This post is dark and full of spoilers.
In Season 8 of “Game of Thrones,” many of the most popular fan theories became extinct faster than Daenerys (Emilia Clarke) could say “dracarys” to King’s Landing. But through it all, there’s been one theory to rule them all.
The idea that Sam Tarly (John Bradley) would go full Tolkien and, much like Bilbo and Frodo Baggins do in “The Hobbit” and “The Lord of the Rings,” become the in-story author of George R.R. Martin’s “A Song of Ice and Fire” novels was semi-confirmed in the series finale.
In final episode of “Game of Thrones,” (spoilers! last warning) Dany is killed by Jon Snow (Kit Harington), who is sent back to the Night’s Watch, and Bran (Isaac Hempstead Wright) is named King of the Six Kingdoms ― since Sansa (Sophie Turner) becomes queen of the independent North. And Sam is appointed the Grand Maester of Bran’s small council, alongside fellow members, including Tyrion Lannister (Peter Dinklage), Davos (Liam Cunningham), Bronn (Jerome Flynn) and Brienne of Tarth (Gwendoline Christie).
At a council meeting, Sam shows off Archmaester Ebrose’s (Jim Broadbent) new book, “A Song of Ice and Fire” ― a history of the wars following the death of King Robert Baratheon (Mark Addy). Although he didn’t write it in the end, Sam still played a big part, telling Tyrion he “helped with the title.”
For years, it seemed that when it came to this theory ― to paraphrase the Three-Eyed Raven (now King Bran the Broken) ― the past was already written. The ink was dry.
In the Season 6 finale, Sam arrived at the Citadel and saw one fixture that appeared to be the gyroscope featured in the show’s opening credits. Then, in Season 7, Sam suggested Archmaester Ebrose call his “Chronicle of the Wars Following the Death of King Robert I” something “a bit more poetic.” This all perhaps hinted that Sam had some greater connection to the narrative.
Ahead of Season 8, the actor behind Sam Tarly, John Bradley, told HuffPost about his enthusiasm for the theory, saying that ”it feeds into George’s J.R.R. Tolkien influence.”
“The fact he’s called George R.R. Martin tells you quite a lot about him,” joked Bradley.
In addition to being inspired by Tolkien, Martin has also reportedly stated that if he himself were a character in the story, he would be Sam. So the writing’s been on the wall.
Bradley told us that, as an actor, “what you really want is for it to end and to think, ‘Well, that wouldn’t have actually ended that way if it wasn’t for my character.’ I think any theory that puts Sam at the center of things [is great].”
He added, “They are the kind of theories you latch on to.”
Season 8 was a tough one for fans who’ve been clinging to theories about everything from who would kill Cersei (Lena Headey) to the secret parentage of a character not named Jon Snow. If you were one of the fans rooting for the Sam-Writing-The-Story theory, congratulations. You’ve sort of won the game of thrones.
And if you’re one of the fans who complained about the writing, you now know who’s to blame.