Things I've Loved about the YA Fantasy Showdown So Far...
The Comments - There have been some amazing, insightful, and fierce comments so far. I really think that has been one of the best parts of this entire tournament. More than the battles, more than the votes, it's YOU engaging and being engaged, having new worlds opened up to you and connecting with fellow readers and lovers of bookish-type stuff. Reading is predominantly a very solitary activity and to see people bust out and bust a move like this is quite frankly, fun. I love it.
The Passion - Wow, you guys have some SERIOUS hardcore love for these characters. Many answers were logical and well thought out, others were more, shall we say, primal. :) And by the way, any of you who voted against a favorite character because you were thinking of who would really win, you get double brownie points in my book.
The Results - Sure, we predict the battles, and write them out for fun, but everyone knows (or hopefully knows) its all only meant as fun. To write accurate battles between any of these two characters would take weeks of preparation and careful writing and rewriting (and rewriting...). That being said, I've been shocked more than once on who some of the winners have been. Some have been insanely close, and others, the wide margin is jaw-dropping. It was enough to make me click refresh more times than a button that said "free chocolate". Heck, people were voting within MINUTES after I uploaded a new round. You people made me lose an extra half hour of sleep, you know, because I just *had* to see if there was a new vote in. Shame, shame on you. :)
The Community - YA (and all children's lit in general) is like the ultimate secret club that everyone is invited to. Seeing so many people come together for this is... incredible. I'm at a loss for words. Again, reading is solitary, but to come together and see your favorite place has been visited by thousands of others and that you have kindred spirits out there, that's powerful. I have been losing sleep and sanity (ah, who am I kidding? That was lost long ago) with this thing, but it has been so worth it. But no, you still don't get to see a picture of me until like, a month after this thing is over.
And perhaps more important,
The Finding - When you found a new book you'd never heard of before, when the chance at a new world was opened up to you, that filled me with real joy. If you took nothing else away from this, that would be enough. It would be more than enough, by far.