In a season where we’ve been bombarded with so many storylines converging so quickly, there are still characters that we haven’t yet seen (Bronn), or that we’ve only seen very briefly (Sam and Gilly). John Bradley, who plays Sam, sat down with The Hollywood Reporter to talk about what we can expect from this Sunday’s episode, “Blood of my Blood,” when Sam will be reunited with his extremely dysfunctional family.
He’s feeling quite good about himself. He’s not only on the way to take Gilly and the baby to a place of safety, but also a place where he can achieve his life’s ambition as well. He thought it would never happen. He thought it would be impossible.
Sam may be feeling confident now, but that’s because he hasn’t felt the withering scowl of his spiteful father in a while. Sam came to the Night’s Watch because he father gave him one option: take the black, or suffer a “hunting accident” that would clear the way for his younger and more traditionally masculine brother to inherit the family lands, titles, and Valyrian steel sword.
Bradley talks further about what he calls his “monster” of a father, Randyll Tarly, who will be played by James Faulkner, and the emotional damage that growing up in House Tarly inflicted on the bookish Samwell.
Ever since you first saw him, [Sam] comes from this very sincere and heartfelt maternal love, and then there’s this monster. You can see why he’s so damaged. His emotional life has been pulled in so many different directions. He’s so incredibly confused.
Now that Sam has served the Night’s Watch for a few years, and is one of only three people on the show to have slain a White Walker, perhaps he may feel confident enough to stand up to his menacing father. Bradley addressed that question:
You wonder if Sam has changed enough that he can go in with a completely different attitude and stand up to his father and look him in the eye and say, ‘You have to accept me now. You have to, because I’ve achieved all of this.’ Or is the presence of his father so completely part of his psyche that when he gets in that situation, he emotionally regresses back into the broken man that used to be there?
Here’s hoping Sam can dig deep and find the strength to face his fears, but can he do it when it really counts, when his father and younger brother are facing him? Perhaps with Gilly at his side he will find that extra reservoir of courage he needs to finally overcome the fear of his father…I mean, his name isn’t Sam the Slayer for nothing.
Actress Hannah Murray, who plays Gilly, also talked to THR. She discussed how the wildling girl from Craster’s Keep is now seeing the wide world for the first time.
She’s so happy. She’s so thrilled. It’s so lovely to play somebody who is so excited about everything she experiences. Everything is new to her. Her entire world just expands and expands. She was pretty thrilled about the Castle Black kitchen, for one. This adventure, going south for her, it’s like going to a fantasy land. It’s like a fairy tale, really. The fact that she gets to go, and it’s real? She’s blown away by it.
Hopefully, Sam and Gilly won’t stay too long at Horn Hill, House Tarly’s ancestral home. And with the White Walkers preparing to invade up north, perhaps Sam can convince his father that the family’s Valyrian steel sword, Heartsbane, can be used in the wars to come.
Remember, Sam has insider knowledge that Valyrian steel can kill White Walkers, and if he can get his father to help convince the other houses of Westeros in possession of such swords to unite under one cause, it may help sway the final battle for the living. We’ll find out more this Sunday night.