Make Your Game of Thrones Knowledge Even More Pretentious With This Harvard Course

Image: HBO
Image: HBO

Harvard University, one of the most prestigious schools in the world, is now tricking students into learning medieval mythology by watching Game of Thrones. And Fox News says college doesn’t prepare kids for the real world.


The Ivy League college is now offering a medieval history course called “The Real Game of Thrones: From Modern Myths to Medieval Models.” According to the synopsis, the course compares George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire to mythologies from the medieval period, focusing on biographies of queens and how they interacted with their courts. According to professor Sean Gilsdorf, Cersei’s conflicts with Margaery over control of King’s Landing are especially interesting, reflecting some of the most dramatic stories of the era.

Game of Thrones does dramatize nicely some fundamental things going on in medieval courts. Tensions between a queen and the younger women who marry their sons are some Real Housewives of 10th-century Germany kind of stuff, where you see these women going after each other,” Gilsdorf said.

The professors openly admit the introductory course will (hopefully) serve as a “recruitment tool” for students to study medieval history and humanities at Harvard University, seeing as how the number of students in humanities has been declining for years. It’s not necessarily a bad recruitment tool (and other universities like UC Berkeley have done the same thing), but it seems sad that a prestigious university would have to make their class about a TV show just to get people interested. That said, if you don’t have $40K to spare this year, you can simply read our article about it.


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My thesis advisor at Harvard scoffed at my idea of including Stephen King in a potential thesis on the arbitrary nature of the literary canon.

A couple of sentences later, she was gushing about her upcoming “Twilight class.”