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Small Rebellions

We’re still with Nasuada.

Make her go away.

She wants Murtagh to come back to free her from her agony…

Instead we get her jailer.

Read more... )
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The sound of his voice, the touch of his hand

There’s one big thing that annoys me about this chapter. The most interesting thing happens at the end and we’re just told about it, not shown. It could just be because I find Murtagh more interesting than some of the other characters, but still.this chapter could have been much better handled if it dealt with this last big instead of what I had to read.

What we get is Galbatorix torturing Nasuada. It seems like he’s making up for all that not evil shit he did in the previous three books by being horribly evil in this book. And really, I can’t very much defend my stance on him not being evil here and instead can only complain about how cliched evil he’s being here. He’s so evil that he’s making other people do his evil for him! In this case it’s Murtagh.

Poor baby.

Read more... )
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The Wings of a Dragon

This chapter is Eragon, Saphira and Glaedr flying off to find the Vault of Souls.

Now the interesting thing here is that Glaedr is coming with them even though he can’t remember why they’re going to this place they’re going because of that spell. Glaedr did volunteer to go, but I’m just wondering why he’s not saying every so often “Where are we going?” Admittedly Glaedr has been quiet for a good part of the trip, but whatever.

Read more... )
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The Torment of Uncertainty and The Hall of the Soothsayer

Two Nasuada chapters for the price of one! Yay?

“Nasuada opened her eyes”. Great opening to the chapter.

She is tie to a flat, cold, smooth and hard surface. She is also in a room with some really interesting designs on the ceiling. However, I’m not exactly sure how she’s able to see them. Especially in such detail. Including the fact that the colors are red, blue and gold. Why? Because it’s very dark in the room.

First of all the tiles covered the dark vaulted ceiling and the little bit of light here is barely bright enough to show the size and shape of the room. The ceiling is dark. The corners are dark. Everything is dark. And as far as we know, Nasuada doesn’t have any low light vision to help her see things better. Yet she could still see those intricate patterns. Why? Because Paolini wanted to have the room be visually interesting and needed to describe it… damn be the fact she wouldn’t be able to see it!

Read more... )
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Well, in this chapter we learn that Eragon has good ideas and bad ideas.

He’s getting ready to secretly fly out to the mystical magical dragon city that no one remembers and so he needs to tell people that he’s going. Apparently he needs to tell a lot of people that he’s going because they’ll notice he’s gone. He tells the elves because they’ll need to create a fake Eragon and Saphira. He tells all his guards because … they won’t be guarding him. He tells the other leaders because they’re the other leaders. The way he supposedly gets around the people possibly talking about him not being there is by making all these people swear an oath of secrecy in the ancient language.

Which is all well and good except for one, small tiny itsy-bitsy problem: Other people have probably heard what Eragon has been saying. Common soldiers, washerwomen, pages, nameless NPCs that are all over the place. After all we know from previous chapters that the tent walls are very thin - Eragon did hear some soldiers talking about him without them realizing he heard them, so what would stop others from hearing him - especially when he said it loud enough that the entire group of his guards could hear it in front of his tent.

But this is clearly something that doesn’t matter to Eragon because they are just nameless NPCs doomed to existing in the background and thus not real people. He’s talked to all the real people that matter - the named PCs and NPCs - the Nighthawks count as named NPCs because they’re “the Nighthawks” even if individuals aren’t recognized by any sort of name. He doesn’t have to worry about these non-entity NPCs because they’re just painted figures in the matt background or computer generated canon fodder.

Other than that, this was a PERFECT plan.

Beyond, you know, telling a lot of people your secret plans…

Next chapter - Nausada!

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Questions Unanswered

Aka: more things acting as filler.

Eragon decides that he wants to go and visit this vault of souls or what not. The See Also wasn’t very helpful. It just said that the guy was one of the first riders to explore the island. Ooh.. So the city is on an island…. perhaps that makes MUCH more sense. I just wish he mentioned it earlier. If he did, I didn’t notice it.

