With no new episodes or books to satisfy our curiosity this year, we look to a new study to help us out with our speculations.
One of the most fun parts of the Game of Thrones offseason is the speculative aspect of it. Even with no Game of Thrones season this year, fans have not stopped thinking about how the series will ultimately come to an end, and more importantly, who will win and who will die. Since the end of last season, speculation has gone wild, and it feels as if the further we get into the long night with no Game of Thrones, the more such speculations have started to reach the deep end. Predictions have been made using everything from the most minute details in the books to analyzing past interviews and choice of words from the creators and the cast. But what about using AI technology to predict these outcomes?
A recent study by data scientist Taylor Larkin of Data Robot, which was conducted using automated machine learning, determined the likelihood of character deaths. After studying around 2,000 characters both dead and alive from “A Song of Ice and Fire,” gathering information on factors such as age, gender, and house classification, the study produced results which are included below:
Daenerys Targaryen – 83.77% chance of death
Jaime Lannister – 72.91% chance of death
Tyrion Lannister – 70.76% chance of death
Bran Stark – 66.02% chance of death
Cersei Lannister – 60.39% chance of death
Jon Snow – 58.99% chance of death
Euron Greyjoy – 54.95% chance of death
Sansa Stark – 50.28% chance of death
Arya Stark – 49.04% chance of death
Gendry – 39.87% chance of death
Now naturally, we couldn’t let these results go without at least a little analysis, even if they were done just for fun. As the blog post notes, it is ultimately the showrunners who decide how the series will end, but since we have nothing else to further our speculations at this point let’s dig into it.
Spoilers from the show up until Season 7 and possible spoilers for the future!
At the top of the list is Daenerys, who feels more like a 50/50 rather than a sure 83.77%. She is, after all, primarily the main protagonist of the story who we’ve been following for years, other than Jon Snow of course. While last season did point toward her possible death, with Tyrion mentioning successors in the penultimate episode, I’m not precisely sure Game of Thrones will kill her. Although the series is known for killing off characters who feel like they’re being built up to be our “hero” (RIP Ned), the series has proven itself to be a non-traditional fantasy story in other ways as well, including its incredibly strong female characters who often run the narrative. Daenerys coming out of all of this having won the Iron Throne and defeated the enemy, even if there is some huge consequence she has to deal with because of that, would be a fascinating role reversal in what’s often seen in traditional fantasy stories.
However, she did just partner up with Jon Snow, and as Tyrion’s facial expression in the season 7 finale indicated, that indeed could lead to no good. Aside from the no good that already derives from the fact that she just hooked up with her nephew. So at the same time, her death, as heart-wrenching and disappointing as it would be, also wouldn’t be the most out there prediction. If she were to die, it’s very likely it would be tied somehow to Jon Snow and their relationship.
That said, Jon Snow’s percentage is rather high as well, especially for someone who has technically already died. Out of anyone though, Jon Snow is our tragic hero and seeing him sacrificing himself for the “greater good” in some way wouldn’t be a stretch either. Just because he’s been resurrected also does not mean he is immune to death. If anything, his death was meant to prove to us that he too could be the Prince Who Is Promised, and as is common with these types of prophecies, once you’ve completed your purpose, you’re probably finished as well.
As for the Lannisters, I’d say they’re all fair game, Jaime and Cersei especially. Cersei has had death coming to her for quite a while now; literally, since she was a child and had her future prophesied to her by Maggy the Frog. Also because she’s been a staple on Arya’s list forever. But if there’s any speculation from fans that feels most likely and most tragic in Game of Thrones fashion, it’s that Jaime will be the “valonqar” who puts an end to Cersei, as was part of Cersei’s prophecy in the books, which basically said she would have her life taken by a younger brother. While she has always thought it would be Tyrion, last season showed us that she and Jaime are now officially separated and that Jaime has now realized who Cersei is. If he is the one, who kills her, even if he thought it necessary, more than likely he’d soon perish too. It would be strange to see Jaime living in a world without Cersei, even if he is the one who killed her. Plus, more than anyone on the show, Jaime’s arc has been the clearest and feels as if it would reach a satisfying conclusion by the end of the series. So, both of their percentages feel about right.
The only way Tyrion’s death seems fathomable is if he either is killed by Cersei or sacrifices himself. And it was established in season 7 that though he has heroic qualities, he is no hero, so sacrificing is probably not on the table for him. Daenerys could also possibly kill him if she turns mad and he betrays her in some way, but that would be a bit of a stretch and quite of character for where they’re at now. Although Dany killing Tyrion would be the kind of shock that Game of Thrones could pull off. At the same time, that would villanize her to the extent that story probably can’t reach within the final season.
It is also interesting to the see all of the Stark kids’ percentages so high on this list. Bran sits at the highest with a 66.02%. I don’t know who has a vendetta against him, other than the Night King maybe, but it seems unlikely that he would be in any situations that put him in such peril.
And after all that Sansa and Arya have been through together and separately, their deaths would feel like a total gut-punch, but then again, Game of Thrones probably plans to pull their biggest gut-punches for the final season.
Then finally, Gendry made it to the bottom of the list with only a 39.87% chance of death, which is unsurprising considering he ran so far last season to get someone to send a raven to Daenerys for help. And this is after years of rowing. The kid’s got endurance.
All in all, at this point not even straight data science can probably predict exactly where things will go. Game of Thrones is its own beast. But it’s still fun to see what new and inventive ways fans come up with to participate in the show even when it’s off the air. The fact that Game of Thrones is so interactive in this way makes it all the more enjoyable. It’s also possible for speculations to alter as the year continues. While it is debatable that the show has gotten a little more predictable in its narrative in recent years, all of us still carry the feelings we felt when we first saw “Baelor” or witnessed the red wedding. And therefore it’s probably safe to assume that no one completely trusts the story not to give us those feelings in some way again. So while some deaths may seem more likely than others, no one (including everyone as a whole) is off the table for a show like Thrones.