Cage Match 2013 Round Two: Gandalf vs. Doctor Who


The Contestants

gandalf-warner_edited.jpg doctor-who1.jpg

J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings
Age: Early 2000s
Race: Wizard
Weapons / Artifacts: Magic Staff, Crooked Hat
Summon Assistance (Coercive)
The 11th Doctor from Doctor Who
Doctor Who, 1963, BBC TV
Age: Late 900s
Race: Time Lord (alien)
Weapons / Artifacts: Magic wand (Sonic Screwdriver), Bow Tie
Lucky Flail

The Breakdown


  • Manipulative
  • Adorably Old
  • Poetic Lines

  • Companions
  • Adorably Intelligent
  • Poetic timing

  • Companions
  • Love of the halfling’s weed

  • Pacifist



Balrog – In space!

How we think the fight will go

Sound spilled over them; hazy voices, male and female, spoke all at once. The occasional roar of laughter jumped over the din and splashed into their ears, though it was no clearer than the rest. The old wizard hummed along with them, considering the dark-haired stranger that sat across from him. The noise of the busy tavern hall at supper was their cloak as they sat at their corner booth, him tracing runes into the tabletop, and his guest cupping the scarred table’s light.

The little candle and its flame were held inside his hands, pulsing orange and amber across his sharp, slightly odd features as he stared into its depths. The man held it like he was cold, but he could not have been: The night was one of summer warmth, and the establishment was low of roof, thick of wall, and held many bodies. They sat under an eave too; the crook of Gandalf’s hat sat comfortably against the ceiling.

“There are places in the heavens you could never dream of,” the traveler, who called himself a doctor, said in a hoarse whisper. He looked about thirty, but his face was clean-shaven; it was too clean, as if it were magicked off his face, or he’d never had any beard to begin with. Part Elf? Gandalf found himself wondering. He was certainly cleaner than most humans tended to be. The mysterious stranger closed dark eyes; his hand momentarily drew through the air to indicate a vast expanse, before returning to the candle. “Beautiful worlds, of all water, as clear as the whitest wine. Or all grass, with gem-bright animals as large as castles. Air that smells like flowers, all the time.” He lifted his eyes from his eve-dream, and as they caught the fire, he smiled. “What do you think of that, man of science?”

Gandalf took a deep breath, and sat back in his pew, nodding sagely. He did it for effect more than a need to speak carefully; when one was not too sure about a stranger, it was best to have him or her think you were as slow as you were wise. “I dream of such things, sometimes.”

The man who called himself a doctor shook his head with a grin. He came forward, elbow on the table, a finger in the air, and passion in his voice. “I have had grand adventures at all corners of the galaxies. Even some beyond the Universe itself — beyond time! — though I had not thought it possible, in all my years.”

“Are we telling of stories now?” It was Gandalf’s turn to smile, eyes set a-glimmer in their clinging shadows. “As an old man, I have a few. Not too long past, I defeated a great Balrog in the great Dwarf city underground. On a bridge and through the air we fought. It is a demon from the hells of the deep earth, as high as seventeen horses, with fire on every limb. Great horns, and light in its eyes” — he waved his hand to the candle, causing the tiny, now-unprotected light to flicker — “that would put the tiny flame of your heart out in a beat.”

He grinned. “I have two hearts.”

“That must be very hearty for you.”

The traveler scoffed and rolled his eyes. “I am a man of magic, not of science, by the way,” Gandalf continued. “The wizards that dabble in science are most unfortunate creatures. Always taken by strange fits, by the end.” He shook his head in distaste.

To that, the stranger fixed his mouth with a wry smirk. “How much are you willing to bet on that?”

The challenge hung in the air for a moment; the lanterns scattered about the tavern seemed hotter, but the noise softer. They seemed close in, suddenly, the two of them. “What I want to know more,” Gandalf said, “is what variety of the two you are, good traveler.”

“Oh, you do not want to know who I am,” he said, smile frozen now. “If I tell you, there are usually problems. Can we not just accept peace?”

“Who said we are at peace, with you in our presence? Several strange things have occurred since you arrived. Mischief, is it, or …?” He raised his eyebrows. “Forgive me my imprudence, but I have learned some things about the need for preemptive defense these last few years, for the good of us all. Especially when considering those who … practice magic.” Gandalf let a smile curl from under his white beard. He hoped it seemed as feral as it felt.

“Yes, well,” the stranger said, putting his chin on his hand. His posture arched over the candle’s flame, throwing twisting shadows over his face. “If you can prove to me that one thing you do is magic and not science, I will tell you who I am, and why I am here.”

Gandalf gave him a long look, and then sat back, nodding. “I command eagles,” he said, flat.

“Animal intelligence. The animal might be smarter than you. That’s no magic; that’s science fact. Humans, always very confused about that one.”

“I am Wizard, not Human.”

“Yes, yes. Next.” The man crinkled his nose and waved a hand.

Gandalf made him wait for the next one, holding the silence until the traveler raised an eyebrow. And then he held his gaze for a moment, just to make sure he knew who held this conversation. The man fidgeted in his seat, and just as he opened his mouth, Gandalf said, “I dream the future.”

“Dream of it, or dream and make it happen?” This time, the man’s other hand waved. Seemed he was dismissive ambidextrously. “But anyway. Either. Just time fluctuations in your own time stream. Nothing. Next.”

“There are magic things that can control a person’s mind — twist their actions, their souls.” Gandalf looked off to the side. “Not that I deal in such things, mind.” He glanced back: what flavor of bait did this stranger nibble?

