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"That's what we are: ghosts. Waiting for you in the dark. You can't see us, but we see you. No matter whose cloak you wear: Lannister, Stark, Baratheon, you prey on the weak, the Brotherhood Without Banners will hunt you down."
―Beric Dondarrion to Sandor Clegane[src]

Lord Beric Dondarrion was the Lord of Blackhaven and the head of House Dondarrion. Initially sent out by Eddard Stark to lead a party of men to apprehend Ser Gregor Clegane for atrocities committed against the people of the Riverlands, he and his men then rallied deserters from different armies in the war, as well as commoners trying to defend their homes, to form a guerrilla resistance group: the Brotherhood Without Banners, with Dondarrion as their leader. After Dondarrion died, he was ressurected by the Red Priest Thoros of Myr, after which the Brotherhood started to follow the Red God, whom he believed to have a purpose for him. In the war efforts against the Lannisters, Beric was killed five times over (and was brought back to life by Thoros each time).

As the war slowly came to an end, Beric and his remaining men, including the newly-recruited Sandor Clegane, made it their priority to head north to assist in fending off the threat of the White Walkers and the army of the dead - the "true enemy". However, upon arriving at Eastwatch-by-the-Sea, Beric was incarcerated by Tormund Giantsbane, after which he joined Jon Snow in an expedition beyond the Wall in which they planned to capture a wight to provide proof of the threat of the undead to the Lords of Westeros. During the expedition, Thoros was killed, which meant that Beric would go through no more resurrections and was thus on his "last life".

Their mission a success, Beric returned to Eastwatch after being saved by Daenerys Targaryen, where he witnessed the White Walkers and the army of the dead breach the Wall. Afterwards, he traveled to Winterfell to join the ranks of the Jon and Daenerys's army. During the battle, Beric sacrificed himself to protect Arya Stark, who went on to destroy the Night King, thus fulfilling Beric's purpose.

Biography

Background

Beric Dondarrion is the Lord of Blackhaven and the head of House Dondarrion, a vassal house to House Baratheon of Storm's End. He is a young lord who still enjoys the life of a knight, including taking part in tourneys. He is visiting King's Landing when the series begins.

Season 1

Upon hearing of the atrocities committed by Ser Gregor Clegane, Lord Eddard Stark, acting as the Hand of the King, orders Lord Beric to take a hundred men, ride to Ser Gregor's keep and execute him for treason and murder. Beric willingly agrees to the task.[1]

Lord Beric is rumored to have been killed in the Battle at the Mummer's Ford, and in reality he was by the Mountain, who drives a lance through his chest, though Thoros of Myr unwittingly resurrects Beric.[2] The survivors form the Brotherhood Without Banners.[3]

Season 3

Beric Dondarrion and Hound Clegane S3E4

Lord Beric confronts the Hound.

Dondarrion reunites with Thoros' party at Hollow Hill, the headquarters of the Brotherhood Without Banners, and is surprised to see they have captured Sandor Clegane. Beric reveals he has converted to the religion of the Lord of Light. After Arya Stark accuses the Hound of murder, Beric sentences him to trial by combat as there is no other witness to confirm his guilt, and chooses himself as Clegane's rival.[4]

Clegane Kills Beric s3e5

Clegane kills Beric.

Using magic, Beric ignites his blade with fire, initially giving him an advantage during the fight due to Sandor's fear of fire. However, Sandor's superior strength eventually proves enough to overpower Beric, and with a powerful downward swipe Sandor cuts deep into Beric's shoulder, nearly cutting off his entire arm and cutting right through his flaming sword. Arya attempts to kill the Hound while he tries to extinguish his shield which had been set a flame during the fight, but she is stopped by Gendry.
Beric the Climb

Beric explains his resurrection to Arya.

