Spoiler alert: The following post contains spoilers about the August 27 episode of Game of Thrones. Read at your own risk.
And, with the conclusion of the seventh season of Game of Thrones, we can now definitively say that "Bend the knee" is the new "You know nothing, Jon Snow." It's both the sexual innuendo of the summer, and the catch-all phrase for every type of submission or admission.
The phrase, first immortalized in season seven e episode three when Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke) wanted Jon Snow (Kit Harington) to "bend the knee," refers to the act of pledging fealty. But, you know, it's more than that.
"So I assume, my lord, you are here to bend the knee?" Daenerys said when Jon first arrived at Dragonstone. She was talking about military alliances, but her eyebrows suggested otherwise.
Given their inevitable sexual attraction, the phrase took on new life. It was no longer just about loyalty. It was about getting funky. The pants dance. The down-south dirty dirge. Jon Snow and Daenerys had feelings for each other from the beginning; this much was evident from the moment they met. It helped that theories about the two ran amok on the internet before the season even began, and that both Kit Harington and Emilia Clarke are unavoidably hot.
Then, on top of all the sexual innuendo, there was the fact that it was just a silly phrase. "Bend the knee" — a basic movement that most people do everyday — suddenly carried a great degree of weight.
The first famous "Bend the knee" was the prank call meme.
Then, there were the Dany-as-petulant-child memes.
Even Emilia Clarke joined in the fun, sharing a photo of herself with Harington with the caption, "Now if he'd only bend the bloody knee there'll be no problems.."
Finally, when Jon Snow actually bent the knee and got naked with Daenerys, there were the bedroom memes.
Now, it seems, the phrase has officially entered pop culture vernacular. A recent interview with the comedian Kathy Griffin bears the headline: "@kathygriffin lost jobs, money, and friends over her Trump image. But she refuses to bend the knee."
Season seven of Game of Thrones is over, and we might not get another season until 2019, but "bend the knee" endures — call it the "69" of the Game of Thrones vernacular.
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