Also, I think that fact that The Hound is clearly in love with her, in a Beauty/Beast sort of way, helps endear her to us.
Sansa and the Hound! Sansa and the Hound! I have to admit that the scene where Sansa finds Sandor in her room after he leaves the battle is one of my favorites in all of the books. (I'm a 12-year-old Beauty and the Beast fan at heart.) I only wish we could've seen more of them together throughout the season.
- Chicago Tribune
Why, oh, why wouldn't Sansa go with The Hound at this point? Their shared scenes have always been a pleasure to watch, but none more so than their final one last night. (Though he never asked his little bird for a song, did he?)
Sansa argues that Stannis won't hurt her, which the Hound quickly explains that yes he will, he's a killer. Like him, like Ned, like Robb. And to look him in the face so she can get used to seeing men that kill—they're all around her, making the world what it is. She looks at him and is no longer afraid. He's the Beast, and she's Belle, and gosh, he's just gruff because he's scared! Tale as old as time… song as old as rhyme!
"You won't hurt me," she realizes.
"No, little bird, I won't hurt you." But he will leave, and does.
- Hey, Don't Judge Me
But while Bronn distracts himself with a presumably hired lady love, Sandor keeps a rather affectionate candle burning for Sansa. Perhaps making a reference to flame isn't exactly appropriate, considering that Sandor was scared enough of the fire to desert his post. But that does bring up another subtle contrast between himself and fire-starter Bronn, doesn't it?
- TV Overmind
But as fire raged outside King's Landing the Hound finally had enough, handing in his tersely memorable notice and pausing only to offer sanctuary to Sansa on his way. Sadly his little bird rejected his offer – but their surprisingly tender scene provided a brief respite amid the death and destruction.
- The Guardian
I never thought it would be possible, but the Hound made me tear up a bit. His conversation with Sansa was so heartfelt. Their relationship has been building up to this, but it was still surprising. Will Sansa get out with him in time? I’m guessing that she will be too late once again.
The Hound is obviously soft for Sansa - I think she represents a pureness and innocence he can never possess, and of course there is her beauty, such a beauty that it reminds the Hound of his inner and outer ugliness, and so she becomes a kind of symbol of all things clean that he feels motivated to protect, and yet Sansa refuses him.
- (Not So) Daily
And Sansa, well…she’s clearly getting much better at manipulating Joffrey, and her scenes with Cersei, and most notably the scene with the Hound (Rory McCann) were some of the best we’ve seen with the character.
- What Culture
Sandor Clegane (Rory McCann) surprised us in this episode. His "eff it all" attitude, drinking and his offer to take Sansa (Sophie Turner) away were at the top of the list. He's clearly had enough of his employer and doesn't care who knows it. We must say, we probably would have fled with him if we were Sansa.
- E Online
Agree or disagree with Martin, you have to admit he makes his point very well, and scenes like the Hound advancing on Sansa to tell her that all men she knows—or will know—are killers and that the world is made by killers are at once beautiful, mesmerizing, and horrifying.
- AV Club
The attention Martin paid to Sandor and Sansa's subtext-ridden relationship was nice. Sandor seemed—for the first time in this series—a real living, breathing person, and Rory McCann was finally let out of his cage and allowed to do his thing. That final scene in Sansa's chamber was delightfully scripted, acted, and shot, and I loved the slow confidence in Sansa's eyes when she stared up at him and said, "You won't hurt me."
- TV Equals
"But he arrived, Stannis (who deserves major props for walking the walk; he was the first of his men on to land and on to the ladders) was defeated and we're left to wonder if Tyrion is alive; where Sansa is off to with Hound; and how the King's Guard will react to its highness as a coward.
- TV Fanatic
Despite his burned and battered visage, he's no monster, merely a man sickened by all the hypocritical, monstrous things he's seen other, supposedly better men do to one another... With the water on fire and his life on the line, Sandor Clegane used his one good eye to take a clear-eyed look at the real cost of other people's games and did the most reasonable thing of all: He walked away.
Having abandoned the battle, he offers to take Sansa with him, returning her to Winterfell, an offer she momentarily rejects but seems to relent to in the end. OR DOES SHE?!
He offers to take her back to Winterfell and to protect her, but she refuses, still saying how much she loves Joffrey. That's when the Hound gets real with her, looks her straight in the eyes and explains that he's not playing games, he's being 100 percent honest. He will keep her safe and she doesn't need to keep lying and pretending to love Joffrey. And it seems to work.
- Buddy TV
War forces us to consider our allegiances, and in that battle the Hound realizes that his King is not worth protecting with the flames nipping at his heels. That he feels differently about Sansa says something about the character, something the show has been subtly laying the groundwork for all season.
- Cultural Learnings
The Hound doesn't say much, but the show has done a good, subtle job of letting us know what Sandor Clegane thinks of Joffrey's treatment of the "little bird."
- Huffington Post
Sansa is almost raped before being rescued by the Hound, who takes care of things in his usual brute force fashion. But his affection for Sansa is obvious ("I didn't do it for you," he tells Tyrion)
- AV Club
I loved finally seeing a bit of interaction between Sandor Clegane and Sansa. While he may not look the part, he is quite the knight in shining armor.
Just as it's about to get really horrible, the Hound shows up, disembowels one, snaps another guy's neck and kills the third one leaving the last guy cowering in the corner. He tosses Sansa over his shoulder and tells her, 'You're all right, Little Bird." I think he likes Sansa. He brings her to the castle where Tyrion frets over her (because he's ultimately a gentleman) and then thanks The Hound, who is all Honey Badger about it. "Don't give a shit if you're proud of me. Didn't do it for you."
- Hey, Don't Judge Me
I was glad to see that Sansa didn't relent, but fought back, despite being outnumbered and outmatched. The horror of the near-gang rape scene was keenly felt in her terror and distress and the savage and uncaring masks of her attackers, seeing her as something to be destroyed, to be bloodied and used, to be cast off like garbage. It's the Hound, of course, who comes to her rescue, the "monster" who is far more civilized than his master—or anyone, really—would give him credit for. (In fact, it's the fourth time the Hound has saved her: last season, he chided Joffrey when he made Sansa stare at Ned's rotten head on a spike; he saved her from a beating when he told Joffrey that Sansa wasn't just being superstitious when she made the comment about his name day; he gave her his cloak when Joffrey orders her stripped in the throne room.)
Upon seeing the frenzy of the crowd, the first thought that Tyrion (Peter Dinklage) has is of Sansa's safety, but he's thinking in far more pragmatic terms, seeing the Stark girl as a bargaining chip, a hostage, a pawn. It's not the Hound's perception. He sees Sansa as a "little bird" whom he saves from the hungers of the crowd, bringing her back to the keep so she can be returned to her "cage." His sense of honor and morality is at odds with both his "freakish" appearance and his own use of brutality. Rather than just save Sansa, he disembowels one of her captors and slays them all gruesomely. He has the bottle to be just as brutal as anyone else, but he has a moral code that sets him apart from the wildness of those around him.
Enter the Hound, who saves the little bird from her attackers and carries her to safety. Tyrion thanks him with a, "Well done, Clegane." But Sandor just says, "I didn't do it for you." Sansdor shipping, I am in you.
- Chicago Tribune
"You'll be glad of the hateful things I do someday when you're queen, and I'm all that stands between you and your beloved king," he says. She runs away, and he looks after her hungrily.
She attempts to thank him for stopping her from being raped during the riots in last week’s episode, but he responds with sneering cruelty. However, after she goes, he gives her a longing gaze that does nothing towards dispelling the theory that he’s madly in love with her.