Cage Match 2013 Round Two: Smaug vs. Merlin the Magician


The Contestants



The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
Age: Unknown
Race: Dragon
Weapons / Artifacts: Dragon-ness and a horde of Dwarven artifacts
Death from Above

Merlin the Magician
Arthurian Legend
Age: Unknown
Race: Humanoid
Weapons / Artifacts: Magic spells, wooden staff
Seeing the future, anticipating enemy’s move

The Breakdown


  • Size and strength
  • Flight and ferocity
  • Oh, and fire

  • Wisdom
  • Shape-shifting
  • The ability to charm and persuade others

  • Uncontrollable thirst for gold

  • Medieval education


How we think the fight will go

Detecting treasure-bound intruders was as easy as taking to the sky once each day – great, swooping patrols of the local mountains and valleys – but most days Smaug couldn’t be bothered. It was so rare that any creature dared to approach his lair (and rarer still that it would be one that posed any threat whatsoever) that the great worm found it difficult to summon the energy for such vigilance. Let them come, he purred to himself. It gave him the utmost pleasure to wait, to forestall the incineration of their very bones until after they’d actually seen the great treasure he’d amassed. Their awe and covetousness whetted his appetite.When the bearded man appeared one day on the threshold of the treasure chamber, Smaug was hardly surprised or impressed. It seemed these days that there was a wizard nearly anywhere one dropped dung, and most of them didn’t have anything terribly interesting or particularly magical to say. Occasionally they turned up on the Lonely Mountain to survey Smaug’s wealth or ask inane questions – probably, the dragon speculated, just to be able to brag about it later and build a name for themselves. They never stayed long enough or drew close enough to arouse his ire, and in any case, when the greybeards returned home with their observations it contributed to Smaug’s own notoriety in a way that satisfied him.

This one was different. He made no effort to conceal himself, nor did he bow and beg the dragon’s pardon or ask for an audience in a trembling voice. Instead the wizard began calmly picking through the nearest pile of relics with infuriating detachment. Occasionally, he held an item up to the light for a better look, but instead of appearing awed he always seemed disappointed, setting the item off to the side and continuing his search. Smaug was so insulted that, in order to save face, he felt he had no choice but to pretend not to notice the man at all.

Finally, after the strange bearded man had already picked his way through several mounds of treasure, the dragon made a big show of detecting his presence. Spraying fire across the ceiling and shaking the cavern with his screams, Smaug wheeled around to confront the old gentleman, half-expecting to discover that he’d already run for the hills or fallen dead of terror. Both of these reactions were quite common. To his horror, however, he saw that his pyrotechnics had elicited no reaction whatsoever. The wizard seemed to have not even interrupted his search, and death from fright hardly seemed forthcoming.

Without looking up, the old man spoke: “I pray you will pay me no mind. I won’t be long, and I shall not reduce your wealth. After all, the component I seek has no value to you whatsoever.”

Howling in rage, the dragon lunged forward to snap the greybeard’s soft body in half with a single bite. When his jaws connected, however, it was not the top meeting the bottom. Instead, their joining was disrupted by a shimmering pillar of stone. Where seconds ago a pensive old man had stood, now there was a glittering white stalagmite six feet in height, the ground at its base littered with tooth fragments. Smaug recoiled in shock and anguish, his mouth throbbing and drooling black blood.

“See? I’ve already added to your wealth considerably. This diamond is yours to keep in exchange for any inconvenience my visit has caused you. In the meantime… ah, yes! Here it is.”

Merlin produced a shining medallion from a heap of common gold pieces, examining it only cursorily before vanishing it into his robes. Bowing deeply – perhaps a bit ironically, the dragon noted with wounded pride – he began to fade from sight. Within moments, the diamond spike and Smaug’s sore jaw were the only evidence that he’d ever been there at all.

Heaving a caustic sigh and carefully curling his lips over his jagged tooth-stumps, Smaug heaved himself to his feet and wriggled toward the entrance to his lair. It was beginning to seem as though a more rigorous patrol schedule might be in order after all …

Predicted Winner: Merlin

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!

Smaug is a character from The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien; Merlin is a character from Arthurian Legend.

Smaug image courtesy of J.R.R. Tolkien. Merlin image courtesy of

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!”


  • Archon

    I literally cannot pick a winner for this match.

  • Metacognition

    Even with the write up, I haven’t been able to decide either. Anyone have some convincing arguments for either side? Smaug, as the write up says, has had plenty of dealings with wizards in the past. I’m sure he’d have some idea on how to deal with them.
    On the other hand, Merlin is definitely a different type of wizard than he’s used to and he’s an incredibly powerful one as well.

  • Alex Richardson

    Yeah, I’m surprised to see Merlin winning so handily. Admittedly, I don’t have any deep knowledge of the Arthurian legends, but as Metacognition says, I would think Smaug would be more than used to dealing with wizards.

  • Smaug Dragon

    I woke up one morning and felt something I had not felt before. Indigestion.

