Game of Thrones Interview John Bradley Samwell Tarly

John Bradley on Sam’s coming family reunion, and how Stannis inspired Sam

Game of Thrones

Back in Season 1, Sam Tarly arrived at Castle Black a self-confessed coward. Over the next several seasons, he killed a White Walker, killed a Thenn, fell in love, and basically adopted a child. The Sam of Season 6 is still brainy and kind, but he’s quite a bit bolder than he used to be, something that actor John Bradley attributes to the positive influence of Gilly and Little Sam, as well as to good old fashioned maturation.

His priorities have been narrowed down and down and down, to love. I don’t think he’s going to give any headspace to things he once felt he should have respect for, but now aren’t worthy of his respect anymore. As long as Sam has Gilly on his side, as long as he has baby Sam to concentrate his efforts on, he doesn’t mind who he’s approved of, or disapproved by. I think that happens a lot. When you’re young, you try to please everybody. You think everybody’s opinion matters to a ridiculous degree, and then you find the person you love, and you think, “Oh, those people don’t really matter anymore.

In the latest episode, Sam said that he wanted to become a maester in part to “help Jon when the time comes,” so he still has priorities beyond Gilly and Little Sam, but they seem to be the driving force behind his transformation. Interestingly, Bradley also cites a moment Sam shared with Stannis from Season 5 as important in the would-be maester’s development.

[E]ver since he spoke to Stannis in season five, and Stannis basically said, “What you’re doing is really important,” to hear that from somebody who his father would have respect for, that was a really interesting moment. Now Sam has found his place in the team. He’s not just dead weight to be carried along. He’s actually found out that what he does, and the skills he has, can be hugely beneficial. So, now he’s off to the Citadel with that in mind.


Sam’s father, you’ll recall, is the guy who ordered Sam to the Wall in the first place, and threatened him with death should he disobey. Randyll Tarly is a harsh man, and with Sam planning to drop Gilly off at Horn Hill, the ancestral seat of House Tarly, there’s a family reunion in his future.

How will Sam fare when he confronts his father again? After all, Randyll doesn’t know about Sam’s recent heroics.

His father has not seen any of these changes. And I’d like to think Sam would care less now. He’s begun to re-prioritize his life a little bit. He’s fallen in love, he has two people that are more important to him than anything, and if they’re more important to him than himself, they’re certainly more important than Randyll Tarly.

We’ll see when that ship docks, hopefully soon.

h/t Vulture


  • As Sam is still on the boat and seems to be heading to his home first, I am starting to worry that he will not make it to the Citadel – or – if he does, he won’t be there long. As this site stated the GOT producers said they are going to make somewhere between 12-20 more episodes after this season. If you include this season so far and assume he lingers at this home for 3-4 episodes, as we know his family has been cast, it does not leave him a lot of time left to become a maester. I am thinking he gets word Jon has left the nightswatch and maybe goes to join him on his new quest – or – he quickly discovers something in the Citadel library that would help against the white walkers and thus leaves to tell Jon or whoever is fighting the front line battle. I am not a book reader – does he stay at the Citadel long or do the books not get that far?

    • The books get him there…spend a little time with him… He is still there when dance ends….we are all in the dark waiting for a candle to light our way.

    • Sam is just arriving at the Citadel by the end of the last book. But like most things in GoT/ASoIAF, hardly anything ever works out as planned and I expect that to be the case with Sam and his plans to become a Maester. In the big picture, it really isn’t important for Sam to become a Maester. The important thing is for Sam to increase his knowledge of the White Walkers and how to defeat them.

      • Well said King Crow, but if the show rushes Sam in the Citadel it will be terrible terrible writing.