The nominations have been submitted, the votes have been tallied, and only five characters in each category have advanced to the final round. Thanks to drawing the short straw this year, the henchmen have been crammed into my apartment all week… as they lacked the foresight to book hotel rooms for themselves before the event, and they’re getting a mite annoying. I suppose Kyle’s descriptions from last year should have warned me that this was coming, but I really thought they’d have learned their lesson… well, I suppose we are talking about the least competent henchmen here… ahem. Forgive me, I got a little off-track. You didn’t come to read me complaining about my houseguests… I can tell they are all extremely well-meaning souls, but I can only take so many dirty socks ending up in my dishwasher and broken plates going through my dryer… doesn’t matter how many times I tell them… *sighs* next year, I’m just going to stock up on paper products.
The time to vote for the best of the… erm… least of the least… has arrived! Now, each blog has the entire voting form on it, so you don’t have to go hunting for all the forms, they are in one handy dandy location on each blog. However, you won’t want to miss the entertainment going on at each blog where all the finalists are introduced, so make sure you swing by each of the hosts’ blogs to read those!Yes! Yes, I am about to introduce you! I had to talk to the nice people who are about to vote for you… what? No! You may not come out and threaten them into voting for you, besides, your father isn’t even here… no, I’m sorry, he didn’t show up. I don’t think he expects you to win… I’m sorry, Antorell… no, Puzzle! You may NOT run away…. and please stop eating my couch cushions!
“Sorry about that. Where was I? Oh yes… the finalists! First up we have a character who has come to visit all the way from the Enchanted Forest. ANTORELL! Come on out, Antorell!”
Antorell strides out onto the stage and glowers into the bright lights. With his long brown beard, staff, and billowing robes he strikes an intimidating pose and mutters something under his breath. A clap of ominous thunder rolls over the audience and soapy water showers Antorell from above.
“What?” Antorell splutters, then his expression turns horrified. “No! Not lemon juice! How humiliati….” But that is all he is able to say before he melts into a murky puddle.
“Um… yes, well, that’s what you get for trying to use magic to unfairly sway the audience to your favor,” I mutter. “Don’t worry, folks, the melting isn’t permanent. Antorell will be back for the award ceremony later. But for now… well… you can see, Antorell is a fitting finalist for this award. Between you and me, the poor guy isn’t a very competent wizard. He tries, he really does, but I think he gets nervous… his father being the head of the wizards and all. Anyway, let’s hear it for Antorell!”
I shuffle through my cards.
“Next up we have a much-beloved character from somewhere in the English countryside, though it’s hard to get there if you’re a muggle. It’s DOBBY, everyone’s favorite house-elf!”
A small creature creeps out on the stage to thunderous applause. He holds up a hand.
“Please, please do not… Dobby does not deserve such praise. Dobby was only trying to do his best to save Harry Potter.”
The crowd goes wild, chanting and stomping their feet.
“No, no, Dobby does not wish for this award! Dobby wishes to be rid of his evil masters who wish to hurt Harry Potter. He does not wish to be a good henchman for them.”
“It’s okay, Dobby, this award is for LEAST Competent Henchman. Means you’re not good at helping villains.”
Dobby brightens and capers about a bit. “Then let the clapping people continue! Dobby is proud of his lack of competence at being a henchman! Dobby will be the least of the least competent ones in this matter!”
“Thank you, Dobby!”
After a few more bows and capers, I get him over to the side, warning him not to step in Antorell… “Um, can we get someone out here to clean this up?”
The janitor scurries up with a mop and bucket and quickly cleans up the mess. Dobby dances about for the crowd a little, setting them off on another round of uproarious applause.
I wave for the audience to calm down and the janitor retreats behind the curtain with his bucket.
“Next up we have General Khrak, from the Wingfeather Saga!”
The General strides onto the stage and glares grimly out at the audience, who applauds despite his attempts at intimidation.
“The General is a Fang commander and one of the oldest servants to his master, and even manages to find several clues to help him in his quest to find some powerful jewels, isn’t that right, General?”
