The University of Glasgow is now offering a course on the popular HBO show “Game of Thrones.”

The Course

The University of Glasgow is now offering its students a philosophy course based on the popular HBO fantasy show “Game of Thrones.” The course will be named “Game of Thrones and Philosophy: Politics, Power and War,” taught by Professor John Donaldson and will be available starting next month.

Donaldson will be introducing students to philosophical principles of power, politics and war using themes from the show. Some of these principles include war theory, game theory analysis of conflict as well as the nature of political legitimacy and authority.

Donaldson also previously taught a course examining Homer Simpson’s virtues. The course was called “D’oh! The Simpsons introduce philosophy.”

The Professor on the Course

According to Glasgow Live, Donaldson said:

“We will use important scenes from the show to introduce philosophy. The first thing we will look at is game theory. Game theory was huge during the Cold War in the 1960s because Russia and the USA used it in regards to their nuclear weapons.” 

“The other two areas we will look at are political legitimacy and war theory,” he continued. “The first looks at the right to a throne. Philosophers look at anyone’s right to govern by discussing possible scenarios,” he said.

“The final part is on war theory. Game of Thrones is just incessant war so we will look at whether or not war is ever justified.” he added.”In Game of Thrones, there’s always a side which believes it is justified in attacking while the other side thinks otherwise. We will look at the argument from both sides while using one particular scene.” he said.

A Similar Course in Harvard University

Harvard professor Sean Gilsdorf and assistant professor Racha Kirakosian, is also teaching a similar course called: “Game of Thrones: From Modern Muths to Medieval Models.” According to Time magazine, this course will teach its students the history of medieval times and how the show “echoes and adapts, as well as distorts” its culture.

Kitakosian commented on her course, saying:

“When I read medieval verse epics with my students, they’d say, ‘Oh, that’s like in ‘Game of Thrones,’ No, if anything at all, it’s the other way around. Isn’t it partly our job (as professors) to use that interest and go deeper?”

Kirakosian said she hopes that the “Game of thrones” angle will turn out to be an “effective recruitment tool” that could encourage more students.

Similar classes are also being taught at the University of California, Berkeley as well as the University of Virginia.


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