As Brother Ray discovered during their therapy sessions, Sandor Clegane is not the most talkative fellow around. Thankfully, Rory McCann is more open to talk things out… though, as you’ll learn, he isn’t above telling fans to “fuck off,” apparently to their delight. If you have watched the latest trailer, you might have noticed the Hound fighting in the snow, and McCann has a few things to say on season seven filming on Iceland.
There is also an interview with Gemma Whelan, who discussed Yara’s journey so far and what’s to come, including action scenes and the ironborn’s new path under her rule.
Daily Record chatted with McCann about everything from his famous fight with Brienne to workplace injuries, though he did clarify they were the fault of his fun-loving side: “I’ve been limping for two or three months to be honest,” the Scottish actor began, before admitting: “But the main injury was my shoulder over-stretching throwing too many snowballs in between takes in Iceland and I’m not getting any sympathy for that.”
What is the Hound doing in Iceland? We have him fighting alongside many other warriors in a frozen environment, which is probably dangerous, but McCann wouldn’t be happier, as he lived in Iceland for a year working as a carpenter, before Game of Thrones. There’s also that, despite the freezing cold at the glaciers and the many snowball-related injuries, he found a way to make it all easier, and you’re not gonna believe it: Rory McCann, who plays various instruments, and some co-stars started a band, “The Brotherhood Without Banjos,” which should give you an idea of the actors involved:
“It was really great,” McCann described. “We had five or six of the actors all playing. We brought musical instruments with us, yeah it was good, good fun.” And that wasn’t the end of it: “I had to sing for my supper a few times in Seville (where the show also filmed), playing piano and stuff.” I must say, this man really is talented! Is he a man of words, too? Depending on who you ask and what they’re into: “I mean you just get people shouting out, ‘Hey you’re the Hound’ and I tell them to ‘fuck off’ and they seem happy and I carry on.” I kind of want him to tell me to ‘fuck off,’ is that weird? I think that’s weird.
As for what we can expect from the Hound in season seven, aside from the knowledge that behind the scenes Sandor was jamming with the Brotherhood, McCann is more tight-lipped: “I can feel your frustration already because we can’t tell too much but I’m sore from killing things – or was it just chopping wood?”, he jokingly teased, before addressing the rumors he will save Westeros from the White Walkers: “Really? Nah.”
Alongside Gemma Whelan, McCann also sat with Stuff and discussed Sandor’s journey further: “It’s getting colder … Most of our scenes, if they haven’t been in a blizzard, have been pretend blizzards. We have been lip reading to each other most of the season because there is a fan going wheeeee and someone throwing snow in my face.”
“There was a feeling that he was coming to peace with himself,” he said about Sandor’s inward journey: “It only lasted an episode and suddenly he’s got an axe in his hand and he’s chopping people’s heads off so that was a fleeting thing. He was left with the question, ‘Do you want to join the Brotherhood Without Banners and fight this evil that is coming our way or do you want to carry on down that road with your axe and your rage?’ I won’t tell you which path I took if you don’t mind. It will be worth the wait.”
“Most people realise I think, The Hound, he’s not a bad guy,” Mccan told Stuff. “He’s damaged goods but he’s sometimes morally doing the right thing. You’ve seen in the past The Hound guarding with his life the Stark girls and trying to keep them safe and maybe that’s to do with his past, of being bullied by his big brother and that kind of thing.”
Gemma Whelan, meanwhile, isn’t as keen on action scenes as McCann. Reportedly, she used an actual axe for some stunts until her excessive force made that untenable:
“When you learn the fighting choreography you learn it in a huge tent, by yourself, on a load of mats with no other people around, and do it very slowly and you take it step by step. But one of the really important things that I didn’t get taught was pulling, so that when you go in to hit somebody you don’t actually hit them. You almost but then pull.”
“And for some reason, I’d either not clocked that or hadn’t been taught it and so I was really whacking people. I was given a rubber axe to start with and then they thought because I was a dancer I was quiet coordinated, I had a good awareness of space, they gave me a real axe. They said, ‘I think you’ll be alright with this because the lads have got protection on and stuff.’ They called action and we had one take of this scene in this really confined space with everything going nuts and I nearly killed a Liverpudlian man and they took it off me very quickly and said, ‘It’s not going to work for us.'”
“The fight scenes are enormous fun to do, but they need such respect and precision and often you are not given a great deal of training because there is not time,” she lamented.
It’s not all about fighting, however. At least, not since she signed up with Daenerys and agreed to “no more reaving, roving, raiding, or raping” from her people, which would mean completely changing the ironborn’s traditional way of life: “It’s a great testament to her ability to be open minded about how she needs to change in order to move on. She really has a great idea about taking care of the whole, the bigger picture, and not just taking care of herself even though she’s gone about it in her own unique way.”
I hope she’s right, because if the ironborn can’t keep up with the times they will be left behind. In a way, they already are. Is Yara their last hope for relevance, or even survival?