Inside Game Of Thrones Arya and the Hound extract

Read an exclusive extract from Inside HBO’s Game Of Thrones Seasons 3 & 4

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“Hate’s as good a thing as any to keep a person going. Better than most.”

—The Hound

Since their escape from the Brotherhood Without Banners, Arya Stark (Maisie Williams) has been an unwilling captive of Sandor Clegane, the Hound (Rory McCann). The dynamic between the brutal warrior and the young fugitive changes after they witness the carnage of the Red Wedding, and the Hound becomes determined to take Arya to Lysa Arryn at the Eyrie, hundreds of miles away, so that he can claim her ransom.

As they make their way across the countryside, Arya and the Hound face the challenges of a land beset by war, bandits, pillagers, and enemy soldiers around every corner. The Hound begins to appreciate Arya’s determination to seek vengeance on those who have wronged her, and he starts to foster her talents as a killer. Meanwhile, Arya begins to experience sympathy for Sandor Clegane as she learns more about his history and motivations. This presents something of a problem—since the Hound’s name is part of Arya’s ritual prayer list of those she wants dead.

DAVID BENIOFF AND D. B. WEISS (CO-EXECUTIVE PRODUCERS AND WRITERS): There are no scenes we more enjoyed writing, shooting, and watching than these. Maisie and Rory are operating on a level that begs for a spin-off show. Unfortunately, given how this season ends, this will be difficult. But the biggest testament to their work over this season is the devastating sadness their final scene leaves you with. You wouldn’t feel the way you feel at the end of that scene if these characters hadn’t found a place in your dark, pitiless heart.

The Hound shows Arya how to be the person she needs to be. Of course, these lessons do change her. They’re brutal lessons. But her experience has been brutal as well. For all the horrible things the Hound does, he’s not the person who tore Arya’s life apart. Well, except the butcher’s boy. But you know, sometimes a butcher’s boy just has to go.

RORY MCCANN (SANDOR CLEGANE): When the Hound sees Arya acting on her own, there’s a feeling that he is watching over her and monitoring her progress. He doesn’t seem to mind these side missions of hers, instead offering pointers and asking for advance warning. It’s quite amusing in a way—like she’s taking a master class in assassination.

BRYAN COGMAN (CO-PRODUCER AND WRITER): Rory’s big and tough and intimidating, but what makes his Hound so compelling is that sadness, that weariness in his eyes. Rory has become frighteningly good at the Hound’s mood swings—going from vulnerable and almost tender to wild, terrifying, and dangerous. He sort of sneaks up on the viewer as a major character and really comes into his own in seasons three and four.

MAISIE WILLIAMS (ARYA STARK): Toward the end of season three, I think Arya realizes that she has to make a choice about survival. Arya is safer with the Hound than she would be without him, despite the fact she hates him. Later on in season four, I think she starts to understand that her perspective has been quite tunneled, and as she begins to follow the Hound’s advice, she becomes quite ruthless herself.

RORY MCCANN (SANDOR CLEGANE): There are echoes, in an odd way, of Arya’s relationship with her father, Ned, and his encouragement of her desire to fight. What’s interesting is the fact that she has been completely honest about her inclusion of the Hound’s name in her prayer, but he continues to look after her. There’s definitely something about her honesty and bluntness that he likes, because she manages to get him to talk about the scars his brother gave him. I doubt he’s ever opened up before. I doubt he was ever asked.

Inside HBO’s Game of Thrones: Seasons 3 & 4, by C.A. Taylor, David Benioff, D. B. Weiss, and George R. R. Martin, is published by Gollancz on the 6th of November 2014, Hardback £20/ eBook £10.99. Keep up with the latest genre news with the latest issue of SciFiNow.