Top Colleges for Game of Thrones Fans

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Top Colleges for Game of Thrones Fans

Søren Niedziella / Flickr

College admissions are coming. Have you chosen your kingdom yet? If you don’t have time to search all of Westeros for the perfect university, have no fear--here’s a list of ten schools that are perfect for fans of George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire. No matter what your favorite character, region, or house, there’s sure to be something on this list for you. So before you send your ravens off to your college of choice, consider these castles. You may find your perfect stronghold. Warning! May contain spoilers!

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Unity College

Unity Pond. Zebbie's Dad / Flickr

“There are no direwolves south of the Wall."

Both the Starks and the Targaryens have a fondness for rather dangerous animals. If you share their love of wild creatures, check out Unity College, proudly called America’s Environmental College. The college offers a unique Bachelor of Science in Captive Wildlife Care and Education, perfect for those looking to take the best care of their ​direwolf or dragon. Unity also offers programs in Wildlife Biology, Parks and Forest Resources, and Adventure Therapy for any Wildlings who enjoy life outdoors. Also, the Greyjoys will be happy to know that there’s a Marine Biology program. Free folk will appreciate that Unity is a small college on 225 acres of land, and students have the option to travel to 23 countries for study abroad programs. So whether you’re a Wildling or someone who is especially proud of your house mascot, Unity College could be your wildest dream come true. 

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University of Chicago

University of Chicago
University of Chicago. Luiz Gadelha Jr. / Flickr

"Night gathers, and now my watch begins.”

The Night’s Watch protects the realm from many threats, including the terrifying White Walkers. If you also wish to guard against the reanimated dead, consider the University of Chicago’s Zombie Readiness Task Force (ZRTF). Its purpose is “to train and prepare students to serve and protect University of Chicago against any future zombie invasions.” ZRTF’s last game of Humans vs. Zombies involved over 200 students--double the number of people in the Night’s Watch. If you’re more of a scholar than a fighter, remember that the University of Chicago is a top-ranking university and a member of the Association of American Universities. (And if you’re a wizard, UC is also one of the Top Colleges for Harry Potter Fans.) Even if you can’t go to the Wall, you can apply to UC and defend against the undead, for this night and all the nights to come.

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Drexel University

Drexel University. Sebastian Weigand / Wikipedia Commons

“Fire cannot kill a dragon.”

Dragons are a big (and fiery) part of the Game of Thrones series, much to the delight of fantasy fans and students of Drexel University. Drexel’s beloved dragon mascot is all over campus, including an incredible 14-foot bronze dragon statue. This dragon is named Mario the Magnificent, and he’s so popular that the students have coined the term “Mario Mania.” The dragons are proud of their sports teams, as you can see in their “DU Believe in Dragons?” video on the athletics website. These dragons are smart, too, for the university offers a wide range of majors and pre-professional programs. Students can study everything from Engineering (to figure out the House of the Undying) to Political Science (to be better at politics than Viserys Targaryen) to Modern Languages (to be a translator like Missandei). Rhaegal, Drogon, and Viserion might be the only dragons left, but there are plenty of universities with dragon mascots such as Tiffin University and Minnesota State University-Moorhead

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The Ohio State University

University Hall at OSU
University Hall at OSU. S Kaiser / Flickr

“History is a wheel, for the nature of man is fundamentally unchanging.”

Many at The Ohio State University would say that the history of the A Song of Ice and Fire universe is almost as interesting as real medieval history. That’s why the university's Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies sponsors a “Game of Thrones Day” for students, faculty, and anyone else who loves the story. The event is set to feature arts and crafts, live combat presentations, culinary demonstrations, academic panels, and other activities.  Some special affairs of the day include renaissance-style dancing, a costume contest, and even a show of falconry. The Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies plans to make “Game of Thrones Day” part of a yearly series of events called “Popular Culture and the Deep Past,” which examines how pop-culture can be related to history. So if you love to learn but prefer history books like “Aegon the Conqueror,” Ohio State may be the place for you.

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Missouri University of Science and Technology

Missouri S&T. Adavidb / Wikipedia Commons

"The night is dark and full of terrors...but the fire burns them all away."

Anyone with a fiery passion for Game of Thrones and a love of pyrotechnics should have a look at the Missouri University of Science and Technology. Melisandre, Daenerys, and Tyrion Lannister would all agree that a good control over fire can be very important, and for that, Missouri S&T has one of the best programs in the country. There you can earn a Master’s degree or a PhD in Explosives Engineering. You can take courses on explosives and pyrotechnics and learn about their uses for construction, mining, fireworks, demolition, special effects, and more. There’s even an Explosives Camp for high schoolers. It’s safer than dragon flames or wildfire, and it’s a great way to learn how to use fire without burning anything or anyone (take note, Melisandre). You can even practice your skills like Gendry in the Missouri S&T Blacksmithing Club.

