It seems to be a particular thing for guys to make things compete. Who would win in a gunfight, George Washington or Teddy Roosevelt? Who would win in a race, a snail or a slug? Who would win in a bare-knuckle boxing match, Stephen Fry or Ronnie Corbet? Guys are weird, aren't we?
Being a very rough-and-tumble sort of guy, Conan turns up in these a lot. Here's one that caught me attention.
Harry Dresden vs Conan
Well, I like Harry. The stories are great fun, and the finale of Dead Beat is about the most awesome thing I've ever read. However, I do know that he'd go down before Conan, and this is not a case of liking Conan more. (I know that Kratos would kill Conan, and I freaking hate Kratos, which is why I always insist they at least give Conan a Yuetshi Blade, an Akbitanan sword with the Mark of Epemitreus, the Heart of Ahriman, the Xuthallan Elixir and Khemsa's Girdle to even things up a notch).
The critical mistake: Harry will underestimate Conan. That is the ultimate problem all sorcerers, wizards, necromancers and magicians make with our favourite barbarian: they simply don't account how scarily fast the dude is. He dodged what amounted to ray-blasts ("Red Nails") in close proximity, he can fling projectiles faster than the eye can follow with lethal velocity ("Rogues in the House", "Black Colossus"), and he himself can move damn fast.
It'd be a hell of a battle. If/when Conan wins, he'll advance in the brackets. He'll go on to face the winner between Rand Al'Thor (Wheel of Time, Robert Jordan) and Locke Lamora (The Lies of Locke Lamora, Scott Lynch). I'd almost vote for Locke just to spite Jordan, but then, I don't think even Conan could take out Rand Al'Thor, which depresses me a lot. Conan could totally take Locke though.
Should the popularity vote will out (and it shouldn't, really: unless they give Conan the Heart of Ahriman, he simply can't stop Rand Al'Thor), it'll be between Roland Deschain (The Dark Tower, grrr Stephen King) or Elric, then Gandalf or Hiro Protagonist
It looks like Roland and Gandalf will throw down (even though I wouldn't count Elric out). Of the two, Roland will probably win, grr Steven King. And honestly, who's going to vote a swordsman winning a gunfight? Then again, that old sword-fling might result in mutually assured destruction. I'm pretty sure Roland wouldn't see that coming.
Anyway, everyone go vote for Conan. Or Harry, should you wish to vote for the wrong choice.
EDIT: Apparently, GRRM himself commented on the Jaime vs Hermione throwdown:
Jaime does not actually own a Valyrian steel sword. The blade he used to kill King Aerys is common castle-forged steel, gilded to match his golden armor. But he can certainly get hold of a Valyrian blade for the fight — Widow’s Wail, the twin to Oathkeeper, both made when his father had Ice melted down and reforged. Widow’s Wail went to Joffrey, but we all know how that turned out. Now it belongs to Tommen, but the kid’s not old enough to use it.
A sword is not enough, though. This duel is life and death. Jaime is not likely to prance into that clearing smiling and clad only in cloth. He’ll armor himself before the match. His gilded plate-and-mail (this is not a fit occasion for the white of the Kingsguard), a crimson cloak, and a shield strapped to his right arm and emblazoned with the lion of Lannister. And of course he will have a helm. Knights who enter battle without one are soon dead. He can smile at Hermione before the match, then lower his visor. The helm, of course, would be fashioned in the shape of a maned lion. (Oddly enough, the Lannister arms look a lot like those of Gryffindor, which might give Hermione a moment’s pause).
He’s not going to waste time and effort swatting at birds with his sword, either. He’s encased in gilded steel. What are they going to do, crap on him? He’ll rush right through the birds, and go straight for Hermione. A sword is not a knight’s only weapon. While she’s watching the blade, he will slam his shield right into her face, knock her off her feet. Let her try and mumble those spells with a mouthful of broken teeth.
And if somehow Granger does get off that spell (cheating, really) and turn him upside down, Jaime is more likely to undo the straps on his shield and fling it at her head then to hang there meekly waiting to die.
But hey, let’s say everything goes the way your “experts” say it will, and Hermione wins. Sad to say, she will not live long to enjoy her victory. Sometime very soon, when she least expects it, a “boy” she does not know will bump up against her in the corridors of Hogwarts… and suddenly she’ll find a dagger sliding through her ribs, right into her heart. “A Lannister always pays his debts,” Tyrion will say, as he slips back into the shadows.
Good to know he's working hard on A Dance With Dragons instead of going to football matches and going to message boards debating on whether one of his characters could beat another author's characters in a scrap or anything...