Finally, a chapter of reasonable length. I also want to say I really appreciate the likes I’m getting on these posts. I started this blog because I just really want to talk about the books I read but I don’t really know anyone who reads a lot. At least, not as obsessively as I do.
This blog is just a great place for me to ramble about books I read. I know a traditional review blog would probably do better and be more coherent – i.e. one blog post per book, but that just doesn’t let me waffle enough about nonsense. Huh. I guess I am the Paolini of book reviewers.
Strangers in Carvahall
We can infer from the title that it is going to go down at long last. We’ve been repeatedly told by Brom that Eragon cannot hide this forever. Now it’s going to get exposed. I imagine that Carvahall isn’t the place to often get strangers, so that’s how we know it’s going to be exciting.
We start the chapter by seeing Eragon having a moment of sadness seeing Garrow and Roran by the fire. He’s sad because he won’t see Roran for a couple of months, but it’s even sadder to think about on a reread because this is the last time that Eragon, Roran and Garrow will all be together. This is the last time that Roran and Eragon will be together at their farm. This is basically the time to say goodbye to the two young, simple farm boys. When they depart they will leave these personalities behind. Eragon will become the fantasy hero and Roran… basically will become this world’s answer to the Punisher.
Garrow gives the lads some advice, and I am going to look at this in the scope of the whole series as I tend to do. I am probably reading way to much into this. This won’t make any damn sense unless you have read the series already.
So first: “Let no one rule your mind or body.” Both Eragon and Roran become excellent at shielding their minds and both very concerned with the freedom of themselves and those they care about. There is also the massive element of ‘true names’ in this story and how powerful they are at controlling you.
Second: “Take special care that your thoughts remain unfettered.” This applies especially to Eragon because every faction tries to take hold of his loyalty, and he tries his best to remain impartial.
Third: “One may be a free man and yet be bound tighter than a slave.” This can refer to Murtagh, who is bound by his name and later by Thorn. It can also refer to Oromis and Glaedr, who are bound by their disabilities.
Fourth: “Give men your ear, but not your heart.” Both Eragon and Nasuada make an effort to support and listen to the people below them, but do not trust anyone without reason. Also how Eragon has to listen to the individual problems of people, but ultimately his duty is to the future of Alagaesia (I cannot be bothered to check if I am spelling that right) as a whole.
Fifth: “Show respect for those in power, but don’t follow them blindly.” Eragon second guesses Nasuada’s every move that displeases him even a little bit. Likewise, Nasuada massively respects Eragon but doesn’t let him talk back to her just because he’s a Rider. Also Roran’s actions when he’s trying to work his way up the ranks of the Varden in… Brisingr, I think.
Sixth: “Judge with logic and reason, but comment not.” Eragon, keep your damn mouth shut.
Seventh: “Consider none your superior, whatever their rank or station in life.” Everyone assumes Nasuada will be a puppet of the Council of Elders because she’s young.
Eighth: “Treat all fairly or they will seek revenge.” Both Elva and Murtagh.
Ninth: “Be careful with your money.” Roran, you cannot buy boats.
Tenth: “Of the affairs of love… my only advice is to be honest. That’s your most powerful tool to unlock a heart or gain forgiveness.” Eragon, leave Arya alone. Also relevant to Eragon’s mother’s story.
Okay, so we haven’t even left the house but this is going to be a very long blog post. Eragon and Roran comment that the farm is their whole world, which is quite interesting since they will both be going on some adventures all over the country in the future.
Also. What time did they leave the house? They comment that it’s still early when they get to Carvahall, but in a previous chapter it takes them half a day to get there. It is definitely still winter and we will later get more mentions of the snow, so it can’t be the weather. Plot hole?
Horst then tells Eragon that the ra’zac are here. Horst says that they made his skin crawl but doesn’t really say why. I don’t know whether I like this line or not. On the one hand, I feel like he should give a reason as to why he doesn’t like them, other than the fact that they’re dressed in black. On the other hand, I think it kind of lends an air of mystery to the strangers.
I also think that it’s interesting that Eragon doesn’t seem to think that the Empire sent the egg to the Spine. He says that either whoever had the egg has come for it or the Empire has tracked it down. This suggests that he doesn’t think they’re one and the same. He also thinks that they may not know what it is, like he did originally.
I like that Horst tells Eragon “I didn’t warn you because I thought you needed to meet those men!” Like he assumes Eragon is immediately going to go and confront them. I think it’s quite funny, everyone thinks Eragon is this stubborn kid who questions everything. He’s such a typical fifteen year old. I like that he’s a total reckless doofus and doesn’t immediately act like the chosen one.
Also Horst is so lovely? Throughout the whole series he is just so nice to everyone. What a great character. I might put him as my… fifth favourite (Nasuada, Roran, Murtagh, Orik, Horst, at the moment).
Sloan is busy being the standard ‘bad guy’ and telling the ra’zac where Eragon is. To be fair though, if some creepy strangers in your town on Important King Business asked you something – probably something innocuous like “hey we’re looking for a blue stone that went missing, have you seen it?” – you’d tell them? I am again going to chalk this up to Eragon’s bond with Saphira making him behave like an idiot.
I like the description of the ra’zac’s voice being “deep and moist” but it’s totally unnecessary to then say “it conjured up images of creeping decay” because deep and moist already kind of suggests that. We then get more clunky description about what the ra’zac look like which definitely could have just been incorporated into their conversation with Sloan. They see Eragon and he freezes. We later learn that this is a hunting tactic that they use, but I like how it’s brought up here without being explained.
Brom appears, and again I think he is making an attempt to get Eragon to confess to being a Rider. He brings up the ‘trader’ again and then takes a gander at the mark on Eragon’s hand. We will get confirmation that he definitely knew at this point, but I still think he was aware from the start!
Brom then whistles a merry tune. We’d immediately assume this is because he’s just discovered that Eragon is a rider, but I think he’s doing it because he reckons he’s going to kill the ra’zac.
Also this post is over 1.3k words. I think I went overboard analysing Garrow’s advice.