part one

Dec. 15th, 2011 02:20 pm
[identity profile] kippurbird.livejournal.com
chapter title Prologue: Shade of Fear

Characters: A "Shade", some "Urgals", three elves.

Comments:

My first thoughts on this are, if you're going to call a character or race "Shade" do not give it crimson hair and maroon eyes. It creates a sort of conflicting imagery in the mind, you think darkness for the word "Shade" and well not for the redness of the hair. It seems to have unnaturally good eyesight and it's very powerful. I don't see why it needed the Urgals at all. The Urgals, however remind me of Steve Urkle and so now I think of some monsters in high pants and suspenders with thick nerdy glasses. Which really isn't helping my being able to immerse myself in the story. In regards to the monsters, they have "a pair of twisted horns [that] grow above their small ears" so I'm thinking maybe like a Minotaur? Dunno.

Odd turn of phrase here, "The Shade hissed in anger, and the Urgals shrank back, motionless." How do you shrink back and remain motionless at the same time? While I'm at it, if "Shade" is a race then it shouldn't be capitalized.

The Shade seems to be rather powerful if it can set a ring of fire in a quarter mile of forest. Why does he need the minions? He seems to be perfectly powerful enough to take down three individuals by himself. Especially since they don't seem to be as powerful as he is. And if he's a minion how much power can really powerful people channel?

The bar for magic has been set rather high now. A lowly powerful minion can use a lot of magic and is powerful without getting tired either. The really powerful people must be god like.

The language that the Shade speaks looks like the cat walked across the keyboard.

Now to the Elves. He points out that one of the elves is wearing a helm, as a differentiating mark but the question is, at least to me, is the elf wearing armor of some sort as well as the helm or just the helm.

They are as he says cantering. Cantering is a fast gait for a horse and makes a sort of rocking horse motion. Also, when you are riding a horse, unless you are riding side saddle you do not have a lap to put things on. You are straddling a horse, your legs are to the side of you. You can have something in your saddle, but you would have to hold onto it, especially at a canter where it feels like you're about to be thrown off at every forward movement. You'd have to hold onto the bag while holding onto the reins.

Geography seems to be a bit iffy here. They start off in a forest and then the Shade climbs "a piece of granite that jutted above them. from his perch he could see all of the surrounding forest" (page 5). Which means that it must be one hell of a big piece of granite to let him see all of the forest with its many tall trees and what not.
[identity profile] kippurbird.livejournal.com
ChapterPlancar Valley

Characters: Eragon, Sloan, (the butcher), Horst (the blacksmith), Katrina (the blacksmith's daughter) and Garrow, (the Uncle)
Shiny magical objects in Eragon's possession Large Blue Stone.


summary

Here we learn a bit more about the Spine, the name of the mountains that Eragon is in. Here we learn that they are clouded in misfortune and bad luck. "Few people could stay in the Spine with out suffering an accident. Eragon was one of those few - not through any particular gift, it seemed to him, but because of persistent vigilance and sharp reflexes" (page nine). What bothers me here, though it could only be me, is that Paolini is indicating that a boy is more capable than a full grown man in woodsman abilities. He is more vigilant and has sharper reflexes than, say, a trained ranger would have. (Not that there are rangers here, but if there were...) His skills are are sharper than someone who is older than him and would have had more training would be. After all he is one of the "few". He probably could have only been going out in them for maybe two or three years, not being old enough to do it before. Beginning Rangers (according to the D&D player's guide) start around age fifteen. Now, while he might have the hunting and tracking skills, but I don't think he'd have the skills needed to survive in a people eating mountain range.

Maybe all the spooky things stayed away from him.

From the mountains we go into the village of Carvahall and we meet the butcher Sloan. Sloan is supposed to be a bad person. He treats Eragon with disdain. And apparently only cares for his daughter. Eragon hopes to buy meat from him... with no money. Instead Eragon hopes to trade with the stone. Sloan has no idea how much this stone is worth and if he can sell or anything, so he offers a low price for it. It's safer for him. Of course this is horrible of him. But since Eragon needs the meat he lets it go at that low price. (Mind you he's letting the butcher have the mysterious potentially evil stone... for meat).

But when Sloan learns where the stone came from, he refuses to take it. We learn that Sloan lost his wife in the Spine. Thus he'd naturally not trust anything from the Spine. But still he's a horrible person for not letting Eargon have the meat.

Eragon is rescued by the blacksmith, Hurst. Hurst is a good guy. We know this because he generously buys Eragon all the meat he needs and then gives Eragon an apprenticeship. He also likes Eragon, which is another thing that makes him a good guy.

He goes home (and into a rather large house, if he has own bedroom, which is something that only rich people could afford to have, what with heating costs and things like that, but apparently they're poor since they can't afford to buy meat for the winter, and speaking of which, there's no way Eragon could have carried enough meat to last them the winter on his back...) and talks to his uncle. His uncle agrees with him about how Sloan was a bad person for not taking the stone.

Thus, it's set that people who like Eragon are good and people who don't like him are bad. This is a classic Mary Sue trait. One of many that he'll probably rack up as we go along.

part two

Dec. 15th, 2011 02:19 pm
[identity profile] kippurbird.livejournal.com
Chapters" Discovery
Characters Eragon, our hero

Summary.


Discovery introduces us to our Hero of the story, Eragon. Eragon is a mighty hunter and brave and intelligent man, as this chapter will show us. Or at least this scene will show us. It's not really a chapter so much as a scene, but yes.

First of all we learn that Eargon is merely fifteen years old but already a trained and capable hunter who is not afraid to go into places that grown men dare. Because, as we learn in the next chapter, he's just that good. Or he's too stupid to be afraid. One of the two.

Meanwhile, Eargon is able to preform feats of skill that not even a master archer is able to. He's able to draw three arrows, knock one and keep the other two in his other hand. To quote, "At the glen, he strung his bow with a sure touch, then drew three arrows and knocked one, holding the others in his left hand." (page seven). To knock an arrow you need two hands. Apparently he is able to do this and still hold two other arrows at the same time. Perhaps, instead he has three hands?

Then he discovers the stone. We assume it is the same stone that the elf lost in the prologue because this is a traditional story device. And it wouldn't do the stone to fall into someone who is not the Hero's hands, now would it? The stone appeared in an explosion, which would indicate that it is hot, but after poking it with an arrow he picks it up with his bare hands. Because the poked with arrow test automatically makes it safe to pick up from a steaming hole.

The stone is "Cool and frictionless under his fingers, like harden silk," (page seven) which leads to a very interesting question. If it is frictionless, how did he pick it up? The definition of being frictionless means that you can't get a grip on it to pick it up. But somehow Eragon was able to.

As a closing to the chapter we get an insight into how Eragon thinks. He's just discovered a potentially dangerous magical object so what does he decided to do? Keep it and sell it for meat. Yes. This is what I would do with a potentially dangerous magical object. Sell it. Because God only knows what might happen to those poor people I've sold it to, if it turns out to be evil and horrible. Nope. I'm not going to do something intelligent with it like put it somewhere safe and find someone who might know what it is. I'm going to sell it.

Yes. Real genius there.

part three

Dec. 15th, 2011 02:18 pm
[identity profile] kippurbird.livejournal.com
Chapter Dragon Tales and Fate's Gift
Characters Eragon, Garrow, Roran, Brom, Nameless Traders of sorts.
Special shiny magical objects in Eragon's possesion One Stone and then one dragon.

Summary


So now we get a bit of background information on Eragon's family. Apparently his mother left the small village of Carvahall and then came back, pregnant. She gave birth and then left the baby in her brother, Garrow's care. Garrow and his wife were apparently of the creepy sort because they let Eragon think that they were his parents until an unspecified point. We get a bit of Eragon Angst when he thinks that he wasn't good enough for his mother to stay (probably the third arm). His father is also nameless. Here we have the basic hero set up. Apparent orphan trope, his mother missing under mysterious circumstances and an unknown father. A father that must have been rich, because his mother came back very well and expensively dressed. Perhaps she had an affair with a rich noble, became pregnant and well that would be bad. We don't know. Still, his mother and father are presumed to be alive to reappear at a later date. Perhaps at a suitably dramatic moment. We shall have to see.

In the mean time we learn that they are waiting for the traders to come through. Now, these are the most amazing sort of traders I've ever seen. They go out trading during the winter. In the Snow. Where any sensible sort would be holed up somewhere warm. After all the roads during the winter would be dangerous, what with maybe getting snowed in some where or freeze to death or something like that. The people who traveled to the West on the Oregon Trail always made sure to leave so that they wouldn't be caught in the winter storms where they wouldn't be able to move or find food for their animals. Especially in the mountain passes where they could get trapped. I don't know where these Traders go, but it sounds like they go all over they continent. It would make sense that the would go somewhere warm for the winter months and back up northernly in the summer months. But that's just logic.

Eragon and Garrow go to a trader who specializes in jewelry where we learn several interesting things about the stone: it's hollow (this is an important point), it's harder than any rock, including diamond, and it was probably shaped by magic. Do we have these points? Remember them, they're important.

In a tavern, Eragon shows how special he is because he brings up a Very Good Point against some traders where he asks them to prove that they aren't lying in regards to talk of "Urkle" momvement and troop movements. Now there's no way to prove that they are lying or that they're not. The village is in a very isolated place and would get their information from traders, they have no reason to believe what they say isn't true or not. Not only that but they're rather against the Empire. Why is this odd? It's just that the Empire has very little impact on their daily lives. They aren't pressed for troops or taxes. The emperor could have changed six times and their daily lives wouldn't have changed a whit, but still they are against the emperor... because he is supposedly evil. But from what we have been exposed to he hasn't done anything evil at all. We are just told that he is evil, but haven't been given any evidence to support this (except for the fact that he has tax collectors and doesn't help them when the years have been harsh, but then again they are a small village out in the middle of nowhere with no strategic importance). He seems to be interested in keep the Urkles down, which is supposed to be a good thing, yet he is also considered evil. I don't get it. If I were these villagers I wouldn't care one way or the other unless it had a direct effect on my daily life, which it doesn't appear to have.

