Why is Game of Thrones So Popular?

Game of Thrones

Game of Thrones is considered the most successful television series of the decade. The stories set in a medieval-like fictional world have been followed by millions around the world. More than 19 million people watched the final episode in 2019, according to the Hollywood Reporter, an all-time record in the United States. The show’s success is hard to explain, but scientists from the UK and Ireland have recently tried to do so. They studied Game of Thrones’ plot structure and character interactions. It turned out that there is a mathematical connection between all the events in the series, which makes watching easy and fun. Plus, there are a few more nuances that make Game of Thrones better than the rest.

The Popularity of A Song of Ice and Fire

The series “Game of Thrones” was filmed based on the novels “A Song of Ice and Fire” by George Martin. Literary scholars have tried several times to explain the popularity of books and TV series. In their opinion, success was primarily achieved by combining the fantasy genre with the historical novel. Indeed, in “Game of Thrones” there is a place for both fantastic dragons and elements of the Middle Ages. The second factor of success is considered to be the writer’s unusual approach to the plot. There are many characters in his novels, and according to the plot of the most beloved by the readers, the author mercilessly kills. Thus, he shocks people and stirs up interest – what will happen next?

A Song of Ice and Fire
Currently published 5 books out of 7 planned

The Secret of Game of Thrones Success

In a new research paper published in the scientific journal PNAS, scientists looked at Game of Thrones from a mathematical perspective. While studying the plot and structure of the text, they identified two “secrets of success” of the series:

  • Firstly, it is easy for readers and viewers to remember many characters, because their number from the point of view of mathematics is ideal for memorizing;
  • Secondly, the deaths of the characters seem unexpected, but in fact, they obey the laws of “real life”.

It does not sound entirely clear, so each of the points should be considered separately.

Number of Main Characters

According to scientists, the number of characters in the “Game of Thrones” is more than 2 thousand. In the course of the plot of the books and the series, they interact with each other more than 40 thousand times. Despite the seeming overload, the series looks easy and viewers remember the names of the characters and their relationships with other characters without any problems. According to the calculations of researchers, the main characters in the books are 24. But among them, there are 14 main characters, to whom eight or more chapters are devoted, as well as a large amount of screen time.

Tyrion Lannister from Game of Thrones
photo from: businessinsider

According to the plot, each of the 14 main characters maintains relationships with about 150 more people. This may be the secret of the easy memorization of characters and connections between them. In the course of numerous studies, it has been proved that usually, each person has about 15 close people and about 150 “just acquaintances.” And a person can know each of them by name and face. Consequently, while watching the series, people also have an excellent memory and can follow the plot without any straining.

Plot Twists

The main plot twists in Game of Thrones are the sudden deaths of key characters. Almost every death of characters was unexpected for readers and viewers. Reading a book or watching a TV series, you cannot predict after what period of time the next death will occur. But it should be borne in mind that in the chapters and series the plot is not in chronological order. If you place the actions on the timeline, deaths occur at a very logical frequency. Thus, the writer George Martin was able to make the plot both unpredictable and realistic.
Other features of the series
Do not forget that “Game of Thrones” is clearly loved by people for many other reasons. Here are a few facts that make the show one of a kind:

  • There are no strictly positive characters in the books and the series; each of them does both good and bad deeds;
  • The series has the most numerous cast on modern television. On the shooting of the third season, 257 actors were involved;
  • Between 2012 and 2015, the cost of filming one episode reached $8 million. Each episode of the eighth season in 2017 cost $ 15 million;
  • In 2014 HBO named Game of Thrones the most successful TV series in history. Previously, one of these series was considered “The Sopranos“.

We will discuss more on the topic of Game of Thrones in upcoming articles.

Why is Game of Thrones So Popular?

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