[identity profile] kippurbird.livejournal.com
Chapter Eight: The Price of Power.

Hey, so remember Emo-Chicken? Apparently Paolini does because Nasuada is finally taking off the bandages for those cuts. She hasn't looked at the cuts since they were first bandaged because they were so horrid. Since winning the Trial of the Long Knives, she had refused to look at her wounds; they had appeared so horrendous when fresh, she could not bear to see them again until they were nearly healed.

So basically it's been at least a month since Emo-Chicken happened. Since that time she's kept her arms bandaged. Which isn't healthy. She should be letting them out in the air - or so my grandfather the doctor said - as soon as they weren't doing anything nasty and likely to get infected. Keeping them bandaged like that is likely going to make it take even longer to heal.

This is also a bit of ridiculous vanity on her part. But I'll get to that in a moment.

We get a nice long paragraph on what the scars look like, because, you know, it's so important to know this.

The scars were asymmetrical: six lay across the belly of her left forearm, three on her right. Each of the scars was three to four inches long and straight as could be, save the bottom one on the right, where her self-control had faltered and the knife had swerved, carving a jagged line nearly twice the length of the others. The skin around the scars was pink and puckered, while the scars themselves were only a little bit lighter than the rest of her body, for which she was grateful. She had feared that they might end up white and silvery, which would have made them far more noticeable. The scars rose above the surface of her arm about a quarter of an inch, forming hard ridges of flesh that looked exactly as if smooth steel rods had been inserted underneath her skin

I have a pair of scars on my left knee. When I was seven I was play Duck-duck-goose at a park during summer camp and knelt down on a bottle cap. Boy did that hurt. I got to go to the emergency room. The Doctor's name was August which I thought was funny because I was born in August. I got a box of orange juice from the vending machine by accident because I thought it was chocolate milk. They used local anesthetic. Whenever I need to remember which side is my left, I remember where the scars are. They're pretty faded now, but you can still see them.

Aren't you glad you know that?

In any case, while they're not big scars, I was rather proud of them. I got injured and now I had a memory of those injuries. Nasuda injured herself to keep the leadership of her people (admittedly in the most stupid way possible). She should be happy to show the scars to all of them so that they know what she did for them.

And yet she looks at the scars with "ambivalence" and And yet now here she was, still young and still beautiful, and already bearing these nine large scars upon her forearms. I really don't see how the scars are going to take away from her beauty. And if she is courting/being courted by a guy who is turned off by the scars then she's probably better off without them. This disgust at having scars goes back to the continuing theme in the Inheritance books about how "beauty = good" and "scars/ugly = evil" . By having scars she has tainted herself and give in to the Dark Side. She is now a little bit evil.

This could be an interesting bit of development in the first place. If it were used properly and if ugliness and scars were actually used in world -acknowledged by the characters - to indicate real evil as opposed to something that the author puts in accidentally. I say accidentally because I don't believe Paolini really intentionally believes that he is making it so that good = pretty and bad = ugly.

Also, there's an interestingly odd jab at well, I guess 'tribal cultures' here. She talks about how she was taught about the customs of her people but never really did anything with them. She only observed some religious things and that irregularly. She mentions two rituals beyond the Trial of the Long Knives. There's the "Calling of Names" which is arduous and the "Drum Dance". First of all the names are seriously lacking in originally. It's like Leonard of Quirm named them. Second of all it has a very quaint tribal feel. There's no sophistication or meaning to the names. It's just something dull and I don't know what the words are. Not interesting, I suppose. Heh.

She regrets that she can't heal the scars away because that would make the trial forfeit and she regrets that men won't look at her arms. While she regretted that her arms were no longer smooth and round and would no longer attract the admiring glances of men,. First off I think that the arm fetish isn't as popular as Nasuada thinks. Second of all, as stated before, if the guy is worried about the scars on your arms then they're not worth it. Third of all, you're looking pretty shallow dwelling on the scars on your arms in the middle of a war like this.

But we move on from the arms... well almost. She asks Orrin (the king dude) what she thinks of them. He finds them unpleasant and she should cover up her arms because they're not proper for polite society. That's a bit of a random thing, because she's wearing half sleeves and considering her position I would think that she wouldn't be wearing clothes that aren't proper for polite society.

Defiantly she says that she won't cover her arms.

Orrin does nothing.

That was a total non-point of pointless non-conflict.

She muses on how Orrin has gotten more stoic and tired because of the war. And he might try to wrest the Varden away from her. Moreover, the change had made him more dangerous as a rival; in his current mood, she could quite easily imagine him attempting to displace her as leader of the Varden.

Her solution, marrying him, apparently. Because marrying someone will stop them from trying to take over your organization.

Could I be happy if I married him? she wondered. Orrin was not unpleasant to look at. His nose was high and thin, but his jaw was strong and his mouth was finely carved and expressive. Years of martial training had given him a pleasing build. That he was intelligent was without doubt, and for the most part his personality was agreeable. However, if he had not been the king of Surda, and if he had not posed such a great threat to her position and to the Varden’s independence, she knew that she would never have considered a match with him. Would he make a good father?

Also, what's stopping him from getting her knocked up and busy with babies while he runs everything? I mean really.

With brains like this, how exactly is she running the Varden with any competence? I'm not saying that Orrin will run the Varden better than her - but she could be a lot more competent than she currently is.

Then something magical and amazing happens. Logic inserts itself into the story.

No. Really.

It does.


I swear.

On my honor as a parakeet, I swear logic is inserted into the story.

Orrin put his hands on the narrow stone sill and leaned against it. Without looking at her, he said, “You have to break your pact with the Urgals.”

His statement took her aback. “And why is that?”

“Because they are hurting us. Men who would otherwise join us now curse us for allying ourselves with monsters and refuse to lay down their weapons when we arrive at their homes. Galbatorix’s resistance seems just and reasonable to them because of our concord with the Urgals. The common man does not understand why we joined with them. He does not know that Galbatorix used the Urgals himself, nor that Galbatorix tricked them into attacking Tronjheim under the command of a Shade. These are subtleties that you cannot explain to a frightened farmer. All he can comprehend is that the creatures he has feared and hated his whole life are marching toward his home, led by a huge, snarling dragon and a Rider who appears more elf than human.”

I've been saying this all along, haven't I? Well, at least since they've been having problems with the urgals getting accepted. Also, I don't think that the common man even knows or cares where Tronjheim is. So, I don't think they care that the urgals were tricked into attacking. I don't even know if they know what a Shade is. Eragon certainly didn't and he's the hero. I would assume then that the ordinary folks wouldn't know/care either then.

They just know that Urgals = bad and therefor the Varden + Urgals = Bad. Varden + Urgals + Scary Ass Dragon Breathing Flaming Doom Upon Everyone = OH GOD KILL IT DEAD PROTECT THE WOMEN AND CHILDREN BEFORE IT DEVOURS US AND LAY WASTE TO OUR HOMES AND EVERYTHING WE HOLD DEAR!!!!

So, yeah, Orrin is completely correct in his reasons for why they're having problems with the urgals.

