Cage Match 2011: Beowulf versus Jon Snow


The Contestants


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Jon Snow.jpg

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Hero of the Geats
Age: Mid-20s
Race: Human
Weapons / Artifacts: Hrunting (magical sword)
Tearing off your arm (possibly a forerunner for Wookiees?)

Jon Snow
Lord Commander of the Night Watch
Age: Late-teens
Race: Human
Weapons / Artifacts: Hand-and-a-Half Valyrian steel sword
His albino direwolf rips your throat out

The Breakdown


  • Extreme prowess as a fighter
  • A cunning strategist
  • Leader of men

  • A skilled warrior
  • Commitment to honor and duty–all around good guy
  • Has a friggin’ direwolf

  • What did he say?

  • He’s a bastard…no, seriously.

  • Arlen
    His re-ward was death…

How we think the fight will go

So. Hygelac’s kin, Beowulf of the Geats, with company
Of comrades battle-tested and loyal,
Trod fast beyond frozen fens and beaches
Southward from beyond the Northwall’s reach.

The wood it was quiet, the soldiers’ feet
Made soft noise in snowy trails overgrown;
Their bright mail shifting, the metallic creaks
Dull warning through the woodlands miles around.
Beowulf, son of Ecgtheow, at the head of the band,
Rings of gold and great sword Hrunting in tow.

The watchmen were out, searching wood-beyond-wall,
Some companions feared taken by wildling, or worse.
Ghost, the dread wolf, was the first to alert, silently
Beckoned his master Jon Snow to the disturbance.
The young Lord Commander went ahead alone,
He came upon the strange thanes not far by.

Wild in dress and in look, but in bearing more
A real Lord seemed the leader. Men of great stature,
Well-fed and equipped, no false Rayder and cronies were these.
Lord Snow bade Ghost stand by with a hand,
Drew Longclaw and emerged from wood’s cover
To stand in the path of the great Geat King.

They spoke not a word, Commander nor Thane.
Steel does the speaking, north of the wall. Snow, black all over
Aside from his face, worn with weariness, pale with youth.
Snow’s Valyrian sword seemed to hum in cold-bitten air,
While Beowulf, no stranger to the wastes of north lands,
Unsheathed Hrunting with its own deadly tone.

Challenged by foe so young but so bold, sorrow crept
To the Geat King’s noble heart. The two shining blades
Met one to one, blows ringing sharp through frozen air.
The struggle, it is said, could be heard as far as the wall.

Strike after strike the young Watchman held,
But Beowulf—slayer of demons—prevailed. Longclaw
Was loosed from Snow’s hand by a blow from
Pommel to pommel the son of Ecgtheow bestowed.

Disarmed, young Lord Snow looked sidelong to the wood.
He’d not risk his Direwolf falling upon
Hrunting’s blade while he lived.
Making sign to his secret companion to Stay,
Snow looked to his opponent, now in amazement.

Beowulf, hero of Heorot, stood, blade laid aside.
He’d defeated Hell’s minion without weapons’ aid,
Let the boy come to him, arm against arm.
Warily Snow accepted the challenge, circling his foe.
The Geat held nearly still, watching and poised.

Twice the boy swung, once landed a blow, but
Beowulf’s arm had the strength of dozens. With sadness
He must end battle so soon, the hero moved swift
Threw Snow without pause, to the ground, to the rock
Where his skull found its foe. The Lord Commander
Made not a wince, no single cry of pain, just the crack
Of bone against stone and the slow seep of life’s blood
Onto the Snow.

Turning back to his men, face ruefully set, Beowulf
Felt no honor, no renown in this deed. A young warrior
Felled in a wood, hardly a tale for mead hall or minstrel.
Glancing the faces of his companions, at first
It seemed their horror mirrored his grief.
But ‘twas fear, not sorrow, that so moved the Geats.

Ghost, moved stealth, silent as ever, but lupine fury
Charged the very air. The thanes were barely able to move
As the beast charged their leader, eyes fiery death.
To arms they at last sprang as the wolf spilled the blood
Of the warrior none of Cain’s brood could conquer.

