If you are not a fantasy fiction fanboy, or the Facebook acquaintance of such, you may have missed the epic battle of fantasy worlds that occurred last week at Suvudu.com. Thanks to a fellow fanboy and an apathetic Friday afternoon (more like Monday morning) full of Hulu, Starcraft 2 and Keeping Up With the Facebookians, I followed the shared link that came with an urgent, “Go now, Rand’s life depends on it!” Admittedly, it took me a few moments to understand all the fuss...I mean, Rand al’Thor was pitted against some guy named Locke Lamora. Not so urgent after all, Jason. As the Cage Match of popular fantasy heroes continued week to week, I kept an eye towards the results, believing with the certainty borne of decades of theory-making that Rand al’Thor would survive to fight the Dark One at the Last Battle.
It took a few rounds of the Suvudu Cage Match for me to recognize the necessity of fan freaks such as myself when it comes to epic fan pride smack-downs. How else can Raistlin’s loss to Dumbledore, Gandalf’s loss to Roland and Hermoine Granger’s loss to Jaime Lannister be explained? Exactly. Fans. In reality, the Suvudu Cage Match was fan vs. fan. And that’s how I found out that George R. R. Martin is the Dark One.
What? George R. R. Martin is the Dark One? Yup. Although he is a bit cuddlier looking than I had ever imagined him over the last twenty years as a Wheel of Time reader (all of that capitalization makes so much more sense now!). Anyway, this ominous conclusion was not clear until the final round of the cage match when Jaime Lannister was pitted against Rand al’Thor. Then, I knew. The facts: who is more Forsaken than the Lannister family? No one. And how about that wildfire created by the Alchemists Guild and subsequently used by Suvudu to explain the likelihood of Rand losing to Jaime? I guess we know what Aginor was up to while he was trapped in the Bore. Case closed. George R. R. Martin is the Dark One.
Was this a fair fight, fan vs. fan? Nope. The gods spoke, albeit through a prophet of sorts. It went something like this: Jaime’s god spoke, to which Randland’s prophet responded. Not at a loss for words, Jaime’s god threw the gauntlet down in such amazing clarity of purpose I could feel Tel’aran’rhiod changing around me into something...darker, twisted. Why does the word “Tyrion” come to mind? In fact, the cage match seemed to change in tune with this new dark vision from the Great Lord of the...Westeros (a much more catchy name than “Dark One’s prison”). It was as though the Bore had enveloped the Suvudu.com web servers, allowing the Dark One to warp reality itself. A wordy way, for those unfamiliar with the Wheel of Time, to say that Rand al’Thor was losing. Inconceivable! After bedazzling those brooding brutes with balefire in previous rounds of the cage match, somehow Rand was losing to a swordsman who had lost his own sword hand...yes, it was like Rand fighting himself circa The Eye of the World, when Rand knew very little about using a sword and nothing about channeling the One Power. Yet, he was losing. He was losing to a god.
Warning: Hard-Core Fan Freak in me about to come out...
It was in those final hours of the cage match last Sunday evening, as each refresh of my browser vanquished hope, that I understood why the Wheel wove so many friends and talents and powers into the Pattern in preparation for the Last Battle. Alone, Rand al’Thor could not defeat a god. The Dragon Reborn, while powerful, is no match for the combined will of the Dark One, the Forsaken and the inhabitants of the Dark One’s “Prison,” which some refer to as Westeros. Instead, as the warped web servers spit out the lopsided signs of victory for Jaime Lannister, Rand needed every last friend of the Light to save the world and the Wheel (and, well, our fanboy pride). There was sweet satisfaction in Rand’s win over Jaime Lannister. It happened in the final hour of a week long slug-fest and it was beautiful. In fact, Randland’s prophet had one more thing to say after the competition ended.
Farewell Great Lord of Westeros
I part with this final thought to all of the fan combatants of this year’s Suvudu Cage Match: it is futile to fight against the Will of the Wheel...at least until the next Turning.
Image via ImageShack.
“Graendal wasn’t in Caemlyn!” -Tamyrlin
Matt is the Creator, Lord of the Board, Benevolent Dictator and all around Hardest Working Lazy-Ass of Theoryland.com. Don’t miss him in all of his Asmodeanite glory at JordanCon next week (April 23-25) in Atlanta. Of course, there are much better reasons to be there, such as Brandon Sanderson, David Wong, Lana G. Oliver and tons of fellow fan freaks.