Nasuada's reason for keeping them on is because she believes it will save more lives in the long run. Also that they need to tame them.

Saying you need to "tame: the proud/ primitive/ warrior race that used to be evil really doesn't sound good. It makes you sound like - well to put it bluntly - you're better than they are. They're not your equals. She did this with the were-cats too. Now this treating of non-human races as something lesser could be considered a character flaw, and indeed it is one, the problem is with it is two fold. One, I don't believe that Paolini intended for it to be one, or for her to come off as sounding racist. Second we're supposed to be considering Nasuada as a good and wise leader who knows what she's doing. Nothing here indicates that she's saying this sarcastically. In fact she's annoyed that the subject of breaking the pact with the urgals is even being brought up.

She doesn't want to break the pact - which is a good thing. But her language, the words she uses, aren't something from a leader that has been written to be looked up to. Everything she does is supposed to be good and wise. So what does that make this? I don't know.

*throws hands up*

Then she goes on about how, if the Elves and the Dragon Riders, who are so awesome and wise, decided that the urgals should live and not destroyed, could they mere mortals decided to destroy them? They knew it was wrong to kill all the urgals and so should Orrin. But I like how it's not "they shouldn't kill all the urgals because destroying another intelligent race is wrong" but instead "they shouldn't kill all the urgals because the Elves and dragon riders didn't do it and we should follow their example".

*bangs head against wall*

Orrin scorns this. Nasuada tries to figure out why he would hate the urgals so much. Her reason? Someone he knew personally got killed. Which is apparently true.

Someone Orrin was friends with and grew up with got killed by a random towns person who was screaming about how the urgals were evil and he'd never surrender. The NPC got killed by Orrin. But I suppose now since he was touched by the pain it becomes personal. Before hand it didn't matter what people thought about the urgals, I imagine. Or he just didn't care.

The subject is dropped once Orrin acknowledges the fact he was wrong about wanting to kill all the Urgals just because of one of his friends were killed. Which is true. However, Nasuada's reasons for not wanting to kill all the Urgals in the other hand... are pretty shaky.

She tries to take the moral high ground by saying that they may have killed her father but she still works with them. And that she'll do anything to help the Varden and flashes her arms.

Hah. There's a good your argument is invalid meme there.

They then change subjects to talking about how they didn't encounter any of the soldiers that feel no pain and Murtagh and Thorn. Then she asks how Orrin's experiment is going.

He went to bed instead of working on it.

What it is, I don't know.

I wonder if this is a red herring or a Chekhov's gun. Maybe it's a bit of character trait dropping. He has a hobby! Or something.

Then they come to another problem. That of what are they going to do with all the prisoners. See, they've got a lot of people that they can't exactly trust because they've had to swear service/loyalty to Galbatorix and thus can't be trusted. But they don't know who exactly are the ones who've been sworn by their true names to do this so they have to waste tons of resources keeping the people prisoners.

She's hoping the dwarf reinforcements will show up soon, she's annoyed that they had to go and elect a new king instead of appointing a regent during the war. Oh wait. They've been walking back to the Varden for two months. Which means it took them another two months to get there. And who knows how long to do the dwarf elect thing so Nasuda had those bandages on for at LEAST three months.


She's had those bandages on for over three months?

And she's just now taking them off?


And they didn't even have stitches.

I don't even...



But I digress.

They're having problems with the people keeping because of that whole True Name Loyalty swear. And they keep on piling up with all the new people the capture. Orrin suggests by passing Dras-Leona because taking it will be a huge drain on their resources and points out another route. Nasuda dismisses it out of hand because Galbatorix will be able to send people after them and they'll have to fend off attacks from two sides.

Except that he'd have to march them there. You'd have warning and could set up defenses. You could lay traps. You could do hundreds of different things. He wouldn't send his entire troop after you from the city because some would need to stay to protect the city. There's a huge swath of land that you could take that would avoid it. Hell there's a huge swath of land you could have taken to avoid all of these cities. And yes I know I'm bringing logic into this.

So they're going to wait for the rest of their troops to finish a siege in another city and come up here.

I honestly have no idea if this is good or not.

Orrin says that they're counting on Galby's arrogance to keep him "in check" so they can attack him. Nasuada says that since they have the maguffin they'll have a chance and Orrin shouldn't worry.

I kind of like Orrin here. I'm sure I'll hate him later, but right now he's acting as a voice of reason, but is getting shot down. I think he's being played as the straw man. He's supposed to be giving the arguments and Nasuada is proving him wrong, thus letting us go on with the story, our - the reader's - concerns addressed. Unfortunately, for me at least, they have not been addressed. Instead I feel like Nasuda's acting like an idiot.

But what do I know?
[identity profile] kippurbird.livejournal.com
Chapter seven: What is a Man?

That's a funny question, now isn't it? I mean, what does is it that makes a man a man? Traditionally it's "Snips and Snails and puppy dog tails". But that doesn't really work in today's world. Though, I suppose we could go with "what is a man" in regards to species in general. And that's something that scientists are going to have to answer. Or it could be a trite title for chapter seven, which is from Roran's POV.

He's currently walking through camp in the mud. It's about six inches deep and keeps on trying to steal his shoes. The mud is also slippery. Yes. Because apparently slippery is not a descriptor of all kinds of mud. Thick as it was, the mud was also slippery. I don't think depth would prevent mud from being slippery. This is part of the description of mud. I think it would have been better if the sentence was something like "Roran struggled through the slippery, ankle deep mud." Because by saying it was six inches makes you wonder if Roran stopped long enough to get a ruler to measure how deep the mud was. Also mud that deep wouldn't be too slippery as they be getting stuck. Of course thin layers of mud would be slippery and act as a good lube.


Anyway unless the deep sections are just sticky and the thin sections are slippery. Still, Roran trudges on and he is very tired. And sore. And has plot armor. Really good plot armor. I mean, really, really good plot armor.

He got pot-shotted by a crossbow earlier and only survived because someone stepped in front of him and got killed instead.

Someone had shot at him with a crossbow from the roof of a building. Only the sheerest of luck had saved him; one of his men, Mortenson, had stepped in front of him at the exact moment the attacker had fired. The bolt had punched through Mortenson from back to belly and had still retained enough force to give Roran a nasty bruise. Mortenson had died on the spot, and whoever had shot the crossbow had escaped.

Yes. Poor Mortenson, who ever he is, died by stepping in front of Roran for some particular reason. I say for some particular reason because it doesn't say that Mortenson jumps in the way to protect Roran just that Mortenson stepped in front of him. Note the "Sheerest of luck" mentioned. So really, only because of author intervention, did Roran survive. Roran doesn't seem upset about Mortenson dying, just that the guy who shot him was a coward. I mean the dead guy even got a name! Surely that should earn something of a pang of sadness or something.

No, instead Roran's pissed at the guy who shot him and pissed at the villagers... towns people... for fighting back. Why? Because they should know that the Varden are here to help them. No. Really. He doesn't blame them for trying to defend their home... but they should know better that the Varden were trying to help them.

