Predicting Game of Thrones Character Deaths Using a Network Model

Fagjun | Published 2017-07-24 07:17


Tap in to the World Wide Weirwood network to see who's likely to die in GoT. [Photo by HBO]


Who will die next on Game of Thrones? As fans of the show know, Game of Thrones character deaths always come as a shock. Good guys, bad guys—if you lose the game of thrones, you die. That's the only rule of the game.


Thus, trying to predict who will die next isn't completely out of bounds. Milan Janosov, a Center for Network Science of Central European University Ph.D. candidate, is trying to create a cheat sheet for who's going to die in the last two seasons of the show. To do so, he created a network of relationships between 94 major characters to determine who's likely to die in the following seasons.


Then again, one of the show's guiding principles is valar morghulis—all men must die. Maybe in the end, the white walkers will overrun the whole of Planetos and all the characters we love will perish.


Read on to find out which fan favorite is high on the list of characters most likely to die during the course of the series.


A Mechanical Seer Sees the Next Game of Thrones Character Deaths

Image by Milan Janosov


Janosov created a network map of Westeros, where much of the action on the show takes place. He used nodes to represent characters, and scenes to represent basic interactions between characters. Janosov evaluated the connections between characters based on the scenes they had together. Characters had a connection with the people they were in a scene with.


In the end, Janosov's map had about 400 nodes and 3,000 connections. Specific characters tie other characters to those at the center of the plot, like what Tyrion Lannister does for Daenerys Targaryen. The core of the story simmers with the connections between allied and feuding Great Houses in Westeros.


So how does this network map help Janosov prredict Game of Thrones character deaths? He compared the traits of the remaining characters to the 61 who had already died in past seasons. Janosov then used a support vector machine wherein algorithms facilitate classification and regression analysis. The SVM model enabled Janosov to rank and tabulate the remaining characters according to the likelihood of their deaths.


So who's almost certain to kick the bucket, and who is likely to survive through to the end of the series?


The Most and Least Likely to Die

Table by Milan Janosov


If you're not quite a fan of the Sand Snakes, or the whole Dorne subplot for that matter, this may make you happy. According to the SVM model, there's a 0.95 probability that Tyene Sand will die. Unfortunately, fan favorite and Mother of Dragons Daenerys Targaryen is the second most likely to die, with a 0.91 probability.


Even the surprisingly compelling Gray Worm, leader of Daenerys's Unsullied, has a 0.90 probability of death. Young Lord Robin Arryn ties Gray Worm with 0.90 as well. Podrick Payne, meanwhile, has a 0.88 probability that he will meet death sooner or later in the series.


Unfortunately, there's only a 0.50 probability that we'll get to see the slimy Petyr Baelish die. He's less likely to die than Tyrion Lannister, another fan favorite, whose probability of death stands at 0.52. The least likely to die, according to the SVM model, are Theon Greyjoy and Jorah Mormont, which is quite surprising given that the latter is suffering from a supposedly incurable disease.


While we can predict Game of Thrones character deaths better by including other predictors, do we really want to? After all, part of the fun of watching the show is learning time and again not to get attached to anyone. Valar morghulis.

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