Harvard, one of the most prestigious educational institutions in the United States, has announced it will offer a Game of Thrones-inspired history course. The university revealed to Time that the intro level-100 course, “The Real Game of Thrones: From Modern Myths to Medieval Models,” will start this fall.
This folklore and mythology class will examine how author George R.R. Martin’s book series and HBO’s TV show “echoes and adapts, as well as distorts the history and culture of the ‘medieval world’ of Eurasia from c. 400 to 1500 CE.” This will be done by exploring “a set of archetypal characters at the heart of Game of Thrones–the king, the good wife, the second son, the adventurer, and so on–with distinct analogues in medieval history, literature, religion, and legend.”
One of the professors, Sean Gilsdorf, is a medieval historian and director for Medieval Studies at Harvard. He’s teaching the class alongside assistant professor of German and the Study of Religion, Racha Kirakosian.
“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,” explained Gilsdorf.
Kirakosian went on to state that Cersei Lannister is a “vindictive queen” not unlike Kriemhild from the German story Nibelungenlied.
Kirakosian added that course aims to be a “recruitment tool” of sorts to get more students to try medieval studies and humanities classes, which have fallen in popularity both at Harvard and nationwide. Putting “Game of Thrones” in a college course’s title is sure to grab a lot of attention.
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