Women of Thrones

24 May 2016

by: Kyle Frankovich

How about that Hodor/Wylis “Hold the door!” reveal? And we lost another Direwolf?! Sunday’s episode was a tough one, but I’m excited to delve into this week’s data once I have some more time to update and run my scripts. In the meantime, I thought I would take a quick look at the social media popularity of various women characters on the show.

Margaery is one of my favorite characters, and I was really glad to see Laura Bogart’s article that was posted yesterday over at The A.V. Club. In it, she details how despite the fact that Margaery is one of the more well-rounded women in the show’s world, she is often overlooked by the showrunners, fans, and critics. After reading her article, I decided to take a look at the major character mentions on twitter for women in episodes 1-4 (I’ll update the plot to include episode 5 later this week; a brief description of how I collect the data can be found here):

percentage of character mentions within each episode’s dataset; click on character names on the bottom to add/remove data for comparisons


A couple things quickly stand out: as of the first few episodes, there have only been about four big moments for the women of the show (as far as twitter is concerned). Melisandre dominated the first episode, with 20 percent of all character mentions going to her alone. You’ll remember that this is where she closes out the episode by disrobing, and revealing her true age. Notably, she hasn’t appeared nude since, and her numbers have gone down each following week… I can’t claim that her early popularity is due entirely to nudity, but I do have some analyses planned to look into the impact of nudity on social media response, particularly with respect to the women on the show. Speaking of…


Next up is Daenerys, whose numbers jumped from around 3 percent in episode 3 to nearly 18 percent in episode four. This isn’t really surprising, considering that she burned a bunch of misogynistic jerks alive and then walked out of the flames unscathed in her first badass scene of the season. However, I’m curious what words are most commonly associated with her triumphant scene. Do you think they’ll be about her actions and victory over the khals, or about her body? I hope to find out in an upcoming post.

As noted last week, Brienne finally saw a boost in popularity thanks to her scenes with Tormund.


Sansa also had her best week with the fourth episode, as she continues to grow and take an active role in her trajectory. I noticed some interesting results regarding her and Jon’s reunion, which I hope to explore in a subsequent post.


All of this takes us back to Laura’s article regarding Margaery. Despite her being an objectively interesting character (I revealed my biases early on in this post), she consistently posts the lowest numbers of mentions among the show’s leading women. Cersei isn’t fairing much better. Arya (another one of my favorite characters) has also surprised me in how little people are discussing her, but perhaps this has more to do with where she is in her arc this season. I have a feeling she’s going to get a boost due to this past Sunday’s visit to the play that forced her to relive Ned’s execution, and in her upcoming decision of whether she wants to devote her life to the Many-Faced God or not.