Samwell Tarly is a member of the Night’s Watch and Jon Snow’s closest friend. He never planned to be a warrior, instead preferring his books and studies, but was forced to join the Night’s Watch upon threats from his father. While Sam might not be the most impressive with a sword or the bravest of the Night’s Watch, he shines when doing his research. While they are searching beyond the Wall, Sam gets separated from his companions after a warning rings out about approaching White Walkers. He hides behind a rock and accepts his fate, but when the army walks past him, he is completely ignored. Why?
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Why Did the White Walker Ignore Him?
White Walkers are deadly creatures, who destroy everything in their path without any hesitation, so it confused a lot of fans when one looked directly at Sam but decided to let him go anyway. It was almost uncharacteristic of them.
Some fans have speculated that the reason for sparing him was twofold. Firstly, they needed a messenger, someone that would go and tell the living about the mighty army that had begun its march and instill fear in the hearts of any who heard about them.
Secondly, Sam is cowering behind a rock, accepting his fate. He knows he stands no chance against these creatures. The White Walker might have recognized his cowardice as surrender and therefore let him live. It is possible that the creatures wanted more than just to turn the living. They wanted subordination.
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Who Else Have the White Walkers Spared?
There are very few people that have been spared by the White Walkers, but they are around. The first was the Ranger, who was considered a Night’s Watch deserter by Ned Stark. When he was the only one left of his fellow warriors, he just fell to his knees, knowing that he would be unable to do anything against the creatures, and this proves to be the very thing that keeps him alive before he is later beheaded.
Craster and his wives are another example of those that were allowed to live because of their submission to the power of the White Walkers and Craster’s willingness to gift every one of his sons to the White Walkers.
Given that the White Walkers are the creation of the Children of the Forest, who are a relatively peaceful people, it makes sense that they would stop for those that have surrendered to them and recognize their power.
While it seems that White Walkers are willing to spare people who have surrendered to them and that they no longer perceive as a threat, their act of mercy towards Sam would prove to be their worst mistake and the very thing that would lead to their downfall. Without him and his research, the armies of Westeros would never have stood a chance against the force of the White Walkers, and Game of Thrones would have had a very different ending.
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What do you think? Why did the White Walkers let Sam live in Game of Thrones?