Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Math nerds decided the true protagonist on Game Of Thrones

Illustration for article titled Math nerds decided the true protagonist on Game Of Thrones

Among its many salutary qualities, George R. R. Martin’s A Song Of Ice And Fire screws with traditional narrative conventions, especially when it comes to fantasy stereotypes. Given his sprawling and ever-expanding cast of characters, there’s little means of sussing out anything like a typical hero protagonist, not only because people have a tendency to die unexpectedly (and gruesomely), but because nobody seems to get top billing. The story is spread out so broadly, there’s no one character we spend notably more time with than anyone else. It’s exciting and unusual, right? So leave it to some nerds to get their nerd-slime all over the series and ruin the fun by performing a mathematical analysis to determine the protagonist of the series.


The Mathematical Association of America released a study in which the researchers used network science—a new branch of applied graph theory (yawn)—to decide that Tyrion Lannister is the central protagonist of the series. Basically, they looked at connections and interactions among the characters as well as their position in the narrative, did some seriously dorkus malorkus calculations, and said, “That guy who served as Hand of the King has a pretty key role in this story.” Coming in a close second is Jon Snow, which might be news to the least popular guy on the Wall. Rounding out the central cast in third place is Sansa Stark, whose position as the living heir of the North, combined with her ability to keep getting put in new terrible circumstances with lots of different (but equally shitty) captors, mark her as a key player.

Sure, we could get all analytic in response to this thing. We could point out the study only used book three, A Storm Of Swords, to conduct the study, meaning it suffers from the same fallacious first principles as behavioralism when it comes to positing outcomes for absurdly large chains of reaction. We could do that, but instead we’ll simply say this, a much more elegant response to this study:

[Via The Wrap]