Cage Match 2012: Round 1: Gimli versus Kylar Stern


The Contestants


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Age: Unknown (around 140+)
Race: Dwarf
Weapons / Artifacts: Axe
Throwing axes at your body

Kylar Stern
Age: 20s
Race: Human
Weapons / Artifacts: Knives; throwing spikes; sword…pretty much any weapon
Black ka’kari

The Breakdown


  • Very strong
  • Skilled with an axe
  • Indomitable spirit

  • Powerful Talent (magic)
  • Skilled assassin
  • Has endured much in the way of pain and heartbreak

  • Hot-headed (might be the beard retaining so much heat)

  • Somewhere, deep down, he’s got a bit of a conscience

  • N/A

  • N/A

How we think the fight will go

How Brent Weeks, creator of Kylar Stern, thinks the match will go:

“Hail, Gimli, son of Glóin, son through ages past of Durin Longbeard and the deathless Durins. Nice axe.” The young man delivered the words respectfully, but there was a hint of a smile on his lips. They both ignored the screaming crowds ringing the arena, hungry for blood.

“And what’s your name, boy? Or is that it? I saw in the lists you were, um, listed as ‘Wetboy’. Is that supposed to inspire fear, or laughter?” Gimli asked. He rolled his shoulders and hefted an axe nearly as long as he was tall.

Kylar nodded his head, accepting the insult. He was wearing mottled gray trousers and tunic, with a black weapons harness bristling with knives, throwing spikes, and pouches, but he made no move to draw any weapon. “Truth is, I’m Nameless. Child of the streets, orphan, you know.”

“Ah, secretly a king, though, aren’t you?” Gimli said.


“Ah, be honest. I know a cliché when I see one. Hooded man, shadowy cloak. Go on.” The dwarf’s voice was deep as a mountain lake, and rich as Moria.

“Because you served with a scruffy, hooded stranger in a shadowy cloak who was secretly a king, now we all are?” Kylar asked.

“Arrr!” Gimli charged, axe upraised.

“I see I’m fighting a battle of wits against an unarmed man. Pity.” He rolled his eyes.

But the dwarf was quicker than he expected. Gimli leapt, his battle axe swinging with incredible speed.

Kylar began to get into a fighting stance too late. His eyes widened–

The crowd roared as the axe sliced through him from neck to nuts, shearing him neatly in half. Kylar fell apart, shimmering and dissipating in the air as the illusion crumpled. Gimli fell too, as his full fast swing met no resistance and he had to stop it lest he cut off his own foot. He tumbled headlong.

Kylar appeared to one side and the crowd roared again. With a flourish, Kylar bowed to them, accepting the cheers as his due. Then he turned to the dwarf, who already had his axe back in his hands and was standing up, his nose dribbling a crimson stain into his long beard. “You present me with a dilemma, Gimli son of Glóin.”

“And what’s that, you shifty coward?”

“You’re not a murderer,” Kylar said. He folded his arms, again looking completely unconcerned about the prospect of being attacked. He had the lean build of an acrobat, and next to the thickness of the dwarf, he looked almost frail.

Gimli’s eyes narrowed. “What’s that got to do with anything?”

“You’re not guilty. I can’t kill you. I mean, I can, of course. It would be simple. You breathe so loud I could shoot you blindfolded. But that’s not how I work.”

“Too much talk. You might as well be an elf.” Gimli attacked once more, slashing furiously.

Kylar dodged back. “Ah, that’s what I was seeing in your eyes. Not murder, but a little elf envy. You want to be an elf!”

“I do not!” Gimli had turned a most unbecoming shade of purple.

“You do! You wish you were Legolas, don’t you?”


“That’s what I saw! You’re a liar! And not just about that. Truth is, you weren’t even close in the orc killing contest at Helm’s Deep, were you? You were soundly thrashed by an elf!”

“Arr!” Gimli swept forward, the axe carving a path like a scythe, forcing Kylar back and back toward the wall.

“But then, why should I be surprised?” Kylar asked. He dodged again, like a matador, but this time swept the dwarf’s feet out from under him as he charged past. “The truth is, you’re not a badass dwarven warrior; you’re the comic relief!”

“That’s only in the movie!” Gimli picked himself up from the sand, picked up the big axe, then, disgusted, threw it down and drew his throwing axes.

