This is the first time in the history of Paste that we have not only had to issue a spoiler alert, but also a hypothetical future spoiler alert. Why? Because a new site called A Song of Ice and Data has come up with a computer algorithm that claims to be able to predict which characters from HBO’s Game of Thrones will die next. The show is notorious for killing off both evil and beloved characters with almost no notice, and eschews the conventional plot morality of most TV, where you can predict that the biggest characters won’t die, if ever, until the tail end of the series.
As such, it was impossible to predict the fate of our favorite and least favorite characters—until now. Here’s how A Song of Ice and Data works, in their own words:
Machine Learning is a technique that allows computers to make predictions for us. Machine Learning is not magic! Instead, it learns from a sufficiently large number of examples from the past to automatically compile statistics on them and to predict whether an event is likely to happen in the future.
The Song of Ice and Fire series is known for killing many characters, including prominent ones. While only fewest characters die of an old age, the majority meets a violent end. Does the death come at random or does it come to only those selected ones who exhibit similar features? The features can be certain age, heritage and gender. It can also be the fascinating ability of likely-to-die characters to make similar, mostly wrong, fateful decisions in their lives.
It gets even more complicated from there, but basically it uses “data extraction” and “feature selection” from George R.R. Martin’s books that have been shown to “contribute” to a character’s fate. The features can include title, appearance, social status, marital status, relation to other dead characters, etc. From there, they take John Platt’s “sequential minimal optimization algorithm,” and run the numbers. Simple! For them. I guess.
Anyway, what we care about is the results, and while I encourage you to take a look at the full list (you can also search by character name), be warned that when you see which characters are on the mathematical chopping block, you may start to panic.