Bitten, not beaten, Beowulf emerged. The fray
Left him bloodied and wary the more.
Ghost, now sword-pierced, lay down by his master
And left the world silently as ever he lived.

The Geat leader surveyed the scene with dismay.
His men, he ordered two biers be built.
To return to Geatland was their primary aim,
But first, to do honor to worthy fallen foes.

Predicted Winner: Beowulf


Check out the previous match!

Check out the next match!

Check out the Bracket

Beowulf is a character from one of the oldest fantasy stories in history; Jon Snow is a character from the A Song of Ice and Fire series by George R.R. Martin.

Beowulf image courtesy of Ubisoft. Jon Snow image courtesy of Michael Komarck.

Hope Ewing contributed to this Cage Match

  • Eric

    This march should serve as the perfect barometer of the fanboy bonus in these cage matches. Beowulf has essentially no fan base, and in fact comes from a story that many in middle school were forced to read against their will. Jon snow comes from one of the most popular modern fantasy series, with a legion of fans who have been informed of this battle by the series’ author himself.

    Under any reasonable logic, the battle should turn out similar in result to that in the (very well written) poetic verse above. Now we shall see if logic matters in the slightest…

  • dpomerico

    You read Beowulf in middle school? That must have been a really good school! Haha.

  • phantompoet1314

    Ummmm yeah…. dont see how Beowulf is gonna win this one… Jon is a warg, he is just not as good as Bran yet… he could be, he could easily practice with the dreams and slipping in and out of Ghost like Bran does with Summer before the match… no, I think Jon will win this and if not we know the thing is rigged, I HATED reading Beowulf in middle school… with a passion, I mean The Iliad and The Odessy were great but Beowulf … blegh!
    “You know nothing, Suvudu…. “

  • OhNo!GRRMFanBoysWillRuinThis!

    Yeah! Another part of the Cage Fight ruined by Fanboys. Oh joy! Snow would not beat Beowulf!

  • trench

    I will never understand people who take these matches seriously. Thats about the saddest and lamest thing I have ever seen, and I have seen some seriously lame stuff in my time.

    Keep on hateing haters and will just keep on rolling to victory.

  • Dunno

    I am loving these write-ups for Beowulf. I know he has no chance of winning (even if by some miracle all the ASOIAF fans snooze through this round, there’s no way he’s going to beat Sanderson’s Angels), but he’s still pretty awesome.

    My vote goes to Beowulf.

  • Fastitocalon

    Jon Snow: Driven/distracted by emotions, very human…
    Beowulf (of the Old English epic poem, not film/graphic novel/any other adaptation): Steeled, calm, commanding…

    I think the fight would likely go as above. And yes, “we shall see if logic matters in the slightest…”

  • OhNo!GRRMFanBoysWillRuinThis!

    You spelled hating wrong. That in of itself is sad and lame…..

  • trench



  • Gemini

    Have to say, that’s one hell of a write-up. Very well written.

  • I, too, had a bad experience with reading (the Norton Anthology) Beowulf in college, but recently picked up the Seamus Heaney (illustrated!) translation and it was sooo goood! I’d especially recommend his audio version. Anglo Saxon poetry in an Irish accent? Yes pls.

  • Beren

    What? Seamus Heaney’s translation is awful. He includes a variety of anachronistic words/phrases and completely butchers the ambiguity that appears in the Old English lines. If you really want to read Beowulf, you really need to read it in Old English, reading it in translation can’t compare to actually being able to recite it in the original.

  • For the quality of these writeups, the vote goes to beowulf

  • MAB77

    I too vote for Beowulf, not because of the write-up though. Having read both stories, I do believe Beowulf to be a much better warrior than Jon Snow and Ghost combined.

    Yet awesome as this write-up is, it is biased to vote solely on it because we are not presented with a second write-up on how Jon Snow could be the winner. Sci-Fi and Fantasy have routinely given us heroes winning over overwhelming and seemingly impossible odds, so technically speaking anyone has a chance to win against anyone else (even Jaime vs Chtullhu if the stars align).

