Our Emotional Journey through the Final Season of Game of Thrones

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The controversy around the last season of Game of Thrones has been divisive: people seem to either love it or hate it. Still, something we can all agree on is that the most watched final season ever produced a wide range of emotions. We were curious as to how those emotions would manifest and so we invite you on our emotional roller coaster to relive the final season of Game of Thrones, powered by Affect-tag.

What is Affect-tag?

The Affect-tag solution detects spontaneous physiological responses and provides real-time emotional reactions via a connected smart band. This connection permits alignment between the start of the episode and the data recording so it can be precisely cut during post-processing. Immediately after each episode, the physiological data captured by the band is sent to the Affect-tag Cloud where years of algorithm development have been condensed into a short processing window to deliver results in less than 3 minutes.

Overall, the Affect-tag indicators confirmed our subjective experience with each episode and provided an emotional progression for the season. Although by now it’s almost impossible to avoid, I must warn that if you haven’t seen the final season of Game of Thrones, there are spoilers ahead.

Results

Not surprisingly, the sudden, spontaneous emotional changes vary between episodes, while the slower changing Cognitive Load – the emotional engagement – remains fairly constant. It does dip slightly in the middle of the season and comes back strong for the last episode when we were at the edge of our seats, waiting for something to happen, glued to the TV in anticipation for more.

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Emotional Density – the durability of presented stimulation and experienced tension – and Emotional Power – the intensity of emotions – varied significantly throughout the season.

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Episode 4 did not have high bursts of emotional intensity (right), but the emotions were more sustained and drawn out (left): Brienne struggling with her feelings for Jaime and becoming the first female knight of the 7 kingdoms; Daenerys fighting her jealousy and complicated relationship with her lover and possible adversary Jon; the joy of just having won the fight of all fights! There were many emotionally sustainable and heavy moments throughout episode 4. Episode 5 resulted in a balanced Emotional Density and Emotional Power, signifying either equilibrium or dichotomy. My personal reaction of nervous laughter is a perfect example in its self-contradiction, evoked from shock, confusion, and discomfort at the destruction of King’s Landing and the continual surprises this show has offered since season 1.

As expected, the episodes that elicited the highest emotional intensity were the final episode (Drogon finding his mother dead!) and the epic battle between the living and the dead. With so many emotional highs and lows, we decided to use our emotional processing algorithms and the Emotional Impact indicator to pinpoint the precise moments that affected us the most.

Progression of Emotional Activity

Below is the Emotional Impact timeline of Episode 3 – The Long Night. It highlights pockets of higher tension and stimulation with a huge increase in overall emotional impact towards the end of the episode when the battle against the dead came to its climax.

Episode 3 Emotional Dynamic Timeline

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The large peaks are snap moments where we were most emotionally affected. Thanks to the media integration feature of our Affect-tag Emotional Replayer we can easily find the scenes that correlate with those peaks.

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