After nearly a full year of waiting, the time is almost upon us. HBO's massively popular fantasy series Game of Thrones is set to return in just a few weeks, bringing back the tales of Westeros in its penultimate season. With just two short seasons left before its conclusion, we should expect plenty of payoffs and long awaited moments in the coming episodes. And while fans are excited for Daenerys Targaryen to finally arrive in Westeros and begin conquering, which character is the actual lead of the series? According to data surrounding screen time and appearances, it's actually none other than Peter Dinklage's Tyrion Lannister.
This news comes to us from Looker, which compiled the total amount of episodes and time spent on screen for each of Game of Thrones' many protagonists. Up until Season 6's explosive finale, Tyrion has appeared on the small screen for 54/60 episodes, taking up 293 minutes of screen time. That's five more episode appearances than Jon and Dany, who tie for the second most episodes with 49. Although Jon has Dany beat in regards to screen time, with his 268 minutes surpassing her 221.
This data might be confusing for Game of Thrones fans, because the show's narrative doesn't always revolve around The Imp. While Tyrion's personal and professional life was a major focus up until Shae and Tywin's deaths in Season 4, he's since faded into the background as a chief advisor and eventual Hand to Daenerys.
Conversely, Dany and Jon often feel like the show's protagonists, as their plot lines are both emotional and move the overall narrative forward. Game of Thrones' six seasons have shown Daenerys go from terrified child bride to conquering Khaleesi and Mother of Dragons. Her journey toward Westeros is one that fans have been waiting for since Day 1, and it seems like she's destined to sit on the Iron Throne at the end of the series.
And Jon Snow's story featured the most pure romantic storyline in the show's history. His relationship with Ygritte made the fandom fall in love with Kit Harrington, and we saw as Jon eventually made an alliance with the Wildlings to eventually save them all from the Night's King and his army of dead. He's been named the King in the North, and the trailers for Season 7 seem to put Jon in a mission to battle the dead North of The Wall.
Bringing up the rear are Cersei, Sansa, and Arya who have significantly less on screen appearances than the previous three characters. Although this hasn't stopped the badass ladies from becoming fan favorites, especially the murderous Arya.
We'll just have to wait and see how this ranking changes when Season 7 arrives on the small screen. Game of Thrones will return on July 16th, and in the meantime check our summer premiere list to plan your next binge watch.