Samwell Tarly

Annoyed at his softness, Randyll tried many methods to make Samwell Tarly become manly to no avail, and later, he gave up.

The Definitive Glossary for Game of Thrones

Samwell Tarly is from House Tarly and is the eldest son of Lord Randyll Tarly. After failing to meet his father’s standards of manliness, he gets taken to the Night’s Watch, where he meets Jon Snow, the bastard child of Eddard Stark. Soon, he and Jon Snow become good friends, and Sam plays a crucial role in making Jon Snow the Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch. Though born to one of the greatest military generals in Westeros, Sam was far from the boy his father envisioned for him to be.

Samwell Tarly Personal Details 

  • Name: Samwell Tarly. 
  • Year of Birth: 283 AC at Horn Hill.
  • Parents: Lord Randyll Tarly and Lady Melessa Florent.
  • Culture: Marcher.
  • Religion: Faith of the Seven.
  • Aliases: Sam, Lady Piggy, Ser Piggy, Lord of Ham, Sam the Slayer, Black Sam, Sam the Scared.
  • Siblings: Talla Tarly and Dickon Tarly.
  • Hair Color: Black.
  • Allegiances: Night’s Watch, Citadel, House Tarly.
  • Lovers: Gilly.

Appearance and Personality

Sam is a tall, overweight young boy with small pale eyes and a large moon-shaped face. He has messy dark hair and a sharp squeaky voice that makes others mock him. Because of his weight, Sam became the scorn of everyone around him. He got bullied even more for his fear of violence, which made him weak in the eyes of others.

Weighing about 20 stones (127 kilograms), Sam is a coward who does not hide that fact from anyone. He is afraid of violence, blood, and many other things related to brawling; this makes him terribly insecure and socially awkward. However, though he hates violence, Sam loves anything related to knowledge and music. His father once got so scared of the idea of him becoming a maester that he chained him for three days.


Early Life

Sam was born into House Tarly as the first child of Lady Melessa Florent of House Florent and Randyll Tarly of House Tarly, the head of the house and the Lord of Horn Hill. As Randyll was one of the greatest military generals in Westeros, he thought his son would be a prodigy and take over when his time arrived, becoming one of the top ranking lords in the Seven Kingdoms. However, he got angry to discover that Sam was non-violent.

Randyll subjected Sam to rigorous reconditioning at the hands of many masters-at-arms, but all proved ineffective. With nothing working, Randyll resorted to mocking his son out of his cowardice by making him wear his mother’s clothes, sleep in chain mail, and make Qartheen warlocks bathe him in aurochs’ blood. However, all methods proved ineffective as Sam remained a pacifistic boy who loved soft fabrics.

At age ten, Samwell accompanied his father to Arbor, a golden island off the southwesternmost part of Westeros, ruled by House Redwyne. His father, Randyll, tried to make him become a page and squire for Lord Paxter Redwyne, but after Sam got mocked by Horras and Hobber Redwyne, he returned with him.

A New Brother

After giving birth to three girls in three years, Sam’s mother, Lady Melessa, bore a son called Dickon. To Randyll’s joy, his new son possessed all the vigor and manliness he wanted in an heir, and he decided to focus on him, ignoring Sam.

For a while, Sam got the freedom he always wished for and enjoyed music and food. His father prevented him from traveling to the Citadel in Oldtown, as he did not want a member of House Tarly to become a maester.

When Sam clocked fifteen, his father, Randyll, prevented him from inheriting Heartsbane, the ancestral Valyrian steel greatsword of the Tarlys. He told him to renounce his name for the Night’s Watch or suffer an unfortunate hunting trip accident. Scared of losing his life, Sam leaves his home and travels to Castle Black.

Relevance in A Song of Ice and Fire

A Game of Thrones

When Sam reaches Castle Black after heading off to become a sworn brother of the Night’s Watch, he starts getting mocked for his appearance. Ser Alliser Thorne, the master-at-arms, makes fun of him by calling him Ser Piggy and instructs the boys not to hold back when fighting him during training. Later, Sam meets Jon Snow, who left Winterfell.

Jon convinces and threatens the other boys to back off from hurting Sam during training to Alliser’s annoyance. When the time for taking vows draws near, Sam is not worthy of becoming a man of the Night’s Watch. However, Jon meets Maester Aemon and convinces him to make Sam one of his stewards, stating that he can read and write and is more valuable being a steward than a soldier. Aemon agrees and places Sam in charge of the library, removing Chett from the position.

Sam takes his vows at the heart tree with Jon in the haunted forest and becomes a sworn brother of the night. His skills become valuable to Lord Commander Mormont when two rangers of the Watch, Jafer Flowers and Othor, become wights after their bodies get found.

Commander Jeor Mormont gives Jon Longclaw for saving his life. When Jon learns that his father, Eddard Stark, got arrested, he tries to desert the Night’s Watch and join his half-brother, Robb Stark. However, Sam gathers Grenn, Pyp, and Jon’s other friends to convince him not to desert.

A Clash of Kings

Lord Commander Mormont decides to lead a great range beyond the Wall in search of Benjen Stark. Sam gets placed to help Lord Mormont with the maps needed for the journey. Sam follows Lord Mormont to Craster’s keep, where he meets Gilly, the pregnant daughter, and wife of Craster.

