'Game Of Thrones': Liam Cunningham On Saying Goodbye To His Co-Star

Liam Cunningham and Stephen Dillane (Helen Sloan/HBO)
Liam Cunningham and Stephen Dillane (Helen Sloan/HBO)

(Spoiler alert: This story contains plot details from the final episode of Season 5, "Mother's Mercy.")

It's likely that after what he did to his daughter, no one in the realm shed a tear for Stannis Baratheon in the "Game of Thrones" Season 5 finale.

Behind the scenes though, having to say goodbye to actor Stephen Dillane, who played the Stannis to his Davos Seaworth, was tough for actor Liam Cunningham. Liam, Stephen and Carice van Houten (Melisandre) became a close bunch of actors, as their scenes often featured just the three of them (since their Season 2 introduction on the HBO show).

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Liam said before Stephen left the show, they had a nice little goodbye dinner.

"We sat down with Carice and Stephen and myself and I'm incredibly sad about it," Liam said of Stephen's exit. "I have had a huge amount of respect for Stephen before I met him.

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"He's not a movie star, he's not a film star, he's a f**king actor and he's absolutely magnificent to work with and I shall hugely, hugely miss the scenes that I've had with him because he's a master of the truth," Liam continued. "He just digs and digs and digs. You can see it on the screen. There's just no bulls**t when you're working with that man. He's a joy to work with and it's all about the writing, servicing the writing, servicing the story. There's absolutely no ego at work there and I think that's one of the reasons he's as wonderful as he is. He's an extraordinary actor. I miss him. I miss him hugely."

Liam Cunningham (Getty)
Liam Cunningham (Getty)

Season 5 was different in a lot of ways for the actors in the Stannis storyline. It began with them at The Wall, and early in the season, it meant there was some fun between takes with Liam's "GoT" castmates.

"It was really [nice] because… myself, Stephen and Carice usually do these three-[handed] scenes, which are fantastic and really intimate and nice, but to move on to the set, it felt like moving on to a different show almost – well, for us, for our characters to be going up to the Night's Watch, up to The Wall," Liam said. "And to be sitting in a room with 20 other actors -- it was a lot of fun. Between set ups and takes and whatever, we used to play Beat the Intro, you know, 'I'll name that tune,' because we all had our little playlist on our iPads and whatever and we'd sit in our little green room saying, 'OK, what's this one?' So it was kind of great. It was like being in a dorm after boarding in somewhere much smaller."

Although he didn't have a great number of scenes with Kit Harington (Jon Snow) or Samwell Tarly (John Bradley), there was cast bonding off set.

Stephen Dillane as Stannis Baratheon

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"The guys are fabulous," Liam said, when we asked him about working with Kit and John. "When [we were] working on the same days, we would -- as soon as we got back to the hotels and whatever -- we'd ring each other and go out and have dinner and a couple of drinks or whatever, but to be actually kind of working together in scenes with these guys... And I really, really like working with Kit. There's no ego there. It's the same with John… it's an absolute joy. I mean, I think it comes across on the show, doesn't it? That everybody's really kind of professional and fun. And when you're dealing with writing of this quality, the work is intense, but hugely rewarding and I think the interest in the audience reflects that. It's really cool."

-- Jolie Lash

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