John Bradley

4th February 2022

John Bradley was around 22 when he got the part that changed his life. On Game of Thrones he played Samwell Tarly, John Snow’s close friend for nearly a decade. In the beginning, it’s clear that Sam isn’t cut out for the world of Game of Thrones. He isn’t a natural warrior. He’s a bigger guy. Kind of soft. He’s smart, but not especially cunning. He’s nice, maybe a little goofy. And on any other show, you can pretty much guess his character’s trajectory: maybe he stays a bumbling comic sidekick or maybe he gets killed off tragically. But instead the things he was bullied for: his kindness, his empathy, his bookishness… they turn out to be assets, not liabilities. These days, John Bradley keeps busy. He has two movies out this month – sci-fi disaster movie Moonfall and the romantic comedy Marry Me. We revisit our conversation with John from 2019. He talks with us about the surreal experience of watching the finale of Game of Thrones after it consumed most of his 20’s. Plus, he shared the things that make him geek out, and answered some very fun questions from twitter.

Episode notes

(Photo: Reiner Bajo / Lionsgate )

John Bradley was around 22 when he got the part that changed his life. He’d just graduated from theater school in Manchester, England. He’d done a little theater work, but never anything on camera before. He had just learned how to hit his mark and where to look when reading his lines.

He got called in for an audition, literally his first ever. He knew it was a big deal: this new show from HBO, Game of Thrones

He got the part.

John played Samwell Tarly, John Snow’s close friend, for eight years. The two characters meet when they both join the Night’s Watch and the journey Samwell takes on the show is really unique.

In the beginning, it’s clear that Sam isn’t cut out for the world of Game of Thrones. He isn’t a natural warrior. He’s a bigger guy. Kind of soft. He’s smart, but not especially cunning. He’s nice, maybe a little goofy. And on any other show, you can pretty much guess his character’s trajectory: maybe he stays a bumbling comic sidekick or maybe he gets killed off tragically. 

On Game of Thrones, none of that happens. The things he was bullied for: his kindness, his empathy, his bookishness… they turn out to be assets, not liabilities. He became one of the show’s most beloved characters and, improbably, one of the few people to make it to the series finale alive.

These days, John Bradley keeps busy. He has two movies out this month – sci-fi disaster movie Moonfall  alongside Patrick Wilson and Halle Berry, and the romantic comedy Marry Me with Jennifer Lopez and Owen Wilson. 

We revisit our conversation with John from 2019. He talks with us about the surreal experience of watching the finale of Game of Thrones after it consumed most of his 20’s. Plus, he shared the things that make him geek out, and answered some very fun questions from twitter.  

This interview originally aired in June of 2019.

In this episode...

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Producer
Maximum Fun Producer
Maximum Fun Production Fellow

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  • John Bradley

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Bullseye is a celebration of the best of arts and culture in public radio form. Host Jesse Thorn sifts the wheat from the chaff to bring you in-depth interviews with the most revered and revolutionary minds in our culture.

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Maximum Fun Production Fellow

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