“The throwing axes were only in the movie, too,” Kylar said. “But then, what should I expect of a dwarf who’s less of a man than an elf? Wait–” he squinted at his stocky foe. “Are you wearing makeup?”

Ishkhaqwi ai durugnul!” Gimli shouted. He flung the axes, one after the other. Kylar ducked and they shot sparks as they clanged off the wall.

“Elf lover!”

“I am not!”

“I see you cuddled up there with Galadriel’s hair. Go on, admit it, you’re an elf trapped in a dwarf’s body. Elf lover! Hahaha!”

“I hate elves!” he shouted, spittle flying through his beard.

“Every last one?”

“Every last one! Now fight–”

“Even Galadriel?” Kylar asked.

“I spit on Galadriel! To hell with that blond strumpet and to hell with… you…” he trailed off. Swallowed.

Kylar relaxed. “Ah. That oughta do.”

Gimli looked stricken. “What have I done?” He looked up at the stands, suddenly afraid, looking for elves. “I didn’t mean it! You tricked me!”

“‘Fraid so.”

“You said you weren’t going to kill me!” Gimli said. His head was jerking from side to side, looking for some hidden sniper. There were elves in the stands, and not a one looked pleased.

Kylar cleared his throat. “I said I wasn’t going to kill you.”

Gimli stopped. He peered up at the sky, shading his eyes against the sun. “Is that…?”

Kylar looked and saw a tiny black dot in the sky, getting rapidly larger.

Gimli looked torn between charging Kylar, and running for dear life. He chose to run, kicking up arena sand with every short step, heading toward the great gates. He dodged left, dodged right.

The elven arrow caught him square in the middle of his back. He sprawled and lay flat. He extended a hand holding three golden strands, coughed blood, and expired.

Kylar stooped and took the golden strands, wrapping them between his two forefingers. “Sad. The Gimli from the books never would have fallen for that.” Kylar strode out of the stadium, calmly flossing his teeth.

Predicted Winner: Kylar Stern


Check out the previous match!

Check out the next match!

Check out the Bracket

Gimli is a character from The Lord of the Rings series by J.R.R. Tolkien; Kylar Stern is a character from the Night Angel series by Brent Weeks

Gimli image courtesy of Del Rey Books. Kylar Stern image courtesy of Orbit Books

Cage Match fans: We are looking forward to hearing your responses! If possible, please abstain from including potential spoilers about the books in your comments (and if you need spoilers to make your case, start your comments with: “SPOILER ALERT!”


  • Christine

    The poll is not working for me… looks like it’s closed?

  • David

    Weeks… I know you could have done better than this. Even if it made made me chuckle a bit I doubt that’s the way Gimli would’ve died. I can agree it was clever but give the dwarf some respect. Let ‘im die with an arrow in his knee or something.

  • D.I. Waisanen

    Gimli swung the axe to the side, and cut off Kylar Stern’s head.


    Somewhere, a person whom Kylar had known briefly and developed a slight caring for dropped dead.

    Kylar attempted to stab Gimli, but the dwarf caught his wrist, bent it around, and stabbed him through the neck with his own weapon.


    Somewhere, a person who had shown Kylar a slight modicum of kindness once and received a small amount of gratitude in return dropped dead.

    Gimli brought the axe down, and split Kylar in two.


    Somewhere, the last character in Kylar’s universe who could remotely be said to be among his loved ones drops dead.

    Gimli grabbed Kylar and hurled him over a cliff.


    Kylar Stern, out of others to take his place, does not return. Gimli puts away his weapons and leaves the battlefield, hoping that thirty-one will be enough to match whatever kill count Legolas is surely going to rack up in 2013.

    C’mon, everyone, this is a literary cage match. Let’s not let Gimli go down with nothing to be said for him but a bad parody of his movie-self!

  • Lord Eltar

    Flaw in the write up: the author characterized Gimli as he is portrayed in the movies, not the novels. This is about the character as seen in the novel!!!

    With that being said, I’d still expect Kylar to win. Just not as easily.

  • Adam

    =( Drent what is this? thats not the kylar I remember and it all seems a little rushed i’m afraid to say this doesn’t do it for me, although kylar still has my vote, i’ve never been fond of dwarves.

