ERAGON | Murtagh

I’m never going to reach Eldest at the pace I’m going now. Lol.

Murtagh

Oh Murtagh, my absolute favourite. Or one of my top five favourite characters in this series, anyway (Nasuada, Roran, Murtagh, Orik, Horst if you didn’t know). We’re going to have a weird couple of chapters before the story gets going again. We’re in the halfway point – of the story, anyway. I have no idea how much of the book is actually left. I feel like Eragon can be pretty clearly split up into two distinct parts. Hunting for the ra’zac, and then going to the Varden.

Eragon is in a sort of semi-conscious state at the start of this chapter. I’ve always thought that ending a chapter with unconsciousness is a bit of a cheap way to do things, especially when the next chapter begins with waking up. I’ve just never been a fan of it, personally.

I’m not really a fan of how Murtagh is described. We’re told there’s a strange man sitting opposite the fire, and then the description is written. It would be better if the description was worked into the action, so it would seem more organic.

Despite the amount of times I’ve read these books, I always thought Murtagh had black hair. Apparently he has brown. Maybe because he’s kind of an angsty person at times I just assumed he had the hair to match.

We immediately learn that Murtagh is a closed off person. Better, we’re shown it and left to infer this aspect of his personality. “His voice was low and controlled.” We will learn later that Murtagh has an extraordinary level of control over his mind, and this gives us a hint towards that.

Murtagh tells Eragon that Brom’s wound is bad because the knife went right between his ribs. I have to say, that’s some good aim from the ra’zac who there it. Flung it at Brom whilst fleeing and managed to get a kill.

Saphira’s very focused on protecting Eragon. When Murtagh puts pressure on Eragon’s wound to see how serious it is, she growls at him. While at first it does come off as Saphira being unfriendly, when you think about it in terms of her bond with Eragon, her overprotectiveness makes sense.

Eragon then behaves in a very Eragon-like way. He goes to look at Brom’s wound, and Murtagh tells him not to. “‘I wouldn’t do that,’ warned Murtagh. ‘He’ll bleed to death without it.'” Pretty solid warning. Brom’s on his deathbed, so it makes sense you don’t want him to bleed out. “Eragon ignored him and pulled the cloth away from Brom’s side.” This is ridiculous. I get that Paolini’s trying to make out that Eragon’s feeling reckless and doesn’t care because he’s losing Brom, but this is just stupid. If Brom is literally going to bleed to death, then it’s silly that he’d describe Eragon as doing this. If Brom is not going to bleed to death, then it’s silly for Murtagh to say he is. Just the use of the word ‘might’ could prove valuable here in Murtagh’s warning.

Eragon remarks that “a wound inflicted by the ra’zac was slow to heal.” I can’t actually remember why this is. I know that Garrow was covered in burns because of the seithr oil, but do they coat their weapons in it too? I wonder if this was explained previously and I’ve forgotten, or it will be explained later. We’ll see.

Eragon heals Brom. Or, he closes the wound. We’ll actually learn in Eldest that when healing a wound, you need to heal it on the inside as well as the outside. In Eldest, Eragon has to heal a wound of Saphira’s which requires him healing the muscle in her leg before healing the skin on the surface. As Eragon has only had minimal education, it makes sense that he doesn’t really know this yet. He does mention that he doesn’t “know enough to fix whatever’s damaged inside.” It does make sense though that he wouldn’t realise what a crucial part internal damage can play in hurting someone.

Eragon and Murtagh make a litter so that Saphira can carry Brom while they try and get away from the ra’zac’s potential return.

Murtagh decides to accompany Eragon so that he might get another shot at the ra’zac. I have to say, he’s being really stupid. Murtagh basically really does not want to go to the Varden. Eragon is a Rider who is being hunted by the Empire. Surely Murtagh would assume that Eragon is going to try and head straight to the Varden. It’s the safest place for him, and he has to assume that Eragon is going to be trained. Why would he bother joining up with Eragon (at least for as long as he ends up doing) if he really doesn’t want to to.

Saphira has found them a cave to hide in. It’s in a huge sandstone formation. They somehow manage to get the horses up this.

They go to sleep feeling safe. It’s coming guys. Brom is about to die!

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ERAGON | The Ra’zac’s Revenge

Wow. So I finally got Civ V working on my Mac, which is why I haven’t posted in ages. Also WordPress appears to have changed some stuff up so that’s weird.

The Ra’zac’s Revenge

First things first: we are nearing the end of Brom. Thank god. I really dislike Brom as a character and Murtagh serves as a much more interesting travel companion.

