We consider the current era of television to be in its golden age, but one does not merely stumble onto the golden age of a medium. It is carefully constructed by brilliant works, each seeking to raise the industry standards while simultaneously raising the expectation of the audience members as well. “The Sopranos,” “The Wire,” “Breaking Bad,” and Game of Thrones has no doubt been highly influential in raising the stakes in television, but a recent study looks to understand which character was the most instrumental in making “Game of Thrones” the success it is today.

Top contenders for the throne

“Game of Thrones” is so densely packed with unique characters, it was difficult to imagine one lording over the others regarding screen time. The fact, however, remains that one character did, in fact, spend more time on-screen than any of his/her contemporaries, and many names can suit this bill.

Daenerys Targaryen, played by Emily Clark, known as the mother of dragons, is perhaps the most powerful and liberating character on the show. She began her journey when her brother married her off to a powerful chieftain, seen as nothing more than a pawn in the larger context of the world.

The birth of her dragons became the turning point in Daenerys’ life, and she has not looked back since then. Defeating adversary after adversary, and winning many hearts along the way, she has emerged as one of the most viable candidates to claim the Iron Throne.

Jon Snow may not be the most popular character in the original books, but he has emerged as a fan favorite over the course of the series.

Kit Harington brought a sincerity to the role that has struck a chord with the audiences, and his resurrection became one of the biggest talking points of the series. He was once seen as nothing more than a bastard child, but he is now a powerful commander, leading the charge to secure the iron throne.

Cersei Lannister is one character everyone loves to hate. She has the poise of a goddess, but the poison of a venomous serpent, willing to strike down anyone to protect herself and her loved ones.

She has been brilliantly portrayed by Lena Headey and has emerged as the top contender for the throne at this point. If anyone has to get to the iron throne, they will have to go through Cersei.

Although each of these characters spent more time on-screen than most of the other cast members, only one character managed to out-do them regarding screen time.

A Lannister is always around

Tyrion Lannister, the most beloved imp in all of Westeros, has emerged a clear winner regarding being the most important and influential character in HBO’s “Game of Thrones.” Played by the phenomenally talented Peter Dinklage, the hand of the king managed to outdo many kings in terms on reigning supreme on-screen.

Out of the 32 main characters on the show, no one has spent more time in front of the camera than Dinklage’s Tyrion. He has been present in 54 out of the 60 episodes so far, nearly two episodes more than the closest candidate Cersei (52 episodes). Jon and Daenerys are tied for the third place with 49 episodes under their belt, while the Stark sisters (Arya and Sansa) have been present in 47 episodes. Jamie Lannister managed to round off the top five list by being present in 43 episodes in total.

The characters that have made the top five list will surely be influential when the last two seasons of the series begin to unfurl.

We are only days away from the penultimate season’s premiere, and we can only imagine which one of these big names will manage to stick till the end and claim the iron throne.

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