He shrugged. “Endorphin generators, better known as ‘desire modifiers.’ Some sugar here, some proteins there, some erratic firing of the Hippocampus and Amygdala, and someone thinks they’ve turned evil. Done.”

“If there is no magic in your life, then”— Gandalf took a breath, mouth tight — “what on earth do you protect?”

The wandering stranger leaned back in a crinkle of leather, and looked over to the bar. His traveling companions — one woman of sharp laugh and sharper temper, and one thin man of agitated disposition — sat there, their backs to the two of them. The woman, clad in a bright red gown, jostled Gimli, drinks in hand. A couple of women were hitting on the poor scholar of a man, and he didn’t know what at all to do. Gandalf smiled at that, but the “doctor’s” smile was a bit different: a longing perhaps, or a sadness — it was hard to tell. His smile turned into a tight frown for just a moment, and that was when he turned back.


Gandalf frowned; the stranger’s hand unfolded, to quietly drum his fingertips across the table in a steady rhythm. “You know, I fought a Balrog in space once. It was on an asteroid circling a black hole. That’s, er — an inescapable pit, to the center of the deepest, darkest depths of the sky, you could say. I wonder if they were related.” He looked at his lack of food, and traced a finger over the old knife-wounds in the table. “Well, that was the old me, one of the many.”

Gandalf’s eyes narrowed. He truly was a wizard, then. But of what sort? Another black wizard, with ill intent? Even Sauron had started as a simple creature, with just the slightest bit of longing in his heart.

“What do you know …” Gandalf began, “Of rebirth?”

The stranger came alert at that, though he tried to conceal it. “I —”

“‘Ere we are, gents!” The female companion, the woman of fiery tresses, burned straight like liquid sunset, came over with a jaunty smile and dropped two steins of beer onto the table. They were massive, and met the table with a slam. She wavered a bit, and then pressed into the doctor. He stared at her, bewildered, and tried to amble away. But as he moved farther into the seat, she only descended next to him. “‘Ow’s it coming now with your new friend, Raggedy Man?” She draped her arms around his shoulders, and pinched his cheek. “Don’ you be gettin’ sad now, thisss is a party!”

“Ah, that’s, uh … very nice, there. Amelia. Dear. Um.” He tried to pluck her hands off, to no avail. “You’re touching me …”

“That’s because I love touching people!” she all but shouted. She pushed him nearly over, then stumbled across the table and into Gandalf himself. She was warm, and squishy, and smelled of alcohol, and wrapped her arms around his shoulders. “Especially old wizardy types!” Before he knew it, a warm, wet smeck was placed upon his chin hairs, and then her head was pushed into his cheek as she turned and pointed to her companion.

“I’ll have you know the Doctor here’s nine-hun’red and –” Her mind paused, but her movements kept going; she snuggled into him, like a bird to a warm nest. “— a lot?” She rocked back and forth, beaming at her memory success, dragging him with her. “You have the word ‘a lot’ yet?”

“Amelia, I would really appreciate —” the Doctor said, reaching across the table to guide her away. His hand was gentle, Gandalf noticed, even though he had to see it from under the weight and breath of a drunken human woman. Something here just didn’t add up.

“Really now, almost a thousand?” Gandalf interrupted, training his eyes on the foreigner and wrapping his arm around the woman. “I’ll have you know, I’m over two-thousand,” he said lightly. “And not a day over 1,300 in bed.”

“I hope you won’ look like thiss when you’re two-thousan’, Doctarr.” She laughed. Gandalf got the impression both he and his tablemate felt insulted.

“I actually seem to be getting younger,” the doctor said, sitting up straighter and primping the ribbon around his neck, which he insisted was a bow tie, not a ribbon. And that it was cool, which didn’t make any sense, unless it was enchanted to lower his temperature.

“Like some Time-Lord Alzheimers?” she asked, spilling alcohol breath into Gandalf’s ear.

The last word was so odd that the first part almost slipped by Gandalf.



This was no longer a game of easy stakes.

Suddenly, a kiss upon him again. And it lasted … and lasted, and took a second drag. When it did not end, and his face was flushing, Gandalf’s hand found its way south and goosed her, a pinch enough to hurt.

She yelped and jumped up straight. Her eyes were wide, and for a moment Gandalf thought she might hit him.

“Try not to put spells on me with your kisses, goodly woman.” He grinned, sweetly.

The redhead’s ire suddenly whisked away, and she giggled, as if the foam of all the beer she’d had were bubbling up to the surface. “Ohhoho, you randy old man! Doctor, why don’ you do that to me!”

The other man coughed once, and looked around, and then ran a heavy hand through his hair to smooth the black strands back. He adjusted his strange ribbon in silence, and then scratched at his ear. He was still trying to avoid her gaze by looking through his hand, as if the bar held something of great interest, when suddenly he frowned, more strongly than he had at all before.

Gandalf only saw the man’s mouth fall open before his vision blurred, and he was wrenched out of his seat to dangle from unjustifiably thin arms.

Silence descended on the room, and then at once, Men and Elf and Dwarf alike stood from their seats, weapons drawn.

“Hands off my wife!”

The skinny traveler’s eyes were wild, his hair disheveled, and there were rouge kisses on his cheeks, which had not all come from women.

Did he not know those Elves were men? Gandalf found himself wondering, absurdly.

“Rory!” the woman named Amelia shrilled. “Not the old man!”

“Not this time, Amy. Ohhhh, not his time. I feel strong and good and this guy’s gonna get it, old or not. I can see in his eyes every bedpan I’ve ever changed!”

