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“When Gotham is ashes, you have my permission to die” is a quote from the 2012 superhero action film The Dark Knight Rises uttered by the primary antagonist, Bane. Shortly after the film’s release in July 2012, the quote soon emerged as one of the more memorable lines and evolved into a snowclone, spawning variations based on the phrasal templates “You have my permission to X” or “When Y, you have my permission to die.”
The line was first introduced in the theatrical trailer for The Dark Knight Rises that ran before IMAX screenings of Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol. Upon the global release of the film on July 19th, 2012, it was met by critical acclaims and positive box office sales, in spite of the tragic massacre that unfolded at a theater in Aurora, Colorado during a midnight screening of the film.
In the following weeks of July, various image macros and photoshopped images featuring The Dark Knight references began to emerge on Reddit and Tumblr. The Facebook fan page titled after Bain’s quote was created by Craig Harrison on December 19th, 2011, but it remained inactive until after the film’s release on July 24th, 2012.
The movie’s villain character Bane (played by Tom Hardy) proved to be especially popular on the Internet and became the main subject of photoshopped parodies and fan-made image macros surrounding the film. One of the first notable instances to arise from The Dark Knight Rises fanart was an image macro titled “Bane Kitty,” (shown below) featuring a picture of an adorable-looking kitten wearing Bane’s mask and the LOLcat caption which read “When Gotham Iz Ashez, U Haz My Purmishun 2 Die.” Throughout the fourth week of July 2012, the “Bane Kitty” image rapidly made its way across Tumblr, Reddit and FunnyJunk.
Other image macro variations of the snowclones “When Gotham is ashes, you have my permission to X” and “When Y, you have my permission to die” continued to surface on Reddit, as well as internet humor blogs FunnyJunk and Cheezburger among others.