Chapter Fifty: Snalglí for Two
You know this is going to be a great chapter with that title. Just look at it, admire how clever, how ingenious such a title is (because you know CP was admiring it after he wrote it). A title blessed with one of CP’s brilliant and unpronounceable words. Snalglí for Two.
So let us begin.
“Snalglí for Two” begins with Eragon, Saphira and Glaedr/Mr. Exposition chilling on Vroengard Island. I say ‘chilling’, because Eragon definitely seems to be taking his sweet time here. He marvels over the scenery, Saphira’s sleeping mind, the sounds of squirrels that may not be squirrels. CP loves his visuals, and there’s a fuckload in the first page alone. A paragraph devoted to the ‘majesty’ of the morning on the Riders’ island. Another paragraph where Eragon compares Saphira’s sleeping mind to a ‘flame that had dimmed until it was little more than a smoldering coal’ pg. 506 (WTF). Apparently his eloquence over that particular analogy was just so vivid and thoughtful that it scares him and he starts to listen to the forest.
He lay where he was for over an hour, listening to the shrieks and chattering that emanated from the woods and watching the patterns of light as they played across the hills, fields, and mountains of the bowl-shaped valley. Pg. 506
I guess there’s no need to rush here. Sure they made a big deal about having to be quick in previous chapters, which is why Saphira decided to fly through a storm. But the urgency seems to be gone in this chapter. I guess maybe they could have taken the long way.
Anyway, Eragon decides to be useful, I guess. He goes off to collect firewood, but again the general tone is that he’s just killing time. He wanders off through the woods and CP takes the opportunity to slam the reader with as much purple-prose laden imagery as possible.
Shadows lay heavy under the trees. The air was cool and still, like that of a cave deep underground, and it smelled of fungus, rotting wood, and oozing sap. The moss and lichen that trailed from the branches were like lengths of tattered lace, stained and sodden, but still possessed of a certain delicate beauty. They partitioned the interior of the woods into cells of varying size, which made it difficult to see more than fifty feet in any direction. Pg. 507
What the Hell? Partitioned the wood? I…just…okay, I have to just keep going. Deep breaths, it’s just CP’s expected thesaurus rape.
So Eragon keeps walking through the forest that apparently is made up of cubicles; because that is the imagery I’m getting here, mostly due to CP’s poor choice of words. Also the trees are scary. How scary? Apparently they look like they are about to start walking, excuse me, ‘striding.’ Actually some of the imagery used here to describe the trees was quite nice, until CP gets to this part:
…as if they were about to pull themselves free of the earth and stride down to the city below. Pg. 507
Scary trees look like they are about to walk. Eragon shivers and fondles his massive magical penis sword, which gives him the courage, nay the desire to continue through the scary forest. There are no animals, which Eragon notes as being odd. Then his spider-sense starts tingling, or rather his palm starts to itch and he encounters some shrieking grubs.
These grubs are the same ones we encounter in a previous chapter where Galby tortures Nasuada by placing them on her body and letting them burrow into her skin. These grubs also have some sort of weird ability in that one white grub can divide into many green centipedes. It must be magic that can let them multiply, change color and species all at once. No, I’m not sure what sort of advantage or purpose this ability serves, beyond looking cool.
Eragon asks Glaedr about these creatures and Glaedr tells Eragon that these things might be dangerous (no shit). Glaedr is troubled by this. Even though he spent previous chapters explaining how the very air and water of this island was dangerous and everything had been altered by the
nuclear magic explosion, he still seems astounded to find danger here.
Eragon finds some bones and decides to leave. He keeps hearing the strange chattering that sounds like squirrels but isn’t squirrels as he returns to the meadow and decides to go wash his face in the stream. At this point I’m wondering what was the point of Eragon’s little jaunt through the woods. Wasn’t he going to get firewood, or something? And then he didn’t. So really the walk through the woods was just to show off the grubs again and to build up some sort of suspense or atmosphere. Which is lost because it’s so very boring and mostly I’m wondering why Eragon is wasting time here.
Eragon finally discovers the source of the strange noises. It’s totally riveting as CP devotes more paragraphs to describing these shadowy birds. Eragon grasps his penis sword again when confronted with such wondrous descriptions. He tries speaking to them in the Ancient Language with a sentence that infuriates me for several reasons, but I leave that for the glossary-sporking. The birds don’t attack, Eragon finds some wood and then he and Glaedr contemplate on how strange and dangerous these animals are. It must be that nuclear magical explosion that did it.
The excitement is killing me.
