What a contest Middle-earth March Madness 2020 is shaping up to be! Almost 5,500 people voted in Round One, and there were some very close contests. Last night, for the first time in Middle-earth March Madness history, we had a LIVE results show, and we’ll be continuing that whenever we can, throughout the contest. For those who weren’t able to tune in, let’s take a look at some of the Round One results.

Starting with the Tearjerkers bracket, the closest battle played out on Pelennor Fields. There were fewer than 200 votes between Theoden’s death, and Pippin finding Merry; but the death of the King ultimately won through to Round Two. The second tightest contest in this bracket was between Bilbo’s farewell to the dwarves in The Battle of Five Armies, and Sam finding Frodo in Cirith Ungol in The Return of the King. In the end, it was The Hobbit scene which won the duel, by 230 votes. The surprise (for me, anyway) in this category was the significant margin (almost 800 votes) by which The Return of the King‘s ‘You bow to no one’ moment beat the Grey Havens scene at the end of that movie.

Moving on to the Laughter gathering, we find the biggest victory of Round One: Pippin’s ‘What about second breakfast?’ took 90% of the vote, with only 500 voters expressing a preference for PJ’s Corsair cameo. Most of the pairings in this bracket were fairly easy wins, the only close(ish) call being between Gandalf’s ‘Fool of a Took!’ remark in the mines of Moria, with 59%, to 41% for Bilbo’s faint after reading the contract in An Unexpected Journey. Another personal comment from me: the one part in all six movies which is guaranteed always to make me laugh is Gandalf’s ‘In fact, it’s better if you don’t speak at all’ to Pippin outside Meduseld; but more than two thirds of voters disagree with me, and preferred Gimli’s ‘Toss me’ aside to Aragorn.

In the Scenic group, as beautiful as the Shire is, Frodo and Sam’s journey through it in The Fellowship of the Ring was no match for the lighting of the beacons; the Return of the King scene took 85% of the vote in that match up. The Shire was defeated again, but this time only by 52% to 48%, with Gimli, Legolas and Aragorn’s run through Rohan in The Two Towers vanquishing Gandalf’s first arrival in Hobbiton in The Fellowship of the Ring. I’m taking a moment to lament one of my own very favourite scenes, the ‘Dare we risk a little more light?’ moment in the great hall of Moria; it has fallen in Round One, conquered by the Fellowship’s first glimpse of Rivendell.

And finally those dramatic moments… It is perhaps not surprising that the widest margin in the Drama/Action bracket was between the first seed and the bottom seed; Eowyn vs the Witch King beat Gandalf escaping Orthanc on an eagle by 4,415 votes to 917. The closest fight in this category was (also perhaps not surprisingly) between seeds 8 and 9; Gollum’s fall into the Cracks of Doom beat Bilbo’s first sighting of Smaug by 55% to 45%.

Here’s how things look as we go into Round Two:

Round 2 of Middle-earth March Madness the 2020 Quarantine Edition

So Round Two begins! You have until 10pm ET Sunday 5th April, to vote in this Round. Don’t delay! Click here to go to the survey. We’ll have a LIVE results show starting at 9.50pm ET on Sunday evening; as ever, you’ll be able to find that on our facebook page. Results will also be posted here on Monday 6th in the morning; and then on to Round Three!

What do you think of the results so far? Any of your favourites already defeated? Which scene are you hoping will go all the way to become 2020’s Champion? We’d love to hear your thoughts! Let battle resume!

Click here to vote now in Round Two.