Liam Cunningham on Davos Seaworth being “the conscience” of Game of Thrones


When you think about it, it’s a miracle that Davos Seaworth has lasted as long as he has on Game of Thrones. By the show’s arithmetic, a fundamentally decent guy like him should have bit it long ago, but Davos has persisted, switching allegiance from Stannis Baratheon to Jon Snow and continuing to be the even-handed voice of reason. Speaking to Says during a visit to Bangkok, Cunningham says that the show needs characters like that. “There’s a lot of morally ambiguous people on the show, so you need some characters to put their hand up to speak up for the audience like Davos and even Samwell Tarly, who are kinda like the ‘conscience’ of the show.”

Sam, incidentally, is Cunningham’s pic for the best person to sit the Iron Throne, not that he believes it’ll ever happen.

Davos’ decency makes him a precious commodity, so we’re all the more nervous for him going forward. Ever mindful of keeping his bosses happy, Cunningham didn’t reveal whether Davos survives season 7 (“I was alive at the end of [season 6], that’s all I’m going to tell you.”), but did reveal his plan for avoiding the axe if he sees it coming.

"A lot of the time, they get the bad news before they get script… so the producers take them to dinner! So I don’t go for dinner with the producers."

Sounds fool-proof to us.

Cunningham weighed in on some thornier issues, as well, such as why Game of Thrones depicts sex and violence so explicitly. “If we didn’t show that, we wouldn’t be showing life as it really is. It would be patronising and condescending to the audience, it would be treating the viewers as if they’re not as intelligent as they are.”

"For example, the death of Shireen (Kerry Ingram). I’m in a show that shows the burning of a child! It’s a horrible thing to show, but it was necessary to show you how dangerous chasing power can be, how it turns the mind of a father and mother to do to their own child."

Predictably, Shireen is the character Cunningham most wished hadn’t died. “I was sitting in my little room at home with a big pot of coffee and the door locked, and when I read that scene I just went, ‘WHAT? You gotta be kidding me! Noooo…!’ I couldn’t believe it.”

As you can see above, Cunningham and Ingram got over it (that book was a gift from her to him before she filmed her death scene), but it doesn’t mean that Cunningham liked losing his scene partner. Same thing goes for Stephen Dillane, who played Stannis. “I’m a big fan of his, so I wasn’t happy when they killed him. Very unhappy.”

Some other notable bits from the interview:

  • The character he would play if he weren’t Davos: Tywin Lannister. “Brilliant character, who’s scared his children – Cersei, Jamie, and Tyrion – all very strong characters, and I love Charles Dance…As an actor, when you watch someone working and doing something wonderful with a wonderful character, you should always go, ‘Oh, I’d love to do that!'”
  • On Jon Snow sitting the Iron Throne: “I think Jon Snow would be good, but he doesn’t strike me as someone who wants to. He’s had power thrust upon him. He never asked to be king, it was all the other people in the North who made him king and he has a responsibility to his people.”
  • On taking stuff from the set: “I steal something every year. I’ve taken some coins from Braavos, I’ve taken the stag and given it to my daughter. I’ve taken a couple of little things, but I always ask first! The prop man is a good friend of mine, so I have tiny little souvenirs.”

The adventures of Davos Seaworth will continue on July 16.