The explosive Season 6 finale of Game of Thrones finally introduced the Citadel of the maesters when Sam arrived to begin his training. He was granted access to a library filled with all manner of books as well as a gyroscope that eagle-eyed fans noticed was the same as the gyroscope that has been central to the opening credits for all six seasons of Thrones so far. Actor John Bradley has an idea of what the Citadel gyroscope means for the overall scheme of Game of Thrones, and it's a doozy.
I think it could mean any number of things. One theory is that what we're seeing now and how we're experiencing Game of Thrones is Sam telling the story of Game of Thrones. If you take the logic of the story now, the story of Westeros and the story of the battle for the Iron Throne, it would be a book in that library. The visual motif of that is that you're about to be told a story -- the sense of an idea of being told a story, and people gaining that knowledge, the way Sam is absorbing the knowledge in that library.
John Bradley shared his thoughts about what the appearance of the credits' gyroscope in the Citadel library means in a chat with THR, and he actually makes a lot of sense. The events of Game of Thrones have already changed the Seven Kingdoms in ways that would absolutely need to be preserved for history. Sam had access to information about the War of the Five Kings thanks to his work as Maester Aemon's steward, and he's seen more of the White Walkers than most major characters of the show at this point. If anybody was going to be tasked with recording the saga of the game of thrones for the Citadel, Sam would be the obvious choice. All we need is a scene of Sam humming the theme song for confirmation.
Of course, the gyroscope in the Citadel library could have been an Easter egg included in the Season 6 finale to give fans something to talk about during the wait for Season 7. Still, the device has had such a presence on the show as the platform for the awesome credits that it makes more sense for the story if the instrument's incorporation is significant for the future. John Bradley gives credit to the Game of Thrones showrunners for the appearance of the gyroscope, saying:
The one thing I found moving about the object being the same in the Citadel and in the opening titles is that it's a testament to [showrunner David Benioff and Dan Weiss'] foresight, that they can plan something that only comes to fruition much later on. It shows an incredible kind of long game, in terms of giving people drips of information and being brave enough to puzzle people for a while.
The showrunners certainly have been playing a long game if they've held off on such a major twist until only two abbreviated seasons are left in the series. It's no huge surprise that John Bradley would be enthusiastic about the possibility that Sam has been telling the story of Game of Thrones all along; Sam as the scribe would mean that Sam survives to the end and Bradley has a job through Season 8. If that's the case, the epilogue of the series should probably feature Sam learning from another maester about the importance of narrative timing.
Unfortunately, it'll be a while before we get to see more of John Bradley as Sam in the Citadel. Check out our breakdown of what we know so far about Game of Thrones Season 7 for a peek at what's to come for the show in 2017.