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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
NOTE: THIS MATCH ENDS ON THURSDAY, MARCH 17TH, 2011, AT 5 PM, ET
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