Game of Thrones’ John Bradley Talks Samwell Tarly’s New View of Jon Snow
Game of Thrones’ Samwell Tarly thought becoming a maester was his destiny, but the Archmaester didn’t value Sam’s academic gifts, and Sam left the Citadel, deciding he was “tired of reading about the achievements of better men.”
Now he’s on a whole new trajectory, combining his knowledge with that of Bran “Three-Eyed Raven” Stark.
But will his revelations about Jon Snow Aegon Targaryen change the way he feels about his closest friend? And, for that matter, can we trust what Sam says about him?
Actor John Bradley has thoughts on the matter…
In the Season 7 finale, Sam made it to Winterfell and reunited with Bran, whom he helped get beyond the Wall in Season 3.
Being omniscient — or, at least, semi-omniscient — Bran told him that Jon and Daenerys Targaryen were on their way to Winterfell.
And he told Sam what no one else knows: that Jon is the son of Rhaegar Targaryen and Lyanna Stark.
But Bran was wrong about Jon’s real name being Jon Sand. Jon isn’t a Dornish bastard, as Sam pointed out.
Granted, he didn’t give credit to Gilly for being the one who actually found the info, but Sam told Bran that Rhaegar and Lyanna were married at the time of Jon’s birth, meaning Jon is the true heir to the Iron Throne.
“Even the Three-Eyed Raven has gaps in his knowledge,” as John tells The New York Times in a new interview.
“And if someone has gaps in their knowledge, Sam is very, very keen to fill them.”
As John explains, the Samwell-Bran scene marked more than just a reunion. It was the meshing of two intellectuals who never fit in well elsewhere.
“It’s quite interesting that these two outsiders have found somebody in each other who recognizes their particular gifts — gifts that no one else in the course of the Great War really possesses,” he says.
“And they could be quite a force to be reckoned with because they complement each other so well.”
“In terms of the influence they now have over people, and the news that they have, and the way they can backup the information with evidence, they could really move things forward,” the British actor elaborates.
“You saw the way Bran talked about Littlefinger’s holding the dagger to Ned Stark’s throat, and the effect that that had in the Great Hall of Winterfell … That was just a small taste of the power that Bran has, especially regarding certain key pieces of information that other people might not believe otherwise.
“And Sam has all the other information, the hidden details, that Bran’s skill can’t quite provide. Bran and Sam together, they should be able to have the ear of anybody they choose.”
Sam’s reveal about Rhaegar and Lyanna was surprising — we didn’t think Sam was listening when Gilly told him Prince “Raggar” annulled his first marriage to get married a second time.
But Sam was preoccupied but not tuned out, as John explains:
“The thing about Sam is that he’s always been wrapped up in his own head. He’s been so isolated and felt like such an outsider for so long that he’s just constantly living introspectively.
“I think Sam is the kind of person who can absorb information rather efficiently. He can almost absorb the information by osmosis, almost subconsciously. His brain is never completely closed.”
Now that Sam and Bran have put the puzzle pieces together, though, Sam sees his best friend in another light entirely.
“All of this definitely does change Jon and Sam’s relationship, because the man Sam thought Jon was, in terms of what he represented in the world, that’s all changed,” John says.
“Jon is the rightful heir to the Iron Throne, and that’s bound to change the way [Sam] perceives him and the future of the Seven Kingdoms. And that could affect Sam’s future as well, in a more positive way than he could anticipate.”
Then again, maybe we should all be looking at Jon differently — if it’s true what fans have theorized, that Samwell Tarly is the storyteller of everything we’re watching.
“Maybe what we’ve seen for the past seven seasons isn’t quite the truth, but more Sam’s opinions, Sam’s preferences, Sam’s personality. It makes you realize that this could have been different.
“Maybe Sam made Jon appear to be more of a hero, to be more noble, to be more of a truth-teller, than he actually was! It could have affected the reality of the show.
“It casts doubt on everything you’ve seen, and it encourages you to go back and rewatch the show with new eyes.”
And if Jon isn’t quite the hero of the story, perhaps the White Walkers aren’t quite the villains.
“We’re told that all the time about certain groups of people — these people want this, these people want that — and that’s only half the story,” John muses.
If the White Walkers are human beings of a sort, then they do want something. They are fighting with a moral compass that just might be slightly different than ours. It’s not that they don’t have morality, it just might be different than ours. Their priorities are different.
So if they are people with morals, and heart, and families and causes to fight for, other than a nihilistic destruction of everything that’s been in the world, then that’s a different prospect.”
OK, but is Jon actually just as handsome as he is on the show, or is that another one of Samwell’s embellishments? (Trademarked new word: Samwellishments.)
Game of Thrones Season 8 premieres in either 2018 or 2019.