For a show like Game of Thrones that delights in killing off our favourite characters, Liam Cunningham a.k.a. Ser Davos Seaworth has done something remarkable: He’s made it through five seasons of the HBO series (relatively) unscathed.
But while Ser Davos doesn’t play as big a role on Game of Thrones as say, Daenerys or Tyrion, he has become a fan favourite of sorts and a “quiet hero”, as Cunningham put it. At the end of season 6, he had morphed into a consigliere to Jon Snow (Kit Harington) and has a huge part to play in the upcoming season 7.
“We’re obviously doing work together, and I think you’re going to find some very interesting stuff going into season 7,” hinted Cunningham, who would not say any more but was fulsome in his praise of Harrington. “Kit is just getting better and better as an actor, he’s improving every season.”
Speaking over the phone for a group interview from Bangkok, where he traveled over the past weekend to promote Game of Thrones, Cunningham was jovial and eloquent about the joys of playing the Onion Knight.
“I really like him because he’s decent and loyal and honest…almost like a moral compass. On occasion, I think you need a character to go ‘Wait a minute, is this the right thing? Sometimes, I feel Davos speaks up for the audience when they watch the characters do really bad things.”
But as we pointed out to Cunningham, it almost seems like the most virtuous characters on GOT, like Ser Davos and Ned Stark (Sean Bean), get punished for being good people. The 55-year-old responded that the best art holds a mirror up to society.
“As we know, in the real world, bad things happen to good people and good things happen to bad people. That’s just the way of the world. And the difficulty is: do you have the strength to be a good person even when the easy option is to be bad? So the examination of that in the show, I think, is very clever.”
Speaking of bad things happening to good people – how did Cunningham handle the scene where Ser Davos confronts Melisandre (Carice van Houten) for what she did to the princess Shireen? The Irishman conceded that it was a difficult scene, and yet enjoyable for an actor.
“It can be hard and emotional but it’s high drama, and it’s one of the great results of beautiful writing when it leads up to something where it comes together. And when you’re working with people who are as good as Carice van Houten and Kit Harrington, you know you’re in safe hands. You know you’re with good people.”
While Cunningham would not be drawn on the eventual fate of Ser Davos, we couldn’t help but ask: If the Onion Knight doesn’t make it to the end, would he fancy Ed Sheeran – who’s guest starring in season 7 – singing him a funeral dirge?
“Well, I wouldn’t get to hear it, would I, because it’s my funeral! (laughs). But that would be nice….it’s an imaginary world, so maybe I should get The Beatles at my funeral.”
Game of Thrones begins its seven-episode seventh season in Asia the same time as the U.S. – exclusively on HBO on July 17 at 9am (Sin.Hkg), with a same day primetime encore at 9pm.