The thin man did not notice the silence, it seemed, as he heaved angry breaths in his drunken haze; but it suffocated every one of Gandalf’s senses. The old wizard held up his hands, putting on his best innocent-old-man smile. “Now, now, no need for that, it was just —”

There was a high-pitched, shrill sound warbling through the air.

The doctor, the dark traveler, rose halfway from his seat, a silver wand in outstretched hand. A green light glowed from the stone at its end. “Rory, put the legendary wizard down, and not give a certain someone anything to write home about.”

It was the woman who moved. She sidled over to the doctor. Gandalf watched her, carefully, but all she did was query: “That doesn’t work on people, does it?”

His mouth ticked, a chagrined smile. “They don’t have to know that, do they?”

There was a breath where no one moved. And then a fist hit Gandalf’s face, and he found himself smiling, even as he hit the floor.

* * *

“Who would have known, Rory! Tolkien’s world! Real! And through just a psychic link!” Amy said, leaning toward him, even as a man with a beard too thick for comfort — and a sword at his side too long for comfort, for that matter — held her hands behind her back. He put a hand on her shoulder; Rory eyed him from his own captor’s steel embrace, trying to decide whether or not to bite that hand, or kick a shin. How much could he get away with before they stabbed him? They’d already hit him over the head once.

“You really want to touch the wife of a man who isn’t afraid to strike a wizard with his bare hands?” Rory said, icy.

The man raised an eyebrow, looking over Rory’s slender frame. “A fool of a man is a quickly dead man,” was all he said.

Oh, right: lack of disinfectant. Rory frowned. All the alcohol in the tavern was sweet beer; nothing astringent.

“Are you Aragorn?” Rory asked the man holding him.

The man eyed him. “Name’s Faramir. And the wizard is a friend of the Men of Middle Earth, traveler. You and your wifely one best be ‘ware of that.”

“Can you believe it, Rory?” Amy said, unfazed. “And my Raggedy Doctor’s fighting Gandalf.” She bounced on her heels, delighted. “Oh, how exciting!”

He frowned, and slowly turned his head to her. “Who’s side are you on?”

They stood in ring of spectator rabble of various classes. Their stage was a quiet knoll, just off the tavern’s edge. Gandalf stood to one end, warm wind to his face. He could hear its whisper: of animals and trees and growing things; of peace in the forests and hunting in the grasses. He could hear as well, at times, the thoughts of those around him. But from this man, this … creature, he heard nothing. Just four beats, over and over, and the question: doctor Who?

The man who called himself the doctor watched him carefully from across the way, slightly apart from his captive companions, and with a ring of drawn swords at his back. They glinted in the moonlight, making it all that much harder to see the man himself, in contrast.

It was a beautiful night in a beautiful place, all in all; the sky was ripe with stars. And yet, the peace that permeated the air was not that of comfort, but that of tension.

“You know, it doesn’t have to be like this.” The outlander said. He held his wand in-hand, occasionally flipping it over his fingers. He was nervous, and calculating.

The old wizard’s beard whipped in the wind; his long robes fluttered around him. “Indeed, traveler of far lands, perhaps even of the sky lands, we have much we could teach each other, much we could do.”

“Indeed.” The man’s dark eyes narrowed. He looked around to the people assembled: Hobbits, Elves, dirt-encrusted Men, and Dwarves, all ravenous for entertainment. And then to his companions. They cheered him on, hopeful. “But the crowd will have its way, when one is labeled the ‘evil foreigner,’ I suppose.”

“So it will.” The hard edge in Gandalf’s eyes turned into a glimmer. “So are you ready to tell me why you’re here, man of science?”

Across the field, a smile grew on the Doctor’s lips. He raised his wand, arm out straight. “All right, all right. I said settle with chess, but this rabble insisted on a ‘real’ fight, whatever that means. Don’t they know a battle of wits is best? Ah well. So.” Words and blood rattling about, he began to circle, but Gandalf did not move. “Let’s see what a ‘wizard’ is worth here! A test of our own abilities first? Because it’s best to see what merits a man — or a wizard, or Time Lord — has first, yes, wouldn’t you say?”

“Indeed.” Gandalf raised his staff, and a shockwave burst across the ring.

His prey coiled inward, shielding his eyes. But a sound followed him: roaring; the ripping of air.

The doctor dived aside and rolled. He landed on his back in the mud, heat and light spilling onto him. An arc of flame moved over him in a reverse rainbow. It threw light at him, the crowd, the ground, even the trees; heat no doubt swept onto his face. The flame dragon coiled and snapped and then, after crashing into a section of the audience, evaporated into the air to join the thin clouds that sat about, watching them. The crowd cheered, once the screaming settled down.

The stranger scrambled to his feet with an exhilarated whoop. It was something like an exotic bird’s mating cry, and Gandalf wondered if everyone of his kind did that.

“Now there’s a nice trick,” the doctor hummed to himself as he tossed burnt locks from his face, making himself look only more wild. “Manipulation of molecules in the air to cause friction, superheating, and spontaneous combustion.” He tipped his chin, and called to the other: “I like it!”

“Really,” Gandalf sniffed. “I simply take the spirits of things already extant and muster them to action on my cause.”

A smile was his only response.

“So which one of us will muster the other for his cause?” The doctor’s smile split into a grin. “Science, or magic?”

Gandalf leveled his staff.

The ground rumbled and split. The man stumbled and faltered; his wand almost fell from his hand. Angry swirls of magic leapt from the crack that had appeared between his feet, showering the air with sparks of color that caused a low noise of admiration from the audience.

