Sam (played by John Bradley), one of the most beloved characters on “Game of Thrones,” has grown a lot in the past seven seasons. Here’s a breakdown of his biggest moments, culminating in Sunday’s attempt to cure Greyscale.
In Season 1, we are first introduced to Sam when he arrives as a fresh recruit for the Night’s Watch. He’s fat, cowardly and doesn’t really want to be there, but nonetheless befriends Jon Snow, who helps him come out of his shell. This is a friendship that will last the series, and has long been compared to the relationship between Frodo and Samwise Gamgee in “The Lord of the Rings.”
After Sam and Jon officially state their vows, they’re both assigned to the Stewards. This is expected for Sam, and he’s assigned to Maester Aemon, hinting at his future role as Maester of Castle Black.
When Jon hears about the death of his father Ned Stark, he is convinced he must abandon the vows he just made and help his family. But Sam, in courage he’s learned from Jon, convinces Lord Snow to stay.
Sam is part of the ranging expedition in Season 2, and assumes Jon’s stewarding responsibilities when he goes further with Qhorin Halfhand. He discovers dragonglass (which you’ll know by now is very important) and somehow survives the Battle of the Fist of the First Men, despite being slow and not really helping anyone.
The remaining men of the Night’s Watch return to Craster’s Keep on their way back to Castle Black. Gilly, the wildling daughter of Craster Sam met at their first stop, is giving birth to a boy. Sam helps her escape traitors of the Night’s Watch, who kill Craster and Lord Commander Jeor Mormont.
On the way back to Castle Black, Sam and Gilly take refuge from the cold in an abandoned, makeshift cabin. But a White Walker — used to Craster’s sacrifices of baby boys — finds them. After the White Walker destroys Sam’s sword, he pulls out some of the dragonglass he found north of the Wall, stabs him with it, and the Walker dies.
The journey back to Castle Black continues with a run-in with Bran Stark, Jon’s younger brother. Sam immediately recognizes Bran because of his direwolf. Bran begs Sam to take them north of the Wall, which Sam won’t do, but he does send them on their way with the dragonglass he found at the Fist of the First Men.
During the battle to defend Castle Black from the wildlings, Sam hides Gilly in a storage room with her baby. Before he goes back up to join the fighting, he finally kisses her. This episode is also a rarity for “Game of Thrones” in that the entire episode is spent at the Wall.
Fast forward through a lot that doesn’t directly involve Sam, and Jon has returned from the battle at Hardhome. Jon decides Sam must go to Oldtown and become the new Maester of the Night’s Watch.
After a lot of seasickness, Sam finally gets to Old Town — but not before trying to leave Gilly with his parents at Horn Hill. When his father discovers Gilly is a wilding, he threatens Sam, and he decides to steal his father’s sword, Heartsbane, and take Gilly with him to the Citadel.
And this brings us to the current season, with Sam studying away to become a maester. He’s clearly impatient (we would be too, if we were responsible for all that poop), and ends up stealing a key to the restricted section of the library. There, he discovers a book that says Dragonstone is sitting on top of a giant reserve of dragonglass. He immediately sends a raven to Jon with the news.
Sam runs in to Jorah Mormont, who is at the Citadel because of his severe case of Greyscale. The Archmaester tells Jorah he has six months before the infection will start affecting his mind. He also forbids Sam to try a cure deemed too risky — but Sam tries it anyway, determined to save Ser Jorah.