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‘Game of Thrones’ Meme Bracket: A Bloody Day for the 3-Seeds

How did Ramsay and a piece of pork sausage top “Tell Cersei It Was Me”? It’s chaos—and as Littlefinger would say: Chaos is a ladder. Which memes will climb to the next rung in the Sweet 16?

HBO/Ringer illustration

We’ve whittled down our list of memes to 16, and it wouldn’t be a proper Game of Thrones bracket without a couple shocking twists along the way. Let’s break down the action from the first day of voting, for the memes are dank and full of spoilers.

While the top two seeds for our four Westerosi meme regions came away unscathed, a few 3-seeds weren’t so lucky. In the Targaryen region’s battle of all-caps fury, Dany’s “WHERE ARE MY DRAGONS?!?!?!” fell to her Mad King father’s versatile proclamation to “BURN THEM ALL!!!!” which I’ve used to express contempt for anyone who doesn’t like the John Wick franchise or prefers dogs over cats. (Why do you have a problem with an animal that is independent, self-cleans, and doesn’t need to be held on a leash to poop? Dogs are great; cats are better!)

Dany’s loss in this matchup might be the subject of Thrones recency bias on behalf of the voting contingent: Her incessant dragon-related inquiries happened all the way back in 2012, during the first term of the Obama administration. Meanwhile, the Mad King’s brief but memorable cameo was part of Bran Stark’s trippy Three-Eyed Raven visions in Season 6. It’s just fresher on the mind; not to mention, it’s the only thing that happened on-screen we can associate with the Mad King. Since the “WHERE ARE MY DRAGONS?” incident, we’ve seen Dany set assholes on fire—“Dracarys” is the no. 1 seed in the region for a reason—preside over Slaver’s Bay, finally set sail to Westeros, and slam her mopey nephew between the sheets. Also, she found her dragons, and they’re big now.

Over in the Lannister region, 6-seed Tyrion Slapping Joffrey easily subdued the 3-seed, Drunk Tyrion. The Drunk Tyrion we used—of him pouring wine delicately and celebrating like a child using the potty correctly for the first time—was a controversial pick among the nominees. There’s just so many great Drunk Tyrion moments to choose from, and “I Drink and I Know Things” feels like the perfect thesis statement for the character. (More importantly, it’s good for memeing; who among us doesn’t want to drink and know things?)

But perhaps no Drunk Tyrion nominee could’ve withstood the visceral joy of Tyrion Slapping Joffrey, an iconic scene from the second episode of Season 1. At first, the slap was a fleeting moment of joy, and it got better as we got to know Joffrey. When he made Sansa look at the severed head of her deceased father, I thought about how satisfying Tyrion’s slap was, and let’s not forget, Tyrion did slap his nephew three times in the scene. Tyrion also slapped him a couple more times in Season 2—this moment was uploaded to YouTube, under the Pulitzer-worthy title “Game of Thrones season 2 -Tyrion OWNS Joffrey AGAIN!!!!”—when some King’s Landing commoners threw shit at their king. (Shoutout to those guys.) Tyrion Slapping Joffrey was, quite simply, a hell of an opponent for the first round, and in this writer’s opinion, worthy of a higher seed to begin with. But I’ll leave those matters to the Small Council of Memes.

Finally, 3-seed “Tell Cersei It Was Me” fell to the Ramsay Bolton pork sausage GIF. This was arguably the single most shocking result of the opening round. The terribly named Loot Train Attack notwithstanding, Olenna Tyrell’s confession to Jaime Lannister that she poisoned his and Cersei’s son was the best moment of Season 7. It’s an incredible send-off, and probably the only time where a person dying on Thrones comes out of the scene as the victorious party. Olenna got one final “fuck you” to the Lannisters, and as the final vestige of the great House Tyrell, this meme deserved better.

Ramsay and a sausage, what’s there to say? Westeros’s resident sadist and the show’s warning that there are somehow more insidious people than Joffrey in the realm—remember thinking, “Wow, I wish they just brought Joffrey back instead of this psycho”?—terrorized Theon Greyjoy after he lost his favorite toy. I suppose props should be doled out to the valued crewmember who provided Ramsay with the phallic link; it certainly looks, uh, suggestive. But let’s be real: This is a really dumb meme. If “Pork Sausage” wins in the Sweet 16—against the memeable might of Tormund thirsting over Brienne—I will burn this website to the ground.

And now, onto the Sweet 16. Don’t forget, you can vote here on the website, on Twitter, and on Instagram every day until 5 p.m. Eastern. As always: Valar Memeghulis.

Stark Region

(1) Brace Yourself v. (4) “You Know Nothing”

1. Brace Yourself: “Brace yourself, winter is coming” is never said in the books or the TV series, but it still serves as Game of Thrones’s first and most iconic meme. Like Ned, the Brace Yourself meme is a charming remnant of a simpler time.

4.You Know Nothing”: If you’ve ever had an ex say something that still rattles around the inside of your skull like a DVD player’s screensaver, you know how deeply this phrase cuts our boy Jon. “You know nothing, Jon Snow” was Ygritte’s go-to putdown for her southern lover, and they were the final words she said to Jon as she lay dying in his arms. The phrase bothers Jon, but it also bothers actor Kit Harington, who does not understand what the phrase means.

I know what you’re thinking: “Jon Snow was in Pompeii?” But it’s either outstanding method acting or a terrible omen for his marriage to Rose Leslie, the actor who plays Ygritte.


Which Meme Should Advance?

