Game of Thrones Screen Time Chart Reveals Main Players & Changing Trends

Jon & Daenerys were the main players in season seven

Jon & Daenerys were the main players in season seven, despite appearing in fewer episodes

Game of Thrones is a pretty geeky show, so you’ll find plenty of geeky charts and infographics all over the internet, showing everything from size comparisons in Westeros to how each book chapter corresponds to each episode in the adaptation. They are nothing new. And yet, there is a new chart detailing the screen time of the top 100 characters of the show that caught our attention, as it puts certain trends into perspective and corroborates what the cast have said about their increased workload.

An Indian fan of the show by the name of Shivaraj, using data collected by an IMDB user, created this wonderfully dynamic chart, which not only tells us about the characters with more screen time overall, but how this breaks up by season and family as well.

Click on the picture to go to the dynamic version of the chart

Click on the picture to play around with the dynamic version of the chart

Following the revelation that seasons seven and eight would have fewer episodes, there was a general feeling of disillusionment in the community, along with a very specific complaint that we would get less time with our favorite characters. However, this chart corroborates what many starring cast members claimed in the months before the season aired: with so many characters —main, secondary and tertiary— culled from the story in the last few seasons, season seven could focus on the main players.

Jon and Daenerys were the obvious winners from this plot-tightening massacre. The Dragon Queen almost doubled her screen time compared to the previous year, while the King in the North leaped 18 minutes, despite having three fewer episodes available. Only Ned, who was essentially the protagonist in the first season, surpasses season seven’s Jon, though he’s almost rivalled by season two’s Tyrion. Incidentally, this last season was also the one in which Jon finally passed Tyrion in terms of overall screen time.

But the hot new incestuous Thrones couple aren’t the only ones who came on top. Judging by screen time alone, the last few seasons have had seven main characters: Jon, Daenerys, Tyrion, Sansa, Jaime, Arya, and Cersei. Of these, only Sansa appeared less in season seven, but only by a single minute (and season six was an exception for Sansa anyway, as in every other season she’s had less screen time than in season seven.)

707 - Winterfell - Sansa, Arya 1

Just like the books, since Ned’s death the focus slowly started to diverge from the main characters, from the main Houses in the story: Stark, Lannister and Targaryen, and to a lesser extent Baratheon, Greyjoy and Tyrell (the Martells are not represented in the chart, as only Oberyn and Ellaria make the top 100 cut.) This trend of crowding out the main players culminated in season three, the only year in which all these six Houses combined amassed fewer minutes on-screen than the rest of the characters. The world had expanded. But, as the third act approached, it was time for it to contract again, and so the trend reversed; by season seven, the balance is closer to season one levels. The Starks haven’t had this much representation since Winterfell burnt down, and the Targaryens not since even further back, when Dany gave birth to the dragons.

All of this is to make the point that season eight having only six episodes doesn’t mean we will see less of our favorite characters, if season seven is anything to go by. Game of Thrones is increasingly re-focusing on the characters with which the story once came into being, and that’s who we will mostly see — in fact, probably more than ever before.

34 responses

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    1. “And season six was an exception for Sansa anyway, as in every other season she’s had less screen time than in season seven.”

      Sansa is #4 in terms of screen time.
      In order: Jon, Tyrion, Dany, Sansa, Cersei and Arya.

      38 minutes less than Dany, 3 minutes more than Cersei and 14 minutes more than Arya.

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    2. LINAGIC,

      So? I was comparing Sansa in season seven to Sansa in other seasons, not to other characters. I can’t see anything in that sentence that would point to that misinterpretation. I merely pointed out that in the first five seasons Sansa had less screen time than in season six, followed closely by seven. Which is true.

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    3. Sean C.,

      Weirdly enough, in a recent interview on a British talkshow Kit remarked he should have gone to two engagement parties and missed them both, I thought he was referring to his own……..but maybe not🤔

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    4. “But the hot new incestuous Thrones couple aren’t the only ones who came on top. “

      How do you know this? The scene cut away too early for us to know what position they finished in.

      Giggity

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    5. Speaking of Sansa, in a busy afternoon I saw on a news digest that Sophie announced her engagement to Joe Jonas. Is this so? If it is, I wish them well.

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    6. Sean C.:
      One thing to keep in mind is that a lot of the screentime counts for KL-based characters in the early seasons are a bit hard to compare with screentime counts for other characters, because KL had a lot of scenes with large numbers of castmembers that didn’t necessarily focus on that person.

      Unrelatedly, it looks like there will be two main castmember weddings in the near-future.

      To Joe!? Umm… grats

      There is a point to be made that you brought up regarding the screen time numbers. If one was to separate and somehow only count scenes where each is the primary I’d think those results would be interesting as well. I am specifically thinking about Arya with that considering she basically had her very own storyline all the way up to returning to Winterfell. That is to say, pretty much every scene she was in was primarily for her and what she was doing.

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    7. Ten Bears:
      Stark Raven’ Rad,

      Good for her!
      I wonder who’s going to be Maid of Honor?

      #Mophie4ever

      Maybe Iwan will give her away. 😜

      Damn though, that’s young. Oh well, It’s Hollywood! I foresee many music videos and beach vacations in their future. At least they both know what being child celebrities is like.

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    8. Very cool article Luka.

      This feels right to me. Watching season 7 i couldn’t help think that the arcs of all the secondary characters were pretty much over and it was all about the core group of characters we were introduced to back in Episode 1.

