Right, so we have a definitely answer on what an league is thanks to Wikipedia: “On land, the league was most commonly defined as three miles.”
“The length of a mile could vary from place to place and depending on the era.”
Okay whatever this won’t even come up much. What on earth a league is will only be really relevant when Eragon and Murtagh go cavorting about the Hadarac Desert.
Deathwatch. Well, today I learned that ‘deathwatch’ is a word. I was going to make a point about hey, shouldn’t the title be ‘Death Watch’ but that’s proven me wrong. Thanks, spellcheck (also one word!?)
And we have a vision of the future! Let’s dissect it bit by bit, as I am wont to do. Spoilers for Inheritance, but obviously this whole series of blog posts is spoiler-riffic as I just pick and choose bits of later books to bring up early on to make a point.
First: “He watched as a group of people on proud horses approached a lonely river.” I’m not sure where present Eragon is viewing this from; I think he’s just watching it from above. This is their approach to the river that leads out of Alagaesia to the east.
Second: “Many had silver hair and carried tall lances.” They’re elves.
Third: “A strange, fair ship waited for them, shining under a bright moon.” It’s strange because the elves sing their ships into shape and Eragon obviously isn’t familiar with this. Although to be fair, when would he have ever seen a ship?
Fourth: “The figures slowly boarded the vessel; two of them, taller than the rest, walked arm in arm.” Future-Eragon’s ego playing up here. This is him and Arya. He is not taller than the other elves. At this point he is like 17 or 18, if that.
Fifth: “Their faces were obscured by cowls, but he could tell that one was a woman. They stood on the deck of the ship and faced the shore.” The woman is Arya. She’s not saying goodbye to Alagaesia, she’s turning to look back at the shore because she has to return there.
Sixth: “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.” Roran! He’s upset because he just had a kid and now Eragon is leaving rather than sticking around to play uncle.
Seventh: “As it faded, the ship glided down the river, without a breeze or oars, out into the flat, empty land.” Pretty self explanatory. The ship leaves. The empty land is empty because it’s unknown; Eragon is probably seeing it like this in his dream because while I believe he has seen maps of Alagaesia before, he has no idea what lies beyond.
Eighth: “The vision clouded, but just before it disappeared, Eragon glimpsed two dragons in the sky.” Saphira and Firnen. I always thought this would be Saphira and Thorn, but it was not to be!
Eragon wakes and he doesn’t know where he is. Again, this is a time when the long paragraphs of description are acceptable. He’s taking in his surroundings which makes it feel more natural.
Okay so Gertrude, the healer, explains that due to a lack of rooms at her place, Garrow is at Horst’s. Why would you not keep the more injured person at the healer’s, where he can be seen to 24/7? She then asks how Eragon got the silver mark on his hand and this happens: “Several possible answers came to mind. He chose the simplest one. “I’ve had it ever since I can remember. I never asked Garrow where it came from.” We really don’t need that first sentence of internal thought. It’s pretty clear that he’s chosen a simple explanation.
Eragon leaves the house and there is still snow. I can’t remember what I decided the season currently was but I am going to say mid to late December.
Horst lives in an excessively decorated house that he used all his skills to build. I’m not 100% confident in my blacksmith knowledge, but I don’t know that it includes building houses. Then again, his hobby could be carpentry or architecture.
So Eragon goes to see Garrow and it’s not looking good. His burns won’t heal (again, this could have been such an interesting thing to include later in the series) and he won’t wake up.
People then start to become suspicious of Eragon and we get a bit more unnecessary internal dialogue from Eragon. We don’t need to know he’s about to lie immediately before he lies about something we saw happen. He makes some half decent excuses, although how did nobody notice the damn dragon flying around the farm? Surely she’s visible from however far away Carvahall is?
Horst then adds to his reputation of being a great character and reminds everyone that it would be stupid to go chasing after the ra’zac. His son then asks “how could they have destroyed the house except with dark powers?” Which is interesting, actually. How did the ra’zac destroy the house? We discover later that the ra’zac are unable to use magic so that can’t be it. We will learn that they’re strong, but not that strong. As in, Roran held one off for a bit at one point and he’s not superhuman. I don’t think that it was caused by fire because the only burns found on Garrow were from the seithr oil, so the fire can’t have been devastating enough to destroy the whole house surely? So either it was a fire and I am wrong… or maybe the ra’zac had called in at least one of the lethrblaka?
There is then a paragraph of description of a knot in a table. I get that Eragon is distracting himself but it’s a bit unnecessary. I do however like that’s he’s so preoccupied with his thoughts that he doesn’t realise that Saphira is mentally shouting at him. I think it’s interesting that he’s so used to mentally communicating that he assumed someone is trying to get his attention in the room.
Also, I highly doubt this is intentional (what else is new?) but Saphira calls Eragon ‘stone-ears’, and later on Orik frequently calls him this or ‘stone-head’ as well. I just think that’s quite cute that the people closest to Eragon all perceive him as this ditzy kid.
Okay, Saphira is doing that kind of cold hearted thing again. She talks about a deer she caught and how he struggled for his life. Then immediately she asks if Garrow is doing the same. I just feel as though she ought to have some stronger feelings towards the situation if this bond is as deep as it’s made out to be.
Anyway, Eragon goes to sleep and it looks like Garrow is on the mend. Guess we’ll find out if he makes it next time.
Side note: I have a job writing articles and my word count for those is nowhere near what it is for this.