Cage Match 2012: Round 3: Saphira versus Zaphod Beeblebrox


The Contestants


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Click to view original image source

One of the last dragons in Alagaësia
Age: Never ask a lady-dragon’s age!
Race: Dragon
Weapons / Artifacts: Talons; teeth; scales (armor)
Breathes fire

Zaphod Beeblebrox
Galactic President
Age: About 200
Race: Betelgeuseian
Weapons / Artifacts: Kill-o-Zap blaster pistol
Disarming personality

The Breakdown


  • Mastery of flight and in-air combat maneuvers
  • Dragon scales that are virtually impenetrable
  • A near-constant telepathic connection with Eragon

  • Extremely clever, cunning and cagey. So charismatic, in fact, that people tend to disregard what they know about him, and might consider him mostly harmless
  • Things often just have a way of working out for him.
  • Inventor of the Pan-Galactic Gargle Blaster. Okay that won’t help in a fight, but it’s really zarkin frood

  • A near-constant telepathic connection with Eragon

  • He has two heads. (For Zaphod, this could be a bigger hindrance than help)


  • Sparhawk
    Guess his destiny was to die in Cage Match
  • Caine
    He wasn’t able…

How we think the fight will go

When Saphira awoke, she was falling from the sky. Most unbefitting of a dragon, even more so, since, at that very moment in her descent, she was lapped, quite astonishingly, by a large, pensive whale and a bowl of petunias.

Overcoming the initial shock, Saphira quickly extended her massive wings, and with a few flaps, righted herself in the air. Just ahead she spied what looked like a sleek white shoe flying toward the dusty surface of the planet beneath them.

I don’t believe this, she thought, following the ship stealthily from a distance until it came to a slightly bumpy landing on the rocky surface of Magrathea.

With a self-satisfied woosh, the ship’s door opened and a two-headed, three-armed man sauntered out. Saphira landed soundlessly a few feet behind him.


Zaphod’s gait stuttered slightly, but after a pause he continued walking away from the ship as though he’d heard nothing. Nothing at all.

“I know you have your Babel fish in your ear, Beeblebrox!”

Zaphod began to walk just a bit faster, which is to say, he began to run. In one lithe move, Saphira leapt over him, landing directly in his path, stopping him short.

“Zaphod Beeblebrox!”

“I’m sorry,” Zaphod tried to look like a man who had never seen a giant blue dragon before. “Have we met?”

“Don’t play games with me fool! For a man with two heads you don’t seem terribly intelligent.”

Zaphod ran one of his hands through the hair of his more popular head, while flashing his most charming smile, trying for a look of mysterious allure on his other face.

Saphira’s single face reflected a single emotion—one of indignant outrage.

“Surely you remember Han Wavel?” Saphira roared. “I covered your debt at the Flotswad tables! And how do you repay me? By running off in the middle of the night?”

Zaphod cleared his throat. “Well, um, let’s settle this right now then,” he said, making a show of fumbling around his pockets to find his wallet. “I’m sure I can cover it…erm…how much was it again?”

“Two hundred seventy six thousand, seven hundred and nine Altairian dollars…and 42 cents.”

Zaphod made a sort of splurting, gargling sound that, had he been on Fomalhaut b, in Piscis Austrinus, would have won him the hearts of many of its most eligible bachelorettes. Instead, he continued to pat his pockets, hoping that Saphira would just go away.

“Ahh, there it is!” One of Zaphod’s faces grinned manically, blue eyes twinkling, while the other looked slightly mortified as he whipped out a Paralyso-Matic bomb and flung it toward the angry dragon. As it exploded, Zaphod ran toward the Heart of Gold.

“Hey baby, no hard feelings, ok?” he called over his shoulder.

Zaphod made for the ship’s door, but just as he got there a geyser of flame shot over his head, melting the door shut. Zaphod whipped around. Saphira glared at him.

“No one. Calls me. ‘Baby.’”

Zaphod yelped and scrambled under the ship, three arms proving exceedingly helpful in ways he hadn’t anticipated before now. Congratulating himself quite heartily on this unintentional foresight, he nearly scrambled directly into Saphira’s snarling snout.