Hungry hands rose to greet the foreigner, but his feet were fast. Over mounds and into holes he leapt; around rocks and tree stumps he stumbled. Gandalf opened the earth in front of him as he ran, and he was forced back, into the ring of men well-armed, who pushed him back with the flats of their swords and angry shouts. “Why don’t you use your wand, dark wizard!” Gandalf called, as the hole finally caught him and he jumped … and dropped. He managed to hit the edge of the crevice and cling there, but it was a scrabble more than a firm grip. The miniature canyon was only ten feet deep: enough to maim, and to trap, but not to kill. At least, for a normal man.

“That’s not really how it works!” the doctor cried, a feeble voice. The green light of his wand had flickered, and then gone off altogether, as he pulled himself out of the hole. He was covered in mud now, scorched, and stained. Half his face had turned dark with splattered earth, and Gandalf wondered if he wouldn’t soon metamorphosize, if pushed hard enough. And he wanted to see that. He did: the shape of the creature, so that he could assess its full threat and then destroy it, if need be.

Which he really hoped he didn’t have to; he did have so many nice stories. And another old man with a mind that still worked was something few and far between these days. But something just didn’t add up here. And he needed to find out what, before this man got away, and years later came back to haunt him. To haunt them all.

“Then how does it work?” Gandalf goaded, to the upset shouts of the redhead and the skinny man with the tough right hook. He raised his staff to the air once more. Wind whirled all around them; it circled the wall of mortals twice, whipping off hats and buttons and gloves before it dove into the earth’s gouge and pulled the traveler out. He was whirled around and around until he fell to his knees. Gandalf let the spell evaporate, to a great cheer from the crowd. The clattering of metal on metal was his fanfare as he stalked forward. “Tell me.”

From his knees, the man shook his head; he raised his hand to his face and pressed it there.

Speak! Or would you lose more than friendship for your silence?!”

The doctor’s hands ripped away from his face. “It’s a screwdriver, okay!” He shouted, voice cracking. “It doesn’t work on wood!” He thrust a hand toward Gandalf’s staff in explanation.

“Is that what you call your wand? ‘Screw Driver’?” Gandalf stopped a few feet away, setting his shoulders.

The man stared, desperate, and then ran his hands over his hair like he was clawing at his skin. “Oh sweet TARDIS, you haven’t invented screws yet, have you?!” He supplicated the air, and then held out his wand, pointing to it. Gandalf immediately went into a defensive stance, and sent out a shockwave of light.

The man doubled over in pain, hiding his face with a cry. But still he held out the instrument — in a flat palm. “It’s a little metal turny, screwy thing! It unlocks things and fixes things!” he shouted. “I’m a fixer! I help people!”

“Ahh, so there’s the truth,” Gandalf said, stepping close. “Or half of it.” With the butt of his staff, he knocked the tiny metal wand out of the man’s hand; it skittered to a halt on the ground a few feet away, inert. The man flinched back, but, blind, he was easy to anticipate. “There is many an evil man who started out with good intention.” Gandalf turned his staff so the bulb was almost at the ground; he slid the warm stone through the man’s folded arms and brought his chin upward. Sightless black eyes, streaked with water, blinked hard at him, over and over, no matter how hard they tried to stay open. “What element do you command, then, if not earth and living things? Death?”

From his knees, the man said: “Time.”

Gandalf snorted, knocking him in the chin. “That’s impossible.”

“To magic maybe,” he said quietly, blinking down the pain. But this time, his eyes did not waver; his body did not shiver. “But not to science.”
For a long moment, they watched each other, even though there was nothing the one could see. The wind slid by, carrying with it the heartbeats of many mortals, their anxieties, and their bloodlusts. Their confusion.

And from this one, only one sound: four beats, in a rhythm.

Gandalf withdrew his staff and planted it in the ground. He took a deep breath, and schooled his voice, quiet but stern. He didn’t need everyone hearing this; he didn’t need men relishing in their foe’s pain, as Humans, so very young, were so very apt to do.

“Leave us, and don’t come back, man of the stars.”

The man dropped his head and sighed, rubbing his hand over his eyes. The air ionized from his magic settled, leaving a chill in its wake. Gandalf waited, the silver wand sat in the grass, and the rabble was as still as stone.

And then:

“Pardon me, that’s it dear. Move aside. Oh yes, I like your rump too, thank you.”

The doctor’s head turned, even though he could not see; Gandalf raised his eyes to parse the crowd, just in time to see it part, and a woman with a shock of curly hair and a long, dark coat step daintily into the ring. Her boots compressed the grass and sank into the dirt: she was dressed like a man.

“Why, if it isn’t my other favorite old man who never dies!” She waved at Gandalf. She hustled over, and, unsure, Gandalf backed up; she came to the side of the doctor and gave him a quick pat on the shoulder. By the arm, she lifted him to his feet, and then gave him a fierce embrace. A good portion of the crowd jeered, but the doctor merely blinked hard, and reached out to her shoulders.

“River!” He yelled. “So it was you that was bringing tech to this planet!”

“You wouldn’t believe the mine-able resources the inside of Tolkien’s mind has,” she said. “The narcotics are incredibly high-price to the creative crowd. Sorry, I stole the TARDIS, Sweetheart.”

“What? When?”

“About an hour ago.”


“You are a fine strumpet of a woman, but I have a duel to complete please,” Gandalf shouted across the ring.

“Oh yes, that’s it you geriatric. Come to Mama.” She gave the doctor a smooch. He turned bright red, and ran a muddy hand over his eyes.

She laid her head on his shoulder, and smiled at the wizard. A curling hand reached out, to beckon Gandalf closer. He did not move. Only a fool would.

“River, what are you doing here?” the doctor asked.

