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One 'Game of Thrones' character is in serious trouble, says science

A fan favorite could be in trouble if this algorithm is right.

Eric Mack Contributing Editor
Contributing editor Eric Mack covers space, science, climate change and all things futuristic. His encrypted email for tips is ericcmack@protonmail.com.
Eric Mack
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Watch your back!

Helen Sloan/HBO

Warning: Some spoilers ahead if you haven't finished season 6 of "Game of Thrones" on HBO. No spoilers from season 7, though.

Bad news for fans of "Game of Thrones'" own Dragon Queen, Daenerys Targaryen: science says the Khaleesi is the most likely of the central characters on the HBO mega-hit to meet her end soon. And just as things were really starting to look up for Team Dany, too.

The science we're talking about is network science, which is the study of relationships within networks, such as a social web. Milan Janosov, PhD candidate at the CEU Center for Network Science, created the social network for Westeros by calculating the strength of ties between characters based on how often they appear in scenes together. 

Then, using a bunch of math you can read about here, a machine learning algorithm is trained to look for connections in all that network data between each character's position in the social network of Westeros and whether or not they have already died. Those connections can then help inform educated guesses about who will die in the near future.

Of the more than 30 surviving characters in the dataset, the probability that the Mother of Dragons' story is about to conclude is 91 percent (with a 4 percent margin of error). That's second only to Tyene Sand of Dorne (95 percent), a character who is less likely to be missed since she's only appeared in a total of eight episodes (Dany has been in 52).

Interestingly, the Khaleesi's faithful commander of the Unsullied, Grey Worm, is third most likely to die soon. Could they both meet a tragic end in battle this season? 

On the other end of the list is the tortured and mutilated Theon Greyjoy. According to the algorithm, long-suffering Reek is the most likely to suffer on for a while, with only a five percent probability of dying in the near term.

Another surprise is that Cersei Lannister appears relatively safe atop the Iron Throne, and Jon Snow doesn't seem to likely to endure another death any time soon.

You can check out the whole list, ranked from most to least likely to die soon, here.

Another team from Germany performed a similar exercise before the premiere of season six last year, and the data correctly foretold the demise of Tommen and Stannis Baratheon, who were ranked one and two, respectively, on that list. 

Who was number three on last year's list, you might ask? None other than Daenerys Targaryen. It seems the algorithmically-determined fates have literally had her number for quite some time now. I sure hope she's got all of those dragons watching her back at all times.  

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