“Do you honestly believe you can escape me again?”

Zaphod squealed and scuttled back under the ship.

“Hey um, Eddie…you there? A little help?” Zaphod called hopefully.

However, just a few minutes earlier, the ship’s computer had actually ducked out for a pint—or the artificial intelligence equivalent thereof—and was currently having a laugh with the boys at the circuit board pub, comparing outrageous end-user anecdotes. Eddie generally won at least one free round with his stories; and today he was on a roll.

Realizing he was quite alone and most likely about to die, Zaphod crouched down behind the heel of his ship. If only there was a way to fight her. Zaphod was grasping at straws. But thinking them to be of little value when in battle with a dragon of Saphira’s size and might, he chose instead to grasp at the Kill-o-Zap in his holster.

He darted out from behind the ship, keeping the gun pointed at Saphira.

“Just let me go. No one needs to get hurt here.”

“You think you can harm me with that toy?” Saphira laughed. “I will cook you like one of those Vogon crabs before you even pull the trigger!”

They fired simultaneously.

Saphira’s plume of blue flame collided with the crackling Kill-o-Zap energy bolt, creating a temporary, but powerful improbability field. The explosion of improbability blew the Kill-o-Zap from Zaphod’s hand. But since Saphira’s flame was directly attached to Saphira, the surge of improbability followed the course of her fire back into her body.

At first it seemed the charge would have no effect, other than the understandable and immediate cessation of Saphira’s blazing torrent. But then a sound, that in any other creature would be described as a belch, emitted from Saphira’s snout, along with a few wisps of blue smoke.

Saphira looked somewhat flummoxed before she quite suddenly looked like something else entirely—that something being a treacle tart. Well, a treacle tart which then became a giant Damogran Frond Crested Eagle but at 1:100 scale, which then morphed into a large, but relatively harmless, dish of grated Arcturian Megadonkey.

Zaphod, seeing that this was probably (or improbably, as it were) his last chance to flee before Saphira was turned into something more fearsome than a dragon, and certainly more fearsome than grated Megadonkey, retrieved his Kill-o-Zap from where it had landed a few feet away. Blasting a hole in his ship roughly where the door had been a few minutes earlier, Zaphod ducked inside.

Eddie who had one—or perhaps three—more digital pints than could be reasonably advised during working hours, hurried to activate the ship’s systems, accidentally ejecting several food pods, and at least one maintenance worker, in the process. Zaphod slammed on the Infinite Improbability Drive, tapping all fifteen fingers impatiently while it warmed-up.

“Do you think she’ll be OK?” Eddie slurred horrendously, all the while congratulating himself on doing such a marvelous job hiding his inebriation.

Glancing out the window, Zaphod caught a brief glimpse of Saphira transitioning into a handsome Magrathean-armchair.

“Probably,” Zaphod sighed, as the Heart of Gold lifted into the air, and sped away, putting many light-years between him and the enraged blue dragon chair.

Nancy Lambert contributed to this Cage Match

Predicted Winner: Zaphod Beeblebrox


Check out the matches from Round 2

Check out the next match!

Check out the Bracket

Saphira is a character from the Inheritance series by Christopher Paolini; Zaphod Beeblebrox is a character from the The Hitchiker’s series by John Jude Palencar. Douglas Adams 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!”


  • JOE

    You predicted Zaphod to win?! NOW IMPROBABILITY IS NO LONGER IN HIS FAVOR!!!! :O

  • D.I. Waisanen

    Saphira seems to be a busy dragon, having personal contacts with all of these characters from wildly different worlds and settings.

    I vote for Saphira, here. Zaphod is really taking the improbability factor beyond the impossible. Saphira is probably just going to eat him before he can reach for a weapon.

    Besides, I want to see some dragon vs. dragon in the next round, as opposed to Zaphod trying to somehow improbabilize a battle with Anomander Rake.

  • rose

    Why isn’t the vote thing working?

  • Samuel

    Guh…at this point the gag of “ha ha, the universe bends over backwards for any Douglas Adams character” is getting old.

    I want epic dragon vs. dragon write-ups next time, dammit!

