The Numbers Prove It: This Is the Most Important Character on 'Game of Thrones'

But that doesn't mean anyone is safe from getting killed off.

The fate of Jon Snow might still be unknown on Game of Thrones, but he made a real impact while he was in Westeros. Mathematicians at Macalester College have determined that he was one of the most central characters in George R. R. Martin's series.

The paper, "Network of Thrones", was published in the journal Math Horizons. The mathematicians used network science to create a graph connecting every single major character in the books to figure out how they all connect in the the third book, A Storm of Swords. They found that no matter how they measured it, three characters stood out consistently: Tyrion Lannister, Jon Snow, and Sansa Stark.

Snow's importance comes from his unique connection to fringe elements in the book's world, like the wildlings and the Night's Watch, plus the "highborn lords" of the Stark family. And Sansa, though she doesn't have much political power, is central because she's often used as a pawn for other people's benefit. "If she can develop her cunning, then she can capitalize on her network importance to dramatic effect," the authors note.

The ultimate winner, though, might not surprise you. "Acting as the Hand of the King, Tyrion is thrust into the center of the political machinations of the capital city," the authors write. "Our analysis suggests that he is the true protagonist of the book." Whether he lives to actually win the Game of Thrones, though, remains to be seen.

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Megan Friedman

Megan Friedman is the former managing editor of the Newsroom at Hearst. She's worked at NBC and Time, and is a graduate of Northwestern's Medill School of Journalism.