Cage Match 2014: Round 1: Beorn vs Yvaine: Page


The Contestants



Beorn: Page
J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit
Age: Unknown
Race: Skinchanger
Weapons / Artifacts: None
Transforming into a huge bear

Yvaine: Page
Neil Gaiman’s Stardust
Age: Millions of years
Race: Starkind
Weapons / Artifacts: None

The Breakdown


  • Homefield advantage
  • Once again, ability to transform into a bear

  • Wisdom
  • Age

  • Intellect
  • Easily influenced by wizards

  • Broken leg
  • Her heart grants the eater immortality

  • TBD

  • TBD

How we think the fight will go

A star fell.

In ages past, this would not have been an altogether unusual occurrence on the borders of Greenwood. Yet it had been several hundred years since the last star had fallen on Middle-Earth, and in the interim the air of Greenwood had grown dank and still and the trees had gone silent, and the men and elves and other creatures who dwelt nearby had begun to whisper the forest’s new name: Mirkwood.

In Dol Guldur, something stirred.

In a clearing, a young woman in a blue dress rubbed her injured leg and swore. The concept of having legs was new to her, let alone having a broken one. Her skin shimmered in the dim light of the forest.

“Looks different from this angle,” she murmured, and winced as she shifted her weight.

As time passed and she began to adjust to the pain, she started to take note of the silence and stillness around her. Not that I’m the expert, she thought, but aren’t there supposed to be birds singing and little animals running around?

A twig snapped and the woman jumped. From the gloom of the trees, a tall man appeared, garbed in grey, with a monumental beard. He carried a staff but did not seem to rely on it when he walked. She considered asking him if he’d lend it to her but decided the question could wait.

He approached her slowly, as if he were trying very hard not to startle her. The woman felt a confusing mix of feelings, fear and excitement and hope and dread, for which she did not yet have names.

She dragged herself backward, away from the grey man. Her hand found a rock, and closed around it.

The man stopped several paces from her. He looked very old.

“I am sorry,” he said, and his eyes were kind but sad, “but you cannot stay.”

“Can you help me get home, then?”

“I’m afraid there is no hope of returning you from whence you came, no.”

“Then where am I to go?”

The man knelt and looked into her eyes. “There is nowhere safe for you in this realm. The moment you fell here your heart became a prize to be won. A dark power grows, and if he finds you he will use you to take form, and we will be powerless to stop him. This cannot come to pass. I know you cannot possibly understand this, but we are doing what we must.”

He looked over her shoulder then, into the woods, and as she turned to follow his gaze she saw an enormous man walk into the clearing. She could not read the expression on his face but there was something feral about him, something that frightened her.

She looked back at the grey man, but he had risen and was turning to leave.

“Wait!” she called, panic creeping into her voice, though she did not know why she was panicking. “I am an evening star. My name is Yvaine.”

The grey man sighed, pained. “I wish you had not told me that. It would have been easier not to know,” he murmured, and disappeared once more into the darkness of the forest.

The bear raised its paw, and struck.

Predicted Winner: Beorn

NOTE: THIS MATCH ENDS ON Friday, March 14, 2014, AT 12:00 PM, EST

Check out all the Cage Match 2014 posts!

Editor’s Note: Emily Hughes talks about books on the internet, both professionally for Penguin Random House and for fun everywhere else. She’s the founding editor of Proof Reading Books, a blog of book and booze pairings. You can find her doing research most weekends in Brooklyn. For more book talk, pop culture musings, and bad puns, find her @emilyhughes.

Check out the the Bracket Reveal video here and the full bracket 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

    Poor Yvaine. Both her screen and her page versions are getting pwned by Middle Earth natives… 😛

  • TheKing

    Poor Yvaine. Now there’s going to be an immortal bear wandering the paths of Mirkwood.

  • Rose

    Yeah, there’s not really a contest in this one, but I feel Gandalf would sooner arrange for the star to be sent into the West to live with the Elves, rather than simply arrange her death.

  • Will

    I don’t think this situation makes much sense, for two reasons:

    1. Sauron is already immortal! As one of the maiar, he’s basically a lesser angel and can’t really die. Even when the ring is destroyed, he isn’t actually dead:. the destruction of the ring destroys a large portion of his power, and prevents him from ever regaining a physical form or influencing much of anything in Middle Earth, but it doesn’t really kill him. Unless Yvaine’s heart also confers some invincibility, I don’t think it’ll do Sauron any good (or be of any interest to him).

    2. This kind of callousness seems very uncharacteristic of Gandalf. He’s certainly willing to put others in harm’s way for the greater good, but it’s pretty much always a choice they make (he doesn’t force it on them), and it’s always something he thinks they can handle (He’s not always right, of course). This kind of out-and-out murder of an innocent does not seem like a strategy he would employ. As Rose already commented, it seems far more likely he would have arranged for Yvaine would be hidden where The Enemy would not find her. If the ring, which was bound directly to Sauron’s consciousness, could be hidden for so long, hiding a living star seems pretty manageable.

  • Thomas

    Poor Yvaine. She could at least have had her broken leg healed… but yeah, Beorn destroys her regardless.

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