Davos is a landed knight, and a former smuggler in the service of Stannis Baratheon, Lord of Dragonstone and claimant to the Iron Throne.
Ser Davos Seaworth is a landed knight and a reformed smuggler. His ship used to ply the Narrow Sea, smuggling goods from the Free Cities into the Seven Kingdoms and back again.
Davos was born in Flea Bottom, the poorest slum in King's Landing. His father was a poor crabber. He became a sailor while very young to escape the slums and has spent most of his life sailing the Narrow Sea. His black-sailed ship became infamous for sneaking into harbors in the dead of night whilst avoiding detection.
During Robert's Rebellion, Davos aided Stannis Baratheon while he was besieged in Storm's End, by delivering smuggled onions and other foodstuffs into the castle. The supplies helped Stannis' forces survive until the end of the war. For this service, Stannis rewarded Davos by bestowing him with knighthood and lands. He chose the name "Seaworth" for his family's new noble House, as a reference to his smuggling past. Highborn members of older noble Houses disparagingly Davos called "the Onion Knight" for his actions, but he has embraced this title and proudly took an onion for a sigil and sewed it onto his ship's sails.
Stannis also cut off four finger tips from Davos' right hand as punishment for his smuggling crimes. Thieves in Westeros are often sentenced to having fingers or the whole hand removed, but Stannis only took the fingertips of his less used hand (his right, as Davos is left-handed). Davos submitted to this punishment willingly, judging it a fair exchange in return for improving his family's future prospects. He also mentions in a featurette that he submitted to the punishment for the sake of sheer justice, saying he " avoided punishment for too long". He wears his severed finger bones in a pouch about his neck and believes they bring him good luck.
Davos is one of Stannis' most loyal and reliable vassals, but is treated with disdain by some of the other lords of Westeros for his low birth. Stannis himself points out that it was the low-born Davos, and not the high-born lords, who saved the lives of Stannis and his castle garrison. Davos is one of the only men who can (even grudgingly) influence Stannis' decisions, because he values Davos' honest advice above that of noble-born flatterers.
Davos has several sons, including Matthos, who serves with him on his ship and is a scribe for Stannis. He is proud of his son's education but remains illiterate.
Even though Stannis' wife Selyse despises Ser Davos, their daughter Shireen is fond of him and considers him a friend.
King Stannis Baratheon converts to the religion of the Lord of Light and allows his priestess Melisandre to burn the statues of the Seven outside Dragonstone. Davos is agnostic but watches with interest beside his son Matthos Seaworth, a devoted convert. Maester Cressen attempts to interrupt the ceremony but is casually dismissed by Melisandre. She proclaims Stannis as a prophesied hero when he draws a flaming sword from one of the statues.
Stannis hosts a council and prepares a letter to be distributed throughout the Seven Kingdoms. He has learned from the late Eddard Stark that Joffrey Baratheon is a bastard born of incest between Cersei Lannister and her brother Jaime rather than being Robert Baratheon's true heir. Stannis is therefore the rightful heir and plans to pursue his claims to the throne despite being outnumbered. His younger brother Renly Baratheon has also claimed the throne to Stannis' frustration. Davos urges Stannis to make peace with Renly to fight against Joffrey but Stannis refuses. Cressen attempts to poison Melisandre. Davos sees him put something in the wine cup. Cressen then offers Melisandre that they put aside their disagreement through drinking a toast from the same cup. Davos realizes what he is doing and unsuccessfully tries to stop him. Cressen drinks the poison first to make Melisandre feel safer. She also realizes his plan but drains the rest of the liquid regardless. Cressen quickly bleeds to death while Melisandre stands over his corpse unharmed.