Anyway, we start off with some good description of Eragon’s headache. It’s realistic and not overly flowery, which is exactly what I like in a piece of description. We do however then have a weird moment when Eragon thinks that it’s a good thing Brom’s tied up, but doesn’t know why. The a minute later he realises that it’s because they’d only tie him up if he was alive. I’m not sure how I feel about that – it’s a bit of a weird thought to have without realising what’s actually going on.

Unfortunately the negatives continue as I hate how the ra’zac speak. “The drug is working, yesss? I think you will not be bothering us again.” First of all, the hissing. Why do they hiss? They have beaks. I know that birds like geese hiss but the ra’zac are supposed to have hooked beaks. Do birds of prey hiss? Either way, I think Paolini should have described their hissing as being birdlike, or reminding Eragon of how a goose hisses or something. Then we’d make the connection that they hiss because they have some similarities to birds, rather than it just seeming as a cheap tactic to make them seem evil.

I do like that’s they easily able to coerce Saphira into behaving by threatening Eragon’s life. I’m sure it must come up again –  I like that it showcases their deep bond.

I like that they call Eragon ‘disposable’ and themselves ‘valuable’. It’s quite funny because we’ll later learn that Saphira is basically the only hope for the race of dragons to Galbatorix, whereas he doesn’t actually give a toss about the ra’zac.

There’s about a page of the ra’zac chatting which, much like when Angela talks, I skimmed because it’s irritating. Look, I have read these books so many times. The first two I have easily read more than twenty times. The last two I have probably read like, five or more. I am a fan of these books. But they really are awful at times. And sometimes those moments of awful writing encompass a whole character, or a whole choice Paolini makes about something.

Anyway. The ra’zac are about to kill Brom when suddenly someone starts shooting them with arrows. It’s my boy Murtagh! Murtagh is great. He has some real development and some excellent conflict throughout the books. The ra’zac flee, and one of the flings a dagger at Eragon on the way out. Instead of just moving him or something like that, Brom flings himself in front of Eragon and takes the hit.

The chapter ends with Eragon passing out. Awful way to end a chapter, and Paolini is not the only one to do it. Looking at you, George RR Martin!

 

ERAGON | Worshipers of Helgrind

I think we might be out of Dras-Leona soon. Goodie goodie, Brom will be dead.

Worshipers of Helgrind

Huh, I always thought it was ‘worshippers’. According to my autocorrect, both are right. You learn something new every day!

Anyway, we start this chapter with Brom ever so subtly scrawling a note to Eragon straight up on the wall of the room. Seriously you couldn’t find some paper? At least Eragon has the decency to wipe it clean.

Eragon doesn’t have any ‘tasks’ or anything to do today so Brom’s let him wander. Knowing Eragon, it probably would have been wiser to tell him to stay shut up in the room. He’s disappointed that none of the shops are as exciting as Angela’s shop, but I’m thankful for that to be honest.

Eragon eats his lunch sitting on a curb, which is fascinating because I had no idea they had curbs back then (or ‘back then’ in terms of the vague Medieval period this is based on). I also thought it was spelt ‘kerb’. Again, both are right. Is this book written in American English? I’m starting to think so but I’ve never realised. I need to keep an eye out for words like ‘color’.

Eragon goes to see an auction and before it’s revealed it’s a bit obvious it’s a slave auction. We were just introduced to the concept of slavery in this world in the last chapter so it seems kind of predictable.

The crowd laughs at the auctioneer making jokes about the slaves, a child is torn from her mother’s arms, it’s all quite predictable. This only serves to make Eragon angry though. I don’t know, it doesn’t come off as particularly poignant to me. I do like, however, that Eragon uses this moment to realise that this is why he needs to be a Rider. He seems to come to the conclusion that he has to fight the Empire, and even though it’s obvious that’s what he was going to do, it’s nice to see him work through that.

Eragon goes to the cathedral and it has an inscription in the Ancient Language over the door. Shouldn’t it be in the language of Tosk? I’m sure that the tunnels of Dras-Leona are lined with a different language. Even if they do (for whatever reason) try to hide the fact that they worship the ra’zac over Helgrind, surely they’d want to engrave their cathedral in the right language?

The cathedral is also described as being like “a predator crouched in the city, waiting for its next victim.” I really like this description, because I feel like it adds to the whole feeling of Dras-Leona being like a trap. And it’s great that it’s described like a crouching predator – a predator just about to pounce – because Eragon is just about to be attacked.

Okay, the stained glass windows are described as leaving “transparent hues”. That’s not the right word is it? Does transparent mean colourless as well? I’m actually not sure on that one.

Anyway, Eragon does a bit of a weird prayer. He prays to the cathedral because it has seen some awful stuff.

I like the way the ra’zac appear. There’s no dramatic entrance; Eragon just looks up and they’re standing there. It’s creepy. This is good because it shows us that the ra’zac are great predators; they were able to easily sneak up on Eragon and almost just appear at the entrance to the Cathedral.

