Someone clocked every second of “Game of Thrones” and ranked each character by screen time

The King in the North is also the king of your TV screen.
The King in the North is also the king of your TV screen.
Image: HBO
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Game of Thrones enthusiasts have tried all sorts of ways to determine the true main character of the sprawling HBO fantasy drama. There’s only one measure, though, that reveals which character has been given the most attention: screen time.

Armed with a stopwatch, someone timed every single scene in all seven seasons of Game of Thrones and ranked each character by the amount of time they’ve appeared in the camera frame. By the slimmest of margins, Jon Snow is now the king of screen time following Sunday night’s season finale, according to the user ninewheels0 on TV and film reference website IMDb.

Jon (or do we need to call him Aegon now?) has appeared on screen for 338 minutes (5.63 hours), surpassing Tyrion Lannister by just one minute. Daenerys Targaryen comes in third at 276 minutes, with Sansa Stark and Cersei Lannister rounding out the top five.

Rounding to the nearest quarter of a minute, ninewheels0, who’s performed a similar analysis for Marvel superhero and Harry Potter films, ranked 200 different characters in Game of Thrones. Some results were quite surprising:

  • Samwell Tarly came in eighth (144 minutes) despite being a fairly minor character in the show’s early seasons.
  • Ned Stark clocks in at 13th (100 minutes), despite dying in the first season. That only underscores how shocking it was that he was killed so early on (for non-book readers, that is).
  • Olenna Tyrell (44 minutes, 34th place), the coolest character ever, deserved more screen time. We probably could do with a little less Gilly (55 minutes, 28th place), meanwhile.
  • Based on screen time, Petyr “Littlefinger” Baelish (119 minutes, 11th place) was the most prominent character to die since Ned Stark back in season one.
  • The Night King has only actually been on screen for eight total minutes (109th place). Expect that to change in a big way in the show’s final season, though.
  • Lady Mormont, the 10-year-old leader we should all emulate, has made a lot of her measly five minutes of screen time.

Here is the ranking of every character with more than five minutes of screen time (an asterisk denotes a character no longer living; for a list of even more characters, visit IMDb):