In S4E8 of Game of Thrones, the Hound and Arya finally reach the Eyrie and are informed of Lady Arryn's death.

In S4E10, Brienne finds Arya and the Hound ten miles away from the Eyrie, leaving.

Why would the Hound not have left Arya at the Eyrie?

I understand that they don't realize that Sansa is inside, but even still: the hound was looking for someone to ransom Arya to, and even though Lady Arryn is dead her son is still Arya's cousin, and Littlefinger is incredibly sympathetic to the Starks due to his relationship with their mother...?

The Hound tells Brienne that "no-where is safe" for Arya, but surely the Eyrie would at least be sympathetic and allow them reprieve and shelter? Clegane must know this; his brothers cruelty towards him was a violation of the very blood-debt that every other family in Westeros displays, so he's surely aware of the obligation to shelter Arya?

I've looked on the web for answers, and so far none have been satisfactory. Even the New York Observer drops a bollock, claiming they never declared Arya's name at the gate so they left whilst they were still anonymous, which is patently untrue.

I'm reading the intended sequence of events as:

They were at the gates of a fortress, declared their name and intentions, and were told that their audience could not be granted because Lady Arryn was dead. Clegane decided the Eyrie would not be safe, so walked away.


having announced their identities, one of whom being the highest valued fugitive in Westeros; if the Eyrie was hostile, wouldn't Clegane have expected them to chase him, or arrest him? doesn't the absence of this reaction indicate sympathy, neutrality or at least indifference? where was the threat?

Was there a real, solid reason why Sandor Clegane wouldn't enter the Eyrie, or is this just to serve the plot and provide a pretext for them to become transient again?

  • Well, maybe first and foremost because she probably just didn't want to. But I see that this doesn't need to stop The Hound from still leaving her for ransom. Other than that, while the houses might be sympathetic, Lady Arryn is the only real connection between them and neither did they know that Lord Baelish was there at all. Sure, such things could be acquired by a short conversation with the gatekeeper/lords there, but they might have just immediately turned around, disillusioned by the repeated destruction of all the possible save havens. But I don't have a clear answer either.
    – Napoleon Wilson
    Jun 19, 2014 at 10:52
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    'just immediately turned around, disillusioned by the repeated destruction of all the possible save havens'... this is my problem with its plausibility, right here. There is nothing to indicate that the Eyrie is no longer safe, is there? certainly not from the guards reactions. They must have literally turned on their heels without asking a single question, as any further conversation would have revealed that the Eyrie was safe. I just don't get it, after travelling all that way; to give up so easily... Jun 19, 2014 at 12:04
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    Yeah - I wondered this too. Of course Littlefinger's motives are somewhat hard to follow - he's not sympathetic to the Starks as a whole, he happily betrayed Ned when it suited him. He has designs on Sansa mostly because she's heir apparent to Winterfell. Its plausible that even if he'd been informed of their presence at the gate, he might have turned them away to keep Sansa isolated. Even that isn't really plausible, as I don't think he would ignore an asset like Arya - he would either "rescue her" from the Hound, kill her or something where he keeps her under his control.
    – iandotkelly
    Jun 19, 2014 at 14:36
  • Going from Arya's aunt, who grew us with her mom, to an unbalanced cousin who barely knows her mom and only vaguely is aware of Arya's existence. Ransom probability and amount drops precipitously. Think the Hound properly assessed his chances of getting paid vs finding trouble, in the absence of knowing Sansa was there. Aug 5, 2016 at 17:49

5 Answers 5


It's never spelled out in the show (and the incident never happened in the books) so we are left to speculate. We also need to remember that there were two people here (Arya and Sandor) and they might have different reasons for doing what they did.

Possible Sandor motives:

  • His initial desire was to ransom Arya back to her family. Robb and her mother died in the Red Wedding. Sansa is missing, whereabouts unknown. Bran and Rickon are presumed dead. Jon Snow is a penniless brother of the Night's Watch. Hoster Tully (her grandfather) is dead and uncle Edmure is a captive of the Freys. So his only recourse was to ransom her back to her last remaining relative: her Aunt Lysa. When he learns that she's dead, that's it. No more relatives to ransom her to, or even identify her. Sandor has no idea that Sansa is in the Eyrie and he has no reason to believe that Littlefinger isn't loyal to the Iron Throne and might find a use for Arya.

  • He later blurts out that what he really wants is to keep Arya safe. Perhaps he's feeling guilty, or perhaps it's a result of his infatuation with Sansa. We don't know. But we do know that Sandor has no reason to think that Arya would be safe in the Eyrie. The only person he knew that might give her sanctuary, Lysa Tully, is dead. Since the Vale never joined the War of the Five Kings, he has no reason to believe that Arya has any friends or sympathizers in the vale anymore.

Possible Arya motives:

  • From the start Arya never felt that going to her aunt Lysa was a good decision. They had never met before. Lysa is an unknown quantity to Arya, and she probably believes, rightly so, that Lysa would have a hard time believing the identity of who Arya really is. Arya laughing at the news of her aunt's death is probably part relief, part laughing at the absurdity of her whole situation.

  • What Arya really wants is to be reunited with her last family member, her cherished half brother Jon Snow. That's why she asks the captain of the Braavosi ship to take her to the Wall. Of course, things transpired otherwise.

