The Kill Ratio In Game of Thrones Is Quite Realistic – Statistics Say


The Kill Ratio In Game of Thrones Is Quite Realistic – Statistics Say

The Kill Ratio In Game of Thrones Is Quite Realistic - Statistics Say
The Kill Ratio In Game of Thrones Is Quite Realistic – Statistics Say – image via

The kill ratio in Game of Thrones seems to be off the rails. I mean, at some point we have to ask ourselves if George R. R. Martin isn’t a psycho or something, killing so many of our favourite characters as if they were nothing. Well, as it turns out, there is some truth to what he’s writing.

In order to help us better understand, Celine Cunen, PhD student at the Department of Mathematics at the University of Oslo has looked to see whether the mortality rate in the show and in the books is anything like it was during our own Middle Ages. And to better compare the kill ratio between the two timelines, she to all the deaths in the fantasy and compared it to the War of the Roses period in Middle Ages England, in 1455 to 1487.

G R R Martin has said that this particular conflict in real history served as inspiration for him. Nevertheless, this might come as a surprise for people, but Martin’s kill ration is really accurate.


Left: Graph of survival for GoT characters (red) and War of the Roses people (blue). The faster the arc falls, the higher the mortality rate. Right side: Graph of survival for noble GoT characters (dark red) and GoT commoners (light red) and noble historical people (dark blue) and historical commoners (light blue). Graph: Celine Cunen/UiO

“The medieval wars were fought by the nobility and professional warriors. Furthermore, all historical data from these wars are completely fixated on so-called “important people”, meaning politicians or nobility. Consequently, this is not a comparison on these wars general mortality, but a comparison on the mortality between «important» people.”

The mortality rate in the War of the Roses and GoT, considering the sample, is very similar. Even without dragons, medieval noblemen managed to kill each other just as fine as Martin’s groundbreaking series. So remember, instead of cursing Martin or HBO for killing of your favorite character, you can just curse the reality who inspired them.

Cunen adds that she did all this for fun. She found that it’s a nice way of communicating statistics to a broad audience. Adding a layer of both historical and literary significance is just a bonus.

“I have to add: I did this just for fun. I am part of a group of researchers that wish to communicate statistics to the world. I regarded this as a good opportunity to do just that! However, it is, of course, impossible to obtain a correct statistical basis in a comparison between a TV-show and a historical war. But it might give you some idea of the realism of the show!”