Tyrion Lannister Is The Real King Of "Game Of Thrones"
Obsessive Game of Thrones fans know that to watch the show is to be blown away by its vastness — especially in regard to its cast. After constantly wondering how much time the actors are actually on screen as the show whips around its huge world, I decided to find out — so I calculated the screen time for the top 68 characters in the HBO drama's most recent third season.
The order: Tyrion (Peter Dinklage), 1:10:38; Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke), 50:07; Robb Stark (Richard Madden), 46:58; Jon Snow (Kit Harington), 46:56; Jaime Lannister (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau), 44:50; Cersei Lannister (Lena Headey) 44:07; Arya Stark (Maisie Williams), 43:49; Ygritte (Rose Leslie), 42:39; Ser Jorah Mormont (Iain Glen), 42:09; Catelyn Tully (Michelle Fairley), 41:27; Barristan Selmy (Ian McElhinney), 39:49; Samwell Tarly (John Bradley), 39:38; Sansa Stark (Sophie Turner), 38:53; Tywin Lannister (Charles Dance), 38:00; Gendry (Joe Dempsie), 37:48; Brienne (Gwendoline Christie), 37:26; Talisa Stark (Oona Chaplin), 35:34; Margaery Tyrell (Natalie Dormer), 35:20; Missandei (Nathalie Emmanuel), 34:04; Brynden Tully, the "Blackfish" (Clive Russell), 33:50; Joffrey Baratheon (Jack Gleeson), 33:47; Thoros of Myr (Paul Kaye), 31:55; Edmure Tully (Tobias Menzies), 30:29; Bran Stark (Isaac Hempstead Wright), 30:09; Varys (Conleth Hill), 28:54; Jojen Reed (Thomas Brodie Sangster), 28:52; Melisandre (Carice van Houten), 28:41; Davos Seaworth (Liam Cunningham), 27:05; Sandor Clegane, "The Hound" (Rory McCann), 26:36; Meera Reed (Ellie Kendrick), 25:51; Olenna Tyrell, the "Queen of Thorns" (Diana Rigg), 25:33; Roose Bolton (Michael McElhatton), 25:29; Theon Greyjoy (Alfie Allen), 24:38; Hodor (Kristian Nairn), 24:35; Tormund Giantsbane (Kristofer Hivju), 24:10; Shae (Sibel Kekilli) 24:08; Gilly (Hannah Murray), 23:48; Dragons (Viserion, Rhaegal, and Drogon), 22:30; Stannis Baratheon (Stephen Dillane), 20:58; Orell (Mackenzie Crook), 20:51; Walder Frey (David Bradley), 20:26; Ramsay Snow, the "Bastard of Bolton" (Iwan Rheon), 20:04; Beric Dondarrion (Richard Dormer), 19:34; Daario Naharis (Ed Skrein), 18:24; Osha (Natalia Tena), 17:15; Petyr Baelish, "Littlefinger" (Aidan Gillen), 15:40; Grey Worm (Jacob Anderson), 14:35; Loras Tyrell (Finn Jones), 14:27; Rickon Stark (Art Parkinson), 13:46; Mance Rayder (Ciarán Hinds), 12:04; Lord Commander Mormont (James Cosmo), 11:09; Bronn (Jerome Flynn), 8:48; Podrick Payne (Daniel Portman), 8:24; Ros (Esmé Bianco), 8:18; Qyburn (Anton Lesser), 8:04; Grand Maester Pycelle (Julian Glover), 7:27; Hot Pie (Ben Hawkey), 6:45; Shireen Baratheon (Kerry Ingram), 5:04; Martyn and Willem Lannister (Dean-Charles Chapman and Timothy Gibbons), 4:22; The Bear (Bart the Bear), 4:04; Balon and Yara Greyjoy (Patrick Malahide and Gemma Whelan), 3:14; Craster (Robert Pugh), 3:08; Maester Aemon (Peter Vaughan), 2:51; Selyse Baratheon (Tara Fitzgerald), 1:20.
Methodology: This was a hand-stitched process. The 10-episode third season added up to 8 hours and 43 minutes in total, excluding opening and closing credits. I re-watched it twice, and timed each scene from beginning to end and noted the characters within. If a character entered mid-scene, I counted them as being in the whole thing (the actor was on set that day, and was key to it, after all). There are scenes in which a character or characters are in the background (Tyrion and Sansa's wedding springs to mind) and the actors don't have any lines (or have one or two), but I counted those for the same reason — better to round up. I rounded way up with the dragons; there are scenes when they aren't pivotal, but are in the distance, flying behind Dany. But who am I to say that the Mother of Dragons was not using her children effectively in those scenes to intimidate her foes? So, I counted them. When I had all of the times for each character clocked and added up, I sent the numbers to BuzzFeed's art director, John Gara, who conceived of and created the graphic.
Two thoughts: I embarked on this project with the same obsessive spirit as Ahab pursuing Moby Dick — there's no real explanation. Many things delighted me along the way, and I hope Game of Thrones fans can find their own surprises within. I will share two of mine. While I went in guessing that Peter Dinklage would be on screen more than anyone else, I was interested to see that the gap between him and the rest of the main characters/actors was so large. On the other end of things, considering what an important character Mance is in the books, seeing how little Ciarán Hinds was in Season 3 underlined how Game of Thrones hasn't (yet?) established him — which is a loss to me.
Please share your own observations in the comments!
Update: An earlier version of this graphic had a picture of Maester Luwin instead of Maester Aemon.