Quick Read: Eragon ch. Something

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We’re once again entering that magical time of year when assignment deadlines and looming exam preparation begin piling up into the stratosphere, which means that from now until the 11th of May posting will be quite sporadic. In fact, there’ll probably only be one post, but it will be substantial. This should be the last time this happens, unless I somehow end up in a PhD program.

Fate’s Gift

Is it time for dragons yet? I was promised dragons and I feel cheated.

After getting back from Carvahall, Eragon dicks around with the magic stone/egg by hitting it with things to see what happens. It’s very dull.

Merlock said the stone was hollow; there could be something of value inside. I don’t knowhowto open it, though. There must have been a good reason for someone to shape it, but whoever sent the stone into the Spine hasn’t taken the trouble to retrieve it or doesn’t knowwhere it is. But I don’t believe that a magician with enough power to transport the stone wouldn’t be able to find it again. So was I meant to have it?

Maybe this is just me, but I have this pet peeve about authors over-using first-person narration in third-person books. There’s no reason this couldn’t just be presented as part of the regular narration, especially considering how long and involved it is.

The other problem with this is that it reveals Eragon to have an exceptionally boring inner voice that’s indistinguishable from the regular prose, except that it’s in first-person. Contrast with Wheel of Time, where the characters’ thoughts sound like their dialogue.

Later that night, Eragon is woken from sleep by a squeaking sound.

Where was the noise was coming from? Nothing could be in the floor or walls; they were solid wood.

Modern houses are terrible at keeping out mice and rats, I’m pretty sure Eragon’s old-timey farmer pad isn’t going to fare any better.

The noise is of course coming from the egg, which rolls off the shelf Eragon put it on and breaks apart in agonizing slow motion (everything in this book takes forever to happen) to reveal a baby dragon.

Awakening

What is even the point of having a one-page chapter? Is it just so you can end with the SHOCKING REVEAL of the dragon?

The dragon was no longer than his forearm, yet it was dignified and noble

What’s dignified and noble about it? The way it’s holding itself? Paolini seems to have had a bad habit of over-describing physical aspects of the story but skipping right over less tangible qualities, even though they’re often the more interesting parts.

Actually while we’re on the subject, have a free writing tip: things like a character’s body language can tell the reader far more about them than their appearance. Unless you’re writing romance, maybe consider skipping the exhaustive catalogue of your hero’s piercing cobalt orbs and thrusting chin and tell us how acts in a crowd.

The wings were several times longer than its body and ribbed with thin fingers of bone that extended from the wing’s front edge, forming a line of widely spaced talons. The dragon’s head was roughly triangular. Two diminutive white fangs curved down out of its upper jaw. They looked very sharp. Its claws were also white, like polished ivory, and slightly serrated on the inside curve.

In other words, it looked like a fucking dragon.

A hollow where its neck and shoulders joined created a larger-than-normal gap between the spikes.

OH MY GOD NO ONE CARES

Eragon shifted slightly, and the dragon’s head snapped around. Hard, ice-blue eyes fixed on him. He kept very still. It might be a formidable enemy if it decided to attack.

Our boy Eragon is overcome with emotion, as usual.

A smile tugged at Eragon’s lips as he looked at the small creature.

Eragon smiled. Drop the passive voice.

He touches the dragon and it seems to establish some sort of psychic connection with him, conveying the fact that it’s hungry. After he feeds it, it curls up on his bed and goes to sleep, because I guess baby dragons are just like puppies.

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^Image inserted for illustrative purposes, and also because of floof pupp

He faced a painful dilemma: By raising a dragon, he could become a Rider.

Can’t you just feel his pain?

Eragon’s dilemma(/minor divergence on the otherwise eternally straight highway through a featureless desert that is his life) is that by raising the dragon he could become a Dragon Rider, but if the king found out he’d make Eragon join him, or put his entire family to death if he refused.

How does Eragon know this? If Gabatorix killed all of the other Riders more than 100 years ago and there haven’t been any more since (I checked the wiki, Eragon is the first new Rider since Galbatorix’s rise to power) then the situation couldn’t have come up before. Does he send notices to all the villages in the kingdom like “Hey, in case any of you ever find a dragon egg and raise it, you better join me or I’ll slaughter your family. You know, just in case.”

(By the way, I forgot to mention this before, but the epic story of how Galbatorix betrayed the Riders includes the detail that he killed their leader by kicking him in the balls and cutting his head off. True villainy, people.)