He tells Arya and Gleadr about what happened with him and Solembum, however the dragon and elf have been hit by a forgetting spell. Whenever Eragon speaks the name of the place he wants to go to, they forget it. Which is a very annoying story device. I never liked it in particular. Perhaps other people might, but it seems just like a way to create false conflict and mystery. And why is it that only one person can remember it sometimes? And what about writing it down? I’m sure there’s a way to work around it or something, but it just feels lazy. Though, I’m sure there’s pretty good stories where this happens, but I haven’t read them.

Also, the amount of power that would be required to wipe EVERYONE’s minds… I mean if you can do that really… there’s lots of things you can do. Because that’s a lot of power there. I suppose you wouldn’t have to effect EVERYONE in the entire world, just the people in the continent, but still, that’s a hella of a lot of people.

And they just go round and round in circles for several pages before Eragon figures out that Arya and Glaedr can’t remember what he’s saying. Saphira does. And for an actual decent reason, her and Eragon’s minds are perma-linked and entwined. Though it’d be nice if it didn’t have to be done in the first place.

In any case it’s decided that Eragon will go to the dragon rider’s city.

In a nice little bit, there’s a moment where Eragon hesitates because he sees that Arya wants to come. He nicely, apologetically says that he can’t take her because Saphira can fly faster with one. And she agrees with him but is still wistful. It’s a really human moment and I wish there could be more of them.
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Fragments, half-seen and indistinct

I’ve decided I hate this chapter. It’s one of those Dues Ex Machina chapters where the characters miraculously get information without really needing to dig for it and there’s no good explained reason for it to have happened. The characters can’t explain it - just happens.

Also, for some stupid reason Solembum’s eyes change colors. I don’t care if I get an explanation later, I’m sure it’s going to be stupid. Though one thing I do enjoy about this chapter is Solembum’s continual insulting and threatening of Eragon. It’s always nice to see that happen. He threatens at one point to tear Eragon’s face off and feed his guts to the crows.

Happy thoughts.

If only it would happen.

Read more... )
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A Maze Without End

This is… This is an interesting chapter. This is a chapter of Eragon dealing with Consequences and fears of becoming the leader of the Varden. Which is actually a legit thing. He spends the chapter wondering why him? Why did Nasuada do this to him?

Which we know the answer to: Only PCs can take control over the Rebel Organizations even if they’re fifteen, sixteen years old and have no experience with it whatsoever.

The entire chapter, the entire conflict could have been avoided if Nasuada actually did something sensible and gave the job to Jormundur her second in command. The guy who has been helping her run things and knows the ins and outs of everything that the Varden does. Besides? Isn’t Eragon needed for doing Fighty Stuff? I’m fairly certain he is. So he’s incompetent and in charge and can’t give up the position because he’d look weak. And GOD knows he can’t look weak.

anxiety of reason )
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Conclave of Kings

In which injury and near death is made into nothing, kings are switching around their characterization for the sake of conflict and just because your leader vanishes automatically means disbanding is on the table even though said leader has been a leader of an organization for less than two years.

Checking the Checklist )
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The Word of a Rider

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



What is this chapter?

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

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

In which a great deal of previous chapters are irrelevant. )
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By the Banks of Lake Leona


So, I started reading the next chapter, being a good little bird and keeping my momentum going… got about two pages in, got seriously pissed off, slammed the book shut and stalked off. But I have returned to the effort! And will get beyond two pages.

What, then, might you ask, had me so incensed?

Eragon’s treatment of Elva.

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

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

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

That was pointless.

And the Walls Fall... )
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The Tolling of the Bell & Black-Shrike-Thorn-Cave

… Wow. This chapter is so short… I mean, I haven’t seen a chapter this short in a while. It’s less a chapter and more of an afterthought. If I realized that I would have included it with the previous chapter, after all it’s mostly a clean up of the battle.

