While googling around for Season 8 spoilers, I found data sets that can be used to create a character interaction network for the books in the A Song of Ice and Fire series, and the TV show they inspired, Game of Thrones.
The data sets are the work of Dr Andrew Beveridge, an associate professor at Macalaster College (check out his Network of Thrones blog).
You can create an undirected, weighted graph using this data and Maple's GraphTheory package.
Then, you can ask yourself really pressing questions like
- Who is the most influential person in Westeros? How has their influence changed over each season (or indeed, book)?
- How are Eddard Stark and Randyll Tarly connected?
- What do eigenvectors have to do with the battle for the Iron Throne, anyway?
These two applications (one for the TV show, and another for the novels) have the answers, and more.
The graphs for the books tend to be more interesting than those for the TV show, simply because of the far broader range of characters and the intricacy of the interweaving plot lines.
Let’s look at some of the results.
Character Interaction Network
This a small section of the character interaction network for the first book in the A Song of Ice and Fire series (this is the entire visualization - it's big, simply because of the shear number of characters)
The graph was generated by GraphTheory:-DrawGraph (with method = spring, which models the graph as a system of protons repelling each other, connected by springs).
The highlighted vertices are the most influential characters, as determined by their Eigenvector centrality (more on this later).
Who are the Most Influential Characters?
The importance of a vertex can be described by its centrality, of which there are several variants.
Eigenvector centrality, for example, is the dominant eigenvector of the adjacency matrix, and uses the number and importance of neighboring vertices to quantify influence.
This plot shows the 15 most influential characters in Season 7 of the TV show Game of Thrones. Jon Snow is the clear leader.
Here’s how the Eigenvector centrality of several characters change over the books in the A Song of Ice and Fire series.
Cliques of Characters
A clique is a group of vertices that are all connected to every other vertex in the group. Here’s the largest clique in Season 7 of the TV show.
Game of Thrones has certainly motivated me to learn more about graph theory (yes, seriously, it has). It's such a wide, open field with many interesting real-world applications.