Updated: 22nd April 2018

Mathematicians calculate the true protagonist in ‘Game of Thrones’

Turns out that analyzing terrorist networks isnt the only practical use for crunching numbers on network science.

At Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota, associate professor of mathematics Andrew J. Beveridge and student Jie Shan have used math to solve one of lifes truly puzzling mysteries: Who is the real main character in the HBO series Game of Thrones?

Screengrab from maa.org

In their research, appropriately titled Network of Thrones,Beveridge and Shan found that the answer lies somewhere between Tyrion Lannister, the possibly dead Jon Snow, and Sansa Starkshocking.

Though the answer isnt completely revolutionary, the math behind it is impressive.

Basing their literary cast off the third Game of Thrones novel A Storm of Swords, the mathematicians calculated their findings by using network science, a branch of applied graph theory that brings together traditions from many disciplinesincluding sociology, economics, physics, computer science, and mathematics.

Through network science, Beveridge and Shan determined each characters clout with a series of factors including the number of connections they have, interactions between those connections, and the level of importance their connected characters have.

This is a fanciful application of network science, Beveridge told digital news outlet Quartz. But its the kind of accessible application that shows what mathematics is all about, which is finding and explaining patterns.

Whats next for the future of network science? Perhaps it could be determining the most powerful Kardashian family member, or even discovering the most influential parody account on Twitter.

Max Fleishman

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