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When it comes to George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire, or even HBO’s Game of Thrones, the conversation is never about who might be the happiest character in Westeros or who might end up being the most successful person in the next novel or episode. It’s always about who may or may not die, because this world is filled with surprising deaths. So much so that statistician Richard Vale has put together a complete analyzation of the first five Ice and Fire books that offers a rough prediction for a character’s chance of survival in the next novel The Winds of Winter.
Because each of the proper chapters in the Ice and Fire series are told from the P.O.V. of a particular character, Vale used some math and figured out that the higher a character’s chapter focus makes them that much more likely to survive. (Obviously the opposite is true, with characters who have less P.O.V. chapters being less likely to have them in the future, especially if they died in the second book.) So Vale applied it to all of the characters and created predictive tables and charts that readers who aren’t afraid of possible spoilers can peruse with glee. Granted, anything is a potential spoiler these days, but Vale’s approach is backed by numbers, and those never lie.
Don’t take this as gospel, of course, as it’s just a nifty experiment, one that Vale calls “fun data analysis.” As he tells Speakeasy, “As a mathematician/statistician, this mathematical model is my version of fan art.” But that one deviantART guy’s drawing of Han Solo beating up Mr. Spock isn’t going to tell you anything about either the next Star Wars or Star Trek movies. Vale may have some keen insight here.
The data set is unfortunately fairly small, despite the seemingly billions of people involved, and Vale doesn’t even bother looking at newer characters who haven’t earned their own P.O.V. yet. (With his model, he estimates that around eleven chapters in The Winds of Winter will be centered on characters new to P.O.V.) Vale avoided reading fan theories for the purposes of this self-assignment, but hopes that one particular character survives the duration of the story, calling himself a “paid-up member of Team Littlefinger.”
You can find all of Vale’s work here, where the information can be pondered for days on end. Tell us in the comments if you think the quirky statistician is onto something. The Winds of Winter currently doesn't have an actual release date set, so it may very well be a while before any of this can be proven one way or another.