And that’s basically what happens. They go and search the area after killing everyone to recover their weapons which just happen to be laying around the chapel. As you do. Just like in a video game. They find his sword under a bunch of bodies, the ring Brom gave him under a pew and his necklace wrapped around the handles of the bier. Ayra’s sword is also found among the bodies, but the belt wasn’t there. When he tries casting a spell to find the belt he can’t find it. So basically, the bad guys took all of their shiny magical objects but hid only one of them. The others they just left lying around for no particular reason. Why didn’t they hide all the shiny magical objects?

Read more... )
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Infidels on the Loose

In this chapter we learn that Angela is an ever bigger Mary Sue than Eragon - which is saying something.

Angela comes striding in and covered in blood, which Eragon suspects isn’t her own. Because Angela is Just That Good. She’s only got cuts and scratches after getting kidnapped by those guards. Though, one would assume, since she’s been cut, that the cuts bled somewhat and so there is blood on her clothing. She says the boy is an idiot because he didn’t know that he just had to break the crystals surrounding them. I’m sure that’s something they taught novitiates. “Here’s how you break our special structures”! As opposed to “these are holy objects, don’t touch”. But Angela knows it so obviously everyone else should. Though we have no indication that Eragon does.

Read more... )
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To Feed a God

The thing I really hate about this chapter is that it reinforces the whole beauty = goodness theme that’s been riding through the series. Because the one person who decides to help Eragon and Arya is one of the beautiful youths novitiates as opposed to the ugly and maimed ones. (Also those oiled slaves from book three show up again.)

Apparently Eragon passed out again. I don’t remember if I’ve been keeping track of these things yet. I guess he failed his jump check. He wakes and discovers he’s been strung up in chains. Also gagged. While this means he can’t talk this entire chapter, we’re stuck in his head. Not that much is going on there. He’s also been stripped to his leggings with all his weapons, armor, shiny magical objects have been taken away from him.

just hanging around )
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First: Shameless self promotion: My book, now available!

Under Hill and Stone

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

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

read and puzzle )
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The Way of Knowing

What are we knowing?

Who knows.

Knowing that this book will never end?

What we get is some lovely telling. No really. We’re told that Eragon asks after her and that she answers briefly. Really. That’s pretty much it almost word for word. With all the other expositing and rambling Paolini does in this book, a brief exchange between two main characters right before they spar is too much? How does Eragon greet her? The text says, “as he had done every day since arriving at the city”.

Which is how?

They then start their spar, using shields this time because “it was closer to the reality of actual combat, and it introduced a welcomed element of variety into their duels”. While I don’t really have a problem with them using shields and I do think it’s going to be used in combat, the two of them have been in combat before and I don’t recall them using shields

More knowing )
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Not a full analysis but some quick notes I've had while reading it.

Saphira and her missing scale.

This is the funniest line so far in the book: Reaching out, he traced the diamond-shaped hole on the left side of her snout, where the object of her consternation had so recently been ensconced. Also, how it is an inch deep? Those are some big and deep scales, possibly heavy too. I don't think scales work like that, but I'm not sure and too lazy to double check.

Also, Eragon, why are you wasting magical energy to create a ward for such a tiny space?

They're bored.

I'm bored.

The siege is going well - for the other guys. As the Varden appear to be running low on food. Wait... here they mentioned the fact that armies will take food the surrounding areas like locusts but the one with Roran didn't touch any of the estates!? I'm not sure who the idiot is any more.

Elva tells Nasuada to fuck off instead of helping her. Good for her.

And then we get to king Orik who is making a ball of mud. Apparently he has nothing to do since his army is just sitting around. And I'm like, really? You're king of an entire dwarf nation and you've got nothing to do!? Everything is done? Just because you're waiting for a battle, doesn't mean that you still don't have kingly duties to do.

I can't say that I've ever seen a king in any story I've read that's not been terribly busy unless they've got an evil vizier working for them. Being king means being busy all the time. There should be constant reports from his home, taxes, rulings, petitions. Even if he's not at home things still need his attention.

Kings, like all leaders, are always busy. It's the price they pay for being leaders.

No, the entire reason why Orik is just sitting out there is because Paolini wanted to have him making this ball of mud. It should have been character development, but it just feels shoved in and so wrapped up with the ball of mud - which in other circumstances could be interesting.

