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Hammer and Helm & And the Walls Fall…. (finally)

In Hammer and Helm we learn that Roran is a great big selfish jerk. He even says so himself. With the following sentence, “He knew - Horst had a newborn child, and the Varden needed his metalworking skills - but Roran could not think of anyone else as well suited for the job.” He couldn’t think of anyone else, but did he try to find anyone else? He’s putting his own needs above those of the greater good. Which is right kind of him, I’m sure. I’m not sympathetic to his needs, because why would I like a person who might make someone a widow? Or deprive the army of someone who could make a difference in the battles to come with his skills? Kind of him. I think it might be better if he could wish Horst was coming with him, but realizes his importance to the Varden and so had to do without him. Also I’m not really sure how a blacksmith is good at doing with commandy stuff. However Nasuada agreed with Roran without complaint.

Oh. And Roran is preparing to attack the city and he’s excited. Yay.

That was pointless.

On to And the Walls Fall…. Here we have another piece of the disconnect that Paolini is so good at. Eragon and the others are making their way to the gate. The scene on the street is described thusly:

“There were a number of people already in the streets: Merchants going to open their shops, night watchmen on their way to bed, drunk noblemen just emerging from their revels, vagrants sleeping in doorways, as well as soldiers running pell-mell toward the city wall.

All of the people, even those who were running, kept looking in the direction of the cathedral as the noise of the two dragons fighting rumbled through the city. Everyone … appeared to be terrified…”

I dunno. I would think that there would be a bit more of a response from people besides staring up into the sky in terror. But instead it feels like they’re just looking. Sure they’re a bit of a ways from the battle but there should be people running from the battle area screaming in panic towards the outer edges away from the fight. With injuries. And stuff.

Oh. And then they dump the boy at Eragon’s insistence in an ally because he never said how far away he was going to take the kid. Nice guy. Nice everyone else for not protesting. Generally speaking in these sorts of circumstances the kid would have been brought safely to the Varden. In this case they’ve probably sentence him to death right there. Even if he doesn’t die being unconscious in a war zone, if the priests catch up with him, I’m sure they’ll know he helped Eragon and the others escape. I doubt they’ll take to kindly to that. They are after all evil. - The priests I mean in this case.

They get to the gate and see a whole bunch of soldiers protecting the gate, hundreds of them. Also a large bunch of rubble in front of the gates as well. According to Eragon it would take fifty men working several days to clear it. Saphira could fix it easily of course. He calls to her and then attacks the soldiers with Ayra at his side. As we’ve long ago seen fifty men against the two of them isn’t much of a contest. Oh, sure the narrative tries to tell us it is - Eragon feels his strength getting lower - but at the same time he’s able to scythe through a bunch of soldiers surrounding him straight through their stomachs. And there’s another one of Paolini’s similes “Blood trailed through the from the tip [of Brisingr] in a long twisting ribbons that slowly separated into glistening drops, like orbs of polished coral…” First off orbs. Second off polished coral which makes me think the blood has turned into marbles. Third off it feels like he’s describing one of those slow motion moments in a fantasy film fight that seem to crop up all the time. Especially when he has time to notice every hair on a guy’s chin.

Only after exhausting themselves with physical battle do they decide to use magic. This is apparently their second choice. They should be more like swordmages who mix sword and magic together. (I may be a bit biased here playing a swordmage in my D&D games, but whatever. My swordmage is 1000 times more awesome than Eragon is, even if he’s a complete and utter screw-up, but that’s a story for another time.)

Blah. Blah. Blah. More fighting. More getting trapped in a corner and then Eragon remembers his magic ring full of power from Brom. And he uses it to blow up the rubble in front of the gate. He makes sure to move the rubble away from the gate and to dump it into the lake… for some reason… I’m not even sure how far away the lake is, but it seems to be a waste of energy to me.

Blah, blah. blah, even more fighting as the Varden make it inside. And then Eragon goes after Thorn and Murtagh on Saphira but they get away, Murtagh saying he will have vengeance for the damage they caused Thorn and that Galbatorix doesn’t give a damn about the city so neh. Sounds like sore losers to me.


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Kippur Critiques Bad Books

January 2016


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