Chapter 14: A Rider’s Blade
Eragon wakes up following Garrow’s death, and is sad.
I can’t live with this, he moaned.
Then don’t. Saphira’s words reverberated in his head.
How? Garrow is gone forever! And in time, I must meet the same fate. Love, family, accomplishments—they are all torn away, leaving nothing. What is the worth of anything we do?
Have I mentioned that Eragon doesn’t sound like a teenager? Because he really doesn’t sound like a teenager. Or an adult, if we’re being honest.
The worth is in the act. Your worth halts when you surrender the will to change and experience life. But options are before you; choose one and dedicate yourself to it. The deeds will give you new hope and purpose.
But what can I do?
The only true guide is your heart. Nothing less than its supreme desire can help you.
Are Eragon and Saphira going to talk like this for the whole book? They are, aren’t they?
Saphira suggests that they pursue the
Stormtroopers strangers who killed Garrow (because it’s their destiny to achieve the impossible, or something) and after a bit of coaxing he agrees.
Doubt besieged him. It would be such a wild, desperate thing to do. Contempt for his indecision rose, and a harsh smile danced on his lips.
NONE OF THESE EMOTIONS MAKE SENSE
Nothing is more dangerous than an enemy with nothing to lose, he thought. Which is what I have become.
Eragon steals some leather for a saddle and some meat. When he retreats to the forest to make preparations for Adventure he’s accosted by Brom, who reveals (“reveals” since we already worked it out ages ago) that he knows Eragon has a dragon.
Don’t fool with me. I know where that mark on your hand, the gedwëy ignasia, the shining palm, comes from
Your garden variety fantasy author sticks apostrophes everywhere, but real masters of the craft use umlauts.
Brom can also use dragon telepathy to talk to Saphira, which boggles Eragon’s mind (he’s a former dragon rider, figure it out dude), and convinces her to trust him. Eragon reluctantly agrees to let him come along on their Dragon Adventure, and as they’re leaving Brom mutters ominously to himself for some reason.
“So . . . it starts again. But how and where will it end? My sight is veiled; I cannot tell if this be tragedy or farce, for the elements of both are here. . . . However it may be, my station is unchanged, and I . . .”
Why the hell would anyone say something like this to themselves? There’s literally no reason beyond delivering some mysterious dialogue to try and shore up the reader’s flagging attention. As a general rule, if your story has to go out of its way to tell us how interesting it is, it’s probably not very interesting at all.
“Greetings, Saphira. I am honored to meet you.” He twisted his hand in a strange
gesture and bowed.
I like him, said Saphira quietly.
Of course you do; everyone enjoys flattery.
This is the sort of stuff we could be doing with more of: less portentous as fuck faux-majestic Highe Fantasie dialogue, more endearing character moments where our protagonists seem like real people/dragons (in case you didn’t know, dragons are very personable in real life).
As the wreckage of the farm came into view, Brom’s eyebrows beetled with anger.
The tip of Saphira’s tongue snaked out and tasted the air.
They go to a safe clearing in the woods, and Brom gives Eragon a cool fantasy sword (IT’S RED AND ITS BLADE NEVER DULLS) that once belonged to a Rider. This is what gets me about a lot of high fantasy: so much of it has pretensions toward some sort of cultural importance, but at the end of the day a lot of it boils down to LOOK AT THIS AWESOME SWORD IT’S CALLED HEARTSTABBER AND ITS BLADE WAS FORGED IN THE DEMON-MINES OF KAZUULTHROK AND IT SHOOTS LIGHTNING BOLTS. Even A Song of Ice and Fire gets in on the act to an extent.
Brom is cagey about where he got the sword and claims that anyone can learn dragon telepathy and it doesn’t mean anything if they’re able to do it, which sounds like a really clumsy way of trying to hide a super-obvious twist.
And the strangers are the most important thing I need to know about right
now. Do you have any idea who they are?”
Brom took a deep breath. “They are called the Ra’zac.
Enough with the fucking apostrophes.
Brom tells Eragon that the strangers are actually inhuman creatures called Ra’zac, which have beaks and oh who am I kidding they’re wring-wraiths or Nazgul or whatever the fuck those things from Lord of The Rings are.
There’s a long, rambling conversation about how Galbatorix knew about Saphira’s existence, then another long rambling conversation about, like, whatever, it’s not interesting, who cares. The upshot is that Brom knows more than he’s letting on but won’t tell Eragon who he is.
Chapter 15: Saddlemaking
That’s an odd way of spelling “adventure” but okay, I’m sure this is where things get exciting.
When Eragon’s eyes opened, the memory of Garrow’s death crashed down on him. He pulled the blankets over his head and cried quietly under their warm darkness. It felt good just to lie there . . . to hide from the world outside. Eventually the tears stopped. He cursed Brom.
Wait, what? Why is he cursing Brom?
Brom announces airily that he knows how to make a dragon saddle. Eragon amazingly doesn’t remark on this, even though you’d think he’d put two and two together– the dude knows all about the Riders, including information that’s apparently been expunged for ages, he has a Rider’s sword, and he knows how to make a saddle for a creature thought to be nearly extinct. The saddle thing is actually way more of a give-away than any of those other facts.
I’m going to skip over the vast majority of this because it’s just a massive infodump about the design and construction of the saddle, but here’s a little sample:
The main part of the saddle was assembled from three identical sections sewn together with padding between them. Attached to the front was a thick loop that would fit snugly around one of Saphira’s neck spikes, while wide bands sewn on either side would wrap around her belly and tie underneath.
The entire day is spent on this; afterward Eragon and Brom plan out their pursuit of the Ra’zac, then they go to sleep for the night. In fact, a huge number of chapters end with Eragon either sleeping or blacking out, and start with him waking up; someone pointed this out in a comment on the previous post.