Davos recruits an old friend, the pirate admiral Salladhor Saan, to Stannis' cause, bringing his 30 ships to Dragonstone. Davos and Matthos meet Sallador on the coast. Davos tells him that there are no old pirates; the life will catch up to him eventually. Joining the forces of Stannis Baratheon would give him a safe, legitimate position in the world. Davos accompanies Stannis to a parley with Renly on the coast of the Stormlands. They are unable to reach a compromise and Stannis gives Renly the night to reconsider. Stannis then tasks Davos with smuggling Melisandre into the caves beneath Renly's camp, refusing to say why and ordering Davos not to discuss the mission in the future. Davos delivers Melisandre through the caves, while she asks him if he desires her. She also talks of the battle they face and how she fights for the forces of good. When they arrive at a gate of iron bars, she disrobes, revealing that she is impossibly, heavily pregnant. She births a horrific shadow as Davos cowers in fear.
The Shadow kills Renly, and Stannis assumes control of the majority of his forces, save for the Tyrells and their bannermen. With the might of the Stormlords behind him, he plans to move on the capital of King's Landing. Davos urges him to leave Melisandre out of the battle because of rumors that she is controlling him. Stannis is angry with Davos for breaking his orders but accepts his counsel. He names Davos as commander of his fleet for the assault on Blackwater Bay. Davos is concerned that Stannis' bannermen will not respect him because of his origins.
The fleet travels north along the coast. Davos predicts that they are just one day's sail from their destination. Stannis admires Davos' loyalty and honesty and the way he copes with the snobbery of the highborn. He recalls Davos' timely intervention saving many lives in the siege of Storm's End. Stannis' wife nearly died of hunger and the castle was down to eating rats, before Davos managed to sneak through the blockade with his ship full of onions, potatoes, fish, and some beef. Stannis asks Davos to serve as his Hand of the King when he takes the Iron Throne.
The fleet sweeps into Blackwater Bay and the mouth of the Blackwater Rush, and approaches the city at night. The original plan was to destroy the royal fleet and land troops under the city walls. However, the royal fleet proved to be absent, Tyrion Lannister having commanded it to leave the area rather than be sunk. Instead, Tyrion has a ship leaking wildfire directly into the bay. Davos realizes it is a trap too late, and screams at his the ships to sail away from the wildfire. At Tyrion's signal, Commander Bronn of the King's Landing City Watch ignites the wildfire with a flaming arrow. This results in a tremendous explosion that obliterates the vanguard of Stannis' fleet, including Davos' flagship, the Black Betha. The blast kills his son Matthos while Davos is hurled overboard by the shockwave before the blast can reach him.
Davos is rescued from an islet he had washed ashore to by Salladhor Saan. Reeling from the death of his son and horrified to learn that Melisandre has begun to burn alive as sacrifices all those who speak out against her, Davos convinces Salladhor to bring him to Dragonstone. He intends to assassinate the Red Woman.
Davos finds Stannis despondent and condemns Melisandre for the human sacrifices and for leading Stannis astray. She reminds that it was he who urged Stannis not to bring her to the battle, and implies that it was the defeat and the massive deaths, including that of Matthos, were his fault. Davos draws a knife on her in a fit of rage, but he is restrained by a pair of guards. Stannis orders him to be put in the dungeon. Davos is dragged out, protesting to Stannis that Melisandre will lead them all to ruin.
Davos is visited by Princess Shireen, who asks him if he's a traitor, to which Davos answers that he is. Shireen, however, insists that he is still her friend, and that she will give him books to help him pass the time. After he reveals to her that he cannot read, she offers to teach him.
Over the next few weeks, Davos's literacy improves dramatically. Stannis finally comes to speak with him and agrees to free him on the condition he never raises a hand to Melisandre again. Davos agrees to this, but warns that he cannot be expected to never speak against her again. Stannis then tells Davos about Gendry, his bastard nephew. Davos correctly surmises that Stannis freed Davos before Gendry's sacrifice to talk him out of it. Stannis insists on taking Davos to Melisandre to observe a ritual involving leeches gorged on Gendry's blood.