Now I shall prove that Brom is Galbatorix (or Galby as I'll call him). Brom tells the origin story of Galby, which deals with the defeat of the dragonriders. Through out the story, Brom gives information as if it were first hand knowledge. He says things like, "Though his friends and their dragons were butchered and he suffered great wounds, Galbatorix slew his attackers. Tragically during the fight a stray arrow pierced his dragon's heart" (page 32) Notice Brom doesn't say, "They say that..." but instead he speaks as if he knew it were the truth. Now three people were at the event, only one survived: Galby. The rest of the story goes on like this. He knows that Galby was found by a farmer and that he slept for four days, exactly. He knows about all sorts of things that only Galby or the person who was there would have known. Now he tells us that dragonriders are immortal unless blade or poison took them, and that this story happened many, many, many, generations ago so there is no way that Brom could have researched this by himself unless he was immortal. And Galby is immortal because he has a dragon. (He's had two). Not only that Galby goes on and slays most of the other dragonriders. It makes me think that these dragonriders were pretty wimpy if the group of them were unable to destroy thirteen of their own. I mean really. So, Brom knows vital information that only Galby or a dragonrider would know. All the other dragonriders are dead. Therefor Galby is Brom.

Now we move into Fate's Gift where the Stone proves to be an egg. Several times more the idea that the egg is hollow is reinforced. It makes interesting ringing noises. Eragon has an interesting idea of what hollow means. He thinks that, "Merlock said that the stone was hollow; there could be something of value inside" (page 35). Dictionary.com defines Hollow as: "having a space or cavity inside; not solid; empty: a hollow sphere." So, if it's empty inside, how can there be something inside of it that's valuable? This would indicate that it's not hollow. And it certainly wouldn't be giving off those nice ringing notes.

Nonetheless, the hollow stone hatches. Where the dragon comes from? I don't know, it must have teleported inside. Which then begs the question, how did the dragon get out? After all the egg is made of stronger stuff than diamonds and can't be scratched. I don't think the stone suddenly got any less tougher. Yet somehow the baby dragon was able to break out of it. That's some very strong baby dragon there.

One final point. Eragon hides his knife under his mattress. What sort of moron hides his knife under the mattress. You're supposed hide your money under the mattress and your knife under your pillow.

part four

Dec. 15th, 2011 02:17 pm
[identity profile] kippurbird.livejournal.com
Chapter Awakening
Characters Eragon, baby dragon
Shiny magical objects in Eragon's possession One baby dragon

Summary

Trying this again since LJ ate my first post.

Awakening begins with a description of the baby dragon. While the description is fairly standard there is something anatomically incorrect about the way Paolini describes the dragon's wings. If we keep in mind that a dragon's wing is usually another hand modified for flight. There's the thumb and the hand and it usually looks like this:



However Paolini describes the dragon's wing as such, "... and ribbed with thin fingers of bone that extended from the wing's front edge, forming a line of widely spaced talons." Now, I'm assuming that since he went out of his way to describe the dragon's wing that it's not a normal looking dragon's wing. So, I tried to sketch out what such a wing would look like and came up with this:



The blue lines are the bone and it doesn't really look that feasible of a bone structure. But apparently anatomy isn't for mysterious dragons.

Now that the dragon has hatched, one would assume that it is hungry. After all it has absorbed all the yolk that should have been in the egg (unless, once again, it has teleported into the egg) and it exhorted a lot of energy to get out of that egg. This is how most baby animals react once they are born. They go "Where's the food?" The baby dragon, however, goes about and instead explores the room, curiously. It is only after it bonds itself to Eragon and examines him curiously does he exhibit hunger.

To make a parallel example, look at the dragons from Anne McCaffery's Dragonriders of Pern Series. When these dragons hatch, they impress upon a person immediately and then demand food. They don't explore anything or look around curiously until after they've been fed. They also hatch out much larger, now that I think of it, and they grow to be big enough for riding. I don't want to think of the amount of food and energy needed to grow a baby dragon that starts out a foot long into a dragon capable of carrying a full grown human in five months (as Brom says in a later chapter). Pernese dragons aren't capable of carrying a human until they're nearly a Turn old.

I'm not going to comment on the whole bonding sequence except to say that it really didn't seem to have any emotional stirrings for me. It came off as rather bland instead of this wondrous scary thing. I think it's because of the way he mixed his metaphors and couldn't stick to a single image. He also doesn't put in what Eragon is feeling at the time too which would make the scene more potent.

However, he then goes on to show another bit of Eragon logic. Eragon, we have learned, has been raised with stories about the Dragonriders and how they are good, kind and wonderful and the whoopie keenness of everything Good in this world. He has a dragon on his bed. What does he think? "This was a dangerous animal, of that he was sure". Dragons are good kind and hang around people, yet it's a dangerous animal. That doesn't follow.

Continuing in Eragon's brilliant line of reasoning, he decides not to show the cute harmless dragon to his Uncle but instead wait until it is bigger and therefor they would be unable to get rid of it. I'm not sure what size has to do with a person's ability to get rid of something is. You can kill a cow just as easily as you can kill a mouse. It would make more sense to show them the cute innocent little dragon than the potentially dangerous big dragon and ask if you can keep it.

He then decides that he can't keep the baby dragon in the house. He has no idea if this baby dragon can fend for itself from the cold or predators. He doesn't know how often this dragon needs to be fed. He knows nothing about its habits or anything like that. But what does he do? Leave it in the woods in a hut and hope that it doesn't wander off. It would make more sense to keep it in his room where he could check on it frequently and make sure it's okay. He doesn't do this, of course.

Finally Eragon waits for about a month before he decides to go and see if someone knows how to take care of a dragon. He decides to go see Brom. Apparently he's hoping that Brom will have a story entitled "Care and feeding of Dragons" because how else would Brom be of any help?

My final nitpick with this chapter is when the dragon talks to Eragon. We know that the dragon says his name but we don't learn what the voice sounds like. Is it male, female, high pitched, low pitched? Rumbling? There are no descriptors to this voice. One would think that this is an important thing to describe. His dragon has just spoken to him for the very first time and we get nothing about its voice! This is what he should spend his time describing! And if he did it right he wouldn't of had to wonder if the dragon was male or female. Even if the voice was gender neutral he should have said it, to keep up the idea that he doesn't know what gender it is.

part five

Dec. 15th, 2011 02:16 pm
[identity profile] kippurbird.livejournal.com
Chapter: Tea for Two, A Name of Power
Characters: Eragon, Brom, Roran
Shiny magical objects in Eragon's possession: One baby dragon

Summary

This chapter is what is known as an info-dump chapter. They're very hard to pull off because basically it's just exposition and background information being given, which can get very dull if not done properly. In this case it's done by through a question and answer exchange between Brom and Eragon. Eragon playing the reader in asking questions and Brom playing the author in answering them.

Of Brom we learn little, but of note is the fact that he arrived in Carvahall fifteen years ago. Now, at least, that's what it seems like. The text is ambiguous as to when exactly Eragon asked his question of "Where did Brom come from". He could have asked it when he was seven. The lack of time marking here makes placing how long Brom has been there impossible. But what it sounds like is that Eragon asked about it recently and Brom has been there for the same amount of time that Eragon has. Which means that he might have come with Eragon's mother, or around the same time. Which then leads to the question of WHY? It is a Big Mystery. And, if one were making comparisons, one could say this is rather like Obi Wan Kenobi's arrival to Tatooine coinciding with that of Luke Skywalker's. Somethings to keep in mind. But other than that, Brom is a storyteller.

Brom also, apparently, knows a lot about dragons. He gives Eragon, and thus the reader interesting hints into their life spans and things like that. One of the interesting things to note is the fact that the dragons never stop growing. Which makes their place in the Eco-system difficult. How can an ecosystem support an animal that doesn't stop growing? How can it feed it, shelter it, contain it? How does it even move itself, if it's bigger than a hill? Gravity would do something to a creature that size. There couldn't be a way this dragon could even fly with that much weight! And if there were more than one of them? The ground would shake constantly with their movements. And we learn that the dragons are immortal! So we would have possiblyv hundreds of dragons the size of hills wandering around. And they mature at five or six months old, which means they can be having babies before they're even a year out. The world should have been over run with large hill sized dragons.

But then again, hill sized dragons do sound sort of neat, so I guess it's okay.

We see a bit of Tolkien stealing borrowing here, in regards to Brom's comments on the elves. "Their world was unchanging until the first elves sailed over the sea on their silver ships". We also learn that Eragon is an elven name and that he was the first Dragon Rider. This is probably of some significance, especially when he runs into the elves. They will take it as a sign of portents that the old Eragon is born again in this human and they should do whaever he says.

Brom also confirms my assertion that he is Galby by saying that the "story" he told when the traders were there was no "story" but the truth. Again bringing up the question, "How does he know?"

Paolini makes dragons into his Dues ex Machina by saying that they effect the world in mysterious ways which allows them do things that aren't possible. Perhaps things like fly when they're they size of hills.