  • Stonetwig

    Go Zaphod! We want a 16 seed in the finals!!

  • Georgia

    WTH! Saphira can talk again like in the second round! Except she can’t actually talk….
    1. Saphira doesn’t care for money, she has blue stronger than diamond scales that 1 scale would cost quite a bit of the money in the world.
    2. She would’ve cooked him straight away, not pouncing first probably, since she wasn’t trying to eat him, just kill him
    And when i wrote this, saphira was winning by 3 votes, she’s a dragon! She should be winning by a bit more than that.

  • Wouldn’tYouLikeToKnow

    Seems like you guys have no faith in Saphira.
    For being as quick, strong, and intelligent as she is, she would never let Zaphod live long enough to even think about what to defend himself with.
    Saphira has bested worthier opponents in the Inheritance Cycle. Give her some credit!

  • Shade

    I’m voting for Saphira just because they tried to kill her 2 times now and failed XP

  • Mystery Person

    Poor Saphira. She just doesn’t get any credit for being the magical, merciless predator that she is. Shame on these write-ups for underestimating her!

  • Not Telling

    Hoping for dragon versus dragon next round.

  • Not Telling

    Why people say Saphira should have Eragon:
    What’s the point af a constant telepathic communication if the person isn’t there?
    PUT ERAGON IN NEXT ROUND! Saphira will need him if she wants to have any hope of defeating Rake.

  • Trickster

    I hope Saphira gets stuck as a lawn chair. The only improbably thing was her being Atticus.

  • Rose

    Dragon vs. weakling human would be boring, so I’m glad they did the write-up this way, although I’m not entirely sure how dragon fire vs. Kill-o-zap blast results in an improbability field. Personally, I’m voting for the Big Z, because I want to see what happens when he goes against Rake, since Rake keeps being invincible. (I doubt Bast will get on to the next round, though that would be very happifying, esp. given the possible Rothfuss write-up).

  • Christopher Eastwood

    You can’t just look at the advantages of one character in deciding the preferred outcome. Zaphod is cool, but Saphira is a dragon and Zaphod is a squishy human. Saphira is a cool dragon with cool powers, but Zaphod is President of the Galaxy and he has the Heart of Gold.

    I’m sorry, but with the Heart of Gold, Zaphod is the clear winner. In the next round, Zaphod should have that Ace Card taken away, to see what happens with him on his own.

  • Fox

    Vote Saphira so that we can get Saphira/Rake in the next round! Double Dragon Battle!

  • Jordan

    Okay. I Googled this guy (cuz i haven’t seen the movie yet). Saphira CANNOT lose to him. i don’t understand why the vote is halved, but all you diehard Inheritance fans out there should be ASHAMED of yourselves. Jordo has spoken.

  • Trickster

    Its halved because like last time Saphira’s spambot hasn’t started voting yet.

  • Obdigore

    Because Zaphod is a much more interesting character than just another dragon.

    Or maybe because with his improbability drive, luck counts for more than magic or skill? And Zaphod has luck by the Vorgon intergalactic bypass fleet full.

  • Britney

    Poor saphira has been underestimated through this whole cage match. I don’t think the people who have wrote the write-ups have ever read the books. Saphira is so much better then what these guys are saying about her. GO SAPHIRA!!!

  • Jordan

    I can’t speak for Zaphod here, but i have actually read the Inheritance books and Saphira has WAY mre depth of character than the guy gives her credit for. Also, who the hell’s doing these write-ups? I could do better in my sleep! seriously…

  • Luzburg

    I’d like to see Rake destroy Saphira in a maelstrom of Kurald Galain 🙂

  • Voidus

    How this fight would actually go…
    Zaphod stepped out onto -Saphira telepathically blasted his mind into giberring insanity and then ate him.
    The end.

  • I do hope fans of the Inheritance Cycle won’t be put off reading the Hitchhiker’s Guide. I gather many of the commentators who support Saphira haven’t read it (or watched the television series or film, or listened to the radio version or…), given how seriously they’re taking a purposefully silly match. It’s to match the tone of H2G2, which I think makes for a more entertaining write-up.

