Still getting through my ASOS reread and came across this passage, which is near and dear to my heart (and near and dear to some themes of the series, I think):
… [Grenn] grinned as Sam came chuffing up. “The Others get your boot, Slayer?”
Him too? “It was the mud. Please don’t call me that.”
“Why not?” Grenn sounded honestly puzzled. “It’s a good name, and you came by it fairly.”
Pyp always teased Grenn about being thick as a castle wall, so Sam explained patiently. “It’s just a different way of calling me a coward,” he said, standing on his left leg and wriggling back into his muddy boot. “They’re mocking me, the same way they mock Bedwyck by calling him ‘Giant.’”
“He’s not a giant, though,” said Grenn, “and Paul was never small. Well, maybe when he was a babe at the breast, but not after. You did slay the Other, though, so it’s not the same.”
“I just … I never … I was scared!”
“No more than me. It’s only Pyp who says I’m too dumb to be frightened. I get as frightened as anyone.” Grenn bent to scoop up a split log, and tossed it into the fire. “I used to be scared of Jon, whenever I had to fight him. He was so quick, and he fought like he meant to kill me.” The green damp wood sat in the flames, smoking before it took fire. “I never said, though. Sometimes I think everyone is just pretending to be brave, and none of us really are. Maybe pretending is how you get brave, I don’t know. Let them call you Slayer, who cares?” [ASOS, Samwell II]
In addition to the ongoing theme of “embracing the name” and taking strength from it (bastard, dwarf, Kingslayer, etc), there’s a delightful irony in how, as they are discussing the importance (or lack thereof) of how other people perceive you, Sam also falls for other people’s perception of Grenn (“Pyp always teased Grenn about being thick as a castle wall”) and then is so flummoxed by Grenn’s impeccable logic he totally flounders in response.
I also love when Grenn says, “Sometimes I think everyone is just pretending to be brave, and none of us really are. Maybe pretending is how you get brave.” Grenn, dispenser of wisdom and insight!
I’m not a huge fan of the “some people are tin, others steel, others iron, etc” formulation of character that crops up occasionally in the series; as a metaphor, it’s a pretty static and essentialist way of thinking about the self, as when Jon says Sam will never be anything but tin (of course, it’s very common, too, and Jon’s speech is well-intentioned, in service of Sam’s future and finding a place for him).
(Should we take Jon to be at least a little bit wrong here? In light of how Sam discovers a heretofore unknown courage and ability in service of defending Gilly … maybe. Then again, while you can’t hammer tin into steel, you can hammer the raw material into different shapes and uses, so the metaphor isn’t a total loss … but I digress.)
I much prefer Grenn’s “pretending is how you get [X],” whatever X might be. Brave, kind, bold, anything. Another way of putting might be that our choices and habits shape ourselves, our habitus or hexis–the predisposition to act in a certain way.
Sam was reading about the White Walkers again. He
did not know how long it had been since last he’d slept.
One more folio, just one more. One more page, then I’ll go up and rest
and get a bite to eat. But there was always another page after that one,
and another after…
He had to
said the glum voice of Dolorous Edd
“I was coming to fetch you. I was told to bring you to the Lord
wants to see me?”
“As soon as
he is done with the Wildling girl.“
Sam left his friends and made his way toward Jon Snow’s chambers.
was leaving as he arrived
wrong? How are the babes?”
Gilly pulled loose from him. “They’re good,
the two of them it’s a wonder you can sleep. Which one was it that I heard
crying last night? I thought he’d never stop.”
little prince. Mine … mine hardly ever cries.” Her eyes filled with tears.
"I have to go. It’s past time that I fed them.” Gilly rushed out and he entered Jon’s chamber.
You’re here” Jon said.
"I saw Gilly leaving. She was almost
sending Gilly away.”
Sam bobbed his head. “Well,
that’s … that’s good. It would be the best thing for her, to go somewhere
warm and safe.”
you found anything about the White Walkers in your books?”
yet, my lord, but it may be that I’ve just been reading the wrong books. There
are hundreds I have not looked at yet. Give me more time.”
is no more time.” Jon sounded
sad. “You need to get your things together, Sam. You’re going with
with old Maester Aemon”
“But he is
one hundred and two years old…”
life will be at risk. I am aware of that, Sam, but the risk is greater here. King
Stannis knows who Aemon is. If the red woman requires his royal blood for her
Sam paled. “But you need me here.”
Night’s Watch has hundreds of men who can loose an arrow, but only a handful
who can read or write. I need you to become my new maester. Study at the
Citadel …they make you cut up corpses there.”
Aemon is old and blind. His strength is leaving him. Who will take his place
when he dies? You’ll go to the Citadel and forge a chain, and if you have to
cut up corpses, so be it.”
morning, Sam, Gilly and old Aemon
Targaryen had to leave.
looked frightened and timid when she whispered something to Jon.
There was some promise he had to make. Sam didn’t understand.
the old, blind Aemon looked up to Jon.
to give my lord one last piece of counsel, the same counsel that I once gave my
brother when we parted for the last time. Kill the boy, Jon Snow. Winter is
almost upon us. Kill the boy and let the man be born.”
A Feast for Crows Chapter 5 (Samwell I) - abridged
orys meets with the marcher lords: sam tarly, and the heads of house dondarrion, selmy, swann, and caron. together they discuss the vulture king’s swelling support and princess deria martell’s refusal to acknowledge it. the lords agree to band together in what will be known as the vulture hunt.
I’d rather have the real Kit than have the Sam and Jon relationship, so the core of our friendship is still there, but … I think we’re really going to miss it, and now that it’s finished we’ve realized just how lucky we were to get on so well, I think. People have best friends and they have people they work with. It’s only under very rare and wonderful circumstances that those people are the same person. – John Bradley(x)
First, a little background information before going to my point.
In the show, Sam knows that Jon has encountered with two women: Ros and Ygritte (Melisandre might count, but I don’t think Sam knows about it.) When Jon describes both women, he mentions their red hair. That is something Sam knows about both of them and similarities. The other known female redhead in Jon’s life is Sansa. However, the differences in all three women is their status (Ros is a prostitute; Ygritte is a wilding; Sansa is a lady).
Sam also knows about Jon’s background and his desires (to be a Stark, not a bastard). Jon’s status is what bothers and limited him before joining the Nights Watch.
In the eyes of everyone in westeros, from all of the three women, Sansa is the one that Jon can never have a romantic relationship with; not because they are related, but because she is a lady and he is a bastard. Ygritte and Ros are closer to his status than Sansa is.
Jon has known Sansa her entire life, and if they make Jonsa happen (my shipper heart can hope) Jon knows can never be with someone like Sansa (a high born lady) because of status and everyone knows that.
Now, image Sam finally meeting Sansa: a high born lady who Jon has known almost her entire life who has redhead, and knows that Jon likes redheads. One can think she is the reason he likes redheads (I am not saying that to be true, but one can assume to be the case). And Sam, giving a smirk to Jon by thinking this.
The point is, I want someone in the show to shine on the Jonsa ship like they made in season six with Bronn on Brienne and Jaime. And who else can be the best person for this other than Sam Tarly?!?!??!?!