And then he adds this: "Along with this a human Rider would slowly acquire pointed ears, though they were never as prominent as an elf's." (page 54). I bring this to attention because it is an utterly useless thing to have happen. It doesn't seem to have any benefit to the dragon rider in any way. It's just one of those things that are just there. It seems like something that Paolini tacked on because it sounded neat. It's as if he went and said, and what else can I do to make my immortal dragon riding magic wielding super-humans even more special? I'll give them pointed ears! The story could have been perfectly fine without this addition to it. It's not like it's something that could be used to mark a dragon rider, they already have that thing on their palm. It's just there.

We also get our first indication that Brom used to be a dragon rider. When he gives off a list of dragon names he says, at the very end in a very quiet voice, "Saphira". Usually that sort of tone, in the mysterious old coot is used to indicate that they have lost someone but are pretending that they haven't. Saphira is a dragon's name so therefor Brom has lost a dragon. No, I haven't read this book before, why do you ask?

In a name of power we learn that Cousin Roran is leaving to become a Milliner at the other village. Eragon is upset about this. He then goes to name his dragon. He tries an endless list of names and each time they are refused. It should be interesting to note that most of the names appear to be gender neutral, like the dragon itself. And, again, we come upon the problem that Eragon can't tell if his dragon is a male or female, which should be indicated at least by the dragon's voice, or mentioned that it's gender neutral. The dragon, of course, choses Saphira which will cause, later on, angst for Brom because that was the name of his dragon. No, I haven't read the book before, stop asking.

The chapter is entitled Name of Power, but there doesn't seem to be any indication that this name is any more powerful than the other possible names. It's just a name that Eragon heard muttered from Brom. It hasn't been featured in any story or anything like that. So, why is the name a name of power? The question remains unanswered.

part six

Dec. 15th, 2011 02:15 pm
[identity profile] kippurbird.livejournal.com
Chapters A Miller-to-Be, Strangers in Carvahall
Characters Eragon, Garrow, Roran, Saphira, Hurst, Sloan, 2 Mysterious Strangers, Brom
Shiny Magical Objects in Eragon's Possession Saphira.

Summary

A Miller-To-Be is a very short chapter. In it's entire three pages we learn that Garrow is not, as Eragon would suppose that he would be, upset with Roran leaving to become a Miller, but instead happy for his son, because he's growing up into a nice fine young man who will soon be able to have a wife. Yay. Apparently there is supposed to be some sort of tension going on because of this. Garrow says, "It's life's natural course." And then Eragon and Roran helped him wash the dishes in silence. However, this is the sort of reaction one would assume to be having if Garrow was unhappy with Roran's decision to become a Miller. BUT Garrow is not upset. There's even a twinkle in his eye when he tells Roran that he's happy for him.

Only Eragon is unhappy for Roran. He stops talking to his uncle and cousin and then wonders why there is a distance between him and Roran. There's really nothing more I can say to that.

In the mean time Eragon and Saphira bond. Paolini tells us that Saphira's personality "was eclectic and at times completely alien, yet they understood each other on a profound level". These are all very pretty words, but what do they mean exactly? It's all very vague and there are no examples of this to make it clearer. But it does sound profound doesn't it? Using the word profound usually indicates that there is a profoundness. But better would have been to show and not tell us that they have a deep profound understanding. (Though how you would do that, is up in the air. But it's not something you should just say.)

Garrow, on the morn of Roran's leaving, gives Roran and Eragon some advice. It sounds like the Sunscreen song but less amusing. I believe it's supposed to be good advice, but it sounds trite. He says things like, "...Let no one rule your mind or body. Take special care that your thoughts remain unfettered. One may be a free man yet be bound tighter than a slave. Give men your ear, but not your heart. Show respect for those in power, but don't follow them blindly. Judge with logic and reason, but comment not." (page 64). Very... trite, but it sounds good and wise, doesn't it? I doubt that Eragon will follow it. But it sounds good.

In town Eragon learns that two strangers are looking for his stone. They are, of course, very bad news. Hurst tells him to leave town and get rid of the stone. Eragon, instead, eavesdrops on Sloan talking to the Mysterious Strangers. He decides that he's going to punch Sloan the next time he sees him, because Sloan tells them about the stone. We don't know what Sloan is feeling or even if he's the only one who's told them. The mysterious strangers are definitely threatening. Sloan has no loyalty to Eragon, but he may feel that these strangers are a danger to his daughter. Sloan has no reason to be loyal to Eragon, yet Eragon feels that he should be silent. Sloan has been slated to be the enemy since we first met him. And this is why he's the enemy. So he can betray Eragon to the enemy. It couldn't be a good person who does it by accident, or one that was coerced because then they wouldn't be good. We need a bad person to do a bad thing. In this case betray Eragon to the bad guys. It would be more tense and dramatic if these mysterious strangers were to threaten or get a good person to betray Eragon by accident. Or even if Sloan were to not betray Eragon. But since Sloan is the bad guy he has to be the one who betrays Eragon.

The Mysterious Strangers notice Eragon and he freezes up. This is supposed to be strange and mysterious but instead it could just be explained as being scared witless. Brom rescues him and mugs off his mit to see the silvery mark on his hand. How does Brom know which hand has the mark, we really don't know. But we know that he was looking for the mark because he asked about the trader that Eragon said told him about dragon things. And Brom of course knows a bit too much about dragons than an ordinary storyteller should. And this is Stranger and Mysterious.

part eight

Dec. 15th, 2011 02:14 pm
[identity profile] kippurbird.livejournal.com
Special shiny: Friend of mine, Veet made me an icon because I begged prettily. Isn't it lovely?

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Chapter The Doom of Innocence, Deathwatch, the Madness of Life I love the title, Doom of innocence. It's so full of portents. Sorry. My bad. I shouldn't be making fun of the chapter titles like this
Characters Who aren't in these chapters?
Shiny Magical objects in Eragon's possession Bloody legs, fever. Guess they aren't really special shiny magical objects... but...

Summary

So, Saphira and Eragon spend the night together. Which sounds horribly wrong. But isn't. And I'm not going to go down this bestiality track any longer. Anyway, it turns out that the clearing that Saphira took Eragon too is the same clearing that he found her egg in. Now, there is not story purpose for this to happen. It's just remarked upon. But there's no reason for this to be. He doesn't find anything else there, nor does he look for something else that could have shown up. It just is. Now, since there was no reason for him to be there, nor does he find anything, there was no reason why Paolini should have had them go there. It's just a completely wasted moment. If you are going to have something where you return to a point of origin, you should have a reason for it. Otherwise it just feels false and unnecessary. It's a very... okay that was nice, but why does it matter? There was no story point for this to happen. It doesn't advance the plot in anyway.

In any case, Eragon and Saphira return to the farm and oh Noes it's all destroyed! If only Eragon had gone to Garrow first before getting Saphira he might still be alive! Instead, Saphira and Eragon went on a completely random side trip and left him to die! But wait! Garrow is NOT DEAD! YAY! Now, they have to get Garrow to town. They have Saphira who is a big and strong creature. Obviously they should build some sort of contraption so that she could drag Garrow through the snow to the village. Or... they could have Saphira fly with him... when she's not strong enough and then get tired half way there and then have the injured Eragon drag him the rest of the way. Which is certainly more dramatic, if not practical. Guess which Eragon chooses?

Eragon does choice "B" and lucky for him, Brom, who has a strange and mysterious head injury, catches him when he collapses.

Then Eragon has some strange and mysterious dreams. I'm sure they're full portents of things to come or things from the past. People with silver hair boarding a ship. One guy misses the boat and howls sadly. He does, really, after all isn't that what "a long, aching cry" is? The ship is magical because it floats away without oars or sail (either that or they had a motor). He then wakes up and we learn that he has been asleep for two days with fever sleeping in the healer's hut.

Hurst, the blacksmith, is a very rich man. He can afford to have a two story house. Though I'm not sure what sort of skill a blacksmith would have in building a house. But apparently he has lavished all his skill on it. After all gargoyles are usually made of stone, not iron, because then they'd rust horribly. And carving is usually done in wood. Both things are not a blacksmith's skill. Perhaps he means Hurt's skill with spending money.

In a bizzare (though not in Eragon land) turn of events, it seems that the more injured Garrow is staying with Hurst while the less injured Eragon is staying with the healer. And it also turns out that Hurst has enough room for both Eragon and Garrow to stay in. The intelligent thing would have been to either have both of them at Hurst house (which almost begs the question why does he need such a big house in such a small village) or Garrow at the healer's house. Such things are not considered, however. Perhaps it is more dramatic to have him wake up in the healer's hut and have to walk to Hurst's place.

On an interesting side note, now that I think about it, Paolini has a very odd naming convention. He uses regular names for everyone, except for the people who are going to be important. Eragon is the hero. Garrow is his uncle and dies, which gives Eragon desire for revenge, Brom is going to be the Mentor Figure. But everyone else has names like Helen, Kristina and Sloan. I bring this up merely because it brings an uneveness to the world and makes it difficult to believe in. After all why would you have some people named Bob and then other people named Gorbax in the same society? Names in fantasy should either be all "familiar" for a society or all different, unless there's a good reason for them not to. Anyway, I'm sure that the naming theory that I have stated, being "if they have a normal name, they aren't important", will hold throughout the book.

Eragon lies about what happened to his legs (though how digging through rubble rubs all your skin off your legs is beyond me) and what happened at the farm. They don't call him on this. But, in a good point, they don't actually believe him either.