No. Wait. It is character development. We've just learned that Orik is a bad king. He doesn't think that there's anything for him to do because the army isn't going into battle. It's not the character development that Paolini wanted, I'm sure, but it is character development. After all, everything a character does develops them.
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No rest for the Weary

Nope. None for me. .. Oh, we weren’t talking about me? I don’t see why not? I’m allowed to have feelings too!


This chapter goes back to Roran.


The chapter starts with Roran showing us that he’s coming along the ax-crazy path just as nicely as his cousin. He sees Nasuada’s Speshul Guards, the Nighthawks standing outside the room she’s in. They consist of two humans, two dwarves and two urgals.

… wait.

Wouldn’t it be better to have some of the guards inside?

There better be more guards inside.

*looks ahead*


I’m not saying that you shouldn’t have people not guarding the door, but I think it would make sense to have at least SOME of your elite guards, actually, you know, guarding you in sight. That way they don’t have to open the door and get to you just in case someone managed to get through... say the window or sneak in disguised as someone. There’s all these pages running around and there aren’t any magicians apparently checking everyone at the door to make sure you are who you say you are.

This is just me, thinking.

I know they’re supposed to be like the Secret Service or something, but I’m fairly certain that in a strange and hostile territory the Secret Service wouldn’t be letting Obama alone with a bunch of people, especially when you can use magic to disguise yourself.

Though, no one has done that, have they?

Mind control, sure, but shapeshifting, I can’t recall.

Anyway, I digress. Roran comes up and sees the Nighthawks as he’s approaching Nasuda’s offices.

The ‘Hawks have flat empty, eyes and Roran kept his face equally as blank as he stared back. Empty eyes =/= blank face. Empty eyes generally means devoid of soul, life, mind, anything going on upstairs. Blank face generally means trying not to show your emotions, not having a lack of emotions. Eyes =/= face. You can have a blank eyes but an expressive face. Generally that’s how you know something is wrong.

But it sounds good.

Roran knows that they’re trying to figure out how to kill him.

Why? Because he’s trying to figure out how to kill them.

Not if he was in their position he’d be trying to figure out how to kill him. He’s trying to figure out how to kill them.

Despite the Nighthawks’ lack of expression, he knew they were busy figuring out the fastest and most efficient ways to kill him. He knew, because he was doing the same with regard to them, as he always did.

I’d have to backtrack as fast as I could … spread them out a bit, he decided. The men would get to me first; they’re faster than the dwarves, and they’d slow the Urgals behind them.… Have to get those halberds away from them. It’d be tricky, but I think I could—one of them, at least. Might have to throw my hammer. Once I had a halberd, I could keep the rest at a distance. The dwarves wouldn’t stand much of a chance, then, but the Urgals would be trouble. Ugly brutes, those.… If I used that pillar as cover, I could—


Actually, I think, if the Urgals are faster, there’s no reason why the men would get to him first. They could just push through. Though I don’t know how they’re set up.

I feel like rolling initiative.

I have a character in the epic fantasy I’m writing. At one point he is with a group of others and lays out, in rather chilling detail exactly what he would do to take over the kingdom that belongs to some of the other people in the group. Why? Because these are things he thinks about for fun. You know what else? He’s evil. Or at least seriously dark gray. He gets weirded out looks when he explains this and then yelled at by his brother.

Honestly, though, I think what he’s trying to do here is a “Sherlock Scan” like in the Robert Downey Jr. Movies. Planning out the attacks so he knows what to do. It’s to make him look like a tactician, perhaps. But instead, in this circumstance, it looks like he’s trying to kill his allies.

The guards have every right to try and figure out how to kill him; it’s their job. But why is Roran trying to figure out how to kill them?

Sure, there’s paranoia, but it’s not presented like this. It’s presented like a game he’s doing.

This is cemented when the door opens and some of the guards twitch at the noise.

