On a roll here. I’m really not a fan of how the chapters randomly go from being short to insanely long. It makes my blog look so inconsistent!
On the plus side, goodbye Carvahall, off to follow the plot!
Eragon starts by loading his extra gear onto Saphira and making the excellent point that he would have absolutely no idea how to use his sword.
We then get an interesting moment. “I will see this place again, Eragon insisted to himself, looking at the ruined buildings. This cannot, will not, be a permanent exile. Someday when it’s safe, I’ll return.” I like this because it seems like it’s going to be such a generic ending; Eragon will save the world and then he will return home. In Inheritance though, this never happens. Eragon never goes back to the farm. It’s interesting because I like that it sets up the idea that Eragon will one day return but he never does.
The snow is then described as eroding. This could be because they are going further south or because winter is over. I thought it was like…. late December or early January before but maybe I was wrong. Let’s say it’s late January.
The book is clearly written from Eragon’s point of view in the third person so I don’t know what this simple farm boy who cannot read is doing using words like ‘ascertain’. It also won’t be difficult to ascertain which way the ra’zac went if they’ve had no problem following their tracks up until now.
I know you could probably explain it away as magic or one of the weird things that dragons just do without an explanation being needed, but I don’t get how the birth of dragons work. The eggs are laid with the dragons inside ready to hatch, but they don’t hatch. In the wild they hatch when food is plentiful. The dragons given to the Riders hatch when the right one touches them. How do they survive in the eggs? I believe things in eggs survive off the yolk (or something to that effect) so how does this work if dragon eggs can lay dormant for years?
Brom is also so knowledgable about dragons and constantly acts mysterious and Eragon just accepts this. He is constantly painted to be this curious kid who constantly question everything, so I don’t know how he could just accept this. He whinges about it but that’s about it.
Brom then wants Eragon to spar with him. Eragon is the stupidest kid in the world. That’s not a complaint; he behaves totally realistically. Brom has consistently shown that he is more than he tells. He had a Rider’s sword in his possession and earlier in that day he was describing complicated fighting tactics to Eragon. Eragon has never handled a sword in his damn life. Yet he assumes he will defeat Brom when invited to spar. Amazing. Teenager ego at it’s finest. Of course, he loses.
They then arrive at Therinsford, which is described as being “constructed haphazardly.“ I don’t know why this is a thing. Like surely a village is constructed initially around a river or other point of interest – not haphazardly.
We then come across another common problem in Paolini’s writing. This gets better in the later books, but early on if a character is bad they are ugly. Or not just ugly, outright disgusting. Think back to earlier in the book when Eragon was in Morn’s tavern and he was arguing with a man whose opinion on the Empire was positive. That man was described in great detail as being totally disgusting because his opinion differed from Eragon’s and he was a bit rude. This happens again. A man is described like this: “His shirt was too short, and his dirty stomach spilled over a rope belt. Behind his cracked lips, his teeth looked like crumbling tombstones.” I don’t know about you, but nothing gets me retching like gross mouth hygiene. So this man is described as looking vile and what do you know, we are told he is a thief as he tries to swindle Eragon and Brom out of some money. Mind you, there’s no actual evidence that this man doesn’t own the bridge. He could be the actual person in charge of collecting tolls, but because he’s ugly and gross looking, this means that Brom is going to pickpocket him. We’re expected to think that this is justice. I will also just mention that the elves, often seen as the greatest of the races in Inheritance, are amazingly beautiful. It’s most obvious in Eragon and Eldest, but Paolini had this bad habit of equating good with beautiful and evil with ugly.
They go to buy some horses and Brom wants the pretty white one because he’s dramatic. He calls him Snowfire. Back when I first started hating Eragon, I would have criticised this as such a generic fantasy horse name but now that I think about it, it totally fits. Haberth is from the small village of Therinsford and likely hasn’t travelled too much. So it makes sense that he’d think a name like Snowfire was magnificent and fantastical. He’s just a simple guy from a tiny place, so Snowfire is probably the best name he can think of. He wouldn’t see it as a cliche.
The ra’zac passed through Therinsford to pick up horses. Despite the fact that they have the Empire’s every resource at their disposal and are super-strong creatures of evil that probably could have just taken some horses, it seems to be implied that they paid for them, which I find kind of amusing. Not all bad, eh?
They passed by the mountain Utgard. Eragon described this earlier as being so tall it penetrated the clouds, yet he can clearly see the top of the summit now that’s he’s directly beneath it. Alright then.
I do like that Eragon isn’t actually immediately good at fighting with a sword. Paolini probably could have written it in that he displayed some talent for fighting immediately and explained it as a side effect of becoming a rider, but he didn’t. I like that Eragon actually has to learn.