Game of Thrones Interview John Bradley Samwell Tarly

John Bradley (Samwell Tarly) Talks All Things Game of Thrones

Game of Thrones

Actor John Bradley, who portrays the loyal and lovable Samwell Tarly on Game of Thrones, was recently interviewed on the UK podcast, Distraction Pieces. And, while the interview covered a myriad of topics, like John’s love of pro-wrestling, the conversation does swing around to Game of Thrones and how Sam fits into the big picture. Here’s the podcast, and allow me to warn you, it’s quite long, but we will let you know at which points the pertinent Game of Thrones information can be found.


At 13:35, Bradley begins to talk about Sam’s role in Game of Thrones, and how his personality and physical appearance make the show much relatable to a wider audience.

I think you have to make the extremity of the world, and just the fact that this is an environment where you can die at any second, from any number of sources. Anything can try and kill you, so what you get with Sam, is you get somebody in there who is reflective of how you’d manage. Because if you don’t have people like Sam if you get only people like Jon Snow or The Mountain, or people with this incredible physical prowess that can deal with all that stuff…if everybody in the world can deal with it, then it’s not as much of a threat as it should be.

He’s not wrong. Most of us are a little bit of Sam, if we were to really think about it. I for one don’t think I could charge headlong into an army of wights, or face down a charge of fully armored cavalry, like Jon Snow. Bradley notes that the character of Sam serves to make a character like Jon Snow all the more impressive.

John Bradley

At 27:20, Bradley talks about his audition for Game of Thrones:

It was my first audition out of Drama School, it was the first thing I went up for, I didn’t have any kind of frame of reference at all. I had heard of the books, but I hadn’t read them.

Bradley goes on to talk about recognizing the fact that Sean Bean was going to be in Game of Thrones, when he auditioned, and then he talks of the awe of being on an HBO show. At 31:30, Bradley talks about Kit Harington and what he had done before Thrones, calling Harington “a worldwide phenomenon actor.”

Other points of reference pertinent to Game of Thrones:

  • 36:00 – Peter Dinklage as Tyrion Lannister and Gwendoline Christie as Brienne.
  • 36:45 – Nina Gold, the casting director for Game of Thrones.
  • 40:00 – Bradley talks about the show expanding year over year and how each season is its own 10-hour film.
  • 42:00 – Any character, no matter how popular they are, can die on the show at any moment.
  • 60:00 – John Bradley’s first scene with Stephen Dillane (Stannis).
  • 60:03 – George R.R. Martin’s writing, and how the show and books are their own entity.
  • 60:15 – Maisie Williams’ master of social media.
  • 60:20 – How Game of Thrones has set each actor up for a future in television and film, after the show has ended.

GoT 610 52 sam, gilly little sam

Toward the end, Bradley compares Game of Thrones Season 7 to Breaking Bad’s final season, in so much that the showrunners on Breaking Bad decided to split the final season (Season 5) into two eight-episode parts. It’s not clear here, if Bradley believes that Game of Thrones Season 8 will be more of a Season 7B, but it is interesting that he does draw that comparison.

The entire podcast is actually a really good listen, and if you have an hour and a half to spare, then I highly suggest you listen to the entire show. John Bradley has always been one of my favorite actors on the show, with his portrayal of Sam, but after listening to him talk about a wide array of topics, he has now become one of my favorite human beings, as well.


  • I hadn’t realized that GoT was Bradley’s first acting gig, straight out of drama school! He is so perfectly cast as Sam and brings the character to life so lovably. Even though the TV adaptation has pretty much cut out the part of the story that illustrates Sam’s talent for behind-the-scenes scheming, there’s a spark of that wiliness in his portrayal as well. Hope Samwell makes it all the way to the end!