The best way to survive Game of Thrones, it would seem, is to avoid any blatant displays of hubris. In this fantasy saga, pride and ambition might get you killed—at least, they might cost you certain parts of your anatomy. But as one research study has proven, there’s a scientific method behind the GoT madness… and there are ways to survive beyond trying your very best not to die horribly.
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Researchers at Australia’s Macquarie University published their findings in the journal Injury Etymology, meaning this study is as legitimate as it is wildly entertaining. The authors cite the noble motivations behind their study: it was “an excuse to re-watch the first seven seasons before the final season reaches television screens worldwide.” Though the study claims to reveal the optimal survival strategy, its main function is a reminder of just how unlikely that outcome actually is. In a twist far less shocking than many of GoT’s character deaths, the study revealed that most deaths had one thing in common—they were outrageously violent. Here are some of the gory details:
A full 73.7 percent of all deaths in “Game of Thrones” were caused by injuries, the researchers found, with wounds to the head and neck (hello, decapitation) leading the pack. Another 11.8 percent of deaths came from burns, and 4.8 percent were from poisonings. Only two characters, Maester Aemon and Old Nan, have died of natural causes in the show.
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The study also details risk factors that might contribute to a character’s death (for example, being on this show at all). Newbies face the most intimidating odds: the risk of characters dying within their first hour of screen time is a dire 14%. But there is hope—even if there’s very little of it to go around. The study has also identified several common traits among characters who have survived the longest:
Nobles died at a lower rate than commoners, and women died at a lower rate than men. Switching allegiances, like the character of Tyrion Lannister does by throwing in his lot with Daenerys Targaryen, is another winning survival strategy.
The scientists hope that these findings may lead to fun speculations over who might die in the series’ thrilling—and long awaited—conclusion. Since chances are very high your favorite character will die a gruesome death, it might not be quite as fun as these researchers hoped. But don’t worry! George R. R. Martin will probably have a grand old time bathing in buckets of viewers’ tears. (It’ll be a great distraction from writing The Winds of Winter.)
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