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My sister sent me a link to this, but I’d like to think I would have found it on my own eventually. My favorite used book store (seriously – the staff all know me at my local), Half-Price Books, is sponsoring a Tournament of Heroes: Sci-Fi vs. Fantasy book bracket. Want to play along? Of course you do. First, here’s the bracket. Go download it and fill it out.

HPB_Bracket

Okay, so is everyone set? Ready to play? Okay, let’s do Science Fiction first.

SCIENCE FICTION, ROUND 1. First battle: Captain Kirk vs. Captain Sheridan. Anyone who knows me knows I am not a Trekkie. Ergo, Captain Kirk dies, right? Um, except I have no idea who Captain Sheridan is. Hmm…Google tells me he’s from Babylon 5. He’s so much cuter than Kirk it’s not even funny. But since I knew who Kirk was without The Google, we’ll give him the win. Optimus Prime vs. Commander Adama. Commander who??? Gee, are you getting the feeling that Sci-Fi isn’t my thing? Oh hells no – Battlestar Gallactica? That was just an excuse for my geeky Ex to monopolize the TV with more Trekkie-type stuff. Optimus Prime all the way, baby. Rick Deckard vs. Korben Dallas. Deckard, Deckard…sounds maybe vaguely familiar? Oh, hey, Google says he’s in a book (points!) and, wow, kinda hott. Korben Dallas is…hmm…Bruce Willis is a Sci-Fi taxi driver in a movie that doesn’t look alluring even the tiniest bit. We’ll go with hott Mr. Deckard. Neo vs. Paul Atreides. Hey, isn’t Neo the guy from The Matrix? The Google says yes! And it says that the Atreides person is…someone from Dune? Uh-uh, no way. Dune loses because no way, not my thing. Marty McFly vs. Philip J. Fry. Marty McFly! McFly, McFly! I don’t even need to know who the other guy is. (But it turns out he’s the young cartoon dude from Futurama.) The Doctor vs. Arthur Dent. Even I know who The Doctor is. Arthur is…from Hitchhiker’s apparently. I’m going with The Doctor, if only so my sister won’t hit me. Fox Mulder vs. Captain Reynolds. Pfft. Let’s at least go through the exercise of looking up the captain person. He’s…from Firefly. Hey! Some people really liked that show! Isn’t that the space Western that was tragically canceled? I had weekly X-Files parties in college. There was no way anyone was beating him. At least not yet… Han Solo vs. Goku. Versus who? Goku is…apparently anime. Blech. But let’s be honest: Han Solo was going to win anyway.

So that takes care of the Sci-Fi Boys of Round 1. Now let’s tackle the girls. (Or something.) Ellen Ripley vs. Lady Jessica. Sigh. I had to Google both of these ladies. Oh! Hey! Why didn’t they just say Sigourney Weaver?! [Sidenote: why aren’t ANY of the Ghostbusters on here?!] And Lady Jessica is…oh god. Another Dune-y. We’ll go with Sigourney. Dana Scully vs. DoesItReally Matter. I mean, Turanga Lella. Who happens to be the lovely cyclopian lady from Futurama, it turns out. Yeah, sorry, it’s Scully. Katniss Everdeen vs. Tris Pryor. And we have our first real competition! I thought Tris was maybe a little more badass. But Katniss seemed a little more complex and a bit more of the complete package. Also, I liked that Katniss was a bit reluctant to fall for anyone. (I call my bias the Anti-Bella Syndrome.) For that reason, Katniss edged out Tris. Sydney Bristow vs. River Song. Who the hell is River Song and what kind of stupid name is that? Oh. She’s from Dr. Who. I’m going to brace for my sister’s wrath and go for Sydney Bristow. [Sidenote: Hey, Kim – she’s played by JENNIFER GARNER.] Princess Leia vs. Leeloo. Okay, I have no idea who Leeloo is – Google says she’s a redhead from…that Bruce Willis movie? – but Leia could run half the known universe. In her sleep. Lieutenant Starbuck vs. Seven of Nine. Okay, guess what? I know both of these ladies! Not very well, but I could tell you a little about both. I decided to go with Starbuck because I like the idea of a woman stealing a role intended for a man, vs. a character that was hyper-sexualized in costume, even if Seven was supposed to be asexual. (I am thinking of the right character, right?) Trinity vs. Samus Aran. Who-what? Okay, Google says Trinity is that kickass chick from the Matrix. And Samus Aran is a…video game? comic book?…bounty hunter/heroine. She also looks rather badass. But once I put the name with the character, I knew who Trinity was. So she gets the nod. And finally, we have Sarah Connor vs. River Tam. (Who I typed out as River Tame. Probably a very different character.) River Tam, as it turns out, is a Firefly person. And the pic results from her Google Search make her character look very intriguing! Alas, Sarah Connor is a known badass. Familiarity wins.

