Featured Game of Thrones Interview John Bradley Samwell Tarly Season 6

Actors behind Sam and Gilly on breaking away from Jon and the Night’s Watch in Season 6

John Bradley and Hannah Murray (Sam and Gilly) stopped by Entertainment Weekly and had some interesting things to say about where their characters are headed in Season 6, at least emotionally—everyone’s keeping a tight lid on explicit spoilers. However, according to Bradley, Sam hasn’t just left Castle Black behind physically: he’s kind of over the whole Night’s Watch thing, a feeling that started when Gilly was almost raped in Season 5’s “The Gift.”

What I found about that whole sequence of the attempted rape of Gilly, the assault on Sam, and then their love scene was that last moment where Sam thinks to himself, pardon my French, “F— these guys! They’ve never liked me from the second I got here. I’m following these stupid rules that tell me I can’t be with the girl that I love…I refuse to give you guys any respect that you don’t deserve…” That was the moment that he felt he can finally break free, and he breaks free from Jon. He knows what his priorities are and he knows it’s just two people and everything else doesn’t matter anymore.

Those two people would be Gilly and Gilly’s baby, little Sam. It’s a bit disconcerting to hear Bradley talk as though Sam is done with the Night’s Watch—he did, after all, promise Jon he’d come back right before he left in “Mother’s Mercy.” But if he ever does come back, it doesn’t sound like it’ll be this season. The two are headed south, and both agree that they haven’t heard about Jon’s death. As Murray says, “They really are setting out on their own path and not looking back.”

Sam and Gilly leave Castle Black--Official HBO

The two also reflected on Sam and Gilly’s past, and Bradley spoke fairly eloquently about what Gilly means to Sam.

The thing about love is it makes the bad things good and the good things better, and I think that’s how Sam feels about Gilly toward the end of the day. He feels overwhelmed by how he feels about her, and to play that from a guy who has such a dark cavity within him where love should be, the fact that he’s met this woman who’s now lighting up these dark corners of his soul, I found it to be really good for the character.

Murray is a little less florid about it, but thinks the two characters have found a groove and enjoyed the “weird, old-married couple comedy” they started in Season 3. In any case, Bradley credited Gilly’s influence with giving him the strike out on his own in the first place.

The fact is Sam doesn’t feel that he needs Jon anymore in the way that he used to. Jon healed Sam very quickly, in terms of protecting him physically from all the hardships at Castle Black. But as soon as Sam met Gilly, it was like Jon had fulfilled his purpose. Now I’m ready to go on and save somebody. I’d like to make Gilly feel the way that Jon made Sam feel.

Good for Sam, less good for Jon.

As for where the two will go now, the actors are staying quiet. But Murray did admit that there’s a huge change in store for Gilly this year:

When we were at the premiere in San Francisco last year, Dan Weiss came up to me and said, ‘Two words, new costume,’ and I’ve never been so excited in my life. I had one costume the whole way through the show…It’s like a variety of sacks layered over each other. In season 4, I got really excited because they gave me an apron.

She wouldn’t say what the new costume was, but a change of scenery calls for a change of cloths.


  • So Sam is an Oathbreaker too … maybe Gilly is pregnant again and we will find out about it in episode 3. I hope little Sam is bigger …

  • I think the NW is done as an organization this Season. If Edd does show up and Thorne and the other traitors are killed or imprisoned that leaves half a dozen men left (Edd and the men with Davos and Sam).

    Time to head South and gather allies against the WW. And all desert the NW together so you can have wives and babies.

  • I don’t like Bradley’s interpretation of Sam. What he is saying about Sam is logical, but, he makes it sound like Sam doesn’t truly care about his friendship with Jon. By the end of Season 5, Bradley is saying that Sam is just using Jon and their friendship with one another as a way to manipulate Jon to get what he wants. If TV-Sam feels this way, then I’m sure he’ll never go to Oldtown.

    • Agreed. That w as one of the reasons I did not like that the show chose to have Sam approach Jon about going to Oldtown to become a Maester rather than it being Jon’s idea in ASOIAF.

      Jon was looking out for Sam, Gilly, Aemon and the NW, knowing that at 100 years old, Aemon would need someone to take over his duties. He was also trying to protect Aemon from Melisandre and Gilly from the NW.

      With the showing changing the storyline, now it just makes Sam seem manipulative and that Sam’s friendship with Jon over 5 seasons has been rather shallow. Remember Crows before Hoes!

      • Well said. The funny thing is that I still expect Sam to take on the role of a “hero” in the Long Night. But I just don’t like the show’s interpretation of his character.

        • If there are only 24hrs left the Long Night will more likely be the Really Brief Moment

    • Agreed, book Sam for the first tie in his life has found himself able to hold his head high around men and can in fact provide important resources that others can not (intelligence). Show Sam is just running and hiding with the women like he did in Horn Hill. It also makes him a false friend to Jon and not really arsed with the whole WW thing. Once again the show misses the point.

    • I’m so glad other people think this too and I wasn’t just overreacting For a few interviews now JB has been giving motivations to Sam I wasn’t totally comfortable with (like getting Jon to be LC for his own interests) but now to go so far as having Sam completely manipulate Jon and have no loyalty left for him at all?! I was quite upset when I read this since Jon put himself so on the line for Sam and the two of them have just about the only genuine friendship in the books. I hate the idea of Sam just being a selfish user. I hope this doesn’t tell us something of the script’s plans for him this season and I hope that it doesn’t change my feelings towards him.

  • I love Bradley’s Samwell. I think he’s improved as an actor tremendously throughout this series. I hope he lives past season 6!

  • At this point Sam and Gilly storyline could have sat this season out similar to Bran last season. What exactly will Sam be doing when he gets to Oldtown anyway? How will it move plotline forward? I dont see where this is going except to Boredom

  • I think Sam will leave Gilly and Lil’ Sam eventually as his return to the NW becomes imminent, perhaps she will marry another man.