At Dragonstone, Davos tests his new-found literacy on Stannis Baratheon's correspondence, declining Shireen's invitation to read more tales of Aegon I Targaryen. He expresses dissatisfaction about the odd spelling of the word "night", before hearing the horns that signal Melisandre's intents to sacrifice Gendry. He argues with Stannis again about sacrificing the boy, but Stannis is convinced by Melisandre that using Gendry as part of her blood magic will give him the power to destroy his enemies and claim the Iron Throne. When he doesn't get through to his liege, Davos takes matters into his own hands and frees the boy, giving him a rowboat and directions to King's Landing. A furious Stannis tries to throw Davos back into the dungeon but the Onion Knight produces a letter from the Night's Watch. Davos insists that it is Stannis' duty to assist the black brothers, and that he will need Davos's assistance to rally troops and mercenaries. Melisandre burns the letter and acknowledges the truth: the War of the Five Kings is immaterial. The true war lies in the North, and evil and death are marching on the Wall. She also agrees that Davos has an important role to play in the events to come. Stannis laughs at R'hllor's sense of humor, noting that the god Davos likes to mock has chosen him for a higher purpose
Davos witnessed the burning sacrifice of one of his King's bannermen, Ser Axell Florent, and was displeased by Selyse Baratheon's reaction to the death of those individuals.
When news of Joffrey Baratheon's death reaches Dragonstone, Stannis chastises Davos for releasing Gendry and not being able to build his army so that he could use such an opportunity. Davos proposes that they hire sellsword companies in the east to fight in the war, suggesting the Golden Company, who were famous for never breaking a contract. Despite Stannis's reluctance, Davos reminds him that it is equivalent to using magic to win. However, they do not have money to pay them. Davos later joins Princess Shireen for another session of reading. When she asks him about the difference between a pirate and a smuggler, he tells her a story about when he was almost beheaded by the First Sword of Braavos. This gets his attention and he remembers that the Iron Throne have been having difficulty paying their debts back to the Iron Bank of Braavos. Realizing that, should the bank switch its support to Stannis, they would have the money they need to hire men from the Free Cities. With Shireen's help, he starts writing a letter to the Bank.
In Braavos, Davos and Stannis go before the Iron Bank's Tycho Nestoris in order to plead their case. At first they reject Stannis' claim, pointing out that Tommen Baratheon is presently king. Furthermore, Stannis has few remaining troops or ships, and lacks gold and resources. Davos, however, convinces the Iron Bank that Stannis is their best chance of getting back the money they have loaned to the Iron Throne. He argues that Tywin Lannister, the real power in Westeros. is nearly seventy, and when he dies, their family will be left with Tommen, who is still a child and widely believed to be a bastard born of incest with no claim to the throne, and Cersei and Jaime Lannister, who are unreliable and have soiled reputations. Stannis, however, is in his prime, an experienced leader and a man of his word, and to prove his point, Davos shows them his mutilated hand.
The plea is successful and Davos goes to visit Salladhor Saan in a bath house. This time he pays his friend up front with money, saying he left the larger portion to Sallador's wife.
Davos is present alongside Stannis when his forces crush the wildling army led by Mance Rayder. He is the one who informs Mance that he stands before Stannis, the one true king of Westeros. Davos also meets Jon Snow, who was actually attempting to assassinate Mance before they arrived. Later, Davos is present at the Watch's funeral for those who fell during the Battle of Castle Black.
Davos is with Stannis atop the Wall when Jon Snow is called before the king. He questions Jon's loyalty to the Night's Watch because of his time with the wildlings and he was seen taking the body of a girl north of the Wall. Later, Davos is present when Mance Rayder is executed in the courtyard of Castle Black.
Davos is aware that the Night's Watch will choose a new Lord Commander and believes that Ser Alliser Thorne will win. He tries to convince Jon Snow to accept Stannis's offer of legitimization since Thorne will most likely punish Jon for showing Mance Rayder mercy during the execution.
