Are animation clips tied to game objects?

My question is: are animation clips only attached to game objects? Can
they only be played when their game
object is in the scene? Can they be
their own entity/file and be played
like a mp4 or gif file?

Also, in the preview window (can be
seen in bottom right corner of
picture) my clip doesn’t get played
there. But if I select Unity model
(human model) then the movement I
programmed for the S gets played on
this Unity model. Am I not supposed to
view the animation for my S there?

I’m new to Unity so any help would be appreciated.

Yes, animations are tied to agents/models, i dont think you can take a models animation and use it on an object like the way your trying (correct me if im wrong).