Data Science and Network Theory Reveal Secrets Behind “Game of Thrones”

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What are the tricks behind one of the most effective dream series of perpetuity? How has a story as complex as “Game of Thrones” enthralled the world and how does it compare to other stories? Researchers from 5 universities throughout the UK and Ireland came together to unwind “A Song of Ice and Fire”, the books on which the TELEVISION series is based. Credit: Coventry University

What are the tricks behind one of the most effective dream series of perpetuity? How has a story as complex as “Game of Thrones” enthralled the world and how does it compare to other stories?

Researchers from 5 universities throughout the UK and Ireland came together to unwind “A Song of Ice and Fire”, the books on which the TELEVISION series is based.

In a paper that has actually simply been released by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the U.S.A., a group of physicists, mathematicians and psychologists from Coventry, Warwick, Limerick, Cambridge and Oxford universities have actually utilized information science and network theory to examine the well-known book series by George R.R. Martin.

The research study reveals the method the interactions in between the characters are organized resembles how people keep relationships and communicate in the real life. Moreover, although crucial characters are notoriously exterminated at random as the story is informed, the underlying chronology is not so unforeseeable.

Social Network Game of Thrones

The social media at the end of the very first book “A Game of Thrones”. Blue nodes represent male characters, red are female characters and transparent grey are characters who are eliminated by the end of the very first book. Credit: University of Cambridge

The group discovered that, regardless of over 2,000 called characters in “A Song of Ice and Fire” and over 41,000 interactions in between them, at chapter-by-chapter level these numbers balance out to match what we can deal with in reality. Even the most primary characters — those who inform the story — typical out to have just 150 others to keep an eye on. This is the very same number that the typical human brain has actually progressed to handle.

While matching mathematical concepts may have been anticipated to cause a rather narrow script, the author, George R. R. Martin, keeps the tale bubbling by making deaths appear random as the story unfolds. But, as the group program, when the sequential series is rebuilded the deaths are not random at all: rather, they show how typical occasions are expanded for non-violent human activities in the real life.

‘Game of Thrones’ has actually welcomed all sorts of contrast to history and misconception and the marital relationship of science and liberal arts in this paper opens brand-new opportunities to relative literary research studies. It reveals, for instance, that it is more similar to the Icelandic legends than to mythological stories such as England’s Beowulf or Ireland’s Táin Bó Cúailnge. The technique in Game of Thrones, it appears, is to blend realism and unpredictability in a cognitively appealing way.

Thomas Gessey-Jones, from the University of Cambridge, commented: “The methods developed in the paper excitingly allow us to test in a quantitative manner many of the observations made by readers of the series, such as the books famous habit of seemingly killing off characters at random.”

Professor Colm Connaughton, from the University of Warwick, observed: “People largely make sense of the world through narratives, but we have no scientific understanding of what makes complex narratives relatable and comprehensible. The ideas underpinning this paper are steps towards answering this question.”

Professor Ralph Kenna, from Coventry University, stated: “This kind of study opens up exciting new possibilities for examining the structure and design of epics in all sorts of contexts; impact of related work includes outcry over misappropriation of mythology in Ireland and flaws in the processes that led to it.”

Professor Robin Dunbar, from the University of Oxford, observed: “This study offers convincing evidence that good writers work very carefully within the psychological limits of the reader.”

Dr. Pádraig MacCarron, from University of Limerick commented: “These books are known for unexpected twists, often in terms of the death of a major character, it is interesting to see how the author arranges the chapters in an order that makes this appear even more random than it would be if told chronologically.”

Dr. Joseph Yose, from Coventry University stated: “I am excited to see the use of network analysis grow in the future, and hopefully, combined with machine learning, we will be able to predict what an upcoming series may look like.”

Reference: “Narrative structure of ‘A Song of Ice and Fire’ creates a fictional world with realistic measures of social complexity” by Gessey-Jones et al, 2 November 2020, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
DOI: 10.1073/pnas.2006465117



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