Chapter 73: Pieces on a Board
Alright, so I’ve been icky with flu for a week now, and I almost cleaved off my finger at work, but I’ve managed to finish this thing! Huzah! I survived! By the appearance of my notes, and the immense amount of scribbling I’ve done in my copy of Inheritance, there will be a lot I have to say, so buckle up and here we go!
In the beginning… (hehe) of her reign as new ruler, Nasuada changes the name of Uru’baen back to Ilirea. Fine by me, except now it’s annoying to have to read that name and think back “now what was named Ilirea again?” Arya leaves Eragon a letter with the new queen, and in it she states that she’s taking the green egg back to Du Weldenvarden because “it is only right that an elf should be the next Rider… [since] Saphira chose you, a human, to be her rider…” Uumm great. Who gave you the authority to make that decision? Elves have been the ONLY dragon riders for CENTURIES! They let the humans in right before the downfall of the riders, but whatever. We all know that the stupid humans were the ones who started this Forsworn bs and the elves were rightfully the only ones allowed to ride dragons because they used to murder them in the past… Joyous… Paolini at it again with his elf obsession. Why not let a dwarf be a rider? They’ve never received that chance. Arya makes a short mention of there being more eggs – choosing not to name the place even though it’s idiotic to even put down in writing that there are more dragon eggs somewhere – and then she mentions that she no longer wants to be an ambassador and instead she appointed some other elf guy to do it.
After this drawl, Eragon confronts Elva and agrees to lift her curse. She suddenly has a very freakishly big change of heart and actually objects to this! Even though this curse makes her writhe in pain every moment of her life and suffer to the fullest physical and emotional extent! Even though she begged for it to be removed in the previous chapters! She continues on with her (not so well founded) argument, saying:
“This is too large a part of me, and I cannot give it up. Without my ability to sense others’ pain, I would be only an oddity – a misbegotten aberration, good for nothing but satisfying the low-minded curiosity of those who consented to have me around… I am still an oddity, but I can be useful as well and I have a power that other fear and a control over my own destiny, which many of my sex do not… here I can live in comfort – in peace… If you take away my ability then what would I have?”
Ahhh…. I don’t know what to say to this… I had to post the majority of it because I couldn’t believe what I read the first time around. On one hand, Elva is realizing that her power was actually helpful (even though it was a major detriment to her). She realizes that she’ll become a drooling baby again for a couple more years and that she’ll be completely normal like everyone else and most likely live a normal life. On the other hand… She realizes that she can’t stop being one of the biggest deus ex machinas to the plotline, so she suddenly matures within a couple chapters and decides that she doesn’t want to be another useless, dirty, meager, woman like so many of her kind are. For shame! That was such a big put down to so many women that it was disgusting. Look at Katrina. She held her own perfectly fine, although she followed Roran around all the time, but she defied her “destiny” by running away from her father Sloan. So can a normal, non magical, woman hold her own and not be some depressing grain of dirt in the crease of some man’s boot? I think so…. Again, unfounded argument. Which critic or author, in a book review, praised Paolini for having strong, well rounded female characters? I seriously wish they could have read that quote again; just a bit slower.
Moving on (before I burst a blood vessel) Nasuada sends her pets out on some misc. work, cleaning up any resistances and making sure the people in the new kingdom kiss her behind. Eragon and Saphira go back to where their farm used to be and Eragon has a slightly human moment in which he (finally) feels a shred of emotion… even if it is feeling bad for himself and his homeland. He feels sad that the farm was gone and refuses to visit it when Saphira asks if he wants to. They troll around to a couple other places, and then they go back to Ilirea. Once again, Eragon only displays emotions when it suits him to. Nice try, Paolini. We all know Eragon is a mindless zombie robot…
Nasuada forces a couple more kings to swear allegiance to her, threatening them with Eragon and his sheep eating dragon of course. Then Eragon goes to help the magicians clean out Uru’baen – I mean Ilirea – and that’s where I saw this quote: “Much of the work fell to him, as none of the other spellcasters had the knowledge or experience needed to deal with many of the enchanted artifacts that Galbatorix had left behind.” Uuum… Experience? When did Eragon ever gain any experience? Maybe in that brick called Eldest, but I don’t recall reading anything about knowledge of centuries old enchanted weapons and wouldn’t you think that any magician would be prepared enough if they’re going to go into one of the most dangerous treasure troves of all time and root around a bit? Logic… It escapes me.
Nasuada keeps all the riches and divides them up among all her chums. “In addition, she gave a gift of five gold crowns to every one of her subjects, a trifling amount to the nobles, but a veritable fortune to the poorer farmers. The gesture, Eragon knew, earned her their respect and allegiance in a way Galbatorix would never have understood.” ………… Someone stop me before I slap this kid… Seriously?! You’re telling me that BUYING people’s loyalty is an ok thing to do? Instead of making them magically work for you, even though you just brood in your castle for a century or two. Oh no, Galby knew full well what kind of respect buying people would get you. No respect. This guy wasn’t dumb. That’s why he mind controlled them. Nasuada is so naïve in the way of politics and ruling any sort of establishment, let alone a kingdom, that this plane can only nosedive from here on out. I… I don’t know what to say to this. It’s ok? I can go out and buy my friends now? It’s that easy, huh? Well some of us were around people all our lives in school – or at least attempting to learn the ways of human communication and emotion – and not digging Viking mead halls in our backyards, so I’ll stick to earning respect from people before I give them a pile of gold.
