What Does Your Favourite Game of Thrones Character Say About Your Own Personality?
Personality permeates all aspects of our lives, including our day-to-day behaviours, lifestyle, and how we interact with our environment. It also plays a role in how we consume entertainment, such as what kind of books we read, music we listen to, video games we play, films we see, and overall entertainment genres we prefer.
Personality research can help us understand how we relate to fiction, and how our understanding of ourselves develop. In this super nifty study, researchers found that personality traits were related to which Harry Potter house people were sorted into, with the authors suggesting that fiction can influence how people see themselves.
Winter is Coming
I don’t know about you, but our office is wild for Game of Thrones. We have a Game of Thrones death pool running, and we are even releasing a series of blogs focussing on what the main characters can teach us about leadership.
At Chandler Macleod People Insights, we decided to conduct some Game of Thrones related research of our own. For the past few months, we’ve asked over 1000 people who have completed our new personality assessment, which Game of Thrones character they most identify with. We were interested in seeing whether there was a relationship between personality traits and which character people identify with.
In total, we gave people the choice of 11 characters, but below we only report on five (Jon Snow, Arya Stark, Tyrion Lannister, Daenerys Targaryen, and Samwell Tarly) as some of them had too few people (only one person admitted to identifying with Joffrey the most).
Firstly, about 45% of the people we asked watched Game of Thrones. That’s incredible! Particularly as this is a diverse, working age population of adults. Game of Thrones really is a cultural phenomenon.
Secondly, gender was related to which character people identified with. In general, people identified with characters of the same gender as them. There was one exception to this – comparatively more females than males identified with Samwell Tarly.
Tyrion comes from an insanely wealthy family (“as rich as a Lannister”), but has suffered prejudice due to his dwarfism. His father and sister despise him, and he only gets along with his brother. Perhaps because of this, he is probably one of the more emotionally expressive characters on the show, and is a sometimes-high-functioning alcoholic. Despite this, he has a good heart, and uses his wit and cunning to survive. Tyrion is one of my favourite characters; as it turns out, I’m not alone, with Tyrion being the 3rd most popular choice.
There were a number of personality traits associated with identifying with Tyrion. We found that people who identified with Tyrion feel different to other people (a personality trait we call Eccentric) and are more likely to want to work independently, as opposed to collaborating with others. Perhaps relating to Tyrion’s wealthy background (and his short stint as the Master of Coin), people who identified with him tend to be more Commercial and Materialistic than others. There are also similarities between Tyrion’s wit and cunning, and the Analytical and Manipulative personality traits of people who identify with Tyrion, along with a willingness to bend the truth. Finally, people who identified with Tyrion were more Emotional, more Gloomy (associated with tending to see the world in a more negative light), and less Relaxed (associated with being more of a worrier).
Jon Snow is a stoic, honorable character, who always does what is right – often to his detriment. He cares about people, and as the series progresses, he becomes a leader and a symbol. Jon was the most popular choice overall.
As with Tyrion, there were a fair few personality traits associated with identifying with Jon. Consistent with Jon’s people and leadership focus, people who identified with Jon were higher in a trait we call Leadership, were higher in Social Confidence, and were more Collaborative, Trusting, and Supportive. Jon’s a stand-up guy, and so, apparently, are people who see themselves as Jon. They are less willing to take advantage of others, less willing to break the rules, and more Honest.
In terms of work style, they are more structured and more able to focus. Emotionally, they are almost the opposite of those who identify with Tyrion, which is consistent with Jon’s stoicism.
Arya, though born a noble, rejects the fact that she has to act like a lady. She is strong, feisty, and fiercely independent. Another one of my favourite characters, and the 2nd most popular choice!
People who identified with Arya were more Impulsive and Outspoken, which matches Arya’s personality traits. In addition to this, they reported being less Commercial than others.
Another strong character, Daenerys begins the series being sold by her brother, and grows to become a leader of nations. She is calm on the surface, but quietly determined.
As with Arya, there were fewer personality traits correlated with identifying with Daenerys compared to Jon and Tyrion. People who identified with Daenerys were higher on Leadership (matching Daenerys’s role in the series) and on a trait we call Enthusiasm.
Samwell Tarly is not physically gifted, and in a culture which prizes strength and fighting ability, he is quiet, shy and socially awkward. Instead, he uses his knowledge and love of learning to support Jon Snow.
Perhaps related to Samwell’s aversion to violence, people who identified with Samwell Tarly were lower in a trait called Risky (associated with being willing to take risks versus being cautious), and lower in Sensation Seeking (associated with thrill seeking). They were also more content being in the background and less likely to want to be the center of attention. They also scored lower on a trait we call Innovative, and reported a stronger tendency to avoid tasks they don’t want to do. Finally, people who identified with Samwell were more Emotional, less Enthusiastic, and more Gloomy.
No need to seize the last word, Lord Baelish. I’ll assume it was something clever
So, to summarise the key points:
An individual’s personality is related to which fictional characters they most identify with, and seems to represent aspects of that character’s personality
Few people seem to want to identify with the bad guys (I wish we had more data on this, though I guess it’s comforting there’s not that many Joffreys out there)
I’m not sure what the Chandler Macleod People Insights team is going to do when Game of Thrones finishes
If you would like to know more about the specific traits that we used to measure these characteristics, or would like a sneak peak at our soon to be released personality measure, please contact us at CMPIenquiries@chandlermacleod.com
If you enjoyed this article you might also like:
Game of Thrones Leadership Series: what we can learn from Jon Snow
- By Dr Dan Cummings
- about 4 years ago
- In this blog
- Back to all blogs