Game of Thrones‘ Liam Cunningham Would Very Much Like to Stay Alive
The sixth season of Game of Thrones was a busy one for smuggler-turned-swordsman Davos Seaworth: Not only did he help Jon Snow navigate the frigid political waters of the North, but he also fought in the infamously bloody Battle of the Bastards, and played a major role in getting the kid-sacrificing Red Woman banished to the South. Most importantly, Davos managed to live to fight another day and set sail toward season seven—which is particularly good news for the man who plays him, 55-year-old Irish actor Liam Cunningham.
“It’s always a relief for my bank manager,” Cunningham said with a laugh during a visit to the Wired Cafe. “And to my family—they don’t want me dead. And I don’t want me dead. I’d love to be in the last episode [of the series], but you just don’t know.”
Because Cunningham filmed much of his season six scenes with Kit Harrington, who played the possibly-dead Jon Snow, he was tasked with carrying around one of the most pressing pop-culture secrets of the 21st century. But, he says, “It wasn’t as difficult to keep it as quiet as I thought it would be. Because if I didn’t keep it quiet, people would kill me. Not even HBO—the fans. But it’s wonderful to see people enjoying the surprised. I get my own OMFG moments when I read the scripts. When I read about Hodor and all that. I was going, ‘Oh, dear God!’ It’s heartbreaking.”
One of Davos’ biggest moments in season six found him confronting Melisandre, aka the Red Woman, who in season five burned Davos’ young friend Shireen Baratheon at the stake. For a show in which many characters are chopped, flame-broiled, or Wildfired to death, the Red Woman’s expulsion to the South was one of the least harsh send-offs in memory—but it was also true to Davos’ pragmatic nature. “I wanted to kick the crap out of her!” Cunningham jokes. “I wanted to burn her. But [Davos is] not that kind of guy. He’s the kind of guy we’d all like to be under pressure—a man with a bit of grace and decency and loyalty. He’s not out for himself, and not consumed by ambition and power, which gives him a certain objectivity. Getting to the top of the pile is not a disease he has to suffer, the way a lot of politicians do—like the guys you have over here, and in Turkey, and England, and everywhere.”
As far as season seven, which will air next summer, Cunningham says he’s still waiting for his first scripts, which will surely be full of plenty more OMFG moments. “It’s not because they’re keeping it a secret,” he says of the process, “it’s because they’re working on them until the very end, to make this as bulletproof as possible.” Whether Davos himself remains as bulletproof—or, in this case dragon-proof—remains to be seen.