Several of the guards twitched, distracted, and their stares wavered for a second. Roran smiled as he swept past them and into the room beyond, knowing that their lapse, slight as it was, would have allowed him to kill at least two before they could have retaliated. Until next time, he thought

Since when has Roran gotten superspeed that it would take him less than a second to kill two people, especially when he’s not in front of them right away. At least, I don’t think he is. Unless we’re talking about D&D terms again, when a combat round is 6 seconds. But even then it usually takes more than one hit to kill someone who isn’t a minion (4th ed). And I’m assuming these guys aren’t minions. And they wouldn’t be caught off guard completely. A second isn’t really enough to stop focusing completely on a possible threat.

It’d be one thing if it was Eragon, but Roran’s still human.

Last I checked.

He smirks at the guards and saunters in. Nasuada is in a room with a bunch of peoples and she’s yelling about how she doesn’t care if it gives someone a pain in their “ goiter”.

Which is throat or glands in their throat.

Which is not the image I think he was going for.

I don’t think...

She’s talking about how he needs to get her these horseshoes even if it is a pain in his goiter. If they don’t have the horseshoes then they might as well eat their horses.

All the people are nodding in agreement. This is apparently good leadership qualities. Getting people to nod in fear of you.

As one, the men she addressed answered in the affirmative. They sounded somewhat intimidated, even abashed. Roran found it both strange and impressive that Nasuada, a woman, was able to command such respect from her warriors, a respect that he shared. She was one of the most determined and intelligent people he had ever known, and he was convinced that she would have succeeded no matter where she had been born

I haven’t seen any signs of intelligence from her. Determined, yes, but intelligence no. I’m not sure how to respond to the whole she’s a woman so it’s impressive bit. It’s like he’s trying to show that even though she’s a woman she can do awesome things, but he’s sort of telling instead of showing. Like he does everything else.

After sending eight warriors away with their heads hanging and sending a page out with a note for some dwarf, (after frightening the boy “half out of his wits”) Nasuada turns her attention to Roran.

She wonders how he’s doing. He mentions about the baby and how he wasn’t sleeping well. She wants to know if he was apart of the vigil for the baby. He did not. He went to sleep.

Then she tells him she wants him to go to Aroughs to help end the siege. He has less than a week to do so. Roran admits he has no experience with breaking sieges and she should send someone else. Unfo -- I mean conveniently - - there’s no one else she can send. Martland, he who got his hand cut off is suggested, but she says you can’t ride a full gallop with one hand, because he’s going to be riding horses at full gallop changing them every ten miles.


You stay on the horse with your legs, thighs and knees. That’s how you’re supposed to do it. Mounted archers? Ride and shoot, while at full gallop. Hey mom no hands.

Also you can’t ride a horse at a full gallop the entire time. The horse would keel over and die. I’m pleased that we’re switching horses every ten miles, but even so a horse can’t ride that far all the time at a gallop.

So. Really. This is just stupid plot convenience.

Also because of this:

There are others among the Varden who know more about the arts of war, it’s true—men who have been in the field longer, men who received instruction from the finest warriors of their father’s generation—but when swords are drawn and battle is joined, it’s not knowledge or experience that matters most, it’s whether you can win, and that’s a trick you seem to have mastered. What’s more, you’re lucky.”

Lucky doesn’t always mean good luck.
Also, I’d rather trust someone who had experience and training than someone who just runs in hammer swinging like a mad man. You know, someone who knows how to lead, and plan and have tactics. Though I suppose Roran is supposed to have that too.

The line, “it’s not knowledge or experience that matters most, it’s whether you can win,” is utterly... nonsense. Generally it’s knowledge and experience that lets you win. You shouldn’t count on luck. Lady luck is a fickle woman, often leaving those who need her most.

Anyway, since he can fight. Follow orders (when he wants to... which generally doesn’t mean you’re good at following orders.) and lead a raiding party he’s clearly ready to lead a group of about eight hundred men in a siege.

He’s getting promoted to captain, temporarily. I didn’t even know he had a rank before this. Apparently he didn’t. But now he gets one. Or something. And if he does good he may get more rank, if not he’ll get busted. Or something.

