Let’s Read Eragon ch. 10 – 13

eragon_book_cover

Flight of Destiny

Sounds like there might be some adventure in this chapter!

Well, sort of. Eragon runs back home to warn Garrow about the evil dudes in town, but Saphira freaks out at their presence. He jumps on her back to try to calm her down and she takes off with him into the mountains, where they have to land and shelter for the night to stop Eragon from freezing to death.

I do like how Saphira has so far been presented as not possessing a personality and intelligence that’s entirely human-like. Her reaction to sensing the evil dudes is very animalistic, and while she’s able to comprehend the fact that whisking Eragon off was a bad idea, it takes a while before he’s able to express that idea in a way she understands.

(That’s all that happens, despite the overblown chapter title)

The Doom of Innocence

Are you serious

Will you take me home? he asked her. She cocked her head. I know you don’t want to, but you must. Both of us carry an obligation to Garrow. He has cared for me and, through me, you. Would you ignore that debt?

Eragon really doesn’t sound like a teenager. Actually he doesn’t sound like a real person, period.

Her thoughts reached him, red with anger. Blood will meet blood. I will fight. Our wyrds—our fates—bind us, but try me not. I will take you because of debt owed, but into foolishness we fly.

Hark! Thine yonder dialogue apes too strongly the imagined turgid sesquipedalian manners of old!

Flying on Saphira is actually quite uncomfortable for Eragon because her scales are super-sharp and cut his legs up something fierce. I’m always fascinated by how dragons are depicted as basically chimera of several different animals– most of the time snakes, big lizards, and bats. This business with the sharp scales seems to come from something like these guys.

The book cover actually makes Saphira look pretty stupid, now that I think about it.

When he spotted it, fear jolted him. A black plume with orange flames dancing at its base rose from the farm.

Owen-Beru-burned

Pieces of debris that he could not have moved normally now seemed to shift on their own accord. A cupboard, mostly intact, stymied him for a second, then he heaved and sent it flying.

Is Eragon getting super-strength now, or is this just supposed to be him hulking out from desperation?

Garrow is still alive despite being all burned up, so Eragon and Saphira decide to fly him to the nearest healer. This exhausts her to the point that she has to stop well before their destination, and Eragon drags him the rest of the way.

He gritted his teeth and began to drag Garrow down the road. The first few steps sent an explosion of agony through him.

This reminds me of a certain scene at the beginning of the Eye of The World where Rand drags his injured dad into town and it’s all grueling and shit. But I guess it’s not particularly fair to accuse Eragon of copying it, since they’re both just using variations of common tropes like the hero’s idyllic hometown getting attacked and his father/mystery uncle being murdered at the start of the adventure.

Despite what this chapter’s title would have you believe, there’s not a whole lot of innocence being doomed. In fact, we don’t even learn Garrow’s fate here, as Eragon sees Brom running toward him and then blacks out from exhaustion.

Deathwatch

Is that the name of Eragon’s high school band?

Dreams roiled in Eragon’s mind, breeding and living by their own laws.

Uh

Some of these dreams that are breeding and living by their own laws involve elves, which I assume means Eragon is having visions of the past for some reason. That’s the sort of ability that just comes with being a main character in a fantasy novel.

A man stood alone on the pebble beach, the only one who had not boarded the ship. He threw back his head and let out a long, aching cry. As it faded, the ship glided down the river, without a breeze or oars, out into the flat, empty land. The vision clouded, but just before it disappeared, Eragon glimpsed two dragons in the sky.

How Mysterious

Eragon wakes up in the home of Gertrude, the town healer, who informs him that he’s been unconscious for two days and Garrow isn’t doing well. Why was Eragon out for that long? All he did was drag Garrow for a bit and fly around on Saphira.

Garrow lay on a bed piled high with blankets.

She just said he’s got a fever, why is she putting  a load of blankets over him?

Eragon blathers for a while with a bunch of unimportant side characters, then contacts Saphira with dragon-telepahy to tell her that adventure isn’t going to be happening any time soon.

The Madness of Life

Okay now the book is just trolling me

Eragon wakes up in the middle of the night to find that Garrow has died. That’s all that happens, the chapter is like a page long.

We’ve now moved to the point in the typical Hero’s Journey plot where ADVENTURE starts, and the next chapter is really long, so maybe the book will stop boring my socks off soon.