That night, Eragon wakes up just after Garrow dies. He cries mightly to to the heavens that this is unfair, but they don't answer him. He then cries himself to sleep. At this point I should be feeling horrible for what happened to Eragon and his uncle, but I don't have any emotional investment in Eragon as a character. He's a stupid boy who makes poor decisions and believes that the world revolves around him. He doesn't seem to have any likable characteristics. Sure he has a dragon, but that's not enough to make me like him. He's just there. I don't care about him or what happens to him.

part seven

Dec. 15th, 2011 02:14 pm
[identity profile] kippurbird.livejournal.com
Chapter Flight of Destiny. ooooh
Characters Eragon, Saphira
Shiny Magical Objects in Eragon's possession well... he's got the dragon between his legs. >>

Summary

In our previous chapter Eragon was sent running home because of the mysterious strangers. He has to tell Garrow about them and the fact that they want the egg/stone/thingie. He decides, perhaps rightly, that he needs to tell Garrow about Saphira. He sees Garrow and then decides that he needs Saphira to prove what he is saying is true. Now, if Eragon, back when Saphria hatched, had told Garrow about her, then he wouldn't have this problem. And Garrow would see the need to protect her, after all he would have had a vested emotional interest in her. But now, he'll just see her has a potentially dangerous creature that's a threat to his family. Putting that aside, instead of taking Garrow to meet Saphria by saying something like, "I need to show you something." He goes and gets Saphira first. Which allows for the dragon to panic.

Now we get a look at the dragon's special abilities. Somehow Saphira knows that these two people who are just described as dressed in black with humps, nothing too identifying, really, are "Enemies, murderers, egg destroyers". How does she know this? Do dragons have some sort of hive memory? Does every dragon know what other dragons know? If so, how come she had to learn how to talk? And then wouldn't she be known by Galby's dragon and be in contact with him? If they don't have a hive memory how does she know this? She hasn't been in contact with any dragons her entire life. There is no way for her to know this. And there is no explanation given. We're just supposed to accept the fact that she does know this and is panicking about it.

Her panic drives her to up and fly off with Eragon on a high speed flight. Somehow, without a saddle or straps, Eragon doesn't fall off nor, despite the height that Saphira flies, does he freeze to death. To use a relative example, we look at the Dragonrider's of Pern. The only mentioned time of a flight unassisted by riding straps is the first dragon flight and he almost fell off on their short flight. It was, perhaps, a ten minute flight at most. It was a very leisurely flight and not at all that fast. Eragon and Saphira were flying for hours and he stays on in freezing cold buffeting winds. He should have fallen off and died horribly and messily after a while. Alas, we are not treated to that.

Instead we're treated to this delightful bit of dragonic wisdom, "Death is a poison." Which is what Saphira uses as an explanation for why she flew off. I'm sure it's supposed to be deep and meaningful, but, like Garrow's advice, it's trite, kinda stupid, and obvious.

part nine

Dec. 15th, 2011 02:12 pm
[identity profile] kippurbird.livejournal.com
First some thoughts. See, I was thinking about how the fact that I didn't like Eragon (the character, not the book, though I dislike it too) and came upon several ways I would have rewritten the first chapter that introduced Eragon to make him a more sympathetic character.

For starters, I would have made being in the Spine really dangerous for Eragon. As it is now, Eragon is one of the few people who can go into the Spine and be okay. Which means there's no danger for him. But if he's not, then he's in this dangerous place and he may not get out alive. Then I would have examined why he's in there. He's poor and his family needs the meat. He's gone out into the Spine as a last resort because he can't find any other game closer to home in the safer areas. He's worried a lot for his safety, but he's doing this nonetheless. He has to, it's a matter of survival.

Then when he does find the egg (which would not be frictionless) he would say to himself, this is a potentially dangerous magical artifact, I think I'll take it to Brom the storyteller who seems to know a lot about these things and see if he can help me with it. Since I haven't been able to find meat, I'll ask Sloan if there was a way I could work it off of him.

This would, of course, set the entire story off into an entirely different direction, but it might be more interesting.

Moving on!

Chapters A Rider's Blade, Saddlemaking
Shiny Magical Objects in Eragon's Possession: Zar'roc (a sword) is it just my imagination but does it sound like The Rock, in a really bad accent? And a dragon saddle.

Summary

Garrow is dead and Eragon angsts. At first it looks like Saphria is telling Eragon to commit suicide (WHOO!) when she tells him to not live with his grief. He goes on by telling her that life isn't worth living because we all die anyway. (Go with that thought Eragon, GO!) Instead of telling him that he should live because you know about people he cares about and stuff like that, instead because of the deeds that he does, which gives him worth... or something like that. Nothing matters but the act itself. She then suggests that they go after the strangers that killed Garrow. WOO Revenge! This motivates him out of his depression and gives him the uber heal that he needs.

Hurst, meanwhile, grows a brain and tells his wife that he doesn't think Eragon was telling them everything. But his reasonings were that he didn't think that Eragon couldn't have noticed losing that much skin on his legs. And he noticed the thing about how Eragon's tracks with Garrow started almost all the way to the village. I keep on wanting to call it a town. Not wanting to answer the questions, this reinforces Eragon's decision to leave.

He steals some hide to make a saddle for Saphira. Though I don't know how he knows how to make a dragon's saddle. Saddle making in general is a very specialized skill. Most people have to go to a special person trained in making saddles to get a saddle. To make a dragon's saddle, you would have to be very specialized because they are an exotic mount and have different needs than a regular horse would have. Like some way to keep the rider on in flight. Somehow, Eragon knows how to do this because it's not a problem in his mind.

Deciding to be petty, Eragon decides to steal meat from Sloan for supplies. Meat is the only food supply he's worried about taking. Personally I would be more interested in getting rations, meat you can hunt for (which he says he and Saphira can do) and it will go bad on the trail quickly. The only meat he should be taking is dried meat, and I doubt you could get that from the butcher's. But apparently this fact has eluded Eragon and he steals meat from Sloan. (Who totally doesn't deserve it either. Anyone want to start up an anti defamation of character league for Sloan?)

Brom shows up. Apparently he has developed teh psychic powers because he was waiting for Eragon where Eragon had hidden his stolen hides. Magic! He confronts Eragon about his gedwey ignasia, the shining palm, which is what that mark on Eragon's hand is called. He knows that Eragon had a dragon. Saphira, once again, shows her hive memory abilities when she says that Eragon should listen to Brom because of the slaughter at Doru Araeba. Whatever that is. Eragon has yet to question how she knows these things. Or how Brom can talk to her. This is just accepted.

He accepts Brom's help and accepts the fact that Brom has already written a letter to Roran explaining what happens. What I would wonder is, how does Brom know enough about this already that he can write a letter before hand? How did he know what Eragon was going to do? These aren't answered. Though Brom does get to do some mysterious muttering.

They recover some supplies, but not any food, so the only food they have is meat. Which can't be good for you. And to throw off perusers they take a circuitous route... in the snow to a hidden place that Eragon knows. Yes. They leave a lot of footprints, so that they can't be followed, in the snow. And this is after they tell Saphira to fly so they wouldn't be able to see her footprints. Brilliance.

After they reach the hiding spot we learn that King Galby has been around for hundreds of years. In all this time no one has over thrown him. He must be doing something right to have lasted this long. I mean, you can't rule an evil empire through fear alone, especially since this one isn't in a state of terror. People aren't afraid to speak their minds. And he's been at it for over a hundred years and the kingdom still works. This is the important thing. The kingdom still works, it's not in a state of disrepair. People aren't afraid for their lives. We haven't seen anything to make Galby evil, except for the fact that he went buggy and killed all the dragon riders. But if he's insane then how can he rule a kingdom well enough that it functions for hundreds of years and not have been overthrown?

But I digress.

Brom gives Eragon a shiny sword, called Zar'roc. It sounds like The Rock. I shall now refer to it as The rock of DOOM. "The handle fit Eragon's hand as if it had been made for him." (102) Who here didn't see that one coming? Anyway, the sword apparently is a dragon rider's blade. Brom knows an awful lot about dragons and their riders. He says that there isn't anyone alive who knows more than him. Which then begs the question, how does he know this, and how does he know so much about dragon riders and dragons without having been one?

Saphira continues to be undefined in her magical powers (which leaves a wonderful out for Paolini if he should ever need it, if he never defines what a dragon can do, then he can always say, well people never knew that they could do that). And with a line like, "Things... happen around them, mysterious things that are impossible anywhere else" (105) you know that's going to happen.

Brom continues to know far too much than he should. The creatures that killed Garrow are called Ra'zac. They apparently don't look human, they have beaks and large beady eyes. Now, if we think back to Sloan. Being confronted with something like this, would you keep a secret? Especially when you don't think it's a secret? But still, Sloan is evil. Brom also knows how to make a saddle for a dragon.

Now, in Anne McCaffery's Pern Series, the only people who know how to make riding straps for dragons are dragonriders. They're the only ones who would need the skill. Brom knows how to make one. Now, why would Brom know how to make a saddle for a dragon? It's not a very useful skill unless you have a dragon. Eragon doesn't question this.

Padding appears mysteriously. They only had leather for the saddle, but apparently Brom has padding for it. He doesn't leave to get padding. It just shows up. He doesn't use their blankets for padding. He just has padding. It is there. Perhaps it was in the clearing where they have been staying. I'm not sure if the saddle's design is any good, he's held onto the dragon by his legs through a series of loops that can be tightened. Different... but I'm not sure it works.

part ten

Dec. 15th, 2011 02:10 pm
[identity profile] kippurbird.livejournal.com
ICON!

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Not that great of an Icon, but I'm not that great of an Icon maker. Still, perfectly gankable, with credit to me.



Anyway, Onto the analysis.

Chapter Therinsford
Shiny Magical Objects in Eragon's Possession Zar'roc of DOOOM. Lots of Meat. >> Cadoc, a horse.

Summary

Brom and Eragon leave their little nest of thorns. Here we get a lesson in Dragon Biology. Brom knows a lot about dragon biology. Far more than an ordinary person should know. Eragon doesn't question that. This is, also another bit of Info dumping. And I'm not really certain how necessary it is that we know about dragons life cycles. This is what Brom says about dragons and their life cycles.