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    +1 - Very good reasoning. "...part relief, part laughing at the absurdity of her whole situation." - part malicious joy at The Hound being repeatedly deprived of his ransom. ;-)
    – Napoleon Wilson
    Jun 19, 2014 at 17:57
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    I'm not sure I'd buy 'that Sandor has no reason to think that Arya would be safe in the Eyrie'... Robin Arryn is still her cousin, and why would Lysa Arryn marry Littlefinger if he was working for the Lannisters? I get that the Hound didn't know all this at the time, by my confusion stems from why he didn't bother to ask...anything. Jun 19, 2014 at 21:55
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    I made an account here so that I could +1!
    – Möoz
    Jun 19, 2014 at 22:03
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    @JohnSmithOptional - Well Robin Arryn is just a kid, and Littlefinger is Littlefinger. The Hound isn't exactly known for his political finesse. He probably just saw a ready to take golden moment blow away, and didn't bother to look for another one. Jun 19, 2014 at 22:48
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    Brynden 'Blackfish' Tully, did leave the hall shortly before the events of the Red Wedding, but even if he escaped, he's on the run, with an army hunting for him, he's not going to be running things in the Vale and this is not exactly a safe place for Arya
    – CyanAngel
    Jun 20, 2014 at 11:02

In addition to the possibilities iandotkelly mentioned, it's also possible that when Arya burst out laughing after Ser Donnel Waynwood informed them of Lysa Arryn's death, he refused to believe she was who she said she was and turned them away as it is not behaviour befitting a Lady.

It's worth mentioning that that scene where they arrive at the Bloody Gate is original content to the show, in A Storm of Swords, The Hound is allegedly killed by Poliver and The Tickler before they ever reach The Eyrie, so there are no explanations from there.

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    +1. I'd say this is likely the best we'll get since the events as they occurred in the show were not in the book. Barring any official word on why it played out this way from the writers, anything else would simply be guessing.
    – MattD
    Jun 19, 2014 at 17:16
  • Arya nearly gave herself away in Harrenhal for being too well mannered, she could clearly demonstrate the appropriate etiquette if pressed... she's also been a fugitive on the run for some time, it would seem more odd if she was perfectly turned out... +1 still, I'm just playing Devil's advocate really, due to no standout explanation being provided. Jun 19, 2014 at 22:06

So the possibilities here are:

  • News of Arya's arrival are communicated to Sansa. She would immediately want Arya to be ransomed, would put pressure on Petyr Baelish to do so. Given that he is trying to woo Sansa, because she is both beautiful and heir-apparent to Winterfell, he is likely to agree. Also none of this is shown on camera, which is unlikely as it would be a key plot point. Verdict: extremely implausible.

  • News of Arya's arrival are communicated to Petyr Baelish. In this scenario he has several choices - he needs to be able to control Sansa, so he would choose something where he is in control of Arya's destiny. He could kill her, capture her or take her somewhere else to isolate Sansa. Alternatively he could "rescue her" from the Hound and reunite her with Sansa. However I don't believe the controlling Littlefinger would simply let her go. Again, I don't think the storytellers would leave this decision off camera. Verdict: extremely implausible.

  • The Hound and Arya just assume that The Erie is not safe, turn around and leave. Even if the news that someone claiming to be Arya (and she doesn't exactly look like the daughter of a Lord) was communicated to the Erie, this would take some minutes or hours to get up to the fortress from the Black Gate. Using the Sherlock Holmes maxim of "whatever remains however improbable" - this is the only vaguely plausible course of action.

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    From this, the only plausible scenario is that the Guards basically sat on the information: that a Stark fugitive of close relation to their recently deceased matriarch arrived in search of aid, only to leave abruptly. I'm not sure it would have taken hours to reach someone of authority... Man, I love the show and really don't want to find any plotholes, but this is a real stretch for me. There must be more to it. Hopefully series 5 will address this, somehow... Jun 19, 2014 at 21:59
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    @JohnSmithOptional - I definitely feel your pain. However I'm more inclined to think that the guards might not have taken The Hound's word that the scruffy girl, who laughed at the news of Lysa's death was a relative of noble blood. The Hound, knowing that Lysa's heir was very young and possibly not well disposed to someone known as a Lannister bannerman, might have just given up on the news and turned around. As for the "minutes to hours" to get to the Eyrie, the books indicate its a difficult climb.
    – iandotkelly
    Jun 20, 2014 at 0:55
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    Of course what Clegane planned to do next is anyone's guess. Jon Snow has no money, Bran is missing, Sansa is (to his knowledge) still in King's Landing.
    – iandotkelly
    Jun 20, 2014 at 0:57

This didn't happen in the books. While the show may deviate a bit from the book, my guess is that they will not deviate in major ways. Arya meeting up with Sansa would have been a major deviation. Beside, they still needed the Hound to get injured in some fight (even though the circumstances of said fight had changed) and for Arya to leave him for dead and head off to Braavos.

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    Well, the OP seems aware of the necessity this event had for the plot. But while this answer makes for a valid out-of-universe explanation, he seems much more after an actual in-universe justification for their actions.
    – Napoleon Wilson
    Jun 20, 2014 at 9:06
  • The answer you give would be an example of my last line of inquiry: it's all a pretext for them to become transient again... which is an uncharacteristically weak development, as far as GoT is concerned.. Jun 20, 2014 at 9:18

Also remember that nobody in the Eyrie is supposed to know that they are actually hosting Sansa excepting Littlefinger of course and the two/three people part of the small council which interrogated Sansa following her aunt "suicide", one another was the aunt's son who was already sent away: Sansa revealed her real identity only to these people, for all the others she is supposed to be Littlefinger's niece Alayne.

Because of that the guards probably don't know about Sansa at all.

What I don't get is why the Hound doesn't enter the Eyrie (but is there some village there, anything?) just to get treatment for his human-biting wound (Jeez that scene is one of the most ridiculous of the whole show).

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