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Game Of Thrones' Liam Cunningham Had A Good Reason For Not Reading The Books

One of the greatest strengths of "Game of Thrones" is its massive cast of characters and the layers of depth and nuance that the series presents them with by putting them in unique moral positions. One of the greatest examples of this comes in the form of the Onion Knight, Ser Davos Seaworth (Liam Cunningham).

Despite being a former smuggler and pirate, Ser Davos has one of the strongest moral compasses on the show, which also makes him one of the most interesting characters in "Game of Thrones." Though Davos switched teams midway through the series, his strong sense of right and wrong never left him. As a result, he never stopped seeking justice for his young friend, Shireen Baratheon (Kerry Ingram).

Still, despite how important and pivotal Ser Davos' role in "Game of Thrones" is, Cunningham, who portrayed the character from Season 2 all the way through Season 8, says that he's never read the dark fantasy series that inspired the popular HBO adaptation.

Liam Cunningham wanted to draw his character from the script

Liam Cunningham sat down with Vulture to talk about his portrayal of the fan-favorite character Ser Davos Seaworth, and when his interviewer mentioned how well he'd brought the version of the character from "A Song of Ice and Fire" to life, Cunningham actually said that he hadn't read the books.

"It's interesting you say that because that's one of the reasons I didn't read the books," Cunningham explained. "I didn't want to be playing a character from a book. For David [Benioff] and Dan [Weiss], their bible — or, for lack of a better word, their blueprint — was obviously the books; as an actor, my blueprint was the script."

Cunningham makes an interesting point here, as his job is to portray the character he's playing as accurately and succinctly as possible. The fact that Benioff and Weiss made changes to the story when adapting "Game of Thrones" is only the beginning, as well, because knowing the future of his character may also have caused Cunningham to inadvertently fold those aspects into his performance.

George R.R. Martin gives Cunningham a hard time about not reading the books

Liam Cunningham also revealed that he gets a rough time for his choice from George R. R. Martin, who created "A Song of Ice and Fire." The author has published five main entries in the series, as well as many spin-offs, including "Fire and Blood," which is currently being adapted by HBO as "House of the Dragon."

"In fact, George frequently slaps me on the back of the hand because every time I meet him, he says, 'Have you read the books yet?' and I say, 'No, I haven't, George!'" Cunningham explained. "Look, I don't want to be influenced by what you've written in the books." Still, Cunningham does have plans to sit down with Martin's lofty catalog of dark medieval fantasy someday. "I promise him that as soon as the show is over, I'm going to sit down with these massive tomes and get my ass reading his version of Westeros," Cunningham said. "I'm waiting for that luxury to happen when I'm out of work and nobody likes me anymore." 

Though it's unlikely that anyone dislikes the affable performer, now that his time with "Game of Thrones" is over, it looks like he's got his work cut out for him.