"You see," he said, "When a dragon lays an egg, the infant inside is ready to hatch. But it waits, sometimes for years, for the right circumstances. When dragons lived in the wild, those circumstances were usually dictated by the availability of food. However, once they formed an alliance with the elves, a certain number of their eggs, usually no more than one or two , were given to the riders each year. These eggs, or rather the infants inside wouldn't hatch until the person destined to be its Rider came into their presence - though how they sensed that isn't known..." (112)

Now, let us look at this. It looks very clever on the surface, but there are some problems with it. First of all, an egg is supposed to be something that protects the baby until it's full grown and ready to hatch. There's food in the yolk sack and once it's gone, the infant is ready to hatch. This is one of the reasons why the infant hatches, because there isn't any food. If the dragon is ready to hatch, then it's not going to be able to survive in the egg all by itself with no food. Basically that dragon is starving to death inside the egg as it waits for the right time. Now, for the fact that the dragon is waiting for the right time to hatch, like food or something like that. These dragons are supposedly intelligent creatures, surely they would know not to lay eggs when there isn't enough food around. And usually, animals won't go into mating cycles when there isn't enough food around for their children to eat. Then there's the point of how did the dragons' biology change so that they went from hatching when there's enough food around to hatching when the right person is there for them? In the Pern Series, the dragon hatchlings were genetically modified to search the room of candidates and find the right person to bond with. It was a modification of the fire lizards ability to impress onto anyone who offered them food. There's no explanation for why these dragons would suddenly change their habits like that.

Another question I'd like answered is how many eggs are laid per clutch. This seems to be an important part of dragon biology. But it's not answered.

In any case, Brom goes on to talk about dragonic eating habits like how they don't need to eat for months at a time when they're sedentary and full grown. Brom knows an awful lot about dragon biology. Which, again, should be a specialized field. But Eragon, as I said, doesn't question this.

We then get the standard training scene. It's really very standard. There's nothing interesting in it that happens at all. Eragon gets beaten by Brom. Whoo. Actually, that's the best thing about it. Eragon gets beaten. I like Brom for that.

On their way into Therisnford they're stopped by a greasy looking man who demands a toll to cross the bridge. This man is bad. We know that he's because he's a greasy looking man and everyone knows that greasy looking men are not good. If the toll man had been an honest looking man, Brom probably wouldn't have stolen his money on the way over the bridge. But since he's greasy looking, it's perfectly okay to assume that he's not supposed to be collecting a toll and take his money.

And yet stealing is bad.

Brom and Eragon then buy horses. Brom gets a white stallion named Snowfire. Putting aside the fact that the name is just idiotic, I mean, snow fire... melted snow... water, and that seems to be trying to rip off the name Shadowfax, stallions are generally not the best sort of animal you want to have with you while traveling. They're rather temperamental. But stallions are cool. And Gandalf rode a stallion. Eragon, meanwhile, learns that he can talk to the animals! How useful. Apparently it's unusual for someone so young to have that ability. But Eragon is just special that way.

You would think, that while they were in Therinsford they would stop to buy supplies that they needed. Since all they had was meat. But no. Instead Brom has Eragon wait for him outside of the village and he goes and finds the Ra'zac's tracks. The man that Brom talks to described them with many shudders. So obviously they were something not nice to deal with and you would want to give them the information they wanted, but still, Sloan is evil for doing that. (There should be an icon that says, "Sloan's not evil, just missunderstod")

Paolini then throws in a "homage" to Weathertop. Brom and Eragon go by a outpost of the Riders where the last rider fell and Galby killed him. In a lovely display of missorder of information, Paolini names Utgard first before telling us what exactly Utgard is. He mentions the name several times and the reader is left wondering what is Utgard? Then he tells us it's the name of the rider's outpost.

Eragon then names his horse after his grandfather. Who must be important, if we're following the naming rules that Paolini has set down, because he's named Cadoc.
[identity profile] kippurbird.livejournal.com
Chapters Thunder Roar and Lightning crackle, Revelation at Yazuac

Summary

Thunder Roar... begins rather harmlessly. Brom and Eragon are traveling down towards the plains. They make it down the mountains in less than one day. Not very formidable mountains, I suppose then. And I just realized something... the SNOW has vanished. Two chapters ago they were walking around tracking things in the snow, and now there is no snow. There wasn't any in Therisnford nor was there any up in the mountains where Eragon and Brom camped, and there really should have been. It's as if Paolini completely forgot that plot point, or it no longer became important, so it stopped existing. There should have been some mention of the snow as they traveled, and the bitter cold from the weather. And perhaps the fact that Eragon didn't have any winter clothes on. But... there isn't. It's as if the snow just stopped existing. It no longer was needed for the story, so it just vanished.

Apparently Brom and Eragon don't take the road out of the Valley, since they have trouble getting the horses down the path. I say this because there is no way that the trader's wagons would be able to get down such a trail that vanished and reappeared. It doesn't seem reasonable that the Ra'zac would take such a trail if they were looking for speed, they would have gone on the main road. And... another realization. The Ra'zac bought horses. There was no way of Brom knowing which horses they took and they left from town and there would be hundreds of horse prints around so there would be no way of anyone tracking them. It would be physically impossible to pick out which horse prints were the Ra'zac's. They had lost the trail.

Unless Brom has psychic powers or knows where the Ra'zac are going because he's in league with them, there'd be no way for him to track them. The Ra'zac work for Galby, and Brom is Galby. Thus another piece of proof is found.

Galbrom "finds" the Ra'zac's tracks heading out into the plains. The plains are very wind swept and at when they make camp, Eragon is unable to make a fire. Then this happens:

"Brom knelt by the brush and looked at it critically. He rearranged a couple of branches, then struck the tinderbox, sending a cascade of sparks onto the plants. There was smoke, but nothing else. Brom scowled and tried again, but his luck was no better than Eragon's. "Brisinger!" he swore angrily, striking the flint again. Flames suddenly appeared, and he stepped back with a pleased expression." (125)

I call this paragraph out for the italicized parts. This is important. Brom swore. He cursed, just like someone shouting damn.

They then enter a storm front that is so strong that it tosses Saphira around. If the storm is that strong, it should be tossing Eragon and Brom around, but somehow they stay grounded. Eragon is even able to perform tumbling acts to help Saphira close her wings. Apparently in the Eragonverse the heavier you are the easier it is for you to get blown away. Makes me wonder where all the flying houses are.

But they get to Yazuac all right. Yazuac however, is not all right. Urgals had killed the entire population of the village. Brom and Eragon get attacked by urgals. They chase Eragon into an alley and something miraculous happens. Power comes to him. And then,

"He stood tall and straight, all fear gone. He raised his bow smoothly. ... the energy inside of him burned at an unbearable level. He had to release it, or it would consume him. A word suddenly leapt unbidden to his lips. He shot, yelling, "Brisinger"

The arrow hissed through the air, glowing with a crackling blue light..." (133)

Now, then, if we look back, the word, "Brisinger" was used as a curse by Brom. There was no indication that it had any meaning beyond maybe "fuck" or "shit" yet for some reason Eragon feels compelled to shout this to release the power with in him. There is no reason why this word would even be in his mind in connection to power or magic or anything like that. If Brom had mentioned the word in regards to magical things, then the fact that this word came to him would be reasonable. But there's no reason for that word to make that sort of connection. Brom said it once and it was never commented on. Eragon never even thought to himself, "What an odd word" he just forgot or never even noticed it's existence. (Though we must assume that since the book is from Eragon's perspective and he did recognize the word being spoken that he did notice its existence.) There is no reason why Eragon should have said that word.

Yet he does.

And magic happens.

Who would have thought that Eragon could do magic?
[identity profile] kippurbird.livejournal.com
Chapter Admonishments, Magic is the Simplest Thing


Summary

After magically slaughtering the urgals with magic, Eragon, Brom and Saphira leave the village of the dead. As they leave, Eragon notices the Ra'zac's spoors. Now, where did these spoors come from and how come they weren't mentioned before? Brom should have at least pointed them out to Eragon, but as far as we knew from before, they had been following the Ra'zac's tracks. Tracks that they couldn't have followed because they were on horse back. And if they were on horseback when did they have time to leave spoors out on the road. One would assume that they'd be civilized enough to go behind a bush and not in the middle of the road. After all they are wearing clothes. Paolini can't seem to make up his mind if these are animalistic creatures (that would leave spoors) or cunning assassins/evil doers of the King.

Saphira and he converse about the magic and here, Saphira's hive memory fails. She doesn't know if dragon riders can use magic. One would assume that if she knew about the slaughter of somewhere or another that happened before she was hatched and knew who slaughtered other eggs and things like that, she would know about dragon riders and magic. But she doesn't. How convenient.

Brom, however, knows all about the magic. Though he yells at Eragon for using it. Why he does so when Eragon didn't know that he was doing it is beyond me. Anyway, we get an info dump on magic.
It appears to shamelessly steal from the Earthsea trilogy with it's ancient language and true names of things. Apparently if you know it's true name, Brisinger being the true name for fire, for example, you can get it to do whatever you want.

Which is exactly how the magic in the Earthsea trilogy works, to quote Wikipedia,

Magic on Earthsea is verbal: All objects have a true name, in an old language related to the Dragon-tongue which is known simply as the Old Speech. By using this language, it is possible to have power over an object or living thing. To protect themselves from this, most characters have two names: one for everyday use and one, the true name, known only to close friends and family. For example, Sparrowhawk (use name) is known as Ged (true name) only to those closest to him.

