Game of Thrones has been both criticized for its treatment of women and praised for its fiercely bold female characters.
Last week, we discussed - at length - some general first impressions from a Game of Thrones dataset. After digging into this dataset1 a little further, there were a few counter intuitive findings such as average versus total screen time for male and female characters.
The Game of Thrones show is very male dominated as a whole, so our interest was piqued when we found that female characters, on average, actually have much more screen time than male characters.
But remembering high school statistics class, we know that averages can be misrepresentative of the population as a whole.
So we dug in a little bit more.
First, the data shows that there are many more total male characters (120) than female characters (46).
When we look at the total screen time by gender, men definitely dominate the screen.
In addition to the higher number of male characters, we know that men dominate the top of screen time charts as well, with Tyrion and Jon solidly at the lead. Jon Snow with 268 minutes onscreen, has almost 20% more screen time than the female character with the most screen time, Daenerys Targaryen.
So why are women so ahead in average screen time?
The low average for men in Game of Thrones tells us that there are many more men with smaller parts in Game of Thrones who are skewing their average screen time lower.
It gets even more interesting when you take into account screen time of the main characters of the show.
Of the top seven main characters, female characters dominate, both in number of characters and in total screen time, which also contributes to the skewed average we see across screen time.
In the end, this data shows that while there are fewer women on screen, of the women who are, they receive a fair amount of screen time, on average. And at the top, women as a group are actually getting a lot of time on screen in the show.
Season 7 seems to be gearing up to give the main female characters some serious spotlight. Daenerys is arriving to Westeros, Cersei is sitting on the Iron Throne, Arya is coming back home, and Sansa is finally free to lead her own story. Will this season turn the tables in terms of average and total screen time by gender?
Only time will tell.
Stay tuned for Part III where we’ll be diving into the data in a whole new dimension.
1 Our data is from data.world and focuses on named characters, and not extras, for the first 6 seasons of the show.
Disclaimer: Game of Thrones belongs to HBO and is not affiliated with Looker in anyway.