Harvard, the esteemed Ivy League university, is adding a sprig of pop culture into its crowning curriculum by offering a Game of Thrones-centric history class titled “The Real Game of Thrones: From Modern Myths to Medieval Models.” The undergraduate medieval history course uses the sweeping sagas of George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire and relates them to similar mythologies from the medieval period, targeting biographies of important queens and how they existed within the machinations and complexities of their respective courts.
Harvard professor Sean Gilsdorf specifically notes Cersei’s power clashes with Margaery over control of King’s Landing as a proper example of the intricate courtly dynamics.
“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.
With no shortage of feminine intrigue within the pages of novels and multiple seasons on HBO, professors are hopeful that this introductory course will spark interest in the subject and represent a “recruitment tool” for students interested in studying medieval history and humanities at Harvard, with those areas of learning seeing smaller enrollments over the past decade. Betrayal, lust and seduction served up Game of Thrones-style have never made a classroom look more enticing.
What do you think of this new Harvard course -- would it quench your thirst for knowledge?