“I was reading a book of unfinished tales, and a strange story came about in it,” she said. Her finger pointed upward. “But I couldn’t let you be defeated, not my Sweetheart. Why, Doctor, I brought all your other friends as reinforcements.”

Shadows fell over the field, blocking out the moon and stars. At first, Gandalf thought they were clouds, but they were too dark and uniform for that: giant disks and wings, glittering with flashing lights. A few landed in the fields afar; they were so awash with lights that even the forest was awakened. Gandalf could see beasts appearing, and armies in black. They spread into formation, ready to swarm. The men around him had dropped the stranger’s other companions, and were crowding together, each head looking at a different target.

By the time he looked skyward again, the night was dark as if with a thunderstorm.

“I even brought a deathray, Sweetie!” The new woman pecked her captive again. “Cook the whole planet if we need to.”

Gandalf did not like the sound of that.

“River! This is a Level Four planet, we can’t use that!” The stranger hissed.

“You can’t. But I can.” She shrugged. “Convict, remember?” She laughed, detached from him, and sauntered out into the field. Gandalf watched her, staff out, careful. “Now. You’ve got an entire planet, but we’ve got Galaxies.” She held out her hands, a happy theatric. Behind her, the Doctor groaned, even as he smiled. “Defeat us here, and they automatically start a war you’ll never win. Whoever here thought the Doctor was here to become your next overlord was wrong, because that’s going to be me. Stand down.”

Predicted Winner:

The Battle: Gandalf

The War: The Doctor

NOTE: THIS MATCH ENDS ON Friday, March 15th, 2013, AT 5 PM, EST

Check out all the Cage Match 2013 posts!

Check out the round 1 recap and Cage Match 2013 Bracket!

Gandalf is a character from The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien; The 11th Doctor from Doctor Who is a character from Doctor Who, 1963, BBC TV.

Gandalf image courtesy of MGM/Warner Bros. The 11th Doctor from Doctor Who image courtesy of BBC.

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!”


  • Mythmatician

    Really? Gandalf is winning? This is The Doctor! No way he would lose.

  • The Doctor always cheats…

  • Jonathan

    Well, that was an exciting battle! Seems the votes are still pretty close, as well… Really, this one could go either way. Science vs. magic and all that.

  • kokkieh

    This one is tough. One-on-one, my money’s on Gandalf, simply because he’s willing to kill and the doctor isn’t (and the doctor will eventually run out of regenerations – they’re not infinite). Without his friends and a more-than-fair amount of luck, the Doctor doesn’t stand a chance against Gandalf’s magic. On the other hand, both can command formidable armies, but there the doctor would have an undoubted technological edge. The summary puts it well: The battle – Gandalf, the war – the Doctor (if he’s still alive after the battle, that is)

  • Celtic Bear

    Gandalf is nothing but a trumped up 8th level druid with a couple fighter levels AT BEST! I could see if it were Elminster, but Gandalf???? REALLY???

  • Metacognition

    A very entertaining write up! And here’s the thing with that write up, the Doctor lost. The thing that keeps the fight from being one sided isn’t anything the Doctor could do. That came from someone else entirely.
    Is this a match between two people (you know, the way it’s represented?) or is it a conflict between the two universes? If it’s the latter, where was everyone else from LotR backing Gandalf up.
    Sorry Whovians, but the Doctor just isn’t set up to be in a cage match. If you have to give him the aide of his sidekicks to make him a viable opponent, then you’ve just made the fight into 2 vs 1.
    I’d be more than interested to hear someone give me a reasonable concept of how the Doctor himself could beat Gandalf, but this whole talk about battles and wars is pointless anyways. It is a CAGE MATCH. Singular battle, in which case, Gandalf wins.

  • Alex Richardson

    I’ve been meaning to watch Doctor Who for so long, but I’m not sure where to start (so I’m abstaining voting in this one). Any advice?

  • David

    It is stated as part of his advantage that he has companions. Gandalf doesn’t need companions. I am good either way on this one. Of course, The Doctor has a better chance of advancing against IT than gandald does, IMO.

  • Luke

    Oh yes, River Song brings along all her aliens and cyborgs and super-weapons and science-fiction tricks. The Who crowd blackmail the Cybermen and threaten the Daleks into compliance and train their death-ray on Arda.

    And that’s when the skies open and Eru-Iluvutar descends.

    When any setting (particularly one without the truly super-natural) is up against one with an active equivalent of the Judeo-Christian God watching over it, there’s only one possible outcome.

    Gandalf wins the battle and then God wins the war.

  • Mythmatician

    I am a little surprised at the thought the Doctor would not win out in a cage match versus Gandalf. The Doctor has been in countless confrontations and wins every time. He never carries a weapon (save a sonic screwdriver) and has defeated every “baddie” you can think of. Mummies and Werewolves, Cybermen and King John, Daleks and the Devil. With four words he brought down a Prime Minister. The character uses wit and “timey-whimey” logic to win the day. Gandalf won’t stand a chance.

    Young Reinette: Monsieur, be careful!
    The Doctor: It’s just a nightmare, Reinette, don’t worry, everyone has nightmares. Even monsters under the bed have nightmares!
    Young Reinette: What do monsters have nightmares about?
    The Doctor: Me!

    Trust me, the doctor has Gandalf right were he wants him.

    @kokkieh – The Doctor does kill, though usually what he does is give the other person, being, alien, killer cybernetic bunny, or bitchy trampoline a chance to not hang themselves. Sadly they usually do….

    As for the write up….I am not sure I like the characterizations of the Doctor’s companions.

