More than any other show of TV, Game of Thrones has no sacred cows. Who else would have the guts to decapitate their central character in the first season? It’s this breathless ability to shock and astound that keeps us watching.
And as we await the final, ultimate show-down of season eight, one data scientist has run the numbers, using a complex automated algorithm, to find out who is the most likely to be killed off.
Analysing 2,000 detailed profiles of characters taken from A Wiki of Ice and Fire, which focusses primarily on the novels by George R.R. Martin, Taylor Larking from DataRobot worked out who is most likely to die.
Larking’s algorithm analysed character features like their age, House allegiance, gender and whether they have dead relatives and, using a process called partial dependence, came up with the following list.
These are the top 10 most likely characters to die – and why:
10. Gendry - 39.87% chance of death
Why? After finally getting off that boat, Gendry’s now back in the mix again. According to the algorithm, though, his dead relatives (including daddy King Baratheon) and being a man increases his likelihood of dying. But on the flip side, his allegiance to the Brotherhood Without Banners reduces his likelihood of death by a bit.
9. Arya Stark - 49.04% chance of death
Why? Although she’s a certified badass, Arya’s got LOTS of dead relatives (mum, dad, brother). But being female and of hardy Northmen culture reduces her chances of death slightly.
8. Sansa Stark - 50.28%
Why? Her outlook is pretty similar to her sister Arya. On a personal note, I really hope she doesn’t die though; she’s quietly become one of the show’s most compelling characters.
7. Euron Greyjoy - 54.95%
Why? Things haven’t been going well for poor old Euron for a quite a while now. Plus, the fact that he’s got dead relatives and is male means death is more than likely on the cards.
6. Jon Snow - 58.99%
Why? Anyone else a bit bored of Jon now? I mean, brooding is only sexy for so many seasons. Just like Euron, having dead relatives and being male counts against his chances for survival.
5. Cersei Lannister - 60.39%
Why? After pissing off the entire world, Cersei’s certainly got a target on her back. And according to the algorithm, all her dead family members and her relatively advanced age, in Thrones terms, of 39 mean she might not be around for long. But she’s managed to survive til now, so who knows?
4. Bran Stark - 66.02%
Why? Bran, in his new role as the Three-Eyed Raven, has become a very important player in Westeros. But, as with Jon, all his dead relatives and being a man counts against him.
3. Tyrion Lannister - 70.76%
Why? Tyrion’s got the deadly triple sadly: deceased relatives, he’s male and he’s over thirty. Sorry T!
2. Jaime Lannister - 72.91%
Why? For the exact same reasons as his brother, things aren’t looking great for Jamie.
1. Daenerys Targaryen - 83.77%
Why? She’s come so far and has the Iron Throne in her sights but the numbers just don’t add up for Danny surviving until the end. She’s got more dead relatives than almost anyone else in Westeros, she’s Valyrian and she’s from the doomed House of Targaryen. Also, she’s now down a dragon.
Discussing the results, Taylor Larking admitted there were limitations in his predictions. He said: “While it’s a fun exercise to use book details to predict future plot points in the show, it’s ultimately going to be the showrunners who decide the fate of Westeros and all those who are involved.
“A key aspect of data preparation for machine learning is that the historical data will be similar to the predicted future data. However, Game of Thrones is not set up in this way as the element of surprise is one of the reasons why the show has been so successful. Therefore, we can expect the season finale to have twists and turns intentionally added in by the writers that will not be picked up in the historical data gathered from the previous seasons.”
We’ll find out just how accurate the predictions are come 2019 when the final season is expected to air. Get those big ol’ winter coats ready!
(Images: Helen Sloan / HBO)