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The Word of a Rider

First off, I have absolutely no idea why this chapter is entitled “the Word of a Rider”. Absolutely NOTHING has to do with Eragon giving his word or something like that. If anyone can explain it to me, I would love it. It feels like this was supposed to be the title for a different chapter and got misplaced.



What is this chapter?

This chapter is basically Eragon Watching Other People Fight And Being Mostly Passive. Oh and it’s also a Named Characters Can Actually Do Stuff And No One Else Seems To Exist. - I’ll explain that one later.

Oh and Nausada gets kidnapped. (Raise your hands if you care.)

In our last chapter Eragon got stoned out of his gourd when Thorn attacks. When he goes outside and sees some torch flame “the flames swam before him like fish, as if detached from the oil-soaked rags that fed them”. I am going to give this similie a pass because Eragon is stoned so it might very well look like that.

Paolini steals - borrows - an idea from from Naomi Novak’s Termiare series with Thorn carrying soldiers on rigging. This I don’t mind so much. It actually makes sense. An interesting bit of Stuff as the Plot Demands, when Thorn lands it’s described as earth shaking, but in previous instances this doesn’t happen. Why? Because it sounds more exciting and interesting.

Anyway. There are soldiers everywhere and Eragon is completely befuddled. I’m not really sure how many people there are attacking but somehow they managed to sneak up to the army. The thing I have a problem with here is that Dras - Leona appears - on the map - to be in flat land area. The attackers should have a really hard time sneaking up on them, especially if there are people patrolling and if Thorn was leading the attack. I think they’d notice a large dragon flying around in the distance. Or something. They just appear out of nowhere. Which is pretty true since there’s no where I can tell where they could have hid.

Before soldiers can kill Eragon the elves show up and kill five of them. Then twenty soldiers show up and Angela appears to start killing them before the elves can do anything.

Before the soldiers came within reach of the elves’ swords, one of the tents burst open and Angela charged howling into the midst of the soldiers, catching them by surprise.

The herbalist was wearing a red nightgown, her curly hair was in disarray, and in each hand she wielded a wool comb. The combs were three feet long and had two rows of steel tines mounted at an angle on the ends. The tines were longer than Eragon’s forearm and were sharpened to needle-like-points - he knew that if you pricked yourself, you could catch blood poisoning from the unwashed wool they had been drawn through.

Two things: One wouldn’t Eragon know that Angela was living in a tent next to him? Actually, wasn’t she living by the lake and not next to Eragon?

Two: WHY THE FUCK IS SHE USING WOOL COMBS INSTEAD OF HER SWORD THAT CAN CUT THROUGH EVERYTHING!? Seriously. Why?! She has a sword that can cut through everything. Why is she using wool combs?! I’m not even going to get near the question of why she’s using sheep combs in the first place instead of regular weapons… I know the reason for that one. It’s so that Paolini can have a fight scene with Angela looking awesome fighting with wool combs.

But really. What sort of thought process did she even go through to get the idea that wool combs were a better weapon to use than the sword that can cut through everything. Or even just a regular sword because we know she has one of those too. It’s completely illogical, even for Angela level of weird - Mary Sueness.

Apparently Angela has the Improvised Weapons and Dual wielding tree of feats because she’s able to use those combs with deadly effect. Is there anything she can’t use as a weapon? (And still WHY CHOOSE TEH COMBS IN THE FIRST PLACE? WHY ARE THEY EVEN ON HER RADAR!?)

Also, for some reason, the fact that Angela is shorter or smaller than the soldiers she’s fighting doesn’t give her any problems is brought up a few times.

“The herbalist was more than a foot shorter than some of the men, but she showed no sign of fear as she bounded among them.”

“The two seemed fairly matched, despite their differences in sex, weight, height, reach, and equipment.”

Considering we’ve seen Angela taken on worse before in the book why would Eragon even think to comment on the fact that she might be afraid, or even the fact that she was shorter would make her afraid. I can’t even begin to think of a good comment on the whole sex, weight, height, reach and equipment thing. That’s just… beyond me.

Eragon gets cured of his tripping with a simple spell from Ayra and thus making that entire point entirely worthless. There really isn’t anything more to say about that.

