Cage Match 2017: That’s a Wrap


After five weeks, five rounds of voting, thirty-one matches from nineteen authors, hundreds of comments, and thousands upon thousands of votes, we have a winner: Stained warrior Ragnar Volarus.

So that’s that, huh? Ragnar stalks off into the sunset and hopefully takes a nice restful vacation on a beach somewhere? He certainly deserves it – as do the tireless Howlers who voted him into the champion position. But while he’s sipping something with a little umbrella in it and using his ionBlades to make a fruit salad, let’s have a look back at Cage Match 2017, shall we?

First, let’s pour a little out for the poor souls who didn’t make it out of Round 1 alive:

And how about the authors who went above and beyond with the matches they wrote?

  • Liana Brooks and Seanan McGuire* are our prolific MVPs this year, with a total of nine matches written between them. Brooks demonstrated a special affinity for The Luggage and Tom Bombadil, while McGuire wrote her own character, Georgia Mason, through the fourth round of the tournament.
  • Elizabeth Bonesteel came through with two brutal matches, following V.E. Schwab’s Kell through to his bitter end.

Plus glorious, gruesome, often funny match write-ups from:

(*Authors who wrote their own characters.)

Upsets are par for the course in this competition – authors and voters often have significantly different ideas about character strengths and weaknesses. Most of this year’s matches were pretty close, vote-wise, with winning characters pulling down anywhere between 50% and 60% in the polls, but we had a few outliers:

  • Tom Bombadil vs IT (Round 1): Our biggest voting gap of the year! IT was no match for Iarwain Ben-adar – Tom took 86% of the vote on this one.
  • The Luggage vs Ky Vatta (Round 1): Sorry, Ky – Sapient Pearwood with a boundless appetite wins this one with a hefty 83.11% of the vote.
  • Harry Dresden vs Breq (Round 1): Everyone’s favorite wizard PI triumphed with 82.82% of the vote here.
  • Menolly vs Harry Dresden (Round 2): Dresden, once again, with 80.36%.

And what of the super-close matches? Well it would be harder for margins to be much narrower than these:

  • Devi vs Sandworm (Round 1): Devi squeaked through this one by the skin of her alar, with 50.99% of the vote.
  • Harry Crewe vs Kitty Katt (Round 1): The irrepressible Kitty and her bag of tricks were just too clever for Harry Crewe, and Kitty won by a hair with 50.15%.
  • Tom Bombadil vs Mr. Wednesday (Round 3): Tom came through this god-on-god match with just 50.11% of the vote.
  • Devi vs Harry Dresden (Round 3): Two powerful magic-wielders and one wildly contentious match – Devi once again scratched out a slim victory with 50.37%.
  • Tom Bombadil vs Devi (Round 4): Far and away the 2017 match that generated the most conversation – Pat Rothfuss imagined a match between Devi and Tom Bombadil that, well, wasn’t quite a fight, per se. Tom came through with just 51.43% of the vote.

I’m going to go ahead and proclaim a three-way tie here: Devi, Tom Bombadil, and Harry Dresden take home matching trophies for Most Contentious Combatants 2017.

And with that, dear readers, I’m going to go join Ragnar on that beach. Hopefully he saved me something cool to drink, and didn’t use all the sunscreen. I’ll see you all for Cage Match 2018 next year!

Missed out this year? Check out our recaps of Round 1, Round 2, Round 3, and Round 4.