Why Sam is even more important than we realized on Game of Thrones

Samwell Tarly is more than just your average loyal sidekick-slash-best pal character. Sure, his allegiance to Jon Snow, Lord Commander of the Night's Watch-turned-King in the North, is proven, and he's still sporting a shiny heart of gold that is too nice a thing for his world, really. But there's much more to him than that. In fact, Sam might just turn out to be the most important Game of Thrones character of all, because Season 6's finale episode dropped a giant Easter Egg seemingly putting him at the center of everything we know about what's happened, is happening, and will happen throughout the rest of the series.

When Sam first reached the Citadel, he saw something incredibly significant

It might have seemed like Sam, Gilly, and Little Sam's slow horse-drawn carriage ride to Oldtown was nothing short of yawn-worthy (except when he up and stole his family's prized Heartsbane sword from under his cruel father's snoring nose, of course). Apart from that face-palmy family dinner at House Tarly, the action contained in Sam's journey throughout Season 6 was basically nil. But when he finally arrived in Oldtown, he got his first look at that jaw-dropping library, and we spotted a special something lingering above him: a spherical chandelier system nearly identical to the astrolabe that shines in the show's intro art.

Yes, we're talking about the glowing golden orb that comes into focus and kicks off every episode before showcasing the various kingdoms at play in the proverbial board game. It had always been something of a throwaway (albeit lovely) visual before, but now that it's been seen hanging in the Citadel's massive library, its purpose is becoming rather clear.

Sam might be the one to write the Song of Ice and Fire

As pointed out by Alex Zalben at TV Guide, A Song of Ice and Fire author George R.R. Martin has long admitted to being inspired by another double-R-middle-named fantasy legend, J.R.R. Tolkien, and his iconic Lord of the Rings series. Sam is thought to be a direct homage to LOTR's own secondary hero with a similar moniker, Samwise Gamgee. J.R.R. Tolkien's version of Sam ended up being of utmost importance to the story, as he ultimately picked up the pen left idle by Bilbo Baggins to finish the story of "the one ring to rule them all" and how it was destroyed by Frodo. George R.R. Martin has famously promised that his own story ending would reflect Tolkien's "bittersweet" ending style.

So, the suggestion is that Game of Thrones' Sam, ever the literati, will be similarly charged with writing about Jon Snow & Co.'s effort to save the world from the White Walkers. The golden orb shown in the season finale, then, would represent part of the site at which these illustrations were rendered by Sam, which explains why it's such a big part of the show's intro. (Another keen-eyed observer, pardon the pun, also points to the former Maester of the Night Watch's regular use of an ocular device as support for this theory. The thought is that it reflects this blurry object coming into focus in the intro art.) It would mean Game of Thrones, as we know it, is ultimately a fictional historical narrative written by Sam based on his experiences and others'. Makes total sense, right?

Sam's studiousness could play a crucial hand in the big war

Forget the fact that Daenerys Targaryen is on her way to oust Cersei Lannister from the Iron Throne, and that Jon Snow has been declared King in the North and may have earned the jealous ire of his sister-slash-cousin Sansa Stark (and Littlefinger). Those are but battles in the grand scheme of things. The true war, Jon knows all too well, will trail the arrival of winter once the Night King figures out a way to get his army of White Walkers past the Wall—and Sam's access to Oldtown's bevy of books may help him find a more efficient way for people to kill the undead.

Sam's seen (and killed) a White Walker himself with a dragonglass dagger, so he already knows the strength and resilience of the enemy's forces and the effectiveness of obsidian against them. He also knows about the stockpile of dragonglass in the island of Dragonstone, thanks to the late Stannis Baratheon, but the North's forces are outnumbered exponentially, and the Walkers are exceedingly tireless, fast, and bloodthirsty. So, really, it might be on Sam to discover a better way to defeat those seemingly unkillable forces of darkness. Could his good-hearted nature help convince Daenerys to lend her dragon trio to the cause?

The scrivener's duty could fall on Little Sam

Sam has put his neck on the line in more ways than one to secure the safety of his now-wife Gilly and her son Little Sam, who was the product of her horrible father's incestual enslavement and was sure to be surrendered to the Night King. And while his commitment to taking the vulnerable wildling pair under his wing may have seemed like a labor of mercy (and, later, love), there might be a deeper significance.

Maybe baby Sam will grow up to follow in his adoptive father's academically-oriented footsteps and be the one to tell his dad's tale of how Westeros was (hopefully) won. Hey, you never know. But what we do know now is that there's probably a lot more to big Sam than meets the eye.