Okay. Okay. We’re finally getting out of Carvahall. This is not a drill, the exciting stuff is to come. It’ll be a long time until I get to analyse the colossal mountains of purple prose in Eldest, but one step at a time.
A Rider’s Blade
I never actually realised how much decent crying is done in Eragon. I always remember the single tears because they’re stupid, but Eragon has been getting his sob on lately. “Though he kept his eyes closed, they could not stop a fresh flow of tears.“ This is exactly how you cry when you’re completely gutted. It paints a good picture and gives us a great idea of the sadness Eragon is feeling the very second he wakes up.
Saphira starts speaking to Eragon and decides to convince him to leave. She mostly wants to do it because it’s the right thing to do – but how does she really know what’s right and wrong? She’s had hardly any interaction with people. If I keep going with what I said in an earlier chapter, that dragons have an instinctual hatred of the ra’zac, then this could make sense. If she inherently thinks of them as evil, then it seems perfectly logical that they need to go and chase them.
Her second reason makes total sense though. Her tracks have been seen and people will soon realise that she’s there. I feel as though people like Horst would be more accepting of the idea, but maybe not those like Sloan. Also, we will learn later that Roran is a complete nutcase so I guess it’s understandable that they want to get out of there. I’ve mentioned before that I’m amazed they’ve managed to keep Saphira hidden this long.
If the bond between dragon and Rider really are incredibly strong then Saphira’s desire to hunt the ra’zac would bleed over into Eragon’s thoughts, too.
Okay, let’s go into some random speculation for this next paragraph:
“A terrible energy and strength began to grow in him. It grabbed his emotions and forged then into a solid bar of anger with one word stamped on it: revenge.”
This seems to obviously be simply Eragon and Saphira’s desire to hunt the ra’zac, but what if it’s something more? What if the eldunari are lending him this strength to fuel his desire for revenge in order to complete their goals? It seems logical that Eragon might feel a burst of strength, but what if the eldunari decided to enhance his feelings and add that strength to make Eragon feel like this is the right thing to do, so they’d be able to ensure – or increase – his chances of reaching the Varden?
Eragon then proceeds to make this stupid observation: “Nothing is more dangerous than an enemy with nothing to lose, he thought. Which is what I have become.” Okay Eragon, you have nothing to lose except from Saphira and Roran, as well as the entirety of Carvahall and its inhabitants.
We then come across Horst, once again being the most reasonable person in this universe, making the point that there’s clearly something up with Eragon and something suspicious happened at the farm. Eragon sneaks out of the house without incident; honestly I would have expected Paolini to write a whole Eragon-ninja scene, so it’s quite nice how uneventful it is.
Eragon steals some leather – yes Eragon, it’s stealing – and makes a mental note to pay Gedric back someday. He says that this means it’s not stealing and even though he will eventually pay him back, it is definitely stealing. This gives us quite an interesting insight into Eragon’s worldview actually. I bet in a small village like Carvahall, people borrow stuff from each other all the time and repay them later and it’s perfectly normal because they all know each other.
Eragon then gets petty and decides that he’s going to steal the rest of his supplies from Sloan. I get that the guy told the ra’zac you had the stone, but come on. I don’t think he was trying to be actively malicious. I don’t know that meat is the thing he’ll need most on this journey either? Saphira can hunt; surely he’d be better off stealing things like bread and cheese?
Brom appears and Eragon is shocked that anyone found him, like he didn’t literally get seen sneaking out of the butcher’s a second ago.
Eragon’s plan to escape Brom is to call Saphira for a dramatic exit. He really is such a fifteen year old. He says that “he sent her a picture of where he was”, and I get that this is a thing they can do – show each other memories or what they are seeing – but the way this is worded makes it sound like he just texted her or something.
Eragon also wonders how Brom could figure out how he was a Rider. Consider this: the dragon tracks at the farm that Horst and Elain were also suspicious of, the signs of Saphira he mentioned early on in the book (her kills, her droppings, her tracks), the fact that someone just might have happened to glimpse a dragon mincing about the place.
I do like that Eragon places some of the blame of what happened upon himself. While it isn’t necessarily his fault (although Garrow’s death may have been caused in part by his stupidity), it’s a very realistic thing for him to do. The fact that he immediately decided to go on the hunt could show that he’s just trying to distract himself.
Brom then produces a pack from a bush and Eragon continues to be his stubborn old self; “‘I don’t need your help,’ said Eragon, then grudgingly added, ‘but you can come.'” He’s such a teenager. Also going to show my appreciation for the simplicity of the word ‘said’ here, as for much of this book we will get every permutation of the word said that’s possible.
I’m also not quite sure whereabouts they are that they can see people “running from house to house” in Carvahall without being seen themselves. Then again, I have no idea where they are in relation to anything mostly because I can’t be bothered to find the map.
Brom also says that he left a letter for Roran with Gertrude, “explaining a few things,” which is a bit vague. Eragon deems it satisfactory, but I’d want more detail. Just a minute ago he was saying he didn’t need Brom’s help so why does he immediately trust that Brom’s telling Roran the right things?
They are going away from Carvahall so I think that they are going south.
“Brom’s eyebrows beetled with anger.” Okay, what? This may be a thing to say – like ‘beetling brows’ – but this just sounds so odd? Especially in the context of Eragon seeing the wreckage of his farm. You don’t want description that’s going to jar you out of the moment.
