×

‘Game of Thrones’ Star Reveals How Trump’s Election Impacted Jon Snow’s Finale Speech

SPOILER ALERT: Do not read if you have not watched “The Dragon and the Wolf,” the Aug. 27 episode of “Game of Thrones.”

With the sad exit of Diana Rigg’s Olenna Tyrell from “Game of Thrones,” Liam Cunningham’s Davos Seaworth has emerged in Season 7 as the unlikely and rightful heir to the show’s Iron Throne of one-liners. (“I’ve noticed you staring at her good heart.”) And he survived Sunday night’s finale to carry that mantle into Season 8. Cunningham spoke with Variety about Davos’ longevity, Targaryen-on-Targaryen lovemaking, and how Donald Trump’s election informed a critical scene in the Season 7 finale.

Congratulations on outliving Littlefinger.
Thank you very much! I’m delighted. I came in obviously at the beginning of Season 2. Seeing the quality of the show from Season 1, as an actor I just really, really wanted to get to the final season. Of course, typical selfish actor, now I’ve got to the final season and I want to get to the final episode. But that remains to be seen.

Are you surprised that Davos has made it this far?
I’m surprised that anybody made it this far — especially when you think that the rules were changed essentially at the end of Season 1 when Ned Stark died and people looked at the TV and said, “There’s something wrong here. These people are not playing by the rules.” As we’ve gone on, nobody’s safe. You’re watching Daenerys, you’re watching Jon Snow, you’re watching Cersei. Anybody could go at any stage. That’s one of the glorious things about the show. It can put us on the edge of our seats because nobody is safe.

What is Davos thinking as Jon tells Cersei that he can’t serve two queens?
He’s slightly torn. If you listen very carefully, you can hear Davos in the background saying, “I wish he hadn’t said that.” He didn’t say it as in, “You shouldn’t have said that.” In a different scenario, he would have been happy for him to say it. He had to say it. That’s Jon Snow’s character. And Davos would have said exactly the same thing. I think that’s one of the things that has brought these two people together is the fact that they’re both straight shooters. That speech that Jon Snow gave about the nature of lies and what’s been said, and what happens if we don’t stick to our word — we filmed that on exactly the day that a certain POTUS was elected and it had incredible resonance while we were filming it.

So the Trump election had just happened?
The results had just been announced the morning we filmed that particular scene — that particular day of that scene with Mr. Kit Harington. We may have been rehearsing that scene. But that was the first time that Kit Harington had said those words on that platform in that scene. So it had a certain resonance, I’m sure you’ll understand.

Was the election something you all were discussing on set?
Was there a person on the planet not discussing that election?

Is Davos better equipped to advise Jon than he was to advise Stannis?
One of the reasons that Davos seems to have become sort of a fan favorite is because he’s a straight shooter. He’s got a decency about him. He has loyalty. But also, he doesn’t have a desire for power. He doesn’t have that addictive personality that requires validation by being the boss, by being in control. At the same time, Jon, as a much younger man, has had this so-called greatness thrust upon him. So it’s very interesting what both of them are going to do with that — now with the added problem, if you like, of his lineage coming out into the open. And what is more interesting is what is Daenerys going to do with that particular bit of information?

Speaking of Daenerys, what are your feelings on aunt-nephew incest?
I try to avoid it, personally. But it’s not the first time we dealt with it. I tried to think of a funny answer for what Davos would do if he were in the room when the word about Jon comes out. I think the character of Davos would probably turn around and go, “Well, at least she’s not your sister.”

Do you have a favorite Davos one-liner from this season?
I loved the little bit of banter that was going on with Jon and Missandei on the beach when we meet. I love the stuff when Jon starts noticing the very attractive Daenerys Targaryen. And it’s nice that the writers have allowed Davos to show this side, that he has a sense of humor about him. We didn’t see that when he was with Stannis. And that gorgeous scene that I had with the fermented-crab Viagra. That was really fun, because we got to see Davos the smuggler.

He definitely seems like a more jovial Onion Knight this season.
Yeah, I’m not sure how long it will last — especially with what happened with the wall.

More TV

  • Capturing Big Mouth

    Previewing Berlin’s CoPro Series 2020 Projects

    Tuesday see’s the Berlin Film Festival play host to the sixth edition of its Co-Pro Series Pitch and Networking event, where 10 exciting TV projects from around the world will pitch to potential co-producers, investors, sales agents and broadcasters. Under the umbrella of the Berlinale Co-Production Market – dedicated to connecting feature film producers and [...]

  • Romulus

    ITV Studios European TV Drama Push Boosted by ‘Romulus’ Pre-Sales (EXCLUSIVE)

    BERLIN — ITV Studios push into European drama has been boosted by pre-sales on “Romulus” and a slew of deals across a burgeoning slate of non-English language productions as ITV Studios aims to position as a world-class player in global content production. Announced at this week’s Berlinale Series Market, the sales play off ITV Studios [...]

  • View of the harbor of Rotterdam,

    Dutch Features Launches Crime Miniseries 'Black Nazareth' at Berlin Market (EXCLUSIVE)

    Sales agent Dutch Features has boarded crime miniseries “Black Nazareth,” and has started sales on it at the European Film Market in Berlin. The Dutch miniseries, which is in development, follows a customs officer in the port of Rotterdam who is drawn into a criminal operation while trying to deal with the terminal illness of [...]

  • Snow

    Film House Germany's Gabriela Bacher To Exec Produce Witcraft's 'Snow' Series (EXCLUSIVE)

    L.A. and Berlin-based producer Gabriela Bacher, CEO of media company Film House Germany, is attached to executive produce Witcraft Filmproduktion’s mystery drama project “Snow,” selected for this year’s Co-Pro Series at the Berlinale Co-Production Market. Bacher, a former Fox International Productions executive and principal of Studio Babelsberg, joined the company in 2011 as both CEO [...]

  • Animation Company Riki Buys 'The Fixies'

    Animation Company Riki Buys 'The Fixies' Producer Aeroplane (EXCLUSIVE)

    Leading Russian animation company Riki Group, home of brands such as “Kikoriki” and “BabyRiki,” has acquired Aeroplane Prods., the producer of cartoon franchise “The Fixies.” In Berlin, Riki Group is selling “Finnick,” a feature film about a mischievous furry creature who plays pranks on the family who lives in his house. The company’s stand is [...]

  • Stateless

    Netflix Swoops In for Global Rights to Cate Blanchett Refugee Drama 'Stateless' (EXCLUSIVE)

    Netflix has swooped in and taken global rights outside Australia to the Cate Blanchett-starring and exec-produced refugee drama series “Stateless,” following its world premiere in Berlin this week. Australian public broadcaster ABC, which commissioned the six-part series, will air “Stateless” on March 1, with the streaming giant going out later this year. It is believed [...]

  • Dome 16

    Holland’s Big Blue Boards Norwegian NRK Sci-fi Series ‘Dome 16’ (EXCLUSIVE)

    “Dome 16,” a futuristic sci-fi climate drama from creator Thomas Seeber Torjussen and Norway’s Tordenfilm, has a new co-producer in Fleur Winters from Dutch production house Big Blue. It’s the second time the companies have joined forces, previously co-producing NRK’s popular teenage series “ZombieLars.” In addition to creating the series, International Emmy nominee Seeber Torjussen [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content