After Jon is elected the new Lord Commander and refuses Stannis's offer, Davos speaks alone with Jon, telling him that Stannis sees something in him, even though it may not be apparent. He asks Olly to recite a part of the Night's Watch oath and stops him at "the shield that guards the realms of men", telling Jon that it may not just mean protecting the Seven Kingdoms from Beyond the Wall, but possibly taking part in battles in order to prevent the Seven Kingdoms from suffering, such as the North while under Bolton rule.
Davos is present in the common room of Castle Black when Jon Snow informs them of his plan to rescue the wildlings at Hardhome. Later, Stannis informs Davos that it is time to march, but Davos objects and asks him if it is not better to wait for Jon Snow to return from his mission with the wildlings, as they could have thousands more men in their army. Stannis states that they have to move now, before winter arrives in earnest. Selyse and Shireen will join them, as Stannis does not think they will be safe at Castle Black, surrounded by criminals. The following morning, Shireen tells Davos that she wants to see the crypt of Winterfell where all the old Kings in the North are buried, to which Davos replies that they must first take the castle from the Boltons. Shireen asks him if there is going to be a battle, and he affirms that she won't be anywhere near it. Selyse approaches them and commands Davos to stop speaking of battles and scaring the child. Shireen claims that she is unafraid, and promises to protect him. Davos rides from Castle Black along with the Baratheon army.
Some weeks later, snowstorms have delayed their march to Winterfell, and Davos rides through the camp, observing the troops. Davos enters Stannis's tent and informs him that forty of their horses died the previous night and more will die that night after sunset. The Stormcrows, a group of sellswords they'd hired, have also fled in the night. Davos thinks that they should go back to Castle Black and wait out the weather since they do not have enough food as they cannot open the supply lines until the snow clears. Stannis is vehemently against this and stubbornly tells him that they will not retreat to Castle Black because he will not risk being known as "the King who Ran", as he retreated from the Battle of the Blackwater. Winter will soon arrive and if they do retreat, they will be stuck at Castle Black, possibly for several years, waiting for the winter to end. Seeing no other way to convince Stannis otherwise, Davos leaves.
After a surprise attack by Ramsay Bolton and his men leaves Stannis's men and supplies decimated, Stannis and Davos realize that they no longer have enough provisions to survive the winter, a journey to Winterfell or a retreat to Castle Black. Stannis subsequently sends Davos to Castle Black to plead with Jon to send some men and supplies, promising Jon enough men to man all nineteen castles of the Wall in return, on the basis that as Davos is Hand of the King, Jon will take more notice of him than a common messenger. Despite Davos's reluctance, on the basis that as Stannis's Hand he cannot abandon his King, Davos is convinced to go when Stannis tells him that he is not abandoning them, but following his King's command. Davos asks to take Selyse and Shireen with him, but Stannis refuses.
Before leaving, Davos visits Shireen one last time and presents her with a wooden stag he carved himself, as thanks to Shireen for teaching him how to read and "turning him into a grown up", mentioning that Matthos tried for years to persuade him to learn to read, but Davos wouldn't listen. Davos bids farewell to Shireen and leaves for the Wall, while remaining unaware that Stannis actually sent him away so that he wouldn't interfere with his plan to sacrifice Shireen like he did with Gendry.
Upon arriving at the Wall, Davos finds Jon unwilling and unable to provide men for Stannis. He instead implores the Lord Commander to ask the wildlings to fight for Stannis, reasoning that they'd do as Jon asked since he saved their lives. Melisandre then rides into Castle Black, alone. Horrified, Jon and Davos rush to her, asking about the fates of Stannis and Shireen. Melisandre regards Davos with an empty stare, confirming his worst fears.
Alerted by Ghost's whimperings, Davos finds Jon's body in the courtyard shortly after a mutiny, along with Eddison Tollett and several of Jon's friends. Davos has Jon's body taken inside the castle to his quarters, where he and the others immediately realize Thorne was behind the mutiny. Melisandre also observes Jon's body and claims that she had seen a vision of Jon fighting at Winterfell. Knowing of their coming deaths, Davos sends Edd to find Tormund and the wildlings to help them against Thorne and his men, while he and Jon's friends take refuge inside Jon's office and lock the door.
