I am slowly removing from tonsillitis. Hopefully this means I can post more.
The Mire of Dras-Leona
God, Dras-Leona never seems to have a positive experience as a city. It’s always a hellhole. Also I have no idea where Saphira actually hides while they’re in the city.
As they travel towards the city, Eragon tells Saphira that they’ll “Do our best to remain inconspicuous.” Yeah right, Eragon. That always goes well for you. They then have a discussion about what Eragon wants to do after he’s killed the ra’zac. He keeps going on about how he doesn’t want to fight the Empire all the time like the Varden does but it’s so painfully obvious that he’s going to join the Varden.
Dras-Leona is basically just described as looking awful so we know it’s a bad city (seriously, Paolini, come on) and Helgrind is also described as “an ugly and malevolent thing“. I get that is Brom knows about the ra’zac being in Helgrind he’d call it ugly and malevolent but it’s a mountain.
Whatever. They continue to Dras-Leona and Eragon notices that the cathedral looks like Helgrind. I like the term “flanged spires“. The religion of Dras-Leona worships Helgrind. They’re cannibals and like to chop off their own appendages as offerings. Officially, they give up appendages because they believe that the more flesh they lack, the less they’re attached to the mortal world. Now, in Inheritance we learn that the religion actually worships the ra’zac and lethrblaka rather than Helgrind. What if the real reason they chop off their limbs is as food offerings to the ra’zac? This seems logical but I cannot for the life of me remember if it’s confirmed.
We get an immediate feel of claustrophobia in Dras-Leona. The houses are “tall and thin”, they hang “over the narrow, winding streets, covering the sky so that it was hard to tell if it was night or day.” It’s a good piece of description. I like it as well because I think it gives the impression of a maze or a trap, and even thought Eragon and Brom came to Dras-Leona to hunt the ra’zac, we don’t feel like they’ve got the upper hand.
I’m not a fan of the simile “their cries for help were like a chorus of the damned.” This is a group of deformed beggars crying for help, surely it is a chorus of the damned rather than being like a chorus of the damned?
Anyway, the chapter comes to a rather abrupt close when Eragon and Brom go drinking.