    Consider as well that the chances are that no one has ever read all the novels featuring all the 32 contestants, so of course people will vote for the characters they know and love. Having both point of views would give a better perspective into who each contestants are and what they can do.

    As such, I suggest to the good people of Suvudu for future cage match tournaments that there should always be 2 write-ups per battle. Each contestant would have his winning story. Votes could be for the best write-up.

    It would likely not eliminate the fanboy factor, but it is a step toward reducing it.

  • AHEM

    An excellent write up, and very accurate to how it would actually go.

    A pity that Beowulf is going to lose this one to further fanboy stupidity. If anyone deserves to win against Jon Snow, its Beowulf.

  • MrIzzy

    I was against Beowulf in his fight against Arlen, but Jon Snow doesn’t stand a chance. I’m a HUGE SoIaF fan, but I’m kinda disgusted by Snow winning. the blatant disregard for the actual match-ups is just sad. And for those “Don’t take it so seriously” people, if you don’t care, then don’t vote!

  • OhNo!GRRMFanBoysWillRuinThis!

    I agree 100%
    Well said! Some people just disregard the match-ups and won’t even put why they voted that way except to say it is because they “like them.” Ugh…..

  • Lepus

    Awesome fight. I’m actually strangely okay with Snow beating Beowulf. They really are cut from the same cloth and I think someone like Snow, who has no weapons beyond what Beowulf himself has, is a quality opponent.

    Regardless, I’m voting for the king, of course. He would kick the stuffing out of the poor kid.

  • Jonathan

    @ MAB77
    I completely agree with having write-ups for each character’s victory, although it may end up being a lot of writing for the writers of these. It’s hard to have an objective tournament (other than all the fans competing and arguing, no matter who the opponent might be), when the written form of the match will influence readers, making it seem as if this is THE way it should go. (Although I wouldn’t be surprised of GRRM makes a post to argue John Snow’s side at some point…).
    If there’s a way to give both versions of the fight, without one of the original authors having to step in and do it themselves, then it would make the Cage Matches so much better (but definitely keep letting the authors write their own versions anyway).

  • AHEM


    I’m glad to see that there are still aSoIaF fans who aren’t rabid fanboys. I read and enjoyed the series myself, but I can’t stand to go anywhere near the majority of the fans, and the fanboyism for these characters is shameful.

  • Dandin Storm

    Haters gonna hate. All of you who read Beowulf and didn’t like it are in the above category

  • Dan

    I count myself an ultimate fanboy of GRRM.


    There is no way in HELL that Snow, the rest of the Starks AND all the direwolves could take on Beowulf alone. Put Snow on TOP of The Wall, with a hundred men and catapults and Beowulf would scale that icy wall, blade in teeth, tear the limbs from every man there, tear Ghost in half and then beat the shit out of Snow for being such a dick and making him climb so high. The man has destroyed Giants and Sea Serpents, Grendel with his BARE HANDS and even a dragon!

    Great write-up! Beowulf gets my vote!

    Can’t wait for Game of Thrones on HBO!

  • Stan

    @Dan Remember that dragon was the death of him though. I think if anything it would be a battle where both combatants lay dead. I find it hard to believe Jon would tell Ghost not to interfere. I don’t see how anyone could defend against both a decent swordsmen and a huge Dire Wolf. But I guess that’s just me, and admittedly I have a bit of a bias here. Gonna be tough later on picking between Sanderson, Jordan(which can be considered Sanderson as well), GRRM, and Hunger Games.

  • dpomerico

    Hey all:

    We know you’re going to argue–in fact, we encourage it. But if you start using foul language, we’re going to shut down the comments.

    So let’s keep it civil.


  • Sharp the sword, bitter its strokes,
    a rich spoil, spell-forged,
    a stark blade, a Stark’s blade
    though Snow they name him, son of Winter.
    Neither Hrunting nor Naegling,
    nor even Nothung that Nidhogg fears,
    that Nagga would never face,
    could stay that sword’s bite.
    What hope has the Geatish hero,
    against such a blade, against such blows?

