Cage Match 2010: We Have a Winner!


You know the little kid on the trike in The Incredibles? After they beat Syndrome? How he just stares at them standing in the force field, until he finally explodes “That was totally wicked!”

Well, I think that pretty much sums up my experience with Cage Match 2010.

Now I’m pretty lucky–I have a super-fun job that I wouldn’t trade for the world. And yet, as great as it has been so far, I’m not sure anything will compare to this last month for me. While we were pretty sure people would be interested in this endeavor, I don’t think anyone here expected the kind of response we got. To put some of the numbers into perspective, let me repeat something I said in a presentation we did about Cage Match this past week to other people in Random House: Before Cage Match, I was happy to get one comment on a post I did for Unbound Worlds.

In the final match alone, we had over 1300 comments.

I might be sounding like a broken record at this point, but, seriously: you guys and gals rock!

With over 30,000 votes cast, the margin of victory was only 180 votes. Statistically, that’s a virtual dead heat, a percentage point win.

It came down to the wire, and we couldn’t have been more excited.

To start off, though, it seems like the Consolation Match between Kvothe and Drizzt was pretty fun for everyone–especially the fan-written scenario contest. Once again, congrats to Nathaniel Bokenkamp for his great story–his prediction of Kvothe winning was spot-on with the voting, as Kvothe walked away with the bronze.

Granted, there really isn’t a bronze–there’s only one winner in Cage Match, and “consolation” is basically a cheeky euphemism.

Which is why, ultimately, Jaime Lannister didn’t so much “win” the silver as he was defeated–despite another excellent write up from George R.R. Martin–thanks George!

But this wasn’t about defeat. Rather, it was about triumph, which is exactly what our champion, Rand al’Thor did–he came into the Cage Match and pretty much stormed through, facing his only real competition in the form of Jaime Lannister (who, let’s face it, needed the help of his brother pretty much every step of the way).

Obviously we were delighted when Brandon Sanderson decided to step up and lay out a our-point plan about how wrong we were (and why Rand would win), echoing and bolstering the multitude of Wheel of Time fans who cried foul at our portrayal of their hero. I like to think that riling up the fans was one of the reasons they came out to vote in such numbers. So…you’re welcome! I think the lesson for me, then, was that if you play with balefire, you’re going to get burned.

(Sorry–couldn’t resist).


No, in all seriousness, Rand was probably the most logical champion in this match when I look back. The combination of awesome magical ability plus legitimate skill with a sword were the necessary ingredients for what it would take to win against these other characters. Fan-voting aside, he’s one of the most logical choices to be able to take on and defeat the myriad powers present in the likes of Cthulhu, the Shrike, Kvothe, Gandalf, and, of course, Arthur Dent.

So congratulations to Rand, and to all the Wheel of Time fans who clearly cared deeply about Jordan’s books and his character. I hope you all had fun.

The gods know I did!

Also–don’t forget to check out our final video recap.