You asked for it, and now you got it. Today is the day the oft-requested Winter-Is-Coming.net Merchandise site officially launches! We hope to one day stock it full of awesome tees, polos, hoodies and whatever else you guys might request. But we are starting off small with only one shirt, but it is one many of you have been waiting for… the official Always Support the Bottom t-shirt!
The shirt is now available for pre-order. We will be shipping them out in late September. Pre-order now to be one of the first to receive this tee! (Note: We plan to have a limited number of tees for sale at TitanCon. If you are headed there and would like to pickup your pre-ordered shirt at the convention instead of having it shipped, just shoot us an email after ordering to let us know.)
The AStB tee was designed by We Do Not Sow, our new viewer recapper. In addition to being a huge Game of Thrones fan, he is also a graphic designer and will be launching his own t-shirt line, Monstros, in November. Big thanks to him for all his help and hard work!
And for those who may be wondering what Always Support the Bottom means, head past the jump and I will educate you…
Always Support the Bottom. You may have seen this phrase, or variations of it, in some of our posts and comments and wondered what the hell it means and where it comes from. Well gather around, dear readers, as I will tell you the tale…
Before Game of Thrones was the huge hit it is today, HBO saw fit to build some buzz for their new show and contracted a marketing company called Campfire to concoct an elaborate marketing scheme. Campfire came up with something called The Maester’s Path and it entailed a set of weekly challenges based around one of the five senses that, when completed, would unlock a new video snippet from the show. The campaign kicked off when HBO and Campfire sent out dozens of “scent boxes” which contained vials of different scents, along with numerous scrolls and a map of Westeros. I was one of those lucky enough to receive one of the boxes. Now at the time we weren’t entirely sure what The Maester’s Path entailed; so after checking out the scents and reading the scrolls, I went about searching the box for some hidden clues. It seemed there was more to it than meets the eye.
After hours of searching the text of the scrolls and checking the box for any hidden compartments, I was about to give up when my eyes happened to land on a small part of the back of the map. On it I saw some very faint, but very distinct, lettering. It was impossible to make out exactly what it said with the naked eye. I tried everything I could to make it appear, using a black light, and even a bit of lemon juice in the hopes it was some sort of “invisible ink”. But nothing worked. I took a hi-res photo of the lettering and posted it on the site, with the hope one of our readers could figure it out. It didn’t take long before someone ran the photo through some Photoshop filters and we were able to make out what the letters spelled… ALWAYS SUPPORT THE BOTTOM.
This set-off some wild speculation into what this clue could mean. Did the box have a secret compartment in the bottom? No. Was there something on the bottom of the map or scrolls or vials that was a further clue? Nope. Maybe the clue would direct us to some website? Nada. Finally Steve Coulson, marketing director of Campfire, stepped in and put our crazy speculation to rest. Always Support the Bottom didn’t mean anything. My map was the only one to contain the mysterious lettering. It was just some sort of cosmetic error. No one knows for sure exactly how the lettering got on there, but we have a guess. Whatever liquid was used to give the parchment an aged look was stored in one of these containers. Notice the lettering on the bottom? The common theory is that my map was on the bottom of the pile of maps placed into this container to soak and because of that the raised lettering on the bottom of the pan lightly transferred onto the back of my map.
But the story doesn’t stop there. All of our readers found this quite comical, as you can imagine. Our obsession had reached new heights and when our “big discovery” turned out to be nothing but a manufacturing defect, we all had a good laugh at ourselves. Somebody suggested that “Always Support the Bottom” should become our house motto, as a symbol of our undying fanaticism for this show. The catchphrase quickly caught on. We even adopted Gatewatch as our house name. (“Gates” being our name for any sort of controversy about the show that gets blown way out of proportion by our passionate readers, i.e. Chairgate, Fake-snowgate, Costumegate, Nosegate, Ghost-barkedgate, etc. The “-gate” suffix comes from the Watergate scandal that forced President Nixon to resign and is used nowadays by US mainstream media to denote any sort of on-going controversy.) Our castle was Castle Wyknett and I was declared Lord Winter, Warden of the Web.
Soon the phrase started popping up around the web, in web comics and Tumblr gifs. Campfire took things one step further when they incorporated the phrase “always support the bottom” into one of the later Maester’s Path puzzles, as a nod to our site. At that point, the legend of “Always Support the Bottom” was cemented.
Today you are most likely to see the phrase used as a verb. “Supporting the bottom” has come to denote anyone who does something to assist the fandom (getting set photos, asking Martin a burning question at a book signing, etc.). Our loyal readers may be called “bottom supporters”. And some commenters still like to end their posts with an AStB or Always Support the Bottom! signature.
So Always Support the Bottom is here to stay. And we have made it even more official with the release of our AStB t-shirt!