From what Roran understood, such attacks were common throughout the city. No doubt, Galbatorix’s agents were behind many of them, but the inhabitants of Belatona were also responsible—men and women who could not bear to stand by idly while an invading army seized control of their home, no matter how honorable the Varden’s intentions might be. Roran could sympathize with the people who felt they had to defend their families, but at the same time, he cursed them for being so thick-skulled that they could not recognize the Varden were trying to help them, not hurt them.



I just.



Really. Also, I like that it's Galby's agents that are OBVIOUSLY the ones that are mostly string up trouble.

But really, I just can't get how Roran sympathies for them but can't believe that they don't believe that the Varden is there to help them. It's like Paolini is giving nod to the logical reactions but then says, but they're stupid for not realizing that the Heroes are there and therefor despite the heroes not doing heroic things, they should welcome them with open arms and everything. Bit of a mixed message. Of course by now we should realize that Paolini is all about mixed messages.

Roran reaches his tent and sees Katrina where he's all about how she's his comfort in his life, his rock, refuge, looks beautiful even if she's all grimy etc. She's washing bandages and thrilled to see him giving him a big hug. It's sweet. She then sits him down and gets him food. Stew, of course, bread and cheese. Also ale. Your perfect fantasy dinner.

They discuss his fight at the gates and how Roran did in combat. Then they start discussing the actions of men in battle. There are some men that are frightened and don't want to fight. They don't fight unless they're cornered or they just wave around and make noises. Katrina calls them cowards. Because everyone should willing want to throw their lives away and be willing to kill people. Perhaps they're just human, you know? Sure Roran is just a simple farmer (or something)but clearly he's wonderful because he's willing to kill hundreds of people. He may have invincible plot armor, but that doesn't mean that other people have it. In fact as they're red shirts they'd definitely be dead. So they've got survival instinct. Amazing! They're not cowards, they're people.

Roran has a different take on it.

“I don’t know. I think … I think that, perhaps, they just can’t bring themselves to look a man in the face and kill him, although it seems easy enough for them to cut down soldiers whose backs are turned. So they wait for others to do what they cannot. They wait for people like me.”

Why not? If the blood thirsty people want to kill people and it may save your life, why not? And what about the archers? Are they cowards because they stand in the back and shoot at the enemy? Yeah. GUESS WHAT? LEGOLAS IS A COWARD!

Katrina wonders if Galby's men are cowards and Roran says that he doesn't know, not like they have a choice in the matter because Galby has forced them all to do. So she suggests that the Varden do the same thing. Good one Katrina. Your solution to prevent people from being cowards is to force them to fight. Fortunately Roran says that if they did that they'd be no better than Galby. However he doesn't say it in any angry or emotional way. He doesn't really rebuke her. It's like they're discussing how to get the cat to stop scratching the furniture.

"Oh our army of cats keeps on scratching the furniture. What can we do?"

"We should mind control them!"

"No, then we'd be as bad as those people who cut their claws. Pass me a beer. Besides, they're cats. They'd probably end up mind controlling us."

Katrina then mentions that she felt something through her ring. Roran stalls for a bit before admitting that he had a wall fall on him. And then he admits that he didn't mind that he might have died when the wall fell on him. ... I think Roran is trying to get out of this story. Things keep on trying to kill him but the author keeps on saving him. I mean look at it, in the course of seven chapters he's been almost killed twice now and yet miraculously saved and he says that he wouldn't mind if he died.

The edge of his right thumbnail tore as he picked at the mug again. He rubbed the sharp flap against his forefinger several times. “I thought I was going to die when the wall fell.”

“Anyone might have.”

“Yes, but the thing is, I didn’t mind.” Anguished, he looked at her. “Don’t you understand? I gave up. When I realized I couldn’t escape, I accepted it as meekly as a lamb led to slaughter, and I—” Unable to continue, he dropped the mug and hid his face in his hands. The swelling in his throat made it hard to breathe. Then he felt Katrina’s fingers light upon his shoulders. “I gave up,” he growled, furious and disgusted with himself. “I just stopped fighting.… For you … For our child.” He choked on the words.

I think this is an interesting thing. Paolini is trying to make Roran human by giving him this flaw of ... I guess being suicidal? But it doesn't seem to be really in character. His entire thing has been "Protect Katrina. If she leaves I'll die" not "I can't live with myself and everything and want to die". Does that makes sense? This sudden I wish to die is either Roran trying to get out of the story or this is Roran getting forced into character traits that is out of character for him. Paolini is trying to make Roran vulnerable when it doesn't seem to be consent when we see him elsewhere. It's only when he's with Katrina. It could be that he's only allowing himself to be like this when he is with Katrina, but it is still a weird sort of thing. I'm not really sure what to make of it.

In any case Katrina tells him it was all right and he shouldn't worry about his moment of weakness. She still loves him no matter what.

Then Roran does the laundry even though Katrina says it wouldn't be fitting. Roran then declares I'm not sure what the point of this scene is. "By whose decree? A man’s work, or a woman’s, is whatever needs to be done..." How... nice of him? I'm not really sure what the point of this scene is, where Roran is washing things. Is it supposed to show domestic bliss? And is it setting up latter domestic conflict between Roran and Katrina? I imagine it'll be about her choice to stay with Roran and the Varden or head back to Surda to have the baby. I also imagine it will come to naught.

As he finishes, one of Horst's sons comes running up to them. Roran thinks that it's a shame that Nasuada won't let them fight because blacksmiths are too valuable to put on the front lines. They're apparently very able warriors. I'm amused that "having Muscles" seems to indicate that you're a good fighter. Honestly, these farm folks end up being excellent warriors for... some reason I don't even know why.

And now that I think about it, why did the heavily pregnant woman come with the DANGEROUS army on a WAR MARCH instead of staying in the relative safety of Sudra? I mean this isn't the Enterprise D after all!

In any case, Horst's son comes running up to Roran and Katerina saying that his mother is giving birth and that they should come. Because they're necessary or something. I don't know. Still, that's the end of this chapter. THANKFULLY.
[identity profile] kippurbird.livejournal.com
Chapter Six: Memories of the Dead.

Do the dead have memories? Maybe if they're undead. I dunno. But that's not what these memories are of. Nope, it's memories of Brom. Well, Eragon's memories of Brom that Brom gave to Saphira to give to Eragon. Yeah. He's going over them in his head. I think...

"Galbatorix is mad and therefore unpredictable, but he also has gaps in his reasoning that an ordinary person would not. If you can find those, Eragon, then perhaps you and Saphira can defeat him.”

Brom lowered his pipe, his face grave. “I hope you do. My greatest desire, Eragon, is that you and Saphira will live long and fruitful lives, free from fear of Galbatorix and the Empire. I wish that I could protect you from all of the dangers that threaten you, but alas, that is not within my ability. All I can do is give you my advice and teach you what I can now while I am still here.… My son. Whatever happens to you, know that I love you, and so did your mother. May the stars watch over you, Eragon Bromsson.”

Eragon opened his eyes as the memory faded.

