Let’s Read Eragon ch. 6-9

eragon_book_cover

BACK ON THE LET’S READ TRAIN CHOO CHOO. As per the totally legit and 100% democratic poll I did, we’ll be alternating between this and Wheel of Time.

Tea For Two

This sounds exciting.

Eragon sashays over to Brom’s house, where he meets his soon-to-be mentor leaning on a wooden staff covered in “strange markings.” Is Brom a wizard? If so, what position will he occupy on the Zedd scale of wizard quirkiness? How twinkly are his eyes?

Above his white beard, a proud eagle nose hooked over his mouth and dominated his face.

The way this is worded makes me picture Brom with an eagle glued to his face.

Eragon noticed a gold ring on his right hand. Light glinted off a sapphire, highlighting a strange symbol carved on its face.

GUYS DO YOU THINK THIS IS GOING TO BE IMPORTANT

Make room for yourself, but by the lost kings, be careful. This stuff is valuable.

By the lost kings, indeed.

Eragon asks Brom about the dragon riders, feigning simple curiosity. I’m getting confused about how much of this world’s backstory the average person actually knows, as Eragon says that people revere them and want them to return, but also claims not to know anything about them.

Now, about the Riders, or the Shur’tugal, as they are called by the elves

“Shur’tugal” is one of the most awkward fantasy words I’ve ever seen. It looks so much like what it is: a random jumble of syllables with an apostrophe thrown in for no reason.

Eragon settled back and listened to the man’s mesmerizing voice.

Don’t tell us his voice is mesmerizing; make his dialogue mesmerizing and let us come to that conclusion.

[Dragons], the dwarves, and a few others are the true inhabitants of this land. They lived here before all others, strong and proud in their elemental glory. Their world was unchanging until the first elves sailed over the sea on their silver ships.”

As far as I know none of this is directly the same as the history of Middle-Earth, but it still seems way to familiar too be a coincidence. It’s like Paolini took the same concepts– fantasy races, wispy elves with silver ships, migration across oceans– and shook them up to get them into a slightly different configuration.

“Where did the elves come from?” interrupted Eragon. “And why are they called the fair folk?

Well Eragon, in 1892 a man named JRR Tolkien was born and…

Brom blathers for a bit about how the elves and the dragons fought a totally sick war, which ended when an elf named Eragon found a dragon egg. Current-day Eragon is like “woah” and Brom is like “Yeah, right?” but we don’t get an explanation for the shared name (although I’m totally assuming that Eragon is either an elf or half-elf).

Past-Eragon raised the dragon to be his dragon-buddy, and together they negotiated peace and established the Riders, because apparently the dragons thought being turned into subservient mounts was an acceptable end to the war (I think the elves might have pulled a fast one on them).

Wait I just thought of something, is Galbatorix actually past-Eragon under a different name? Is he Eragon’s dad?

He cared for it secretly and, in the custom of the ancient language, named him Bid’Daum.

I take it back, “Bid’Daum” is even worse than Shur’tugal.

“What does Eragon mean?”
“I don’t know,” said Brom. “It’s very old.

I can’t possibly begin to guess what it could mean. Can you guys? Leave a comment if you figure it out.

Dismay swept through Eragon. How can I hide my dragon in the years to come? He raged silently, but kept his voice calm.

I can just feel his dismay and rage.

There’s a whole lot of talking about various subjects– dragons are immortal and their Riders will live as long as they do, blah blah blah– and then Brom drops this amazing piece of information:

Along with this, a human Rider would slowly acquire pointed ears, though they were never as prominent as an elf’s.”

Seriously dude? The riders get pointy elf ears? That’s incredible.

“I’ve been trying to recall the name of a certain dragon, but it keeps eluding me. I think I heard it when the traders were in Carvahall, but I’m not sure. Could you help me?

Eragon is being as subtle as a stick of dynamite during this whole conversation.

Brom starts listing a load of dragon’s names, and at the end whispers “Saphira” really quietly. Again: GUYS I WONDER IF THIS IS GOING TO BE IMPORTANT.

