Magic, military training, and natural scrappiness collide in this round of Lit Madness. As the final four YA characters face off, fans in the Capitol eagerly await the results. Will Harry pull through as he always does? Can Tiger Lily outsmart June? Do Lyra and Pan have a chance? And who will make it to the Elite Eight?
Lyra has her trusty dæmon, Pan, by her side and isn’t at all impressed by Harry’s lightning-bolt scar. She and Pan swap snide remarks about Harry (“The Boy Who Lived? Ha, not for long!”) and decide to have some fun: Pan shifts into the Grim, and starts stalking Harry around the perimeter of the arena.
Harry’s heart seizes when he glimpses the large, shaggy dog trailing him. “Sirius?” he whispers, before he realizes that there’s no way it could be true. Even considering all of the weird magic (if he could call it that) taking place in this arena, the Gamemakers couldn’t have parted the veil between life and death. Rattled, he shoves his glasses further up his nose and takes out his wand, hand only slightly shaking, and bellows, “Expecto patronum!”
WINNER: The moment the silvery stag flows out of his wand, Harry feels calmer… though he realizes he’s never pitted a Patronus against a real creature. The sight of the ghostly stag is enough to shock Pan out of his Grim shape; a pine marten again, he jumps into Lyra’s arms and cowers. Harry takes advantage of the duo’s fear and unleashes the Sectumsempra charm. All it takes is several quick slashes, and Lyra and Pan lie shaking and bleeding. Harry staggers away before they succumb to their wounds.
Corrupt governments? June’s handled them before. Her instinct is to devise a plan of attack against the Gamemakers, but first she has to survive the arena and take down her next opponent. Fingering her paperclip ring, an idea forms in June’s mind. She’s been captured on purpose before; by using that element of surprise, she can get the best of the wild Tiger Lily.
After dealing with pirates, Tiger Lily doesn’t see any reason to fear June. The other girl can try and trick her, but she is far cleverer than any member of the Republic. However, June’s got one vital weakness: her love for Day. And after Peter… well, Tiger Lily will never let a boy distract her again.
WINNER: June finds Jack Reacher’s gun and takes aim. Initially she hesitates, but the knowledge that Tiger Lily is unfeeling and heartless steadies her hand. She fires her weapon, but a little insect flies out from Tiger Lily’s crow-feathered hair and takes the bullet.
Forgetting June, Tiger Lily cries out and catches the creature mid-air. As June cautiously creeps forward, she finds Tiger Lily cradling a little fairy in her palm. However, what shocks her most are the tears coming from the girl’s eyes. Tiger Lily begins to chant, “I do believe in fairies. I do, I do,” over and over—and soon, June finds herself joining in. Their voices grow louder and louder until they are shouting, when suddenly, the fairy stirs! June is so moved by this experience that she knows she can’t kill Tiger Lily now.
It’s just the distraction Tiger Lily needed. Her tears already dried, she pins June to the ground—Tink helps—and ties her up with a rope. Tossing the other end over a high branch, Tiger Lily hoists the squirming girl higher and higher. Once she’s certain the fall will be fatal, she lets go.
Bombs, avalanches, and straight-up pistol-whipping have made the characters from mysteries and thrillers the most violent of the Lit Madness bunch. Trained killers, assassins, and detectives clearly don’t mess around. As the final four characters pair off, we eagerly await the two victors.
Making a quick turn in the forest, Bourne accidently runs headlong into a mass of spider webs. Cursing, he pulls them off and continues on, but now something is bothering him—a memory itching at his brain. The spiders? No, not them. Their web? Something about…
He stops. Webb. David Webb. Jason Bourne is dead. Half-understood memories rush to his mind. He realizes that he is some kind of special agent, but he can speak several languages fluently, so what country does he come from? Confusion leaves Bourne… or rather, Webb… distracted.
Lisbeth has a knack for digging up information on her enemies; from the moment she first glimpsed Bourne dispatching of another tribute using only a hat, she sensed there was more to him than met the eye. Having already hacked the arena’s computer system, she buckles down to dig up some dirt on Bourne. A few hours later, she’s got all the information she needs.
WINNER: Confused and distracted, Bourne stumbles into a clearing in the woods, to find Lisbeth calmly perched on a large rock with a placid smile on her face. “Hello there, David,” she says carefully. “How is your wife? Your children?” Bourne frowns at first, then his features slowly rearrange into an expression of horror and grief.
Lisbeth continues, “Medusa… Treadstone 71… do those names mean anything to you? How about ‘Carlos the Jackal’?” Webb, looking fearful and confused, opens his mouth to say something else, but instead lunges at Salander. “Shut up!” he shouts.
Lisbeth doesn’t like being physically threatened by anyone—particularly men. She reaches into her pocket and whips out a taser. Before Webb realizes what is happening, she has pressed the high-voltage weapon against his neck, and holds it there until his body goes slack and his breathing stops. Straightening her clothes, Lisbeth disappears into the woods.
When the wind whistles through the trees at night in the arena, Allon closes his eyes. If he tries, he can imagine it’s his Chiara. Chiara singing softly in the shower, or while chopping carrots in the kitchen, singing in all the quiet moments when she thinks she’s alone. He holds onto her in his mind. She’s what he’s fighting for, surviving for.
Much as she hates to admit it, what Stephanie really needs right now is family dinner at her parents’ house. Along with pineapple-upside-down cake, her family usually provides surprisingly good advice on how to catch the crook—or, in this case, to stay alive. Instead, all she has to rely on is her own recklessness, which leads her to set a trap and then stalk Allon through the jungle, hoping to draw him right to the pit covered in moss.
WINNER: Allon caught on fairly quickly when Stephanie started following him. He slips behind a tree and waits for her to pass by before quietly falling into place behind her. If she thinks that her clomping through the underbrush is graceful, he has to laugh.
Stephanie lost sight of Allon somewhere through the trees, and now she’s officially lost. She can’t help it that she’s used to the ordered mediocrity of the suburbs; this dense undergrowth is threatening to swallow her with every step. Until she backtracks onto a bed of moss and falls into her own trap. Damn, she shouldn’t have sharpened those tree branches into such lethal spikes.
Allon moves to stand above the hole, cocks his head to the side, and then decides to move on. That was easier than he thought.