Spoilers ahead for Game of Thrones, season 8, episode 2, “A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms.”

“A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms,” the second episode of Game of Thrones’ final season, is crammed with fireside chats and cold reunions, including one between Arya Stark and two men she traveled with in earlier seasons: the Hound and Beric Dondarrion. It’s a meeting heavy with unspoken emotions coming from bad memories. Beric tells Arya, “My lady, it’s good to see you again. I’m sorry we parted the way we did.” Nothing further is said about their history. It’s been five seasons since Beric and Arya last shared a scene together, so it’s understandably difficult to remember how they parted, unless you’ve recently marathoned the series.

First off, Arya’s father, Ned Stark, originally tasked Beric and his men with executing Gregor Clegane, aka the Mountain. Armed with a hundred men, they ride to Gregor’s keep in season 1. Arya runs into them in season 3 after Beric has undergone a religious conversion, and he now believes in the Lord of the Light. He has good reason to do so: his friend Thoros of Myr has brought him back to life six times by praying to the Lord of Light. By that point, he’s somewhat abandoned his original goal of executing the Mountain. Instead, he’s formed the Brotherhood Without Banners, a rogue organization that defends commoners from soldiers of houses like the Lannisters and Starks.

This background positions Beric strangely as an ally of sorts to Arya in season 3, when she, Hot Pie, and Gendry are captured by the Brotherhood Without Banners. He’s willing to challenge the Hound to a trial by combat after Arya accuses Sandor of killing her friend. Beric also promises to reunite Arya with her mother and brother in Riverrun, albeit by ransoming her off. Beric loses the duel, and the Hound overpowers him and kills him. Thoros then resurrects Beric, who determines that the Hound is not guilty “in the eyes of god” since he won the duel.


Image: HBO

Beric’s new religious convictions and reluctant fealty to House Stark mean he and Arya are ultimately too different to stay traveling allies. He also exacerbates her frustration by selling Gendry to Melisandre, then deciding to send his ragtag army to harass some Lannister soldiers a bit north from where they’re camping, which is the opposite direction from Riverrun. Arya explodes at this new change in plans to head further from Riverrun, shouting, “You’re a liar. You lied to Gendry, and you lied to me. I hope the Lannisters kill you all.” She runs off, and adds Beric’s name to her kill list, alongside Melisandre and Cersei Lannister.

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