Sandor taunts Arya over how the gods prefer him over her friend, but he is interrupted and shocked by Beric, who has been revived and healed by Thoros using the Lord of Light's power. Since Sandor effectively won the fight, Beric declares him innocent and sets him free, but keeps Arya with the Brotherhood, intending to ransom her to her mother and brother at Riverrun.[2] Later, Beric reminisces on the times he has been killed with Thoros and Arya. Arya briefly asks if Thoros can revive a man with no head, clearly referring to her father, but Beric merely compliments Eddard's honorable nature and tells her of the side effect of his resurrection: with each revival, he loses some of his memories and is less himself, a life he would not wish on Eddard.

Melisandre with thoros and beric

Melisandre inquires into Dondarrion's multiple resurrections.

The group is later encountered by Melisandre, who seeks out Gendry. Melisandre briefly examines Beric and is clearly astonished at how Thoros has been able to revive him so many times. Against Arya's wishes, Beric sells Gendry to Melisandre for gold, a decision that later leads Arya to abandon them. When Beric informs Arya that they will be delaying ransoming her in order to launch an attack on some Lannister soldiers instead, it is the final straw and Arya flees from the group.[5]

Season 4

Arya Stark could not forgive Beric and Thoros for selling Gendry to Melisandre. Later, during her travels with Sandor Clegane, she includes their names when reciting her "death list", though she removes them from her vendetta soon after.

Season 6

Remembering how Beric was revived by Thoros six times, Melisandre attempts a ritual to resurrect Jon Snow following his murder, which is successful.

No One 17

Beric and Thoros are confronted by The Hound.

Beric prepares to hang Lem and two other members for raiding a community that was building a sept, staining the good name of the Brotherhood. However, Sandor Clegane, who had become a member of the community, hunts down Lem and demands he be allowed to kill the man himself, as vengeance for the hanging of Brother Ray. After some arguing, Beric and Thoros allow the Hound to hang two of the men himself, out of respect for the loss of his friend, but refused to allow him to kill them in a barbaric manner. Beric personally hangs the third man. Later on, Beric offers Sandor a place in the Brotherhood, as he needs good men. He says there are "cold winds" rising in the North, and he intends to stop them.[6]

Season 7

GOT Season 7 17

Beric travels north.

The Brotherhood Without Banners travel through thick snow. They decide to shelter for the night at an abandoned village but Sandor thinks it is unsafe. Beric Dondarrion dismisses Sandor's unease and orders that they set up camp for the night. The men enter a hunt where they discover the corpses of the Farmer and his daughter Sally, Sandor and Arya Stark had encountered two years prior, following the Red Wedding. It appears that the father killed his daughter and himself so that they would not starve to death.

In private, Sandor recalls seeing Beric at the tournament at King's Landing. Beric confides that he does not know what R'hllor, the Lord of Light, is telling him. Sandor remarks that he does not believe in divine justice, citing the fate of the father and his daughter and that Beric should be dead in their places.[7]

While making their way north, Beric, Sandor and Thoros are captured by Tormund and the wildlings manning Eastwatch-by-the-Sea south of the Wall. The three are brought to Eastwatch where they are incarcerated in the ice cells until they are accosted by Jon Snow, along with Jorah Mormont and Gendry. Despite initial distrust, particularly on Gendry's part, since Beric and Thoros sold him to Melisandre, Jon decides that they are on the same side, and he releases them. Beric, Thoros and Sandor join Jon, Gendry, Jorah and Tormund on their quest north of the Wall to help Jon capture a wight to bring to Cersei Lannister as proof of the threat the army of the dead pose.[8]

Beric-Jon-Beyond-the-Wall

Beric and Jon discuss the purpose of their resurrections.

While travelling beyond the Wall, Beric and Jon have a conversation. Beric claims that Jon does not look much like his father, which takes Jon by surprise. Beric reveals that it was Eddard Stark who sent him and Thoros to hunt the Mountain. Revealing that he heard from Tormund that Melisandre brought Jon back from the dead, Beric tells Jon that Thoros brought him back six times by now. Beric claims that both of them serve the Lord of Light. Jon replies that he serves the North and that the Lord of Light never spoke to him.