  • Metacognition

    Mythmatician: You posted that before and, like before, I still say that’s a horrible argument. What you’ve done is describe every hero in every story everywhere. They ALL face powerful enemies and find a way to win. That’s not a characteristic of the Doctor, it’s a characteristic of the ‘good guys’ in any story. The same could be said with Gandalf.

    David: The advantages and disadvantages are partially tongue in cheek, or do you think Gandalf having ‘companions’ as a disadvantage is actually a bad thing for Gandalf? They’re making fun of the fact that Gandalf tends to have to save his companions, typically from some horrible fate, rather than being saved by them. If you’re going to give the Doctor an entire army, a death ray and his companions and pit all that against only Gandalf, then of course you’re going to say the Doctor wins, but you can’t say that it’s because it was a because of the Doctor (which is what this cage match is about).

  • Daabest1

    WOW it’s close

  • Mythmatician

    Metacognition: I have to disagree. Its a great argument. You are correct in that the central theme of all heroes is to “find a way to win”, but its not the just the fact that he wins, but the “HOW”. Add that to the vast cast of characters he defeats, and its hard to argue that he won’t find a way to end on top in every situation.

    Plain and simple, the Doctor is always one step ahead.

    My brother always jokes about the Gandalf character in the LOTR movies. Essentially Gandalf’s main weapon is a Light Spell…..ooooo…..scary.

  • Viridian

    Jebus this one was hard… I love both of these characters so much it hurts… that being said. The Doctor simply doesn’t lose… and I think he actually has the stratagems necessary to potentially beat gandalf.

  • Metacognition

    Fair enough, but the only explanation you’ve given for HOW he beats his opponents is wits and “timey-whimey” stuff.

    While I could see how people would get that impression based on the LotR movies, I believe Suvudu is using the book version (as they reference the books instead of the movies), which is much more bad ass. Even in the write up, they explain that Gandalf is not actually human. He’s technically an Ainur. The Ainur were created BEFORE the creation of the world even! Gandalf is one of five Istari sent to Middle Earth and second only to Saruman (who is also an Istari). The Istari are supposed to resemble man, but more physically and mentally powerful.
    He’s the wielder of the Flame of Anor (which is likened to the power of the sun itself. This is probably why they decided to use so much light source magics in the movies), which means he has the power of a freaking sun on top of everything else.
    Oh, and finally, he actually wields one of the rings of power. He was given the ring, Narya, which has the power to inspire others to resist tyranny (which I though they represented very well in the movies), as well as hiding the wielder from remote observation and giving resistance to the weariness of TIME.

    That’s the Gandalf I assume we’re dealing with here, after all, I don’t remember the Gandalf from the movies causing earthquakes and the like.
    Just throwing that all out there. I know it won’t change your mind, but it might make you see how dire of a threat he really is.

    I’d still like to hear a scenario where the Doctor wins that doesn’t require being saved by his companions, so if you can come up with something that doesn’t stretch the believability of either character, I’m all ears. 🙂

  • Smaug dragon

    I am sorry Gandalf can not die until he faces me.

    I fully endorse Gandalf for the win.

  • darthcaz

    Gandalf wins this, hands down. Metacognition is completely right, and he didn’t even list all of Gandalf’s powers. As Gandalf the White, no mortal weapon could even harm him. WHen he was sent back to Middle earth as the White, he was EXPRESSLY FORBIDDEN from challenging Sauron directly, instead directed to help and advise.

    Mythmetician: I guess you and your brother missed that part where Gandalf calls down lightning from the heavens and blasts it into the Balrog, killing one of the most poweful beings in Middle Earth at the time.

  • sevvack

    even as gandalf the grey he possessed a extensive if not complete vocabulary of power words, that is true naming for those of you unfamiliar with the term. he used power word shut to close a door in moria, he has complete power over almost everything simply by speaking a word. and hes the tolkein equivalent of a demi-god or even a full on deity

  • George C.


    The best place is to start with Doctor Who is probably with the modern series start in 2005. There’s 50 years of history, but the new series worked up to it slowly so it’s not so overwhelming to those unfamiliar with the history. Once you’ve worked through Christopher Eccleston, David Tennant and Matt Smith, then I HIGHLY recommend going back and checking out the previous Doctors; Tom Baker is always a good place to start for that.

    Give it a try! I’ll think you’ll like it.

  • Galadriel

    Gandalf must succeed and win in this quest. Otherwise I will lose my love.

  • fafnir

    hmm by looking at those numbers is cheating active again

  • Smaug Dragon

    Let Gandalf succeed so I may defeaet him. See how he will fail once he comes with no dwarves to face me.

  • Doctor Evil

    I am sorry, I must say when I went for my doctorite i never saw this “Doctor” ever. On top of that a screwdriver, really a screwdriver, that is his secret weapon. I can respect a bow tie, but how can he freaking defeat anything with a screwdriver. Now if he had sharks with lazers that would be a weapon. How can anyone defeat shark with lazers. And can you imagine him with a mini doctor, it would be horrible. The thing would need one of those tiny glasses screwdrivers, totally unprofessional.

  • Graham

    I’m not really a Dr Who fan, but the Dr is basically a time travelling god. Unless Gandalf gets the jump on him, Dr wins.

  • Mythmatician

    Ok, my point is that The Doctor has gone up against “Demi-god” types before, and even without his companions, he ALWAYS comes out on top. If you are looking for specific “powers” he has to beat brute force…It is almost impossible to list any, because he doesn’t use brute force. His greatest power is his wit, and abilty to be one step ahead at all times. 20 minutes to save the world…. no problem. Gandalf does have some prowess in battle…. but do you think Gandalf could face an armada of Daleks and win? The Doctor has.

