• Tue, May 10 2011

‘Star Wars vs. Star Trek’ and Other Tales: Which of These Franchises Would Win in a Fight?

Next, we have:

J. R. R. Tolkien’s THE LORD OF THE RINGS vs. George R. R. Martin’s A SONG OF ICE AND FIRE (currently on air as the HBO series A GAME OF THRONES)

Tyrion Lannister wandered into the Inn of the Prancing Pony. It wasn’t the most respectable of places, but he’d been in plenty worse, and right now, all he wanted was a quiet drink. He climbed up on a stool and laid a gold piece on the bar. “Pint of your best ale,” he told the barman.

Barliman Butterbur looked good-naturedly bewildered. “Sure you wouldn’t rather have a nice half-pint?” he asked kindly.

“Half-pint?” Tyrion scoffed. “What on earth would I do with a half-pint? I’ll have a full pint, thank you very much.”

Barliman filled the small man’s request. “All right, I meant no offense. It’s just that I wondered…”

Tyrion arched a brow. “You wondered…?”

“Are you a halfling?” the barman asked, placing a full tankard in front of Tyrion.

“Am I a what?”

“A halfling. A Hobbit,” Barliman clarified.

“I should think not. Some call me the Imp, though I suppose more accurately I am a dwarf.”

“A dwarf? With the ax and everything?”

Tyrion sighed. “Not that kind of dwarf. Merely the sort to have been born to an unfortunate family,” he said. But he was wary of Barliman’s interest; he was, for once, trying to pretend he wasn’t a Lannister. “Why do you ask?” he inquired carefully.

“Oh, only as a matter of conversation,” Barliman answered cheerfully. “We do cater to the little people, after all. Like those ‘uns over there,” he pointed. Tyrion followed his gaze to a group of four individuals not much taller than Tyrion himself.

Hmmm. Now that was interesting. And what was that shiny gold thing that seemed to be flashing out from the group? Tyrion took his tankard of ale. “Excuse me,” he said to Barliman. Then he sauntered over to the Hobbits.

They drew back as he approached, but he nodded to them amiably. “I mean you no harm,” he said. “Tyrion,” he introhe duced himself.

Three of the halflings stayed silent, but the fourth spoke. “Underhill,” he said. “My name is Underhill.”

Something about the way the Hobbit spoke made Tyrion think that Underhill was perhaps not his real name, but he chuckled. “Mr. Underhill, then,” he said. He took an unconcerned sip of ale; then he asked, “What would it take to get that shiny bauble off of you?” as he indicated Underhill’s pocket.

Underhill’s hand shot out of the offending pocket. “What bauble?” the Hobbit asked, doing his best to look unconcerned.

Tyrion laughed. “You’re fooling no one, my friend.”

Underhill reluctantly put his hand back into his pocket and drew it forth again. “You mean this,” he said, opening his palm. It was not a question.

It was a ring. A simple, gold ring. Tyrion arched a brow. “That’s it?” The Hobbit nodded. Tyrion reached out for it, but Underhill held it back. “I’m not going to keep it,” the dwarf assured him. “I have plenty of my own, thank you. I just wondered what it could be that would cause you to hold onto it so tightly.”

Underhill considered for a moment; then he put the ring on the table. Not for nothing was Tyrion known for his powers of persuasion! The dwarf picked it up. “You wouldn’t like it,” Underhill warned. “Trust me.”

Something in the Hobbit’s words struck Tyrion as he examined the ring. Such a little thing, he thought. For a brief moment, he considered pocketing it– putting it on, even– and yet…

Tyrion frowned. Then he flipped the ring back to Underhill. “You win this time, Hobbit,” he said, glad to be rid of the thing. “Though next time you m for ay not be so lucky.”

WINNER: Let’s call it a draw. That Ring is bad news no matter who’s holding it.

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  • Matt Forbeck

    Thanks for the coverage of my book, and for the excellent article. Just FYI, the book shipped early and is in stores now.