First off, we've never seen any indication of Galby's reasoning to be mad or erratic. He rules his Empire well, the worst thing seemed to be taxes. The Urgals, we learned in book two, aren't really evil, they just like fighting. So by using the Urgals as his army to fight against the Varden he's giving them something the like to do in a constructive manner. It would also cut down on the Urgal population as they seemed to be hazardous to his people's well being. When he learned of the hatching of Saphira he tried to get her and Eragon to join his side, but it didn't work. Perhaps he shouldn't have sent the Ra'zac against Eragon and his family, but that seems more like plot induced evil than actually something he would do. He still is trying to get Eragon on his side which is why he hasn't killed them out of hand because he knows that Saphira is likely the only female dragon left and you know dragons need babies. Now why he up and killed all the other dragons, I say plot induced stupidity. But on his own, during the time that he wasn't touched by the Author, he appears to have done quite well for himself. In fact it seems like if Galbatorix didn't do those evil things there would be no way for the plot to move forward. Therefor Galbatorix had to do them, even if it was out of character.

Now I'm not sure where this whole making everyone to swear an oath on their true names thing fits into this. It seems rather ridiculous to me. And time wasting. So, perhaps, again, this is plot induced stupidity.

But I digress. How does Eragon know what Galby is thinking. He has no interactions with him. He

... Actually if I were Galbatorix, I would have the Urgals "join" the Varden, using the whole misunderstood thing, because their reasons for switching sides was stupid, and then at the right moment... BAM! Urgals attack the Varden. Automatic flanking. We've already seen that the Varden aren't really the brightest people to wander under the sun, as they already were taken in by the Urgal's reasoning... So. There you go.

But I digressed twice. Eragon has no way of knowing what Galbatorix is thinking because he's never around him. So how can he discover those gaps?

The rest is just drivel. I could have told you these things but I didn't, but hey! I love you anyway. Yeah. Great dad that Brom.

Eragon asks Saphira (again) if Brom ever said anything about he and Murtagh being half brothers. She said no, he didn't. I'm actually with Eragon for once. Brom was a git for not telling Eragon about Murtagh being his brother and a bunch of other things. He may have had his reasons, but gosh darnit I bet they were stupid. Because I didn't think you needed to know isn't really a good reason. Spending time to tell you he loved you is great. But if he really loved Eragon then he would have told him stuff he needed to NOT DIE.

Saphria says that he should trust that Brom knew what he was doing and what he did was for the best. Besides there are going to be some things that will never be answered. Well, yeah, because Brom is DEAD. But I think this is Paolini trying to insert a bit of mystery into the world and story with a bit of "YOU'LL NEVER KNOW MWAHAHAHAHA...."

.... And then Eragon studies his thumbs.

No. Really.

He studies his thumbs.

We spend a completely and utterly RANDOM paragraph of Eragon examining his thumbs.

Eragon stared down his chest at his thumbs. He placed them side by side, to better compare them. His left thumb had more wrinkles on its second joint than did his right, while his right had a small, ragged scar that he could not remember getting, although it must have happened since the Agaetí Blödhren, the Blood-oath Celebration.

... I just... I don't know. I just... why? They're thumbs.

At least it's better than contemplating ants? I dunno.

He's lying there in his tent getting a bit damp because he needs to fix the tent's roof and he examines his thumbs.

And then he tells Saphira thank you. He's watched the memory three times... you know I don't really get this. It's like a DVD payer or something? I dunno. And each time he gets something new out of it. which makes him happy because he feels like he has a dad.

In an amazing bit of obviousness, Eragon is still tired from the battle after only an hour's rest. Wow.
Really? He's still tired? After only a hour resting? Oh Wow! And not only that but it's not unusual?! It's just an excuse to talk about how the war will wear them down until the get to the final battle where they'll be all bloody and exhausted.

I doubt that'll happen.

Anyway, he digs up Glaedr's heart of hearts which he's been keeping in a box, buried in the dirt. No wonder Glaedr doesn't want to talk to him HE'S BEING KEPT IN A HOLE IN THE GROUND IN THE DIRT. And the hole in the ground is protected by a lot of spells and such as is the chest. However I think that might be projecting the fact that there is an IMPORTANT OBJECT RIGHT HERE! OVER HERE! SEE ALL THE MAGIC PROTECTING IT!!!

That's just me though.

Arya shows up as he tries to get Glaedr to talk to him. Her hair is damp from washing - how does he know this as opposed to being damp from the rain, I don't know. It was raining after all. My first thought would be it was damp from the rain. This Narrator Knowing Stuff - Eragon in this case - even though he has no way of knowing it, is really very, very irritating. It keeps on happening.

She also smells like crushed pine needles and Eragon wonders if it's natural or she makes a spell to smell that way. Actually, the smell "attends" her. So now I have this image of the broken bodies of pine needles floating around her waving themselves like fans.

We get a paragraph of description for Arya:

Arya placed her hands on either side of the Eldunarí and then closed her eyes. While she sat, he took the opportunity to study her with an openness and intensity that would have been offensive otherwise. In every aspect, she seemed the epitome of beauty, even though he knew that another might say her nose was too long, or her face too angled, or her ears too pointed, or her arms too muscled.

That's barely a paragraph here. And it doesn't even really describe her beyond "She's pretty". Or actually she's perfect. But there's nothing really there. No color or real description. What's epitome of beauty look like to Eragon?

I did a quick poll of some people. This is what they considered to be the epitome of beauty. They gave me male and female pictures because gender wasn't specified.

Pictures of pretty people )

That's quite a difference, isn't it?

This is the perfect spot to describe what she looks like - and he completely doesn't. Hah.

Arya looks into Glaedr's heart of hearts and then pulls back declaring that he is a very unhappy creature. He is the most unhappy creature I have ever met.



Tell me again why these hearts of hearts are a good idea again? We've been told over and over again that the dragons inside of them are miserable and lonely and yet they keep on doing it. God, don't they learn from each other? You would think after the first... hundred, maybe, they'd get the idea that's not the best thing to do with your afterlife.

I don't know if Paolini is trying to go for some cheap angst or deeper meaning or the misery of life, but it's like these dragons are stabbing themselves deliberately in the leg and then crying about it. And this is after they've seen a hundred other dragons do the same thing.

I have no sympathy for you Glaedr. You made your bed, now you have to sleep in it. FOREVER.


An interesting thing is, however, however Eragon wonders if he'll go mad. Arya says that if he hasn't already, he'll probably go soon. And they are sad about this.

He then asks about the Dues Ex Machina spear. Arya says she has it in her tent and wants to know if Eragon wants to bring it into his tent. Eragon say no because he can't carry it around, least Galby learns of its existence. Also keeping too many magical treasures in one place would be dangerous. Um. Because two different tents in the same camp are definitely not in the same place. Nope. Not at all. Nuh-huh.


Just before he can say something (what he doesn't know. No, really, it says he doesn't know what he's going to say as he's about to express an ache inside of him) Albriech comes running up to them. Apparently his mother is in labor (finally) and he wants Eragon to come and sit with them in case they need help with the birth. After all Eragon has healing magic and all.

And I'm sure he's given birth to SO many babies before that he knows what to do. Though he did cure cancer. I dunno, does that qualify him to be helpful when someone is giving birth. I'm sure, of course, he'll be needed. Otherwise what's the point of him coming over there, right? We must have tension! We must have OH NOES SHE'S GOING TO DIE MAYBE.

