Okay, so even though I left my second job I’ve been working really late so I’ve had absolutely no time. It’s the weekend now though!
Also, wow. I began this draft weeks ago and then thought I lost it. Back to it! Really glad I managed to get it back.
Du Sundavar Freohr
Autocorrect’s going to have fun with this chapter. We start off with a sentence that I’m not sure is grammatically correct. I mean it could be – I’m not an English teacher – but it doesn’t seem to read correctly to me. “The first things Eragon noticed were that he was warm and dry.” I feel like there should be a ‘which’ in there or something.
It’s curious that Eragon immediately comes to the conclusion that he cannot use magic because he is drugged. Wouldn’t it be more likely that he’d believed someone had used a spell on him? He’s been taught a lot about magic by now by Brom, but he is still just from a very small town. Considering their healer mostly just uses things like herbs, what would he really know about drugs?
Anyway, Eragon is in prison. I like how dopey and happy drugged Eragon is. He think that it’s nice that a prison guard brings him food. It’s cute.
Eragon realises that he is in a place inhabited by humans, but he was captured by urgals. Once again, we have a seriously massive hint that the urgals are with Galbatorix. I’ll forgive Eragon for not working it out this time because he’s drugged.
“He sat on the cot and gazed into the distance. Hours later…” Same, Eragon. Do this all the time at work. Tricky stuff.
Unnecessary simile alert! “He dragged himself to the door, blinking like an owl.” It’s not really a relevant place for a simile. Nor is an owl relevant.
This will later be explained by the existence of the eldunari (am I capitalising that?), but for now it seems like an awfully convenient coincidence. Arya, the elf woman Eragon has been dreaming of, is also in this prison. Eragon is now fuelled by the desire to free her. Also, I know that the elves are supposed to be beautiful, but Arya is really generic. She has “long midnight-black hair” and a “slim waist”. “Her sculpted face was as perfect as a painting.” Eragon of course, immediately falls in love. I will however, excuse this, because Paolini later seems to try and rectify the stereotypical beauty of Arya. Here she is described as ‘exotic’ but later in the series I believe she’s described with olive skin and almond shaped eyes. She’s also described as looking different enough to have to change the appearance of her entire face to fit in with humans. So I’ll give Paolini a pass for trying to make Arya a bit less boring later on.
We then get the shade! I’m glad that Durza dies because he is basically every fifteen year old’s first character for anything. He has pale skin and bright red hair for God’s sake. Pointed teeth as well. To a fifteen year old (and to ten year old me), Durza’s description must have sounded very cool and scary. Now it just reads like a joke.
Anyway, Eragon decides to stop eating and drinking in order to counter the effects of the drugs. He does well, and as the day goes on the drugs start to wear off and he’s able to begin to feel his magic again.
Durza decides that it’s time to interrogate Eragon. Of course he has “a smooth voice.” God. I really cannot wait for this character to die. On the plus side, he is easily the worst antagonist so at least we won’t have to endure this again.
I know I’ve just spent an entire paragraph complaining about how much I dislike Durza, but I actually like his conversation with Eragon. Intentionally or not, I feel like it subverts the idea of the all-knowing antagonist getting the upper hand on the dumb kid.
Eragon prepares himself for the conversation by thinking the following: “I have to act like I don’t understand what’s going on. I can’t show surprise, no matter what this person says.” It sounds a bit silly initially, because Eragon’s just a kid who barely knows what’s going on. Yet, it miraculously works. I like it largely because it seems like this type of tactic shouldn’t work.
“His breath caught as he looked into the shade’s face. It was like gazing at a death mask or a polished skill with skin pulled over it, giving the appearance of life.” Okay, so we will learn, later I think, that a shade is just a person possessed by evil spirits. We also learn that Durza was once just a normal person before he became a shade. So why does he look so freaky? Did he do this to himself (like the filed teeth) or is this a side effect of becoming a shade? Why did his eyes and hair turn red?
Eragon is pretending to be drugged. He realises that Durza is trying to trick him into giving up his true name so that he can control him. He gives a fake name, which is quite risky. I’m going to assume that Durza has never heard anyone’s true name before. Eragon gives his name as ‘Du Sundavar Freohr.’ This means ‘Death of the Shadows.’ I say that Durza must never have heard anyone’s true name before because when we later learn more about true names (although we never learn Eragon’s actual true name) we learn that they are more of a description of the person. So Saphira’s name reflects her characteristics as well as the fact that she is the last female of her race. Glaedr’s is so long that his name is basically a paragraph. Based on this, it’s unlikely that Death of the Shadows is a realistic true name and therefore Durza doesn’t actually know much about true names.
We also know that Galbatorix is a master at finding out people’s true names. He is also searching for the true name of the Ancient Language, so I know during this reread that true names are his favourite weapon. This is probably why Durza is immediately trying to find out Eragon’s name.
Durza leaves, after successfully being intimidated by Eragon. We leave the chapter with Eragon determined to get his magic back.