[SPOILERS for those not caught up on Game of Thrones ahead.]
John Bradley, best known as Samwell Tarly on Game of Thrones, has admitted that his character may have taken the credit for Gilly’s (Hannah Murray) huge discovery concerning Jon Snow’s secret heritage. During the extended finale of Game of Thrones penultimate 7th season - aptly titled ‘The Dragon and the Wolf’ - the show confirmed a few long-standing theories concerning key characters Jon Snow (Kit Harrington) and Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke). Perhaps the biggest of these reveals, however, concerned not only Jon Snow’s true status as rightful heir to the Iron Throne but his name as Aegon Targaryen.
The source of information proving that Jon’s parents Lyanna Stark and Rhaegar Targaryen were legitimately (though secretly) married is obviously Gilly, who accidentally discovered the information back in episode 5 of season 7, ‘Eastwatch’. However, when talking to Bran during the Game of Thrones season 7 finale, Sam makes it seem like he discovered the information himself. This has led to certain sects of the fanbase complaining that Gilly did not get her just credit for the discovery. Now, Bradley himself has revealed that he believes that viewpoint isn’t far from the truth.
While speaking with Indiewire, Bradley agreed with the fact that Gilly definitely discovered the information concerning Jon Snow’s heritage, though he also offered a possible reasoning for why Sam would have taken credit for Gilly’s game-changing find. Namely, Bradley believes that his character has been wronged in a similar fashion before when he effectively discovered the cure to greyscale, but received little fanfare. Taking a look into Sam’s state of mind during the discussion with Bran and how Gilly inspired his reveal, Bradley said:
“It’s true that Gilly completely by accident planted the seed of that information into Sam’s mind. He can almost subconsciously absorb it because he’s become so efficient at processing information. He can kind of feel even if he’s not aware of it at the time. He’ll store it in the back of his brain when it’s needed most.”
So while Game of Thrones didn’t itself acknowledge Gilly’s vital role in uncovering information concerning Jon’s parentage and legitimacy during the season 7 finale, at least Bradley seems willing to admit her part in the unfolding. Will showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss make reference to this fact in season 8 or outright address it? That obviously remains to be seen, though it wouldn’t be the first time the creators have incorporated fan feedback and jokes into the show’s narrative.
Regardless, Sam and Gilly will more than likely continue to play a small but pivotal role in the wrapping-up of Game of Thrones’ epic story, and it will certainly be interesting to find out how Jon responds to his true heritage. This is especially true given his new-found romantic relationship with Daenerys (who is his aunt), which will certainly be complicated further in season 8 when (and if) this information is made known to key characters.
Game of Thrones season 8 premieres in either 2018 or 2019.