If the baby is a boy and they name him after Eragon or his uncle or some relation like that I am going to be very annoyed.
[identity profile] kippurbird.livejournal.com
Chapter Five: Aftermath

The title indicates that it should be either about the aftermath of a. the Werecat King's appearance or b. the battle. Probably about how things are being dealt with and what Eragon is doing to make sure things move along and stuff like that.

Buuut instead that doesn't really happened. This is a chapter that really should have been cut. It gives us nothing beyond a few weird bits of characterization in regards to Eragon. I say weird in that Eragon really seems to be flip-flopping on the whole what he eats thing.

It begins with Eragon gratefully getting off of Saphira... in a way that I'm not really sure how it works... Eragon groaned and leaned back against Saphira. Bracing his hands on his knees, he slid down over her bumpy scales until he was sitting on the ground, then stretched out his legs in front of him.

I'm assuming he's on her back and he's sliding down her scales I don't know why he's doing that he's never gotten off of her like that before didn't he just generally get off the dragon instead of sliding off of her... *sighs* Eragon doesn't need to be inventive on how he gets off the damn dragon, just let him get off the damn dragon with something like, "Eragon dismounted Saphira" because getting off the dragon shouldn't be such a big deal. If you know what I mean. In any case I don't think she cares how it's done.

*shuffles off*

Eragon, once he's on the ground, declares that he's hungry. They're in the castle (not keep's) courtyard where the peons are cleaning up things like rubble never mind the fact that the dragon could probably be of great assistance in that effort. They're just the background event.

Roran calls after Eragon with an "Oi" I expected to hear the word, "wanker" after that. Considering that Eragon was getting off Saphira... that really doesn't help matters. Roran catches up with Eragon, Angela (why) a few steps behind him. They discuss what Roran's going to do, which is to "help secure the city and the prisoners". Something actually useful. Then... they compliment each other on how well they did in battle.

Um yay?

Eragon asks Angela what she meant by "cheep cheep". Of course it's a story for another time because they're ALL so busy right at that particular moment. And it must be SO important that she not tell them Stop creating mysteries for no reason. Please. If she said something like "another time, I have to go do this important matter right away and can't stop to talk" that's be different. But she doesn't. She stops. She talks. And then she says that she has to go check on a potion and find a werecat. Who? Solembum's mom.

Anyone care?



Roran wants to know what Eragon is up to. Saphira says that they're going to get food. I have a bit of a problem here, because of the casualness of Saphira talking to Roran. In what I can recall from the past, Saphira doesn't lightly talk to other people, especially if Eragon is around. And they were trying not to talk too much because of badguys... but I guess since they've won the battle they don't need to worry about that part? In any case, it usually is an unusual thing for Saphira to talk to someone and they're usually surprised about it.

Here it's just as if she's part of the conversation.

No problem.

That done, Eragon remounts Saphira so that they can go eat some meat.


I really am a terrible person.

But they fly away up into the sky with some throbbing veins in the wings. As Saphira lifted her wings overhead, Eragon could see the web of purplish veins that pulsed therein, each one becoming a hollow worm track as the flow of blood subsided between the beats of her mighty heart.

I do not think that is the image you are looking for. I don't even see why that has to be an image you are looking for. I mean worm tracks? That's not what you're thinking of when you think of wings. Worm tracks and wings generally mean, if I were to use such an image, that you're dead. (*Oh happy thoughts*)


They fly up into the sky through the thick layer of smoke that hung over Belatona like a blanket of hurt, anger, and sorrow. Blanket of DEATH. DEAAATH. DEAAAAATTTHHH. DEAAAATTH.




Eragon looks out. There's a storm coming. It's really pretty and apparently moving in really fast. Eragon feels privileged to be able to ride a dragon. There's a storm coming in. This is unsurprising this is the same area-ish were Eragon had the same problems in book one with storms and closing dragon wings.

He lands in the camps and it's a bit of a rough landing, so Saphira apologizes. Eragon does not ask if she's okay or not. She might have hurt herself. So, shouldn't you ask if she's okay. Nope. She says she tried to make it a soft landing and Eragon condescendingly says "I know." No concern for her welfare.

We skip merrily along to Katrina showing up, visibly pregnant, at least as long as the wind is pressing the clothes across her belly. It's a really weird image that I have in my head. The lone woman standing by herself, the wind whipping at her hair, pressing her clothes across her body, arms crossed tightly across her chest perhaps or clutching some token as she gazes out longingly waiting for her man to come home and be all right.

Which is what she wants to know, is Roran okay? Well, she asks "what news?"

Eragon tells her that there were werecats oh yeah, Roran's fine. No other news. Katrina says that she felt something with her magic ring an hour ago ... So they finished the battle, greeted the werecats and everything within an hour? Amazing.

Brushing off her concern with a he's fine, just some bumps and bruises he can tell you about when you see him. She seems to know that she's getting the brush off. Katrina’s look of concern intensified. Then, with visible struggle, she smiled. “At least you’re safe. Both of you.”

Yeah. You go Katrina. You know you're being treated like dirt. And you know what, I bet you know you can't say anything against Eragon because he might hurt you like he's hurt all these others. I bet you know he hurt your father too and lied to you about him being dead. Yup.

After that Eragon and Saphira go off to the mess tents and we have our first instance of meat and boy is a doozy!

They parted, and Eragon and Saphira made their way to one of the mess tents close to the Varden’s cookfires. There they gorged themselves on meat and mead while the wind howled around them and bursts of rain pummeled the sides of the flapping tent.

As Eragon bit into a slab of roast pork belly, Saphira said, Is it good? Is it scrumptious?

“Mmm,” said Eragon, rivulets of juice running down his chin.

It's interesting, because he's gone a bit of a 360 and then something on his meat habits. It went from a normal person's eating of meat in book one. To becoming a vegetarian in book two. To going back to meat, in theory, on special occasions or just using it as an excuse. To now, apparently tearing into it like an animal or hungry savage. And the fact that Saphira has to ask him if it's good and scrumptious is even weirder. Why is this piece of meat - this meal of savageness - shown here? Where has Eragon's manners gone?

It could be said that this is full proof that Eragon has come into his full savage self that we've seen him turning into over the course of the series. He no longer has even the pretense of manners and caring of what others think. It's what he wants and how he wants and yes, it is scrumptious and good.
[identity profile] kippurbird.livejournal.com
Chapter Four: King Cat

So this was the chapter that was originally released as a preview. The fact that it is so drastically altered - he's no longer hallucinating people. Which is a good thing. I can't seem to find the bit I did on the preview chapter and I'm too lazy to look for it. It's still ridiculous.

We begin with Eragon, Nasuada and Jormundur are in the throne room of the late lord Bradburn. Okay, perhaps not late, but currently disposed of to parts unknown. Nasuada is wearing a green and yellow dress having gotten out of her armor moments before. Also She too had been marked during the fighting, as was evidenced by the linen bandage wrapped around her left hand.