One vital aspect of magic is that it is impossible to lie in the old language, so that magic works by forcing the universe to conform to the words spoken by the mage. For example, to say "I am an eagle" in the old language means that the speaker becomes an eagle, so that the statement is no longer false.


Sounds awfully like Paolini's magic, doesn't it?

After this brief explanation Brom gives us our first hint of slashiness when he says they don't need provisions, they can survive on meat alone, Saphira hunting for them. Eragon is very satisfied with Brom's answer.

We get more of a history of magic. Apparently "A Sorcerer ... uses spirits to accomplish his will. That is totally different from [Eragon's] power. Nor does that make [him] a magician, whose power comes without aid of spirits or a dragon. And [he's] certainly not a witch or wizard, who get their powers from various potions or spells" (144)

Looking at this statement from Brom, we see that there are four different types of magic users. Sorcerers, who use magic from spirits, dragon riders, magicians who just get their power from somewhere unmentioned, and witches and wizards who use spells and potions. Now, questions. What is the difference between a spell and using a sentence in the ancient language? Isn't that all a spell is, a combination of words to create a magical effect? And isn't using those magical words the only way you can use magic? This is what Brom seemed to indicate earlier when he was talking to Eragon the night before. Where do magicians get their power from if not from spirits or dragons? They can't just get it willy nilly. Do they use words too? Does everyone use words? If so, what's the difference between any of them? It's all the same magic and all the same magical users. There's no reason for there to be a difference in names. At least, that's what I think.

Brom then tells us how the dragon riders taught the younger ones magic. Something that he couldn't have known, since apparently, the dragon riders didn't let people know that they could do magic. But since Galby is a dragon rider and can do magic and Brom knows this, Brom is obviously Galby. In any case, the young riders are kept ignorant of the ability to use magic and instead are trained in mind and body until the older riders feel that they are responsible enough to use magic. If they discover it by accident they are taken into private lessons. Though, how they could use magic by accident if they don't know any words to use it by is beyond me. Unless it just sort of comes to them, like it did with Eragon. Apparently no rider Eragon's age had ever used magic the way he did back there with the urgals.

Then we learn the bit about how everyone has a true name, and that they elves know about their true names from birth and will sometimes tell people what they are. If I'm any judge of storytelling, Eragon will learn what his true name is when he goes to the elves and it will be a powerful name, the likes of which have not been seen before. If this happens in Eldest, will someone please let me know?

Eragon then gets to do magic. He picks it up exceedingly quickly. At least, he's able to make a rock wobble on his third try. Which is pretty quick. He also starts to be able to hit Brom back, and they've only been sparring for perhaps... two weeks. Brom isn't very good.

Then for some reason, Eragon has a bad dream. There is no reason for him to have this dream. It's never mentioned again in the entire book. It has no impact on him as a character. It's just there. It could be cut. In fact, it should have been cut. It doesn't forward the plot in anyway. It's just there. I hate it.
[identity profile] kippurbird.livejournal.com
chapters Through a dragon's eye, A song for the road.


Summary

This chapter begins innocuously enough. Eragon gets over his fear of flying with Saphira. He goes flying without any sort of protective clothing and doesn't freeze to death. There's a lovely interlude that seems to be lifted straight from Anne McCaffery's Pern Series, as Saphira and Eragon meld minds and are one. This is similar to what happens when a Pernese dragon and their rider go on a mating flight. But, Eragon loves it. Though, in a lovely bit of contradictoriness, Saphira shows him how she uses hills to hide behind, and they're on the plains. Where, as previously stated, there are no hills. Though I'm not to sure how a flying blue dragon can use a hill to hide behind. As usually, they're up in the sky and not anywhere near a hill. Unless there are hills in the sky in Eragon land. If anything Saphira should stay up in the air, because most people don't generally look up in the sky but if there was something swooping down every once in a while it'd be like someone doing the whole trying not to be seen and going "sneak sneak sneak" at the same time.

Brom tries to get into Eragon's head and then yells at him when Eragon tries to keep him out of his head because he thinks that he's being attacked. Though why would anyone want to go into Ergaon's head is beyond me. Apparently the Ra'zarc have flown the coop and they've lost their trail. Searching around for a while Eragon finds a mysterious flask with the Ra'zac's insignia on it. Though how he knows what that looks like, we're not told. The flask contains a poison that can only harm animal or human flesh. It can stay in the bed sheets or coat a weapon and not harm it. Apparently it's made from a regular if expensive imported jewelers oil.

Eragon figures that since it's so expensive that only a certain amount of people would be able to have it. And if they can discover who bought it and where it went they can discover where the Ra'zac are. Now, this is assuming that the records of this oil is kept. And if it is kept, that the oil they bought all came from the same place. Of course, if these Ra'zac were really intelligent they would have smuggled the oil in so there'd be no record of the oil at all.

Brom thinks this is a brilliant idea and wonders why he never thought of this before. Perhaps because he never knew that the Ra'zac used this oil? In any case, they decide to go to Terim which controls most of the trade. They're going to go see an old friend of Brom's who conveniently lives there named Jeod. Jeod, according to naming conventions, is important.

We get a brief history lesson of the elves about how they came from over the sea and that they retain a great fascination for the ocean. Tolkien anyone? Brom then chants a song for Eragon, that's from the elves. I reproduce it for you in all it's... glory.

O liquid temptress 'neath the azure sky,
Your gilded expanse calls me, calls me
For I would sail ever on,
Were it not for the elven maid
who calls me, calls me
She binds my heart with a lily-white tie,
Never to be broke, save by the sea,
Ever to be torn twixt the trees and the waves.


First off, if this is a song sung by elves to elves, why would they call someone an elven maid? It'd be like singing a love song and saying "that human girl" as opposed to "that girl". I suppose it's so that we know that elves are involved. Then there is no scheme, rhyming or otherwise. It doesn't fit into meter system. It doesn't scan at all. It's just... pretentious and bad.

Brom teaches Eragon how to hunt using magic. Apparently he shoots a small rock at the prey and it never misses. Never, ever misses. Never. This also apparently saves time with hunting. How does it do this, I don't know. Apparently the prey are just walking up to Eragon and saying hit me with a rock please! That's the only way it could work.

Mean while Eragon loses what fat he had and becomes lean with muscles. Personally I want to know where he got the fat in the first place. He worked on a farm and went hunting. Not much fat is going to be found on a body who works all the day long. Unless he was just lazing about the place to have the fat. This also happens within a couple of weeks.

That is a classical Stu trait, to become all ripped like that (And yes, he uses the word rippled) lean with muscles. Especially in such short amount of time.

As a final note, Brom says that they'll have to be more careful about going into towns because news of who Eragon is would have reached everyone. The Ra'zoc have been maybe two days ahead of them. It takes a while for them to get back to the king and then a while for the messengers to get to EVERY city and town. Information isn't transmitted instantaneously. It should take months, at least, for places, especially the ones farthest away from where the king lives (where ever that is) to learn about Eragon.
[identity profile] kippurbird.livejournal.com
Chapter Daret

Summary

Short one tonight.

Brom and Eragon ride into the town/village/thingie of Daret and unlike the last one, are accosted by live people! These people's great plan for protecting their thingie is to allow people into the center of town and then trapping them. Personally, I would try to keep them out of town in the first place... but yes. And apparently there's only one way out of town, at least from the way it's described because it sounds like the carts only block one way. They are then asked, once they're in the town, what do they want in town. The sort of question you would ask before you let the people into your town. Yes. You do not let the people who might be dangerous into your town and then ask what they want. You keep them OUT of the town and then ask them.

The guy who planed this all is named Trevor. He's swarthy and has a broadsword. I think the thingie should have gotten better help. Brom manages to convince him that they aren't bandits or causing any harm and that they just want supplies. Trevor agrees to this and gets them supplies. I'm hoping some of it includes food supplies, but it's not said.

News is exchanged. Trevor is all "OHMIGAWD URGALS!" And Brom is, "O RLY?" And Trevor is, "YA RLY AND THE KING ISN'T STOPPING THEM" And Brom is "NO WAI!" Trevor is like, "YA WHY ISN'T HE?" And Kippur is like, "Cause he's in league with them?" And Brom is like "HRMMM..."

After they leave Daret Brom and Eragon talk about what Eragon could have done to see that they were safe. Which was basically reading people's minds. And Eragon's "I can do that?" And Brom is like "Yes, of course, You can read dragons and animals, of course you can read humans. There's nothing you can't do!" Well he doesn't say the last bit, but you get what I'm saying. And then he cautions him never to do it unless he absolutely utterly has to.

Saphira then throws a snit fit and demands that Eragon ride her the next day. She's very abusive about this, knocking him down and pinning him to the ground. He, of course, agrees. Of course anyone would agree to anything if they were pinned by a dragon. I'm just saying.

Finally, Brom and Eragon do their nightly stick fight and Eragon breaks his stick with a heavy blow. I shall let your minds wander down hill for a moment on that sentence. So Brom decides to bring out the real toys. I mean swords. He puts a spell on them that dulls their edges and they spar and there is lots of bruising and Brom really likes beating on Eragon with sticks.

And that's it really.
[identity profile] kippurbird.livejournal.com
Chapters: A taste of Teirm, An old friend

Summary

Eragon and Brom reach the city of Teirm, where the walled city has a gate facing the open sea. If the city is on the ocean, which it must be, because ships are docking at it, how are people supposed to get to this gate that is on the sea? The wall can't enclose the docks because then it would be in the water, so the wall would have to be open on the side of the city that opens to the sea. If the docks are out of the wall, then the City isn't right on the sea like he says it is.

