Chrys K isn’t a household name, but you’ve probably seen a few of her popular Game of Thrones memes.
Chrys, who asked to go by that name for this story, has been making Game of Thrones memes since the show’s fourth season. Her posts on Tumblr, Chrys Watches Game of Thrones, boast thousands of shares and comments, and have migrated to Twitter. Before the show’s fourth season, already at the height of its popularity, Chrys wasn’t paying attention to it. The artist told Polygon that her focus was Teen Wolf and Hannibal, shows whose popularity were defined by the obsessive fans on Tumblr.
When some of her followers started suggesting she apply her craft to Game of Thrones, Chrys began paying attention. Three seasons later and she still can’t believe just how much of a following her Tumblr has generated. Chrys’ jokes are poignant and topical, timely and witty. There’s a brevity to each meme that makes every image memorable. When asked if there was a recipe or formula for deciding which scenes are used for a joke, Chrys admitted she just did what felt right.
“Sometimes a joke is obvious from the get go, other times I'm inspired by the actors' facial expressions,” Chrys told Polygon. “There's no real recipe. I generally tend to emphasize consistent characterization and strange but appropriate turns of phrase, puns, etc to create something memorable.”
Like all shows, Game of Thrones has season finales. This means that Chrys doesn’t get new footage to work with for the better part of a year. In the case of Game of Thrones’ seventh season finale and its season eight premiere, there might be 16 months of downtime. Chrys could spend time scrubbing through old episodes to find new jokes, but the artist said she often takes the time to focus on other series and apply the same type of humor to those shows.
“Except for a couple of one-offs, I only meme-generate while the episodes are airing,” Chrys said. “I do shitpost quite a bit on my main Tumblr, however. People tend to ask right at the end of a season [if there will be more memes], but [as] much as I hate to disappoint, it's a huge commitment. I've set up a Patreon for this exact reason, so maybe one day I'll go back and do every episode.”
Chrys isn’t the only person who’s aware of just how much time and effort it takes to create this type of content, which is often uploaded to other Tumblrs, Twitter, Reddit and Facebook without proper credit or permission. T. Kyle is best known for his Tumblr, RealityTVGifs, which has become one of the most popular blogs for any reality TV aficionado looking for the perfect GIF.
In August, Kyle published a video on YouTube explaining that after keeping the blog running for years, he was going to be stepping back from it. Kyle explained that it got to the point where he was spending $200 a month to keep the site running and, not wanting to ask for donations, was reliant on advertisements from Tumblr and Google to keep some kind of income. When those advertisements were taken away, which Kyle said he never got a reason for, the amount of money and hours he was spending on the site on top of a full-time job was too much to keep up with.
Although Chrys isn’t spending any money to keep her Tumblr going, she said she’s feeling the burn of how much work goes into making the memes. Chrys loves making art and memes for her Tumblr account, which is why she’ll focus on other shows while Game of Thrones is off the air, but she’s ready for some downtime, too.
“I'm currently doing Westworld and thinking of adding another show since new seasons for both shows seem so far away,” Chrys said.
The biggest question Chrys is facing is what’s next after Game of Thrones comes to an end once and for all. After the eighth season, which may not premiere until 2019, there won’t be any Game of Thrones content until HBO debuts the spinoff series executives are looking into. Chrys knows that the loss of Game of Thrones will be a big one, but she’s excited for the possibility of closing the chapter on a successful part of her career and moving forward.
“Maybe I'll continue with one of the proposed Game of Thrones spin-offs, maybe I'll do something completely different, maybe I'll retire,” Chrys said. “Only time will tell.”