Who'll Die in 'Game of Thrones'? Statistician Calculates Odds

Breaking News Emails

Get breaking news alerts and special reports. The news and stories that matter, delivered weekday mornings.

Anyone familiar with the "Game of Thrones" sword-and-sorcery TV series, or the "Song of Ice and Fire" book series on which it's based, knows that no character is safe. Nevertheless, statistician Richard Vale has calculated the probability that the books' leading characters will continue in their roles, based on how often they've had the point-of-view spotlight in previous novels. Vale, a lecturer at the University of Canterbury in New Zealand, lays out his exercise in literary Bayesian analysis in an ArXiv pre-print paper.

SPOILER ALERT: The series' analog to Lady Macbeth, Queen Cersei, is given the best chance of reappearing in "The Winds of Winter," the next book in George R.R. Martin's series. "But this is mainly a property of the model rather than a deep inference from the data," Vale told NBC News in an email. If you don't want to know the two top picks for getting the ax, don't look at Figure 3 in Vale's paper.

"From GOT fans, I have seen a variety of comments on various blogs," Vale said. "Some of the wittier ones were: 'You know nothing, Richard Vale.'"



— Alan Boyle