*SPOILER ALERT: DO NOT READ IF YOU HAVEN’T WATCHED EPISODE 6.01 OF GAME OF THRONES*
Alright, now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s get started with the obvious question: what is this?
I run a code that gathers all the tweets from Twitter containing the hashtag #GameOfThrones. Once gathered, I sorted it in Excel to see what stories it told based on how many people were talking about a given character each minute of the show. Mostly, it shows what people really care about as well as when they care about it. Some characters were omitted due to insufficient tweets and redundant story lines in order to somewhat clean up the charts.
Between 7:55 and 9:10 CST, I received 204,855 tweets (Wow!). Of these, 75,728 were retweets.
In King’s Landing
Never would I have expected to see such a dramatic shift in the general opinion of Cersei. Sure, she’s not the most well liked character. But while her Walk of Atonement was met with hundreds of 🔔SHAME🔔 tweets and minimal sympathy, this time it’s different. Now we have to watch Cersei grieve over Myrcella’s death. When her eldest child Joffrey died, we celebrated. But Myrcella was different – as far as we could tell, she was a decent person. And Cersei’s already received her just deserts of her previous sins. This time, viewers have to accept that Cersei is in fact a human with human emotions and have started to empathize with Cersei. Cersei herself had 2,878 tweets sent her way.
Of course, fan theories were also flying around the Twitter-verse as to whether or not the prophecy of Cersei losing 3 children would come true. Is Tommen safe?
Though often overlooked in the Twitter numbers, Brienne of Tarth’s fame has been growing noticeably up to 5,823 tweets through the show. Of course, this is likely due to the excitement of seeing her finally be reunited with Sansa as well as her defeating several Bolton troops alongside Podrick (who received 394 tweets himself).
Sansa, always a fan favorite, got plenty of attention as well, pulling in 5,032 tweets during the show. Ramsay had the usual hate tweets sent towards him (991), but he’s mostly been forgotten due to our overwhelming hatred of Olly. Theon’s redemption arc has garnered him plenty of sympathy as well and he’s grabbed quite a few tweets as to boot (1,578).
The Dornish plot line was by far the least talked about so much that I was hesitant to even include it in this. Even Trystane and Doran’s deaths only grabbed a handful of tweets (117 and 83 respectively). The primary topic of discussion instead seemed to focus around what a SNAFU the Dornish state was in.
Across the Narrow Sea
It’s hardly a surprise to see the Mother of Dragons grab a ton of tweets (8,038). Daenerys’s always been a huge fan favorite and this episode was no exception. And the banter of the two Dothraki Bloodriders only served to help her popularity here. Of course, we’re still left with plenty of questions. It’s quite unlikely that we’re being introduced to a new Khalasar for just two episodes and until Dany is escorted back to Meereen.
Jumping over to Meereen though, our other fan favorite Tyrion pulled in less tweets than usual. Of course, this is largely due to his scene with Varys simply setting the stage for what was next to come for Daenerys. In Dany’s absence, the Sons of the Harpy have become even stronger and have now burned Meereen’s port. It looks like it will be a long time before we see the Targaryens return to Westeros.
As for Daenerys’ two suitors, Jorah managed to win out over Daario (900 to 345). While I’m sure any other time, Jorah would love to take a win over Daario, this is one he doesn’t want. As his Grayscale spreads, Jorah received many empathetic tweets hoping for a nearly impossible recovery (although Shireen’s Grayscale did become benign after she was cured).
Given that I’m sorting tweets by area, I didn’t really have any other place to discuss Arya so she gets her own short segment.
As it is, our questions regarding Arya’s blindness remain unanswered. She still can’t see. And it’s pretty apparent with her fighting that she’s not gained some hyper senses a la Daredevil. What we can tell is that the Faceless Men aren’t done with Arya, and she’s not done with them either.
In the end, Arya managed to pull in 3,652 tweets.
Beyond the Wall
In this episode, we never actually got to see any of Bran, Rickon, or Hodor. So while they didn’t get many tweets in the first place, it was interesting to see the spike towards the end of the show asking “hey, where’s Bran?” We haven’t seen him in over a season now and the trailers have left us with plenty of questions. Despite not even being in the episode, Bran received 737 tweets.
Hodor managed to pull in some of the original tweets of “Hodor Hodor Hodor” at 138.
And once again, people completely forgot about Rickon. The youngest Stark only picked up 20 tweets for himself.
At The Wall
Finally, let’s get to the section that everyone really cares about.
Everyone has their big questions about Jon Snow. Is he really dead? Will Melisandre bring him back? R+L=J? Some people threatened to abandon the show if Jon Snow doesn’t come back. But when all was said and done, Jon had the most fan interest, racking up an astounding 8,467 tweets. Of course, the majority of tweets occurred during the first 10 minutes of the show when most of the fallout of his death took place on screen.
Everyone’s favorite traitor Olly received his fair share of hate, with 890 tweets dedicated to their hatred. My personal favorite has to be “I hope Ghost bites Olly’s face off ASAP. The little shit has it coming. #GameofThrones.”
Speaking of Ghost, our beloved dire wolf saw an uncommonly high number of tweets. In addition to those wishing Ghost to brutally murder a child, there were many people tweeting how sad it was to see Ghost whimpering at the sight of Jon’s body. Overall, Ghost received 1,829 tweets. One tweet put it bluntly: “Meanwhile, on the wall, everything is cold, Ghost is sad, and Jon is dead.”
But, of course, Jon’s death wasn’t the only thing that got people talking about events at the wall. Melisandre got her fair share of tweets. It wasn’t surprising at the start. People expected her to be resurrecting Jon. Not only that, Melisandre is hot and often times not wearing anything. So when the Red Woman takes her clothes off, you can bet plenty of people out there are tweeting their excitement. But, of course, the ending to this episode took this expectation in a bit of a twist. When Melisandre’s true body was revealed, twitter saw a spike to approximately 250 tweets per minute.
Many started making jokes:
“Going to be so many memes about girls with and without make up using Melisandre #GameofThrones”
“Melisandre has been using a really strong Instagram filter #GameofThrones”
and my personal favorite: “Melisandre when she took off her necklace is what America will look like after 4 years of Trump being in office.”
Others, of course, began to discuss theories as to what happened. Did her necklace have a power to keep her young? Is her faith in the Lord of Light faltering? Hell, some people are questioning whether she was Maggy the frog – the one who cursed Cersei all those years ago.
Limitations of this analysis
While I certainly had fun writing this, it’s hardly scientific. Gathering these tweets only pulls in tweets shared publicly. It’s unlikely that this would have any significant effect on overall distributions, but it is something that ought be considered.
My filter also ignores any tweets without the #GameofThrones. So a “wtf is Melisandre?” tweet would be ignored while obviously being Game of Thrones related.
Finally, my graphs only show the count of tweets regarding each character. I gather public opinion based on scanning these tweets for a general idea of what people are feeling which is wildly inaccurate. I hope through doing more of these that I can learn ways to more appropriately graph public perception – especially for controversial characters like Cersei.