Brom worries that the guards might have gotten Eragon's name, though, I'm not sure how, as information movement doesn't seem to be that quick. They get through the guards by acting as country bumpkins and giving the names, "Neal" and "Evan" and since, according to Paolini's naming conventions these are non important people names, the guards have nothing to worry about. Though these guards definitely trained at the same place that Evil Harry got his minions because they don't question how come two poor country bumpkins have the money for such fine horses. If anything that would get them arrested on horse thieving charges.

As they move through the city, Eragon notices that some of the houses have yards that are unattended. Yards are an invention of the suburbs (even stone ones). People inside a walled city wouldn't waste the space for a front yard because it would be better used for other things, like buildings or street or store front. If you go into any city, even today's modern ones and look around at the buildings, they don't have front lawns. It's only in the suburbs that you have them. So, these people must be really idiotic when it comes to urban planning, or Eragon's seeing things.

They go to a tavern called the Green Chestnut, for some random reason. Brom doesn't say "We're going to the Green Chestnut because they might know where Jeod is." They just go there and Brom asks the bartender if he knows where Jeod lives. How does one random bartender know where one random person is in a very large city? I don't know. But apparently Brom knows which bartender to ask, because this guy knows. In fact someone else knows and he gives the most wonderful directions, for free, "Jeod lives on the west side of town, right next to Angela, the herbalist." (177). Now, Brom and Eragon have never been to Terim, they have no idea where Angela the herbalist's shop is. How are they supposed to find Jeod?

Meanwhile we learn that certain ships belonging to certain traders are always vanishing, going poof. This is, of course, a bad thing. And is mysterious. We'll learn more about this later, I'm sure.

They find the herbalist's shop easily enough. And they meet Angela, who goes against naming conventions by having a normal name but is important. She's also weird. She's trying to prove that toads don't exist. She's also very unhelpful, when they ask her if she can tell them which house Jeod lives in, she says "Yes, I can". This is supposed to make her quirky. Obviously such a quirky character will be seen again, or else Paolini wouldn't have spent so much time making her quirky.

Brom talks to Jeod's wife, Helen and gets upset when, after not giving her any information on who he is or why he needs to see her husband, she says he's busy. She eventually goes and talks to her husband when he says, "A friend from Gil'ead is waiting outside". Jeod is enthusiastic to see Brom and thought he was dead. They go to talk at Jeod's office which is at the castle. Apparently, for some bizzare reason the lord of the city has demanded that all businesses have their main office in the castle. I think Paolini is trying to make the city different from any other city. But it's still weird and not very practical.

We get an abbreviated tale as to where Brom has been all these years. Apparently he was hiding in Carvahall, pretending to be dead. There is mysterious double talk about "Our friends" and things like that. When Brom tells him that he wants to search the records for shipments of Seithr oil (the oil that the poison is made from) Jeod tells him that will take months to discover. This is something important to remember. It would take them months to go through all the records, if they are allowed to go and see them at all.

Then we get a musing about Eragon's name, about how Jeod has only read about three other people named Eragon. This is supposed to show how special the name of Eragon is. Personally, I'm just thinking that the other people named Eragon didn't do anything noteworthy.

Brom kicks Eragon out of the office and so, Eragon eavesdrops on them using magic. We learn that Jeod is one of the merchants who's ships are getting hit. Apparently only people who supply a place called Tronjheim is getting hit and apparently the empire knows about them. Jeod however doesn't believe that there could be a traitor in their midsts, even though it's the only thing that makes sense. Brom decides to send a messenger to someone called Ajihad about the traitor though. However if this Ajihad hasn't figured it out by now, he's pretty dumb.

Jeod must be rich, since he has his own stable. I don't know where the stable is located because the houses look like they're brownstone up against each other houses, like would be in a city. At least that's how it is implied. Since there's a shop right next door to him.

Eragon leaves the city and spends some quality time with Saphira, then comes back and we learn that Eragon has a flaw! Yes. Eragon has a flaw! He can't read! Garrow, who knew how to read, never taught him, apparently considering it an unnecessary luxury. Yet apparently having a large house was an okay luxury. The flaw is of course taken care of when Brom tells Eragon that he'll teach him how to read. By sheer "luck" Eragon picks the most important book in the house to look at. It's a history of the continent which was banned by the empire. There's probably something significant about this. I'm not sure what.

Finally we get to Brom's description of scrying. This description always bothered me. Apparently in Eragon land, when you scry on something you can only see the thing that you are scying on and not what's around them. Which sort of defeats the purpose of scrying. In most other definitions of scrying, in other worlds, you need to know who you are looking for (which is true here) but you can see what's around the person you are scying on, so you can see what they are doing and who they are interacting with. But in Eragon land, you can only see the thing you know about and if you've never seen where they are, all you get is static. Which makes Scrying absolutely useless in trying to discover something about a person or location of something (which is what scrying is for) except if it exists. Is this from some other bit of fantasy that I'm not aware of or did Paolini come up with this by himself. Someone tell me, please.
[identity profile] kippurbird.livejournal.com
Chapter The witch and the Werecat

Summary

So, Eragon gets up and looks at himself in the mirror. And he finds that "There was a slight cast to his eyes that, when he looked closely, gave his face a wild, alien appearance." I think this is the mostly all meat diet talking here. He's missing the nutrients that he needs to keep his eyes healthy. Though I'm sure that's not what Paolini meant. He then goes wandering the city and eventually ends back up at the herbalist's shop.

He then meets what is essentially a were-house cat. This werecat is named Solembum.

Let us look at the name of this cat. Solembum. Solemn bum. Serious Ass.

Yes. The cat's name is Serious Ass.

Serious Ass.

Can our naming conventions get any better than this?

I don't think so.

Serious ass is a werecat, as previously mentioned. Werecats are extremely rare animals which "have magical powers, lived longer than humans and usually knew more than they told." Serious Ass' attitude reminds me a lot of Mogget's, from Garth Nix Abhorsen's trilogy. Mogget is a powerful magical cat like creature that dispenses wisdom with a sardonic dry wit.

When Sabriel asks Mogget what his name is, he replies, "I have a variety of names," replied the cat. It had a strange voice, half mew, half purr, with hissing on the vowels. "You may call me Mogget." (Sabriel, 121) Serious Ass gives a similar response to Eragon. "I go by many names. If you are looking for my proper one, you will have to look elsewhere." The eye closed. Eragon gave up and turned to leave. "However, you may call me Solembum". (Eragon, 201). Rather similar, I think.

We then learn from Angela that Solembum doesn't show himself to most customers and that Eragon shows promise. He's just that special. And that only two other people have been able to talk to him before. Lovely.

Angela then offers to read Eragon's fortune. Apparently she offered this to the two other people who Serious Ass talked to before. The one who took it was a woman named Selena.

Guess what Eragon's mother's name is? First two don't count.

Over come by emotion and angst Eragon decides to have his fortune told too.

Guess what Angela says about Eragon's fortune. It's the hardest one she's ever told. His future is unknowable.

He's just thatspecial.

If he gets any specialer I'm gonna puke.

She still makes some pretty good guesses. He's going to have a long life. Mighty lands are going to try and control his will and destiny. He's one of the few who are truly able to choose their own way. *gack* There's a doom upon him. Someone close to him is going to die. He will have to leave this land forever (ten bucks says that he sails off to the land where the elves came from never to return again. *hopes*)an epic romance is in his future with a lady of noble birth, powerful wise and beautiful beyond compare. *double gack* and he's going to be betrayed by someone from within his family.

That's actually a pretty good fortune. If that's not supposed to be clear, I wonder what her clear ones are like. "You will meet a tall dark and handsome stranger. His name is Will. He will ask you for five dollars on Sunday, at the meat market. Marry him and you will have three children named Susan, Peter and Janzi." Hah.

The bones never lie. Which means all the suspense in the story has just been tossed out the window. We know exactly what's going to happen to Eragon. We know that he's going to be betrayed by a family member. We know that someone close to him is going to die, probably Brom, because he's the only one around. He's going to fall in love with a noble woman (who's apparently a Mary Sue) and he's going to leave never to come back.

If you're going to do a prophecy in the story, don't give EVERYTHING away. Paolini just telegraphed his entire story out. There's nothing surprising going to happen now. We know what's going to happen.

If that doesn't get you going, Serious Ass gives Eragon advice to an uber magical object for when his power is insufficient and an uber magical weapon when he needs a weapon. They're in locations like the Vault of Souls. Which sounds uber neat and special and mystical. I don't think I can take any more of this.

I think the theme of this chapter is how special Eragon is. And how special he's going to be. Because that's all that happens in it. He's special. We know it.

The cat's name is Serious Ass.
[identity profile] kippurbird.livejournal.com
Chapter Of Reading and plots, Thieves in the castle.

Summary

Of the first chapter, nothing really of note happens except that Eragon learns how to read. In a week. He goes from completely illiterate to being able to slowly read a page without asking for Brom's help, in a week. The kid is that much of a fricking genius. Some other stuff happens in this chapter, like Brom coming up with a plan to get to the records and Eragon and Saphira not having enough quality time together. But really, Eragon learns how to become functionally literate. What else is there to say?

Eragon has a dream about a Mary Sue. That's what else there is to say:

"He saw a young woman, bent over by sorrow, chained in a cold, hard cell. A beam of moonlight shone through a barred window set high in the wall and fell on her face. A single tear rolled down her cheek, like a liquid diamond.

Eragon rose with a start and found himself crying uncontrollably before sining back into a fitful sleep."

If that's not straight out of a bad fan fic... I don't know my bad fic. This is a typical tragic Sue set up. She's not only in a cell, but she's chained into it. And she cries the signature crystal tear. And Eragon all of a sudden starts crying uncontrollably after seeing her. For no reason. No reason at all. He starts crying after seeing her in his dream. Who he dreams about for no known reason. It's even more random that that other dream he had. It's just... there. For no reason at all.