A Storm of Swords

After reaching Craster’s Keep, Lord Commander Mormont heads for the Fist of the First Men with Sam and the black brothers of the Watch. At the Fist of the First Men, the brothers of the Watch get attacked by Others, and during the battle, Sam sends ravens to warn Castle Black of the imminent threat.

Fifty men survive, including Lord Mormont, and travel back to Craster’s Keep. Along the way, Sam uses a dragonglass blade discovered by Ghost, Jon’s direwolf, to kill an Other; this earns him the nickname ‘Sam the Slayer.’ When the survivors reach Craster’s Keep, a fight breaks out, and Craster and Lord Mormont die in a mutiny.

Gilly runs away with Sam and her newborn baby. They reach a small village and almost get killed by Small Paul, who becomes a wight. They get saved by Coldhands.

Coldhands lead Sam and Gilly back to the Wall and tell them to help a boy and his friends pass through to meet him. Sam then meets Bran Stark and his friends, Hodor, Jojen Reed, Meera Reed, and Summer, and swears not to let anyone know that the Stark boy is alive.

Later, Bran tells Sam that Jon Snow is the child of Rhaegar Targaryen and Lyanna Stark, and when he tells Jon, he is shocked by the revelation, and they both learn that Robert’s Rebellion and ascension of the Iron Throne got centered around a lie.

Sam travels back to Castle Black in Ser Denys Mallister and Bowen Marsh’s company and arrives at the Castle to meet Stannis Baratheon. Without a Lord Commander, voting ensues with Janos Slynt as the leading candidate. However, as he knows Janos is not fit to be the next commander of the Watch, Sam meets Cotter Pyke and Ser Denys and convinces them to support Jon; this leads to Jon winning the votes and becoming the new Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch.

A Feast for Crows

With the presence of Stannis in Castle Black, Jon sends Sam, Gilly, Dareon, and Maester Aemon to the Citadel on Oldtown. Maester Aemon falls sick, making Sam and the crew stop at Braavos. Sam later learns that Jon split Gilly from her child by giving her Mance Rayder’s baby.

After Sam takes a ship to Oldtown with Gilly, he tells her of his intentions to declare her child as his and take them to his home at Horn Hill. Sam also tells Gilly about his childhood dream of becoming a wizard. He gets berated by his father, who declares he will not inherit Heartsbane, the Tarly’s ancestral greatsword. He leaves and carries the sword along with him. 

Aemon’s condition worsens, and when he hears that dragons are alive, he asks to hear about Daenerys Targaryen and states that she may be the fulfillment of the prophecy of the Prince Promised. 

Dareon deserts Sam, stating he is leaving the Watch, and a fight ensues. Sam gets thrown into a canal and saved by Xhondo, who offers to take him aboard the Cinnamon Wind. Aboard the ship, Aemon dies, and in a moment of mourning, Sam sleeps with Gilly, and she decides to name Mance’s child Aemon Steelsong.

When he reaches Oldtown, Sam learns that Dragonstone has the weapons effective against White Walkers. He meets Jorah Mormont, who is infected with greyscale and heals him.

On reaching the Citadel, Sam travels to the Seneschal’s Court to meet the Senaschel. He gets delayed but gets taken by acolyte Alleras to meet Archmaester Marwyn, who tells him of his intentions to travel to Meereen and meet Daenerys.

Appearance in Adaptation

In HBO’s television adaptation Game of Thrones, Samwell got portrayed by John Bradley. He appeared in all seasons of the show and starred in 48 episodes. In the tv series, Sam has a story arc that radically changes. Sam remains as a large character, in contrast to Kit Harington’s athletic Jon Snow.

Samwell Tarly: A Sheep Among Wolves

Samwell’s character is one that George R. R. Martin used to portray the rigidity of his world. The author showed through Sam’s character that Westeros was a place where different people got treated wildly differently, like today’s world.

As Sam was soft and kind, he got seen as a mistake of nature and the universe. His father hated him for not being strong enough, and everyone mocked him for being different. However, though the world of Westeros was rigid to Sam, he later became an asset to the Night’s Watch by honing on his strengths.

Though Sam may have been a sheep among wolves, he became one of the most crucial characters in Castle Black, and his wisdom gave him the upper hand over the brute force brothers of the Night’s Watch.

Sam also becomes a very loyal and trustworthy best friend to Jon Snow, and none prove to be as much of a key character in Jon Snow’s arc as much as Sam.


What happens to Samwell Tarly in Game of Thrones?

In Game of Thrones, Samwell Tarly survives the war between the White Walkers and Men. After Daenerys’s destruction of King’s Landing, she gets killed by Jon Snow, who gets banished. Sam later becomes the Grand Maester for the new King, Bran.

Will Samwell Tarly die in A Song of Ice and Fire?

Sam’s fate in A Song of Ice and Fire is not rigid. He successfully reaches the Citadel. However, his story from there remains a mystery.

Does Sam impregnate Gilly?

No. Gilly got impregnated by her father, Craster. Suing the mutiny of the black brothers, she escaped with Sam. They later meet Coldhands, who takes them to the Wall safely.

Will Samwell become a wizard in ASOIAF?

Though he had a childhood dream of becoming a wizard, Sam will probably become a maester and not a wizard.

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