He slid a finger over its thin wing membranes. They felt like old parchment, velvety and warm, but still slightly damp.

I don’t know what kind of parchment you’ve been using, but you may want to consider changing to a different brand.

The problem was convincing Garrow and Roran to let him keep the dragon. Neither of them would care to have a dragon around. I could raise it in secret. In a month or two it will be too large for Garrowto get rid of, but will he accept it? Even if he does, can I get enough food for the dragon while it’s hiding? It’s no larger than a small cat, but it ate an entire handful of meat!

Are dragons really common or something? Eragon is about as shocked by all of this as someone waking up to find that their dog has unexpectedly given birth to puppies.

He makes a kind of hut in a tree for the dragon to stay in and uses dragon-telepathy to tell it to hide there, which works just fine and dandy (what, no hi-larious capers where he has to keep it hidden from his uncle and what’s-his-face?).

That night he brooded about all the things that could happen to a small and unprotected animal. Thoughts of ice storms and vicious animals tormented him. It took hours for him to find sleep. His dreams were of foxes and black wolves tearing at the dragon with bloody teeth.

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“I sure hope nothing happens to my dragon.”

He found the dragon awake and safe, watching the sunrise from high in the tree. He fervently thanked all the gods, known and unknown.

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“Oh look the dragon is safe.

Hooray.”

Its growth was explosive; it would soon be safe from most dangers. The dragon doubled in size in the first week. Four days later it was as high as his knee.

You know what also grows really quickly? PUPPIES. Check this out:

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That’s the same doggie as in the earlier photo, three months later. Look at how big and chunky she is :3

When they found a clearing, he would settle against a tree and watch the dragon soar through the air. He loved to see it fly and regretted that it was not yet big enough to ride.

I don’t know why Paolini bothered with all of this dragon-raising setup, he was clearly as bored by it as I am.

A single word rang in his head, deep and clear.

Eragon.

It was solemn and sad, as if an unbreakable pact were being sealed. He stared at the dragon and a cold tingle ran down his arm.

Eragon.

A hard knot formed in his stomach as unfathomable sapphire eyes gazed back at him. For the first time he did not think of the dragon as an animal. It was something else, something . . . different.

 

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“Hey the dragon is talking to me.

How about that.”

And with that, our Quick Read comes to an end. This book is very, very boring and I don’t want to read any more.

 

 

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5 thoughts on “Quick Read: Eragon ch. Something

  1. Lissa

    I really hate the passive voice in this book. “Eragon smiled” is much more concise and less awkward than “A smile tugged at Eragon’s lips”.

    Reply
  2. zephyrean

    > In other words, it looked like a fucking dragon.

    Nonono, dragon designs are a big deal in fantasy art.

    “A hollow where its neck and shoulders joined created a larger-than-normal gap between the spikes.”

    So exactly how many baby dragons did Eragon see so that he knows how wide a normal gap is?

    > By the way, I forgot to mention this before, but the epic story of how Galbatorix betrayed the Riders includes the detail that he killed their leader by kicking him in the balls and cutting his head off. True villainy, people.

    Whoa, this is grand. I like the guy already.

    > I don’t know what kind of parchment you’ve been using, but you may want to consider changing to a different brand.

    Aaaargh he doesn’t even know his fantasy cliches well. Old people’s (and mummified corpses’) skin is typically compared to parchment, because it’s wrinkly, dry and cold. A dragon’s wing membrane in this book is warm and moist, so exactly the opposite of parchment.

    Reply
  3. UBM

    Must … resist….. the …..adorable … puppy…… 😉

    Oh, was there something else except cute puppy pics? On a more serious note, I got this book as a present shortly after release. I remember getting about as far as you did before putting it aside and never touching it again. I didn’t even find it offensive or anything – it just bored me.

    Reply
  4. Signatus

    Pity, I was having a lot of fun with this QR. Was hopeful it would turn into a full LR.

    Anyways, this first quarter of the book is tedious. I like origin stories, but not when they take ages to get going. There was absolutely no reason to slog through all this shit. Eragon could pretty much have started as the last surviving member of a pretty much extinct colony of hidden dragon riders, right after the war or during the war, and we would pretty much start with an adult character who is already trained in the arts of riding.

    I mean, Harry Potter has an origin story and it’s not as boring as this.

    Reply

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