Chapter 41: DEPARTURE!
So, Eragon is (we assume) setting off to go to Vroengard. He gets someone to get someone else to get provisions for him. He’s really moved up in the world, hasn’t he? Keep in mind this is supposed to be top secret, hush-hush. I’m of two minds. On the one hand, fewer people knowing anything would be better. On the other, Eragon is a pretty recognizable figure, so pretty much anything he does will draw attention…
Also, special note is made that Saphira ate, but didn’t gorged herself because she thought she might need to fight. Now, does that mean that Saphira gorges herself otherwise? Anyway, the point is, she can fly there, but will need to eat at Vroengard, which might be a problem, since they have no idea if there’s food there. ….Except that Saphira thinks she can fly back hungry. Eragon doesn’t believe her.
Look, my point is, we have an entire paragraph of this back and forth. And it’s stupid. I don’t know where this goes, but Paolini should, and he should have just left in the relevant foreshadowing/set up (if necessary).
Eragon then gets Jörmundur and Blödhgarm and explains.
We get this gem:
Blödhgarm was the easiest to win over to their point of view, whereas Jörmundur objected vociferously.
Two points. One, I don’t think “easiest” should be used when there’s only two of them. Second, “objected vociferously?” That sounds so stupid.
Jormundur express several concerns – the Varden would be without leadership, Galbatorix might actually get off his throne and do something send Murtagh and Thorn to attack. They come up with a solution: the elves would create apparitions of Eragon and Saphira. But those illusions wouldn’t be perfect, so the other leaders and the Nighthawks need to be told. Because they wouldn’t have told Orik or Orrin otherwise.
Orrin complains, apparently at length, but we don’t get to hear it. Eventually, we’re told that Eragon convinces him. Eragon and Arya also go talk to others, which takes them until dawn. Eragon complains about how long this takes, and I agree. This is just a waste of words. We know Eragon’s going. Do we really need to spend this long talking it over?
Meanwhile, the elves are prepping their spell. We learn in detail just what it takes. Again, this is pointless. The elves can do the spell. That’s good. Unless it comes up again, we don’t need to know the exact how.
This is all totally breaking up the flow.
Before leaving, Eragon has to address the Varden as leader.
Therefore, soon afterward, once the army was assembled, Eragon found himself standing in the back of an empty wagon, looking out over a field of upturned faces—some human and some not—and wishing he were anywhere but there.
First off, is a wagon the best they could do? Couldn’t Saphira give him a boost or something? Also, note how humans are separated out. We already know that there are non-humans in the army. Are we supposed to assume that they don’t normally come to army-wide rallies? Also, “field of upturned faces?” Usually, it’s a sea. And the entire Varden army is only a “field?” I would have thought there would be more of them.
Eragon asks Roran for advice, which is kind of cute. I won’t comment on the substance of Roran’s advice. I always get terrible stage fright, and I honestly don’t think it’s very helpful.
Here it is for your consideration:
“Remember, they’re not your enemies. You have nothing to fear from them. They want to like you. Speak clearly, speak honestly, and whatever you do, keep your doubts to yourself. That’s the way to win them over. They’re going to be frightened and dismayed once you tell them about Nasuada. Give them the reassurance they need, and they’ll follow you through the very gates of Urû’baen.”
Eragon is nervous, which is a rare show of his “farm-boy” background. He also thinks he’s rather fight a hundred enemies, but given that Eragon is a killing machine, that’s… not really saying much. He also totally fails to come up with anything beforehand. I generally find this to be a very bad idea. (Of course, Eragon is naturally eloquent. Of course.)
Then he just blabs. He can’t remember what he said, which is just Paolini’s cheap way of copping out. Which would be… okay, I suppose, except that there are no actual problems and nothing really happens, which raises the question of why this was described in this much detail. I think it would have sufficed to just mention that Eragon had settled things with the Varden without describing every single action in detail.
There are goodbyes, which are pretty nice. The crowd cheers, the elves watch. Eragon actually recaps the plan. I feel like everything up to this point could have been cut.
Yup. What do you think are the chances we’ll actually get to Vroengard next chapter?