Mild spoilers for Game of Thrones are discussed below.
Although everyone has their own method for getting through the next year until the final season of Game of Thrones finally lights up screens everywhere, data scientist Taylor Larkin, who works for DataRobot, has tried to predict who’s going to die in the upcoming season. Larkin's results shed light on how the Game of Thrones universe functions, and what death—arguably the thing that most drives the plot of the show—can tell us about the show.
Larkin’s algorithm scraped data from a fan-created Wiki page, focusing on a list of about 2,000 different characters, and then applied a fancy new “tree-based approach” called light gradient boosted machines and DataRobot’s own platform to make inferences about the raw data.
Larkin began by finding out which of the Seven Kingdom’s houses are more correlated with death. Some of the houses or keywords most associated with death are, predictably, the Night’s Watch, and the houses of Targaryen, which holds an impressive 67 percent death rate—there are, after all, only two main Targaryen characters left (Jon and Daenerys.) The house least associated with death was house Tyrell, with only about 5 percent of its members deceased (RIP Olenna “I want her to know it was me” Tyrell). In summary, a character’s chances of death are most directly impacted by which family they come from, which honestly sounds depressingly like the real world.
Some other general findings included the fact that female characters tend to die less than males, although this is likely because more males are involved in big battles. Older characters are also more vulnerable to death.
Using this data, the algorithm predicted which of the currently surviving main characters will survive the final six episodes.
- Daenerys Targaryen – 83.77% chance of death
- Jaime Lannister – 72.91% chance of death
- Tyrion Lannister – 70.76% chance of death
- Bran Stark – 66.02% chance of death
- Cersei Lannister – 60.39% chance of death
- Jon Snow – 58.99% chance of death
- Euron Greyjoy – 54.95% chance of death
- Sansa Stark – 50.28% chance of death
- Arya Stark – 49.04% chance of death
- Gendry – 39.87% chance of death
There is, however, one big caveat: the data collected was based on the books, and not the show. Since Season 6, the HBO show has started working off its own material since they outpaced George R. R. Martin’s glacial publishing speed.
Showrunners David Benioff and D. B. Weiss have shown time and again they will do whatever they damn well please with characters. Using algorithms to predict stuff is cool, but the truth of the matter is we’ll just have to keep surviving off measly semi-spoilers and other online speculation until the show actually premieres.