What’s this then, three chapters in one day? I’m on a roll here. It’s either three in one day or one in three days.
I do like these short titles because I am too lazy to type in the long ones. Not that I’m lazy enough that I won’t write insanely long blog posts analysing every little part of a book I loved as a kid.
Anyway, so in this chapter we arrive in Daret, which is a random little village on the way to… wherever the ra’zac are. I forget that they haven’t actively decided to go to Teirm yet.
Eragon and Brom manage to get blocked in by wagons. I’m not entirely sure how this works. Do the wagons just fill up every alley to block them in? Villages in Alagaesia must work differently to villages in the real world as I’m not sure that this makes sense, especially seeing as they seem to be in the centre of the town. Also, how would this strategy play out against a band of urgals? Eragon and Brom meander into the town centre easily enough, but would urgals really do the same?
I do like that Brom talks his way out of the situation. It actually happens a lot, yet it’s something that isn’t really commented on by other characters. I like it when characters have certain traits or habits that come up a lot without really being commented on.
Trevor – the man they’re speaking to – says that they’ve had encounters with urgals before, so I guess their strategy does work. He allows them to wait in the centre while other people fetch the supplies for them. This strikes me as a bit of a weird strategy. I believe these plains are populated by a lot of wandering tribes and nomads, so certainly being open for trade would be important for towns like Yazuac and Daret. I get that times are dangerous but the people in Daret don’t know about Yazuac yet.
Trevor tells them that urgals and worse fiends have forced them to take these measures. Hold up. That means they’ve either come across a shade or the ra’zac as well as urgals, and knew that they were evil enough to be mentioning it now.
Theory time! Shortly when Eragon and Brom resume their journey, they will discover that the ra’zac have ditched the horses in favour of flying away on the lethrblaka. Could it be that they actually got into a fight with the people of Daret and this is why they decided to flee? We know that they left in a bit of a hurry as they dropped their seithr oil and didn’t notice. I think that somehow, the people of Daret discovered that the ra’zac were these weird freaky evil creatures and attacked. The ra’zac are strong, but not strong enough o hold off sixty archers and other soldiers as well. Maybe they were wounded and needed to flee.
This speculation won’t have the slightest impact on the story.
Anyway, Brom tells Trevor that Yazuac has been sacked. They get their supplies and head off. This business with Yazuac and Daret seems to Paolini trying to make the point that outside of the isolated Palancar Valley, things in the Empire are very bad. It doesn’t really come up again though. Yazuac is destroyed and the people of Daret are on their guard but nowhere else seems to be affected throughout the books. I suppose it could just be because at this particular time, the urgals are migrating from the Spine to the Beor Mountains.
We then get our first real introduction to mind control and reading other peoples thoughts. We’re also told that this isn’t an ability which is necessarily connected with magic, which is interesting. We’re also introduced to the fact that people can put up ‘walls’ around their minds to block out other people.
Saphira is then moody because Eragon won’t ride her and he’s always getting into trouble. This is a bit of a cute gag throughout the series. No matter what, when Eragon is separated from Saphira, he always gets himself into a mess.
Eragon doesn’t want to ride her because he had a really bad experience last time, which is logical.
Eragon’s training in sword fighting is passing remarkably fast, as Brom reckons it’s time to graduate from sticks to swords. I’ve forgotten to keep track of time. Oh well, there’s no snow anymore so it’s probably irrelevant. March, let’s say.
Anyway, Brom uses magic to dull the edge of the swords and they spar. Eragon is delighted to see that his sword is not damaged at all. This is actually a good set up for Brisingr. When Eragon loses his sword and needs a new one, the sword person (I forget his name. Fredric?) makes the comment that Eragon just beats people up with his sword and doesn’t look after it in the slightest so he would destroy normal swords. This is interesting to see now that Brom’s training him with a magic sword. maybe it would have been better to start with a real one?