SCIENCE FICTION, ROUND 2. Captain Kirk vs. Optimus Prime. Bwa ha! Now I can kill off the Trekkie. Like that was even a contest. Rick Deckard vs. Neo. Hmmm. Deckard is hott. (Have I mentioned that?) But Will Smith almost played Neo. Which would have been weird, but I have to admit that the possibility does add allure points. Still, it comes down to I knew who Neo was (mostly) before the brackets, and that wasn’t the case with Deckard. Neo wins. McFly vs. The Doctor. Oh, dear. I fear my sister isn’t going to talk to me again. But there really is no other option: I am a child of the 80s. Hello, McFly! Fox Mulder vs. Han Solo. I think this would be a tougher decision for someone else. But I liked Harrison Ford much better as Indiana Jones than Han Solo. And Mulder is…well, pretty much the epitomy of awesome. I mean, my sister and I lament on an alarmingly frequent basis the fact that he is not real. So – Mulder. Ellen Ripley vs. Dana Scully. It’s gotten all alieny up in here. Scully finds the truth, uses facts and evidence, and has become a verb. To Scully someone: to doubt that which should not be doubted. Or something. Scully wins in a landslide. Katniss vs. Sydney Bristow. Crap – one is a survivalist and one is a spy. Both are my genre-kryptonites. But I read all of The Hunger Games books and didn’t watch Alias when it was on. Katniss wins. By a hair. Princess Leia vs. Starbuck. A princess outranks a lieutenant. Plus, the woman’s a legend! A legend! Trinity vs. Sarah Connor. Have I mentioned that I never watched The Matrix? Or want to? Sarah Connor I could probably maybe handle. If I had to. Sarah Connor wins.

SCIENCE FICTION, ROUND 3. Optimus Prime vs. Neo. It would take someone much bigger than the hero of a movie I have no intention of ever watching to defeat a favorite childhood toy. Long live Optimus Prime! Marty McFly vs. Mulder. God. My childhood vs. my college years. Which hero wins? My grown-up search for the truth-y self, of course. Mulder lives! Scully vs. Katniss. Sorry, Katniss – I really like you, but you’re nowhere near as complex as Ms. Scully. Princess Leia vs. Sarah Connor. It was a great run for a character I’ve never watched, Sarah Connor. Leia continues to own the universe.

SCIENCE FICTION, ROUND 4 (Quarter Finals). It’s starting to get really real, really fast. Optimus Prime vs. Mulder. See? See what I mean?! It’s the good-guy leader of the Autobots who runs around the Discovery Channel growling BOOM-DE-YATTA, BOOM-DE-YATTA and making me laugh on my downest days! Versus the man who taught me to question everything and never give up! (And to always carry an epi-pen in case your partner gets stung by an alien bee just as you’re about to finally kiss her.)(uh…Spoiler Alert.) HOW DOES ONE CHOOSE?!?! One follows one’s heart – Mulder wins. Of course. And then we have Scully vs. Princess Leia. Both are snarky. Both are badass, aren’t afraid of anything, and are at the forefront of their fields. But you know what? I didn’t actually like Star Wars. And if I had to choose one of the two for my team of secret spies, I’d go with Scully. Never underestimate the people in your life who keep you honest. Plus, she totally flipped sides in the faith vs. evidence construct near the end of the series and totally pulled it off. Not many people are willing to do that. Yep, definitely Scully.

SCIENCE FICTION, ROUND 5 (Semi-Finals). Which brings us to Mulder vs. Scully. That’s just a mean trick, Science Fiction Brackets. I guess Imma go with Mulder on this one because I feel like there are a few people who could successfully Scully him, but in the end there’s only one Mulder.

SCIENCE FICTION CHAMP: Fox Mulder.

Man, that was exhausting. The pressure! It’s killing my brain! And yet, so much fun. Heh. On to fantasy-land!

