After rewatching all seven seasons of GoT (for science, of course), Macquarie University’s Reidar P. Lystad, Ph.D., and Benjamin T. Brown published their results, revealing several key characteristics that make any character more or less likely to die.
According to the Injury Epidemiology study, if you want to live in Game of Thrones you need to be these three things:
- Be a woman
- Be rich
- Be treacherous (the research shows that characters who “switched allegiance” are more likely to survive).
It doesn’t include any specific predictions over who will actually survive Season 8, but in an email interview, Lystad told Inverse who he thinks is most likely to claim the Iron Throne.
“There a few characters that possess the factors/characteristics that we have identified as being associated with better survival,” Lystad says. “These include characters such as Arya and Sansa, as well as Cersei (although I’m sure that some fans would argue that she never truly held allegiance with House Baratheon, even when she was married to Robert).”
Lystad adds that if you ignore gender, which “had a relatively small effect size,” the list could also include Tyrion and Jon Snow. Tyrion clearly switched allegiances when he fled Kings Landing (and his family) to join up with Daenerys Targaryen. However, Jon Snow’s decision to join the Night’s Watch also qualifies him as a traitor based on the study, which simply requires that a character move from one House (or an organization like the Watch) to another.
Lystad and Brown’s study involved watching every single episode and indexing how each “important character” (anyone listed in the credits and appearing on screen) dies and how long they survived on the show. From there, they used statistical analysis to predict how likely a character is to die based on any specific characteristic. For example, 71.8 percent of male characters died, while only 28.2 percent of females did. Meanwhile, the rate of mortality among “highborn” characters was 31.5 percent, compared to 68.5 percent for the unwashed “lowborn” masses. Unsurprisingly, the Starks are the most likely Great House to die (10.6 percent), and switching allegiances — ideally away from the Starks — drops your mortality rate from 86.4 percent to just 13.6 percent.
Based on all this data, Lystad has a few suggestions for how the remaining Game of Thrones characters can attempt to survive Season 8. His first suggestion is to choose a job that keeps you far away from dangerous objects.
“Occupations involving boiled leather and sharp blades appear to be particularly hazardous to one’s health,” he says.
Additionally, the study found that 30 percent of Game of Thrones deaths take place in a home (either the character’s or someone else’s). So the more time you spend outside the better, apparently.
Finally, Lystad had one more cryptic suggestion that could become a lot more clear as Season 8 unfolds.
“Apart from that, based on events leading up to the final season, I think characters should be more concerned about the threat of thermal injuries,” he says, “Whether by fire or ice.”
Game of Thrones Season 8 premieres April 2018 on HBO.