If Sean Bean got into a fight with himself, who would win? Game of Thrones‘ Ned Stark, or The Lord of the Rings’ Boromir? George R.R. Martin has the answer!
In a fun video interview with MTV, George R.R. Martin plays the “GRR vs JRR Game,” which basically means pitting various Game of Thrones characters against characters from Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings saga (which is one of Martin’s favourite works, and has served as an inspiration for Game of Thrones in a lot of ways.
First up is King Aragorn vs Ser Jaime – both fierce warriors, although one is the epitome of all things chivalrous and moral, and one is… not. Martin’s pick?
Jaime Lannister! Are you surprised? “Aragorn’s pretty tough though,” Martin allows, “but Jaime is, fully functioning, one of the great swordsmen in the history of Westeros.”
Smaug, of course, is the dragon which Bilbo Baggins encounters in The Hobbit, while Balerion was the legendary dragon of Aegon the Conqueror, said to be the largest of all the Targaryen dragons. Martin’s answer might surprise you:
Smaug! Although Martin admits that Smaug has a vulnerable point which Balerion doesn’t, Smaug also has the brains, and would therefore be able to defeat the tougher dragon with his wits.
Saruman, the original White Wizard and the keeper of the Palantir, meets Melisandre, keeper of the Fire God and mother of creepy shadow assassins. Who walks away?
Saruman! “Saruman’s a real wizard. Melisandre’s just not, so we gotta give it to the White Wizard there,” Martin nods wistfully.
The cute little pups that the Stark kids found in the woods have grown up to be huge, terrifying beasts. But can they hold their own against the ugly big warthog-looking things that almost took down Aragorn in The Two Towers? Martin declares the winner…
Wargs! Martin claims that they are both larger and cleverer, being evil wolf hybrids and all. (If we could spoil future books we’d make a counter-argument here, but we won’t!)
Say that it wasn’t about the wielders of the swords but the swords themselves. Would Ned Stark’s Valyrian steel sword beat the Foe-Hammer wielded by the elf king Turgon in the First Age and later passed on to Gandalf? The winner is:
Ice! There’s just no beating that Valyrian steel. Glamdring had no particular properties except for the Ork glow, which would be useless against a human foe.
Ah, the battle of the half-men (but big damn heroes, both of them). Frodo Baggins had the heart, the valour and the determination to finish his quest, while Tyrion has his wits, his survival instinct, and his Lannister gold. The winner should come as a surprise to no one:
Tyrion! “Beyond a doubt,” Martin laughs. “I’m not sure I’d even pick Frodo over like, Sam. Either Sam.” Oh snap, Uncle Ray!
The Nazgul the fallen kings of men, slaves to the power of the One Ring. The White Walkers are the allegedly unkillable zombie warriors from beyond the Wall. This is one epic dodgeball game in the making, and Martin predicts that the winning team will be:
Nazgul! Because once you do find a way to kill the White Walkers, they’re cut down like grass (or… glass). Plus, the Nazgul’s mounts have wings.
The Cave Troll was like Harry Potter‘s mountain troll’s badass older brother who lived in the Mines of Moria. Mag the Mighty is… also a troll. The winning troll is:
Cave Troll! Why? “Bigger.”
Gimli will pledge you his axe, Gregor the Mountain will slam your face into the fireplace if you borrow his toys. In a surprising move, Martin reveals himself as an idealistic optimist and chooses:
Gimli! And the world feels like a better place, somehow.
Finally, the showdown we have all been waiting for. Imagine it: Bean on Bean, one fighting for Winterfell and the other for Gondor, one a stubborn, mountain of morality, the other holding all the best intentions but finding himself easily tempted. They’ll both end up dying gruesome, heart-wrenching deaths anyway of course, but for right now, the man left standing will be… (pause while we wait for Martin’s giggling to subside…)
Boromir! Martin reckons that the son of the Steward of Gondor is “probably more of a warrior,” while, “Ned was more of a lord, a ruler, a diplomat, a general. But in simple physical one-on-one combat, Boromir probably.”
What a fun collection of versus-es! We can only hope there will be more – like, say, Brienne vs Eowyn!
Do you agree with Martin’s choices?