FANTASY, ROUND 1. Aragorn vs. Conan the Barbarian. Are you serious? Is this really a competition? Who wouldn’t pick Aragorn? No, serious – I want to know. So I can smack them upside the head. Rand al’Thor vs. Roland Deschain. I don’t know who Rand al’Thor is and I don’t even care. Once I saw The Gunslinger was on here, it’s like there was no point to finishing the brackets. It’s my desert-island book, peoples. There is no contest. Indiana Jones vs. He-Man. As fun as those He-Man cartoons were, Imma go with Indiana Jones on this one. Even if He-Man isn’t afraid of snakes. There’s no way He-Man who could off in a prop plane – the sheer bulk of him would keep it grounded. Gandalf vs. Harry Dresden. Oh, look! I have to look up my first fantasy person. And The Google says Harry Dresden is…star of The Dresden Files. And is apparently a wizard and a…detective? Isn’t that kind of cheating? Whatevs. Gandalf is rolling his eyes. Because he wins at pretty much everything. [Sidenote: my little sister, while filling out the brackets, asked our other sister, “Which one is Gandalf? The good one or the bad one?” To which I can only respond: Beware the Eye of Gandalf! Shooting unicorns and glitter and second breakfasts all over the land.] Link vs. Westley. Aw, Link. I have fond memories of him being featured in stories my crush would right in elementary school. But Wesley, he is the Dread Pirate Roberts. And everyone knows the Dread Pirate Roberts takes no prisoners. Need I explain further? Tyrion Lannister vs. Atreyu. Who to the whatwhat? Okay. So it looks like this Tyrion dude is from Game of Thrones. And is played by that really creepy little person who is on every show ever. Maybe if he played nicer characters? Or smiled with his eyes? Nope. Sorry. Gonna play him like I would anyone else and call him creepy right out loud. And Atreyu is…a heavy metal band from Orange County. Also, hunh, from The Neverending Story. Yeah, Kim is totally shaking her head at me. (What? It’s a crappy movie and have I mentioned – me and fantasy and sci-fi mix on a VERY LIMITED BASIS.) Since I have to pick one, I’ll go with Atreyu, but only because I am trying to appease my sister. Next up, Frodo Baggins vs. Bilbo Baggins. Hmmm. Frodo saved Middle Earth. But Bilbo is played by Watson in The Hobbit. Such a tough decision. Only not because I didn’t actually like The Hobbit (book or movie) and I like the Lord of the Ring movies actually quite a lot. Frodo. Definitely. Harry Potter vs. Wart. Wart might have become King Arthur, but Harry Potter is The Boy Who Lived. If anyone was going to give Roland a run for his money, it might be Harry Potter.

And now for the ladies of Fantasy. Eowyn vs. Cheetara. A thundercat? Seriously?! That is so awesome! But she still can’t touch Eowyn. Eowyn is one of my favorite depictions of a strong female character. So it would take someone bigger than a B-rate after-school cartoon to topple her. Selene vs. Bella Swan. What the…?! Bella Swan is not a heroine of Fantasy! She’s not a heroine of anything! She’s a victim! Of her own inability to grow a pair, I might add! This Selene person (who turns out to be a…Death Dealer? Of the comic book, vaguely vampirish variety? Maybe?) wins no matter who she is. Arya Stark vs. Princess Buttercup. Looks like Arya is another Game of Thrones person. Meh. Princess Buttercup might not have come across as anything more than an airhead in the movie, but she stood up for what she believed in – even when all hope seemed lost. She wins! Hermione Granger vs. Coraline. Crap. Another pair of feisty females whom I adore. As cool as Coraline is, Hermione is brave, loyal, tenaciious, made being smart really cool, bookish, and not always dazzlingly beautiful. Basically, everything I want to be when I grow up. She wins hands down. Buffy vs. Sailor Moon. Ugh. You know how I feel about anime. Not for me. Buffy wins it. But let’s pretend she’s the famous Buffy, not the one who killed Luke Perry in that embarrassing first run, mkay? Lara Croft vs. Mulan. They are both fierce warriors willing to lay it all on the line. But Angelina played Lara Croft and I am not Angelina’s biggest fan. So I’ll go with Mulan. Daenerys Targaryen vs. She-Ra. If I had’ve guessed Game of Thrones again, I would have been right. Doesn’t matter – the girls and I used to play She-Ra at recess in elementary school and I swear that’s part of the reason we all grew up with so much confidence. She-Ra wins easily. Xena vs. Arwen. Seriously? I don’t care if Xena is a warrior princess; there’s no way she takes down an elf. Sure, she looks a little slight, but I still think when Xena saw the unshakeable calm of Arwen, Xena would run and hide. Arwen wins, with points to spare.