And more pain below. Plus kitties! )
[identity profile] kippurbird.livejournal.com
Chapter Three: Shadows on the Horizon.

Last chapter ended with Roran fainting. OH NOES. Eragon has to catch him.

In order to catch Roran before he struck the floor, Eragon had to drop Brisingr, which he was reluctant to do. Nevertheless, he opened his hand, and the sword clattered against the stones even as Roran’s weight settled into his arms.

Let us look at this. Instead of something like "Eragon dropped his sword to catch Roran, wincing at the sound it made as it hit the floor" we get to know that Eragon is more worried about his sword than his cousin. He's reluctant to drop his sword even if it means that he catches his cousin. The person who's been like a brother to him his entire life. He hesitated. You know he hesitated because he felt the reluctance. That usually indicates a pause in the behavior. So, we now know that Eragon worried more about his sword than his cousin. Once again continuing the theme of people don't mater, but objects do.

However we don't need to worry too much about Roran. He comes back to the waking world rather quickly. Eragon pats him on the cheek and we get a loving description of Roran's face. In the flat, ice-blue glare of Eragon’s spell, Roran appeared gaunt, his eyes surrounded by bruised shadows, and his lips a purplish color, as if stained with the juice from berries.

Personally I would have said ice-blue glare of Eragon's light. Other than that, it's not a bad description... though the berries bit is a little over doing it.

Anyway, Roran shows off his plot armor because the other five guys with him are dead. And Roran knows they're dead too, as he says, "“No one could have survived under there." He got lucky because he was just a bit sheltered. All he has to show for it is a broken wrist. Maybe. Basically rocks fall everyone else dies. There's no dramatic tension here because we know that Roran isn't going to get hurt and when he does, it'll get fixed right away, which it does.

Eragon makes Fuzzy Wiener fix Roran's wrist with a glare. He doesn't even ask. He just gives the elf a meaningful look. Not so much as a please or thank you. Yes. That's our hero, a real gentleman he is.

Once his wrist is healed Roran... well this really needs to be seen to be believed.

Satisfied, Roran thanked Blödhgarm, then lowered his hand and cast about the rubble-strewn floor until he found his hammer. He readjusted the position of his armor and looked out the entrance. “I’ve about had my fill of this Lord Bradburn,” he said in a deceptively calm tone. “He has held his seat overlong, I think, and ought to be relieved of his responsibilities. Wouldn’t you agree, Arya?”

“I would,” she said.

“Well then, let’s find the soft-bellied old fool; I would give him a few gentle taps from my hammer in memory of everyone we have lost today.”

“He was in the main hall a few minutes ago,” Eragon said, “but I doubt he stayed to await our return.”

Roran nodded. “Then we’ll have to hunt him down.” And with that, he strode forward.

What exactly has this man done beyond defend his city against invaders?! Blood thirsty invaders too! How is he a soft-bellied old fool? Why did those words even come out of Roran's mouth? Who speaks like that? A few gentle taps with your hammer? Could this conversation be any more melodramatic!? Honestly.

So they go looking for the poor guy. Fuzzy wiener gets the short end of the stick because he has to open his mind and search for people who then may find them. At least that's what Eragon has told us. I guess it's because it's convenient or something. I dunno.

When they reach the third story they run into soldiers who have blocked the doorway with a thicket of spears. Roran charges into them using his shield for protection.

Eragon grabs a spear and no.









See, in chapter one there was this one part where Eragon grabs a spear and tries to throw it at some guards, failing miserably.

Once the arrows ceased, Eragon transferred Brisingr to his left hand, picked up one of the soldiers’ spears, and heaved it at the archers forty feet above. As Eragon had discovered, spears were difficult to throw accurately without substantial practice. It did not surprise him, then, when he missed the man he was aiming for, but he was surprised when he missed the entire line of archers on the battlements. The spear sailed over them and shattered against the castle wall overhead. The archers laughed and jeered, making rude gestures.
(chapter one)

Now in chapter three we get this:

Behind Roran, Eragon switched Brisingr to his left hand, then reached around his cousin, grabbed one of the spears by the haft, and yanked it out of the grip of whoever was holding it. He flipped the spear around and threw it into the center of the men packed in the archway. Someone screamed, and a gap appeared in the wall of bodies. Eragon repeated the process, and his throws soon reduced the number of soldiers enough that, step by step, Roran was able to force the mass of men back.

Basically what we have here is within about twenty minutes to a half hour we get Eragon failing to use a spear and being able to use one. Admittedly the tightness of the bodies would help, but I'm fairly certain that throwing the spears would have less of an effect than just jabbing them at people. In any case he picked up the weapon proficiency pretty quickly.

And that's just a No.

I'm sorry.

That's not allowed.

You can't get that good within a half hour. Elfy stu or not. This is really new powers as the plot demands on a ridiculous level. I mean, even in D&D you're not allowed to level up until you've had an extended rest! (4th ed, I don't remember 3rd ed, but in any case the point still stands, you can't level up if you haven't had any practice ... and throwing one spear doesn't count as practice)

They get through the guards, killing the all, and find Lord Bradburn up in the highest tower. He's surrounded by retainers and guards. Eragon is relieved that he only had to kill three guards before the rest surrendered.

Oh for fuck's sake. Really. He's glad that he only had to kill three?! What about all those other guys he had to kill on the way up there? Do they not count?! Why isn't he sad that he had to kill three more? I think Paolini is trying to say that he was able to stop the bloodshed by only killing three soldiers, but considering that he never gave the others a chance to surrender nor did he seem to count them in his only needed to kill three.

It's ridiculous.

I, on the other hand, LOVE Lord Bradburn.

They order him to stand down or Else.

He replies like this: “I would not even if I could,” said Bradburn in a voice of such hate and sneering derision, Eragon almost struck him. “You’ll have no concessions from me, elf. I’ll not give up my men to filthy, unnatural creatures such as you. Death would be preferable. And do not think you can beguile me with honeyed words. I know of your alliance with the Urgals, and I would sooner trust a snake than a person who breaks bread with those monsters.”

See? I like him! He has legitimate reasons here for not wanting to stand down. Sure we're supposed to dislike him because he calls the elves "filthy" and "Unnatural" and elves are of course not at all like that. If he has an opinion different than the Hero then he's obviously wrong. Never mind the fact that up until a little while ago the Urgals were EVIL and not everyone knows that they're really just MISUNDERSTOOD. But apparently Lord Bradburn didn't get the memo. Not that it matters. He's evil and horrible because he dislikes elves.

Then something weird happens. Arya gets into Bradburn's mind to get past his wards... but wouldn't she need to get past his wards to get into his mind? Um. But once she does get past his wards to get into his mind she gets past his wards by casting a spell that gets past them and puts hi... you know what, the magic system sucks.


Okay. Deep breath.

So the guards, naturally, believe that Arya has killed the lord and start getting riled up. Eragon tries to convince them that they didn't, we're not shown how however. We're not shown what he says. We're just told that he does that. But it doesn't matter, because it's forgotten when Eragon hears cheering going on outside and trumpets calling.

