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Rory McCann has been in the acting game for a while now, but he's gained the most recognition from Game of Thrones, where he plays the well-liked badass Sandor Clegane, aka The Hound. The Hound has made neat work of a lot of his enemies using his sword during the series, but recently he picked up an axe to take on his foes. As it turns out, Game of Thrones wasn't the first time Rory McCann yielded an axe. In fact, before he became famous, he supplemented his income by working as a forester.
Game of Thrones director Mark Mylod recently revealed the actor's surprising former profession in an interview, noting that his real-life skills with the axe made it extremely easy to work with the actor.
The heart of that for me was getting into the writers' heads in the pre-production process, and then working with Rory, which is a total joy. He's an absolute professional and the most awesome axeman on the planet. He's a qualified forester, or whatever you call someone who is professionally qualified to use an axe in a forest. His use of that tool is actually quite spectacular.
That's right, Rory McCann's a real-life badass, not just a great one in the acting world. We've seen McCann use those skill sets during recent episodes of Game of Thrones, first to chop wood and later to hack into his foes with both force and violence. The Hound has always been a character who is pretty good at fighting, but after nearly dying at the hands of Brienne (and disappearing for several seasons), he returned and his entire outlook changed. He briefly had a mentor who convinced him that violence was not the answer, but after rogue members of the Brotherhood Without Banners attacked and killed the spiritual group he was living with, he grabbed an axe and went on a full rampage against his new foes.
Preserving the fantasy is why actors like Stephen Amell will get in shape for shows like Arrow, yet it's always super cool when a person's real-life background can help to inform their character. It makes me wonder whether or not the creative team wrote the axe plotline in after learning about McCann's earlier profession or if the scene was written with him chopping wood and the axe was the most convenient weapon for him to use at the time in terms of continuity. Either way, it worked out really well for the character.
The Scottish actor has also admitted he worked as a bouncer, a painter and even a tree surgeon, and now we know he was a real-life forester, too. Clearly he's gotten up to a lot of oddball jobs during his years on this Earth, and Game of Thrones is just another one of them. You can catch The Hound when HBO's fantasy drama airs on Sunday nights at 9 p.m. ET. You can find out what else is coming up on the series here.