Later, Davos is approached by Thorne, who offers him and Melisandre safe passage to the South with food and a fresh horse. Davos feigns interest and promises Thorne an answer by nightfall, knowing that Thorne will kill them all anyway once they open the door. With Edd still having not returned, Davos muses to the skeptical brothers that Melisandre may be their only hope for survival.
At nightfall, when Edd does not return, Davos brandishes Jon's sword, Longclaw, and prepares to lead the loyalists as the mutineers break their way in. Edd and Tormund arrive in time to end the struggle and place Thorne and the mutineers under arrest, saving Davos and the others. Davos later accosts Melisandre and speaks to her about her powers, which may or may not include that of resurrecting someone. He witnesses Melisandre clean Jon's body and perform a ritual meant to revive him, but when Jon fails to respond, his friends leave the room one by one to collect wood for his pyre. Davos remains behind, eyeing Jon's body with remorse before leaving as well, mere seconds before Jon awakens.
Hearing Jon stirring, Davos returns and assists the Lord Commander as he gets used to his body again. Melisandre soon joins them, pressing Jon for details about what he saw while dead. When Jon replies that he saw nothing, Davos ushers Melisandre out before she can declare a new prince that was promised, and advises Jon that while he did die, he is alive now and thus needs to accept it. Davos later assists the still-weary Jon in greeting the Black Brothers, and observes when he hangs the leaders of the mutiny.
Following Sansa Stark's arrival at Castle Black with Brienne of Tarth and Podrick Payne, Davos accosts Melisandre and asks her where she will go next. She claims she will go where Jon commands her, as he is the Prince that was Promised, not Stannis as they all believed. Davos again asks Melisandre about what happened to Stannis, and then Shireen. Before Melisandre musters up the courage to admit to Davos that she burned Shireen alive, Brienne confronts the pair, and tells Davos that she personally executed Stannis after he admitted his role in Renly's assassination with Melisandre's blood magic, though she promises she will not take any further revenge.
Davos later attends a war council with Jon, Sansa, Brienne, Podrick, Edd and Tormund, pointing out their lack of men in comparison to the Boltons, who have the Umbers and Karstarks on their side. Though Sansa claims that the remaining Northern Houses will rally behind Jon, since both Jon and Ramsay are bastard-born, Davos remains skeptical, reminding Sansa that the Karstarks forsook their allegiance to the Starks because Robb Stark beheaded Rickard Karstark, and the other Northern Houses did not rise up against the Boltons for their role in the Red Wedding, concluding that while Northerners are more loyal than most, they will most likely not fight a losing battle for her or Jon. Sansa points out that her great-uncle, Brynden Tully, has rebuilt the Tully army and retaken Riverrun from the Freys, surprising Davos, who has heard of Brynden's reputation and admits his help would be invaluable, concluding that with help from House Tully and the remaining minor Northern Houses, they may stand a chance against Ramsay after all. He later leaves Castle Black with Jon, Sansa and Melisandre and the rest of their army.
He accompanies Sansa and Jon to Bear Island, to ask for the help of House Mormont. They meet Lyanna Mormont, who Jon reminds of the letter she sent, that Bear Island serves the King in the North whose name is Stark. She dismisses Jon and Sansa, saying they are not Starks. Davos, however, warns her of the coming threat of White Walker; telling her "the dead are coming". This convinces Lyanna to support Jon and Sansa.
A reformed smuggler, who lost the tips of his fingers on one hand as punishment for his previous misdeeds, Davos is also known as "The Onion Knight". He served as Stannis Baratheon's Hand although his opinions often ran contrary to those of Melisandre, the Red Priestess who also advised Stannis. At Stannis' request, Davos returned to Castle Black and was there when he learned of his king's fate and Jon Snow's murder. Davos rallied Melisandre to resurrect Jon, and joined the Stark cause. He was brokenhearted to learn of Shireen's murder and called for Melisandre's death.