This was originally posted on the Merchbro blog.
Season five of Game of Thrones can't come soon enough. Since we can't fast forward to April (unfortunately), we'll have to bring a little Game of Thrones to January.
And just how do we plan on doing that, you ask? An exploration of sorts. We are going to compare the three main characters of the show, each from a seperate prominent house, and answer a single question:
Who is the most popular character on Game of Thrones?
In other words, which character evokes the most curiosity from you, the American internet user. Using Google Trends and Google search volume estimates, we've decided that question once and for all.
Before we get to the results, let's introduce our three challengers for the throne:
Jon Snow of House Stark
The prideful bastard son of Ned Stark, Jon Snow volunteers for the Night's Watch, a noble position but one that is rarely taken on by choice. For him, it is a solemn duty and honor, one that he will be loyal to even if it gets him killed. A handsome hero in a show where the handsome heroes don't fare so well, Jon Snow is one of Game of Thrones strongest, most popular characters.
Tyrion Lannister of House Lannister
The diminuitive son of Tywin Lannister, we meet the clever, tactical Tyrion in a place that becomes ever more familiar as Game of Thrones progresses: in the bed of a hired woman. He's a raging alcoholic and a womanizer, but he's surprisingly intelligent, resourceful and fair. It is impossible not to like him in his role as resident anti-hero.
Daenerys Targaryen of House Targaryen
The blond haired and blue eyed Khaleesi banished across the sea, Daenerys grows ever stronger in her quest to retake Westeros. A breaker of chains, she has freed countless slaves who now fight fiercely for her. And oh yeah. She's got dragons.
First we visited Google trends to see which of the three characters held the highest interest in Google searches. Here's what we found:
Blue denotes Daenerys, red denotes Tyrion and orange denotes Jon. The graph denotes total interest share on a scale of 0 to 100 rather than absolute search volume.
During the season, each character's popularity is directly correlated with the content of that weeks episode. During the first week of June, for instance, Tyrion Lannister held the highest share of overall search volume of any character at any point in the season. This makes complete sense. That week the episode The Mountain vs The Viper aired. I'd rather not discuss it in greater detail for fear of spoilers, but this is a pivotal episode both in the series overall and in Tyrion's overall story arch. But it's a prime example of why the in-season popularity numbers must be discounted in this debate. During the in-season months, the popularity of any one character is directly correlated to their role in a given episode.
It's the off season months that tell the real story, as they aren't correlated with any one character's involvement in an episode. During these down periods (Jan-Mar, Aug-Dec), Daenery's is almost twice as popular as Jon and Tyrion. She really wins this interest graph in a landslide:
Blue denotes Daenerys, red denotes Tyrion and orange denotes Jon. It shows Google interest levels from Aug - Dec 2014.
So does this information jive with Google's own month-to-month search estimates for each character's name?
Let's take a look at the average monthly search estimates for each character's name from August 2014 through November 2014 in absolute terms:
As you can see from the above graph, Daenery's actually averaged slightly more per month searches than both other characters combined. This correlates closely with the Google interest graph, lending both a greater air of authority.
It seems apparent at this point to us. Daenery's owns the Google throne. But is it a clean sweep through all 50 states? We decided to find out by finding the average search volume for each character's name in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The result of that elbow grease is shown in this map:
Eesh. That didn't turn out well for our boys Tyrion and Jon. Daenerys dominates in search popularity in every state. In her most popular state (Delaware), she's holds 57% of the overall Google searches for the three characters. In her least popular state (California) she still holds 47% of the overall searches. Jon Snow is consistently second and Tyrion, sadly, is alway last. But on a positive note, Tyrion is only tied for last in New Mexico, Idaho, Arkansas, Alaska, Vermont, and Mississippi. That counts for something, right?
Here's how the search interest percentages break down by state:
So our final word on the matter?
No matter what state you're in, the true star of Game of Thrones is Daenary's Targaryen:
And we're very okay with that.
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