Chapter Thirty-Seven – Conclave of Kings
Conclave of Kings begins with Eragon, Arya and Saphira landing in the Varden’s camp. Saphira puts Arya down and Eragon rushes over to see if she’s ok.
Arya comes to when Eragon rolls her over onto her back, and asks about Thorn and Nasuada. Saphira tells Arya that he got away and they failed to rescue Nasuada.
Arya goes 🙁
She coughed and winced, then started to sit up. A thread of blood trickled from the corner of her mouth.
“Wait,” said Eragon. “Don’t move. I’ll fetch Blødgharm.”
“There’s no need.” Grasping his shoulder, Arya pulled herself onto her feet, then gingerly rose to her full height. Her breath caught as her muscles stretched, and Eragon saw the pain she was trying to hide. “I’m only bruised, not broken. My wards protected me from the worst of Thorn’s blow.”
Eragon was doubtful, but he accepted her statement.
Let’s just focus a little more in detail on this excerpt, shall we?
- Thread is the wrong word. At least, IMHO. Makes me visualise a red string of fate dangling from Arya’s mouth.
- If Eragon wants her healed, couldn’t he heal her? Or did I miss something here?
- I’m all for Arya being a strong character, but there’s a difference between strong and stupid. If she is truly injured, there’s no limit to the number of elves who would be more than willing to say the magic words and POOF! her back into wellbeing. Arya could even heal herself, for instance. Eragon’s healed himself in a matter of seconds many times beforehand (with injuries far less extensive than a blow from a dragon’s tail)
- If Eragon truly loved her, wouldn’t he at least care enough to try and persuade her a little more about fixing the bruises (if in fact that’s all they are?) There’s no reason for elves to be walking around with battle wounds.
So Saphira asks what they’re going to do now.
The sharp, musky smell of her blood was thick in Eragon’s nostrils.
I know I shouldn’t keep endlessly picking at the small stuff (I tend to do this when I’ve had a long irritating day) but blood isn’t a musky smell. At least IMHO.
Eragon has a look around at the devastated camp, and wonders if Roran and Katrina are alive. Then from out of the smoke, two Empire soldiers run out and attack. By the time Eragon’s finished them off eight more elves have arrived.
And guess what? That attack wasn’t even summarised. That’s all Paolini writes. Look, I’ll show you:
First, a pair of wounded soldiers ran out from a bank of smoke and attacked him and Arya. By the time Eragon dispatched them, eight of the elves had converged upon their location.
It’s as if Paolini’s as bored with writing fight scenes as we are reading them! Maybe after the whole ‘killing with knees’ thing he ran out of creative ideas on how to kill nameless Empire mooks. Now it’s just ‘Eragon dispatched them’. That’s really lazy. There’s no reason for their existence either. Eight elves could just have very well jogged up anyway.
So the nameless elves check that Eragon’s ok, and then heal Saphira’s injuries from her fight with Thorn, even though Eragon would have preferred to do that himself.
Then why doesn’t he insist back at the elves? Surely they’d respect the Rider’s wish that only he heals Saphira? So Eragon knows the healing will take some time (first we’ve heard of this, or is it just me?) so he heads towards Blødgharm and two other Varden elves are still mentally fighting with the last Empire magician; who’s kneeling in a foetal position.
Instead of adding his thoughts to the invisible fray, Eragon strode over to the magician, tapped him on the shoulder, and shouted, “Ha!”
The magician quivered, startled, and the distraction allowed the elves to slip past his defenses.
Eragon knows this because the magician starts to fit, rolls over, and foams at the mouth. Then he stops breathing. Yay, Eragon, you’re a hero!
So Blødgharm and his elf homies get the lowdown on Arya and Nasuada.
. . . his only comment was to say in the ancient language, “Dark times are upon us, Shadeslayer.”
Why is the word for ‘dark’ (with its two meanings, one with negative connotations, one without) the same in both Eragon’s native language and the ancient language? I mean, it’s not like Blødgharm is saying there’s a lack of light at the moment. How does this work when he’s not allowed to lie? How can there be words with two meanings in the ancient language when whatever you say has to be true? Isn’t it that whatever you say becomes true (hence the ‘magic’ of the ancient language)? Oh, doesn’t that mean Blødgharm is magically making them dark times? WISH THERE WAS SOME BLOODY CONTINUITY IN HERE.
Yaela (one of the elves) goes to find the Dauthdaert after Arya dropped it when she was in the sky. Then Eragon, Blødgharm and Uthinaré (the other elf) go on a killing spree of the remaining Empire soldiers around the camp, and put out fires. Remember kids, Fire Kills!
The whole while, an overwhelming sense of dread clutched at Eragon, pressing down on him like a pile of sodden fleeces…
Dad read this bit out aloud, chuckled, and added ‘like wet wool’ in the most snarkiest voice I’ve heard from him. It was awesome.
