Math Says Tyrion Lannister Is Game of Thrones's Real Star

Peter Dinklage stars as Tyrion Lannister in Game of Thrones
Peter Dinklage stars as Tyrion Lannister in Game of Thrones / HBO

Over the course of eight seasons, Game of Thrones has featured hundreds of characters. With such an enormous cast, pinpointing the main protagonist can seem impossible ... unless you follow the math. In 2016, a team of mathematicians crunched the numbers and determined that Tyrion Lannister (Peter Dinklage's character) is the true star of the show.

Andrew Beveridge, an associate professor of mathematics at Macalester College, and undergraduate student Jie Shan performed a network analysis on the third book in Martin's series, A Storm of Swords. They then studied the connections between characters to determine who is at the center of the narrative. Their findings were published in the Mathematical Association of America's journal, Math Horizons.

"Acting as the Hand of the King, Tyrion is thrust into the center of the political machinations of the capitol city," Beveridge and Shan concluded. "Our analysis suggests that he is the true protagonist of the book."

But not everyone is convinced that complex mathematical equations are an accurate way to determine the show’s main character. "We could point out the study only used book three, A Storm Of Swords, to conduct the study," Alex McCown of The A.V. Club wrote, "meaning it suffers from the same fallacious first principles as behavioralism when it comes to positing outcomes for absurdly large chains of reaction."

Still, whether you buy the study's conclusions or not, we can all probably agree that only Martin knows who the real protagonist is—and he's not telling.

Updated for 2019.