I also like that, in typical Eragon fashion, he does not fear them. His immediate reaction is anger and hatred. This is such a great contrast to the Eragon we see in the later books who is more cautious. He only realises the danger he’s in when they avoid his arrows with ease.

I’m not entirely sure why he gazes ‘hungrily’ at the ra’zac and then immediately leaves. If he was that hungry for revenge, he’d probably just go for it. This Eragon is fleeing.

When Eragon runs away, it’s written well. We get a lot of short sentences which show his urgency without actively telling us that his escape is urgent. That’s good. Eragon pulls himself up over a wall – didn’t he have a broken wrist? That is seemingly forgotten about for the moment. It does say that he’s in pain but references his shoulders rather than his wrist.

He finally speaks to Saphira and she tells him to get to the inn and that they don’t have much time. Eragon still managed to find time to pack their belongings and prepare the horses!

The two appear to have a massive surge in power during their escape. Brom knocks out a whole line of soldiers and Eragon stops the gate from closing. In an earlier chapter, it’s explained that doing something with magic takes the same amount of energy as doing it by hand would, so I don’t know how on earth Eragon managed that.

We finally end this chapter on a cliffhanger as Eragon and Brom are knocked unconscious. It’s almost time for Brom to die. I can’t wait.

ERAGON | Trail of Oil

Because the version of this I’m reading is the first three books combined into one, I have no idea how far through I am. Is Dras-Leona maybe like a third or something?

Trail of Oil

Eragon has a hangover. “His head was pounding and his tongue was thick and fuzzy.” This is a great description of a hangover. Exactly right. Saphira asks him “how are we feeling?” This is totally how that one friend who didn’t get drunk asks you how you are the next day. Very realistic. I’m inclined to believe that Paolini wasn’t such a well behaved kid after all, hm?

The word ‘imbibing’ isn’t that necessary. Later in the books we get different point of view chapters. Eragon, Saphira, Nasuada and Roran all have distinct voices in these chapters and we can tell that while this is a third person narrative, it’s third person but still in a point of view. So it doesn’t make sense that the barely literate Eragon uses words like this.

They wander around the city in the morning and don’t learn anything (although from what I can gather all the really do is go and stare at the palace) so Brom decides they should split up. Great idea. Send Eragon off by himself. That worked really well last time.

Eragon basically spends the day talking to shopkeepers and workers. I’m not sure how good this strategy is. Surely he should try to talk to jewellers; they would at least be familiar with what seithr oil is.

Brom learns a great deal more. For one thing, he finds out that Galbatorix is due to visit! Supposedly this is to teach a lesson to the mayor (or ruler or whatever) of Dras-Leona, but we later learn it’s because Murtagh recently escaped and headed out towards Dras-Leona. They still haven’t sussed out though that the urgals are working for Galbatorix and spotted them sort of close to the city, so they reckon they’re totally safe.

After this, Brom tells Eragon what he learned of the oil. Eragon hilariously interrupts him every few minutes. He learned that every full moon, slaves are sent to Helgrind and never return. The slaves take the seithr oil with them. So it’s basically being delivered to the ra’zac and the slaves get eaten.

We also learn that long ago the Riders got rid of slavery, but Galbatorix brought it back. This comes up quite a few times in the books but it never really has a big pay off. Basically Eragon just sometimes gets really angry about it.

They then decide that their best bet is probably to take the place of the two slaves so they get get up close to Helgrind without suspicion. Brom says he’s going to snoop around some more and see if this could be done and then they’ll come up with a concrete plan.

But of course, since everything seems to be coming together, we know it’ll all fall apart soon.

 

ERAGON | The Mire of Dras-Leona

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.

 

ERAGON | Master of the Blade

I’m home sick with tonsillitis so that is why I have accomplished almost nothing recently.

Master of the Blade

A good dramatic title, this one. I believe this is the chapter in which Eragon becomes basically ambidextrous with his sword.

Eragon and Brom have a rather mundane discussion of his scrying of Arya, and there is a line I take issue with. Brom says that “dreams do occasionally touch the spirit realm” but what exactly is the spirit realm? We learn later what spirits are, that they’re these weird little glowing entities that sorcerers harness to use for magic. They can possess people who will then become shades. They seem to just exist though, like they don’t seem to have a particular ‘realm’. They do literally just seem to be a kind of creature, rather than a thing which has its own realm. However, in Brisingr when some people are trying to create a shade they do ‘summon’ some spirits. So the writing of them doesn’t seem to be that consistent, but there generally isn’t a ‘spirit realm’ that’s talked about from what I can remember, and there’s not really any mention of them having strong associations with dreams. Of course, it literally could just be an expression and Brom isn’t referring to a literal realm of spirits.

