The 5th Spotlight in our Actor Spotlight series. This edition focuses on John Bradley, who played Samwell Tarly in Game of Thrones between 2011-2018.
Actor Spotlight is a feature in which the career of a singular actor is analysed. We discuss their life, career and the impact they had on their projects.
John Bradley was born on 15 September 1988. He is the man behind popular character Samwell Tarly in Game of Thrones, one of the most critically acclaimed series of all time, from 2011 to 2019. Samwell, or ‘Sam’ as he is otherwise known, is one of the more endearing characters, best friend and confidant of Jon Snow (Kit Harington), one of the central figures of the series.
Br adley is originally from Wythenshawe, Manchester. He is an alumnus of both Loreto College (2005-2007) and Manchester School of Theatre (2007 to 2010). Game of Thrones was Bradley’s first professional acting job.
Sam happens to be one of my personal favourites in the series, second only to Tyrion Lannister (Peter Dinklage). Among the more fantastical and heroic characters, he is truer to real life and what many of us would be like in those situations.
He is the underdog that we all love to root for, especially his relationship with Gilly (Hannah Murray), which is forbidden due to vows he had taken. Sam has good chemistry with quite a few of the other characters. Most obviously Jon Snow and the other recruits to the Night’s Watch – Edd (Ben Crompton), Grenn (Mark Stanley) and Pyp (Josef Altin).
However, there has also been quite a few comedic scenes with Sam and an intimidating authority figure — Alliser Thorne (Owen Teale), Stannis Baratheon (Stephen Dillane) and Archmaester Ebrose (Jim Broadbent) with Sam’s eanestness often counteracting their either stoic, serious or even cruel nature in Thorne’s case.
Game of Thrones has affected Bradley’s life in more ways than one. Mirroring the show, Bradley has formed a close friendship with Kit Harington who plays Jon Snow, the actor with whom he interacts the most on-screen. Bradley attended Harington’s ‘bachelor party’ (stag do to the Brits).
Bradley also met his girlfriend, a journalist named Rebecca May, due to an interview for Game of Thrones. Apparently the gift that keeps on giving.
According to IMDB, Bradley’s next project is “Tales of the Wet Dog”, a comedy-drama film directed and written by Joe Benedetto.
Hint for #6: Well, Stranger Things have happened…