706 Beric Jon

Beric explains the antagonism of death.

When Jon claims that he does not know what the Lord of Light wants of him, Beric replies that the Lord wants both of them alive so that they can fight for life itself. Beric states that death is the enemy and that, although the enemy always wins, they still need to fight him. When a snowstorm sets in, the group is suddenly ambushed by a wight polar bear. Beric and Thoros ignite their swords to fend off the undead beast and although the team is able to defeat the beast in combined effort, Thoros is mauled and gravely wounded by the bear. After the bear has been destroyed, Beric stops Thoros' bleeding by cauterizing the wound with his flaming sword.

Further north, the group eventually encounters a White Walker accompanied by a small group of Wights. The team ambushes the Walker and the wights and after Jon kills the Walker, all but one wight smash to the ground motionless. The team captures the wight but they are soon forced to flee when the full force of the undead army comes down onto them. They flee to an island on top of a frozen lake, which grants them temporary safety as the wights break through the ice and are unable to cross.

BericBuriesThoros

Beric burns Thoros' body.

Surrounded by wights, the group is forced to wait out the night in the cold. As Jon has sent Gendry back to Eastwatch to send a letter to Daenerys Targaryen, Daenerys is the group's last hope to flee the North alive. An entire night passes and the next morning, the group realizes that Thoros has frozen to death. Mourning his deceased friend, Beric says a prayer for Thoros before he ignites his corpse with his sword so that he cannot reanimate as a wight.

After burning Thoros, Beric joins Jorah and Jon who are discussing that Daenerys is their only hope. Beric claims that there is another and points at the Night King, who is watching the trapped group from a nearby hill. Beric states that the Night King is the one who turned them all and thus, killing the Night King would annihilate the army of the dead in one swift stroke. Beric tells Jon that this might be the purpose the Lord of Light has for them, as he hardly brought them back only to watch them freeze. Sandor then chips in, reminding Beric that he lost his priest and is thus on his "last life".

Beric-Dondarrio-flaming-sword-Beyond-the-Wall-1024x823

Beric fights off the wights with his flaming sword.

Eventually, the water freezes again and the wights advance onto the island. The group prepares for their last stand and Beric once more ignites his sword, killing many wights. When it comes to battle, the sheer masses of the advancing undead force the group further back onto the island. When all hope seems lost, Daenerys suddenly sweeps in with her three dragons Drogon, Viserion and Rhaegal. While the younger two dragons annihilate the advancing undead, Daenerys lands Drogon on the island so that the men can climb up onto the dragon.

BericWatchesDragonDie

Beric watches as Viserion dies.

All but Jon, who is still fending off wights, make it onto the dragon where they witness the Night King hurling an ice spear at the flying Viserion, impaling him through the neck and causing the dying dragon to fall onto the ground, break through the ice and sink to the ground of the lake. All onboard the dragon, Beric included, watch in awe and horror. As the Night King is already preparing another projectile, Drogon is forced to set off and the group, except for Jon, fly back to the Wall.

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Beric bids farewell to Sandor.

Having returned to Eastwatch safely, Beric, Tormund and Sandor deliver the wight. After having hurled the wight into the boat, Beric and Sandor split up as their travel together has come to an end. Beric claims that they will meet again, to which Sandor replies that he "fucking hope[s] not".[9]

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Beric and Tormund try to reach safety during the breaching of the Wall.

While most of the group make their way down south to meet Queen Cersei, Beric remains at Eastwatch together with Tormund and his wildlings. While both men stand on top of the Wall facing north, they suddenly witness the arrival of the White Walkers and the army of the dead. While they are watching in awe, the Night King suddenly comes swooping in on top of the reanimated Viserion. Viserion blasts blue fire at the wall, causing outer shells to crack off. Beric and Tormund run to escape while Viserion continuously breathes fire onto the Wall, eventually bringing down a large part of it and allowing the dead to enter the Seven Kingdoms.

