I hope that anyone who actually read the nonsense that was my first post enjoyed it. Honestly Shade of Fear is the worst chapter in the entirety of the four books, in my opinion. From here it will only get better.
While I intended to make one post per chapter, it turns out some of the chapters are a lot shorter than I originally thought so I might have to start combining them if needs be. I’ll try not to though, if anything just to keep the organisation neat.
Right from the get go, this chapter starts setting up Eragon’s character as a hunter. I like to think that this plays into Eragon’s character arc in Eragon as a whole when he begins hunting the ra’zac (I’m not capitalising that). The brief telling of his hunt of the injured doe could even parallel his arc in the rest of the book if you squint a bit. He’s on a hunt for his life through rough terrain and conditions most people wouldn’t even contemplate. It’s an interesting parallel, even though I don’t really think it was intended.
The immediate set up of Eragon’s rough journey and his hunting is a good way to juxtapose the events from the prologue. In Shade of Fear we had three inhuman races fighting it out with magic. There was a mysterious object and an evil creature. It was high-fantasy stuff. Then in Discovery we’re brought back down to earth with a simple farm boy hunting for food to survive the winter.
We get a bit more of that clunky description when it comes to describing Eragon. Instead of working how he looks into the action (“Eragon wiped his hands on his work-worn trousers”) there’s a lot more telling (“His clothes were worn from work”). As you’d expect from a book written by a young writer, it’s worse at the beginning. The clunkiness will lessen, I promise.
When Saphira’s egg appears, it’s another moment that I like to think of as part of Eragon’s character arc. Her egg scares away the herd of deer, which he was hunting to feed his family. However, it replaces that need to hunt for food with the events that will lead to his hunt for revenge.
While the reader might instantly get excited about the egg since it’s so clearly magical and you know, there’s a picture of a dragon on the front cover, it’s a great moment of characterisation when Eragon immediately thinks “It might pay for some food.”
Discovery is already an improvement on Shade of Fear, but it still suffers from some of the same clunkiness. It’s a good setup for Eragon’s character though. It shows us his personality and his identity as a hunter. We can take away from this chapter than he’s daring (“He was the only hunter near Carvahall who dared track game deep into [The Spine’s] craggy recesses”), he’s from a poor family (“His family needed the meat for the rapidly approaching winter”) and that he’s curious (“he warily picked [the stone] up”). Those traits define Eragon a great deal throughout the series, and they’re all set up right away.