      I personally would be surprised if that core group of 7 characters do not all make it to the series finale and have their arcs culminate then with Jaime and Cersei prob dying in that last episode.

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    9. I’m worried about the cast in Belfast with Hurricane Ophelia on it’s way…
      Hopefully they all went home again after the script read-through… or Belfast isn’t in line of hurricane intensity. I’m too lazy to look up the details right now.

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    10. Looks like the whole of Ireland will feel the affects of Ophelia, I worry about the sets. Belfast sits low on the Lough so hopefully sheltered, wouldn’t want to be up on the cliffs though where Jon and Drogon were.

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    11. Danielle Stark,

      I’m in the UK. Ophelia is scheduled to hit Belfast dead on. However it certainly will not be a “hurricane” by the time it gets there. Belfast schools are shut I think.

      At the moment in Da Norf (of England) we’re enjoying an eerie stillness. Not a breath of wind and a strange yellow haze in the sky. Actually pretty good filming conditions for an ethereal winter effect! But I think everything will be halted and under cover. Strong winds shall be coming.

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    12. ash:
      Pigeon,

      21 is young? well certainly compared to my age when I got married, but she’s an adult by now…..

      I don’t know when the wedding is but I’d guess she’ll be 22 when it happens. I got married at 21 and it didn’t last. Looking back now I think it was too young for ME. Some people, maybe not. They live a different kind of life than most people do though. They’re rather wealthy so there isn’t any of that ‘get yourself a job and financially set’ stuff that parents hope their children will do before getting married. Basically I guess it comes down to maturity. Joe is 28 and she’ll be 22… so it is rather normal to marry at those ages.

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    13. Em:

      At the moment in Da Norf (of England) we’re enjoying an eerie stillness. Not a breath of wind and a strange yellow haze in the sky. Actually pretty good filming conditions for an ethereal winter effect! But I think everything will be halted and under cover. Strong winds shall be coming.

      IMO, the best part of England and well-captured by GRRM. Since Da Norf stretches from Yorks and Lancs to the borders, I’m curious where. I don’t recall hurricanes, but it’s easy to see why Emily Bronte titled her masterpiece Wuthering Heights.

      Clob,

      I got married at 21 and it didn’t last. Looking back now I think it was too young for ME.

      I married at 20 and it didn’t last for the same reason. Fortunately, #2 has. So far 🙂

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    14. House Monty:
      Very cool article Luka.

      This feels right to me. Watching season 7 i couldn’t help think that the arcs of all the secondary characters were pretty much over and it was all about the core group of characters we were introduced to back in Episode 1.

      I would agree that season seven definitely seemed to shift our focus back to the season one core of Lannister, Stark & Targaryen, with a few other extras.

      Though nerdy, it is interesting to have a look at how prominent different characters have been each season. Looking back at all seven, I find it interesting that for all we saw of Jon in season one his screen time was far lower in seasons two and three – perhaps because following Ned’s death we were meant to see Robb as the leader of House Stark?

      In season four, however, I really feel Jon came out of Robb’s shadow and I think that is reflected in how much screen time he started to get. If you look at six and seven alone, I think Jon gets over half an hour more than any other character (which is why he has now surpassed Tyrion).

      I would say that seasons six and seven had seven central characters – Jon, Daenerys, Tyrion, Cersei, Jaime, Sansa & Arya. And that is backed up in how much we’ve seen of them. These are the characters I think we’ll see most of in season eight.

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    15. Em,

      I too am in t’North and it’s blowing a gale here, but my point is why do people keep saying ‘da north’ what’s that all about then??? BTW Congratulations to Sophie and Joe💖

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    16. Carole H,

      Heh, because “da King in Da Norf”, that’s why.

      There is a criminal lack of Northern dialect in this show! How have we gone seven seasons without anyone saying “bairn”? Or having an argument over whether it is buns, baps or stotties?

      (It’s going to be a blustery night. Oh well.)

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    17. Em:
      Carole H,

      Heh, because “da King in Da Norf”, that’s why.

      There is a criminal lack of Northern dialect in this show! How have we gone seven seasons without anyone saying “bairn”? Or having an argument over whether it is buns, baps or stotties?

      (It’s going to be a blustery night. Oh well.)

      Though my days in The North are long past, when Arya, Gendry, and Hot Pie escaped Harrenhal at midnight all I could think of was “They’re doing a midnight flit!” And in S7, that Sandor and Brienne were ‘chuffed’ about Arya. At least the show used Sean Bean, Mark Addy, and Robert Aramayo, a Sean Bean look- and sound-alike.

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    18. ash,

      Some people in Sophie’s home town and/or Northern Inuit Dog breeders have tweeted that Zunni died recently, seemingly corresponding to Sophie’s admitting that she got some bad news on the first day of the cast read-through (which she tweeted to an obnoxious fan who she met that day, refused to take a picture with, and who then bashed her on Twitter). Sophie herself hasn’t said anything about it.

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    19. ash:
      Pigeon,

      What?link pls (the one you gave is just a photo)

      Yes, what Sean said above. No official word from Sophie or her family, I am just assuming it is true. Would be lovely if not.

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    20. Well hopefully it’s not true, but if it is then my heart goes out to her. Losing a pet is devastating. Some people act like it’s just a pet, so who cares, but anyone that’s ever had a pet that you cared about would understand that losing one is the same as losing a family member.

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