short. One and done (as of now).
"It was one episode, for a start, which is why I wanted to do it. Obviously he's going to die. But when I read it, it's nice. It's like he's holding an improvised meeting—not Alcoholics Anonymous, but Murderer's Anonymous. He's an ex warrior who's grown tired of the murdering life and trying to lead another kind of life. But I think my main use was to re-introduce a character people thought was long gone and who needed some humanity," McShane told EW. "The Hound has not been shown much humanity in his life, and he gets a little from Brother Ray and carries that forward into his character, which makes it more interesting for those who watch him. Also, my daughter, who's an avid watcher of the show, was like, ‘Oh, The Hound! That will be good!'"