Is Samwell Tarly (John Bradley) the next Ned Stark (Sean Bean)? Game of Thrones has lacked a "moral compass character" since the first season when Ned Stark lost his life. Ned was always going to go buh-bye — he was too good for the corrupt world of Westeros.
But that doesn't mean Sam can't take his place. Reddit user Lucky129 pointed out that Sam, who is enjoying a pretty hefty narrative this season, draws a lot of similarities to the show's original protagonist.
Lucky129 begins with their childhoods: Both Ned and Sam grew up in the shadow of beloved older brothers. For Ned, this was Brandon Stark, the brother that died at the hands of the Mad King. (Brandon was initially betrothed to Catelyn Stark, who then married Ned after Brandon's death.) For Sam, this is Dickon Tarly (Tom Hopper), a handsome died who died by fire in season 7.
Both then went on "quests" — Sam to the Wall, and Ned to the side of Robert Baratheon, for whom he served as general during Robert's Rebellion. Then, there's the matter of sons. Ned Stark and Sam Tarly both have illegitimate sons. Ned's is Jon Snow (Kit Harington), of course. For Sam, it's Little Sam, the toddler that Gilly (Hannah Murray) fathered with her own father, Craster (Robert Pugh).
This isn't as much as theory as it is good keen observation. It makes sense, too — the show needs a morally grounded protagonist so that we can determine where morality stands at all in the series. If Sam's trajectory is to continue to match Ned's, then our erstwhile wannabe maester is in trouble. If you'll recall, Ned Stark died. That was sort of the catalyst for this whole ordeal we call Game of Thrones.
Please, David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, don't kill Sam Tarly. We're very fond of him.
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