00:00:00
22 Apr

Image: HBO

Never change, Samwell Tarly.

Jon Snow’s oldest and closest pal from the Night’s Watch is officially our MVP for the Game of Thrones Season 8 premiere. Cersei’s extremely relatable disappointment over not getting her elephants made her a strong challenger, but a proper MVP should change the game.

Sam changed the game, without question.

He did it in such an endearingly Sam-like way, too. The boy had every reason to be ranting and raging at Jon in the minutes after learning — from his pal’s lover, no less — that Randyll and Dickon Tarly, his father and brother, respectively, had refused their new queen and met untimely ends.

(Good thing Dany didn’t get into how the Tarlys died.)

Instead of stomping up to Jon and simply blurting out “You’ve been boning your aunt, bruh,” Sam played it cool. Meek, even. Bran explained why it had to be Sam breaking the news to Jon that he’s the one, true king of the Seven Kingdom and Sam, grief-stricken and as filled with rage as we’ve ever seen him, took it in stride.

The scene where he breaks the news could have gone very differently, of course. There’s a reason Sam led with the news that Dany killed the Tarly Boys. He was watching Jon’s face, Jon’s reaction. He wanted to know if his old buddy was aware of what had happened. 

Sam changed the game, without question.

He was almost certainly ready to throttle Jon where he stood if there had been even an inkling that he knew. You can see it right there in the way his face hardens as he spells it all out. Sam isn’t the weak-willed coward he once was. Jon has a lot to do with that, but that fact wouldn’t have kept Sam from turning on his friend.

Thankfully for all of us, Jon and Sam’s friendship is one of the few on Game of Thrones that remains pure and unsullied by personal betrayals. Sam saw that instantly in Jon’s response, and took that as his prompt to drop the biggest bombshell of all: Jon’s true biological father is Rhaegar Targaryen, which means Jon is actually Aegon Targaryen, rightful heir to the Iron Throne.

Yeah, Sam was a little petty in his delivery. He framed the whole conversation in a definitively anti-Dany light. But let’s not forget: she murdered Sam’s father and brother with dragonfire. Even if Sam doesn’t know the dragonfire bit, the murder entitles him to some hard-earned pettiness.

What this revelation means for Jon, Dany, their relationship, and, really, the future of Westeros is entirely uncertain at this point. But with just a few soft-spoken words, Sam has directly altered the course of the ongoing story in Game of Thrones. In one scene, he set the remaining five episodes off on a particular course that’s likely to be fully paid off only after the credits roll on the final chapter.

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