    And never forget — no man should — another
    who fights in the field, a fierce beast,
    dread and dangerous, the direwolf,
    Ghost of the gnashing teeth, great-hearted,
    a weird creature, a wonder, a warrior’s friend.
    What hope has the Geatish hero,
    against such a beast, against such bites?

  • Jeff

    Sorry GRRM: this is the kind of match that can get me to break ranks. It’s BEOWULF after all–he can kill a dragon even when he’s old (yeah, yeah, he dies, but he’s OLD). Can Jon kill a dragon? Not that I’ve seen . . . yet.

  • Jon

    I have been waiting forever for the next Beowulf novel!

  • dead troll

    I am a huge Song of Ice and fire fan, but there is no way that John snow could beat Beowulf. Maybe if GRRM setup one of those duel of sevens and Beowulf chose to come alone. Physically he is no match for Beowulf. Beowulf ripped Grendal’s arms off. Grendal would kill every man on the night watch in one evenings work. Imagine the damage Beowulf would do to Snow and his Dire wolf, and unlike Jamie, Snow does not have Tyrion to help him.

  • Jason

    I voted for Beowulf, despite loving ASOIAF.

    However, there is a way to view the Beowulf story that shows he is not so far ahead of Jon Snow (though he would still win this fight, even with my view).

    Beowulf as a story shouldn’t be read as the literal deeds of Beowulf, but as the heroic drinking song or legend that was written about a great warrior. Everything is exaggerated in Beowulf, and I think that is the point. He was the best warrior in the world at the time he lived, but could he really do the things the songs tell of him? No, I don’t think so.

    That being said, though Jon is a skilled swordsman and Ghost is badass, I think there are lone warriors in the world of ASOIAF who could take them both on, and Beowulf would stack up with any of those warriors, perhaps besting them.

  • the_warder

    Like someone else said, I can’t wait for the final between Jon Snow and Perrin Aybarra, including hopefully some excellent write-ups from GRRM and Sanderson.

    Come on!!! Beowulf would technically own this one, but this contest is like the MTV Movie Awards where Twilight wins, and not the Oscars where The King’s Speech wins. “Realistically” this contest should be won by somebody like Vin or Pug (or maybe Quick Ben).

  • etranger

    Beowulf would win against Ghost or Jon.

    Would a non-supernatural low-tech warrior without magic defeat them both at the same time however?

    While I think it’s possible for Beowulf to win this, the more likely outcome is Jon and Ghost winning.

  • Jlingo

    \but this contest is like the MTV Movie Awards where Twilight wins\ But dude, Twilight $ucks. Wouldn’t you rather have a contest where fans debate about the outcome and can vote logically on a deserving winner instead of a Twilight like outcome?

  • Torch


    Are you implying that this is a contest where fans ‘vote logically on a deserving winner’? REALLY?
    The majority of fans vote for their favorite character. Final. Same as Twilight.

  • Jlingo

    I thought it was evident what I was implying but allow me to retort. This is a contest where fans “should” vote logically and unbiased. Otherwise why not simply have a picture up of the character and the name and just tally votes. Are you saying why even have a Cage Fight at all?

  • Gordon Fremen

    I will preface this by saying that I am a HUGE GRRM fan. Like unreal huge. Like Cthulhu-sized huge. I’m generally the guy who’s going “lol all you crazy people, it’s a popularity contest” (and I have no doubt that I will argue the same way when Jon is up against some other clown), and in that respect, Torch is correct. But god damn it.

    Much as I love Jon Snow (though he’s one of my least favorite POV characters in the series, even behind Sansa), I love Beowulf even more. And that’s that. He’s stonger and harder and meaner and way more awesome in every respect, but I’mvoting for Beowulf because I want to see Beowulf continue far more than I want to see Jon continue. His matches will be more interesting and there will be fewer comments because ASOIAF fanboys like me won’t be trying to justify their positions against deluded assholes who actually think anyone is voting based on objective notions of strength or power.

