Game of Thrones: What’s the deal with Beric Dondarrion’s sword?

Richard Dormer as Beric Dondarrion – Photo 5: Helen Sloan/HBO via HBO Media Relations

We aim to answer some burning questions about Beric Dondarrion’s sword: Why was it on fire? Has Game of Thrones found its Azor Ahai? What is Lightbringer?

And R’hllor said unto Beric Dondarrion (Richard Dormer), “let there be light!” Okay maybe that’s not exactly what happened on Game of Thrones and I promise that’s the last of the puns I have to make…Probably…Maybe. The Lord of Light is a bit more mysterious than such blatant quotes, but we’d like to imagine that if he was a bit more blunt it’s definitely something he’d say. Beric’s ability to wield that sword is strange though. Is he Azor Ahai reborn? Perhaps. Though Melisandre (Carice van Houten) has met Beric and still seems to believe that both Daenerys (Emilia Clarke) and Jon (Kit Harington) have bigger roles to play in the Azor Ahai/Prince that was promised prophecy. So perhaps not.

We don’t quite have all the information on Beric to know how or why he might fit the prophecy (one of many failings of Game of Thrones as far as the Brotherhood Without Banners), though his willingness to fight the Great Other is a good sign he’s at least up for the responsibility of the job. Granted he’s dead in the book series and for a really good reason so it’s hard to imagine the show will give him such an honor. In all likelihood, he’ll give his last life for someone else.

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It’s also worth noting that Beric is probably not the first to use that particular sword. Thoros of Myr (Paul Kaye) definitely used something similar in the siege on Pyke that gained Ser Jorah his knighthood. Sure he was really drunk, but only heroes can handle Lightbringer and the men who have so far are definitely heroes.

That being said, there’s some very specific qualifications for someone to actually be Azor Ahai (assuming that The Prince that was Promised is a separate entity). Game of Thrones has mentioned him numerous times but it helps to have all the information in one place.

Azor Ahai is the chosen warrior against the Long Night, that’s a well-known prophecy among the Red Priests. The prophecy about his rebirth states: “When the red star bleeds and the darkness gathers, Azor Ahai shall be born again amidst smoke and salt to wake dragons out of stone.” Melisandre tells this to Jon in George R.R. Martin’s fifth book A Dance with Dragons.

Richard Dormer as Beric Dondarrion – Photo 11: HBO via HBO Media Relations

This is why there’s a longstanding debate about many who fit this description. But the one thing none of these people have or have ever used is Azor Ahai’s famed flaming sword, which is a major function of who he is. In order to become a hero he needed a sword worthy of one. He had to make three attempts to forge the sword. On the first attempt the sword broke in water and the second attempt saw the sword stabbed through a lion’s heart but the steel shattered. Each time he worked longer and longer forging the sword. Finally after hundred days of working, on his third attempt he stabbed his wife (whom he loved dearly) Nissa Nissa in the heart, this final sacrifice is what created the flaming sword Lightbringer.

The first time we saw Beric’s Lightbringer in use was when he had a trial by combat with The Hound (Rory McCann). Stannis also supposedly had a “Lightbringer” as Melisandre seemed pretty confident he was also Azor Ahai at one point. His sword was clearly a fake as we never saw it burning. That doesn’t mean that Beric also isn’t using some kind of magic. But seeing it again in “Beyond the Wall” (S7E6) only continues to add fuel to the debate.

Game of Thrones has both the Iron Throne and Lightbringer up for grabs. And with everything heading for the big finale next season, things are happening quicker than ever. So the question is, is the person who will wield Lightbringer and defend the night the same person who wins the Iron Throne? Will the possible Jon/Dany union result in a child who is actually Azor? Can Gendry create the real Lightbringer by reforging Ned’s sword Ice? Or have we all been looking in the wrong direction and is Jaime (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) the true hero of this song of ice and fire?

There’s only one thing we know for sure…nothing.

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And be sure to check out all the great GoT content we’ll be rolling out weekly! What do you think about Lightbringer? Share your thoughts and theories in the comments!