Khrak does not respond or look up from polishing a button on his sleeve. He appears bored with the entire proceeding.
He glances at me with a sneer. “I do not appreciate being nominated for this award,” he snarls. “Least Competent, indeed! This entire thing is an outrage, and is keeping me from my most important task. I was just on the verge of discovering a crucial clue when I was called in to be part of this… circus.” His lip curls and he stomps over to stand next to Dobby, who immediately begins trying to cheer Khrak up.
“Okay! Heheh… Next up we have… um, hold on a second…”Puzzle! Please come out. You can’t hide back here forever, and WHAT are you eating? PLEASE tell me that’s not Antorell… that’s completely inappropriate and it can’t possibly be good for either of you.
I return to the stage. “Sorry about that, folks. But do you see what I’ve been dealing with here? Ahem. This next finalist needs no introduction, really. All the way across the realms from Narnia, it’s Puzzle the Donkey!”
Puzzle’s ears emerge from behind the curtain first, twitching slightly. He steps unsteadily out onto the stage, blinking blearily into the bright lights. The audience applauds and several shouts of encouragement reach our ears.
“Puzzle couldn’t be evil if he tried,” I continue. “He’s more misguided really, than actually evil, and he doesn’t have the best taste in friends, but his heart is true and it comes through to help him out in the end.”
Puzzle bows slightly. “Thank you for…” he begins, but then he seems to freeze up. His eyes roll a little and his legs stiffen. “Um… excuse me, Miss Jenelle… but… I don’t think I should have… um… that bucket of water… I was so thirsty… but it doesn’t seem to have agreed with me and I don’t feel well…. I think I need to go hide… er… lie down. May I be excused?”
“Yes, of course… best of luck with the votes!” I grin brightly at the audience. “Just one more to go, folks! This final finalist may be the biggest and the strongest, but that’s not his fault! Please welcome Fezzik!”
His footsteps thunder as he steps out onto the stage, a giant smile on his giant face. He waves a hand and gives a slight bow as the audience leaps to its feet once more.
“We certainly love our incompetent henchmen around here!” I grin. “Fezzik grew up with loving parents who encouraged him to do what he was best at: fight! He traveled with them, winning prize fights against every opponent he could find, but eventually his parents died, leaving him on his own, one of his least favorite things to be. Eventually, he fell in with Vizzini and began working as a henchman. But even though he’s great at fighting, what he really loves are rhymes!”
Fezzik grins. “They really are sublime!”
“That was very good!” I smile. “Fezzik, what do you like most about being a henchman?”
Fezzik gets a thoughtful expression on his face. “I’d rather be on the bench, ma’am.” Then he shrugs apologetically. “That’s not perfect, but it’s the best I can do on short notice.”
The crowd laughs.
“Well, thank you for being here tonight.”
“I won’t go down without a fight!”
“That’s great, Fezzik, but I’m trying to let these people get to voting.”
“Wouldn’t they rather have a nice day out boating?”
“I can see why Vizzini wasn’t a fan of this.”
“When I’m gone, it’s something you’ll miss.”
“Right… well, folks, time to cast your votes, mark your ballots, and choose your favorites, and may the best least competent henchman win!”
“If he don’t, it would be a sin!”Okay, Fezzik, I love you, but really, we need to get off the stage so these nice people can go vote… no more rhymes, now and… come on, don’t make me say it… General Khrak! That wasn’t nice at all. Ah, Antorell, you’re back already? No, I… I have no idea why there’s a hole in your robes… we’ll get you a new one at home. What? Well, I’m sorry you don’t like sharing my spare room, but that’s what you all get for not thinking ahead. Maybe next year… what’s that? Yes, Puzzle, we can stop and get some alfalfa on the way home… maybe… if you promise to stop nibbling on my furniture, really, you should be staying outside… no! That’s it! All of you, get in the car NOW!
I apologize again, these henchmen can get a little unruly. The voting booth is now open!
The Voting Form
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