After five grueling days of online carnage, the internet has declared Jon vs. Everyone the greatest meme in Game of Thrones history.
Jon vs. Everyone takes its rightful place on the internet’s Iron Throne after defeating Brienne and Tormund in a championship matchup that was as lopsided as Jon’s fistfight with Ramsay Bolton. In a contest that was over seemingly within minutes, Jon vs. Everyone prevailed with 64 percent of voters across The Ringer dot com, Twitter, and Instagram picking the King in the North.
Experts (me) pegged Jon vs. Everyone as the most versatile meme in the entire bracket. But not even the most ride-or-die Stark fans could have foreseen how, to paraphrase Barristan Selmy, this meme would cut through its five opponents like carving a cake. After easily defeating Laughing Arya (78 percent to 22 percent), and “Hold the Door” (80 percent to 20 percent) in the first two rounds, Jon vs. Everyone vanquished “You Know Nothing” in the Elite Eight (62 percent to 38 percent). But it was Jon vs. Everyone’s performance on Thursday that landed it among the most dominant memes of our time, drubbing Drogon vs. Loot Train, 83 percent to 17 percent. It is perhaps the most dominant victory in the history of meme bracketology.
This meme’s victory isn’t just an internet joke getting its rightful due. It’s a restoration of faith in the democratic process. Jon’s charge toward the Bolton cavalry in the Battle of the Bastards is the perfect meme for our time. As The Ringer’s maester, Jason Concepcion, originally laid out in The Ringer’s NBA Meme Bracket:
Memes can be GIFs. But not all GIFs are memes. To be considered a meme, the content must have a core set of characteristics that can be recontextualized into other content, while retaining the same identifiers.
There was no meme in the entire bracket easier to recontextualize than Jon vs. Everyone. It’s perfect for anyone who wants to exacerbate the enormity of their own problems or the number of their perceived enemies. In other words, it’s perfect for everyone on the internet. Congratulations, voters. When we look back on the great histories of our time, we will remember this day as the moment when Western civilization’s wavering faith in democracy was restored.