    I roll over and realize I flattened someone. Sorry my bad.

    If Gandalf needed a thief, and 7 dwarves, and a slew of men, really that man who I rolled over and flattened like a gnat?

    Hmm flattened merlin is good for indigestion.

  • Smaug Dragon

    I am having a big come back now. 1 Gold for your vote. But not a copper more!

    They are making a trilogy about me, of course I will win!

  • Zane

    Honestly Merlin would in fact win, based on his early life stories and how he calmed two dragons at the age of 6, along with the fact that he has fairy blood and advanced magic would give him an advantage. He even knows swords skills and have developed and understanding of the nature of Magic. I voted for smaug in round one, and I love Tolkienlore, but in this Merlin would prevail. Especially in a cave like this match is depicted.

  • Rose

    Personally I think that Merlin would win because he would turn into a mouse, scout out the area, notice Smaug’s fatal weakness (which curiously is not listed in the disadvantages for some reason. Isn’t having a vulnerable target right over your heart sort of a disadvantage in a cage fight if your opponent has eyes and is remotely clever?), and then Merlin would exploit the gap in Smaug’s armour just as Bilbo did.

    The only reason Gandalf didn’t do something like that is because he’s bound in mortal form while in Arda, so he couldn’t just turn himself invisible for convenience and had to sneak in with dwarves. Plus, he was just helping the dwarves rather than leading the quest himself.

    My problem with the write-up: Smaug probably has little or no experience with wizards, actually, since there are only five of them in Middle Earth, and there is no record of them bothering him. Most of his experience would be either with regular non-magical warriors or possibly some elf-sorcerers, but not many of those, since most of them either keep to themselves or went back to Aman when Melkor fell, and Smaug is actually young as dragons go, so he didn’t have a major part in the last battle against the West.

  • Smaug Dragon

    Smaug will crunch on the bones of all you infidels who voted for Merlin.

    By the way I just finished eating him for my afternoon snack.

  • Ebenezum

    Us wizards got to stay together , get rid of that magical screwdriver I am allergic to it.

  • Metacognition

    I eventually voted for Merlin (please don’t hurt me Smaug!). I’m happy with either one being victorious, but the better case was made for Merlin, IMO.

    Don’t get me wrong, whoever is posting as Smaug has highlighted why Smaug is such a dangerous foe and did so with such panache and accuracy to the character (especially the arrogance) that I almost voted for Smaug just because of it! In fact, I’m kind of still hoping Smaug wins, even though I voted for Merlin.

    But if I’m trying to be fair in every battle (and I am trying), Merlin just has too many tricks up his sleeves. Smaug is the concept of dominance personified and could easily crush Merlin if it wasn’t for the fact that Merlin is a perfect example of trickery. We all know how difficult a basic hobbit was for Smaug. I think Merlin would have a bit on a hobbit on that right and could take the match.

    *Adds multiple flawless diamonds to Smaug’s treasury*
    A small token to make up for my blasphemy. Please have pity on me, Smaug!

  • Smaug Dragon

    Vote SMAUG!

    I am for equal rights for everyone. I am tired of how we not only racially profile we species profile in our country. Everyone is like oh look at Merlin he is a Caucasian wizard who has so many tricks, and over there is Smaug a dragon, he is just a lizard he can not win. It is attitudes like that, that help to keep other species down. In a Sci/Fi forum of all places, where people can remember the fun dragons of Pern I had hoped to get at least equal respect. Look at Gandalf and Doctor battle, they talk about one winning the battle the other winning the war. Seriously here it is like OH Merlin.

    If you vote for me, we can take things back, we can help make things better for everyone. I will push for new Samsung Galaxy IV phones for everyone! And they should be unlocked so you can change networks.

    Lower gas prices!

    Close corporate tax loopholes!

    Finally sit down and have a real middle east peace talks! People will talk when there is Smaug in the room!

    Make Baseball a real sport, where steroids is really not done anymore!

    Finally I will increase funding in Education, I think an educated kid, one who is properly brainwas.. err taught, who understands how hard itis on us Dragons, would never question why they should vote SMAUG!

  • Thomas

    Merlin definitely wins logically. According to various legends, he can…

    Change shape
    Control the weather
    Knock out w/ a touch

    Reasonably, all he has to do is transform into a dragon and get close enough to grab Smaug, then drive him facefirst into a whole lot of mountain.

  • Smaug Dragon

    I hope he transforms in to a dragon, I can woo him with my cute smaugie ways. I show a lil wing and he will want me. Once he comes close since he likes me, Smaug will drive him facefirst into a whole lot of mountain!

    Vote Smaug! Coming to a movie theater near you soon!

  • David

    I would point out that, while these two adversaries may seem to be equal, Merlin has the gift of foresight. Whatever Smaug can do, Merlin has already anticipated the move.

  • Smaug Dragon

    I like that he has foresight, it means he already made his funeral plans.

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