So anyway, a whole paragraph is dedicated to Eragon feeling emo.
Then, Glaedr pipes up with a smug I told ya so! but Eragon disagrees and says that Glaedr was only interested in killing Thorn and that’s not a good idea anyway considering Thorn’s one of the three remaining dragons (not counting Eldunarya).
Do not think to lecture me, youngling! snapped Glaedr. You cannot begin to understand what I have lost!
Ever the arguer, Eragon says NO U but can feel that Glaedr’s already withdrawn and probably didn’t hear him. So Eragon keeps putting out fires, then Roran arrives.
Relief swept through Eragon as he saw his cousin alive and well…
I mean, I know Paolini wrote that Eragon was worried earlier in this chapter about Roran and Katrina, but if he really was this worried, couldn’t he have, I dunno, GONE LOOKING FOR THEM?! Rather than help the others mop up (and by that I mean kill the remaining enemy soldiers in cold blood)? It’s like everyone’s priorities are so skewed in this chapter. Saphira even ASKED what they were going to do. Eragon could have in that moment chosen to go looking for his cousin and his wife rather than dally around with enemy soldiers and magicians. SOCIOPATH.
So Roran asks what’s up.
I saw Jørmunder running around like a chicken with its head cut off, and Nasuada’s guards look as grim as death…
Roran, take it from an Aussie and trust me when I say the proper phrase is “runnin’ around like a headless chook”. Oh, and Paolini? Yeah, I know Roran used to be a farmer and all, but this turn of phrase just yanks me right out of the story and plonks me down into something like Kath and Kim.
Eragon quietly lets Roran know everything.
Roran’s expression [grew] bleak. “We can’t let the Varden disband,” he said.
Eragon asks Roran to stick around close by in case King Orik tries anything, and then half an hour later they’re summoned by Arya to Orik’s pavilion.
There’s a bit of another timecut. Inside the pavilion, Jørmundur lets Eragon (and the reader) know that Nasuada’s wishes were that Eragon take over.
The faces ringing the interior of the tent were stern and unyielding. Dark shadows clung to the hollows of their temples and to the deep frown lines of the assorted two-legs, as Eragon knew Saphira would have called them. The only one not frowning was Saphira – her head was pushed through the entrance to the pavilion so that she could participate in the conclave – but her lips were pulled back slightly, as if she was about to snarl.
Aargh, awkward prose. Why on earth would Eragon call the company ‘two-legs’? Is Paolini trying to insinuate that Eragon’s known all about the dragon language since the beginning? I smell a bullshit attempt at a retcon.
The other people in the meeting are King Orrin, Arya, King Orik, Grimmr Halfpaw, Nar Garzhvog and Roran.
So Eragon insists that he ‘never wanted this’, staring down at the map of Alagaésia stretched out on the table in the center of the pavilion.
You mean the one that’s at the start of each book and displayed on the wall (blown up to gigantic proportions) in movie!Galbatorix’s lair?
Well King Orrin snarks back at him, and Eragon performs mental cunnilingus on Arya when he gushes about how ‘wise’ she was in gathering everyone into Orik’s tent – him being a ‘staunch supporter’ of the Varden, Eragon’s foster bro, yet someone who won’t go for the position himself.
Arya had strengthened Eragon’s case and undercut his critics, without appearing to endorse or attack either. She was, Eragon had to admit, far more accomplished at manipulating others than he.
Blah blah blah.
Anyway, Eragon speechifies about how he’s going to do his best and follow Nasuada’s example. And then Paolini notes how Eragon is doing his best to sound confident but is actually shitting himself at the thought of all this responsibility and keeping it at Nasuada’s standard. This, thankfully, isn’t rammed down our throats and instead is quite personifying. He almost sounds like a real boy!
Orrin gets on his soapbox and rambles about how Nasuada always took the humans into consideration when dealing with all the specific races. He asks if Eragon is willing to do the same and the idiot hesitates. Orrin preaches a bit more about Eragon’s inexperience and that they won’t take too kindly to being ordered around – that they want to give Eragon advice to lead.
Eragon agrees with this mentally, but could not admit as much without appearing weak.
How so? If Orrin’s just said it anyway, couldn’t Eragon at least turn the slight negative into a positive? (like how they tell you to do in the job interviews?) After all, Nasuada was young and inexperienced just like Eragon, but she managed to turn all the naysayers around.
So rather than doing that, Eragon barfs some stupid noncommittal crap about how he’ll consult them when needed but he’ll make all his decisions on his own. Needless to say, this doesn’t placate Orrin, who brings up how much Eragon worships the elves, and is an honorary dwarf to boot. “Perhaps I am mistaken, but it seems doubtful that your decisions will be your own.”
Eragon starts getting the shits and accuses Orrin of wanting him to only listen to the human race. Anyway, argument, blah blah blah and Eragon is insistent to the end that he’s taking the opinions of every single race into account and that his main concern is killing Galbatorix.
