They’ve survived ranting cabbies, sly pranksters, and mad seamen—but can these fictional favorites make it to the Elite 8 of Lit Madness?
Chief Bromden has experienced the trauma of war, and the arena is war. While he doesn’t want to kill Jo—her mind and talent inspire him—he’s convinced that this battle has already destroyed her emotionally. Much like his smothering of the lobotomized McMurphy, Chief Bromden knows a mercy killing is the most humane choice.
Having picked up Bromden’s abandoned white hospital gown, Jo (master of disguise that she is) devises a plan to spook the Chief by conjuring up his nemesis Nurse Ratched. (She’s proud of herself for even getting the voice down.)
WINNER: What Jo doesn’t bargain on is Bromden’s unbridled hatred of Ratched—and his desire to complete McMurphy’s unfinished business. Grabbing her small, white-clothed form, he wraps his massive hands around her slender neck. Her death is swift and brutal.
Oskar is a vegan, and there obviously isn’t much tofu in the arena. His strength is flagging markedly, as he has been more or less subsisting on the unidentifiable berries he’s been able to pick in the woods. Plus, his deeply-ingrained pacifism is making it hard to muster up the motivation to kill anyone.
When the Gamemakers announced that she was pitted against Oskar, Little Bee felt her stomach drop. Oskar reminds her too much of Charlie, Sarah’s son—minus the Batman costume, of course. Instincts kicking in, she decides to follow him—more out of a desire to protect the little boy than of one to win the Game.
WINNER: Oskar, in his weakened state, has stopped examining the berries he’s eating. The red ones in the arena have made him nervous from the beginning of the Game, but he’s so starved that he eats a handful of them. Little Bee, who’s been trailing behind him for a while, sees him and shouts at him to stop. But she’s too late.
The match-ups in this round of Lit Madness are almost too fitting: Two very different figures of faith will battle, while two of Neil Gaiman’s most iconic vie for a spot in the Elite 8. What will the results be when one pair represents the duel between sin and purity; or when Death meets someone she’s already faced before?
Phèdre’s beauty and made-up face remind Aslan of a young girl he once knew. A girl who was gentle, but too logical, who matured too quickly. To those who absolutely obey Aslan, he is kind and generous, but to those who don’t… well, they are no longer friends of his or Narnia. He can’t bring Phèdre there, the lessons she needs won’t be found in his green meadows, and she is of no use to him.
To her distress, Phèdre realizes she can’t fuck her way out of this one. She recognizes Aslan’s godly status, yet he’s unlike any divine being she’s ever encountered (having only dealt with human-like angels). She can’t charm him with her knowledge of languages and texts, either; this lion has no need for pretty pets.
WINNER: After calmly stalking and cornering Phèdre, Aslan watches her—curious to see what her plan of attack might be. Her eyes dart around, taking in everything but him, looking for any means of help; no one is coming. As she backs against a large oak, Aslan moves forward. He can tell he’s frightening her with his massive form and glistening white teeth, but he needs to be as close as possible for his attack to work. When he’s a few inches away, he merely breathes on her face, using a trick he picked up from the White Queen, and turns her to stone.
Shadow Moon knows Death. He’s visited her realm before; and frankly, he’s encountered her in far more frightening forms. He knows he can best Death again, so why fear her at this moment? Shadow may have run out of his trusty coins, but he has some other tricks up his sleeve.
Talk about bad timing: For one day every century, Death becomes human in order to experience empathy for the mortals whose lives she touches, and that day is today. The real question is whether or not Shadow Moon will capitalize on this rare weakness.
WINNER: Death sees Shadow watching her from some bushes. Out of instinct she attempts to bring him to her so that she may remove his soul from his body, but her current state leaves her powerless. With a smile, Shadow stalks up to her and pulls out the hammer that Czernobog, an Old God, hit him with. He delivers a sharp blow to Death’s head and she goes down. Shadow wonders who claims the soul if Death dies, but he isn’t sticking around long enough to find out.