Kit Harington as Jon Snow and Emilia Clarke as Daenerys Targaryen (Photo: Helen Sloan/HBO)
Most of us at MDRG are huge Game of Thrones fans, and with the pending season about to kick off, we wanted to apply our market research skills to see which characters fans thought were most likely to survive the series.
So who are our respondents?
Characters have been plotted along the x-axis to reflect respondents’ predictions of their fate, while the y-axis reflects what respondents want to see happen. This results in three groupings: the “Bad Guys” both predicted and desired to die; the “Good Guys” both predicted and desired to live; and the “Ambiguous” group, for whom predictions are split.
For the most part, those within the Ambiguous group are Game of Thrones characters whose morals or loyalties are questionable. While none were desired dead by a majority of respondents, consensus on predictions was elusive. Grey Worm stands out from all three groupings. Unlike the Ambiguous characters, his morals and loyalties are not in question; yet respondents only barely agreed that they want him to live, and agreed he probably will die.
Response latency is a tool to help us understand respondent certainty about a decision. The faster a respondent is able to make his or her choice, the more certain we judge them to be about that choice.
In this diagram, characters are placed left to right according to the level of consensus – that is, agreement amongst respondents – regarding whether they will live or die, while the size of each circle represents the certainty of that assessment – that is, how automatic it was. Those to the right of the vertical dotted line – which we’ll call the “Dead Line” – were predicted to survive, while those to the left were predicted to die. Respondents were in nearly universal agreement regarding the deaths of Cersei, Gregor, and Euron, as well as the survival of Sansa and Tyrion. The size of the circles captures certainty, with larger circles representing quicker – or more automatic – response times. Respondents were quickest to judge the fates – good and bad – of Cersei, Sansa, Euron, and Jon.
Of those predicted to survive, Sansa and Tyrion present an interesting comparison. While the consensus that each will live was nearly identical, respondents were much more confident in Sansa’s survival than Tyrion’s. The most uncertain fates belong to Yara, Theon, and Daenerys, all of whom flirt with the Dead Line. Yara stands out as the character for whom responses were both the most divided and the slowest, representing the highest degree of uncertainty.
On average, women are more likely than men to say they want most Game of Thrones characters to be alive by the end of the series. This group of characters women most want to survive includes every major female character other than Cersei.
At the end of the survey, we asked respondents about their favorite characters. Both genders were likely to choose Jamie and Jon Snow as favorite characters. The other top-chosen characters reflected gender groupings, with women more likely than men to choose Arya, Daenerys, and Sansa…and men more likely than women to choose Davos, The Hound, and Tyrion.
Certain characters also stand out when it comes to characters that book-readers vs. non book-readers want to survive.
Book-readers and non book-readers have similar top five favorite characters. However, book-readers were significantly more likely to choose Davos and Jamie than those who have not read the book, while non book-readers were significantly more likely to choose Daenerys than those who read the books.
So, who will survive Game of Thrones? Right now, only the writers and actors know – but we are anxiously awaiting the return to see if the fans were right or wrong. Subscribe to our blog to get our end of season report.