I’ve been really slowing down with these posts as I’ve been hungover like 3/7 days last week.
I don’t know if I’ve said this before but I need to say it before I continue. From when Eragon and Brom leave Carvahall until they arrive at Teirm, the chapters suck. I hate them. They don’t do anything and even though things happen and I guess the plot advances there’s nothing interesting. I know they need to be there for Eragon’s training and exposition and things do happen, but I just don’t like them. They feel like filler even though they’re not.
With that in mind, that is why I will spend most of these chapters whinging about these chapters.
“Once a modicum of strength returned to him, Eragon staggered out of the valley.” As if to contradict myself, this chapter begins with a sentence I actually like. It implies that Eragon has had to wait before he can summon the energy to move without giving us a whole load of description of him waiting.
I also like how he’s feeling detached after using magic for the first time. He’s just expelled a whole load of energy. I’m going to go into The Magicians magic-verse here (cannot wait until I review that masterpiece), as in The Magicians, the main character unleashes a massive amount of energy that won’t be matched for a long time because he’s been saving it up his whole life until that moment when he first uses it. I think something happened like that in Eragon, when he unleashed a very strong burst of energy because he’s never done it before.
There are of course two problems with this point I’m making. The first is that I have a feeling this will be the explanation Brom gives later so my random theorising is a bit pointless. The second is that in an earlier post I speculated that Eragon may have used magic to sift through the debris in his house after the ra’zac attacked.
Moving on. Eragon tries to catch Brom when he falls and drops him. I like this because it’s realistic. He’s just expended a massive amount of energy and I like that this has consequences.
Saphira arrives too late to help out. I didn’t think she was that far away? Oh well.
I also like that Eragon recognises that he’s kind of out of his element here. He makes the point that he doesn’t know which plants are good for healing because he’s not in Palancar Valley. This makes sense – Palancar Valley was his whole world. He could do a bit of looting though. I’m sure there’s a healer’s house about somewhere.
I like as well that Eragon has no concept of Rider etiquette. As we will see later, it is generally considered a great honour and act of trust to ride another person’s dragon. Eragon lets Brom ride Saphira without any hesitation, and Brom seems genuinely touched by this.
Eragon then ties the horses together, leaves Yazuac and continues onwards following the trail of the ra’zac. This all occurs in one paragraph. Shocking stuff for Paolini! I like it though. Nothing happens, so we don’t need a lot of text.
Eragon has a sweet moment where he wonders about the fact that he used magic. It’s good because we get a sense of what the lore surrounding magic was in Palancar Valley. Since this is a fantasy world it’s good to have moments like this so we know what’s ordinary and what isn’t. In Palancar Valley then, it seems to be that people believed magic was used by sorcerers or wizards. People there don’t seem to think that Riders used magic, as Eragon wonders if it was a common ability.
Brom makes the remark that “few escape unscathed from slaying their first urgal” but urgals die all the time in this series so I’m going to take that with a grain of salt. Maybe he’s just trying to compliment Eragon.
Eragon rightly asks to know more about magic as he just used it without any idea and has no idea how dangerous it is and Brom tries to discourage him. Hello, Brom? You know that magic kills if used improperly right? You know that Eragon can apparently just use it now? You know that Riders commonly use magic by accident when they’re trapped or frustrated? I don’t know why he beats around the bush with this before actually teaching Eragon. I don’t like Brom most of the time. Also why I don’t like these chapters. It’s mostly Brom messing about and not telling Eragon anything that there is no reason not to tell.
Eragon says this: “I feel as though I’ve been thrust into a world with strange rules that no one will explain.” This is a great summary for the whole of the book, I think. It’s a good expression of Eragon’s frustrations as well. He’s juts a simple kid. All he knows is farming and hunting and now he’s probably the most important person in the world.
I cannot remember the origin of the Ancient Language but I’m sure it gets contradicted at some point.
“It was forgotten over time and went unspoken for eons in Alagaesia, until the elves brought it back over the sea. They taught it to the other races, who used it for making and doing powerful things.” Now, I can’t remember for sure, but I think the Ancient Language was created by the grey folk (if that is what they were called, I cannot remember it exactly). I’m sure they were in Alagaesia though so I don’t know how the elves brought it back from over the sea? I might have the revisit this later on when it comes up again.
Brom’s next point is to discourage Eragon from experimenting with magic. I find this funny just because we know how reckless and silly Eragon can be. Of course he has to be directly told this.