Apr 16 2010 6:41pm

George R. R. Martin is the Dark One? Musings on the Suvudu Cage Match 2010 and How Rand al’Thor Defeated a God

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 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 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 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 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.

Alice Arneson
2. Wetlandernw
LOL! Well written. :) I've never ever participated in something like that before, so I lazily watched as fans kept us updated on Leigh's reread. But then, as it was coming down to the last days, and Rand was losing, I couldn't let it go without a fight. So I voted, and started borrowing other people's computers to vote on their behalf if they were too apathetic to defend the Light themselves. (I couldn't believe myself, the way I kept checking the statistics those last hours.)

Go Light!
3. Kaen
I gave up on that thing as soon as Dumbledore beat Vlad Taltos. A bad ass assassin with a weapon called Godslayer lost to a damn kids-novel-third-rate-Merlin because of fanboy voting.
4. Freelancer
Give Patrick Rothfuss one more volume of The Kingkiller Chronicles, and Kvothe will make the finals, where it will be interesting to see how Rand defeats him.

Wetlandernw, I see you found a way to "acquire" more than one IP after all.
Sharon E.
5. Sulin
Great write-up! I followed Rand's progress through the matches closely myself. I sent out emails, tweets and FB updates begging my contacts to go vote in favor of the Dragon Reborn. I'm really glad us fanboys/girls pulled through for Rand. No way could he lose to that Lannister!
Linda Taglieri
6. Linda
Naming the Dark One, Matt? Is that wise? :D
Tess Laird
7. thewindrose
Yes, it was scary how close the match became at the end, with Rand even behind a few times. Although I was always in the Rand camp, I couldn't help but admire what GRRM wrote for the final match:)

Lironah Wulfe
8. Lironah
Sorry Matt, but I think the hard core fan freak in you came out way before the warning. ;)

Go Rand! I knew you wouldn't lose so soon before Tarmon Gai'don.

And while I'm here, I might as well say: Graendal did it, and Taim is really Moridin.
Irene Gallo
9. Irene
I have to corporate pride kicked in when it was looking close. I voted from work. And home. And may have pressured a friend or two.
Gabriele Campbell
10. G-Campbell
Cheaters. ;) Next time I'll walk my father through the English stuff via phone so he can vote for Jaime. :P
Matt Hatch
11. Tamyrlin
@Linda - I did, didn't I! :)

@Lironah - Good point...I mean, hey! I'd say that I resented that remark, but I don't.
Maggie M
12. Eswana
Awesome recap Matt. Voted from work, from home, from my phone, my sisters' computer.... yeah, a little ridiculous!

But go Light!

And @Freelancer, I agree, Kvothe will be so badass by the end of The Wise Man's Fear I'm not even sure I'd vote for Rand over him. I mean, I love Rand, but Kvothe *sings.* swoon. :-)
13. Ww70
I enjoyed the whole spectecal but found it a little cutthroat for light hearted fun

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