Cage Match 2012: Round 2: Julia Wicker versus Peter Grant


The Contestants


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Click to view original image source

Julia Wicker
Witch-queen of Fillory

Age: 27
Race: Human
Weapons / Artifacts: None
Magic missile

Peter Grant
Magician’s Apprentice, Officer of the Law
Age: Mid 30s
Race: Human
Weapons / Artifacts: Werelight, Cell Phone, $10 calculators
Magic…kind of

The Breakdown


  • Genius-level intelligence and extensive magical knowledge
  • Mystical bond with Fillory
  • Raging anger

  • Up on the latest technology
  • Friends with rivers and streams
  • Has a 100+ year old wizard as his mentor, and a ghost-sniffing dog

  • Raging anger

  • Has a weakness for women


How we think the fight will go

How Lev Grossman, creator of Julia, thinks the match will go:

Queen Julia sat cross-legged on her royal bed in Castle Whitespire. She was in a crap mood. She could feel her humanity bleeding away, day by day, and she couldn’t stop it. She was full of power, power she didn’t want. She didn’t want to use it, she didn’t even want to touch it. But she didn’t know how to get it out of her either.

Plus she was pissed off that she’d had to kill that Krull guy or whatever his name was. She saw that movie on NetFlix one time. If that really was Krull, he was a hell of a lot shorter in person.

[Editor’s note: the author knows that Krull in Krull was the name of the planet, not of the big evil guy. Julia just forgot.]

There was a knock on the door. She didn’t answer, and whoever it was didn’t wait for one, he just walked right in.

“Peter Grant,” he said.

Christ. Another one.

“Julia Wicker,” she said, using her maximally royal tone. “I do not know how you came here, but if you leave now I will not stop you. We do not have to do this.”

God dammit, Julia thought, why did she have to talk like that all the time? Along with everything else, she had completely lost the hang of contractions

“Actually, we do have to,” the guy said, not unkindly, even a little regretfully. English bloke by his accent. “I checked the tags on this post. It’s one of those Cage Match ones.”

Right. This guy was going to try to kill her, she thought. Ready player one.

He was fast—he had some kind of fireball spell that he just whipped out at her, with hardly any prep. She barely rolled out of the way in time. She felt the bed go up in flames behind her.

Those were her silk sheets. Dammit.

“Impello!” Grant said, and it must have been some serious kinetic magic, because the whole fucking burning bed upended and came down on her all at once: whomp.

But while this was going on, something was happening to Julia. Her bad mood had turned into rage, and there was power in the rage. She felt her skin growing thick and tough, and she’d picked up a couple of inches of height from somewhere. Even more than that, she was strong—Jesus, it was incredible. She felt like she could have pulled the walls down around them.

She settled for getting up and throwing off the bed—smashing it against the stone wall. Her skin was all silvery and shimmering. She definitely felt a lot less mortal than she used to. She picked up a board from the broken bedframe. The wood felt good in her hands.

“Fuck,” Grant said.

Another magician who swears, she thought. Shame I have to kill him. There aren’t enough of those.

Grant sent over a couple more of those fireballs, but she batted them aside with the board, after which it was burning and useless, but still. Mischief managed.

Then he impelloed her back into the stone wall, hard, but she barely felt it. She laughed as she got up; he looked disconcerted.

Let’s finish this, she thought. This dude is going to feed the trees.

All at once, using a technique she’d never seen or even heard of before, Julia opened a portal—she didn’t limn it neatly the way one of those Brakebills fops would have, she just ripped it roughly open with both hands, like she was ripping down wallpaper. Jesus. She didn’t know she knew how to do that. This wasn’t spellcasting the way she was used to it. It was that power, that divine energy inside her. It was changing her, but at least she was learning to make it do what she wanted. She would use it to become what she wanted.

The portal led straight to the heart of the Queenswood. She stepped through it. She knew he would follow. He pretty much had to, if just for the plot. These things didn’t end in draws.

Out there in the forest, the poor guy didn’t stand a chance. The minute he was through the portal, she set the trees on him like a pack of wolves—hard wood twisting like tentacles, grabbing his arms and legs and waist and neck. He managed to set a couple of them on fire, but there were more where that came from. It was a forest. It had a lot of trees in it.

“God,” Grant croaked. “This is awful.”

“I was born and bred in the briar patch,” she hissed.

“I don’t even know what that means.”

He was immobile now. A pointy forking branch stopped growing a centimeter from his eyeballs. Maybe she was a killer, but she wasn’t, like, psychotic. God, she really hoped she wasn’t psychotic.

“You know, it’s not really fair, the way this is written,” Grant said. “Ben would have done it a lot differently.”

“Ben is not here right now,” Julia growled. “You are in Fillory. You are in my house.”

“Well, yes,” he said. “That’s kind of my point. I don’t even think this guy knows all my powers.”

“Oh well. Circle of life.”

Mortals! She thought. What are you gonna do.

The trees were reaching inside Grant now. Roots were growing through the skin of his back, right through his ribcage, gripping his heart like a fist. A little mercy was called for.

“Sleep,” she said, and he did. It was even easier to form the gestures with her hands like this.

The tree’s roots clenched, and the man’s heart stopped, just like that. Good boy. The trees began to feed. That pointy forking branch went right through his eyes after all, right into his skull. She grimaced, but she didn’t look away.

Hakuna fucking matata, mate, she thought. Circle of life.

Predicted Winner: Julia


Check out the previous match!

Check out the next match!

Check out the Bracket

Julia Wicker is a character from The Magicians series by Lev Grossman; Peter Grant is a character from Midnight Riot by Ben Aaronovitch.

Julia Wicker image courtesy of Viking Books. Peter Grant image courtesy of Del Rey Books

Don’t forget–we’re always looking for fans’ depictions of these characters. Check out the details here

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!”