I am determined the plough through this book. Let’s go!
Magic is the Simplest Thing
Brom and Eragon seem stumped by the fact that the urgals are gathering in huge numbers. In fact, they don’t realise that they’re working for Galbatorix for ages. Surely it seems quite obvious that these evil creatures are probably working for the evil king. Brom knows that ra’zac are freaky looking with their beaks and exoskeletons and whatnot, so surely it would be a reasonable assumption that the urgals are working for the king too?
Brom then launches into an explanation of the differences between Riders, shades, sorcerers and witches/wizards. I should try and remember this.
Riders: get their magical powers only from being bonded with a dragon.
Sorcerers/shades: get their powers from using spirits. The difference between a sorcerer and a shade, I believe, is that a shade is possessed by spirits itself as well.
Witches/wizards: get their powers from potions and spells. I don’t think it’s ever reasonably explained what a ‘spell’ is, and why or how it is different from working magic with the Ancient Language.
Magicians: can use magic without any of the above. I believe elven and dwarven ‘spell casters’ are simple magicians. They never seem to be referred to as such but they work in the same manner.
Brom then goes on to explain that to awaken the magic in new riders, they were generally given a series of frustrating tasks until they used it by accident. Why Brom tried to keep magic from Eragon despite the fact that his life is one endless frustrating task is beyond me.
We then get our hint to the whole BIG THING in the entire book! Eragon asks if the Ancient Language has a name and Brom says “yes, but no one knows it. It would be a word of incredible power, something by which you could control the entire language and those who use it. People have long searched for it, but no one has ever found it.” I didn’t actually realise that Paolini hinted towards this so early in the series, although he could have put it here without actually intending to use it as the final weapon of Galbatorix. I do wish that throughout the series we got more hints towards this, such as maybe how Galbatorix was searching for the name.
I just thought of a problem with the fact that one can’t lie in the Ancient Language and then came up with the solution immediately. I was wondering why Eragon couldn’t just say ‘Galbatorix is dead’ and then win the war. However, throughout the books oaths in the Ancient Language are spoken and when people try to break them they just can’t say anything at all as far as I recall. maybe that’s what would happen if you tried to say something way beyond your power in the Ancient Language. Other than just dying.
Oh god. We then get a sentence of the Ancient Language. Paolini is no linguist as far as I can tell. I don’t mind the occasional word, but I’m not a fan of made up languages in media unless they have been fully fleshed out. Examples would be Tolkien’s languages, the language of the Na’vi in Avatar or the languages in Game of Thrones – which I believe had to be worked around the fact that the few words George R R Martin included in the books did not actually work within the languages in the show once they were created. So yes, I will not like it at any point when other languages are included in Inheritance.
There’s some stuff about true names, which is fine. Early in Eragon it seems to be implied that they are just that, a name, but in Inheritance they seem to be more of a sentence that describes the person. This could be explained through Brom not actually knowing anyone’s true name so he’s not totally knowledgable on the concept.
It also seems to be implied that elves can just tell anyone their true name, yet in Inheritance when Eragon needs to know his true name he never just consults Arya (which he could easily do from Vroengard based on him communicating with people from a distance throughout the series). Maybe this is explained at some point but I’m not sure.
I quite like the description or Eragon digging into his mind to discover the magic within himself.
Brom appears to teach Eragon words from the Ancient Language totally at random and not in a useful way. Like he is not teaching him useful spells, he’s teaching him random words.
Ooh, and we get another dream!
“He saw Garrow and Roran at home, sitting the the destroyed kitchen. They asked him for help rebuilding the farm, but he only shook his head with a pang of longing in his heart. ‘I’m tracking your killers,’ he whispered to his uncle.
Garrow looked at him askance and demanded, ‘do I look dead to you?’
‘I can’t help you,’ said Eragon softly, feeling tears in his eyes.
There was a sudden roar, and Garrow transformed into the ra’zac. ‘Then die,’ they hissed, and leapt at Eragon.”
Before I speculate about this, I’m going to point out that in my edition of the book, there is a capital letter right after a comma which is not right. In the book, it’s like this: “Garrow looked at his askance and demanded, ‘Do I look dead to you?'” That capital D should be lower case, surely?
Anyway, so it’s pretty obvious that this is mostly about Eragon’s desire for revenge. Underneath that, I think it’s about what is to come. Eragon is going to be so dedicated to his quest of destroying Galbatorix and rebuilding the Riders that he’s not going to have a chance to rebuild the life he’s had before.