Game of Thrones fans, the wait is over. The hugely popular fantasy epic returns for its eighth and final season on HBO tonight and with the show's return comes room for lots of theories and speculation about how things will shake out in the last six episodes. Among them is one that suggests a rather bumbling character never expected to be the hero ends up going out in a blaze of glory -- in the case of Game of Thrones, that bumbling non-hero being none other than Sam Tarly.
This theory comes to us from user WowBaBao over on Reddit and builds on some foreshadowing from previous seasons of the series as well as banks on the general idea that nothing is ever mentioned in Game of Thrones without having some significance. We'll break down that second bit here in a bit. First, the Reddit theory.
The idea is pretty simple. Sam Tarly has been set up to bring down the Night King before Game of Thrones' big finale. The "evidence" of this goes back to Season 1, specifically when Robert Baratheon spoke about his first kill of the rebellion that, ultimately, led him to the throne."
"Mine was some Tarly boy at the battle of Summerhall," Robert explained. "My horse took an arrow, so I was on foot, slogging through the mud. He came running at me, this dumb high-born lad, thinking he could end the rebellion with a single swing of his sword."
As one might recall, that didn't go well for that particular Tarly, but the theory goes on to say that Sam Tarly isn't the same as his relative. The theory notes that while we met Sam as a coward and shamed member of his family who cowered in fear of the White Walkers early on, he's slowly developed more knowledge and more courage as the series as progressed. As we enter the final season, he's far more ready for the end and it may lead to him being the one to end the Night King.
"Fast forward to Sam taking his father’s sword and then forward again to when Sam is in old town talking to Gilly right before they leave: 'Are you sure you want to do this? You've always wanted to be a maester.' In which Sam replies, 'I'm tired of reading about the achievements of better men,'" the post on Reddit reads. “I propose that all these scenes are foreshadowing Sam dealing the final blow to the Night King, finally being the man his father wanted him to be. He will do this wielding Heartsbane."
Heartsbane is also an important thing to note, and this is where the idea that nothing is ever referenced in vain on Game of Thrones. One of the few remaining Valyrian steel weapons in Westeros, Heartsbane is thus one of the few weapons that can kill the White Walkers without shattering. Sam actually has possession of Heartsbane, too. The ancestral sword of the Tarly's, Heartsbane was hanging in Horn Hill expected to be given to Dickon by Lord Randyll. However, last time Sam and Gilly were there, Sam stole it. That likely wasn't just something meant to be a cool scene.
Of course, just because Sam could very well be poised for glory in taking down the Night King that doesn't mean that he'll live to savor his victory or even be successful in killing the Night King. Instead, Sam may instead make the valiant effort -- and even contribute to the overall effort in a meaningful way -- and give his life in the process. It's a death that would earn Sam the honor he's been searching for while still allowing for the "main" heroes of the series to be, well, the main heroes. But, then again, this is Game of Thrones. Anything is possible.
What do you think? Will Sam go out in a blaze of glory using Heartsbane to try to take out the Night King? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.
Game of Thrones debuts for its eighth and final season Sunday, April 14 at 9 p.m. ET on HBO.
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