In Game of Thrones being loyal is usually fatal


Analysis finds most GoT characters don’t have long and happy lives. Nick Carne reports.


Game of Thrones: most characters die, sooner or later.

Game of Thrones: most characters die, sooner or later.

Helen Sloan/courtesy of HBO

This won’t be news to Game of Thrones devotees, but science has shown that loyalty is death in the popular TV series.

Those who don’t switch allegiances at some stage are more likely to be killed, and the risks increase if you are also male, ‘lowborn’, or both. So, your best odds are to be a Lady (as in a Lords and Ladies type Lady) without any real commitments.

Mind you, even then the odds aren’t great. According to researchers from Australia’s Macquarie University, 186 of 330 main characters across 67 episodes and seven seasons to date have died, many of them violently.

The probability of a character not even making it beyond his or her first hour on screen is around 14%. Total survival time ranges from 11 seconds to 57 hours and 15 minutes. The median survival time is 28 hours and 48 minutes.

“While these findings may not be surprising for regular viewers, we have identified several factors that may be associated with better or worse survival, which may help us to speculate about who will prevail in the final season,” says Reidar Lystad, an injury epidemiologist at the Australian Institute of Health Innovation.

According to a paper published in journal Injury Epidemiology, the majority of deaths have occurred in Westeros (80.1%) and the most common place of death is in the home.

Nearly three-quarters of all deaths have been from injuries, particularly wounds to the head and neck, including 13 decapitations. Also prominent are burns (11.8%) and poisonings (4.8%). The most common circumstances of deaths are assault (63%), operations of war (24.4%) and legal executions (5.4%).

Only two people have died of old age: Maester Aemon and Old Nan.

You’ll find a blog on this study here.

  1. https://injepijournal.springeropen.com/articles/10.1186/s40621-018-0174-7
  2. http://blogs.biomedcentral.com/on-society/2018/12/10/mortality-and-survival-in-game-of-thrones-who-will-live-and-who-will-die/
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