Season 8

S8 Ep 1 Nightwatch & Wildlings

Beric and the others make their way through the wasteland that was once House Umber.

Beric and Tormund arrive at Last Hearth, accompanied by a handful of surviving Brotherhood, Night's Watch, and Free Folk forces. Investigating the castle, they find signs of a massacre but no corpses. Hearing a strange noise, they prepare to attack, but stop after seeing men of the Night's Watch led by Eddison Tollett. The group then investigates the Hearth itself, discovering the body of Ned Umber pinned to a wall and surrounded by limbs arranged in a spiral pattern: a message from the Night King. Beric, Edd and Tormund then discuss their next move, agreeing that if they combine horses, they can reach Winterfell in time. Suddenly, Ned comes back as a wight, but Beric quickly ignites him with his flaming sword, setting the spiral on fire.[10]

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Beric drinks before the impending battle.

Beric and his companions reach Winterfell before the army of the dead and inform Jon that Night King will arrive before dawn. Beric is later present for the war council meeting.The night before the battle, Beric finds Sandor Clegane and Arya Stark drinking on the battlements of Winterfell. He apologizes to Arya for the circumstances under which they last met, when he sold Gendry to Melisandre. He tries to speak about the Lord of Light, but Sandor quickly threatens him to stop. Arya then leaves as Beric reaches for a drink.[11]

During the battle, Beric side by side with Sandor Clegane, fighting inside the walls of Winterfell. Beric looks back to see Sandor Clegane, shell-shocked in a similar way to how he was at the Battle of the Blackwater.

Flame Sword S8 Ep3

Beric searches for Arya in the corridors of Winterfell.

Beric tries to convince him to keep fighting but Sandor retorts, telling him that there's no hope for the living. Beric catches a glimpse of Arya Stark in terror, being swarmed by wights. Beric beckons Sandor to look to Arya, who is struggling survive, which gives Sandor the drive to attempt Arya's rescue. Beric follows. As Beric and Sandor walk through the hallways of Winterfell, they see the door before of them fling open with Arya, knocked onto the floor, being overrun by wights. Beric throws his flaming sword at the one ontop of Arya and kills it, saving her, but is unable to reclaim it due to the overwhelming surge of wights.

Arya & Beric's Death S8 EP3

Beric meets his final death.

As more and more wights arrive, Beric tries to hold them off from Arya and Sandor, but is stabbed to an excessive degree. He manages to follow Arya and Sandor to safety through the door into the Great Hall, but ultimately dies for the final time, as Melisandre (who has taken shelter in the Hall) states that he fulfilled his purpose to R'hllor (the Lord of Light), which was to save Arya. He was shown to be instrumental in the defeat of the Army of the Dead, his sacrifice allowing Arya to kill the Night King (and subsequently the remaining White Walkers and wights), abruptly ending the Great War.[12]

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Beric's body on a funeral pyre.

Beric's body is later reclaimed and placed into one of the many funeral pyres for those who fell fighting the wights. After Jon finishes his eulogy, Arya lights the pyre where Beric was placed.[13]

Personality

Beric Dondarrion, before the War of the Five Kings, was a fearless, charismatic and loyal man. After his first death and descent into being the leader of a band of outlaws, Beric showed himself to be an extremely brave, determined, compassionate, noble and even somewhat civil to his own enemies. He gained reverence by the smallfolk of the Riverlands, and by the men who joined him in the Brotherhood Without Banners. Beric was humble enough to ask forgiveness from Melisandre for his lack of manners, given that he didn't often receive noble company while an outlaw.