A Word of Power

This chapter opens with some guff about Eragon’s adoptive brother Roran getting married that I’ll skip because PFFFFT. Afterwards Eragon goes to see his dragon.

Eragon.
“Is that all you can say?” he snapped.
Yes.
His eyes widened at the unexpected reply, and he sat down roughly. Now it has a sense of humor. What next?

Joaks

Eragon tells the dragon that he doesn’t want Roran to leave, then decides to name her. It’s only during this scene that he realizes she’s female, and suggests the name Saphira (what did I tell you?).

A-Miller-To-Be

This is just follow-up on the Roran thing: he announces to Garrow that he’s leaving the farm to work in a mill so he can save money for his marriage, Eragon is sad, Saphira comforts him. Still not interesting.

Strangers In Carvahall

Adventure? Please?

Nope, first we have to read Roran’s going-away scene. Garrow transforms from a belligerent asshole into Wise Dad Guy to deliver some generic platitudes like this:

“First, let no one rule your mind or body. Take special care that your thoughts remain unfettered. One may be a free man and 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.

And wear sunscreen! And remember that swimming is the best exercise!

I’ve heard that Paolini inserts a lot of his personal beliefs obtrusively into these books, and I wonder if this is an example. It sure sounds like the kind of guff I’d come out with when I was fifteen.

Eragon looked back and surveyed the land. His eyes lingered on the lone buildings. They looked pitifully small and fragile. A thin finger of smoke trailing up from the house was the only proof that the snowbound farm was inhabited.
“There is our whole world,” Roran observed somberly.

Maybe it will burn down soon so the adventure can start.

Eragon goes with Roran into town on his way off. Horst the butcher accosts him and tells him to get rid of the blue stone that he found, as some shady characters have been asking around town for it and he thinks Eragon might be in danger.

Eragon hangs around the butcher’s shop and overhears Sloan, the shifty-looking guy from earlier, telling two evil dudes that Eragon has the blue stone. How do we know they’re evil?

“When did this happen?” The words were smooth, like oiled glass, and seemed to worm their way through the air.

[…]

A third person spoke. The voice was deep and moist. It conjured up images of creeping decay, mold, and other things best left untouched.

They’re SO EVIL you guys.

The words were derisive. There was a pause. “Your information has been helpful. We will not forget you.”

MUAHAHAHAHA

Can you picture these guys doing something normal, like buying food at a shop?

Evil Dude: Ah, I see you have the pickled herring today. I find it most… delicious.

Shopkeeper: Can I get you anything else?

Evil Dude: *Leans over the counter* You tell me.

Eragon runs into Brom while skedaddling.

He offered a gnarled hand. Eragon shook it, but as he let go something in Brom’s hand caught on his mitt and pulled it off. It fell to the ground. The old man picked it up.
“Clumsy of me,” he apologized, and handed it back. As Eragon took the mitt, Brom’s strong fingers wrapped around his wrist and twisted sharply. His palm briefly faced upward, revealing the silvery mark. Brom’s eyes glinted, but he let Eragon yank his hand back and jam it into the mitt.

I seriously can’t remember what this is referring to.

I think that’s going to be all for this post, I’m not sure I can handle all this adventure.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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5 thoughts on “Let’s Read Eragon ch. 6-9

  1. JDZelenka

    “I take it back, “Bid’Daum” is even worse than Shur’tugal.”

    Paul Muad’Dib (Bid’Daum reversed) is the protagonist of Dune. Paolini has always been lazy when it comes to names, even by today’s standards.

    Reply
  2. Aaron A.O. (@AaronAO)

    The Dragon Riders are the Jedi, so that’s why people inexplicably don’t know anything about them even though they’ve only been gone for 19 years. In defense of Star Wars the Jedi were in decline for centuries before they were betrayed and wiped out so it’d make sense that most people already forgot about them while they were still around, but the Dragon Riders don’t seem to have been in decline when they were wiped out.