    The Doctor can see everything, all that is, all that was, all that ever could be. The Doctor comes from a race of people who can do this, and he is the greatest of them.

    One thing the Doctor can do that Gandalf can’t is call upon himself. In extreme circumstances other incarnations of the doctor can be called upon to aid himself. He is not supposed to cross his own timestream but if does happen. So while it may appear that Gandalf is only going up against one Doctor, he may be actually going up against 11. 11 aspects of the greatest mind the multi-verses has ever known. AND if Gandalf does trigger a regeneration, we have seen how much power that can release. (When 10 regenerated into 11) Not to mention that all the regenitive power makes him almost impossible to kill. (Sword battle with the Sycorax, and Mel gets riddled by bullets in Lets Kill Hitler)

  • Smaug Dragon

    Hey there,

    Want to remind everyone to come on over to the Smaug vote and vote for me!

    I got cute pins for people, and bumper stickers. Come on everyone vote for Smaug 2013!

  • David

    There’s still time. The Doctor has more than a screwdriver. He has control of time. He can pull a Groundhog Day on Gandalf. Eventually he’ll hit upon the right maneuver that allows him to win. Gandalf doesn’t have that luxury.

  • darthcaz

    @Myhtmetician, Gandalf is not going up against 11 doctors. It would, in fact, break the rules of the competition. It explicitly state that Gandalf is fighting the 11th doctor. No companions, no other selves, only the 11th doctor.

  • Asteron

    The one thing that bothered me about this is that Gandalf got his magic, but the Doctor never got his biggest asset: the TARDIS. That’s a game changer… With the technology there, he could likely do something to counter the magic.

  • Metacognition

    I think I’m going to miss this match now that it’s done. There was a lot of really decent debate going on for this one and I like that. I don’t think we’re going to have any matches that will be as close as the matches have been during this round until we get to the final four.
    Thanks for continuing to be civil, Whovians! Much respect for you and the Doctor.

    Congrats to Gandalf for winning. I don’t suspect he’ll have much trouble from here until he goes up against Smaug (cause, come on; we all know that’s where this is headed now. I wouldn’t have minded if Merlin won, so we could have a wizards duel, but this reenactment of The Hobbit will be fun too)!

  • Gravity

    Okay, so I wanted to post this in time for the match, but it seems I’ve just about missed it. My friends and I made a list a couple of weeks ago when we saw the Doctor and Gandalf in the same bracket, and I thought I might post it FOR THE LOLS.
    Warning, this list is somewhat… ridiculous. It has the Doctor acting like a player, a couple ASOIAF references, as well as Gandalf and the Doctor literally comparing dick length. Please take it lightheartedly, as it is not meant as a reasonable argument.

    Fifty three reasons why the Doctor would win in a fight against Gandalf, or just wins over him in general.

