Game of Thrones characters who switch sides are most likely to survive

Who will survive the final season of Game of Thrones? Characters who switch allegiances such as Jon Snow and Tyrion Lannister are most likely to live, medical researchers find

  • SPOILER ALERT: This article contains details from seasons one to seven
  • Scientists found characters who were loyal to their family were more likely to die
  • ‘Highborn’ noble characters and women are less like to die in the television show 
  • The research was published in the medical journal Injury Epidemiology  

Game of Thrones characters who switch sides are 65 per cent more likely to survive than those who are loyal, according to scientists.

Researchers who watched all 67 episodes in the name of science have worked out which traits make the characters most likely to die.

‘Highborn’ characters – lords and ladies, those who change allegiances, and women who have the best odds of surviving the notoriously violent show.

The study, published in medical journal Injury Epidemiology, has been done ahead of the final season, which is expected to be released next spring.

Daenerys Targaryan (pictured) is at a higher risk of dying in the show’s final season because she has been loyal to the Targaryan family throughout Game of Thrones’s first seven series

And it gives big-name characters including Cersei, Jaime and Tyrion Lannister, Jon Snow, and Bran, Sansa and Arya Stark a good chance of surviving until the end.

Scientists from Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia, studied the deaths of 186 characters in the hit TV show, based on the novels of George RR Martin.

They found women are a fifth less likely to die than men, and ‘lowborn’ characters who are not nobility are 28 per cent more likely to die than those who are ‘highborn’.

And those who stayed loyal to their allegiance throughout the series’ were the most likely to die.

Their research does not bode well for Daenerys Targaryan, who has been loyal to the Targaryan family throughout the show’s seven seasons.

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This long-standing affiliation could put her at a higher risk of death when compared to characters like Tyrion Lannister and Jon Snow, who have changed sides.

Although Jon Snow already died once, researchers did not count his death because he returned.

‘By the end of the seventh season, more than half of the characters had died – 186 out of the 330 characters we included in this study,’ said researcher Dr Reidar Lystad. ‘With violent deaths being the most common by far.’

Jon Snow (pictured) is less likely to die – despite having already died and come back to life – because he pledged his allegiance to the Targaryen family

Sansa Stark, who is among a minority of characters to have switched sides, will have a higher chance of surviving the final season, the researchers said

More than half of the show’s characters (186 out of 330) have died since it began seven seasons ago, with the majority of them dying because of violent injuries (pictured: Tyrion Lannister, who continues to survive – potentially because he is disloyal)

‘While these findings may not be surprising for regular viewers, we have identified several factors that may be associated with better or worse survival, which may help us to speculate about who will prevail in the final season.’

Only two of the 186 deaths in the show were of natural causes, The Guardian reported – those of Old Nan and Maester Aemo.

A huge 73.7 per cent of all deaths were caused by injuries and the most common cause of death was assault (63 per cent).

War, burns, poisonings and legal executions were all also regular causes of death.

The most common place for people to die is in the home, and 80 per cent of people died in Westeros, the show’s main kingdom.

The median survival of a character has been 28 hours and 48 minutes, the study said, with Jon Snow and Bran Stark living the longest.

Bran Stark and his sisters Sansa and Arya all stand a good chance of continuing to survive, the researchers suggest, because they’ve all switched sides.

And the Lannisters – Cersei, who is the current occupier of the Iron Throne, Tyrion and Jaime – are all also likely to survive because they switched sides.

The study ended by suggesting that, in order to reduce the number of violent deaths in Game of Thrones, the show’s world should have more investment in schools, hospitals, and public health departments to improve characters’ wellbeing.

Researchers watched all 67 episodes of Game of Thrones to study what made characters more likely to die and how most of the people in the show were killed


Children’s films increase the stigma around skin conditions because villains are often bald or have scars or wrinkles, scientists say.  

A study published in June found giving the good guys blemish-free skin and bad guys skin problems in animated movies reinforces negative stereotypes, affecting how people feel about their own skin.

The study analysed characters from 50 of the highest-grossing animated films, most of which were made since 2000.

Three quarters of bad characters such as Darla, the cruel dentist’s daughter in Finding Nemo, and Jafar in Aladdin, have skin issues such as freckles or eye bags.

Good characters like Mr and Mrs Incredible, Rapunzel and Moana, however, are more likely to have perfect skin and only 26 per cent of them have problems.

The scientists also found skin issues on characters who are supposed to look bad but are good on the inside, such as Shrek and Gru in Despicable Me.

They say the portrayal of skin problems in films could distress people who do not live up to the unrealistic ideals.  

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