When playing the Game of Thrones, Cersei Lannister infamously proclaimed, you either win or die. But just when, why, and how may depend on a character’s socioeconomic status, according to a new – yes, real – study published in the journal Injury Epidemiology.
We all remember the gut-wrenching heartache after the death of certain characters (ahem, Red Wedding) and the joyous relief of others (yaaas Purple Wedding) – but what makes a character more or less likely to die (in the TV series at least)? To answer that very question, the researchers plopped down in front of the screen and recorded data on 330 characters, such as their social status and religious beliefs, from all 67 episodes using international classification codes to figure the causes and circumstances of their deaths.
"The risk of death is high among characters in Game of Thrones. By the end of the seventh season, more than half of the characters had died – 186 out of the 330 characters we included in this study – with violent deaths being the most common by far,” said injury epidemiologist and study author Reidar Lystad in a statement.
Following the researchers' key indicators, Daenerys Targaryen could be in some seriously hot water. That’s because characters most likely to survive were ones who had switched allegiance at least once.
Apparently, sticking true to your convictions is a surefire way to get nixed.
However, strong females were more likely to make it than their male counterparts, as were highborns, which could mean the fickle-minded backstabbing current queen of Westeros, Cersei Lannister, could be in for quite the season.
For our guys, this could mean good things for Tyrion Lannister and the breathtaking (disclaimer: this writer may be biased) bastard son Jon Snow, who both took a knee for the Mother of Dragons. Similarly, Jaime Lannister put the odds in his favor by disavowing his sister (also lover) at the end of last season.
One in seven main characters were found to have died within the first hour of being introduced, though some lasted more than 57 hours and others a measly 11 seconds. The average character, however, spent just under 29 hours on the screen. Injuries accounted for nearly three-quarters of all deaths, in particular, wounds of the head and neck, including 13 decapitations. Only two deaths were from natural causes, with the remainder resulting from burns, poisonings, assault, and war.
But don’t send yourself into a state of mourning just yet. The authors note several limitations in their study, including the fact that they only analyzed important characters and were constrained by the quality of data.
Meanwhile, we're all just over here holding our breath until Season 8 drops in April 2019.