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Game of Thrones? More like Game of Theory


“When you play the game of thrones, you win or you die. There is no middle ground.” Well this is something you don’t hear everyday, though this line seems to be the norm coming from the very popular HBO series Game of Thrones. Especially coming from one of the series main characters Cersei Lannister, in season 1 episode 7, says to Eddard Stark who *SPOILER ALERT* tried playing the game of thrones and gets beheaded (classic Sean Bean). The original writer, Game of Thrones was original a book series called A Song of Fire and Ice, George R.R. Martin has created a huge universe. With five books and 7 TV seasons released already, and hundreds of characters to keep track of, how does one go about keeping track of everyone?

Interestingly enough two individuals have done all the work for us, Andrew J. Beveridge, an associate professor of mathematics and Jie Shan, an intrepid undergraduate at Macalester College. Using math, these two applied networks science to the third book of A Song of Fire and Ice, A Storm of Swords, to find the who is the real main character of this book. Using graph theory, they used several methods to measure the importance of each character. After all the edges, formed between two characters, were counted and weighted, a graph depicts the results. The size of each characters name represents their mathematic importance, the larger their name the more connections they had. Interestingly enough it’s not, Robb Stark the Young Wolf, or Jon Snow the White Wolf, or Daenerys Targaryen the Queen of Dragons, or Jaime Lannister the Kingslayer, but the The Imp Tyrion Lannister who according to network theory is mathematically the most important character. It’s interesting how the most hyped characters of the series are not actually the most mentioned characters mathematically. This just goes to show how mathematics can change our understanding of how things once were.

Adam Epstein, “Mathematicians mapped out every “Game of Thrones” relationship to find the main character”, Quartz


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