By now many of you are already preparing to rebuttal this post based solely on the title. I get it. Sam is not the kind of character you think of as important. He’s got that sidekick vibe to him, like Robin to Batman-Jon-Snow. I want to challenge that. Sam is one of the most important characters on Game of Thrones. In fact, if Sam wasn’t around, Westros would be hip deep in undead by now.
On top of this, we are in deadzone waiting for the new season. We haven’t forgotten GoT, but we also haven’t had a lot to get us fired up. It was time for a blog post on Game of Thrones.
I’m not a big fan of Sam’s character personally, but the writers have masterfully cast him in a role that has a lot of far-reaching impacts. Moreover, we tend to not realize the importance of what Sam has done thus far.
Here’s the rundown of the things Sam did to save the world well all care about more than our own:
- Sam prevented Jon from quitting the Night’s Watch. When Jon wanted to run off and avenge headless-Ned, it was Sam that tracked him down and convinced him to remain in the Night’s Watch. Otherwise Jon would have been a guest at the Red Wedding and, well, you get it.
- Sam found the Dragonglass at the First of the First Men and learned it could kill Whitewalkers. This is kind of a big deal because up to this point, only fire was used to kill the dead. Sam killed a freaking Whitewalker! The first of the Night’s Watch in generations to do so. Sure he almost wet himself doing it, but he did it.
- He helped Bran get north of the Wall so that he could become the Three-Eyed Raven. Bran would have just been some guy tripping out every now and then in a drug-like-stupor if Sam had not helped them through a secret tunnel to the North. And let’s face it, if Bran hadn’t become the Three-Eyed Raven, we would still be dealing with Littlefinger, so we owe Sam a lot here.
- Sam saves Gilly and her son, depriving the Whitewalkers of another wight in their command.
- In the Battle for Castle Black, it is Sam that releases Ghost who helps Jon turn the tide of the battle.
- He nominated Jon as Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch. Sure, the Night’s Watch would eventually kill him, but if not for Sam he never would have been made Lord Commander, which would have doomed the Free Folk in the north. Sam’s simple nomination set a great deal in motion from that point forward.
- Sam warned the ArchMaesters of the threat of the Whitewalkers. The maesters didn’t seem to know what was going on north of the wall until Sam clued them in. While they didn’t do much about it – yet, Sam did make them aware of what was coming.
- He cured Jorah Mormont. Sure Jorah lives in Dany’s friendzone, but he is a kick-ass character that was going to die until Sam violated the rules and saved him. This allowed Jorah to go with Jon’s expedition north, capture one of the undead, and laid the stage for the upcoming season of wacky shennanigans. Without Sam, Jorah would be dying a horrible death.
- It was Sam that discovered a mountain of Dragonglass was at Dragonstone. Not only is this a weapon against the dead, it forced Jon and Dany to form an alliance that would be key in the wars to come. If Sam had not discovered this, it is hard to say that the two would be able to find some common ground.
- It was Sam that discovered Jon’s true heritage (with Gilly’s help). Bran gets the credit for this, but in reality, Bran was unaware of Jon’s true heritage until Sam told him about the marriage of Jon’s true mother to the Targaryen prince. Without Sam, we never would have known that Jon is a legitimate heir to the Iron Throne.
So there you have it, Sam is critical to the plot up to this point. More than Headless-Ned, that’s for sure.