Saturday, August 15, 2015

Eragon Chapter 8

Another sooper-short chapter with minimal action.

The previous chapter was almost entirely devoted to Roran wanking on about how he wanted to get a job but mean ol' daddy would throw a fit, and Eragon exploding with homoerotic rage at the idea of Roran getting married and possibly ending their sweaty cousinish man-lurve.

Since that sounds suspiciously like character development, Paolini quickly nullifies it:

Eragon eyed Roran closely and waited for the inevitable. Finally: “I was offered a job at Therinsford’s mill . . . which I plan to take.”

What, no buttering up? No introductory topics? No "Hey dad, all the guys in the village are getting hitched..."?

Garrow finished his mouthful of food with deliberate slowness and laid down his fork.

Not to nitpick here... wait, I do nitpick. How common were forks among the super-poor peasantry?! These took a long time to be invented in their modern form, and they took a LONG time to be introduced to the masses.

Anyway, Garrow takes this news quite well - he just asks why Roran wants to get the job, and after an explanation he asks when Roran leaves. Apparently he's just fine'n'dandy with Roran getting a temp job and then getting married to an Icky Gurl.

... okay, what?

I assume Paolini's trying to create some sense of tension or character development, but this makes no effing sense at all. It's not like these people are total strangers who don't know each other's opinions and viewpoints, but apparently Roran knows ABSOLUTELY NOTHING about his dad's attitudes towards his kid growing up, getting a job and getting married. Literally.

Or does he just assume that Mean Ol' Dad is opposed to him doing anything in life? Because Roran doesn't come across as the emo teen type. Or is Garrow bipolar? Seriously, come up with SOME KIND OF ANSWER about why a son wouldn't have the faintest ideas about what his father's opinions and plans are, and why he'd get all whiny about how boohoo daddy won't let him do stuff with no reason to think he won't.

Garrow leaned forward with a twinkle in his eye. “Did you think I would stop you? I’d hoped you would marry soon. It will be good to see this family growing again. Katrina will be lucky to have you.”

... it's official: Eragon is the dumbest person in the world. If Garrow, who is kinda sorta absent whenever he isn't needed (like for a dramatic death scene) has figured out the freaking obvious, then it stands to reason that EVERYBODY they know also knows that Roran wants to plow Katrina's field.

He looked over the table and asked, “Eragon, did you know of this?”
He shrugged ruefully. “Not until today. . . . It’s madness.”

Madness? THIS... IS..... ALAGAESIA!

"I'm going to kick you into a pit until you stop wanting to get married!"

Seriously, I'm still not sure why Eragon thinks this is so crazy and insane. He's got a freaking dragon living out in the woods, and he's now a self-proclaimed Dragon Rider - yet if Roran even thinks about earning money and getting married it's "madness."

Garrow refuses to succumb to Eragon's homoerotic emo rage and just tells him that it's the way things go naturally and everything will be okay.

Eragon and Roran helped him in silence.

... okay, since Eragon is seething that he'll be deprived of steamy cousin-love for a couple months, I could see why he'd be silent. But why's Roran sulking?! Everything's great for him - he's going to get his own house, he's gonna get to have sex with someone other than Eragon, and Daddy is delighted with it all.

It would make more sense if Eragon sat there sulking while Garrow and Roran talked, but that might make him seem like a whiny stalkerish brat, so no go.

Of course, that apparently is exactly what Eragon acts like for the next few days, giving Roran and Garrow the silent treatment and wangsting about how there were small reminders everywhere that Roran was leaving. This would be WAY more moving if Roran were going off to be a soldier or to the big city or to be a professional skydiver in Argentina. But he's going away for maybe two months, and then he'll be back for good.

Basically, Eragon is acting just how Roran was claiming Garrow would act. I will give Paolini credit - he doesn't depict Eragon as being anything other than a selfish brat here. Yet.

Saphira was a balm for Eragon’s frustration.

Given how he's acting like a jilted girlfriend over Roran, that sounds REALLY dirty. This better not be an Anita Blakey kind of "balm" or "frustration."

He could talk freely with her; his emotions were completely open to her mind, and she understood him better than anyone else.

.... but don't let us bother you by actually wanting to see some of this SuperSpeshul "understanding." We just accept everything we're told and believe it implicitly, because we're brain-dead sheep who probably think that presidential candidates care about The People.

Oh, and Saphira is now enormous enough for Eragon to sit on her back.

He often rested there in the evenings and scratched her neck while he explained the meanings of different words. Soon she understood everything he said and frequently commented on it.

It's like Paolini is determined to keep their relationship as utterly and completely 2-D as possible, so that there's no chance that we can actually FEEL this. This would be an awesome time to SHOW us some cute scenes where Eragon talks to her about words and she comments on them in a funny way... but it never happens ARRRRGGG ALL THIS WASTED POTENTIAL!

As for the meanings of words: wouldn't she know them? I mean, they have a Speshul Deep Mind Bond of Telepathic Awesomeness, so why wouldn't she just discern the words' meanings from whatever he thought when he said them?!

Saphira was as real and complex as any person.

Wow, way to treat her like an equal sentient being by not classifying her as a "person." He sounds like he's talking about a virtual girlfriend.

Her personality was eclectic and at times completely alien, yet they understood each other on a profound level.

... and what level would that be? Basement? Second? Haunted Castle? How can a creature that hasn't demonstrated a lot of personality have one that's "eclectic"? And how profound can their understanding be if one of them has zero personality and the other hasn't grown one yet? Wait, that actually makes sense...

Her actions and thoughts constantly revealed new aspects of her character. Once she caught an eagle and, instead of eating it, released it, saying, No hunter of the sky should end his days as prey. Better to die on the wing than pinned to the ground.

Here we have a variety of problems:

  1. Did she catch that eagle just so she could release it and make a Deep And Insightful comment?
  2. So only winged predators should get speshul treatment, and the ones that can't fly can just lump it?
  3. Precisely where is this pompous attitude and philosophical bent coming from? I could buy it if she said she felt sorry for the eagle and let it go because of that, but instead we get the sort of wordy, pretentious dribble I'd expect from Eragon or Elf Chickie.

(Remember Elf Chickie? Is she ever gonna appear again? Ever?)

Anyway, for some reason Eragon has decided not to tell his family. It's not entirely clear why except that Eragon has decided that his relatives are gonna scream at him (oh shock!) and therefore, Roran's departure made him decide not to tell them. Yeah, that makes a lot of sense.

She was reluctant to be seen, and he, partly out of selfishness, agreed.

... I'm sorry, why is she reluctant to be seen? Are dragons shy by nature, or has Eragon explained the slight legal implications of having a dragon, such as dismemberment and confiscation of said dragon?

He told himself to wait for a sign that it was the right time.

... a sign from WHAT?

The night before Roran was to leave, Eragon went to talk with him.

... "Roran, don't I mean anything to you? How could you leeeeeaaaave me?! Let's elope!"

An oil lamp rested on a nightstand, painting the walls with warm flickering light. The bedposts cast elongated shadows on empty shelves that rose to the ceiling.

... okay, in what world are these peasant possessions? Oil lamps need oil, which cost money. And bedposts? Why would a penniless family have a bedframe, let alone one with bedposts?!

Anyway, Roran is understandably pissed because Eragon has been howling his homoerotically charged misery to the skies all this time. But he packs a polished rock, and this actually touches Eragon. Whaddaya you know - character development!

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