Thanks to all the thousands of folks who voted in Round Three of Middle-earth March Madness 2020; we’re now down to the Elite Eight, ie the Quarter Finals! Some of you were able to tune in for our LIVE results show last night; if you want to catch up, you can watch that show here. Let’s take a look at some of those results…

The choices are, for many voters, getting harder as the contest goes on; and that was shown in the outcomes, with most match ups being closely fought. The widest margin was in the Scenic bracket, with Lighting of the Beacons beating the Fellowship’s first glimpse of Rivendell by taking 79% of the vote. This isn’t as big a majority as it had in the previous round (87% against the Witch King and his army leaving Minas Morgul), but it’s still a pretty decisive win; and I’m still backing the Beacons to go all the way to be this year’s Champion! Its Quarter Final contest, however, is a VERY tough one: it goes up against the Fellowship sailing past the Argonath, which beat out Legolas, Aragorn and Gimli running through Rohan by 72% to 28%. Beacons vs Argonath; how to choose between those two epic scenes? Which one will get YOUR vote?

Only one of the other duels in Round Three had a resulting margin of more than 15%: in the Drama/Action category, where once again we had two charges facing off. The Charge of the Rohirrim (on Pelennor Fields) was able to overcome Gandalf and Eomer’s dawn charge at Helm’s Deep by almost 1,000 votes, or by 62% to 38%. It goes on to meet a demon from the ancient world in the Elite Eight, Gandalf’s fight with the Balrog in Moria having defeated Eowyn’s vanquishing of the Witch King. Our panel last night had a long discussion of the varied merits of these two scenes; most in the chat room agreed that Eowyn’s victory is more powerful in the book (where her identity is unknown right to the last moment), whilst many thought that the rendering of the Balrog in PJ’s movie actually enhances what we read in Tolkien’s work. Whatever your opinion, it was the fiery foe who won in Round Three; though there were fewer than 300 votes in it.

The closest pairing in the Sweet Sixteen round was found in the Tearjerkers group; I suspect some people may have had to toss a coin to decide this one! We are indeed all looking for ‘some good in this world’ right now; but nonetheless, ‘You bow to no one’ snuck through, with only just over 100 votes between those two amazing scenes. Boromir is still hanging in there; or rather, he’s not, but his death is! The mighty warrior’s death scene took 54% of the vote, and thus defeated the Fellowship’s reaction to Gandalf’s fall in Moria. So in the Elite Eight of Tearjerkers we have to choose between Aragorn being moved by his comrade’s death, and Aragorn being moved by four hobbits who changed Middle-earth. Will you need to toss that coin again…?

Talking of tossing things – the Laughter bracket continues to be Pippin vs Gimli. Pippin’s ‘What about second breakfast?’ was victorious over Gimli’s ‘Toss me!’, but to our panel’s (and my!) surprise, Legolas’s ‘Would you like me to find you a box?’, beat Pippin’s ‘Where are we going?’ There were only about 600 votes between the contestants in both these match ups; and so our final in this category is Pippin’s second breakfast vs Gimli’s box.

Here’s how the Elite Eight shapes up – the final duels within each of our four categories:

Get those votes in! Voting in the Elite Eight round will close at 10pm ET Saturday 11th April. Click here to go to the survey – open now! We’ll have another LIVE results show starting at 10pm ET on Saturday evening, which you’ll find on our facebook page. The Semi Final will then kick off with a post here on the morning of Sunday 12th April, when we’ll be down to the last four…

Are any of your favourites still in with a chance? Are these some of the toughest choices you’ve ever faced?! Join in the fun and let us know your thoughts!

Click here to vote now in the Quarter Final.