I’m Sick of Brands Using Game of Thrones Memes
I’m a woman in my mid-twenties, and I love memes.
I’m a meme connoisseur. My primary form of communication with my far-flung friends and family is memes. I follow countless meme pages, I retweet memes on Twitter. I’ve seen generations of generations of memes, propagating, birthing slightly different, self-aware children.
And one trend that I’m actually, heartily sick of, is endless and uninventive Game of Thrones memes put forth by brands.
What is a meme?
It might come as a surprise to many people that the term “meme” was actually coined way back in 1976, before me (1995), Game of Thrones (1996), or even the World Wide Web (1989).
The term was invented by Richard Dawkins, famous biologist and evolutionary theorist, to explain how genes propagated. The idea with genes is that each gene in your body (or a plant’s body, whatever) is working to make sure there will be more of it tomorrow. Most genes do this by helping you survive and make babies, which will contain that gene.
But what if you could apply the exact same principle to bits of information? To ideas? Self-propagating nuggets of data? How do you take that structural dissemination of information and find it in cultures?
Richard Dawkins coined the term “meme” to explain how cultural information spreads using very similar characteristics to genes — and Mike Godwin, in 1993, first thought of it as being relevant to the internet.
Today, anyone can share or even create their own memes. A successful meme is one which goes viral, replicating itself in dozens of new forms until recognizable by any denizen of the internet.
Game of Thrones is universal in its controversy.
Now back to the meat of the matter: everyone knows of Game of Thrones. Some people are fanatics, some are light fans, and some have never seen an episode and plan to keep it that way. There are Chrome extensions to remove any mention of Game of Thrones online, for fear of spoilers. A very clever group of people used character…