Cage Match 2012: Round 3: Granny Weatherwax versus Napoleon (on a dragon)


The Contestants


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Click to view original image source

Esmerelda “Esme” Weatherwax
Age: It’s rude to ask a Witch her age
Race: Witch
Weapons / Artifacts: Flying broomstick

Napoleon Bonaparte (on a dragon)
Emperor of the French (on a dragon)
Age: Late 30s, early 40s (don’t know how old the dragon is)
Race: Human (and, you know, his dragon)
Weapons / Artifacts: Saber; pistol; dragon
It’s Napoleon…on a dragon

The Breakdown


  • Incredibly powerful witch
  • Particularly skilled at tricking people without using magic
  • Can “Borrow” another’s senses

  • He’s on a dragon
  • Brilliant military strategist

  • Committed to doing “Right”

  • Often has to fight one-handed, since the other is usually inside his jacket

  • Bram
    I bet he’d prefer un-death
  • The Fool
    At least Mr. T pities you

How we think the fight will go

So many peculiar things had happened in Unbound Worlds Stadium over the past week—Ray Lilly’s bracket-destroying victory over the heavily favored Tyrion Lannister was still the talk of the tournament—the slow start to this particular match at first excited very little comment. It was fifteen minutes past time, and one of the contestants, Napoleon and his dragon Lien, had yet to show. And the other competitor, a little old woman, had not done anything more entertaining and impressive than sit in her rocking chair in the middle of the stadium; indeed, she was to all appearances fast asleep. When another fifteen minutes of silence and stasis passed, the audience seemed likely to follow suit.

The tournament organizers began to wonder if Napoleon might not be considered forfeit. Another quite alarming possibility occurred to them; the old woman had not moved at all in over an hour: “Is she dead? She really is quite old.”

And then something finally happened: An excited murmur rippled through the audience at a flicker of movement in the stadium. A line of tiny figures—so tiny they might not have been quite visible to the audience if they were not also a vivid shade of blue—had entered the stadium. They were carrying a large placard which they positioned on Granny Weatherwax’s lap. It read in large block print: “I ATEN’T DEAD.”

Just then Napoleon finally made his appearance: astride Lien, a magnificent white Celestial, he soared over the stadium…and then flew right past it. Several squadrons of dragons followed him—so many, in fact, that it seemed to be the entire French army.

A couple of hours after the fleet had passed, there was finally a sign of life from Granny: She smiled, and then asked for a cuppa tea and a biscuit.

The real fight, such as it was, had not taken place in the stadium at all. It had happened in Napoleon’s green room.

Napoleon’s advisers had been working with him all week on a strategy to defeat Granny Weatherwax, the most formidable competitor the Emperor had yet faced. This was, after all, not merely an oversized polar bear; he was facing the most powerful witch in Discworld.

But Napoleon seemed not to be listening to them as they offered their stratagems. Instead, he was staring mistily off into the distance. Far from being offended, his advisers grew excited: They knew that look well. It always presaged the announcement of yet another of the general’s daring, audacious, brilliant plans. Indeed, it had made them almost accustomed to being surprised.

And yet nothing in their experience prepared them for what the Emperor said: “I have the perfect plan: We will invade Russia. This very afternoon! It is the only way to win!”

Only Empress Josephine had the courage to speak up: “But, mon cher, what does that have to do with fighting Granny Weatherwax?”

Napoleon himself could not answer. He did not know where the notion had come from. His plans, after all, seemed to always arrive mysteriously and almost mystically, as if whispered to him by God. This time, he had repeatedly heard a strong, confident voice deep within himself, suggesting the plan. The voice, he felt, of his own genius, once again guiding him inexorably to victory.

It was not, however, the voice of his genius, or of God; it was Granny Weatherwax’s. While her body sat in its deathlike trance in the stadium, she had Borrowed Napoleon’s mind. It turned out to be a rather simple matter; she had, after all, once managed to Borrow a beehive. Imposing her own mind over Napoleon’s powerful, willful one, and carefully guiding his thoughts in the right direction turned out to be the work of but a moment for Granny.

She only let his mind go once he had arrived in Russia–in the dead of winter—where he found himself, for the first time in the his life, terrified on the field of battle. That voice, that powerful, unwavering voice, had deserted him, and he realized that, not only was he about to lose the battle in Russia—he had lost to Granny Weatherwax.

Predicted Winner: Granny Weatherwax


Check out the previous match!

Check out the next match in the Hogwarts: Quidditch Pitch bracket!

Check out the Bracket

Granny Weatherwax is a character from the Discworld series by Terry Pratchett; Napoleon (on a dragon) is a character from the Temeraire series by Naomi Novik

Granny image courtesy of Victor Gollancz, Ltd. Napoleon 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!”


  • D.I. Waisanen

    Napoleon’s had an awesome showing so far, but I have to shift my support to Granny Weatherwax on this one. Mainly, I think she just has a better chance against most of the fighters left in the bracket, a better chance of actually making it to the end.

  • The Wandering Highwayman

    Granny Weatherwax is a force of nature. No, i’m sorry, Granny is to forces of nature what forces of nature are to normal people.

