(Piggybacking on this convo from earlier today, I figured now was as good a time as any to post this, as it’s been sitting in my Drafts for a while now…)
I keep thinking about the degree of the Hound’s objective “ugliness”. Is it JUST because of the scars? GRRM himself has said that, without the scars, Sandor would just be kinda “average”. But average is certainly not “ugly”, so we have to assume that at least the un-burned side of Sandor’s face isn’t exactly unpleasant to look at. So, it seems as if most of the people in the ASOIAF world judge Sandor’s looks pretty much just based on the scars; this isn’t the most compassionate race of people, after all. As so many other characters know, even the slightest shortcoming or flaw will be picked at relentlessly. (And we think OUR society is superficial!)
But I think of this in relation, of course, to Sansa, who is also guilty of calling him ugly (though not as “ugly” as Tyrion, apparently) and yet doesn’t seem too bothered by inventing a KISS between them. Indeed, she never seems outright REPULSED by him at all. She considers his scars hideous, yes, but more than anything it’s his rage and his eyes that repel Sansa. If fact, it seems as if THOSE qualities are the real deal-breaker here, not his scars.
But in terms of his overall level of attractiveness despite the scars? Yes, she calls him ugly, but compared to what? Well, this is a girl whose idea of handsome and attractive is guys like Joffrey, Loras, and Renly — the obvious ones. If she lived in our world today, she’d probably be a big fan of Justin Bieber or Zac Efron. Yawn! But as her story evolves, so do her tastes, and she becomes more accepting of those “plainer” fellows; obvious good looks don’t hold much meaning for her anymore. She’s been betrayed by the pretty boys but aided by the ugly ones. So, it’s perfectly reasonable to imagine that Sandor could very well look much like he is depicted on the TV show (though a younger version, obvs), in that he’s not “conventionally” good-looking. I can totally imagine a young girl like Sansa seeing show-Sandor and being like “ehhhh no thanks” — even while the rest of us grown-up ladies are constantly fanning ourselves, heheh — so I can see how show-Sandor would be initially seen as unattractive.
(I’ll even go on record and say that I find Rory McCann pretty “average” looking as well; I doubt I would give him a second look if not for the Hound… Let the mass-unfollowing commence!! LOL #noregrets #yolo)
Case in point: the other day, my mother (who does not watch the show but has seen plenty of my fangirly posts on Facebook) referred to the Hound as “that skanky-looking guy you like”. After getting over my initial shock and cancelling those disownment papers, I realized that her reaction was understandable; if you take him just on looks ALONE, yes, I can see where one might not be terribly impressed. But I know that if she got to know his character, she’d swoon over him just as much as I do! (She’s totally in love with Daryl from “The Walking Dead”, so this would not be a stretch, LOL.) And that’s just the point, isn’t it? Looks alone do not define Sandor Clegane — it’s his actions that endear us to him. Or, at least, what endears Sansa to him.
So, my long-winded point is, I think the show got it right in terms of Sandor’s level of attractiveness, even though the naysayers seem to think the show made him “too fuckable”(?!). Considering the Hound is supposed to be a fierce warrior and at the top of his physical game, there is plenty to find attractive about him in spite of the scars. If he’s not getting laid on a regular basis by anyone other than whores, or if nobody loves him, I am sure that’s due more to the wall of douchebaggery he has built around himself. HE is the one who has allowed his disfigurement to define him. Luckily, Sansa can see through all that, where many people wouldn’t care to even try. That’s what makes her different. And that’s why she is able to look past the scars and see the actual (desirable) person underneath.
As a final note, and I’m sure many of you have already seen this, but here are some pics of the Sandor Clegane bust created several years ago by Valyrian Resin; reportedly, GRRM himself lent his guidance with these creations, and from what I understand he even instructed the artists to make Sandor “more handsome”(!!). So, we can probably safely assume that this comes closest to GRRM’s actual vision of the Hound.
So, yeah, scars aside, not a shabby looking fellow! Not hard for me to imagine Sansa growing to find him appealing, especially after all they have been through together.