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After both his father and brother (who was the heir) executed in Season 7 of Game of Thrones, how come that Samwell Tarly didn't become the new head of the House, i.e. Lord of Horn Hill?

I would expect the remaining house leaders to have sent Sam a message letting him know of what happened and asking him to come back home to rule the house.

Why didn't it happen, and he wasn't even notified?

74

Sam is a brother of the Night's Watch and has given up his right of succession as part of his oath.

Night gathers, and now my watch begins. It shall not end until my death. I shall take no wife, hold no lands, father no children. I shall wear no crowns and win no glory. I shall live and die at my post. I am the sword in the darkness. I am the watcher on the walls. I am the shield that guards the realms of men. I pledge my life and honor to the Night's Watch, for this night and all the nights to come.

As for why he wasn't told of their death's well the maester's at the Citadel chose not to tell him "just yet".

MAESTER 1: Is he the one whose father and brother were just burned alive?

MARWYN: I'm afraid so.

MAESTER 2: Horrible business.

MARWYN: I don't have the heart to tell him yet. He's a good lad.

Game of Thrones, Season 7 Episode 5, "Eastwatch"

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    @ShadowWizard Whilst it is a grey area Jon is technically no longer a member of the Night's Watch after his death. – TheLethalCarrot Apr 16 at 14:22
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    @ShadowWizard If he didn't die, I doubt he would have left the Wall which would mean the Battle of the Bastards wouldn't have happened and all that follows. Who's to say what could have happened? – TheLethalCarrot Apr 16 at 14:25
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    Jon considered his watch to have ended once he died, basically taking is vows really literally. – JNat Apr 16 at 14:34
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    @JNat Edd also takes it literally and quotes back at him "for this night and all the nights to come." As said it is a grey area with neither being truly correct or incorrect. It hasn't happened before so Jon just uses the loophole and hot legs it outta there. – TheLethalCarrot Apr 16 at 14:36
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    @TheLethalCarrot The rules also aren't really binding, except to the extent that everyone else will enforce them. The North didn't care about Jon's oath to the Watch or his breaking it, for whatever reason, and so they were fine naming him the king. What other enforcement of the oath or conflict would there be? – Upper_Case Apr 16 at 16:24
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Sam is in the Night's Watch.

Members renounce all titles and claims to lands, so he can't become a Lord.

  • Thought he left the Night Watch officially, by getting permissions from its head. Didn't he? (i.e. he didn't just run away from the Night Watch) – Shadow Wizard Apr 16 at 14:20
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    @ShadowWizard He is both a brother of the Night's Watch and a novice at the Citadel during his time there. – TheLethalCarrot Apr 16 at 14:22
  • @TheLethalCarrot thanks, guess I missed the fact he's still in Night Watch. Thought he was able to break the oath. – Shadow Wizard Apr 16 at 14:30
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    @ShadowWizard He was sent to become a maester for the Night's Watch so breaking the oath wouldn't make much sense. Also I doubt he would have survived all that time wearing the black and clearly being a brother of the Night's Watch without being executed for desertion. – TheLethalCarrot Apr 16 at 14:32
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    It's also unlikely that the rules allow for explicitly being broken. Sam renounced his claim, at which point it went to the next person in line (however that is determined at Horn Hill). Upon making his oath he formally removed himself from the succession forever, and breaking the oath doesn't change that. It could devolve into a whose-claim-is-better situation (a la Renly and Stannis), but "officially" the heir definitely is not, and cannot be, him. – Upper_Case Apr 16 at 15:00
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Because he has forsaken all claims to that title and any other title the moment he joined the Night's Watch.

Night gathers, and now my watch begins. It shall not end until my death. I shall take no wife, hold no lands, father no children. I shall wear no crowns and win no glory. I shall live and die at my post. I am the sword in the darkness. I am the watcher on the walls. I am the fire that burns against the cold, the light that brings the dawn, the horn that wakes the sleepers, the shield that guards the realms of men. I pledge my life and honor to the Night's Watch, for this night and all the nights to come. - Night's Watch Vows

Not to mention that those who join the Citadel to become Maesters also forsake claims to titles.

When an acolyte of noble birth takes his vows and dons his chain, he puts aside his House name. He swears sacred vows, promising to hold no lands or lordships, and to be celibate. - Maester Vows

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    Sam had not yet taken the oath to become a Maester so the second point isn't correct here. Acolytes and novices are free to leave as they please until they take the oath. – TheLethalCarrot Apr 16 at 14:21
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He is in the Nights Watch. Remember? He was sent to the Citadel by the Lord Commander to become a Maester?

That's one reason for why he can't become a Lord (or hasn't become a lord yet) but that might not even be the case, the time is not at all right, he had also vowed to never be with a woman, but he broke that vow, I do not see why it will not be possible for him to break away totally from the Night's Watch vow after the Great War ends (if it does and the living wins.)

Spoilers Ahead

Most of the answers above talks about his vows, totally understandable but until now Sam didn't even know his father and brother are dead, neither did Daenerys have any idea that Lord Randyll Tarly had one more son who could be the Lord. What about the Night's Watch vows? Oh, the Wall has fallen, the ancient order of the Night's Watch may not even be relevant now so how does the vows will matter after the War ends? If Jon Snow after becoming the King wants he can name him the Lord to at least save one great house from extinction, just like I believe he will legitimize Gendry to save the House Baratheon.

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It is probably because of that scene with his father; when Sam was at home just before going to the citadel.

They were having a family dinner, and when Sam's father found out about Gilly being a wildling, the women left the table, and when they were alone, Randyll told Sam that Gilly and little Sam are welcome to stay there, Gilly will have to serve as a servant and he will raise his grandson, but Sam will no longer be welcome in Horn Hill and has to leave by first light. Sam then proceed to get Gilly and Heartsbane and go to the citadel.

So it is implied that Sam's father banished/disowned Sam, when he found out that his son is with a wildling.

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    His father did banish him, no doubt and I know that, but such thing should be nullified when the father and remaining heirs are dead. At least that's common sense for me. No? – Shadow Wizard Apr 16 at 14:27
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    Randyll had already pretty much banished Sam anyway by forcing him off to the Wall so that Dickon could inherit. – TheLethalCarrot Apr 16 at 14:28
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    This is all irrelevant because Sam had already given up his family rights when he joined the Night's Watch. – only_pro Apr 18 at 15:54
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While his vow to the Night's watch provides some technicality and may have mattered if this happened a few years before current events, the main reason is because naming a successor is not a priority right now.

Daenerys and Jon do not own the lands around Horn Hill right now, the Lannisters do and will certainly not give them to Jon's best friend. Furthermore, Jon and Dany are in a quite pressing war for basic survival (vs the dead) and another war for supremacy (vs Cersei). They simply do not have the time to appoint lords over contested lands right now, that is for when they win.

At that point, it might be Horn Hill goes to another family. Though if Dany/Jon prevail and Sam survives there is also a good chance he gets the land, because why keep the Night's watch after its purpose has been fulfilled?

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