We’ve got a long wait until Game of Thrones comes back, and there are a lot of situations we’re going to be freaking out about until then. Ser Davos Seaworth is in the middle of about three of them. So when we caught up with actor Liam Cunningham, we had a lot of questions for him. And he had answers!
Spoilers for Game of Thrones’ recent episodes ahead...
Mostly, we were just really curious to hear Cunningham’s thoughts about Ser Davos’ state of mind, and what the Onion Knight might be liable to do now that everything has fallen apart. We talked to Cunningham at the Entertainment Weekly party at San Diego Comic-Con on Saturday night, and there are a lot more interviews from that event coming up.
To refresh your memory, here are the messes that Davos is surrounded by. His liege lord, King Stannis, is apparently dead, and Stannis’ army is destroyed or deserted. Meanwhile, Davos is back at Castle Black, where they just let a ton of Wildlings come into Westeros through the Wall. He’s up there with the Lady Melisandre, the foreign priestess who apparently just realized her faith in Stannis was misplaced. And of course, the Lord Commander Jon Snow was just stabbed, apparently fatally. And there’s that army of snow zombies. Interesting times.
You can watch the video above for our whole conversation with Cunningham, but here are the major points.
Davos left Stannis’ side, to go back to Castle Black—but did he know that Stannis would burn the Princess Shireen alive as soon as he was gone? “He probably used his female intuition,” responds Cunningham. “That’s why he tried to take Selyse and Shireen with him... but what could he do? He tried three or four times to say, ‘I want take them with me, or let me just take the princess.’ So he knows that something is up—he’s obviously got a sense of that.”
But “there’s very little you can do” in the face of Stannis’ recalcitrance. “He’s my boss, or he was.” Having a scene where Davos tells Stannis, “Don’t burn your daughter” would have just been “cheap drama,” Cunningham says.
And if Davos had actually known that Shireen would get burned alive, “he wouldn’t have gone,” insists Cunningham. “He had a sense that something wasn’t right. But if he’d known that something like that was going to happen, no way. He would have whisked her away. He would have done what he did with Gendry, without a doubt—maybe not put her in a boat.”
And now, Ser Davos can never have it out with Stannis. “Life is like that,” says Cunningham. “You can have a big fight with somebody who’s near and dear to you, and they can get hit by a car the next day. The show is a reflection of life in all its complexity. It’s not a simple show. I think that’s why people like it so much. It doesn’t do the obvious.”
But will Davos have it out with Melisandre? “I don’t know. You would figure,” says Cunningham. “You can try and speculate. However, they have this weird need for each other, in a strange sort of way... She did save his life when Stannis wanted to kill him.”
So now, Davos is in a bad spot—”Castle Black is on its head now,” says Cunningham, following Jon Snow’s assassination. He was “trying to get away from trouble. All he seems to find is trouble.”
The good news is, Ser Davos is probably the most level-headed person left alive at Castle Black at this point. “There’s not many [left], is there?” laughs Cunningham. “His powers of lateral thinking are very good,” says Cunningham of Davos.
Davos has lost everyone and everything he cared about at this point—but “we all battle through,” says Cunningham. “He’s not a guy that gives up easily.” At the same time, Cunningham hasn’t read the scripts for season six yet.
Is Davos somebody who needs to be a follower, or could he step up and become a leader, when he finds himself in the middle of a leadership vacuum? “He doesn’t have the stupidity to want to be a leader,” says Cunningham. “He’s much too level-headed. He’s not ambitious.”
“He’s definitely a great second in command, but I don’t think” Davos is leadership material, adds Cunningham. “Then again, some people get greatness thrust upon him. Maybe that’ll happen.”
Did Davos welcome the fact that Stannis cut off his fingers (for smuggling) out of Stockholm Syndrome, or a need to believe in someone else, no matter what? “It wasn’t so much that. He had a grudging respect for the honesty of it. As Stannis did with him. They had sort of similar feelings about the justice, or whatever you’d want to call it, of punishing him for his misdeeds. [Stannis had] also taken him out of the gutter, given him a solid education, and given him a much better life. So it’s that weird complexity thing, again, that I like so much in the show.”
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