    Reply
  3. Signatus

    “people revere them and want them to return, but also claims not to know anything about them.”

    That’s one of the problems with this book’s consistence. Riders have been gone for about 100 years after ruling the land for thousands of them. There should be heaps of lore, customs, legends and knowledge about these people and yet the inhabitants of this world live as if they had never existed. I mean, lets go to TES Skyrim, which I’m pretty sure it has issues of its own. Dragons were gone for thousands of years, and yet you find heaps of references to their existence, from the mounds, the Voice, High Horthgard and dragon priests only to mention a few, and that’s without getting into the deep lore about Talos and the descendants being of dragon blood themselves. I mean, you do FEEL the existence of these dragons in the past, it has become part of the people.

    In Eragon it’s as if they never existed, at all.

    “but we don’t get an explanation for the shared name”

    You know? It would have been as easy as saying, “hey, it’s a pretty common name, ya know?”, like say you were named Peter, even when Peter was (if I’m not mistaken) the founder of the Catholic Church, or John, even when there was a North American president called John Fitgerald Kennedy. I mean, my father’s and brother’s name is John for no other reason than the fact it’s a friggin common name. That historical figures share these names and can, in time, popularize them, should come as no surprise.

    But no, in Eragon world there has only been another Eragon, an elf who was the first dragon rider. (HINT HINT).

    “the dragons thought being turned into subservient mounts was an acceptable end to the war ”

    I guess inspiring themselves in the domestication of wolves-dogs was too commonstream for Paolini.

    I mean, lets think about this. Wolf domestication still has a lot of questions, and there are several hypotheses about it, such as the Coppinger one which talks about camp wolves and pups being raised by humans into tameness, from the more recent Kamisnki theories where cooperative hunting eventually lead to domestication. Either way, after that first event humans have been pretty darned good at domesticating beasts such as horses, aurochs, camels, antelopes, buffaloes, cats (questionable), fish, rodents, birds, goddamned prey birds, and even foxes (see Belyaev’s experiment with domesticated foxes).

    Is it really so ludicrous to think that creatures such as elves or humans could have gotten into a land full of ravaging wild beasts and found a way to domesticate them? Turning them thus into what they are essentially, overhyped winged horses.

    “The riders get pointy elf ears?”

    I’m not one needing explanation for everything in a book but at least I’d like for things to make a little sense. Why would they get pointy, elf ears? Because the first riders were elves? That makes no fucking sense. It would have been way cooler if we saw something similar to Dragonheart (the Sean Connery movie), where riders would slowly get part of the brutish, predatory instincts of dragons and had to fight against them. It would also be a pretty darned cool explanation of why some riders turned to the dark side, they gave in to the dragon instincts.

    “overhears Sloan, the shifty-looking guy from earlier, telling two evil dudes that Eragon has the blue stone.”

    I know we are supposed to hate Sloan but in real life, if someone came asking me who own the black Renault parked in the street in front of my house I’d probably say it is my neighbours (I’m making the whole car thing up), and I wouldn’t be evil. I mean, these guys could be CIA and I wouldn’t have to know my neighbour is in any sort of shady business,

    I see no evil doing from Sloan. Some dudes came asking for the stone and he is simply being polite and helpful. He has no reason to know these dudes are going to butcher Eragon’s family to get the stone and I really don’t think Sloan would have revealed that information if he had known as much. It’s one thing to be a bit of an asshole and another causing indirectly the death of a whole family.

    “I seriously can’t remember what this is referring to.”

    Dragon riders get marked the moment they touch the egg with the Gedwey Ignasia of whatever, a silvery mark in their hands. I don’t think this is mentioned much as the book progresses tho.

    Reply
    1. Signatus

      Also, what’s with these terrible writers and people’s eyes glinting? In one of my books certain characters show a caracteristical glow in their eyes at night, but that’s mostly because they have tapetum lucidum, as they’re friggin werewolves. People’s eyes don’t “glint” just like that.

      Reply

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