  • Lord Eltar and D.I. and everyone else,
    Forgive me for taking on the film version. I had a couple difficulties here. One, I adore Tolkien and wouldn’t be doing this job I love if not for him, and taking on one of my hero’s literary creations directly seemed terribly arrogant. I wouldn’t _want_ to win. Two, the power levels of the two series are really different, which sort of skews the whole Cage Match genre. Gimli is a great warrior, but he has no magic. Kylar could make himself invisible and just stab him. Doubtless, there are other series where characters have literally godlike power who could do the same to Kylar: “I call down a planet-sized meteor and jump to a different plane!” Um, okay. I was simply trying to make it fun.

  • Sley

    I think you did a nice job with this one – I don’t mind at all that this is the ‘movie’ Gimli (the movies are great btw!) and that this one is really short. For me you succeeded – it was fun. Reading this one made me smile.
    Thanks for writing this one!
    And, well yes, I think Kylar would win.

  • Grace

    Brent–I can be kind of a Tolkien purist, and I thought that was hilarious!

  • sacredhonour

    I admittedly am pulling for Kylar, but I thought this was a pretty amusing writing even as a Tolkien fan. I mean, Brent even made fun of it being the movie version!

  • Fun matchup. Loved The Way of Shadows, but I had to vote for Gimli. He’s cagey and, as much as Kylar can be a badass, he can also be one heck of a dumbass.

    Weeks’ write-up was great though. Almost had to vote for Kylar just for that.

  • Ilidsor

    My vote is for Kylar. Gimli is a good character and all but Kylar is just so much stronger, and this is a fight after all.

  • Tim

    Kylar. As Brent said, there’s just too much of a difference in power level. Kylar wouldn’t even have to try to kill Gimli. Honestly, I think the only other person in the whole tournament who I’ve read about who’d even give him a run for his money would be Erevis Cale. Maybe Saphira, maybe.

  • Shadow’sBane

    that writeup sucked!
    i know that Gimli wouldn’t have won against Kylar….not unless he manages to get a Ring(one of 7)…
    but Gimli isn’t stupid…nor a Berserker… and neither are Eleves(Tolkein’s) stupid enough to kill Gimli that way…

  • Dunkkan

    Kylar FTW!!!

  • Dehvi

    Honestly, that battle could have been cooler. But there’s no way Gimli would have won… Kylar is the Night Angel… He would destroy like any competitor… He’s witty, strong, and powerful. His talent is vastly greater than most people. But I would’ve liked to see him actually kill Gimly

  • wcarter4

    As interesting a character as Kylar is, I actually think Durzo would have been a better choice for the cage match representative.
    While he no longer has the “Get out of death “free” card” via the Black, he is a far more experience fighter than Kylar, and I suspect still somewhat more talented than him as of the end of “Beyond the Shadows”
    Also, I just think he’d have something more interesting to say to some of his opponents assuming he let them know he was around.

    Mr. Weeks, I personally think substituting the movie Gimli was a smart move side stepping the ire (read: torches and death threat emails) of the Tolkien faithful while allowing your own character the obvious victory.

  • Rudyralishaz

    Great write-up, you managed to take a pretty lopsided matchup and make it very fun to read. It even managed to make me laugh out loud.

  • Jada

    This poll isn’t working for me either… but my vote would be for Kylar if I could cast one.

  • The Mighty

    Weird…I can’t vote in this one either from this page. I did find the poll on Poll Daddy though! So if you have trouble voting here, you can cast a vote from the Poll Daddy page:

    I hope that helps. Game on!

  • dpomerico

    Hi guys,

    I know it says the poll is closed. Try clearing your browser history (the cache)–it should work then. If not, the polldaddy link that The Mighty so nicely provided should definitely work.


  • Jada

    Thanks for the link, guys. I have now officially voted!

  • Boron

    no guys, sorry that doesn´t convince me at all.
    i admit, i don´t know anything about Kaylar, but neither his description nor the write-up show the slightest hint, that he has anything he could throw at Gimli.More so as he has to get someone else to do the work for him.

    i enjoyed the write up, but i don´t think it could have worked out that way, either. I don´t belive the elves would have shot. And if they had, Kaylar insulted them just as much as Gimli, so he would have cought a few arrows himself.

