When fans talk about Game of Thrones characters who survived the entire series, most think of characters introduced in the pilot, the Lannister siblings, the Stark kids, and Daenerys Targaryen. However, there are a few characters who first turned up in episode 2 or 3 of Season 1 who also made it to the end, including Sam, Jon's best friend from his first days at Castle Black. What happened to Samwell Tarly in Game Of Thrones Season 7? Let's review his journey.
The firstborn son of Randyll Tarly, steward to the ruling Tyrell family in The Reach, Sam was the epitome of a bullied teen when fans met him in Season 1. Overweight, bookish, and gentle, his father banished him to The Wall ridding himself of an heir who didn't fit his narrow definition of masculinity. Jon sticks up for Sam, earning himself a friend for life.
Over the next five seasons, Sam follows Jon, including ranging beyond the Wall, where he meets Gilly, the abused daughter-wife of Craster. Sam falls in love, rescuing her and her son. When Sam realizes the danger posed by the Night King to his family, he convinces Jon to send them south, on the pretext of studying at the Citadel to become Castle Black's next maester. On the way, they visit his family, where Sam steals the Tarly Valyrian-steel sword, just in case.
Despite Sam's dreams of the Citadel being a Westerosi Hogwarts, the reality is entirely different. The archmaesters are petty, small-minded, and bizarrely incurious about the world. They laugh Sam off when he tells them about the Night King. They are horrified when he cures Jorah of greyscale, instead of appreciating the modern medical miracle. By the end of the season, Sam realizes he's condemned himself to fiddle while the world burns by coming there.
Angry and frustrated, he packs up to take Gilly and their kid back to Castle Black to stand by Jon's side. However, Gilly's been doing some reading of her own at the Citadel, and accidentally uncovers a bombshell. “What does annulment mean?”
Sam never makes it back to Castle Black, detouring to Winterfell upon hearing Jon has left the Night's Watch and been named King in the North. It's there that he meets Jon's little brother Bran and the two of them put together their pieces of information, Bran's vision of Rhaegar's second marriage to Lyanna, and Sam's discovery of a recorded annulment of the first one to Elia. It turns out Jon Snow is no bastard after all.
As Season 8 begins, Bran and Sam are sitting on one bombshell, but Jon and Daenerys are bringing another. Daenerys put both Sam's father and brother to death by Dragonfire for siding with Cersei Lannister. This leaves Sam as the only living heir to the Tarly state, which, with the erasure of the Tyrells, means he rules the entirety of The Reach.
How will Sam react to his newfound status? Moreover, how will he break the news of Jon's parentage to his best friend? Fans will find out when Game of Thrones Season 8 premieres on April 14.