The Internet comes up with some strange tendencies. Not just memes, but something far more nuanced: memes of memes or meta-tropes, maybe. We're talking complicated cultural alchemy—a mix of cult popularity, Reddit dust, and pirated copies of Illustrator.
Take Game of Firms, by Mordi Levi. It’s a project in which each house (or family) in Game of Thrones has been re-branded as a multinational corporation. So the Night’s Watch—and its band of dark brothers who protect humanity from creatures that go bump in the night—is a tactical flashlight company, while the House of Stark—and its cold northern roots that led to the foreboding mantra "winter is coming"—produces sleek, cold weather gear.
It’s fun. But before Game of Firms, Shutterstock hired Elliott Scott to create what was pretty much an identical meme-ified project. And before that, Nike designer Darrin Crescenzi imagined all of the Game of Thrones house sigils as minimal and modern brands.
While the Internet follows its normal meme patterns with the show—Redditors paste "winter is coming" into every message board possible, for instance, and you’ll spot loads of Game of Thrones gifs floating around—there’s a core obsession with this beard, boob, and blood-filled series that evokes deeper trope formulas such as "rebrand X with Y."
Fiction can't just rule our cultural discourse. At least with Game of Thrones, it must, apparently, find its physical manifestation in our culture. We seem compelled to restructure the world around us to more closely resemble the fantasy world of Westeros in order to be satisfied. Whether that’s our Game of Thrones food, fashion, or corporations, well, winter isn’t just coming anymore, it’s already been here for a while.