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Florida State University

Florida State University
Florida State University. J-a-x / Flickr

"We Do Not Sow."

Florida State University is the perfect university for the seafaring members of house Greyjoy. The ironborn are most at home on the ocean, so they would love Florida State’s Department of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Science. FSU offers programs in Oceanography, Marine Biology, and Geophysical Fluid Dynamics, as well as oceanic Masters Degrees such as Aquatic Environmental Sciences and Geological Oceanography. The university also has quite a few fun activities out on the water that even Theon would enjoy. FSU sponsors an outdoor adventure program that takes students kayaking, paddleboarding, rafting and more. If that doesn’t satisfy your inner kraken, there are also aquatic sports clubs including bass fishing, sailing, swimming, scuba diving, and the first ever collegiate kiteboarding club. If the sea calls you, you can pay the iron price for an application to Florida State University. 

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University of California at Berkeley

UC Berkeley. brainchidvn / Flickr

“Growing Strong.”

House Tyrell is famous for its gardens and bountiful crops. Those who share a similar love of golden roses and green thumbs would enjoy the University of California Botanical Garden, located at UC Berkeley. It may not be Highgarden, but the Botanical Garden has quite a reputation. It was established in 1890 and it’s home to over 13,000 species. The 34 acres of land contain specified sections for different kinds of plants, including ​an Herb Garden. This section holds some edible plants, but the university has put up a warning not to eat any of them--which is probably unnecessary for any Game of Thrones fans because they know how easy it is to get poisoned. Members of House Tyrell would be interested in the Garden of Old Roses, where they can drink tea and plot against the Lannisters. The garden is open to the public year-round, so any Tyrells visiting UC Berkeley are welcome to visit. Game of Thrones fans will also love that the Botanical Garden can be rented out for weddings.

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Alfred University

Alfred University Steinheim
Alfred University Steinheim. Photo Credit: Allen Grove

“The man who passes the sentence should swing the sword.”

Swords are an important part of the Game of Thrones universe. Ned Stark’s Ice, Jon Snow’s Longclaw, and Arya’s Needle all play an important part of the story. Most Song of Ice and Fire fans agree that sword fighting is a pretty cool, if dangerous, activity. Luckily, Alfred University has a student club that combines all the fun of swinging swords at people without as much danger of accidental (or deliberate) beheading. It’s a sport called Boffer, and it consists of students crafting “swords” from foam, PVC pipe, and duct tape. These cool but (relatively) harmless weapons are then used in a variety of battle-based games like Capture the Flag, King of the Hill, and even the multi-college Alfred Civil War. If you prefer a style of sword fighting more similar to Water Dancing, Alfred also has a fencing club.

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Brandeis University

Usen Castle at Brandeis University
Usen Castle at Brandeis University. Photo Credit: Allen Grove

 “When you play the game of thrones, you win or you die.” 

For some hardcore Game of Thrones fans, learning about Westeros history and playing with swords isn’t enough. If you want a closer relationship with dragons, magic, and all things medieval, you can join the Brandeis Society for Creative Fantasy at Brandeis University. The BSCF is a student organization for those who like to LARP (live-action role play) and play card or board games.  The society generally holds a few LARP games a semester and works to “promote community fun, in the form of socially interactive games.” This is great for fans who want to live out their favorite fantasy stories and meet people with similar interests. Brandeis University also has other clubs that might appeal to Song of Ice and Fire fans. Those who like adventuring and Gregor Clegane should check out the Mountain Club, and fans of the Eyrie’s Moon Door can join the Brandeis Skydiving Club.

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Texas A & M University

Century Tree at Texas A&M
Century Tree at Texas A&M. Ed Schipul / Flickr

“A mind needs books as a sword needs a whetstone, if it is to keep its edge.” 

If you journey to Texas A&M University, trek to the library, and travel to the Science Fiction and Fantasy Research College, you can find a depository for the various works of George R. R. Martin. Since 1993, Texas A&M’s Cushing Memorial Library has been the official home of the Song of Ice and Fire author’s writing. The University sponsored a showcase event called “Deeper Than Swords,” which featured an exhibit, author signing, and lecture with the novelist himself. If you want to learn everything about the Game of Thrones universe and the person who created it, you can ride, sail, or fly down to Texas A&M, home of some very important books and the people who love them.