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'Game Of Thrones' Fans Develop Formula To Determine Who Might Survive Series

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

HBO's hit series, "Game Of Thrones," returned yesterday for a fifth season. As fans of the fantasy series know, the last four seasons had a lot of this.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "GAME OF THRONES")

CORNISH: And also this.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "GAME OF THRONES")

CORNISH: And, well, more of this.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "GAME OF THRONES")

CORNISH: Lots of dying. And - spoiler alert - another death last night - no surprise there. Part of what keeps people watching is guessing whether their favorite character will make it.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

Two enterprising students at Olin College in Massachusetts have come up with a formula to predict who in the series gets to keep their head. Erin Pierce and Ben Kahle poured through George RR Martin's series of books, "A Song Of Ice And Fire," from which the show is adapted.

CORNISH: They collected data about nearly a thousand characters and ran what they call a survival analysis. They presented the results for a class project and shared them with us.

ERIN PIERCE: Women are actually much more likely than men to survive in the series.

SIEGEL: As are peasants.

BEN KAHLE: For those peasants who happen to survive, their chance of survival actually increases, while nobles tend to die off more and more rapidly near the end of the series.

SIEGEL: Apparently, they found that geography matters, too.

PIERCE: Being up in the North really seems to be a bad sign if you're looking to survive the series.

CORNISH: All right, Robert, this may mean nothing to you, but for people who follow the show like me, Ben Kahle has good news about fan fav Arya Stark.

KAHLE: She has one of the higher percentage chances of surviving - about 70 percent chance of survival. Most of the other characters are anywhere from 20 to 40 percent.

SIEGEL: But given that the series tagline is valar morghulis, which is High Valyrian for all men must die, even statistics may not save you. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.