I don’t think it comes as any surprise that Rand al’Thor defeated Ser Gregor Clegane in the 2010 Championship match.
What I do think is a bit surprising is how easily The Mountain That Rides was trounced.
Oh, sure–on a purely statistical basis, Gregor had no chance against the Dragon Reborn. I mean, how could he?
- Gregor is a very strong, very skilled knight.
- Rand is a blademaster, which goes well beyond “very skilled.”
- Gregor is brutal, shows no mercy, and can withstand a great deal of punishment.
- Rand is a demi-god with unstoppable magical powers.
So, on paper, Gregor really had no chance.
Cage Match isn’t always just about objective observation. In fact, I’d go so far to say it’s rarely about such things. (How else do you explain Cthulhu not crushing our bodies and minds into jelly throughout these tournaments?).
So where was the support for Gregor? Of the almost 2500 votes, less than a quarter of those were for The Mountain. In contrast, when Jaime Lannister faced Rand in the finals of the Spring Cage Mage, the votes were almost evenly divided, with Jaime losing by just 185 votes (which is a very small amount compared to the over 30,000 votes cast in that match).
In the end, I think this was not so much a case of George R.R. Martin fans versus Robert Jordan fans–although I’m not going to dismiss such a thing, either. Rather, I think there was a lot more thought put behind the votes, possibly in this order:
1) Rand really is way too powerful, and it would have been virtually impossible for Gregor to defeat him in a fair (or even an unfair) fight.
2) Gregor is a far more distasteful character to A Song of Ice and Fire readers than Jaime was, and he didn’t have as strong a fan-base to garner the necessary votes.
3) On a more pragmatic standpoint: the word just didn’t get out to the GRRM fans, and there was no rallying the troops in support of The Mountain.
Regardless, the point isn’t How did Gregor lose?, but Rand won.
Because Rand al’Thor is your 2010 Cage Match Champion, and once again proves himself to be one of the most enduring and powerful fantasy characters of all time.
Thanks everyone for making this last year so much fun, and I look forward to Cage Match 2011 in March.