Closeup GOT infographic

Mathematicians’ Infographic Shows Who The Real Main Character in “Game of Thrones” Is

Winter is coming. . . and so is Game of Thrones season 6. With all of the Lannisters, Starks, and Targaryens, it’s difficult to tell who the “main character” of the show truly is. That’s why a professor-student mathematician team from Macalester College used network science to create an infographic clarifying the intertwined world that is Westeros.

(Network science is defined by Andrew Beveridge and Jie Shan as a branch of applied graph theory that brings together traditions from disciplines including sociology, economics, computer science, and mathematics.)

The result of their work?  The “Network of Thrones” infographic that outlines the relationship so clearly even a wildling could identify the connections between the seven kingdoms. The infographic is made up of 107 vertices and 353 edges. Each vertex represents a character; every edge represents an interaction.  

Beveridge and Shan closely evaluated the third book, A Storm of Swords. Every time characters were mentioned within 15 words of each other the weight of the edge between the two characters increased. Edges between characters does not denote friendship, just intertwining plotlines.

The social network in the show mirrored aspects of social networks in real life, with highly influential people connecting smaller dense subgroups to larger global groups.

After evaluating various centrality measures of characters (well connected, centrally located, etc.), the data shows that Tyrion Lannister is the true protagonist. He’s followed by Jon Snow and Sansa Stark.

Besides settling arguments between fans, network science can be applied in our everyday lives. The pair concluded, “more serious applications abound, and network science promises to be invaluable in understanding our modern networked life.”

Learn more about the project here.

GOT infographic

centrality measures

Centrality measures for the network. Larger values correspond to greater importance, except for closeness centrality, where smaller values are better. Numbers in the bars give the rankings of these characters.


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