    Sorry Mr. weeks, but i have to say, if only half of what your fanbase is stating here is true, you sold your man way under his market value.

  • Vorsayo

    You admit to not knowing anything about Kylar then say you don’t think he can beat Gimli, your logic is clearly absent from that statement !Let me explain his power. He is talented a from of magic in Brent Weeks world. With this is so strong and fast that when he didn’t even know how to use is power properly yet, yet took out and entire battalion of one the lands greatest and defiantly fiercest warriors. He is one of the greatest weapon master in the land, having been trained by thee greatest weapons master in the world, a man that lived for over 700 years old, with which time he has learned and become the greatest weapons master of almost any weapon. Kylar also possesses the Black Ka’kari. A (weapon?) that makes him immortal, in ever imagining of the word. (He could have his head cut off and come back to life from it) The black Ka’kari does something else for him as well, it is known as the devourer, and it eats everything, he must constantly buy new clothes and weapons since it destroys them. What this means is that what ever he touches when wrapped in the Black Ka’Kari is destroyed, EVERYTHING. All he would have to do is touch Gimli’s ax and it would be destroyed, and all he would have to do is touch Gimli and he would die. As Brent Weeks said the power levels are to different. Gimli dies, no argument.

  • OrchestructionX

    I’m interested to see if him and Moiraine will go head to head…can the kakari absorb the power.

  • TheO

    @ OrchestructionX I am a fan of both writers/books and the answer is yes. In Kylar’s world he faces magic users and they can not get through the Ka’Kari. It coats the whole body and there are NO weak spots at all. The fact that he is immortal due to it and the only way to have that revoked would for him to do something to tick it off he would be a hard one to kill…Think of it as a all devouring suit of armor. The One Power would just get eaten.

  • Unfortunately, I did not get to vote, but Kyler’s win came as no surprise to me. I believe Mr. Weeks was very clever in coming up with Gimili’s defeat. After all, all Kyler would have to do is go invisible and stab Gimili.

  • Novouto

    I am disappointed. Kylar is a stupid character and it’s such a shame Gimli was outvoted.

  • ebor

    I thought the writeup was hilarious, showing respect for the Tolkien fans (“the Gimli from the books would never have fallen for that”) but still very tongue-in-cheek and irreverent. I look forward to reading other author’s writeups, I just got turned onto this site and think it’s a fun idea. Being a fan of both LotR and Night Angel, I can say there’s no doubt Kylar would have been able to kill Gimli. Gandalf would have been a more power-appropriate LotR character to pit against him, and I could even imagine Kylar accepting a contract on Sauron with the prospect of winning (though I’d see him as an underdog there).

  • @Novouto

    To Novouto and others who might share his/her opinion,
    First of all, Kylar is NOT a \stupid\ character. Brent Weeks himself had even made that clear via Sister Ariel (a genius elderly character in the series)–she said that Kylar was \RECKLESS, but NOT DUMB.\
    In fact, in his dark and difficult childhood, he was one of the smartest boys on the streets of western Cenaria. Gwinvere Kirena, the once true Shinga (sort of a leader of the Sa’kage), admitted it, too. As Azoth (his name before he apprenticed to Durzo Blint), he planned and executed his first kill at the age of TWELVE (he pulled it off somewhat smoothly, too, despite the odds not quite being in his favor).
    He may be quite hesitant, and he cried a lot, but actually, that is evidence that he had a big heart. And the way he killed only for justice, vengeance, and love? (with the exception of his jobs as a wetboy, since he didn’t have any chance as it was his job) Some psychotic sadists may think it’s a weakness, but it’s not. (Brent Weeks via Momma K’s P.O.V.: Will [Durzo] ever know that Azoth’s tears don’t make him weak?)

    Kylar Stern may be many things, but \stupid\ is certainly not one of them.

  • Slick

    Kylar. Without a doubt. It was just a laugh don’t get so worked up guys??
    Gimli is a skilled warrior but Kylar is an Immortal with a variety of magic and enhanced bodily capacity…. There is no question who would win in a fight.

    I think all the bitterness is just petty, especially since Brent took the time to do it.
    “I like Gimli more so he’d” is ridiculous logic….

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