So they automatically abandon trying to convince the people that they hadn't killed their lord and go and look out the window without fear that they're going to get stabbed in the back. We get a narrative halting description of what's around including learning that Eragon has telescopic vision because he can see that the healer's tents a mile away are all full. What I mean by this is that instead of saying something like "The healers' tents were probably filled to capacity" he says "Healers' tents were already filled to capacity". There's no way he could know that, if he doesn't see it. Paolini is trying to be descriptive here but he's forgetting that he's looking at the world through Eragon's POV and Eragon can't see that far.

He looks to the West and South and North (through different windows) and doesn't see anything so he's told to look to the east.

Calling out he says, "Ho! What news?" and he's told that the Werecats are coming. In a scene rather reminiscent of the scene in the Lord of the Rings where we're told the eagles are coming.

As if to his eyes some sudden vision had been given, Gandalf stirred; and he turned, looking back north where the skies were pale and clear. Then he lifted up his hands and cried in a loud voice ringing above the din: The Eagles are coming! And many voices answered crying: The Eagles are coming! The hosts of Mordor looked up and wondered what this sign might mean.

There came Gwaihir the Windlord, and Landroval his brother, greatest of all the Eagles of the North, mightiest of the descendents of old Thorondor, who built his eyries in the inaccessible peaks of the Encircling Mountains when Middle-earth was young. Behind them in long swift lines came all their vassals from the northern mountains, speeding on gathering wind. Straight down upon the Nazgul they bore, stooping suddenly out of the high airs, and the rush of their wide wings as they passed over was like a gale
(LotR: Return of the King, Chapter IV the Field of Cormallen)

And this is what Paolini has:

Ho! What news?” Eragon shouted.

One of the Varden standing on the castle walls raised an arm and pointed eastward.

“Shadeslayer! Look! The werecats are coming! The werecats are coming!”

A cold tingle crawled down Eragon’s spine. He followed the line of the man’s arm eastward, and this time he saw a host of small, shadowy figures emerging from a fold in the land several miles away, on the other side of the Jiet River. Some of the figures went on four legs and some on two, but they were too far away for him to be sure if they were werecats.

Now, before this chapter we've only seen two werecats. One that belonged... or hung out with the queen of the elves and the one that hung around Angela. They were generally considered myths or things that didn't exist. There is no reason to expect them to show up. The Varden has not made overtures to the werecat community - if there even was one - unless they did so in between books. However, I was under the impression that there wasn't a werecat community nor would they be interested in such a thing. They're cats. Okay, they're werecats, but still, I was under the impression that they walked alone.

So, why would they randomly be expecting the werecats? And if the werecats are several miles away how can people tell if they're werecats or not? Why is it that the common soldier dude can tell they're a werecat but the all mighty Eragon cannot? And cats are small creatures so with all the smoke and things how would they be seen in the first place?

BUT it sounds dramatic, doesn't it?


Jan. 10th, 2012 10:13 pm
[identity profile] kippurbird.livejournal.com
Chapter two: Hammerfall

Yes, it is all one word.

No, I don't know why.

Yes, I do keep on thinking about M.C. Hammer.

Where did we leave off? Roran and five others get buried under a falling wall. Eragon is so distraught that he gives off a big no. Eragon’s shout was so loud, his voice broke, and slick, copper-tasting blood coated the back of his throat. He inhaled and doubled over, coughing.

I don't think shouting works that way. I don't think your voice 'breaking' works that way. Usually when your voice breaks it's the way you're speaking and has no lasting physical effects. Unless you're going through puberty, but that's all hormones. Either way, it shouldn't cause your throat to bleed. Unless you have some serious medical issues. Which I'm assuming that Eragon doesn't have. At least not physically. Mentally is another story all together.

I do not think that sentence means what he thinks it means.

Also, shouldn't his blood taste like iron? Unless he's like a Vulcan? I dunno.

So, Eragon is upset and starts thinking that Roran can't be dead. He can't be dead. This is actually a good thing. It gets expressed a bit strangely. As if repetition might make it true, Eragon continued to think the phrase. But with every repetition, it became less a statement of fact or hope and more a prayer to the world at large.

I think muttering it might have worked better, but still I think it's an effective bit of worry on Eragon's part.

Instead of focusing on the pile of rubble, however we look at the damage to the keep and the fact that some of the visible furniture looks rather shabby. While I don't mind the fact that he's showing us how extensive the damage is, the bit about the furniture is an unnecessary and distracting detail. He shouldn't be focusing on such bits.

He tries to figure out what to do, thinking that they could shift the rocks with magic, but it would be draining and take too long to do. Though, they do have a dragon and I would think she'd be able to physically pull the rocks away. Which should be pretty quick, I guess? I'm not really sure. He thinks about getting Glaedr's heart of hearts but he's not sure if the dragon would talk to him or be able to help, besides he's to far away.

However, he realizes that Roran was standing in the shelter of the doorway and realizes what he must do!

... he must tell Saphira that they have no time to lose and start moving rubble. Or he tells Saphira to help them (help them do what, I'm not sure) and runs up the pile of rubble before flinging himself into the ruins of the keep. Arya follows behind him muttering something that might mean "hide this". I don't know why. I hope we'll find out.

Oh. And interestingly, Eragon's ankle, the one he twisted, isn't bothering him. It actually hasn't been mentioned since it happened. Of course he never said it hurt, but generally twisting an ankle does that. Maybe he didn't twist it that badly. Meh.

Arya and Eragon go running through the halls. He shoves one door open so hard that it breaks off its hinges. Another time he runs into a solider and... punches him so hard that he goes flying into the ceiling and falls down dead. ...

Oh for fuck's sake.

Eragon balled his right hand and punched the man in the belly, directly underneath his rib cage. The blow lifted the man off his feet and smashed him into the ceiling. “Me,” Eragon agreed as the man dropped to the floor, lifeless.


Just... REALLY!?


I'm sorry. No. I refuse. I will not believe those sentences, those words in that order, exist. Not at all. LALALALALALA!!!

That just doesn't work. It's completely and utterly cartoony that punch. It's silly. It's supposed to be serious and show his power. But all I am seeing is like... something from the old Adam West TV show with all the "BAMS!" "POWS!" and then the guy bouncing around like he's in one of those bouncy houses.

Oh and never mind the anatomy fail.

I know it's supposed to be dramatic and everything but... no. Sorry. Fail.


Moving on.

Eragon runs some more and pushes an archer out of the way, but doesn't kill him. No punch to the gut and floor bouncing? Lucky guy. Eventually he gets to the main hall where there are fifty soldiers and the governor, I'm assuming. The governor shouts that whoever kills Eragon will get a third of his treasure. This may or may not be a good incentive, depending on how much treasure the guy actually has.

Frustrated at this delay Eragon screams Brisingr and lights his sword. This scares the shit out of the soldiers and they all run off. Why didn't he do that in the previous chapter? Why is it okay now but not then? Probably two reasons. One it was supposed to be "funny" that his sword bursts in fire every time he says its name and two it didn't matter because Roran's life wasn't at stake to try and get the battle over with quicker. You should only use your super powers when someone you know is in danger. Otherwise have fun and kill people!