Blah. Blah. Blah. Eragon and Saphira fight Thorn destroying shit. Eragon falls off and goes to Nasuada’s place while Saphira and Thorn fight some more. At this point Eragon says that Thorn and Saphira are as big as two houses. Which is absolutely meaningless. What sized house? A small little hovel like he grew up in? One that Horst lived in which was bigger? One from some of the cities? A mansion? One story? Two story? Three story? One room? Fifty rooms? In any case if something is the size of two houses how the fuck do you miss it flying towards you and not sound the alarm. Airplanes, your average DC-10, are smaller than houses… for a given value of a house… and even then they can be seen flying up high in the air, higher than a dragon could fly.

Arya comes back with the Magical Lance That Can Kill Dragons (oh Hai Dragonlance campaign setting) and Dwarf. Eragon suddenly randomly feels pain through his bond with Saphira… which he hasn’t done so before despite her taking previously taking damage. Consistancy? Whut?

As the chapter goes by we get a lot of Named NPCs fighting, but we never see any non-named NPCs fighting. The leader of the Kull we see fighting - but none of the other Kulls. Dwarf is fighting but none of the other dwarves. We see Eragon, Ayra and the other elves fighting but no ordinary soldiers. Hell Elva is fighting - this surprises Eragon - because obviously “I won’t go into dangerous situations” means “I’m going to sit here and let them kill me without doing anything”. At the same time we’re told that she “had her arms wrapped around her stomach and appeared deathly ill”.

How many invading soldiers are there? There’s dozens killed near where the elves are fighting and others still running free. If I’m being haphazard about my counting I figure there’s at least 100 so far.

Suddenly Saphira isn’t as good at fighting Thorn as she was a few days ago because she’s taking serious damage… because drama…

OH! And apparently Elva is suddenly more powerful than Galbatorix. Eragon knows for a fact that not even he could withstand the words she spoke.

First. How does he know this?

Second: If this is true, why doesn’t Eragon take a small strike team - with Elva - to where ever Galbatorix is and have Eval speak words of whatever at him. Bam. Problem solved. I guess because then Eragon wouldn’t be the hero and save teh day. Fascinatingly Eragon wants to use Elva to drive Thorn away as opposed to … get him on their side…? But then again, I’m still not sure what she does.

Oh and Glaedr, meanwhile, says there’s no hope for Thorn. He’s “broken” so you should just kill him. BECAUSE KILLING WHAT MIGHT POSSIBLY END UP BEING THE ONLY LIVING MALE DRAGON OUTSIDE OF GALBY’S IS A BRILLIANT IDEA.

… Wait. No. I know. Glaedr is so pissed about being in a rock that he wants to take his revenge out on all the other living dragons.

Still, it’s nice to know that he doesn’t think there’s any chance of redemption for Thorn. Never mind the fact that Yoda thought there might be a chance of redemption for Darth Vader and he was quite broken. Especially since we know Thorn and Murtagh serve unwillingly. Insert other examples here.

It’s apparently too dangerous to use the Dragon Killing Lance of Magic. Because it has to be used at the final confrontation and no where else.

Blah. Murtagh grabs Nasuada and runs off with her onto Thorn. Somehow Ayra manages to get onto Thorn. And she manages to stab Thorn with the Lance of Magic. While holding on one handed to a flying and squirming dragon. Sword I could see but not a lance. She falls. Saphira catches her. Thorn still manages to fly off. There are dozens more of those soldiers that can’t feel pain still swarming around.

But apparently since Eragon’s little drama with one of the Named Bad Guys is done with, they don’t have to worry about everyone else. Eragon gets all sads about losing Nasuada and the fact that Ayra may be killed. (Sadly not).

But the best part of this chapter - if one could say that - is this line, “How could they possibly hope for victory without Nasuada to lead them?”

Because… you know… the Order of the Phoenix fell apart when Dumbledore died and no one thought they could be victorious now. The Fellowship of the Ring fell apart after Gandalf died and no one thought that Frodo would be able to make it to Mount Doom to destroy the One Ring. Because no one thought victory would be obtainable when Ajihad, leader of the Varden died…



They did.

They just got a new leader.



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Kippur Critiques Bad Books

January 2016


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