SF & Fantasy

Cage Match 2012: Round 2: Saphira versus Atticus O’Sullivan

The Contestants


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Click to view original image source

One of the last dragons in Alagaësia
Age: Never ask a lady-dragon’s age!
Race: Dragon
Weapons / Artifacts: Talons; teeth; scales (armor)
Breathes fire

Atticus O’Sullivan
Iron Druid
Age: 2,089
Race: Human (Irish)
Weapons / Artifacts: Fragarach the Answerer
“Freagroidh tu!”: Fragarach can freeze an opponent and make him tell the truth; also makes target easy to stab

The Breakdown


  • Mastery of flight and in-air combat maneuvers
  • Dragon scales that are virtually impenetrable
  • A near-constant telepathic connection with Eragon

  • Cold Iron amulet makes him immune to magical attacks
  • Ability to draw on the earth means he doesn’t tire in battle, and can enhance his strength and speed
  • Camouflage makes him difficult to see/track

  • A near-constant telepathic connection with Eragon

  • Easily seduced; has no defense against the wiles of maenads


  • Aureste
    Gold is no match for iron

How we think the fight will go

Atticus was surprised to wake on his own front lawn, sometime in the middle of the night. Shaking the fog from his head he looked around, trying hard to recall how he’d gotten there.

At least I’m dressed, he thought, not entirely sure that it was a good thing.

It was only when he moved to stand that he noticed the dainty but useless dagger on the ground beside him. Atticus did a quick check, making sure all his most important appendages were still intact and attached. Refastening his pants, he stood to brush himself off. But as he dropped the dagger into the recycling bin, he noticed a glimmer of blue motion from behind his house.


The wolfhound did not answer his call. Slowly, pieces of the previous night’s matchup started coming back to Atticus.

It seems as though my fight is not yet done.

He recovered Fragarach from the lawn, not far from where he’d awoken and checked that the cold iron amulet he’d spent centuries crafting still hung around his neck. Thus armed, Atticus moved around the side of the house to investigate.
He paused briefly when he heard strange and terrible noises emerging from the backyard. Rounding the corner carefully, fully expecting to see two asthmatic bears copulating, instead Atticus found a giant blue dragon.


Saphira stirred, snorted, and looked at Atticus groggily. “Siodhachan Ó Suileabháin?”

“Shh!” he whispered, hoping no one heard her; “I go by Atticus around here.”

Saphira gave him a puzzled look before lazily stretching her neck to peer over the roof and around the yard.

“And where is here exactly?”


“I have never heard of this land, Ar-i-zon-a.”

“What are you doing here Saphira? I specifically chose Arizona so I could avoid run-ins with creatures from other dimensions.”

“Creature, who are you calling a creature, you…you..leprechaun!” she sputtered. “I am a dragon. Mighty, magical, and practically invincible.”

Atticus remembered hearing about Saphira’s delicate ego.

“My apologies, of course I meant nothing by that.” Atticus bowed low, using the action to distract while he kicked off his shoes. He wasn’t taking any chances this time. “Morrigan did not foresee you surviving Round 1,” he said, “She was very specific about that.”

Saphira sniffed haughtily, “You were not predicted to win either…and yet here we are.”

Atticus circled Saphira slowly. Her eyes were alert now, and she watched his every move carefully.

“It seems as though we were both protected by strong—if sometimes misguided—” he added, looking at Saphira pointedly, “fan-wards.”

Saphira roared at that, bringing herself to full height, she towered over the druid.
“What exactly are you implying Atticus?” Saphira’s sharp teeth bared in a sneer, she reared her head back and inhaled deeply, ready to strike. “I have my own magic, I don’t need fan-wards, especially not here in your fragile dimension.”

Atticus smiled, “And as such a being of magic, did you forget your weakness to iron in my dimension?” He tapped his amulet; “Your magic is no good against me here.”

Saphira grinned with pure malice.

“Perhaps not, but I’ll bet my teeth are.”

She dove forward, snarling, jaws gaping, ready to separate Atticus’ head from his precious amulet. But Atticus used her own momentum against her. Ducking under Saphira’s snapping teeth, he drew Fragarach and thrust it deep into her chest, shattering her Eldunari on contact. Saphira emitted a howl of pure rage before slumping to the ground.

Atticus withdrew his sword slowly, wiping the blade on his leg before sheathing it again.

