Mon. Nov 28th, 2022
How did Tyrion Lannister survive so long?  Being high-born helps, being a man doesn't.  His willingness to change his allegiance to Daenerys Targaryen probably tipped the balance.
enlarge / How did Tyrion Lannister survive so long? Being high-born helps, being a man doesn’t. His willingness to change his loyalty to Daenerys Targaryen probably tipped the balance.


Game of Thrones has one of the highest numbers on TV, knocking out even big characters in some very gruesome ways. Perhaps even more surprising is who will survive as we head into the final season. A new article in the magazine Injury Epidemiology provides insight into the best strategies for surviving in the unforgiving world of Westeros.

(Some spoilers for the first seven seasons below.)

This is not the first time Game of Thrones inspired a scientific article. A 2016 study examined the skin disease Greyscale, while a 2017 study examined the fight or flight responses of various characters on the show. And there was a lively debate among chemists about which real poison most closely resembled “The Strangler” used on Season 4’s infamous Purple Wedding.

But no one had taken an in-depth look at the show’s epidemiology. So Reidar Lystad of the Australian Institute of Health Innovation at Macquarie University in Sydney, and his colleague Benjamin Brown, decided to do just that. They admit that this gave them the perfect excuse to rewatch all 67 episodes from the first seven seasons before the final season kicks off in April, as Lystad and Brown uberfans.

More than half of the characters had died by the end of the seventh season, mostly by force.

Not surprisingly, the study found that the risk of death for a Game of Thrones character is remarkably high. More than half (186 of the 330 characters included in the study) had died by the end of the seventh season, mostly by force (beheadings, stabbing, poison, hanging, strangulation, burning, slit throats, wild dogs, arrows , sword thrusts, a memorable crushed head and, of course, being pushed from a very high place). Actors, take note: There was a 14 percent chance of dying within the first hour after they first appeared on screen.

“While these findings may not be surprising to mainstream viewers, we identified several factors that could be associated with better or worse survival, which may help us speculate on who will prevail in the final season,” Lystad said.

Who will survive?

So how did someone like Sansa Stark — originally a whiny, spoiled greenhouse orchid — manage to survive so many of her doomed relatives? Being high-born lowers the risk of a violent death; that also applies to being feminine. But in the end, it’s those who show a willingness to forge unusual alliances, or switch allegiances, that have the best chance of survival. (It’s probably a good idea to avoid weddings, too.)

Sansa showed a remarkable ability to adapt to her dire circumstances and developed a degree of moral flexibility that allowed her to do whatever it took to win—unlike so many of her very principled relatives. Tyrion Lannister had his quick wit, wealth and a few lucky moments, but this analysis suggests it was his willingness to break with his family and join forces with Daenerys Targaryen that got him to the final round. It was the low-born Littlefinger’s constantly shifting loyalties as various family fortunes changed that kept him in the game for so long, until his machinations finally caught up with him.

The analysis is accompanied by some caveats. Lystad and Brown only included key characters in their analysis, so it may not be possible to generalize their findings to the entire fictional population. There may also be errors in their data. The authors relied on their own independent data collection (reviewing the DVD-boxed set), cross-referencing their data with online sources such as the Internet Movie Database (IMDB) and the Game of Thrones Wiki. But they have reasonable confidence in the accuracy of the data on the Wiki in particular.

“The information has been collectively reviewed by thousands of die-hard fans,” they write, “including fans who have developed strong parasocial relationships, to the extent that overt grief was observed following the deaths of certain characters in the show.” In other words, superfans are deeply emotionally involved in the world of Westeros and experience real real emotions in response to the fictional events. So they want that Wiki to get the facts straight.

Death becomes them

The world of Game of Thrones is fictional, but author George RR Martin has said the creation was inspired by real historical events, specifically the English Wars of the Roses in the late 15th centurye century. Those are ‘wars’, plural, as there were several outbreaks over 30 years when the houses of York (symbol: white rose) and Lancaster (symbol: red rose) fought for supremacy over the throne. So it’s not surprising that the world of Westeros has a medieval feel, marked by “political turmoil, civil wars and widespread violence,” the authors note.

Lystad and Brown argue that there is great potential for preventing violence in the world of Game of Thrones. Much of the unrest, they say, is due to “incessant feuds and the lack of stable democratic government,” with more emphasis on war than trade, as different factions fight for the Iron Throne. This, in turn, hinders the widespread establishment of schools, hospitals and other community structures that could improve the health and overall well-being of residents.

If Westeros were to succeed in stabilizing its government, expanding trade, investing in public institutions and infrastructure, and emphasizing knowledge and reason in policymaking, it would go a long way toward reducing violence. in the course of time. Of course, that would kill any dramatic tension and the show’s popularity would plummet. Therefore, the authors conclude, “It seems unlikely that such changes will occur before the final episode of the final season hits television screens worldwide.”

DOI: Injury Epidemiology2018. 10.1186/s40621-018-0174-7 (About DOIs).

By akfire1

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