Young people know more about the hit TV show Game of Thrones than the Battle of Hastings in 1066, which was recently voted as the most memorable date in British history, according to a new poll.
Only 15% of 24 to 35 year-olds identified Harold Godwinson, the last Anglo-Saxon King of England, who was killed at the Battle of Hastings. However, 23% of the same participants could identify the fictitious King Joffrey of Baratheon from Game of Thrones.
Edward the Confessor, the king whose death sparked off the succession controversy, and ultimately the Norman invasion, was recognised by 17% of young people, whilst 22% of those questioned recognised Queen Daenerys Targaryen.
Older participants fared better in the poll: on average, 25% of participants knew Harold Godwinson, dragging up the measly 15% of 24 to 35 year-olds who recognised him.
The poll, carried out by ICM Research, marks the 950th anniversary of the death of Edward the Confessor and the Norman Conquest, a decisive moment in English history.
“1066 is arguably the most important date in England’s history”, said Jeremy Ashbee, senior properties curator for English Heritage. “For drama, it was the equal of anything in Game of Thrones”, he added.
English Heritage are marking the anniversary with a year of events and activities at Norman sites across the country.
However, as long as Game of Thrones retains its title as the most popular HBO show of all time, and history remains an optional, and often unpopular GCSE choice, English Heritage will continue to face an uphill battle in educating the nation’s young people.