Top 5 moments from Game of Thrones Season Finale, According to Apple Watch Heart Rate Data

San Francisco, CA - Aug 28th, 2017

What drives up GoT viewers' heart rates?

Users of Cardiogram for Apple Watch—a startup that helps you organize your mobile health data by making it meaningful, useful, and actionable—recorded more than 6.9 million individual heart rate measurements during Game of Thrones Season 7.

Cardiogram performed a minute-by-minute analysis and found some unexpected trends: with one exception, the top five moments were largely not high-budget battle scenes, but rather small, dialogue-driven conflicts between characters. A Song of Ice and Fire author George RR Martin often refers to Faulkner's quote that "only thing worth writing about is the human heart in conflict with itself" as his guiding principle, and the data confirms that drama rather than action is what makes Game of Thrones viewers' heart rate race.

What were the top moments from episode 7, "The Dragon and the Wolf"?

The top five moments, ranked by average heart rate in beats per minute, were all character-driven, with one exception:

  1. Arrival of Danaerys at the Dragon Pit (98.3 bpm, 17:00). A trio of character-driven confrontations ratcheted up the tension in this scene: after a face-off between Sandor and Gregor Clegane, followed by taunting among Greyjoys, the peak moment is reached with Daenerys's show of power to Cersei, as she lands a dragon under her control in her forebears' dragon pit.
  1. "Robert's Rebellion was built on a lie." (93.9 bpm, 1:09:00) As Sam and Bran piece together two key bits of information—Jon's parentage, and the annulment remarriage of Rheagar and Lyanna stark—bring a plot point from the very first season to a head, and introduce an unexpected complication: what happens to Jon and Daenerys when it's revealed that Jon is a trueborn Targaryen, and first in the line of succession, ahead of his aunt?
  1. "You love your family, and I have destroyed it." (93.7 bpm, 36:00) Tyrion and Cersei have been estranged since season 4, or arguably their whole lives, and this confrontation and partial reconciliation got hearts racing to 93.7 beats per minute. See this reddit thread for an interesting theory on a dangerous gambit that occurred in later, offscreen portion of the conversation.
  1. "I told you, no one walks away from me." (92.2 bpm, 1:05:00) Cersei's Godfather moment, when she threatens to kill Jaime, is the #4 moment of this episode.
  1. The Ice Dragon (91.9, 1:17:00). The last scene of the season, where an undead version of Viserion melts part of the Wall, has been anticipated by fans for years—George RR Martin first wrote about the concept of an ice dragon in an eponymously-titled children's novel published in 1980.

Is there a chart showing minute-by-minute heart rate for episode 7?

Yes—here's average heart rate among participants for the full episode of "The Dragon and the Wolf", broken down into 15-second chunks:

What is Cardiogram? Is there a larger purpose behind this data?

Yes—Cardiogram's mission is to transform your wearable into a personal healthcare companion. In partnership with UCSF Cardiology, we recently showed that popular wearable heart rate sensors (like Apple Watch) can detect atrial fibrillation with 97% accuracy, using an artificial intelligence-based algorithm we've developed called DeepHeart. This is important because atrial fibrillation is the most common abnormal heart rhythm, causes 1 in 4 strokes, and is frequently undiagnosed. The more data DeepHeart learns from, the more accurate it becomes. More data means more lives saved.

Does Cardiogram have any interesting user statistics to share?

Yes. DeepHeart is trained on more than 30 billion heart rate measurements from more than 250,000 Apple Watch owners. 73% of Cardiogram users open the app on a daily basis, a ratio higher than Twitter, Instagram, and even Facebook.

Who's behind Cardiogram?

Cardiogram was started in 2016 by ex-Google tech leads Johnson Hsieh and Brandon Ballinger, who worked on Google Voice Assistant, Android Voice Input, Search Quality, and Ads Quality. We're backed by Silicon Valley investors, including Andreessen-Horowitz, the Chief Technology Officer of Microsoft, the founders of Color Genomics, and the founder of Rock Health. Cardiogram for Apple Watch was named the best iPhone app of 2016 by

About Cardiogram

Cardiogram transforms wearables like Apple Watch into a personal healthcare companion. More than 100,000 people open Cardiogram every day to check stress, fitness, or sleep, and sometimes it even saves their life:

In an N=6,158 study with UCSF Cardiology, our artificial intelligence-based algorithm detected atrial fibrillation with 97% accuracy compared to an in-hospital gold standard. AF is the most common abnormal heart rhythm, which causes 1 in 4 strokes. You can see examples of normal and abnormal heart rhythms here:

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Brandon Ballinger

Brandon Ballinger


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