This one is by me.
Chapter Seventy-Two: A Fitting Epitaph
So Nasuada is Queen, for no real reason. Eragon sticks around for a few days, helping weed out insurgents and cast spells to keep Galbatorix loyalists from interfering with the new queen. The usual things to weed out dissent and force everyone to adhere to their new monarch.
We get a bit of catchup – Arya is sad because of the death in the family, Nasuada is reinvigorated by having shit to do – and jump straight into the coronation. Eragon crowns Nasuada Queen by placing the crown upon her head and Saphira rubs her nose against Nasuada’s forehead and that is that. There isn’t any explanation as to why Eragon gets to crown the monarch. Traditionally, isn’t it some kind of religious leader? I don’t necessarily have a problem with Eragon doing it, as he’s Pretty Important, but it would be nice to have a quick line explaining why – historical precedent, or Nasuada asked him, or something.
Afterwards, King Orrin comes up and swears his allegiance. Then Arya, King Orik, Grimmr Halfspaw, and Nar Garzhvog each “pledge friendship”. Why is King Orrin the only one who has to swear allegiance? I thought Surda and the Empire would be allies? Nope, I guess King Orrin has to be subservient to his new liege-lord, Nasuada. Anyway. It’s very emotional.
The event affected Eragon strongly (page 759).
Sometimes, Paolini’s prose literally gives me chills.
Things calm down a bit, so Nasuada orders Eragon to fly around to different cities, release people from Galbatorix’s oaths, and then bind them with new spells to keep them from breaking the newly established peace. Eragon, in a rare moment of wisdom, refuses to do this, because it’s too much like Galbatorix’s hypercontrolling douchebaggery. After some discussion, Nasuada agrees. Which…well, I’m glad that Eragon has had what alcoholics refer to as a moment of clarity and made a good moral decision, but the fact that Nasuada’s first major decision as Queen is to have a magician force people into being mentally unable to disagree with her is…troubling.
I give it 10 years before Nasuada is worse than Galbatorix ever was. Which won’t be hard since from all available evidence Galbatorix was a pretty good king.
Eragon and Saphira fly around getting shit done and occasionally people try to kill them. It’s pretty uninteresting until they show up at Brom’s tomb, where it continues to be pretty uninteresting. The diamond has kept him in some kind of cryostasis containment so his body hasn’t decayed at all, which I find a little unrealistic. Eragon cries for a bit, talks to Brom for a bit, and then decides that he should try and use Magic to reanimate Brom into a zombie. Saphira and the Eldunari talk him out of it.
Eragon changes the writing on Brom’s tomb to be a bit more dramatic, casts some spells to keep thieves and vandals away, and says goodbye.
Then Eragon turned, and, with a sense of finality, he slowly climbed onto Saphira’s back (page 765).
Paolini quote time! “In my writing, I strive for a lyrical beauty somewhere between Tolkien at his best and Seamus Heaney’s translation of Beowulf.”
When I first read this quote, I was immediately struck by the arrogance it contained, although I’m not fully convinced Paolini intended to claim that he was on the level of Tolkien and Heaney. I also do not think there is anything wrong with wanting to master Tolkien’s level of expertise. I personally would love to have Tolkien’s worldbuilding, George RR Martin’s characters, Scott Lynch’s swashbuckling, Joe Abercrombie’s darkness, and Guy Gavriel Kay’s prose. Writers should find inspiration where they can, and they should reach for the stars.
But (in sporks, there’s always a but) despite having some very good role models, Paolini is incredibly bad at achieving any sort of lyrical beauty, let alone basic writing competence. “With a sense of finality”. Because he just said goodbye to his dead father. There was no better sentence to use? Nothing you could show, rather than tell? You are forced, as the author, to tell us that there was a sense of finality in the air as this character bids his father’s corpse farewell?