Over the past four weeks, we have pitted the greatest list of knights, cutthroats, sellswords, savages, assassins, and undead mutant zombie warriors in Game of Thrones history against one another in an MMA-style tournament to determine who is truly the baddest ass of them all. Eyes have been gouged. Skulls have been crushed. Groin shots have been delivered ad nauseam. It’s been a glorious cacophony of violence with more options to choose from than a Little Caesar’s buffet, and we’ve only just begun.
With the preliminary matchups in the Winterfell, King’s Landing, Narrow Sea, and Wild Card divisions having been decided, the path has been paved for this, The Incestuous Sixteen. You know the deal; bend the knee and pick your winners for the next round below, or refuse and die.
The Night King vs. Benjen Stark aka Coldhands
Following a pair of first round routings over Mance Rayder and Ned Stark, respectfully, the half-Walker Benjen Stark (aka “Coldhands”) and the full-Walker Night King will trade hands in a battle that would almost certainly be sponsored by Lubriderm Daily Moisture were it to take place in the actual Octagon.
Truthfully, I’m not 100% certain that either of these guys could even be defeated in a conventional fist fight, but such is the dilemma that arises when cramming two trending topics into an ill-conceived click grab of an article series. Did I say click grab? I meant work of synergistic genius, and any man who says otherwise shall be burned alive alongside his favorite son!
Jon Snow vs. Tormund Giantsbane
Weighing the odds in this battle of former enemies-turned-BBF’s-turned-enemies-again really comes to down to a matter of preference: do you value the speed of a guy like Jon Snow, or the size of a guy like Tormund Giantsbane (who in case you aren’t aware claims to have once had ((I’m guessing non-consensual)) sex with a bear)? Though Snow’s militia of rangers previously got the best of Giantsbane and the wildlings in the Battle of Castle Black, the two have never actually met face-to-face on the battlefield before, which leaves even me, one of the top Game of Thrones-themed MMA tournament analysts in the country, without a lot to go on.
But so the old saying goes, “Never bet against the guy who claims to have had presumably non-consensual sex with a bear.”
Ser Bronn of the Blackwater vs. Gregor “The Mountain” Clegane
Despite having defeated a handful of Dothraki warriors and split a contest with a goddang dragon in his lastouting, things are not looking good for Ser Bronn here. For one, he’s fighting a 400-pound zombie who once ripped a man’s head clean off with his bare hands. For two, he’s already backed out of a fight with this particular Clegane before, which in the MMA world is an act of treason punishable by death.
He may be one of the craftiest fighters in the Seven Kingdoms, but Bronn is definitely facing a MOUNTAIN of a challenge here, and no I do not feel good about what I wrote just there in case you were wondering.
Sandor “The Hound” Clegane vs. Oberyn Martell
In Sandor “The Hound” Clegane vs. Oberyn Martell, the size vs. speed differential is once again the real talking point here. Both men share a common opponent in “The Mountain” Gregor Clegane, who defeated the former via face-frying submission and the latter via head-imploding KO (so let’s call that a push). More telling, perhaps, is Clegane’s previous loss to Brienne of Tarth, which showed he could both be outmaneuvered and outmuscled by the right opponent. And let’s not act like Martell hasn’t already forecast how far he will go in this tournament…