This poll is closed

  • 45%
    (1) Brace Yourself
    (5921 votes)
  • 54%
    (4) "You Know Nothing"
    (7003 votes)
12924 votes total Vote Now

(3) Jon vs. Everyone v. (2) Hold the Door

3. Jon vs. Everyone: The premiere meme for any and all hot takes. Jon’s charge toward the Bolton cavalry in the Battle of the Bastards works for any controversial opinion because internet users are bloodthirsty spectators and social media is our virtual colosseum. When a great hot take enters the arena, it doesn’t matter who is unsheathing their sword against the galloping hordes of groupthink. It only matters that we are promised blood.

Don’t be surprised if this meme, like Jon, beats the odds.

2. Hold the Door: Yes, we know Hodor is not a Stark, but we’re granting him honorary Stark status for this moment that involved a member of the Stark clan (and to make this bracket fit. U mad?!?!)

Before “The Door,” we had plenty of Hodor memes that were as pure as the man himself.

After “The Door,” we finally learned Hodor’s origin story was, “What if Harry Potter had gone back in time to kill Baby Voldemort but accidentally turned Hagrid into Groot?” Hodor’s demise gave us an appreciation for him in death that will ensure he lives forever. The amount of Hodor doorstops for sale on Etsy is nothing short of stunning.


Which Meme Should Advance?

This poll is closed

  • 77%
    (3) Jon vs. Everyone
    (10123 votes)
  • 22%
    (2) Hold the Door
    (2886 votes)
13009 votes total Vote Now

Targaryen Region

(1) “Dracarys” v. (4) “Take Off Your Clothes”

1. “Dracarys”: Dany has done so much conquering, killing, city-razing, and slave-freeing over the years that it’s easy to forget how legendary her initial conquest was. She swaps a dragon for an Unsullied army as her advisors openly express doubt, reveals she speaks Valyrian, orders the Unsullied to kill the masters, and then says the word that puts the “fire” in “fire and blood.”

4. “Take Off Your Clothes”: We’re all adults here.


Which Meme Should Advance?

This poll is closed

  • 51%
    (1) "Dracarys"
    (6655 votes)
  • 48%
    (4) "Take Off Your Clothes"
    (6222 votes)
12877 votes total Vote Now

(6) “Burn Them All” v. (2) Drogon vs. Loot Train

6. “Burn Them All”: The Mad King’s command to torch the citizens of King’s Landing is also an excellent way to express your feelings about people who slice bagels St. Louis style.

2. Drogon vs. Loot Train: A highlight tape of Golden State Warriors playoff games.


Which Meme Should Advance?

This poll is closed

  • 34%
    (6) "Burn Them All"
    (3927 votes)
  • 65%
    (2) Drogon vs. Loot Train
    (7410 votes)
11337 votes total Vote Now

Lannister Region

(1) Tyrion Dancing v. (5) “More Wine”

1. Tyrion Dancing: Tyrion’s trial in Season 4 is among the tensest scenes of the entire series. The bloopers, not so much.

I assume this is how Paul Manafort walked into his various trials.

5. “More Wine”: Cersei’s defining character trait (after incest and murder) is functional alcoholism, so whittling it down to one meme was nearly as tough as finishing this whole bracket. Thus, we created another conference for all the Cersei wine memes to earn an automatic bid. “More Wine” emerged from a crowded Cersei Drinking Wine conference to defeat Drink, Regret Drinking 1, Feeling Cute, Might Delete Later, Regret Drinking 2, and an upset win over Victory Sip.

Congratulations to “More Wine,” which will represent all Cersei drinking wine memes in this tournament. (And it won without blowing anybody up!)


Which Meme Should Advance?

This poll is closed

  • 68%
    (1) Tyrion Dancing
    (8808 votes)
  • 31%
    (5) "More Wine"
    (4085 votes)
12893 votes total Vote Now

(6) Tyrion Slapping Joffrey v. (2) “Shame”

6. Tyrion Slapping Joffrey: Nothing short of mesmerizing. It’s Game of Thrones ASMR.

This could be on a loop for two hours in a movie theater and it would be better than watching Green Book.

2. “Shame”: With Cersei’s shame walk, Game of Thrones answered the question, “What if everyone acted in real life like they do on the internet?”


Which Meme Should Advance?

This poll is closed

  • 55%
    (6) Tyrion Slapping Joffrey
    (7121 votes)
  • 44%
    (2) "Shame"
    (5822 votes)
12943 votes total Vote Now

The Field Region

(1) Night King Raises Arms v. (4) Lyanna Mormont Glare

1. Night King Raises Arms: The end of “Hardhome” was seared into our corneas, and the ensuing meme of the Night King raising his arms immediately replaced Brace Yourself as the best (and most overused) meme on the Thrones power rankings.

5. Lyanna Mormont Glare: Lyanna Mormont’s stare at Ramsay Bolton before the Battle of the Bastards is reason 6,784 that the only good ending to the series would be Lyanna Mormont on the Iron Throne.


Which Meme Should Advance?

This poll is closed

  • 71%
    (1) Night King Raises Arms
    (9155 votes)
  • 28%
    (4) Lyanna Mormont Glare
    (3727 votes)
12882 votes total Vote Now

(6) “Pork Sausage” v. (2) Tormund and Brienne

6. “Pork Sausage”: “Pork sausage. You think I’m some sort of savage?” is the most savage line in the entire show. Ramsay’s face is key, but the sausage wiggle drives the meme home. Shakespeare said it’s better to have loved your big dick and lost it than to have never had one at all, but, well, that’s not working out so well for Theon.

2. Tormund and Brienne: The unrequited love that launched a thousand memes.


Which Meme Should Advance?

This poll is closed

  • 32%
    (6) "Pork Sausage"
    (4278 votes)
  • 67%
    (2) Tormund and Brienne
    (8718 votes)
12996 votes total Vote Now

Disclosure: HBO is an initial investor in The Ringer.

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