Out of the men sent there earlier only eight hundred out of a thousand are still fighting condition. I dunno... that’s pretty good in my books. If it was eight hundred no longer in working condition, then they’d have a problem.

Also, now that I think about it, once the siege is broken, are they going to do with the city? You still need to hold a city when the siege is over. Which requires men. So, she’s sending Roran to break the siege and then bring the men back without leaving any to hold the city.

Why is she smart again?

When Roran asks to take some men with him, she allows it.

She then gives Roran his orders and commission asking if he knows how to read. He doesn’t. Roran didn’t figure he ever needed to, since he can count and do figures. One really doesn’t have anything to do with the other. But since he was a farmer he didn’t really need to.

For once Nasuada comes up with something intelligent to say. She says that he needs to learn how to read because he has to be able to read orders. If he can’t then the underling who reads it for him might give him wrong information. This is a VERY good point. This is also probably why nobles ended up as officers, because they had this skill.

Finally he asks if he can see Eragon before he goes. Nasuada wants to know why and he says that the spells that Eragon put on him for protection are wearing off as opposed to … saying good-bye... yea God Roran he’s your only family left and the only reason why you want to see him before you leave is for some extra buffs? Good guy there. Yup.

He’s told he can’t see Eragon to get his buffs because Eragon is exhausted. Apparently this was visible in the visit with the were-cat king. I checked the chapter. There’s no mention of exhaustion or being tired there. Hello informed attribute of plot convenience.

She’s also pissed that Eragon healed the girl’s lip, noble as it may be, because it drained him enough that he might not be able to fight against Galby if he decides to show up. He needs to horde his strength. Because you know, that girl’s lip should have taken up SO much energy, unlike the time he cured CANCER.

He agrees that she’s right and he shouldn’t ask Eragon for such protections. When he leaves, Nasuada says that he should be careful and not burn the entire city down. Because they’re hard to replace.

As opposed to all the life that will be lost if he burns it down. I’m not sure if she’s joking or not though, as we don’t get a description of how she says it.

So, what do we have with this chapter: Roran getting a promotion because he’s a PC. Nasuada showing she’s a brilliant leader by giving Roran the promotion, thinking that once you break a siege you can just leave the city, terrifying her underlings which means she’s a good leader. And we’re killing horses again.

Poor things.
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Rudely into the Light

Miss me?

I know I did.

We begin with Eragon feeling concern for Elain as she screams in agony and labor. Actually, the exact line is, “He had spent the better part of the day watching men fight and die—killing scores himself—yet he could not help but feel concern as he heard Elain’s cries of anguish”. So, apparently he thought that watching people die and killing uses up concern? Or is he so blood thirsty that he didn’t think that he’d be able to feel concern for her? Or even though he wasn’t emotionally invested in what happened around him during all the fighting he’s surprised that he can feel concern for Elain.

I think what gets me is the phrase, “yet he could not help but” … put after the fact that he watched all sorts of people die. He didn’t feel concern when they all died, because they didn’t matter. But a person he knows matter. It’s all about known NPCs and Minions. Minions aren’t allowed to have emotional responses from the hero.

He, Roran and Elain’s sons sit around listening to her scream and are useless. As well are other men from Carvahall who are friends with Horst. While the women are helping the midwife with Elain. CROWD THE TENT.

She still hasn’t given birth yet.

People are worried that she hasn’t given birth yet.

Arya comes out and Eragon talks to her. He wants to know how the birth is going. She says it’s going badly so he wants to know if she can do something. Arya says that she could have sung the baby out in a half hour, but she can only use the simplest spells to help. The women are afraid of her and her magic. Eragon has a brilliant suggestion.

“Then tell them you mean no harm. Tell them in the ancient language, and they’ll have no choice but to believe you.”

So, basically he’s telling her to talk in a language they don’t understand to tell them that they should trust her. Sure she can’t lie in the ancient language, but how do they know she’s telling the truth. She could be saying the sun is warm, or Eragon is an idiot or hey look I see the ground and they wouldn’t know the difference! WE through Eragon know that you can’t lie by speaking the ancient language, but THEY don’t. And even if they did, they still don’t know what she’s saying.

