by    in Game of Thrones, Popular Lists

Hypocritical Politicians, Birthday Fails & HODOR!!

In case you missed these gems, here are some of our favorite lists y’all have been ranking this month. Enjoy!

Introducing: Ranker of Thrones
All Men Must Rank. Visit our ‘Game of Thrones’ hub for interactive GoT content you won’t find anywhere else on the web. Rank the most epic insults in Westeros, listen to original GoT songs, and ponder which cats actually look like characters from the show. Stop by and get your Hodor fix. Hodor!

16 Prominent Anti-Gay Activists Who Were Caught Being Gay
Lots of hypocrites out there, ladies and gentlemen. This week, news broke that Steve Wiles, an anti-gay GOP Senate candidate, used to be an openly-gay drag queen named Miss Mona Sinclair. Thank goodness for the Internet.

40 Hilarious Birthday Fails/Wins
These photos prove that just because it’s your special day, doesn’t mean that you’re safe from your crazy relatives.

Simpsons Jokes That Actually Came True in Real Life
We’ve always loved how ‘The Simpsons’ riffs on current events and pop culture, but we never thought that real life would follow in the footsteps of the show. Weird.

The 13 Craziest Deaths Caused by Social Media
Everyone is guilty of doing their fair share of internet sleuthing, stalking, creeping, and… killing? Well, at least these 13 people are. Read about the weird, effed up things people are doing through social media these days.

Baby Animals That Could Melt the Coldest of Hearts (Photos)
Adorable baby animals: everyone loves them. But which type are actually the cutest? Until now, science has had no way to decide… but with your help, we may have the found the answer.

That’s it! Stay in touch, and we hope you’re having a great month!

by    in Game of Thrones

Gender and the Moral Psychology of Game of Thrones

Most of my published academic work is in the field of moral psychology, where we study the moral reasoning behind judgments of right and wrong.  As I have previously argued, such study does not belong solely in the realm of university psychology labs, but also should be extended to the realm of “big data”, where online behavior is examined for convergence with what we see in the lab.  Ranker collects millions of user opinions each month on all sorts of topics, and one of them, where users rank the most uncomfortable moments in Game of Thrones, is actually very similar to psychology studies where we ask participants to rate the rightness or wrongness of various situations.

Amongst the situations to be voted on are:

  • Graphic Violence (Khaleesi Eats a Horse Heart, Execution of Eddard Stark)
  • Incest (Lannister Family Values, Theon Makes a Pass at Sister)
  • Sexual Violence (Danerys And Viserys, Jamie Rapes His Sister)
  • Homosexuality (Loras and Renly Shave and Scheme)

Men and women were equally likely to vote on items on this list (each gender averaged six votes per user), but women were twice as likely to be affected by sexual violence toward women, including Viserys’ lude treatment of his sister Danerys or The Red Wedding, which included the stabbing of a pregnant woman, than were men.  In contrast, men were made most uncomfortable by hints of homosexuality (Loras and Renly shaving each other’s chests), being seven times more likely to find this scene uncomfortable.  These patterns are convergent with research on mirror neurons, which indicate that people are most likely to be made uncomfortable by situations that threaten their self-identity, as well as accounts of women being driven to stop watching the show, due to the prevalence of depictions of violence against women.

Other patterns on this list also converged with previous research.  Americans, who may be less sensitive to violence due to its prevalence in American culture, were less affected by scenes such as the execution of Eddard Stark and Khaleesi eating a horse heart.  Southerners, who are more likely to be sensitive to purity concerns, were more affected by Petyr Baelish and Lord Varys’ discussion of perversity.

None of these findings are carefully controlled trials, so these patterns could have many explanations.  However, all research methods have flaws, and I would argue that it is the convergence of real world behavior with academic research that leads to true understanding.  Given Ranker’s new emphasis on Game of Thrones related content (like our Ranker of Thrones Facebook page if you’re a fan), more analyses of the repeated moral ambiguity in Game of Thrones are forthcoming and I would welcome new hypotheses to test.  What would you expect men/women to agree or disagree on?  Older vs. Younger fans?  West coasters vs. East Coasters?

– Ravi Iyer

by    in Data, Game of Thrones

Game of Thrones: Don’t Get Too Comfortable

[Spoiler Alert: This post contains references to Seasons 1-4, Episode 3 of the show. There are no references to the books. If you’re all caught up on the show, then you are safe!]

fans react

Have you recently found yourself unreasonably happy about a certain child’s death? Excited, even, to watch the bile frothing out of his mouth and the blood streaming from the far corners of his eyes? Have you rationalized incest-rape and chalked it up to the pressures of the times? Rejoiced as a small girl murders a man in cold blood? (Something wrong with your leg, boy?)

Don’t get too comfortable.

Now that you’re fully immersed in the world of the Seven Kingdoms, your capacity for moral relativism may surprise you. You may feel like nothing on the show could totally shock or upset you anymore. Now that you’re sort of OK with incest-rape, should you just hang up your hat and quit? Can’t anything feel uncomfortable or shocking anymore?!

Don’t worry: If we’ve learned anything about this series so far, there will be plenty of horrific incidents to come. And according to our data, there is pretty much something on the show to upset every sensibility.

We were looking at our list of The Most Uncomfortable Game of Thrones Moments again (weird, we know — we like to keep the wounds fresh) and noticed an interesting pattern in our data that gives us an insight on what makes certain viewers uncomfortable. So far, over 1,000 people have voted on this list an average of 5 times. There are 18 uncomfortable moments to choose from, and they are ordered from jaw-dropping to ain’t-no-thing. (Vote if you haven’t already. It’s fun!)

As more and more people vote, some interesting correlations have emerged.

TheonFor example, Ranker users who said that they were very uncomfortable when Theon Greyjoy lost his “most prized possession” were far more likely to also feel uncomfortable when Jaime Lannister’s right hand was cut off. Jaime
A particular distaste for bodily harm, it would seem.

[In plain English: The majority of people who hated watching that first scene also hated watching the second. Most people who didn’t mind the first also didn’t mind the second.]

But there’s more. Two main “camps” of voters emerged in our data. We’ll call them “Camp Emotional” and “Camp Physical.

People who voted for one thing that could be considered emotionally distressing — witnessing an incest scene between brother and sister, for example — were highly likely to also vote for other moments that can be associated with emotional distress: Lysa Tully’s disturbing breastfeeding scene and Viserys Targaryan’s willingness to whore out his own sister in exchange for power both come to mind.

Similarly, people who voted on one item in “Camp Physical” were more likely to vote on other physically revolting scenes. Viserys Targaryen getting “crowned,” Khaleesi eating a horse heart, and the execution of Eddard Stark were all positively correlated.

Disgusting GoT Tastes Graph smaller 500

The “Game of Thrones” show creators certainly have their bases covered as far as upsetting every sensibility.

Don’t mind a six year-old suckling on the teat of his mother? Maybe your favorite character will be brutally executed. Don’t think the gory stuff is that big of a deal? Maybe a character you thought you trusted will double-cross his sister, have sex with his mother, and steal the crown for himself. This is all just speculation, of course, but we’re just saying: no one is safe. Not even you.