“So is your magic is strong enough to survive this, Saphira?”

Saphira smiled smugly in response. Though her body was already dissolving into ash, disappearing into the dark night, she knew her fan-wards would prevail. Before she crumbled completely, she lifted her eyes to Atticus.

“Póg mo thóin, druid—I will return!”

Atticus shrugged and unwound the nearby garden hose. As he washed the pile of Saphira into the lawn he wondered when she’d learned to swear in Gaelic.

Nancy Lambert contributed to this Cage Match

Predicted Winner: Atticus O’Sullivan


Check out the previous match!

Check out the next match!

Check out the Bracket

Saphira is a character from the Inheritance series by Christopher Paolini; Atticus O’Sullivan is a character from the Iron Druid Chronicles series by Kevin Hearne

Saphira image courtesy of John Jude Palencar. Atticus image courtesy of *CodyVrosh

Don’t forget–we’re always looking for fans’ depictions of these characters. Check out the details 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!”


55 Responses to “Cage Match 2012: Round 2: Saphira versus Atticus O’Sullivan”

  1. Peter says:

    I haven’t read about this Atticus (although I plan too), but I believe he isn’t a match for Saphira. Referring to the comment ^ above, if Atticus was allowed to use a witch, couldn’t Saphira call on Eragon? And once Eragon entered the scene, there would be no doubt that Atticus would be annihilated. Also, just because his mind is 2000+ years older doesn’t mean its stronger than a extremely intelligent dragon. As I said before, I’m just giving the advantaged Saphira has over Atticus, and not the other way around, since I haven’t read the books on him yet. I would like to remind people not to state facts they have no idea what they are talking about, such as Saphira not being able to attack Atticus with her mind, because both Brom and Oromis state that using the mind was NOT magic. People in the Inheritance Cycle did not require to be able to use magic to communicate with their minds.

  2. BDM says:

    @ Peter Well I have read both and let me tell you, a Dragon of any kind can not beat Atticus O’Sullivan. Once you read some of the Iron Druid books you will come to understand this. It may be a brutal fight but it would only end one way.

  3. Not Telling says:

    @Atticus Fans
    This cagematch has done its intented purpose. That is to introduce people to new series. I will be reading book 1 after Malazan book 2 and Temeraire book 1.

    As a side note, don’t mass vote Zaphod to get revenge. I’m kind of looking forwards to dragon versus dragon when Saphira fights Rake.

  4. Kat says:

    I agree with BDM comment, it would be a brutal battle. But Atticus has weapons (both swords from the Celtic god Anghus Og and Norse Odin’s spear) designed to pierce any armor. And a few that can kill with just the slightest pierce or scratch. He can deflect with his amulet most any kind of magic or glamour. And as long as he’s in contact with the earth he cannot tire, and can continually heal himself. Saphira would have the advantage only if she got him off the ground, and even then he keeps a magical reserve in him. Even if she dropped him, he could turn into an owl and land and recharge himself. He also has some fire resistance (though mostly for demonic flames) given to him by his tattoos. I feel like the battle would have been much more drawn out, rather than what is written above.

  5. CAN I HAZ UR BABIES says:

    true, being 2000 years older does not make him “stronger” but he has VAST stores of experience to draw on. Im sure he has fought dragons before and knows how to combat them. he is also very intelligent, i would say more so than sapphire (who is smart but at times gung ho, and very pride full) he is a VERY fast thinker in combat, once Odin threw his magic spear that CANNOT miss at attics, and in the time it took to reach him he figured out that if he changed shape quickly he could throw off the absolute targeting magic and escape, than put the plan into motion. he did this in about three seconds. Also, he would never go into combat unprepared, his house is set up with magical traps that he can use to tie down sapphire. he has allies with many factions of supernaturals that he can call in for help, there is an arms dealer living across the street who’s garage he can loot for modern weapons if need be, and he is not above trickery if need be. the most likely way he would deal with her is insult he into doing something stupid (he is an expert at this) than tie her down using roots from the ground, or bind her wings to her body, or both. he would than use ether Fragarach tho kill her (it would completely ignore her scales) or cut her wing membrane with Moralltach (which would be an instant kill) and even if he couldn’t confine her to the ground (where she is very clumsy) he could use the spear he stole from odin that would track her down like a heat seeking missile

    this is probably poorly punctuated.

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