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Under Hill and Stone

First off, everyone meet Wyrden. He’s got three days left until his retirement and a kid on the way. Oh, and his favorite color is red. okay, maybe not. I alson just don’t care that I just linked to TVtropes.

ANYway, this chapter is basically Eragon, Arya, Angela and Red Shirt getting into the mountain through the secret entrance. It feels kind of like a dungeon run and, as always, has lovely bits of contradictions between previous chapters.

My favorite bit of the chapter happens right in the beginning when we’re told that Elva laughed in Eragon’s face when he asked her to come with him. We also get one of Paolini’s dictionary words: obdurate… which means stubbornly refusing to change an opinion or course of action. Because she refused to change her mind is obviously too hard to say. I’m not saying that having to look up words is bad (I had to look up obdurate) but it just doesn’t fall into the same style of the rest of the prose which uses more simple words and phrases. Beyond when Paolini decides to dig up the thesaurus for those sorts of words. Or maybe his SAT book. I don’t know. Eragon admires the fact that she sticks to her guns but is still frustrated that she won’t do as he says. Well, poor baby and all that jazz.

Have we seen dwarven mages? I don’t remember. But Wyrden learned a song from one of them to find underground chambers. Which I don’t really have a problem with beyond the fact that he’s crooning a song. Crooning doesn’t really feel like a dwarf like way to do magic. I would imagine it more as a chant. Maybe Wyrden is singing it instead of chanting it, though I have to admit that I’ve got this image of him crooning to the ground like Perry Como. Silly image, but that’s what I get in my head.

While he’s doing that we get Eragon being unhappy about the slaughter of innocent creatures. He feels guilty and like he’s dying when he feels their pain as he fills up his magic belt. He feels, even though he’s not the cause of it, responsible for their deaths. Even though they were going to die anyway. On the other hands… we’ve all the people he’s killed and not felt any guilt. Animals, no problem. People? I guess they’re not real.

Anyway. They find the tunnel. It’s got a grate over it and worked stone. Also foot prints around. Apparently other people know about about this secret entrance that no one knew if it existed or not. But I imagine people living in the city might know better than other people. Solembum shows up when they go into the tunnels and we’re told that Nasuada knows the exact number of the soldiers, where they were stationed, their habits and duties and all about what Murtagh was up to. The werecats have been acting as spies. Which is pretty clever, but I would think they’d be able to use this information to attack by now. Or something.

When they come to a triple fork in the road they try to figure out which way to go and Angela says they should go on the left one because it’s always the left one. Which is stupid. Eragon defeats this logic by asking well what if they were going in the other direction? Then the right would be on the left.

Couldn’t they use a spell to … I don’t know figure out which way there’s more people or something? Or see which way has more footprints/traffic?

Angela says they’ll try it his way by going to the right even though Eragon thinks he’s rather go to through the center arch because he thought it would be the most likely to go up to the city. Logic like that is apparently unimportant.

Wandering around they find a most peculiar object: a two legged stool. It’s not a stool whose third leg has rotted away or something it’s a two legged stool. I’m not really sure how that works. The text explicitly says two legged. Which is odd. And useless.

They walk around some more and find a random chamber filled with runes on the ceiling. Because… putting runes on the ceiling about the founder of your faith, his life and death, makes perfect sense. About as much sense as a two legged stool. But… Logic! While Angela and Wyrden stare at the ceiling, Arya checks out the seven doors with a spell of finding and locating… which they couldn’t have done, like I suggested, back at the beginning there with the talk about taking the left and the right? Logic!

And then they get attacked. The men who attacked them are impervious to pain which means - according to Eragon - that while he normally could “have killed any of the men in an instant, but the fact that they were impervious to pain meant that he had to either behead them, stab them through the heart, or cut them and hold them off until the loss of blood rendered them unconscious”, How exactly is this any different than killing a person normally? What would he do to kill people who can feel pain differently? Stab them in the gut? Cut their spine? I’m not exactly sure. But it seems odd that he needs to kill people differently because they can’t feel any pain. Dead is dead.

They start to get overwhelmed and so retreat, Angela vanishing through a door at one point and then Wyrden dies. He gets impaled by spikes from a random spike trap. Speaking from experience, having gone through the Tomb of Horrors, spike traps, be it in a pit or not, suck ass. Especially when they’re poisoned. And when they’ve got a secret door in the middle of three traps… well, really, someone is out to kill you. Which is the entire point of the Tomb of Horrors, isn’t it? DEATH TO ALL ADVENTURES!! Sadly, in this case, it’s only Wyrden. Who Eragon feels horrible about, but the audience doesn’t because we’ve known him for all of fifteen pages and the only useful thing he did was croon a song to the ground to discover if there were chambers in the ground.

Moving on. Because Eragon and Arya do.

They run and run so fast that Eragon bursts into a room and can’t stop himself before he is going to run into an altar of some sort so he leaps…..

And the chapter ends there for some reason. Which is odd because the action picks up right where it left off, so it’s not much of a cliff hanger. Now, if we were doing a serial story, then it might work out but for a chapter ending… not so much.

However it is one more chapter down. Yay me.


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Kippur Critiques Bad Books

January 2016


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