The Lightning Lord was a fierce warrior and a committed leader, to the point that even Sandor Clegane was initially silenced by the concept of facing him in single combat. Beric was resourceful enough to use a flaming sword in combat, and skilled enough to fight on footing with the likes of the Hound despite being blinded in one eye. Beric also showed a keen sense of honour by fighting Clegane himself, having also sentenced the man to trial by combat in the first place, showing an uncommon amount of nobility for a lord of Westeros. Beric also, despite being literally killed by his opponent, kept his word and allowed the Hound to leave undeterred after the trial was over. He would later welcome the Hound freely into the Brotherhood when he encountered his old enemy again.

In private, Beric had a good deal of insecurity about how many times he'd been brought back to life by Thoros of Myr, whom he considered his closest friend. He admitted that every single time he came back from the dead, he lost a piece of himself as a result, including important memories of his past and his own life. He treated Arya Stark with a good deal of respect despite the fact that she was his prisoner, and stated that he greatly admired Eddard Stark and wouldn't wish his own predicament on the man. He also tried to comfort her after having to explain that a decapitated man could not be brought back to life. Furthermore, Beric confessed that he didn't understand what the Lord of Light wanted from him, that there didn't seem to be anything after death, and that he wasn't entirely sure why the Lord kept bringing him back to life.

Beric showed a dry sense of humour, as when the Hound remarked that he'd seen better days, Beric retorted that he would not see those days again. He also showed a great deal of self control, never losing his temper in front of others, even when they directly insulted him; he remained utterly civil around the Hound, except for the occasional dry banter.

The Deaths of Dondarrion

Beric Dondarrion has died seven times, he was revived six times by Thoros of Myr's prayers to the Lord of Light:

  1. Impaled through the chest with a lance, by Ser Gregor "The Mountain" Clegane, during the Battle at the Mummer's Ford.
  2. Knifed in the belly.
  3. Shot in the back with an arrow.
  4. An axe driven into his side.
  5. Captured by Lannister soldiers, they executed him for treason - but unable to decide whether to hang him or stick a dagger through his eye, they just did both.
  6. Cleaved through the torso by a sword-stroke from Sandor "The Hound" Clegane during a trial by combat.
  7. Stabbed by wights while protecting Arya Stark and Sandor Clegane during the Battle of Winterfell (final death).

Dondarrion does not perfectly recover from each of these physical injuries, but instead carries severe scars from each wound, notably the remaining mark around his neck from when he was hanged, and his missing right eye which did not grow back. Moreover, according to Dondarrion being resurrected carries a heavy toll, chipping away at him and losing large pieces of his memory each time he's brought back.[2]

Other Abilities

Pyrokinesis - Dondarrion has the ability to coat the blade of his sword in flames simply by running his hand across it.

Appearances

Season One appearances
Winter Is Coming The Kingsroad Lord Snow Cripples, Bastards, and Broken Things The Wolf and the Lion
A Golden Crown You Win or You Die The Pointy End Baelor Fire and Blood
Season Three appearances
Valar Dohaeris Dark Wings, Dark Words Walk of Punishment And Now His Watch Is Ended Kissed by Fire
The Climb The Bear and the Maiden Fair Second Sons The Rains of Castamere Mhysa
Season Six appearances
The Red Woman Home Oathbreaker Book of the Stranger The Door
Blood of My Blood The Broken Man No One Battle of the Bastards The Winds of Winter
Season Seven appearances
Dragonstone Stormborn The Queen's Justice The Spoils of War
Eastwatch Beyond the Wall The Dragon and the Wolf
Season Eight appearances
Winterfell A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms The Long Night
The Last of the Starks * The Bells The Iron Throne
* Only appears as a corpse.

