I look at Game of Thrones as a tournament bracket. We started out with a ton of characters, many introduced over several year’s time. They are from several different regions, or “houses,” like the Lannisters, the Targaryens, the Starks, the Baratheons, etc. Everyone is competing to win the Iron Throne, and no one will rule from it until the last competitor is eliminated. Each season, several people in serious contention are eliminated. Does it seem that way to you?
But since there are so many characters, and they come and go somewhat randomly, it’s hard to tell who’s the real star of the show. At the beginning, we assumed Game of Thrones would be centered around Ned Stark, but they sure pulled that rug out from under us quickly. To determine the real main character, we turn to mathematics. Or rather, professor Andrew J. Beveridge of Macalester College did, along with undergraduate student Jie Shan. They crunched the numbers.
The pair started by connecting characters every time they “interacted” in the third book of the series, A Storm of Swords. Whenever two characters appeared within 15 words of one another, a link (or “edge”) was added between them. The links are weighted based on how often the two characters appeared in close proximity. Characters don’t necessarily have to be friends to be linked—which is a good thing because there are few true friendships in the series.
They also took a few other metrics into consideration to determine the main character.
Ranked first in every measure, save for one, was the same character: Tyrion, the sharp-witted, marginalized member of powerful house Lannister. In spite of his small size, Tyrion is mathematically the most important character in Game of Thrones.
What does this mean for the series? Not much, since they only analyzed one book. But the audience would be tickled to see Tyrion Lannister reach the championship round and ultimately win the Iron Throne. Read more about the research at Quartz. -via Uproxx
(Image credit: Andrew J. Beveridge and Jie Shan)
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