We've seen some brutal deaths on Game of Thrones, but there's no denying that the deaths of Randyll and Dickon Tarly during Episode 5 were particularly horrific. Being burned to death by dragon fire is no way to perish, and their deaths proved to be enough motivation for the remaining Lannister soldiers to bend the knee.
Shortly before their deaths, Tyrion Lannister told Dickon Tarly he was a "stupid boy" for sacrificing himself given he was "the future of [his] house," citing the recently decimation of House Tyrell as reason to rethink his bold call. Of course, Dickon would not be deterred and was ultimately killed, but while the scene might have led us to believe that House Tarly was no more, we were reminded a few scenes later that one Tarly son still survives: Samwell.
So with Sam still alive and scurrying away from Oldtown in the dead of night (perhaps even unaware of the fates of his father and brother), does this mean when he eventually heads back to Horn Hill, he will inherit his father's title and become a lord? Well, probably not without some changes to the rules.
Lord Samwell Tarly Or Steward Sam?
While Sam is Randyll Tarly's eldest son, he was forced to join the Night's Watch (or face death) because he possessed traits that his father found undesirable or offensive. Because Sam took the black, he was put out of line for the inheritance of Horn Hill, making Dickon the heir. So despite the fact that his brother and father have now died, leaving Horn Hill without a male heir, Sam is still unable to become Lord of Horn Hill due to his commitment to the Night's Watch. And it's worth remembering that being a sworn brother of the Night's Watch is a lifelong commitment, and that desertion is punishable by death.
Hope For House Tarly
Despite the seemingly unchangeable rules of the Night's Watch, there is still some hope for the future of House Tarly. First of all, Sam's younger sister, Talla, could become Lady of Horn Hill and head of House Tarly, along the same lines of young Lyanna Mormont, the fierce Lady of Bear Island. While it seems a bit unlikely given that Bear Island is somewhat of an anomaly in Westeros, and the majority of Houses do not allow women to rule, there's still an outside chance.
And aside from Talla there's also a slight chance that Sam could find a way to become Lord, though it would probably require some major changes to the rules. But as luck would have it, Westeros seems to be in the middle of a great period of change at present, and with the battle between the White Walkers and mankind about to begin, it means the future of Westeros will be markedly different. Provided that Sam survives the upcoming battle, afterwards he may find the vows of the Night's Watch aren't as binding as they used to be — especially if Jon Snow takes the Iron Throne. Though Jon Snow was technically freed of his vows to the Night's Watch when he died and was brought back to life, he obviously understands that sometimes circumstances change, and it's not always viable to commit yourself to a full lifetime of service at the Wall. Not to mention that if the Night's King is defeated, there may be less of a need for the Wall to be manned than ever before, meaning the loss of Sam may not be felt that greatly.
With Sam leaving Oldtown with Gilly and little Sam in Episode 5, it's likely that the trio will at least stay a short while at Horn Hill, and when they get there he might be surprised to learn that either he or his sister is now the ruler of Horn Hill. Whether or not Sam's father felt either of them were up to the task is now redundant, and given Sam told Gilly he was "tired of reading about the achievements of better men" (something originally said to him by his father), perhaps now is the time for Sam to step up and rule the roost, vows be damned.
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Do you think Sam will become Lord Tarly or will the name die out?