A Network of Thrones

With a new season of Game of Thrones underway, we figured that now would be a great time to get creative and explore some of the ways we can visualise this story’s complexity.

We used Kumu to put together a collection of interactive maps that each tells a story about the characters, the places, and the events that colour the fictional continent of Westeros.

Warning! For the post is dark and full of spoilers.

Lineage of Westeros

Ever wondered how exactly Daenerys Targaryen was related to Aemon Targaryen—the Maester at Castle Black? Or how many brothers Balon Greyjoy had? Had you realised that Robert Baratheon and Rhaegar Targaryen are actually distant cousins?

We’ve mapped out family trees for each of the Great Houses of the Seven Kingdoms.

Although Westeros is ruled by the monarch in King’s Landing, a system of medieval feudalism exists across the Seven Kingdoms that make up the continent. The people of each kingdom are ruled by a Great House, and in turn, the House is sworn to the Iron Throne.

In the political power struggle, marriages have traditionally been a reliable way to form inter-house alliances and we can see that all of the Great Houses are connected through some point in time. All except the Greyjoys—maybe that’s why they’re the ones still stuck on a cold wet rock.

We’ve even taken the liberty of re-arranging the official Baratheon family tree to reflect Joffrey, Tommen and Myrcella’s real parentage. However, we did stop short of connecting Jon Snow to a potential blond haired parent…

Check out the interactive version of the map if you want to explore it in more detail.

Playing the Game

When you play the game of thrones, you win or you die. But keeping track of who killed, married and slept with who is enough work to keep a Maester of the Citadel busy.

We’ve spared them the trouble and created a map showing major character interactions at a personal level.

This map is interactive — try toggling the connection types!

We’ve used some of Kumu’s Social Network Analysis tools to scale the size of the characters based on the number of other characters they’re connected to. This gives us a perspective on which characters are the key movers-and-shakers.

Wildfire can’t tell the difference between Lannister and Tyrell

With Cersei and Ramsay as the clear winners here, it’s little surprise that these scores reward the murderous types and not the romantics—even the weddings have a reputation for being bloody!

No one is likely to forget “The Red Wedding”

Check out the interactive version of the map if you want to explore it in more detail.

Geography

From the mysterious city of Qarth on the Jade coast, through the smoking sea of Valyria, to the frostbitten Fist of the First Men in the far north—we’ve put together a closer look at the cities, towns and landmarks where the characters spend their time.

Click here for the interactive version

The interactive version of this map is set up so that you can select a given season to show the location of each character. Again, we’re using degree centrality to scale the characters, but this time, we’re scaling them by the number of locations they visit throughout the story.

If we look at the state of the world during the first season, Tyrion and Varys stand out as the most travelled characters in King’s Landing—which makes sense, as we know that they’ll eventually wind their way to Essos and to join the Targaryen restoration cause.

Check out the interactive version of the map if you want to explore it in more detail.

Visualising a Storyline

Have you ever wondered what a complex story looks like when you turn it into a network?

Click here for the interactive version

When your tool of choice is Kumu, all sorts of things do have a tendency to start looking like networks.

As an experiment we took every major chronological event from the last sixty episodes of the show and then plotted them as part of a casual flow diagram. The result is the complete visual representation of the storyline.

Want to know which events in season one were indirectly responsible for Robb Stark’s death at the Red Wedding? All you need to do is walk back up the network.

Almost all of the storyline runs in the tightly knit central tree, except for Daenerys’ journey through Essos, which is initially completed isolated. We can see the occasional arc escaping from the central plot, such as Robert Baratheon sending assassins, then later as Barristan, Tyrion, Varys, Theon and Yara eventually join her.

Once again, you check out the interactive version of the map if you want to explore it in more detail.


Most of the time we see people using Kumu to map out specific systems and stakeholder maps, so this is a good chance to explore Kumu as a general purpose tool. If your domain can be represented in terms of things that connect to other things, there’s a good chance you can use Kumu to unravel and understand it.

Feeling inspired? Want to know more about how we built this? Come join Kumunity (our Slack team) and we’ll answer any questions you may have.

Spotted a mistake or a factual inaccuracy in these maps? Open an issue or fork the project and fix it yourself. We’ll get it sorted!