  • Boron

    Well, i actually am not sure how Granny would stand against a dragon. A dragon with an overconfident megalomaniac on his back on the other side, that sounds exactly like the kind of thing i imagine her to rip to shreds one way or the other.
    Without Napoleon i think i wouldn´t vote for granny, but with him i don´t think there´s a way araound it.

  • Teleidoplex

    I’d call this one for Granny except… the oddsmakers really left Lien out of the picture, and that’s doing both the dragon and Napoleon a deep disservice. She’s not an animal, after all, and he recognizes this.

  • neilhell

    I get that Granny’s a remarkably powerful witch, force of nature, etc….the only problem here, however, is that were she to plant the suggestion in Napoleon’s head to invade Russia, the logical incongruity wouldn’t let the suggestion take plant. You see, Napoleon has *already* invaded, and signed a pact with the Tzar. And he did it in two weeks. Napoleon’s failed Barbarossa campaign would only happen in a world without dragon Aerial Corps. And if you’re going to assume that Granny’s suggestion would supplant the pact: 1.) He’d still win with dragons 2.) There’s no way Lien would let him go back…or die. In fact, Lien seems suspiciously non-Lien in these matchups…

  • King Verence

    There is no way an over grown lizard with a French midget on top would ever beat Granny. Rake is the only one that could get close but even he will end up finding something better to do rather than face Granny.

    As for Lien being a Dragon and Breathing fire. Granny is fire proof!!

  • owl88

    Granny Weatherwax is best. She bite everthing

  • D.I. Waisanen

    Even though I voted for G.W., I have to agree that Napoleon stands at least a chance here.

    If his invasion of Russia has already been averted in the Temeraire verse, as seems likely with dragons changing history, then she won’t be able to win in the manner suggested here, which would force her to rely on more immediate means. Even though she has some very powerful attacks, Lien uses the divine wind, not simply fire, which could probably be an attack to match Granny Weatherwax’s, as it can create tidal waves with the correct application.

  • Marguerite

    Um… oddsmaker, you do realize that Lien has a will and mind of her own, and in canon, Napoleon has already signed a non-aggression treaty with Russia. I would have been with Granny Weatherwax, but really, you have to bear in mind that Lien is an enormously powerful dragon who is Napoleon’s equal in terms of strategy and reasoning.

  • master

    “As for Lien being a Dragon and Breathing fire. Granny is fire proof!!”

    lien can’t breathe fire. she aint a kazalik, she’s a celestial.

  • Sir Read-a-Lot

    Granny has shown an ability to borrow the minds of intelligent creatures, if not entirely, but to some degree. I agree that planting the suggestion of invading Russia is patently ridiculous, I still think that Granny could run mental rings around Napolean and his dragon, if only because there’s two of them, which makes their side that much more confusing to handle.

    And if the Nac Mac Feegle show up, than the dragons should just start running now.

    Sure, they aren’t supposed to be here, but this isn’t the first time they’ve shown up in places they weren’t supposed to be, and shouldn’t have been able to get to.

  • Sir Read-a-Lot

    that should be a “then”, not a “than”

  • Anonimuss

    While I disagree with the actual situation, I still think that Granny would probably win. I haven’t read the Temeraire series, but it seems like Granny could resist most attacks that Lien could throw at her. She can redirect any attacks pretty much, so a direct offense won’t do much. Also, she has a bunch of unmentioned advantages, like You, who has been known to beat Greebo, who has in turn been known to kill a vampire and scare off bears. She could probably mess with Lien’s morphic field, making her turn into something a bit easier. Also, she only has to beat Napoleon, not necessarily Lien. She could probably just turn him into a pumpkin if she wanted.

  • Heather

    Granny Weatherwax wins this one for me because, at the end of the day, Lien is still an intelligent magical animal and a witch can lend themselves to that brilliantly. An ancient witch on Discworld has formidable powers of evasion and faculties which are rarely unleashed, but they certainly can be. Tiffany herself has demonstrated just what happens when a witch gets into a fine fettle, and Tiffany is very young and nearly as well-versed, canny, and outright powerful as Granny Weatherwax. Let’s face it, Napoleon is mortal. He’s a great battlefield general with cavalry and a dragon making the cavalry even more interesting. He doesn’t have the land working for him, necessarily, and familiarity with annoying faeries, troublesome elemental forces, annoying god(let)s, and countless other dangerous trials and sentient troubles Granny Weatherwax smooths out day by day. And when you get down to it?

    She’s an OLD WOMAN with boundless knowledge, wiry, ropy muscles and tendons of steel, and /The Look/. The one that Maggie Smith drops every so often in Downton Abbey. The one that every grandmother in existence has used at one point or another to inspire terror. Now throw the full magical weight of an elder Pratchett witch behind that, and Napoleon is going to be flinching and retiring to his tent to cry.

    Now if it were Ridcully versus Napoleon-and-Lien tagteaming, I’d put more evened odds on them.


  • BitterCold

    You brought a dragon to a Granny Weatherwax fight?

    You fool. You megalomaniacal fool.

  • Dave

    Well, Lien’s not likely to care much if Napoleon isn’t in danger of direct physical harm (she doesn’t care if his ego is bruised). Anyone who came in with guns / swords / magic blazing … Lien would give everything she’s got. But Esme’s likely just get inside Napoleon’s head and convince him to leave. That might not work on Lien, but the match isn’t against Lien (and Napoleon!).

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