 

 

 

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5 thoughts on “Let’s Read Eragon ch. 10 – 13

  1. callmeIndigo

    I skipped over the chapter titles in my original reading of this book because I was seven and didn’t care, so this is like a whole new layer of melodrama.

    I also didn’t remember all this stuff with Garrow dying as being a bunch of separate chapters, which reminds me of something else I saw noting that Paolini doesn’t know how to end a scene except by having someone fall asleep/get knocked out or wake up. I don’t know how true that is overall, not having read most of the rest of the series, but it does point to the fact that he clearly was not super aware that a scene and a chapter are different things. I feel like I see that a lot in low-grade fantasy and I’m not sure why [and this may be universal in fiction but all my non-SFF reading is nonfiction, so I don’t know. This has been a digression] but it kind of reads as a cheap way to add drama. I guess it is definitely less work than actually writing interesting and dramatic events in the first place.

    I am also realizing that I have an alarmingly encyclopedic memory of all the named characters in this book I haven’t read in ten years, and a few exact lines of dialogue, which is just weird.

    Reply
  2. Signatus

    ” A black plume with orange flames dancing at its base rose from the farm.”

    I guess saying, the farm was on fire, wasn’t dramatic enough.

    The problem I have with writers that focus so much in purple prose is that, most of the time they use such entangled expressions I struggle to get the imagery they were actually going for. I’m all for KISS. If there is absolutely no reason to use decorative writing, just go straight for what you were going for and focus on emotions.

    Here, in this particular excerpt, I would have gone straight for emotions and would have used the imagery to evoke them. Paolini has a thing for flowery words, purple prose and focusing on imagery and rarely, if ever, stops to use emotions. That’s one of the reasons his writing is bland and lifeless, and his characters sound unnatural.

    “Is Eragon getting super-strength now, or is this just supposed to be him hulking out from desperation?”

    I’m guessing Paolini was going for “subtly” showing how his link to Saphira was changing him. I wouldn’t have been so obvious but… I usually keep things about my characters hidden until certain points in the story, so as to keep the interest up, instead of tossing everything out in the first few chapters.

    “But I guess it’s not particularly fair to accuse Eragon of copying it”

    I guess not, but I admit I was not comfortable when I read this. To be honest, it could be a fluke as they are both common tropes. I remember a particular situation where, in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, the final battle with the basilisk seemed copied point from point from a battle with an old dragon in its lair in Richard A Knaak’s book The Legend of Huma. I doubt Rowling had ever read that book.

    In the case of Paolini, I’m not so sure, and I still don’t feel comfortable with the similarities. Although it is also closely similar to Star Wars with a little twist and maybe that’s what he was going for.

    “and then blacks out from exhaustion”

    You’re going to be seeing a lot of this as chapter endings. It seems as if Paolini is unable to cut a chapter at a certain point and thus uses sleep or blackouts as a way to move on to the next chapter. I admit this is harder than it seems. Some chapters seem to end perfectly, and you know it the moment you read that sentence and you know it’s right. Others make you struggle. But using blackouts is just lazy.

    “he’s been unconscious for two days”

    Look, I’m no doctor but I’m not sure blacking out for two days is actually something normal or it implies serious injuries. I know from a bit of reading that the typical case of hitting your head and blacking out for hours means serious head injury, so I don’t think this is much different.

    ” why is she putting a load of blankets over him?”

    I guess google hadn’t been invented by the time Paolini wrote this.

    “Okay now the book is just trolling me”

    I’m writing another book right now and I’m seriously considering not writing chapter titles because titles suck big time. And I’m using chapter titles like The Symbol and The Case, which are pretty self explanatory without revealing too much. Aside from using big words, I don’t know what Paolini was going for.

    *Reads on*

    Oh… now I remember this chapter. Am I the only one who imagines Eragon as a sort of old school videogame character without any facial expression at all? Because I know what you’re telling me, Paolini, I just can’t feel it.

    Reply
  3. Ben

    Even though I voted for the Wheel of Time books, I’m glad we’re doing Eragon, because the latter is really bringing the strengths of the former to the fore, when otherwise they’d be hard to see. Nothing makes sub-Tolkien fantasy look good like sub-sub-Tolkien fantasy!

    Reply
  4. UBM

    “sesquipedalian” – thank you for teaching me new words! 🙂

    In other news, still no adventuring…

    Reply

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