Quotes

"Good and bad, young and old, the things we're fighting will destroy them all alike."
―Beric Dondarrion referring to White Walkers.[src]
Beric Dondarrion: "We are soldiers. We have to know what we're fighting for. I'm not fighting so some man or woman I barely know can sit on a throne made of swords."
Jon Snow: "So what are you fighting for?"
Beric Dondarrion: "Life. Death is the enemy. The first enemy, and the last."
Jon Snow: "But we all die."
Beric Dondarrion: "The enemy always wins. And we still need to fight him. That's all I know. You and I won't find much joy while we're here, but we can keep others alive. We can defend those who can't defend themselves."
— Beric and Jon Snow discuss their mission.[src]

Image Gallery

Behind the scenes

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David Michael Scott as the first Beric Dondarrion.

Beric was originally played by guest star David Michael Scott who only appeared in the first season episode "A Golden Crown".[1] The character did not appear in the second season and was confirmed as being recast for the third season in May 2012.[14] Richard Dormer was announced in the part in July 2012.[15]

In the books

In the A Song of Ice and Fire novels, Beric Dondarrion is the Lord of Blackhaven, a small castle in the Stormlands on the Dornish Marches. He is a young, vigorous and capable warrior, a skilled knight and charismatic leader of men, as well as popular with ladies. He goes to King's Landing to participate in the Tourney of the Hand before being charged with the mission to arrest Gregor Clegane, alongside the warrior-priest Thoros of Myr. Jeyne Poole, daughter of Vayon Poole, has a crush on him.

As the War of the Five Kings rages in the Riverlands, Dondarrion achieves a semi-legendary status due to constant and contradictory reports of Lannister bannermen boasting to have killed him.

On the fourth novel, Jaime instructs various people (among them Ser Bonifer Hasty and Ser Lyle "Strongboar" Crakehall) to capture Dondarrion alive, to be executed in public, in order to refute the stories about his immortality.

However, it is later revealed that Beric died his final death when he gave his life to bring back Catelyn Stark, whose body had been found by the outlaws after the Red Wedding. Thoros refused to revive Catelyn, so Beric passed the flame of life from him to her, resurrecting her as Lady Stoneheart; that proved to be a serious mistake. The brotherhood has fallen low with Lady Stoneheart as its leader, and now it is no longer different than any outlaw band. As a result, many of the original members, among them Anguy and Edric Dayne, abandoned the brotherhood. Due to the exclusion of Lady Stoneheart from the show, however, this did not occur, and Beric remained the leader of the Brotherhood.

George R.R. Martin, an avid comic book fan, has repeatedly stated that he feels it is cheap when characters suffer from "Comic Book Deaths" - dying only to be brought back to life later in the story, apparently none the worse for wear. Martin's subversion of this in the A Song of Ice and Fire series - apart from permanently killing off major characters such as Ned Stark, Renly Baratheon, or Robb Stark - is that in the one instance in the story of a man who does come back to life, he is very much the worse for wear. The wounds inflicted on Dondarrion in his many deaths never fully heal, leaving him a scarecrow of a man. The eye he lost never magically grew back, and he was once killed by a severe blow to the head, which caved half of his skull in. The TV series didn't include the head injury, probably because it would be difficult for practical effects to portray the actor with a caved-in skull. However, it is not the physical damage Dondarrion sustains which particularly bother him, but that coming back each time takes a heavy toll. Every time Dondarrion is resurrected large pieces of who he is, large chunks of his memory are lost. In the books, Dondarrion goes on to explain to Arya that after dying and being resurrected six times, he has lost all of his memories from before the point when her father sent him out from King's Landing on the mission to bring Gregor Clegane to justice. He has no memories of the castle he grew up in, or the woman he was betrothed to marry. Even so, Dondarrion is still determined to uphold the mission Ned Stark sent him on; indeed as his other memories fade, he becomes fixated on this one goal he can still remember.

According to Martin in an interview around the Season 7 premiere, Beric isn't technically "alive" at this point and in some ways is analogous to a Wight:

"He’s not a living human being anymore. His heart isn’t beating, his blood isn’t flowing in his veins, he’s a wight, but a wight animated by fire instead of by ice, now we’re getting back to the whole fire and ice thing."[16]

See also

References

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