Mental Floss
Pop Culture

Some People Know 'Game of Thrones' Better Than Real-Life History, New Survey Shows

Natalie Zamora
Helen Sloan, HBO
Helen Sloan, HBO / Helen Sloan, HBO
facebooktwitterreddit

Though many fans were left unsatisfied—or even downright angry—over Game of Thrones's series finale, disappointment over the the show's final season doesn't seem to have lessened the impact the series had (and still has) on pop culture. The HBO hit, which was based on George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire fantasy book series, broke streaming records, racked up an impressive number of Emmy Awards, and made the fantasy genre cool again.

had an enormous fan base during its eight-season run, and it was addictive from the very first episode. Anyone who has watched the series understands why it was so easy to get swept up in the history of Westeros, the vicious battle for the Iron Throne, and just the mere sight of Daenerys Targaryen’s dragons. Some fans relished the opportunity to dig deep into the show's tangled relationships and history, so much so that many people apparently know more about the details of what went down in Westeros than they do about real-world historical events.

As The Sun reported, Sky HISTORY conducted a survey of 2000 British adults that tested their knowledge of real-life history. As it turns out, "more than a third" of respondents admitted they’re more familiar with fictional worlds in shows like Game of Thrones. For instance, when asked about the real-life War of the Roses, which took place in the 1400s and served as the basis for many of the events Martin wrote about, one in 20 people thought the rivals were Lannister and Stark, not Lancaster and York. Of course, House Lannister and House Stark are from Game of Thrones ... and they are not real.

Additionally, the survey found that one in 10 people believed that Kit Harington's Game of Thrones character Jon Snow was an actual historical figure (he is not).

But it’s not just Game of Thrones that has some people confused. One in 20 people thought that Gandalf from The Lord of the Rings actually existed, while others believed The Battle of Hogwarts from Harry Potter and The Clone Wars from Star Wars were real.

A spokesperson for Sky HISTORY said of the survey results:

British history is littered with so many important stories as well as iconic myths and legends, it’s hardly surprising that people’s memories can be a little foggy. What is clear is that British people take pride in their history and have a thirst for more information and knowledge about it. Our role is to show them that history is well and truly alive, and that fact is very bit as exciting and dramatic as fiction.

Though Game of Thrones was inspired by the War of the Roses, but there are other shows that interpret real history in a much more direct way—shows like Vikings and The Last Kingdom. But if you’re interested in learning more about real history, we’d suggest a trip to the library instead.

facebooktwitterreddit