The ever-popular, critically-acclaimed and massively entertaining TV show ‘Game of Thrones’ (based off of the works of the great George R.R. Martin) is drawing to a close. The teaser for the 8th season is out and have got fans all riled up about which of their (remaining) favourite characters are going to survive.
Now, who’s going to be eaten up by the White Walkers and who’s going to get to ride off into the sunset on a dragon is up to writers David Benioff and D.B. Weiss. But have you wondered what would you do to survive in Westeros? Well, scientists Reidar P. Lystad and Benjamin T. Brown say that, even if your favourite house is House Stark, Targaryen, Baratheon or Lannister, your best strategy is to never stick around with any one of them for too long.
Scientists Reidar P. Lystad and Benjamin T. Brown recently published a study titled “Death is certain, the time is not”: mortality and survival in Game of Thrones in Injury Epidemiology. Why? Actually, there are two answers.
The first reason to conduct this study is to “examine the mortality and survival of the characters in ‘Game of Thrones'”. In doing so, the scientists would determine survival time and probability, identify predictive factors and describe causes and circumstances of the deaths. And the secondary reason to re-watch all seven seasons of the series.
Now, in order to understand whether there’s any method behind the madness in ‘Game of Thrones’, Lystad and Brown had to come up with some methodology of their own. So, they set up some parameters.
For starters, the study population would be all important characters appearing in the seven seasons of ‘Game of Thrones’. And by “important characters”, they mean humans listed in either of the opening or closing credits; appearing on-screen (but not in flashbacks); and was not already in Westerosi heaven before first appearing on-screen.
The study also included the countless non-credited extras who were murdered even before we got to know their name. They also didn’t make ‘speaking’ a criteria because some characters were unable to speak for medical reasons. Yup, we’re talking about poor Hodor and Wun Wun the Giant.
So, after recording the sociodemographic variables for each character (sex, social status, occupation etc.) and measuring each character’s time to death in hours, they came to a bunch of conclusions.
Out of 330 characters (237 male, 226 lowborn and 196 heavy manual workers), 186 had died by the 7th season. The majority of the deaths were caused by wounds to the head and neck region (please feel free to recap Ned Stark’s death in your mind).The rest were chiefly burns or poisoning, and only two deaths from natural causes. Which means, none of us are dying of old age in Martin’s world.
Coming to survival time, females fared better than males by a significant margin. In addition to that, the chances of survival for highborns was comparatively higher than lowborns. But since gender and class is out of your control, the stat that you should focus on is this one: people who switched allegiances survived longer than those who didn’t. Example? The one and only Tyrion Lannister.
So, in conclusion, if you happen to wake up one day in any of the Seven Kingdoms, don’t stay loyal to one house, no matter how much gold or power they offer you. Because in the end, all men must die.
Cover Image Source: HBO