He runs through the room. Through some more places and then runs right into the portcullis and dents it.

Insert your own "I'm The Juggernaut, Bitch!" joke here.

But really, since when could he do that? When did he turn into ... well for lack of a better term... the Juggernaut? This is a totally new ability for him. Talk about new powers as the plot demands.

As running into the portcullis doesn't work, he cuts it open with his sword and continues running. Finally he gets to where Roran is. Roran is unburried and fighting a soldier. Eragon's entrance distracts the soldier letting Roran kill him.

Then, in yea-old-cliche of being rescued Roran says that it was about time Eragon got there and fainted.

Arya appears to have been forgotten. Once again the chapter appears to be pointless. I know that, just like Saphira in chapter one, Roran isn't a gonner. This just seems to be pointless padding and a way to cause angst. At least that's what I'm thinking so far. Considering what I know about Paolini's writing, I'm sure my opinion will be validated.
[identity profile] kippurbird.livejournal.com
Chapter one: Into the Breach.

*goes over to bookcase*

*realizes is too short*

*goes into closet and pulls out chair.*

*drags over to bookcase*

*stands on chair and takes off Henry the V. Does not knock over the Dimetridon*

*returns chair to closet*

*sits back on bed*

*clears throat*

Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more,
Or close up the wall with our English dead!
~Henry Act 3 scene 1 lines 1-2

Yes. I know. I could have looked it up on the internets. But I wanted to get the book. Shutup.

Into the breach! )
[identity profile] kippurbird.livejournal.com
All right people. Welcome to book four out of three in Paolini's Inheritance Trilogy.

And boy do we start off with a bang. The first couple of lines just made me facepalm.

Is that a good start? I dunno.

What are these lines, you may ask!?

This is from the summary, where we're starting.

In the beginning, there were dragons: proud, fierce, and independent. Their scales were like gems, and all who gazed upon them despaired, for their beauty was great and terrible.

And they lived alone in the land of Alagaësia for ages uncounted.

Okay. So. In the beginning of what? Were there dragons before there was land? Also beauty makes people despair? Is it a sort of "OH I WILL NEVER BE AS BEAUTIFUL AS THEM I MIGHT AS WELL GO AND BE DEPRESSED?!" And finally, if the dragons were alone, then WHO WAS GAZING UPON THEM AND DESPAIRING?! These few lines are pretty and sound good. I mean people fear dragons, they're so fierce and whatnot. But if the dragons are along, then who can gaze upon them and be afraid? And why does their beauty the cause of the despair from the non-existent people?

Unless they were all despairing while looking at each other? So they whenever they saw another dragon they fled?

Then the dwarf god makes the dwarves from the stone of the Hadarac desert. Which, if I recall correctly, wasn't always a desert. And even if it was, it was a sandy sort, not a stony sort. So were they made of sand? I think Paolini had them created from the desert stone instead of mountain stone because otherwise it would have been... cliche.


But this brings up another question. If the god made the dwarves, who made the dragons? Did they just pop into existence? Where did they come from? It just says in the beginning there were dragons. Did the dragons come before the gods?

Do you see what I'm saying here? If something created one thing, where would the other things come from. This is going back to the sort of cheat around that happened when you got the elf vs dwarf thing on religion. He didn't want the elves to be wrong but he didn't want to sound all like the dwarves were stupid or something so he gave the dwarves a god, but still made the elves right because they didn't have a god. So, he wants both of them to be right. The elves have no god, so they just sort of Show Up on the continent. No literally.

The dragons and the dwarves fight for ... some reason not given. Then the elves show up from across the "silver sea". And they too war with the dragons... but the elves were strong than the dwarves. What the hell does that have to do with anything? I guess it would be because they were able to possibly destroy the dragons... but you have to admit the dwarves are pretty tough if they've managed to fight the dragons for...

You know, I have no clue how long they were fighting. There's no timescale here.

It's supposed to be dramatic, but... I have no time scale. I'll say a week.

And they make a truce and there were dragon riders! Which sounds like the dragons got the short end of the stick. Still. A thousand years pass.

Humans show up. From where, I don't know. How were they created? I don't know.

At least we know that the elves are some sort of plant creatures the procreate by budding.

Urgals also show up and from where, I don't know. How were they created, I don't know.

And then the Ra'zac who are the hunters in the dark and the eaters of men’s flesh.


See the thing is you can't say how one race was created if you're not going to show how all the others were created.

In Thud by Terry Pratchett we're given the troll version of how all creature were created. Men, dwarves and trolls. And they were all created by Tak. They were all given an origin. The dwarves probably disagree with this origin, but they were all given one in this story because these are the people who the trolls deal with. That exist. If you are going to mention how one thing was created in an origin story or a history, then you need to mention how all of them were created.

Moving on.

The humans show up and they join the dragon rider club. Why? They're pretty.

Actually it doesn't say that. But it doesn't say why they got to join and the others didn't. So, pretty works as much as anything else does.

And then Galby shows up. And then he convinces thirteen others to join him. It mentions that he enslaves Shruikan but not that his previous dragon died and all that horrid stuff that might make us sympathetic to him just a little. God forbid that happen.

And for two and eight... why are we suddenly saying things like two and eighty?

Anyway and this happened. And then that happened. And you know, the blue egg was stolen and the dragons were killed and the Foresworn were killed. And Ayra carried the egg around for twenty five years. And there's no mention of any of the horrible things that Galby did during his something and something long reign just that he reigned supreme which is awful, just awful.

And the over use of the word "And" every other paragraph it seems like is driving me crazy. He's just listing off events here that happened in the books and it is starting to sound like the parts in the bible where we get to the begats parts. You know, the "And Roger lived to a hundred and twenty and he begat Norman and Lily and Harry who was his only daughter and Norman begat Sherlock on Judy who was the daughter of the First Lord of Cheese and begat Sydny on his second wife Rose who was the daughter of Jorah who was the son of ... Tom Tom the Piper's son and Sherlock begat Simon who turned into a monkey. And people were glad of this for Simon was a noonie head. And thus the generations from Roger to Simon were seven and twenty."

Yeah. It basically sums up every "major" event in the books. Just lists them. It's boring and I just skim over them.

I honestly don't know why he needs to put these in (except as a word count buffer? Did he have a quota?)

If you've read along with me or if you've read the books, you know what happen.

It ends with But still the Varden continued, and even now they march deeper into the Empire, toward the capital, Urû’baen, wherein sits Galbatorix, proud, confident, and disdainful, for his is the strength of the dragons.

What we have here is Paolini trying to copy the biblical style of writing. However there's a problem with this. While the bible is an important book, according to some the most important book of all time, it is not good reading. I mean this from a literary easy to read and engaging point of view. Especially the parts that he's trying to copy.

Mimicking the bible's style does not make your work biblical. Much like mimicking Tolkien does not make your writing Tolkienesque. The stories in the bible are pretty epic but they're told in very compact ways that aren't, when it gets down to it, really good for a coherent novel structure. And yes, I realize he's trying to sum up, but there were better choices he could have used. OR just not put it in at all.

I had this complaint the last two books too, didn't I?
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