“‘Perhaps to understand this we should search every prison and dungeon until we find this woman,’ bantered Eragon. He actually though it would be a good idea. Brom laughed and rode on.” This is hilarious. Eragon is so stupid. How impractical does that have to be? Does he not realise how many towns and cities there are and just how far apart they all are? That is such a stupid idea. What’s worse is that when Eragon joins up with Murtagh they actually do this stupid idea.

They go back over the Spine and it’s Spring. I finally got an update to my confused timeline! I think I guessed it was like late January or early February or something, but it must have been early or mid January instead. It must be March now.

There’s some nice writing when Eragon goes riding Saphira and they swim around in Leona Lake. However, I’m going to bring up how much I hate Brom again. I can’t wait until I read Eldest/Brisingr to see if I can confirm this, but I am so sure that Brom must know about the lethrblaka. I also speculated in an earlier post that Brom must have some idea or notion that the ra’zac/lethrblaka may be actually in or on Helgrind. We know that Leona Lake is visible from the ra’zac’s lair from Brisingr, so aren’t Eragon and Saphira taking a huge risk by doing this?

There’s some sparring between Eragon and Brom which in all honesty, I can only be bothered to skim through. It’s not bad writing, but it’s not amazing and there’s so many sword fights in this book that I can’t be bothered to read the less-than-brilliant ones. The only reason that we get this whole written out one is because Brom’s about to tell Eragon that he cannot teach him any more, because Eragon has successfully defeated him in a manner few others could have done. Brom is a trained rider who went through his full training when the riders were at their peak. Eragon has been a rider for like, three months. I seriously doubt he is a decent swordsman since he has only been in possession of a sword for a couple of months.

Brom also tells Eragon that, male or female, he should expect to lose to an elf should he fight one. Eragon does not remember this information in the future.

Brom then goes on to explain a ‘wizard’s duel’ which is basically that when magicians fight, it mostly consists of them breaking into the minds of the other in order to anticipate what they will do and defeat them.

I’m not sure I totally understand the ‘wizard’s duel’ thing completely. And also, I don’t think we ever see Eragon doing it? I know we see the magician Carn battling wizard’s duels in Roran’s chapters, but I don’t think it’s ever in Eragon’s.

ERAGON | Vision of Perfection

You know I don’t think it’s ever taken me more than a week to read the entire Inheritance series. Writing about it really makes it longer. And less likeable. There’s a lot to really trawl through.

Vision of Perfection

Eragon wakes up and his wrist is splinted. He’s alone in a clearing and can’t contact anyone. He starts looking for food but can’t find the saddlebags and gives up. This is completely disregarding the “stew-filled pot” mentioned in the previous paragraph.

Eragon then scrys (scries?) Saphira and Brom, and their surroundings are a completely blank white because he’s not seen the area where they are. I wonder then, if things like reflections are also blanked out? Could be interesting to see if that’s mentioned. Not sure how Brom is balancing a sword on his knees when he’s straddling a dragon but whatever.

Eragon also scries (I’m using that instead of scrys as it doesn’t trigger my autocorrect) Roran and then proceeds to have a very Eragon-like idea. “What if I tried to scry something I created with my imagination or saw in a dream?” Eragon. Seriously. Did Brom not specifically tell you not to go experimenting with magic the very first time he told you about magic? Did he not tell you that if something goes wrong it could cost you your life? This isn’t a complaint, I like that Eragon is consistently stupid. He does this sort of thing constantly throughout the books. He manages to scry Arya without any issues, luckily.

Saphira and Brom appear, the latter with a bloodstained beard. He berates Eragon for making an incredibly stupid decision, which I approve of wholeheartedly. “There were twelve Urgals. Twelve! But that didn’t stop you from trying to throw them all the way to Teirm, now did it?” Too right.

Eragon says he didn’t want to kill them. Quite interesting considering his only experience of urgals is the horror he saw at Yazuac.

We also learn that Brom somehow hasn’t figured out that the urgals are working for Galbatorix.

“There’s a reason why we’re born with brains in our heads, not rocks.” Ha. Considering that Eragon is often referred to as ‘stone head’, this is a good line.

Eragon mentions that the urgals are massed under some sort of leader. They ponder who it could be and don’t consider Galbatorix.

Brom starts drilling Eragon about fighting scenarios and Eragon has this great line “Eragon discovered that it was possible to torture his body and mind at the same time.” He is such a teenager.

Also, who was this chapter title referring to? It’s called Vision of Perfection, so before I read it I thought it might be the chapter when Eragon talks to himself about how he looks prettier and more like an elf. It’s not, so I’m assuming it’s about when he scries Arya.