Arya doesn’t say that. Instead she says that if she tried that they would think she was trying to charm them against their will and send her away.

This pisses Eragon off and he decides he’s going to go in and do something about it. But Arya stops him saying that disturbing them would be disturbing “customs that are older than time itself”.

I’m not really sure how that works.

I don’t even think the Doctor could pull that one off. The only thing I could think of that could possibly even remotely do that is Galactus. And that’s because he was actually an alien that was at the end of time and then was shoved into our universe at its big bang, if I recall correctly, from some Comic Book Means. Other than that the only other person I could think of who could do that is Alec, but he doesn’t count because he’s a Gary Stu and not even a published character.

:P I love you too.

Oddly the second reason that Arya gives for not disturbing them is that it would embarrass and anger Gertrude, the midwife. Traditions are more important than embarrassing someone. And embarrassing someone and traditions are more important than saving the baby’s life. Because the women will totally hate you if you save the baby and mother’s life.


Right then.

She goes back into the tent and Eragon goes back to sitting around twiddling his thumbs. ISN’T THIS EXCITING!? I know I’m tense. What’s going to happen!?

Meanwhile The color of the sun shifted, becoming orange and crimson as it approached the terminating line of the earth. The few tattered clouds that remained in the western sky, remnants of the storm that had blown past earlier, acquired similar hues. Flocks of swallows swooped overhead, making their supper out of the moths and flies and other insects flitting about.

Why is it so hard to say “horizon”? What is wrong with the word “Horizon”? The terminating line of the earth brings nothing to the description beyond me imagining a large “x” on the horizon. (I don’t know why, but I do.) This is yet another instance of Paolini trying to go for descriptive and just ends up looking silly by overdoing it. More words do not make it more descriptive. Sometimes - such as in this case - it completely ruins it.

This is also silly: When the sun touched the earth, it spread out along the horizon, like a giant yolk oozing free of its skin. Comparing the sun to breakfast is never really a good thing unless you’re trying to be ridiculous.

Or inspired!

”Yolk )

The baby is born... and it gets... weird.

It ended as the loud, hiccupping wail of a newborn child emanated from within the tent—the age-old fanfare that announced the arrival of a new person into the world. At the sound, Albriech and Baldor broke out grinning, as did Eragon and Roran, and several of the waiting men cheered.

Their jubilation was short-lived. Even as the last of the cheers died out, the women in the tent began to keen, a shrill, heartrending sound that made Eragon go cold with dread. He knew what their lamentations meant, what they had always meant: that tragedy of the worst kind had struck.

The wailing and lamentations that is going on here reminds me of the sort of things that I want to say happen in less technologically developed cultures. The ones that are … well like the Orcs or possibly Nasuada’s Emo Chicken folk. Eragon’s people strike me as more like yea old stereotypical fantasy culture which corresponds to roughly Medieval Europe. If I were to try to describe their unpositive and tragic response to something I would use words like “cries of despair”. And are they just crying out or are they saying anything? Keening is a word I often associate with animal noises.

In any case, something bad has happened.

Arya comes out and grabs Eragon. The men try to ask her what happened, what’s wrong, but she just says that Eragon needs to come with her now. Inside the tent, Arya tells him what’s wrong. The child was born with a “cat lip”. I think that’s a cleft palate.

Then Eragon understood the reason for the women’s outpouring of grief. Children cursed with a cat lip were rarely allowed to live; they were difficult to feed, and even if the parents could feed them such children would suffer a miserable lot: shunned, ridiculed, and unable to make a suitable match for marriage. In most cases, it would have been better for all if the child had been stillborn.

I am honestly unsure of how to react to this paragraph. It appears that Eragon’s culture will kill babies with cat lips; “they were rarely ALLOWED to live” as the text indicates. So that means that someone has to choose to kill them or let them die.

