Liam Cunningham on playing Davos and his new series, “Electric Dreams.”
“Game of Thrones” Season 7 featured more reveals than there are swords in the Iron Throne. However, none was bigger than when HBO went all ancestry.com on Jon Snow (Kit Harington).
In the most recent season, fans finally learned, definitively, that Jon Snow is a Targaryen and his real name is Aegon, or as the internet has deemed him, Aejon.
Now that we’re privy to that info, peeps on Reddit noticed an apparent Easter egg ― or rather, an “Easter Aeg” ― the show planted years ago.
The first word Shireen Baratheon taught Davos (Jon Snow’s now loyal confidante) how to read was Aegon.
Davos himself, actor Liam Cunningham, was recently out at New York Comic Con promoting his new project, “Philip K. Dick’s Electric Dreams,” and HuffPost asked him about the connection between Jon’s real name and the first word Davos learned to read.
“Yeah, they’re very good at that sort of thing,” said Cunningham. “David [Benioff] and Dan [Weiss] plant little Easter eggs there if you want to see them.”
The fact that Shireen (Kerry Ingram) was a part of this moment with Davos is kind of tragic, considering how much he cared for her and how she was ultimately sacrificed by Melisandre (Carice van Houten). But despite the moment’s significance, Cunningham told us he had no idea it would be so instrumental at the time.
“No, are you kidding me? I don’t know what the hell’s gonna happen from one episode to the next. That’s testament to how good the writing is on that, too. After seven seasons, people are still asking the same question they asked in Season 1. ‘Who do you think is gonna end up on the throne?’”
From “Game of Thrones” to Philip K. Dick, here’s the rest of our conversation with Cunningham:
You’re now in “Electric Dreams,” but is it true you also used to be an electrician?
Somebody did make that connection. I never thought about it. I was an electrician, and now I’m in “Electric Dreams.” It’s almost bizarre.
What was Davos Seaworth like as an electrician?
He wasn’t one. That electrician died and up came Davos. That was like a different life. That’s what I like to say. That’s when I used to be a real person.
A theme in Philip K. Dick’s work is “what it means to be human.” Why do you think that’s important nowadays?
What makes us different from other species is our capacity for compassion and empathy with the struggles of other people. I think it has great resonance at the moment because there seems to be some skewed view that not looking after people or taking care of people in trouble shows some sort of strength. It’s the complete opposite. It actually weakens us as a species and weakens us as human beings […] like certain individuals are doing, not just here, but plenty of places in Europe that’s happening, as well. The demonization of people who don’t have a voice is particularly despicable, and the only thing we can do in our own little way is hold a mirror up to society and kind of say we’re better than that.
What was it like working with Bryan Cranston, who stars with you and is a producer?
That man has given myself and my family, specifically my kids, years and years of pleasure from “Malcolm in the Middle.” My kids grew up, we sat arm-in-arm laughing our heads off at “Malcolm in the Middle” because we feel like we’re like that family. I think every family feels like that family and then onto “Breaking Bad,” the guy’s CV is just beautiful. Bryan is not a movie star. He’s an actor, and that’s the highest compliment I can pay him.
When you work with other actors like that, do you ever talk about past work? Do you talk about “Breaking Bad” with Bryan Cranston?
When you’re trying to get these things done, there’s not a huge amount of time for sitting around reminiscing about what one’s done before. It’s kind of like that with me, as well. When “Games of Thrones” is finished, I’m not one to go on about it too long and rest on one’s laurels. The stuff that interests me is the work. I got involved in “Game of Thrones” because I thought it was a ridiculously wonderful story and beautiful storytelling. Nobody knew it was gonna turn into a cultural phenomenon. But we try and improve, keep the quality as high as it possibly can [go] without patronizing an audience or [being] condescending to them, thinking we know more about it than they do. Nobody knows more about it than they do. And we just try to deliver it with a bit of honor and a bit of respect.
How do you feel about the last “Game of Thrones” table read?
Yeah, we’ll all be drunk. No, I’m kidding. I’m kidding.
No, it’ll be the last time we do it. I did get an email from David and Dan talking about, “This is the last table read,” and that was a really sweet email. Yeah, it’s gonna be really odd. It’s gonna be very odd. We’ve kind of been trying to prepare ourselves for the end of this from the beginning of last season. That’s when we kind of said we have to start thinking about this. This is gonna end. They’re gonna take this baby off us. We’ll be out in the wilderness again with nobody even remembering who we are. Back to obscurity.
I’ve asked you this a couple times at this point, but you’ve said George R.R. Martin once told you a secret. What’s the secret?
I’m not telling you.[Laugh] Will you reveal it one day?
I will reveal it one day, and it’ll come across as, “Oh, is that it?” It’ll be a real letdown. Everybody thinks he told me who’s on the throne because that’s what they’re projecting. “He must’ve told him something.” You’re bigging it up. It ain’t that big. It was just something he told me. It’s not monumental.
“Philip K. Dick’s “Electric Dreams” heads to Amazon in 2018.