Spoiler alert! Read on only if you've watched the latest episode of Game of Thrones.
While he's not a main character, Beric Dondarrion (played by Richard Dormer) is a pivotal one in Game of Thrones. He has been brought back from the dead (along with Jon Snow), and his sole purpose in life is to serve the Lord of the Light. We know he has a sword that can ignite with his blood, and that the man who brought him back to life a bunch of times (Thoros of Myr), is now dead thanks to a zombie polar bear. We were also reminded in the latest episode that Beric Dondarrion was on Arya Stark's hit list. But why? And could Beric be the key to surviving the war against the White Walkers?
In case you forgot, here's a bit of background on Beric Dondarrion.
We first meet Beric (who used to be played by David Michael Scott) when Ned Stark asks him to hunt down The Mountain in Season 1. We then see him again in Season 3, where he's reintroduced as the leader of the Brotherhood Without Banners. Beric is also called the Lightning Lord. We learn that he's been killed at least five times in his fights against the Lannisters, and Thoros has brought him back to life every single time.
Why was he on Arya's list?
In short, Beric was on Arya's kill list because he's the one who sold Gendry to Melisandre. Ironic that Arya and Beric come face-to-face given that Arya gets it on with Gendry after that conversation happens between her, Beric, and The Hound.
So, why is Beric important?
Only two people (Jon and Beric) have been brought back from the dead, and even in a show with dragons and witches and icy zombies, that's still a really big deal. It probably means that these men serve a greater purpose, and that's solidified when Beric tells Jon Snow in Season 7, "Death is the enemy, the first enemy and the last. The enemy always wins, but we still need to fight him. 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." This could mean many different things, and there are many theories out there.
In an interview with George R.R. Martin, we learn that Beric is technically a "fire wight," aka a zombie who is fueled by fire, not ice. He's just as undead as the wights and White Walkers, but maybe it's the fire that makes him a good guy as opposed to a creature who wants to see the downfall of humankind.
And according to Martin, Beric loses a bit of himself every single time he's brought back to life, which could mean he's merely a tool or weapon to be used against the White Walkers. Since he sacrifices himself over and over again, could this mean that Jon has the same fate, too? Are their lives not truly their own now that they've been brought back to life to serve a bigger purpose?
For one: Beric will bring someone back from the dead this season.
10 months ago, Redditor joshmarshall07 posted his own theory about why Beric has been brought back from the dead so many times: Apparently in the books, Beric sacrifices himself to bring Catelyn Stark back from the dead (she becomes Lady Stoneheart, which we don't see happen in the show), and it's theorized that maybe he'll bring back Jon or Daenerys if need be:
"Guess why the Lord of the Light keeps bringing Beric Dondarrion back. In the books Beric gives his own life to bring Catelyn Stark back to life. I think its going to be the same in this case of series too. Maybe Jon will die again or Daenerys or someone important that the Lord wants for the war. Since Thoros is dead in the series, Beric will give his own life to resurrect the person as of the books."
Another theory is that Beric is needed simply to protect Jon.
We know that Beric serves the Lord of the Light, so he probably believes in The Prince Who Was Promised, which is the prophesy that a savior will come and rescue the Seven Kingdoms. Does he believe Jon is that Prince? Jon may not be the Prince, but we know he certainly can be King if he wanted. Regardless, Beric could want Jon alive simply out of duty to the Lord of the Light. Quora user Connor Black writes:
"Why does the Lord of Light need Jon Snow alive? That is much more simple there was a prophecy that Rhaegar Targaryen read about a Prince that was Promised, the book series is A Song of Ice & Fire, Jon Snow is half Stark (Ice) & half Targaryen (Fire). Jon Snow is the man who will lead the fight against the White Walkers. The Lord of Light needs Jon Snow alive because he is the White Wolf, Ex Lord Commander of the Nights Watch, the Friend of the Free Folk, the Lord of Winterfell & The King in the North! He is the Prince that was Promised & his is the song of Ice & Fire."
Beric may bring The Hound back from the dead (if The Hound dies that is).
Talking Thrones theorizes that Beric resurrects The Hound back to life. While he doesn't have much proof to back this claim up, it's pretty compelling that the Cleganes and Beric's storyline has been intertwined since Season 1. Perhaps Beric sacrifices his life for The Hound, and The Hound is finally able to kill his brother, The Mountain. That would be a poetic callback to Ned's orders back in Season 1, when he asked Beric to find The Mountain — he would complete his mission, at long last. Watch and listen to the entire theory below:
We'll just have to keep watching Game of Thrones to know Beric's exact purpose. Game of Thrones is on HBO every Sunday at 9 p.m. EST.