Saphira quips about eating the grubs, which prompts Glaedr to enthrall us all with a dragon proverb:
You know the first law of hunting as well as I: do not stalk your prey until you are sure it is prey. Pg. 511
Really? That’s like saying the first law of eating is don’t eat something unless you are sure it is food. Good to know, I’m glad we have Glaedr here to pass on such tidbits of wisdom. That is so profound, except it isn’t. Sort of like how this chapter is entertaining, except it isn’t.
Saphira goes to sleep and then Eragon and Glaedr chat a bit about the island before the Riders fell. Glaedr beams a vision of the Vroengard into Eragon’s head, so CP can has an excuse to write more descriptions of a city that isn’t even really there. And then we finally get to something interesting. Eragon notes some lights in the ruins below. He uses magic to see that it is a line of people in robes slowly walking about. They appear to be monks of some sort, there’s some neat imagery used and Glaedr has no idea who these people are. It’s a mystery, and it’s an interesting mystery. Here are some people on a dangerous island that’s supposed to be uninhabited.
Eragon thinks nothing about it and goes to sleep. I guess he used up all his emotion and concern for the maggots, trees and shadow-birds. But this is par for course with CP. All the truly interesting bits of the Inheritance books are ultimately shoved to the side so CP can wax poetic about trees and how awesome Eragon is.
They go to sleep; I’m on the edge of my seat with excitement here. There is a break and next thing we know Glaedr is mentally shouting at them to wake up…excuse me, to ‘rouse’ themselves. ‘Wake’ is such a boring word anyway. Apparently there is danger and Eragon awakes rouses himself immediately, though he pauses to note how the coals of the fire and the sky look before he spots the danger.
It’s a giant snail.
I’ve noted this before, CP is definitely one of those ‘bigger is better’ people. He seems to think that exaggerating everything is part of what makes an epic story, which has resulted in such ludicrous moments as Roran killing that mass of people with his hammer. It’s also given us the ridiculously large crowns and mustaches and animals, because bigger is better and makes things seem more epic. Or as CP would write:
But no matter how big or large or ‘epic’ you make something, sometimes at the end of the day all you have is a slug. A giant slug. For ye all knoweth that it is perilous to face giant snails on yonder field of battle. Especially when they hiss and ooze across the grass toward you. Apparently these giant snails are super-fast and can ooze as fast as a man can run, but Eragon is a sexy man-elf so he should be safe. Except this is one of those rare moments where Eragon’s Sue-reflexes are not quick enough, either those snails are faster than a speeding bullet or this is just another plot contrivance.
Anyway, Saphira saves the day and eats the snail, and we get this lovely imagery.
…and swallowed the creature whole, bobbing her head twice as she did, like a robin eating an earthworm. Pg. 513
Nice, the fearsome dragon is eating snails the way a robin would eat worms. Let us continue. There are more snails and Saphira goes after them and eats all of them except one. The last one she cooks with fire and brings it back to Eragon, so he can eat it. Eragon finds this hilarious, no really.
He stared at her, then began to laugh—and he kept laughing until he was doubled over, resting his hands on his knees and heaving for breath. Pg. 514
Even Eragon finds the idea of giant predator snails to be absurd.
I’m not sure why he’s laughing. He spews some gibberish about eating snail parts, I don’t know, none of it makes sense. Even Saphira and Glaedr find it odd. Then Glaedr asks about the ‘first law of hunting’ and oh God I wish I were making this up, but Saphira and Eragon repeat back that stupid little proverb together. Like a fucking sitcom.
Together Eragon and Saphira replied, Do not stalk your prey until you are sure it is prey. Pg. 515
Now just imagine them saying that, then hearing a laugh track going off as campy music plays and the entire scene freezes so the credits can play.
Glaedr infodumps about the giant snails, or Snalglí as they are called. And now we know where the stupid chapter title came from. Eragon cleans the snail. No, I don’t know how you can gut a snail, but apparently it’s really slimy and messy. Wow, this is certainly Important Information. And very exciting too.
Eragon then buries the meat and the next morning he has tasty snail bacon to eat. It’s so tasty he eats more than usual. Eragon you glutton, you know that snail meat is high in calories and carbs, it will all go straight to your thighs. After eating they pack up and set off to the Rock of Kuthian to finally get shit done.
In conclusion: this is a chapter in which nothing happens. It’s completely pointless. Eragon wanders around a scary forest with scary animals, giant snails attack, they eat them. Nothing that happens in this chapter furthers the plot in any way. It’s completely meaningless. If CP was trying to show how twisted and scary the island had become, he could have done that in a couple of paragraphs starting off the next chapter, where they actually go and do something that has bearing on the story itself. As it was, this chapter was an exercise in boring. It was dull and tedious and has the feeling of something that was tacked on as an afterthought.
Thank you CP; you never fail to bring on the disappointment.