    I gotta vote this one for Beowulf, elsewise my spirited defense of him last round is moot. Beowulf will rip little Jonny Snow to shreds, then feed on the bones. He’ll kick ghost in the teeth then make a snow-white cloak of his pelt.

    And his victory will be ever more poignant because it’s doomed. Just like in the original poem!

  • the_warder

    I don’t like Twilight, but that is my comparison to how suvudu does it with this cage match. Look who got to the final last year. How did Jaime Lannister beat Cthulu? The only way that people would vote “more realistically” after a series of debates and such would be if characters would be closer to each other in terms of powers. So have a contest with only non-magical characters and a separate contest with powerful magical characters. But all this is a lot of wishful thinking on my part.

  • Patrick

    I do find it depressing that so many people treat all these things as ‘vote for your favorite character/series’. It’s not about ‘hating’, it’s about actually using your imagination and having fun imagining match-ups.

    I love GRRM’s books more than about any other fantasy since Tolkien, but I propose banning GRRM’s characters from all future cage match’s, because those fans who treat it as a popularity contest really spoil the fun of it.

  • tsur

    i love ASOIAF., but it has nothing to do woth this!
    jon is a regular warrior with a bit of godly help…
    he kills individuals, actually, he kills weak individuals!
    he was shocked when he first saw a giant….
    what chance does he have against a slayer of satanic devils?!
    one woth power of at least 30 peuple per hand?!
    one that survives a battle witl a deamon quin that melts metal in the bottom of a lake, and then kills her?!
    against a man blessed by the one god that is very real in the story, aspeially relatively to the weak westrosian gods?!
    one that in the sorce was probavly half a god?!
    beowulf is a nordic legand, with magic in his vains(and his sword) wile jon has no magic, no power and bearly valarian steal! if he hit him, he would not even scratch him!
    in westrose no one is as strong as a dragon…beowulf killed a dragon! when he was at least 70 years old!!!
    what is ghost in comperison to a dragon?…
    last year jame had an army to help him, and wildfire, but beowulf has an army too, so even that would not help snow….
    even if beawulf had only had the force of a bear(bee wolf) he would win- and he has much more…
    remember this: you like asoiaf because its realistic, and because it has round and weak characters. this is the reason they would lose.
    asoiaf charachters only wins because they need to lose!
    be loyal to the story,not sentimental twords the charachter!
    have you not had enough last year, when sauron lost the tournement and the mountain got second place?…
    and yes, i voted for lanister against cthulu.
    but he had a chance. peuple, including me, found good reasons for it. HOW, IN THE NAME OF THE ANCIENT GODS, WOULD JON EVEN GET CLOSE TO BEOWULF?!

  • tsur

    where is my connent?><

  • Tim

    @ Patrick if you are going to ban GRRM characters then you should ban the Jordan characters as well for the same reasons.

  • CanStandWoTandGRRMFanboys!!

    @Patrick and Tim
    I second that! A ban of all WoT and GRRM characters in anymore Cage Fights and I move for an immediate removal of Jon Snow and Perrin from this competition!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Boron Vogelfrei

    People, please stop whining about fanboys, after all no one would be here if he wasn´t a fanboy of one kind or another, so the crow calls the raven black in this discussion.

    And the discussion who would or wouldn´t stand a chance against whom is pretty pointless, too. As mentioned bevore by Mab77 everyone of these characters has a chance against everyone else, it all depends on who is writing the story. Every Author could come up with an entertaining, plausible story, how his Character would win this fight (well, they should, anyway)
    Thats the whole point in reading this novelles, to see how your beloved characters stand their ground against incredibel odds. No one wants to read a story about a giant that crushes a group of humans, but a human who defeats a giant, that´s the story we all want to hear. As someone mentioned before, use your imagination, think about who would win, or about how your favourit character would win. If you think someone would win, vote for him, if you think someone would loose, but you really want him to win vote for him anyway, because everything is possible.
    After that, feel free to dicuss your points, but keep in mind, that all of this is only your opinion, there is no universal truth or dictated logic in this matter.