    1. The Doctor has managed to tempt no less than 35 different women to come into his TARDIS in the space of eleven seasons. These have been his companions, not just visitors. Gandalf travels in a party exclusively filled with men. The adventurers in The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings were all exclusively bro’s.
    2. One of those women was Kylie Minogue (2007 episode “Voyage of the Damned”). Generally, she is agreed to be a very attractive woman by the members of the human race.
    3. You could argue that Gandalf is better because he has a wizard staff. Well, the Doctor has a wizard staff, too. It’s called the Sonic Screwdriver.
    4. The Doctor is able to just use his ability to talk at things to get out of pretty much any situation. He wouldn’t have even had to fight Saruman, he would have just talked at him for five minutes and the white wizard would turn his tail and run.
    5. The Doctor can use cups of tea as a weapon against his enemies, as he (being British) has an unlimited quantity of those stored in his TARDIS.
    6. His TARDIS also technically counts as a woman, (Episode with the Eleventh Doctor “The Doctor’s Wife) who the Doctor actually lives inside. Does that technically qualify as him having sex constantly throughout the day? I think so. 36.
    7. The Doctor gets called ‘sexy’ by women around him frequently. Even Galadriel would back down if asked to call Gandalf that.
    8. Gandalf must spend hours each morning getting his hair so completely straight, ready to go outside as the white wizard. While the Doctor, on the other hand, goes for a just-got-out-of-bed-in-the-morning look.
    9. The Doctor’s Sonic Screwdriver can unlock doors. Gandalf couldn’t even figure out how to speak friend and enter, he needed Frodo’s help in figuring it out.
    10. The Doctor brings the mother of his wife, Amy, around with him all the time, and still hits on her almost 24/7.
    11. The Doctor doesn’t do drugs, they would damage his much needed brain cells.
    12. While Gandalf spends his time stoning with Bilbo, the Doctor does important space work.
    13. Gandalf has saved Middle Earth once, with a lot of help from his buddies in the Fellowship. Twice if you count Smaug as a threat to Middle Earth. The Doctor saves not just the Planet Earth, but the entire Universe every episode.
    14. The Doctor had a scarf, once.
    15. The Doctor has to wear suspenders as well as a bow tie, and completely rocks them.
    16. Gandalf is probably going commando underneath those wizard robes. Even though that is a good thing, it would leave him very vulnerable in a fight.
    17. Gandalf’s wizard staff is longer and wider than the Doctor’s Sonic, and yet the Doctor still gets more women than him.
    18. If, in the case of a fight, the Doctor did get killed by Gandalf, he would just regenerate and get back into it straight away. While Gandalf did regenerate once, it took him a hell of a long time.
    19. The Doctor has an ID in his wallet that he can show to you, and it will say whatever he wants it to. Not only that, but whoever sees it will instantly believe it. That means he could pretend to be Gandalf, and no one would know the difference.
    20. There are Christmas specials for the Doctor, which shows that he has no problem in “getting merry.”
    21. Gandalf’s wizard hat may have been one of the best hats in Fantasy, but the Doctor, in the eleventh incarnation alone, wore a top hat and fez. And rocked them.
    22. The Doctor is pretty much, essentially, an immortal space pimp. Gandalf isn’t a pimp of any calibre. (The multiple hats go as proof of that).
    23. The Doctor is married, but no one is going to know about a little extra on the side (Oswin Oswalds), as he travels alone. If Gandalf tries to get down and dirty, the entire Fellowship will be able to hear the noise coming from his tent.
    24. The Doctor had an annoying space robot dog following him around for a few seasons, and did not give a fuck. Gandalf would probably blow K9 to pieces by the second episode.
    25. The Doctor managed to talk down an entire attacking starship of Daleks using nothing more than a Jammy Dodger. (British cookie. No, I’m not even joking.)
    26. If Captain Kirk met the Doctor, they would probably team up and have the best bromance in all science fiction fantasy history. If Captain Kirk went to Middle Earth, he would probably become insanely bored with the lack of girls to get with and leave – despite Gandalf’s best attempts to befriend him.
    27. If Captain Picard met the Doctor, the Doctor would probably just pack up and leave, without even saying goodbye, due to Picard’s incredible lameness. If Captain Picard met Gandalf, he would stay in Middle Earth for a long time, smoke with Gandalf, and engage in sexual relations with Elrond.
    28. The Doctor has two hearts, so the blood technically should be able to pump oxygen around his muscles more quickly, so he should be able to run twice as fast as his human companions. He just doesn’t, because he knows that the monsters chasing him don’t have a fucking chance of ever getting to him.
    29. Gandalf called the Fellowship “you fools!” during “Fly, you fools!”. The Doctor would never directly insult his friends like that. But he would behind their backs.
    30. When the Doctor insults you behind your back, you never find out.
    31. The Doctor blew up the entire universe. The biggest quantity of fire Gandalf has ever made was started with pine-cones.
    32. Gandalf probably had something going on with the Eagles, come to think of it. The Doctor never had to result to beastialty, he had enough ladies to hit on already in the TARDIS.
    33. No one in all of the Lord of the Rings or the Hobbit was as annoying as Rory in the seasons with the Eleventh Doctor. But still, the Doctor put up with him without giving a single fuck, where Gandalf lashed out at Pippin quite a lot for looking into the palantír during “The Two Towers”.
    34. The Doctor has so many women running after him, that he actually discourages Amy Pond’s affections, and hitches her to the hideous troll of a human being; Rory.
    35. Gandalf just calls it quits and calls the Eagles when shit starts to get serious.
    36. The Doctor never gives up, and if he fails, he just goes the heck back in time and fixes everything.
    37. Frodo once offered to give Gandalf the Ring, and he declined it. The Doctor would never decline an extra bit of pimp jewellery.
    38. Gandalf can speak the language of moths and butterflies. The Doctor can speak the language of dinosaurs and minotaurs.
    39. The Doctor is such a worth foe throughout time that his enemies actually evolve to be able to defeat him.
    40. The Daleks can go up stairs, they’re just too afraid of the Doctor, who is standing at the top, so they pretend not to be able.
    41. The Doctor is probably a member of House Lannister.
    42. Gandalf is probably a Tyrell or Tully.
    43. The Doctor can make children cry on Christmas.
    44. The magic of children crying on Christmas can somehow be used to resurrect one of the Doctor’s girlfriends – just like in the movie Ted, which was an excellent goddamn movie to say the least.
    45. Gandalf’s title is technically “Loremaster” which suggests that he knows a lot of Lore. He probably gleamed all that knowledge from reading. The Doctor doesn’t waste his time with reading, he already knows every fact there is in the universe.
    46. Gandalf fought against a group of wolves and goblins. The Doctor fought against a deadly crack in a little girl’s wall. He doesn’t even need to fight logical enemies.
    47. The Doctor’s favourite food is fish fingers. The manliest food Gandalf ever ate was probably something served up by The Prancing Pony. Yes, a place called The Prancing Pony.
    48. The Doctor has fought more than 107 different types of enemies in all his adventures. Gandalf probably fought about 30, tops.
    49. Even though Gandalf is really goddamn old, the Doctor is over a thousand, so he has more wisdom and experience.
    50. The Doctor didn’t need a beard to contain his awesomeness.
    51. If you have sex while on the TARDIS, your baby will get turned into an immortal Time Lord (River Song is testament to that), even if it is with a human. Your baby will become an all knowing god.
    52. If you have sex while in Rivendell, you will just get a bunch of elves staring at you judgementally.
    53. The Doctor kissed a man, (episode 12 of the sixth season), and no one ever found out about it.

  • Rose

    That was very, very funny, and I have only a few objections:
    1) k-9 was incredibly awesome, not annoying.
    2) Picard all the way. TNG>>>TOS
    3) Gandalf is actually way older than the Doctor. Even if you only count the time he’s in mortal guise, he’s at least 2000, and if you count his entire existence, then he’s older than the world, probably older than the universe.

  • Kokkieh

    @ Gravity

    Nr 9 – I’d like to see him open a dwarf door with his sonic.
    Nr 21 – You forgot the stetson

    Excellent post.

  • Bobby Bobston

    Gandalf is basically a god. If he was killed, he would be sent back as Gandalf the Invincible. The Doctor would be toast in seconds.

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