Gah…. Continuing… Nasuada’s attempts to rebuild the empire seem to be going fairly well as they are beating the remaining resistance to a bloody pulp. Our fair and just queen begins to dole out her punishment for the nobles who helped Galby, and get this! She gives the Urgals a ton of land even though Nar Garsksofopwofwof (I don’t know how to spell it…) admits to her that the Urgals will NOT keep their peaceful agreement in the future.
“He watched how she rendered judgement upon the nobles who had worked with Galbatorix – willingly or not- and he approved of the fairness and mercy she displayed, as well as the punishments she meted out when necessary. Most she stripped of their lands, titles, and the better portion of their ill-gotten wealth, but she did not have them executed for which Eragon was glad. – He stood by her side when she granted Nar Garzhvog and his people vast swaths of land…Nar Garzhvog had sworn fealty to nasuada as his high queen. HOWEVER, the huge Kull said, ‘My people agree with this, but they have thick blood and short memories, and words will not bind them forever…We do not want to fight you, We know that Firesword (Eragon, the dip-brain) will kill us, but when our young ones have grown, they will want battles in which to prove themselves. If there are no battles, then they will start them.”
Great… So punish the stupid humans who couldn’t help but be mind controlled by Galby, but give the ill-tempered Urgals a ton of land (even though they too were both willingly and not willingly fighting for Galby because of Durza). This makes no sense. Wouldn’t Nasuada pardon those who were unwillingly under Glaby’s rule and then take them on as her allies, working to gain their loyalty and respect the RIGHT way? Instead of kicking them to the curb and giving a war-loving species a ton of land and then not saying anything further when they tell you they’re not going to keep their promises? Ugh… Downhill, I say. The nosedive has quickened.
Eragon continues to struggle to find a place to raise the new baby dragons, and Nasuada continues to use him as her ferry man by having him and Saphira travel everywhere. A couple people try to kill the queen in the winter (expected and I don’t blame them at this point). After these obviously pitiful displays of “I hate the Queen. Let’s kill her!” Roran gets appointed earl and given the entirety of Palancar Valley. Woopee… he’s a damn farmer’s son! Why the hell are all these unfit people being made “fit” to rule?!?! What does Roran understand about politics and economics; let alone controlling people without bashing in their skulls with a hammer? Then again, if Eragon can learn to read in a week, then super genes must run in the family…
Nasuada later blurts out to Eragon that she’s going to form a group of magicians, like the Riders, and control every other magician with that group… “Look at the havoc Galbatorix wrought. Magicians are the most dangerous creatures n the world and they have to be held accountable.” GALBY WAS A RIDER!!!! A FREAKING RIDER! What are you trying to say, Nasuada? That magicians are bad because Galby used magic?!?! Why not swear the loyalty of all the future riders to you as well??? After all, a RIDER was the one who wrought all the “havoc and destruction” you claim to have witnessed. Now we’re pointing the finger at the wrong group of people…. Attentiveness and consistency. Two of the things our queen seems to lack at this point. Ladies and gentlemen, the plane has officially hit the ground nose first, and it is up in flames. This monarchy was destroyed before it even had a chance…
She continues on with this amusing display of political talent: “I thought perhaps [we could spy on all the magicians] with spells and scrying mirrors so that we could track the whereabouts and supervise their use of magic.” Yeah… Uh America tried something that, Paolini. It was called the Patriot Act. Don’t get me started about that. Literally 3/4 of the country went insane for a while there. Not going to work out so well for subjects who can actually defy their government. You know what… I’m crafting a new name for Nasuada. I will call her Nasuadatorix. More fitting.
Nasuadatorix continues, saying that she wants Eragon to spy on all the magicians (in Alagasia) for her, and then she throws a boo hoo party when she complains about everyone hating her for forcing every magician to swear allegiance to her. Well, sweetheart, I’ve never heard of a single ruler that everyone loved. That’s impossible. So suck it up and deal with it, Nasuadatorix. No one said ruling a kingdom would be a cakewalk. Just look at the last guy. He exploded… But again, if you still think you can do better, knock yourself out. Again, she continues with her illogical rationale. “Galbatorix was mad and evil, but he was right about one thing: the magicians need to be reined in. But not as Galbatorix intended.” Uuh, isn’t the way he did it almost identical to the way you’re suggesting? Ah… sorry… The logic… it’s gone again. Eragon throws a surprisingly well founded baby fit and goes to complain to Saphira. She’s indifferent since it doesn’t really apply to her. A little while after this, Eragon is in his lavish room just chillin’ when a tiny grass ship spooks him so much that he leaps out of his chair and draws his sword… Really? The ever alert hero… Anyways, it’s just a letter from Arya explaining that he should come to the Ramr River the following day so she can talk to him. Eragon freaks so much that he doesn’t tell Nasuadatorix, Glaedr, or any of the lumpy dragon rocks. Arya is painfully vague in her letter (an attempt at suspense), and Paolini ends the chapter with Eragon giddily leaving to go see her, so I guess my rant/spork is at its well deserved end.