'Game Of Thrones' Season 6 Will Introduce Sam's Family & You Should Definitely Be Excited

There's a new family coming to Game of Thrones, and it is one you should be excited to meet. House Tarly will be in Game of Thrones Season 6 as the show introduces viewers to Sam's mother, brother, father, and at least one of his sisters. Sam was last seen heading to Old Town for maester's training, but it looks like he will be making a pit stop to visit his family — and keeping with the books — to drop off Gilly and her son. Up until now, the too-precious-for-this-world Sam has played second fiddle to Jon and emerged as an unlikely hero during his travels with Gilly. In Season 6, Sam is poised to come into his own, and the first step in that process is facing down his severe father who sent him to The Wall so Sam's little brother could be heir.

Watchers on The Wall reports James Faulkner will play the militant Randyll Tarly, a man who drilled it into Sam's head that he was a worthless coward before driving him away from his family against his will. The meeting between Randyll and Sam has the potential to be explosive. Sam still doubts himself, but he has taken part in battles, proved himself a hero and a good and decent man, and is possibly the only person in Westeros who can save the Seven Kingdoms from the White Walkers. Before he can begin his training, Sam needs to face the past that has defined him for far too long.

Sam is something of a dark horse in the Game of Thrones universe. He's such an unassuming character on the outside, but he is proving to be far more important than he initially appeared to be. Sam isn't merely Jon's best friend. He is a source of knowledge. As Tyrion once said, "A mind needs books like a sword needs a whetstone." Sam is a voracious reader who knows more about Westeros' history than any other character. He's going to Old Town to increase his knowledge even further. The chance that he will become one of the first maesters in years to bother earning the Valyrian steel link — the link that represents extensive knowledge in magic — is very real.

Sam is on a hero's journey of his own, and by introducing his family, the show is purposely putting his past into context. The love of his mother, the disappointment of his father — these things are all part of what make Sam who he is. Simply telling the viewer about where Sam comes from isn't nearly as powerful as showing it. This could very well be the last time Sam ever goes home, and his interactions with his family will color everything that comes after.

There is a higher purpose waiting for Sam. He is part of the coming war and the long winter. He may even be instrumental in bringing Jon back. With Game of Thrones moving into the final stages of the story, it is telling that the show is ramping up Sam's story. "Kill the boy and let the man be born" is advice that Jon received, but it applies to Sam too. He has been haunted by the idea that he was an utter disappointment to his family and that he somehow sullied the Tarly name. Now Randyll is going to meet the man Sam has become. How Randyll reacts isn't important, it's Sam's reaction that matters. His confidence in his own abilities is what will give him the strength and bravery to become a big damn hero in this fight.

I don't think the Tarly family as a whole will be integral to the story moving forward, but what they might offer Sam in Season 6 is closure. Sam is about to ascend to a whole new level of awesome. He might even get his wish and finally become the Westeros equivalent of a wizard. As a Sam fan, I cannot wait to see what happens when Sam goes home again, and more importantly, what comes after.

Images: Helen Sloan/HBO; Giphy (3)