Who Is Samwell Blackwood in House of the Dragon, & Why Is He Important?

Who Is Samwell Blackwood in House of the Dragon, & Why Is He Important?

Episode 4 of House of the Dragon opened up with Rhaenyra Targaryen entertaining suitors while she was in Dragonstone, as it was clear that she was planning on getting married to someone she deemed worthy. One of the suitors that tried to win her hand was a young boy named Samwell Blackwood. Although unsuccessful in winning the hand of the princess, Blackwood’s screen time was well-spent. So, who is Samwell Blackwood, and why is he important?

Samwell Blackwood comes from the Riverlands, where they have a history of power as former kings that once ruled those lands before Aegon’s Conquest. Although unsuccessful in winning Rhaenyra’s hand, he will pledge his allegiance to her during the Dance of the Dragons. 

While it does some like Samwell Blackwood’s appearance in episode 4 of House of the Dragon was only a filler, the thing it is a lot more important than what it appeared to be because the Blackwoods are going to be allies to Rhaenyra’s claim to the Iron Throne in the future. In that regard, let’s look at what we know about Samwell Blackwood and how important he will be in House of the Dragon.

Who Is Samwell Blackwood In House Of The Dragon?

Back in episode 3 of House of the Dragon, we learned that King Viserys was now willing to allow Rhaenyra to choose whoever she wanted to marry. This came after a disagreement between them when Rhaenyra learned that her father wanted her to marry the arrogant Jason Lannister. As such, Viserys eventually accepted how independent his daughter always was, and that was what made him believe that Rhaenyra was independent enough to choose a husband whom she wanted to rule the Seven Kingdoms with. 

That is why episode 4 opened up with Rhaenyra sitting on the throne of Dragonstone while entertaining a lot of different suitors that were willing to win her over. The first one was an old man from House Dondarion, as the princess clearly wasn’t willing to get married to someone who was a lot older than her own father. After that came a boy that was clearly younger than she was but was confident enough to try to win her hand.

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The boy introduced himself as Samwell Blackwood, as Rhaenyra felt insulted by how a child wanted to win her hand in marriage. Her adviser told her that the Blackwoods come from a long line of kings that once ruled the Riverlands because they had the blood of the First Men in their veins. Of course, that was why Rhaenyra was willing enough to listen to what the boy had to say.

After introducing himself, Samwell tried to sell the fact that the blood of the First Men flowed in his veins and that his family helped Aegon the Conqueror in his conquest of Westeros more than a century ago. However, a heckler, who was obviously one of the suitors for the hand of Princess Rhaenyra, was throwing side comments at Samwell Blackwood. And when Blackwood told the princess that he would be able to protect her, the heckler told him that she didn’t need his protection because she had a dragon.

Who Is Samwell Blackwood in House of the Dragon, & Why Is He Important?

Of course, Rhaenyra dismissed Samwell Blackwood because she got tired of listening to the different lords who she knew were only trying to woo her because of her name and her blood. Blackwood was ready to walk away until the heckler called him a craven. He drew his sword at the much bigger man but ended up getting overpowered at the start.

However, Samwell didn’t back down and eventually slew the bigger and older heckler that we learned comes from House Bracken. And this man was no simple heckler because there is actually a hidden easter egg in this minor scuffle between the two.

As seen from the red stallion sigil on the chest of the heckler, it was clear that he came from House Bracken, which is another ancient Westerosi house that has roots that can be traced all the way to the First Men. The Brackens hold an ancient grudge over the Blackwoods because, for thousands of years, they competed for the throne of the Riverlands.

In that regard, the Bracken heckler that was insulting Samwell Blackwood was clearly doing so because of the ancient rivalry between their two houses. But Samwell, although younger, was able to have the last laugh because he ended up slaying the much older Bracken, as the grudge between the two houses only grew because of this event.

Why Is Samwell Blackwood Important?

At first, Samwell Blackwood’s appearance in the opening scene of House of the Dragon seemed to be minor. After all, he was only there for a few minutes and was seemingly going to be a character that was only going to be featured once. However, those who read the book would understand that Samwell Blackwood is going to be an important character in the future.

Despite failing to win Rhaenyra’s hand in that scene, Samwell Blackwood didn’t hold a grudge against the princess. Instead, he stayed true to his ancestor’s pledge to House Targaryen when he eventually ended up pledging his own allegiance to Rhaenyra, who was the rightful heir to the Iron Throne by virtue of the fact that King Viserys himself named her his heir.

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In that regard, the young Samwell Blackwood could have chosen to side with Aegon II in the Dance of the Dragons but chose to side with Rhaenyra, despite the fact that she rejected him as a suitor. This was a show of honor on the part of House Blackwood, as Samwell’s ancestor once showed the same kind of honor to Aegon the Conqueror during his Conquest of Westeros.

During the Dance of the Dragons, which was the Targaryen civil war between Rhaenyra and Aegon II, Samwell Blackwood raised Rhaenyra’s banners over Raventree Hall after the rightful queen assaulted Harrenhal. Of course, House Bracken declared for Aegon II, as the rivalry between the two houses was renewed in the Dance of the Dragons.

Who Is Samwell Blackwood in House of the Dragon, & Why Is He Important?

That was why House Blackwood sent raiders after raiders to assault House Bracken to weaken their armies. They raided villages and burned crops to make sure that one of the houses that supported Aegon II’s claim to the Iron Throne was weakened. But House Bracken tried to fight back with an army that was large enough to threaten the Blackwoods.

Nevertheless, Samwell Blackwood used his force to ambush the Bracken army while they were camping. But while Samwell was successful as the lord of House Blackwood, he was eventually slain in single combat by Ser Amos Bracken.

The fact that Samwell Blackwood was shown during the early part of episode 4 of House of the Dragon and the fact that he had a fight with a member of House Bracken was an easter egg that only those who understand the history behind these houses would catch. As such, this was probably an attempt by the showrunners to sow the seeds of animosity between the two houses, as they will eventually clash again in the future when the Dance of the Dragons commences.

  • Ysmael is a self-professed geek that loves anything related to fantasy, sci-fi, video gaming, and anime. Spends his free time watching movies, TV shows and gaming, a lot.