Now I know that babies with this problem are hard to deal with. My uncle was one such child and he died when he was about two. (I think. My grandmother went a bit crazy after he died and sort of expunged all signs of his existence. It was only after she died did we find a sign of his existence; one single framed photograph. My dad remembered because he was older.) And I know that they often die without help and what Paolini is saying here is correct about the baby. (Though I’m not sure about the stillborn bit.) It’s just that this is suddenly very harsh and grim and there for a Terrible reason.

Why is it there? So Eragon can heal it.

Yes. Paolini has inflicted this horrible thing on this baby JUST so Eragon can heal it. How do I know this? Because Arya tells Eragon that he has to heal the baby. Eragon wants to know why she can’t because she’s obviously better at healing than him. Says the guy who cured a person from cancer. IDK.

I just don’t know.

Has Eragon forgotten all the healing he’s done? He fixed a guy’s scars. He cured cancer. He did all these things. And NOW suddenly he’s having healing inadequacy feelings? Why? So he can feel like he’s done something amazing, I guess.

Why can’t Arya do it? Because apparently elves are suddenly child thieves. Elves who were considered to be paragons of everything good and the dragon riders and based on Tolkien’s elves and we’re suddenly throwing in fairy lore into this mix? Four books in? Have we seen any dislike for elves from the Varden and all the Good People?

So where the hell did that come from?

The hell of “I need an excuse to make Eragon and not Arya heal the baby so he can look awesome to put in some false tension into the story.” It’s a special hell. Worse than the one they reserve for child molesters and people who talk at the theater.

Reluctantly Eragon agrees to do it, but he’s afraid to be responsible for such a thing. Unlike the time he cured cancer.

Look, once you cure cancer, I don’t believe that you can’t heal anything. I don’t forget what I’ve read in previous books. You cured cancer. This should be a cakewalk for you.

I have no sympathy.


Zero. Zlich. Nada.

The fact that this is put in here, complete with clog dancing over canon, just so you can look good doesn’t help matters either.

So, Eragon goes into the tent and everything is horrid. The women are crying and rending their clothes. I don’t think making such a big production of of this is such a good idea. I mean, the baby’s just been born, it hasn’t had a life yet. By making such a big production, when they’re possibly going to kill it, will make it harder on the mother as she forms an attachment. What would have been better is that they take the baby and deal with it quietly. Then they tell all the men that the baby died. It’s buried quietly and done. I know I’m the one sounding callous here but it’s more realistic, I think, than what’s happening here.

But they’re making like the eldest son has come home dead. And blah blah. Babies died a lot in societies with their technological levels. This shouldn’t be causing such a fuss. The intentionally killing it thing is probably a bit much... but babies died even without the cat lip normally. Infant mortality was high back then. It sucked, but it was a way of life. This is overly dramatic and unrealistic. It’s only there because, as previously mentioned, Eragon needs to be made to look good.

He goes to where Horst and Gertrude are - Elain is nearly out exhausted - and Horst wants to know if Eragon can do something for her. Eragon says he hopes so (he cured cancer). Then he takes the baby and say Gertrude wants to go with him to make sure someone who knows how to take care of a baby is there just incase. Eragon doesn’t want her to come along but then realizes that she’s probably insisting to make sure the baby isn’t swapped out as a changeling child.

And they couldn’t do this with Arya beeecaaaaasuse?

Oh, right. Eragon has to be the Hero.

So, he takes the baby. And they decided to walk ALL THE WAY THROUGH THE CAMP to Eragon’s tent. People are pointing and staring at them as they go. Because they couldn’t commander a nearby tent. They have to go ALL THE WAY through the camp to get to Eragon’s tent. Why? So Elva can glare at Eragon meaningfully. Meaningfully in the “Don’t screw this up like you screwed me up” glare meaningfully.

Even though this is totally different. Eragon blessed Elva and but he’s basically doing a cure cancer thing for the baby, which he’s done before. Why is this here then? So that we can introduce Elva.

And then he walks into his tent vowing that he doesn’t want to hurt the child.
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