    For this match i have to say, i think this is really a close one. Beowulf and Jon Snow are too close in character and abiltys. Beowulf might be much stronger and more experianced, but Jon is Jounger, most likly more agile and Ghost actually is an undeterminable source of help. He´s no normal wolf an we haven´t seen his bounderies yet, no one knowes, what he could still be holding back (except for GRRM, perhaps).
    Jon clearly is the underdog in this fight, thats why i´d like him to win (and because i am a little Asoiaf-fan myself), but i think ill withold my vote for a while and see if GRRM posts an writeup for this. If he does, i´ll vote for Jon as a tribute to his atempt ti entertain us a little more. If he doesn´t, well i don´t know yet.

  • archon

    @ the_warder

    Actually, if you had the contests between people of relatively equal power, then the fanboys would win every time… the only thing that makes some of these even as close as they are is that everyone who is not a fanboy of the weaker guy and even some of the rational fanboys will vote for the clearly more powerful one if there is an obvious discrepancy… If it’s truly a fairly even match, then ALL of the fanboys will vote for their favorite, and about half of the non-fanboys will vote that way too…

  • archon

    They would never ban charcters from WoT and ASoIaF series… fans of those characters make up the majority of people who visit this site…

    And Baron, that’s a good thought, but it’s not reality… people vote for their favorites whether they are underdogs or heavily favored…

  • Dierks

    I’m sad because I was looking for the matchups in the cage match link and didn’t go through the previous main page entries until this match was over. Granted, my vote wouldnt have mattered, but I will say that though I am a HUGE fan of SOng of Ice and fire, I would have voted for Beowulf. Also, whoever wrote the poem did an amazing job.

  • aaron corbett

    Horse. Shit.
    I love ASIaF as much as anybody but c’mon. Jon’s got a direwolf. Big deal. Beowulf killed Grendel, Grendel’s mom AND a freaking dragon when he was 80+. Sorry kiddo, your watch is going to end.

  • Chalky

    Well this may seem childish but now Perrin’s beaten Paul, I’m pulling for Snow. Screw you WOT, I hate those books!

  • Shadow’sBane

    I M Not gonna Let PERRIN Loose the Cage Matches.
    BITE ME! 3:-)

    Perrin won by such a low Margin becoz we are not able to get in contact with 2/3 of WoT fanbase…
    w8 until the entire WoT fanbase comes at cage match….no one will defeat Perrin.

  • Chalky

    @Shadow’s Bane: Then these are dark days indeed for cage matches :]

  • Nick

    Of course Beowulf is the much better warrior than the 15-16 year old Jon Snow but Jon also has one bad ass direwolf… Ghost. Then again, I believe it would still be a close match… but Jon Snow has many more participating fans to give him victory.

    What I really would of liked to see is Beowulf face Logan Ninefingers, or the Bloody Nine from the Joe Abercrombie’s First Law Trilogy. Now that would of been a fight but alas Ninefingers was doomed from the start from facing Vin and her Mistborn fans…

    A Song of Ice and Fire FTW!!!

  • Daniel

    NOOOOOO not Jon Snow, although i do think its fair to say that Beowulf is the stronger warrior of the two and would have won, no matter what, although i’m not sure about the fist-fight that ended up killing Snow, because he would hvepobaly had dagger concealed somewhere or he would hav made a leap for Longclaw, because surely he must have known that there was no way he could have won against someone of Beowulf size and strength in a brawl

  • Mike

    Really? There’s no way Jon Snow could beat Beowulf, even with Ghost, and I say that as someone who loves the character.

  • Tarun

    This is absolutely stupid. Jon Snow+Ghost even upgraded with warg abilities stands no chance against Beowulf the Dragonslayer. I wish these voters would stop their fanboism. I like Jon Snow better than Beowulf but there is no way he will win a cage fight.