This season is rife with drama [Photo by Macall B. Polay/HBO]
While sword fights, battles, fighting against the undead in the cold north, and dragons decimating an entire army may be exciting, these apparently aren't the scenes that got audiences' hearts beating the fastest.
Game of Thrones is known for sex and violence, but we would be remiss if we say that that's all the show is. In between the sex and violence—and there are a lot of these—there are moments of dramatic tension that moves the story along from one plot point to another. Apparently, these are actually the scenes that get people's blood pumping.
Developers of the Apple Watch Cardiogram app had asked people to voluntarily participate in a fun little study called “What Game of Thrones does to your Heart Rate". Cardiogram has actually been tracking what watching Game of Thrones does to our heart rates for years. Back in 2015, the most exciting scene involved the White Walkers. So what are the most exciting scenes this year?
Researchers took 2.3 million measurements in 300 participants who watch the show. Cardiogram tracked the heart rates of participants while they watched the first four episodes of the show's seventh season, which is currently airing. Participants used Cardiogram to make a log of their heart rate every five seconds. They begin fifteen minutes before an episode starts.
Warning: Here be spoilers. Turn back if you haven't caught up with the first four episodes of season seven yet.
What, then, are the most exciting scenes in this season so far, according to Cardiogram? The fifth most exciting was the scene in which Daenerys Targaryen, freshly arrived on Dragonstone, confronted Varys about his previous loyalties—or lack thereof. This scene got heart rates up to 76 beats per minute on average. Euron Greyjoy's marriage proposal to Cersei Lannister as well as Jon Snow and Davos Seaworth's plea to Daenerys for help are tied at fourth place. This scene clocked at 83bpm.
The second most exciting scene was the one that opened the season, in which Arya Stark all but extinguished House Frey in disguise. Heart rates went up at 83.2bpm during this scene.
So far, the most exciting scene was when Jaime Lannister charged at Daenerys with a spear as she tended to her wounded dragon. This raised heart rates to 91bpm.
Season seven got off to an exciting start. [Photo by HBO]
The most exciting scene is the only one that's action-packed—and even then, it's not the most action-packed scene in the season. Still, the tension in the scene relied a lot on the existing conflict between the characters, and what's as stake should one side or the other prevail.
This study with Game of Thrones may be good fun, but it's not the entire scope and limitation of Cardiogram. The app can detect issues like atrial fibrillation, a heart condition, with 97% accuracy. This condition often doesn't have symptoms and is therefore difficult to diagnose. While Cardiogram can't officially diagnose the condition, it can function as a screening tool. Maybe soon enough, apps and wearables can detect health issues that possibly only a doctor can detect.
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