Round Two is closed, with around 5,000 votes placed, and it’s almost time to launch the Sweet Sixteen round in Middle-earth March Madness 2020; but before we do that, we need to take a look at the results in Round Two! As at the end of Round One, we hosted a LIVE results show, with a great panel of folks discussing the various battles and their outcomes. If you missed it, you can still watch that show here. Take a moment to check it out; and be sure to tune in for another results show when this current round ends on Wednesday 8th April. If you don’t have time to watch, then read on for a look back at Round Two now…

As ever, we start with the Tearjerkers bracket. In Round One this category contained the closest battle overall (Theoden’s death vs Pippin finding Merry on Pelennor Fields); but here in Round Two, there were fairly hefty wins in all four fights. The closest one was Sam’s ‘There’s some good in this world’ speech against the previously mentioned Theoden death scene; Sam was triumphant, with just over two thirds of the vote. The widest margin here was the Fellowship’s reaction to Gandalf’s fall in Moria vs Sam saying farewell to Frodo after Shelob’s sting (80% to 20%). Our panelists on the live show last night were all pointing out how it is the superb acting of Elijah Wood, Sean Astin et al in the scene of Gandalf’s fall, as they weep or sit in stunned disbelief, which really makes it. A possible contender to go all the way to become Champion? Maybe; but first it faces very tough competition, as it goes up against Boromir’s death scene. Round Three of this bracket surely contains some of the hardest choices; the other pairing is ‘You bow to no one’ against ‘There’s some good in this world’. As our panelists remarked, we’re all looking for good in this world right now; that scene for sure will be getting my vote!

Let’s look next at the Scenic bracket. The first pairing here was the lighting of the beacons vs the Witch King and his army leaving Minas Morgul. Lighting the beacons won by the biggest margin in any match up, taking 87% of the vote. This scene is surely a strong contender for overall Champion 2020? It gets my vote for certain (well, given that my favourite great hall of Moria scene went out in Round One. Still grieving; grumble grumble…)

The closest duel in this category was Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli running through Rohan against Eowyn at Meduseld, gazing out across the land. Our live panel almost unanimously wanted Eowyn to win; but the running ‘boys’ took 700 more votes than the Shieldmaiden, so they go through to Round Three – where they face surely VERY tough competition from the sailing past the Argonath scene?

Laughter next: something we all need right now! As was remarked last night, this has now come down to a Pippin vs Gimli bracket. Pippin’s ‘What about second breakfast?’ defeated the scene where he and Merry welcome Aragorn, Gandalf and Gimli to Isengard; though it wasn’t the landslide I would have predicted, with second breakfast taking less than two thirds of the vote. The closest fight in the entire second round was between two Legolas/Gimli moments: ‘That still only counts as one!’ vs ‘Would you like me to find you a box?’ To our panel’s surprise, ‘find you a box’ was victorious; but there were only just over 100 votes in it!

Last but by no means least, let’s consider the Drama/Action bracket. Having beaten Gandalf escaping on an eagle in Round One, Eowyn taking on the Witch King had another fairly easy victory this round, taking 80% of the vote against Gollum falling into the Cracks of Doom. Now she faces Gandalf and the Balrog in Round Three; will she have another easy win, or will that scene be stiffer competition?

Two charges faced off in this group: Gandalf and Eomer’s dawn charge beat Faramir’s charge, with almost three quarters of the vote. And alas, another of my personal favourites has fallen, to another charge: the Ents going to war was beaten easily (69% to 31%) by the charge of the Rohirrim.

Here’s the entire Round Three bracket:

Middle-earth March Madness 2020 - Round 3 - Sweet Sixteen

So now comes the Sweet Sixteen round! You have until 10pm ET Wednesday 8th April, to vote in this Round. Every vote counts; and the choices get harder as we move through the rounds. Click here to go to the survey and place your votes. Don’t forget to tune in to our LIVE results show starting at 10pm ET on Wednesday evening; as ever, you’ll be able to find that on our facebook page (and you can watch last night’s show here). As usual, results will also be posted here around 10am ET, on Thursday 9th in the morning; and then on to Round Four!

What are your predictions now for 2020’s Champion? Which pairings are the hardest choices? Share your thoughts on facebook, in the chat room or on the message boards. Onwards!

Click here to vote now in Round Three.