    Relax and enjoy the the silliness, froods! Try to get past your love of the Inheritance Cycle and read something new. H2G2 consists of some of the most hilarious books ever written, and Douglas Adams is an incredibly clever, talented and funny man.

    @Voidus: Curiously, \gibbering, insane alien with a fried brain\ quite accurately describes Zaphod. I therefore posit that Saphira’s telepathic blasting would make no difference ;).

  • Rose

    @Voidus. Wouldn’t work. Zaphod’s mind is already gibbering insanity.

  • D.I. Waisanen


    I second that notion, but only if it happens after a round of black dragon on blue dragon combat.

  • SomeLameName
    Please vote for Zaphod that would be the best write up ever

  • D.I. Waisanen

    I’m disappointed that people are voting just for the chance of trying to get one author to do a write-up. It’s pretty much the opposite of the idea of thinking of what would happen were two characters to actually meet across universes.

  • Jermell Williams

    Well its halved but only because the shurtugal (dragon rider) fanpage hasn’t told people to vote for saphira yet. I have no objections to them cheating like that this time because people are just voting for zaphod because they want their write up to be made by a specific person.

  • theAKpal

    The picture posted for Saphira is uber-lame for a dragon. And by uber-lame, I mean insanely pathetic. It is so lame, I can’t fathom her being able to smoke her way to the end of a …smoking product. I write about dragons, so I’m totally biased in their favor, but I just can’t stomach this depiction of a dragon. So, I voted for Zaphod. The whole Zaphod thing is just more fun in these cage matches…for now.

  • Jam

    What? Come on, John Jude Palencar is a god among men. Just because Saphira is looking pretty chill doesn’t make it a bad picture.

  • JOE

    Saphira is winning?! CURSE YOU WRITERS OF SUVUDU, FOR PREDICTING ZAPHOD TO WIN, THUS CAUSING HIM TO LOSE D:< you people should vote for Zaphod some more.

  • Lee

    How could you all want an airhead like Beeblebrox to defeat Saphira Bjartskular.
    VOTE FOR SAPHIRA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Archon

    Wow… some sick cheating going on here on both sides…

  • chosen

    Someone with less scruples then me needs to start voting Zaphod some more.

  • Archon

    It is really a case of superior scruples to tell others to cheat to achieve the results you want rather than do it yourself?

  • Archon

    Zaphod cheaters sprinting for the finish! Saphira cheaters appear to be flagging…

  • chosen

    Pobably not, but its actually just Superior sarcasm.

  • archon

    Gonna be a photo finish!

  • Archon

    And the Zaphod cheaters pull it out over the Saphira cheaters! Each with over 1000 votes in the last hour…

  • Mystery Person

    I demand overtime!!!

  • D.I. Waisanen

    Great job, Zaphod-cheaters. Now that he’s won this match and Rake’s won his, we won’t get either a Patrick Rothfuss write-up OR dragon vs. dragon in the next round.

    This tournament’s missing a lot of awesome matches by one round.

  • Rose

    And now why is the vote thing STILL working?

  • Kvothe_the_Bloodless

    Zaphod Beeblebrox ruins your bracket…FOR A THIRD TIME!!!!!

  • Archon

    It appears that Zaphod has just sent a message loud and clear to the rest of the remaing contenders: “If you expect to hang with me, you better be ready to vote early and often, because my backers are willing and able to throw down 1000+ votes an hour if necessary.”

  • Chris

    The cheating has started to get ridiculous. At least last time they waited till the last couple matches.

  • andrew b

    Look, Zaphod doesn’t have to win the contest. He just can’t die. It is entirely too probable for him to die to just let it happen. However, Zaphod shouldn’t be able to win either because that is just too good for him. He needs to lose the contest in favor of something much more to his style, like eternal torment cut short because he made friends with the cute hell-keeper, but too late to win the contest.
    He just needs an opponent who will be smart enough or lucky enough to figure that out. But, for every opponent who tries to dramatically kill him or directly confront him, they are gonna lose.

  • Dylan

    Go Saphira! Zaphod can`t stand a chance against you! he shall bow before you or be torn to shreds by your claws!

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