Now, if we remember correctly, Jeod said that it would take months to look through all the records to find out the right one about the oil. Months if they were lucky. It takes them a couple of hours to find it. Eragon is alerted by Serious Ass in his human form (that looks like a human boy... with a sprig of holly in his hair, for some reason) that guards were coming. Eragon lies how he knows this and they get out of the records room just in time. The guards, also coming from Evil Harry's minion school, helps them get away, not finding it all remotely suspicious that they were found right near the record's room and they were told that Brom, Eragon, and Jeod were there. Eragon even says to himself, "They're helping us get away!"

Then it's some boring stuff as they manage to make a guess where the Seithr oil went so they know where the Ra'zac went. They figure that they went to a place called Dras-Leona... where there's something called the Dark Gates. The evil creatures went to a place where there are things called the Dark Gates. Who'd of thunk?
[identity profile] kippurbird.livejournal.com
Chapters A costly mistake, A vision of perfection. When a chapter is called a "vision of perfection" my warning bells just go off and start screaming four alarm Sue. Anyone else's do that?


Summary

Brom and Eragon leave Jeod and Terim. They do not restock up on supplies. Eragon asks Brom about werecats we learn that they are Very Mysterious just like dragons and they liked getting involved in things. There's a lovely bit where Eragon questions Brom (finally) and says "you also know so much about dragonlore" but doesn't ask how he knows this. Instead he wants to know about Brom's past. Apparently, though Eragon is the center of a great conflict between the Empire and the Varden. (Who would have guessed?) They're fighting to control the next generation of dragon riders. Apparently there were only three dragon eggs left in all of Alagaesia. (Which now that I think about it sounds like something like a disease.) What I want to know is what happened to all the wild dragons. See, Paolini said that the dragons only gave up a few of their eggs to the Riders. So there should be wild, unattached dragons around. Where are they? And how can you have a next generation that's sustainable with only three eggs? We don't know how many eggs a dragon lays. They could only lay one at a time. They'll only hatch for the right person and it may take years for the egg to find the right person. It could take hundreds of years for the Riders to get to even a reasonable amount of numbers. Say... thirty. That's a long time. And what if all three dragons were the same sex? Then what are they going to do? They can't reproduce asexually, so there goes that.

But apparently that's not important. The fact that Brom worked for the Varden is. Whoever didn't see that coming needs to pay more attention. Brom even killed Morzan trying to recover one of the eggs (Saphira's egg). Another clue that Brom is/was a dragon rider is that the Varden asked him to train the next dragon rider that hatched out of the egg. Why would they do that if he didn't know anything about dragon riding from personal experience. It'd be stupid (of course everyone else in this book seems to have the intelligence of the average dirty sock... so who knows?)

Brom then tells Eragon that he has this choice of on if he should join the Varden or not. He initially says no. However, let us think about this for a moment. Eragon is our Hero. Galby is Evil. The Varden are the people fighting against Galby. Where do you think he's going to end up? There's no suspense. There's no choice. Eragon may say that he doesn't want to end up with the Varden because he doesn't want to get involved with their politics, but we already know that he hates Galby so the obvious place is to join up with the Varden. There's no suspense there. In fact, as soon as I heard about the Varden, I knew he was going to join up with them.

Oh and Brom knew Eragon's mother. He describes her as, "Fully dignity and pride, like Garrow. Ultimately it was her downfall, but it was one of her greatest gifts nevertheless... she always helped the poor and less fortunate, no matter what her situation." Eragon's mum is a Sue! It's inherited.

Then for no particular reason Eragon breaks his wrist. After seeing an Urgal foot print. They flee Eragon on Saphira and Brom on the horses. When the Urgals get near Brom, Eragon lands to distract them. The Urgals tell Eragon that their master wants to talk to him. His master rules the sky and holds dominance over the earth. Gee, I wonder who that could be. Eragon thinks that it's a third party. Would they be the shade of gray party previously not seen in this book? Eragon, in a fit of brilliance, instead of killing the urgals, throws them. Which saps him of his strength and leaves him to nearly die. Why the urgals are still around. And are not thrown that far. Fortunately (I suppose) Saphira has a bit of brains and flies off.

Eragon is saved and finds himself alone. He's just woken up after expending all his energy in a large magical feat, decides to try some new magic. Why hasn't he died from his own stupidity yet? I don't know. But we get a look at how useless Paolini's scrying is. First he scries on Saphira and Brom. He sees the two of them flying in a pure white surrounding. Eragon doesn't even get to see the sky if he's never seen that bit of sky before. Then he sees Roran sitting on nothing, no where. He doesn't know if his cousin has been captured or anything. We learn nothing except that Roran is still alive. Then for some reason he decides to scry on the girl he saw in his dream. For some reason this works! He actually gets useful information, that the girl is in a cell some where. And then she looks at him. OHMIGAWD HOW MEANINGFUL! HOW IMPORTANT! HOW NOT SUPPOSED TO HAPPEN ACCORDING TO PAOLINI FIVE CHAPTERS AGO!

Yes folks, Paolini just broke one of the major rules of fantasy writing. Do not break the rules of magic once you have set them down. Especially not for your hero.

But Eragon is just that special.

Brom then berates Eragon for doing what he did and not killing the urgals. Eragon doesn't want to kill them. I suppose this is to show that he's compassionate to even Evil Things. Or so that Brom could yell at him and tell him that he was an idiot thus giving him a flaw. Brom is very disturbed that the Urgals have a leader. He too thinks it's a third party. Just when I had hope for him. Ah well.
[identity profile] kippurbird.livejournal.com
Chapter Master of the Blade. This fills me with dread. The Mire of Dras-Leona

Summary

Our next chapter begins with a discussion of our Sue. Eragon didn't get a good look at her, yet he knew that she was beautiful. My guess is that her beauty out shone the shadows and darkness or Eragon was able to see the beauty in her soul. Brom has no idea how Eragon was able to do this and says so. If you're breaking the rules of the world, there should be a reason why, in the world why you can do this. There shouldn't be an "I don't know".

Eragon, because of his broken wrist, has to fight left handed. He soon becomes as proficient in the left hand as he was in the right hand. Now normally I would say that he's not that proficient at all, but this is Eragon we're talking about, so of course he's good. Limyaael says this about that sort of thing, "This is the part that bothers me the most about protagonists who’ve never picked up a sword in their lives, but jump into being experts who can best their teachers, the Dark Lord’s lieutenant, or even the Dark Lord himself in a few weeks or months. (It’s been a while since I saw a story that made the protagonist better in mere hours or days, thank whatever gods you believe in). Learning a sword is more than just visual demonstrations of moves. It’s learning balance, learning to read your opponents’ emotions, learning what little tricks will increase your chance of survival—see point 4—learning how to care for your weapon, learning how to estimate what different fighting styles there are and the best way to counter them, learning how to deal with sudden setbacks like a wound, and I’m sure plenty of things I didn’t cover." I think this says everything. Especially when Eragon beats Brom and hands him his ass finally in one fight.

Brom says this "I can teach you more of the sword. Of all the fighters I've met, only three of them have defeated me like that and I doubt any of them could have done it with their left hand." He smiled ruefully, "I may not be as young as I used to be but I can tell that you're a talented and rare swordsman." (243)

Eragon has been training for less than six months. Less than three months and he's ALREADY a master... with his off hand. This is impossible. Physically impossible. Unless Brom is a REALLY shitty fighter. Or we could believe Paolini and the fact Eragon is really an awesome fighter. Take your pick.

Then we learn about how wizards dual. Apparently defensive/pre-emptive magic like shields doesn't exist. The two magic users have to let each other into the other's mind so that they can tell what the other person is doing before they do it. Personally I don't know why you would do that, if I were a magic user like that, I would brain bash the person before they could even think about using their magic. Who cares about being fair. Brom says that "before you can defend yourself, you have to know the nature of the forces directed at you. If you're being attacked being attacked by heat you have to know whether it is being conveyed through air, fire, light or some other medium." (245) Bah, I say. If you know someone is throwing something at you, you throw up a general purpose shield. Or if it is heat, you throw cold at it. You don't know have to know how the heat was formed, just that it is heat. And if you're paying attention, you would hear the guy's words so you would know what it is that they're throwing at you. If the magic could be done by gesture or silently, then that might be a different story.

Then they get to Dras-Leona. In the background of the city is a mountain called the "Helgrind" it is an evil thing. But people are apparently fascinated with it and it was the reason why the city was built. The people of the city apparently worship ... wait for it... the mountain. Not spirits that live in the mountain. But the mountain. The religion is an evil thing. We know this because they drink human blood and make flesh offerings. The practice self mutilation because they feel that it makes you less attached to the mortal world. Their religious arguments are about which mountain peak is the highest and if the fourth one should be included in their worship. I think this is Paolini trying to create a religion. He apparently has missed the point of religion. Or the reason why people worship things. Or have religious dogma. It shouldn't be which mountain peak is the highest. There's nothing spiritual about that. It's not something that you can base a religion on. At least not a sustainable one. And does the mountain tell them to sacrifice people? Also, religions shouldn't be either good or evil. Because then why would you join up the evil religion? Of course, it could be said that only Evil people would join the Evil church. And the city is Evil, because they worship an Evil mountain with their Evil religion, and we know the people are evil because the city is filthy and there are poor people around who are deformed and there are beggars even. Which of course means that this place is evil. Squaller = Evil. And then Eragon wants to know how the rich people can live in ease when the suffering around them is so obvious. Obviously Eragon comes from some sort of head space where good people will always help the poor and since the rich people here don't do that they are Evil.

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