HBO’s Game of Thrones boasts one of the most impressive rosters of actors on television – which is almost perfectly cast – but series regular Liam Cunningham has revealed that he didn’t originally audition for the role of Ser Davos Seaworth.
It is hard to imagine anyone other than the likes of Kit Harington or Emilia Clarke in their respective roles, and Cunningham’s part as Ser Davos is no exception. First appearing in the second season of the ice and fire epic, Ser Davos served as the loyal right-hand man of Stannis Baratheon. While Davos’ former employer and many other characters have been sent to an early grave on the show, Cunningham has survived the War of the Five Kings to become a major player in the show’s endgame.
However, even with Cunningham’s gruff sailor being a hardened survivor of the series, it all could’ve been so different. Speaking to GQ, the 56-year-old revealed that Ser Davos wasn’t the first role he set his sights on:
“They said the old thing: ‘We’re going to go another way. But: We’ve got more characters coming in Season Two, and we want to see you.’ And I went, ‘Yeah, yeah. This is Hollywood letting me down politely.’ But sure enough, they came back.”
Remaining tight-lipped on who he was supposed the play, Cunningham said, “It wouldn’t be fair to the other actor.” However, using some detective work, you have to assume that it would’ve been one of the leads from season 1. With Cunnigham sharing something of a bromance with actor Stephen Dillane (who played Stannis), perhaps his loyalty extends beyond two actors sharing scenes together. Other possible parts that Cunningham could’ve auditioned for could be characters like Petyr Baelish or even Ned Stark.
Game of Thrones has undeniably become one of the biggest TV events of the 21st Century, but back in the early days, it had it skeptics. Apparently, turning a book series about dragons and giants into a TV show didn’t initially appeal to Cunningham when he first got the phone call:
“They contacted me and said, ‘It’s dragons.’ And I said, ‘Stop right there.’ And they said, ‘It’s HBO.’ And I said, ‘Send me the script.’ I read the script, and the hair went up on the back of my neck. I ran back to my agent and said, ‘Get me in there immediately.'”
Although Ser Davos may have switched sides to become the loyal advisor of Jon Snow following Stannis’ death at the end of season 5, he has remained one of the most moral characters in the Seven Kingdoms. This, along with Cunningham’s great acting as the sailor/smuggler, has cemented him as one of the biggest names in the current cast.
Moving into Game of Thrones‘ swansong, Ser Davos finds himself in a precarious position indeed. As a fan-favorite among the likes of Brienne of Tarth and Bronn, Ser Davos is exactly the kind of character that showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss would give an emotional death to tug at the heartstrings. Either way, no matter what happens to Ser Davos, both the fans and Cunningham himself have had a good run with the loveable Onion Knight in his six seasons of sage advice.
Game of Thrones season 8 premieres sometime in 2019.
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