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.

ERAGON | A Costly Mistake

Just so everyone knows I write these posts with my laptop on my knee and my iPad on the arm of the chair so I can look at the kindle app and my family thinks I’m really weird. Like they ask what I’m doing and I’m like you know writing overly detailed blog posts about a book I loved as a kid and then hated as a kid and now have weird feelings for.

A Costly Mistake

Oh we’re leaving Teirm! That was actually quicker than I thought, I could have sworn we stayed in Teirm for longer. I think the book actually does start progressing quite quickly for a bit until we get to the Varden.

Brom’s final goodbye to Jeod is basically just insulting his wife, Helen. They leave without further incident and Eragon enquires as to what a werecat is. Brom says that “kings and elves kept them as companions,” which seems to suggest they are more like animals. Werecats are quite a weird race in these books. There’s quite a lot of them in Inheritance even though only two appear in the whole series beforehand. From what I know in their ‘human’ form they look like children, and then in their cat form they seem to be wildly inconsistent in size, which I’ve mentioned before. Probably there is just variation between the individuals. It seems that some can pass as ordinary cats whereas others seem to be more like bobcats or lynxes.

Eragon then asks Brom what Helgrind is and Brom doesn’t tell him. I take serious issue with the information that Brom withholds from Eragon. I can understand him keeping his true identity a secret but there is no reason that he keeps stuff like this from Eragon. Why not just tell him that it’s a mountain? There is literally no reason to keep this a secret. I’ll have to go over this again in Eldest but I believe that Brom does know about the existence of the lethrblaka. Brom and Jeod considered Helgrind’s proximity to Dras-Leona an important factor in why it might be the lair of the ra’zac. They must have thought it possible that Helgrind itself could contain the ra’zac. Therefore, Brom must have at least a slight suspicion that the lethrblaka could be at Helgrind. Eragon needs to know this. Saphira needs to know this. Brom is the worst and he is awfully written as everything he does seems to be for the sake of creating the most drama. No other reason. I can’t wait until he dies.

Eragon then proceeds to ride Saphira without his saddle and while he’s a bit sore after, he’s fine. Okay, I don’t care how tough he is or how much smoother Saphira can fly now, he should be a bit cut up if his legs were totally shredded the last time he did this.

Eragon confronts Brom and demands more answers about what he overheard in Teirm. Brom actually tells Eragon. Well, he tells him a bit. He basically says that there’s a war between the Varden and the Empire (we basically already knew this, or could infer it) and that it centres around Eragon. He tells Eragon that there are two remaining dragon eggs and how he and Jeod stole Saphira’s egg. He says that he’s going to train Eragon while they hit the ra’zac and then he can have the choice of what to do about the rest of his future.

That’s it.

Eragon then hilariously breaks his wrist trying to jump over a stream. I forgot that this happened. I knew that he broke his wrist but I thought it was when he actually tried to confront the urgals rather than when he was trying to investigate a footprint.

Brom and Eragon try and flee from the urgals and Brom makes about the sensible decision of telling Eragon to fly ahead on Saphira. This makes sense. He is possibly the most important person in the world and the fate of the Empire hinges on him so he needs to be kept vaguely safe.

Of course, Eragon is fifteen. He gets Saphira to land in front of the urgals and insults them. He doesn’t realise who they are working for even after the lead urgal says this: “he rules the sky and holds dominance over the earth. You are no more than a stray ant to him. Yet he has decreed that you shall be brought before him, alive.” Who else could this be? An all powerful being who wants Eragon to be captured alive. How Eragon does not realise that this is Galbatorix is beyond me.

“Rage swept through the urgals.” This is said and then immediately after we are told that they are howling and “gnashing their teeth.” This shows the rage. We do not need to be told that they are enraged. If we are shown that they are enraged then this is completely unnecessary.

Eragon flings the urgals a few feet and knocks them out which drains him of basically all his energy because he’s stupid. He passes out and Saphira takes him back to Brom.

ERAGON | Thieves in the Castle

Okay I know I said I was excited for Teirm but now I just wanna be away from Brom. Come on Dras-Leona.

Thieves in the Castle

Eragon wakes up and he’s bathed in sunlight which is so warm it makes him not want to move. Extremely relatable feeling. Also quite a nice moment as we very rarely get to see Eragon actually having the chance to relax.

Eragon also makes the wise decision to leave Zar’roc behind. He may be more proficient with a sword now, but he recognises that he probably won’t be much use with it. That’s good to see – he’s not making a stupid decision and thinking he’ll charge in with a sword because it looks cool.

Brom and Jeod have a little argument as to whether Jeod’s rapier will be much use if they have to fight the guards as it’s too thin for actual fighting. Let’s be real here though, if they end up fighting all the guards, they’re done for anyway.

“Eragon was tense and his heart pounded.” I have to take issue with this because we were building up quite a nicely tense atmosphere anyway. There wasn’t too much dialogue and prior to this sentence it was mentioned that they walked casually. The tension was building anyway – there was no need to mention that “Eragon was tense.” The fact that his heart was pounding would have added to the building tension as well.

We then have a guard who uses slang and doesn’t speak ‘properly’. Eragon can smell the rum on his breath. I guess he’s stupid and a bad guy, then! Yep, predictably he falls for their made up reason as to why they need to enter the castle and also succumbs to a bribe.

Eragon strings his bow like that’s going to be remotely helpful.

They go to the room which contains all the shipping records. Again, I think it would have been more useful to just teach Eragon how to recognise the word ‘seithr’. I know he’ll have to learn to read at some point, but for now it would have done. Brom grabs all the scales and piles them on the floor. If some guard comes wandering about surely they should be taking one at a time!? I really cannot cope with Brom.

Okay, actually they’re mostly looking for ships which sail in the Northern areas, in which case it would be useful for Eragon to be able to read more words that ‘seithr’. I stand corrected.

Solembum appears in his human form and tells Eragon in a roundabout and irritatingly ‘quirky’ way that the guards are coming. He’s been spending too much time around Angela. I really like Solembum in Inheritance but it seems as though in Eragon he’s almost as insufferable as she is.

They leave the room, Brom magically locks the door and the soldiers assume that because it’s locked that nothing shifty is going on. The soldiers escort them out and all is well. Again they speak in a dialect so I suppose we’re to assume that they’re not particularly clever.

When they’re back at Jeod’s house, Brom spreads out a map so they can have a look at their findings and we get a bit of exposition as to what the map looks like as Eragon takes a look at it. It’s basically a description of the map provided in the book except we learn that the Beor Mountains and Du Weldenvarden are unmarked.

Weirdly, they rule out Uru’Baen as a possible spot for the seithr oil deliveries because someone could die from it and then someone might discover that the Empire has been buying it. So what? Galbatorix has a lot of treasure and we know that this oil (when treated) is used to preserve gems.

They narrow it down to Dras-Leona because it’s well situated and because Helgrind is there. Eragon doesn’t feel like asking what Helgrind is and Brom doesn’t feel like telling him. Probably this is for drama.

That’s basically it. Brom makes a remark that he sees his death coming, but not for a while. Ha, you just wait, Brom. It’ll come soon. Not soon enough.