Brom sees Saphira for the first time and lets loose a single tear. Is that two we’re up to?
“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…” Brom says this, which makes absolutely no sense if this is the first time that you’re reading this book. However if you’re on a reread, then this hints at what we find out later. He’s referring to the fact that the Riders are come again. While he knew before, he finally have confirmation now that he has seen Saphira. He can’t tell if it’s tragedy or farce because it’s so shocking – a human Rider, completely unprepared for what is to come. Plus, it’s his own son. After everything he’s gone through, his son is now going to be pitted against the most powerful man in the Empire. Regardless of this, his role as the first teacher of the new Rider is the same.
“There was something different between them now, as if they knew each other more intimately, yet were still strangers.” I think this is because they share a bond and shared the emotions of Garrow’s death, yet they still feel like strangers because Saphira reacted to the death in such a different manner than Saphira.
We get some more of Saphira’s arrogance and vanity coming through! She describes humans as “weird creatures” after inspecting Brom. We will discover in Brisingr more of her disdain for humans.
Brom has a bit of a reaction when he learns that her name is Saphira; after all, it was the name of his dragon too.
He then greets her by twisting his hand in a strange gesture – this is the gesture that Eragon will later use to greet Queen Islanzadi.
Eragon searches the wreck of his house for useful items; he will later make a saddle for Saphira so I’m going to assume some of the items needed for this, other than the stolen leather, came from these ‘useful items’.
Eragon tells Saphira to fly overhead to the place where they will hide as her tracks will be seen. He then takes “a circuitous route in an effort to baffle any pursuers.” Eragon, you’re still walking through snow. Even if it covers a longer distance, you have still left tracks.
“Brom extricated himself from a vine.” What? This series is aimed at young teenagers I believe so this really is unessecary. The thesaurus abuse gets better over time but it sure likes to pop up at random in Eragon.
Brom tells Eragon that his reason for wanting to tag along is that Eragon’s adventure will make a good story. Eragon accepts this because he will clearly just accept any explanation for anything.
For the next few paragraphs we get more commas than necessary. I said I wouldn’t get too pedantic about grammar (mine is far from perfect) so I will try and ignore that. Brom is unwrapping a sword and this process is described as being like unwrapping a mummy. How does Eragon know what on earth a mummy is!?
Eragon is immediately transfixed by the sword. It’s described very well and made out to be extremely beautiful. This is probably the first time that Eragon has ever seen a sword, so I think the solid paragraph of description of perfectly fine.
“An air of power lay over it, as if an unstoppable force resided in its core. It had been created for the violent convulsions of battle, to end men’s lives, yet it held a terrible beauty.“ I don’t think that the ‘yet’ needs to be there. Surely this is why it holds a terrible beauty. The reason for its creation is terrible, yet it is still beautiful. It holds a terrible beauty because of this description, not in spite of it.
Brom explains that this is a Rider’s sword. It’s a nice bit of explanation; it gives us the facts without revealing too much. It’s information that you could reasonably expect Brom to know as a well-travelled storyteller. Brom tells Eragon that he obtained it through a “series of nasty and dangerous adventures.” Ha, you don’t say. He got this sword by killing its owner Morzan, the last of the forsworn.
Brom manages to claim the position of Eragon’s teacher without revealing that he’s actually a Rider and a member of the Varden.
Saphira then performs the first instance of magic. I don’t like it when she does magic. The only explanation that we really get for this is that sometimes she gets a surge of power and can do basically anything. However, I think I can give it a pass because it doesn’t come up at extremely convenient times. She only actually uses it on a few instances. No other dragons in the series seem to do this, though.
Brom explains what the ra’zac are (sort of) but I still refuse to capitalise the ‘r’. Galbatorix was the first person to find them, but I don’t think that’s correct. I’ll have to come back t this when I get to Inheritance, but I think they were around before Galbatorix and worshipped by the priests in Dras-Leona. I’m not completely sure of that so when I get further in the series I’ll revisit this. Of course, this could just be what everyone thinks is the origin of the ra’zac. The priests in Inheritance make it pretty clear that they don’t like Galbatorix and pretend to worship Helgrind instead of the ra’zac. So it’s likely that this might not be general knowledge.
I like that Brom tells Eragon how they have beaks yet can somehow mimic human speech. It makes me picture them as talking like ravens. I know they’re described as hissing later on, but I like the idea that they talk in that odd disjointed speech that ravens do.
Brom blows some smoke rings and makes them change colour and dart about. Eragon does not suspect that he can use magic. Christ.
Brom and Eragon try to work out how the ra’zac found out about Saphira. I’m curious too, actually. I don’t think it’s ever explained. Brom reckons that they must have an outside source of information – but who? Maybe Galbatorix scries (or scrys?) the land at random and saw something. Maybe he just figured it out; worked out that Brom was in Carvahall and therefore the egg might be? The ra’zac had to ask around for it, so this seems likely as maybe they weren’t sure. Or possibly someone mentioned the stone to Dempton (Roran’s new boss) while he was in town to order some sockets, and he told someone in Therinsford and it spread from there? I’ll try and remember this speculation if the answer ever is given, but I don’t know that it is.
Brom then tells Eragon he didn’t always live in Palancar Valley and that’s why he knows so much. Not much of an explanation, but hey. Eragon doesn’t quite accept it (for once) and goes to sleep in a huff.