FANTASY, ROUND 2. Aragorn vs. Roland. Ooh, a tough one right out of the gate. Sorry, Aragorn. I love to love you, and I could listen to your screen-self all day long, but The Gunslinger will not be beaten. Indiana Jones vs. He-Man. Wow. Another toughie, but not quite as heart-wrenching. I mean, He-Man is cool and all, and will make me nostalgic, but if I had to team-up with one of them, I’ll go with brainy over brute strength. Indy wins. Westley vs. Atreyu. Westley was my first movie crush. I think even my sister would advance him here. Plus, he never would have let the pony sink. He would have cut a length of vine from the Forbidden Forest and yanked him back out of the quicksand. Frodo vs. Harry Potter. Oh, just the imagery of these two battling made me giggle so long everyone started to look at me funny. Sorry, but magic wands beat freakishly hairy feet. [Snickers.] Eowyn vs. Selene. Oh, look, still don’t need to know who Selene is! (Yes, I know I looked her up.) Eowyn continues her smackdown of competitors. Princess Buttercup vs. Hermione. Sorry, Buttercup. I loves you, but Hermione has brains AND courage. And the truth is, she would be so, so frustrated by you. Hermione carries the honors. Buffy vs. Mulan. Not a big Buffy fan – never watched the series – but Mulan bugged for some reason. Enough for me to advance Buffy. She-Ra vs. Arwen. This would be a closer battle than Arwen vs. Xena, but I still think Arwen dispatches her competitor rather easily. But I like to think She-Ra would woman-up and walk off with her head held high and with much grace.

FANTASY, ROUND 3. Okay, the field is narrowing. Things are getting more interesting. Roland vs. Indiana Jones. Indiana Jones is like the G-rated, Disneyfied version of Roland. Of course the real Roland wins. Westley vs. Harry Potter. Sorry, Westley. You had a good run. But Harry is a much better character. He faced much more, risked more, and accomplished more. Therefore, he wins more. Eowyn vs. Hermione. Jeez. Okay, I think you guys are very similar in many aspects. You’re both “of the people.” You’re both self-made in that you were responsible for your own greatness, your own courage, your own confidence. You both dazzle, delight, and intrigue. But if I have to choose one, Imma go with Hermione. I’m not even sure I can define why, other than that I like her a bit more. Although I’m not sure I could tell you the why of that, either. Buffy vs. Arwen. Man, Arwen has drawn some fun opponents! Unsurprisingly, she dispatches Buffy as easily as the other two. The other ladies just don’t seem to have as much substance as Arwen, ya know?

FANTASY, ROUND 4 (Quarter finals). Cue the ominous music. This is epic. Roland vs. Harry Potter. This is kind of like that time when my eight-year-old daughter asked me which I liked more, watching Patriots’ football or reading Stephen King’s books. I felt like I was being forced to choose between my two children. And so it is with Roland and Harry Potter. The Dark Tower and the Harry Potter books are the two series I’d bring with me to a deserted island. You know, if I got to pack. Or use an accio charm. If I have to choose, it’s Roland. Maybe because I loved him first. Maybe not. Hermione vs. Arwen. Uh-oh. Looks like Arwen might have finally met her match. As much as I love the way she balances her cool with such intense passion – and I think because of it – Arwen feels very much otherworldly. Hermione, on the other hand, feels like one of us. I don’t think I really could beat Arwen, but I’d certainly root for one of my own to make it so. So I have to root for Hermione. And since I get to pick the winner, I can make it happen. Hermione wins the house cup! Er, I mean, the battle.

FANTASY, ROUND 5 (Semi-finals). Roland vs. Hermione. Both the level-headed pragmatists of their bunch. Who’d a thunk it? Hermione would certainly be brighter. She’d certainly have the intelligent answers if it came down to intellect. But does the real world ever? Roland has the experience. He has his wits. Hermione has a magic wand, loved ones, the teachings of Dumbledore, McGonnagal, books and cleverness. Roland has his guns, his birthright, the Way of the White, the Turtle of Lud and nearly the entire writing catalogue of Stephen King. I might like Hermione better as a person (have you SEEN all of Roland’s fatal flaws?), but Roland wins 9 times out of 10.

Which brings us to the end. The final round. Time to announce the winner, folks.

SCIENCE FICTION vs. FANTASY, ROUND 6. The Championship. It comes down to Mulder vs. Roland. I kind of laughed typing that out. We’ve had better battles in other levels of the Tower brackets. Roland could blister Mulder with a well-placed glare. Which is funny, because I think Mulder would remind Roland quite a bit of his old chum Cuthbert. Know what I love, though? it came down to movies vs. books and the books won. Without a second thought.

That was fun, you guys. We should totally do that again. Who wants to build me some more brackets?!

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