OSRS memes: the “Gnome Child” meme explained

gnome child, osrs grand tree, maenmiu logo

Old School RuneScape’s gnome child meme is everywhere. Whether you’re a new player or vet who came across the gnome child, you might wonder how it all started and why this simple, yet expressive OSRS image has reached this level of popularity, to the extent that some players even got gnome child tattoos. It all started on June 21st 2013, so for once I’m scheduling the publishing of this blogpost for June 21st as well and it will make more sense further down the line.

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In game consistency

Gnomes are one of the many races in OSRS and the gnome children come in three varieties: lime green or normal, blue, and green. This is relevant because each variety has their own set of possible dialogues and the whole gnome child meme started because of one of these dialogues, but more about that later. Another important thing to note is that while J-mods have changed the appearance of various NPCs in OSRS over the years, the gnome child is one of those NPCs that kept their appearance intact for over 20 years, with the current look having been in the game since 29 March 2004, according to the wiki.

Gnome child dialogues

As with many of the NPCs in OSRS, you have the option to have a chat with the gnome children. These dialogues often have a humorous layer, but their main goal is to communicate the game lore. Each variety of the gnome child has 12-13 different dialogues you can randomly get to read in game by interacting with them. You can find a full list of the transcripts on the wiki. The dialogue that stood at the basis of this meme is Conversation 13 from the normal (lime green) gnome child variety:

“Conversation 13

  • Player: Hello.
  • Player: What are you doing?
  • Gnome child: I’m making wine out of raisins.
  • Player: Why?
  • Gnome child: So I don’t have to wait for it to age.
  • Gnome child: Hee hee!
  • (End of dialogue)

The spark

The Spark that started this meme dates back to 11 years ago when on June 21st 2013, a player posted a screenshot on 4chan. The screenshot was one of one line of this dialogue, “I’m making wine out of raisins”, and they title their post “Gnomes are horrible parents”. They later posted on reddit, explaining the origin. The scaper’s humorous criticism about the gnome parents allowing their child to be anywhere near alcohol together with the extremely expressive figure of the gnome child in the respective screenshot was enough to be the spark that started the meme.

Initial response

The initial response to their post was from another player who took interest in the innocent and excited, but also mischievous expression that was captured on the gnome’s child face in the dialogue box when talking about the wine. This scaper enlarged the face of the gnome child to a 3123x4000px image to use that as a reply, but little did they know that their reply will end up being copied again and again by scapers all around the world and would become one of the most well known OSRS memes.

I love gnomes

While the image was used at a small scale on 4chan where it was occasionally posted, exactly one year later from the original spark, on June 21st 2014, the image was re-posted on reddit under the title “I love gnomes” , on the 2007scape reddit, where it gained so much popularity that only three days after the post was made even one of the J-mods at the time, Mod Ronan, commented on the post and said “TYBG Thank you based gnome” reinventing a very common gaming abbreviation at the time, TYBG, which stands for “Thank you based god”.

Further use

The image was then used in various other contexts, cropped, modified, photoshoped, used in youtube videos, with added text, or no added text, and it even made it to the official OSRS merch store, not ro mention to players’ skin as tattoos. There are currently over 155 thousand results on a simple google search for the gnome child osrs meme, not sure how this post is gonna rank with all those results, but back to the gnome child meme (putting one more there for the searches), it’s been used again and again and we’ll probably never stop since one image is worth millions of words and it’s an extremely expressive image which can fit just as many context

Further read