“… Question my judgement, if you must, but do not question my motives. And I would thank you to refrain from implying that I’m a traitor to my own kind!”
Sorry, Eragon, you don’t belong to humankind any longer. Remember? You’re more beautiful than them now, and more rugged than any elf. You know what this reminds me of?
A GREAT conflict was about to come off between the Birds and the Beasts. When the two armies were collected together the Bat hesitated which to join. The Birds that passed his perch said: “Come with us”; but he said: “I am a Beast.” Later on, some Beasts who were passing underneath him looked up and said: “Come with us”; but he said: “I am a Bird.” Luckily at the last moment peace was made, and no battle took place, so the Bat came to the Birds and wished to join in the rejoicings, but they all turned against him and he had to fly away. He then went to the Beasts, but soon had to beat a retreat, or else they would have torn him to pieces. “Ah,” said the Bat, “I see now,
“HE THAT IS NEITHER ONE THING NOR THE OTHER HAS NO FRIENDS.”
As soon as Eragon’s loyalties are called into question it’s WAH WAH WAH I’M STILL A HUMAN but come on, we all remember the Agaeti Blodrhen Deus Ex Machina scene, and who can honestly believe Paolini (or Eragon) still thinks of his Stu darling as a plain ol’ human?
Orik the dwarf gets impatient and bashes his hammer against his shield to shut them up.
“You worry about a crack in the floor while the whole mountain is about to come down upon us!”
Because he’s a dwarf, he comes up with lithosphere-relevant phrases. Very clever, Pao.
Orrin shuts up and broods into his wine. Orik calls for a plan highly similar to the one in place when Nasuada was still around (march on Uru’baen). Grimrr plays with his knife. Arya agrees. Garzhvog agrees.
Yay for devils advocate! Orrin pipes up again and asks how the hell they’re meant to defeat Murty and Galby once they get there. Eragon mentions the Dauthdaert.
King Orrin waved one hand. “Yes, yes, the Dauthdaert. It didn’t help you stop Thorn, and I can’t imagine that Galbatorix will let you come anywhere near him or Shruikan with it…”
Eragon doesn’t have a leg to stand on and knows it. Orrin keeps on with the criticism (much like me at this point in time) about his frustrations with Eragon – or anyone – still not having a viable way to attack Galby, that Galby is pulling all the strings in this war and whatnot.
Eragon goes for an answer. He argues that the Dauthdaert is in fact a threat, which might be a way to make Galby do what they want since he’ll be wary of it. The party realise that Galby will probably recognise it – and Glaedr’s Eldunari – from Murty’s memories. Grimrr asks which one of the Dauthdaert’s they uncovered. Its name is Du Niernen – the Orchid.
The werecat blinked, and Eragon had the impression that he was surprised, although Grimrr’s expression remained blank as ever. “The Orchid. Is that so? How very strange to find such a weapon in this age, especially that… particular weapon.”
“Why so?” asked Jørmundur.
Grimrr’s small pink tongue passed over his fangs. “Niernen is notoriousss.” He drew out the end of the word into a short hiss.
For those wondering if this is relevant… Nope, not really. In fact, Eragon is super keen to ask more, but then Paolini – I mean Garzhvog – interrupts and asks what the hell Eragon’s talking about.
Eragon belatedly remembered that Nasuada had told neither the Urgals nor the werecats what Niernen truly was. Oh well, he thought. It can’t be helped.
He infodumps onto the Kull and the werecat, then gets everyone in the meeting to swear an oath in the ancient language that they won’t tell. Dunno, Eragon, I heard a pinky promise (AKA pinky swear) is actually more binding.
Pep talk time! Eragon encourages everyone with the list of the Deathdart, plus that they won’t be facing Murty and Galby at the same time:
When we arrive at Uru’baen, we’ll lure Murtagh out of the city, and then we’ll surround him, with the whole army if necessary – the elves included – and we’ll kill or capture him once and for all.
This is the same Eragon who took exception to the fact that Orrin called Murty his ‘brother’, not ‘half-brother’ on page 366.
Eragon then goes on to try and convince everyone that Galby’s really not all that invulnerable, that there will be something they might find that will kill him. Dunno, maybe if Eragon shouts “DEUS EX MACHINA” at him loud enough it’ll kill him?
Orrin’s not convinced. “If the Riders of old couldn’t find his weakness, what is the likelihood we can?”
And do you know what the answer is?
That maybe they won’t be able to, because nothing is certain; but if they can’t, they should just accept the fact that Galby’s gonna rule as long as he damn well likes.
Wow, Eragon, you’re a fantastic leader!
Roran asks to speak. Orik gives him permission which pisses Orrin off even more.
Here’s what the farmboy says:
“It is this: too much bood and too many tears have been shed for us to turn back now. It would be disrespectful, both to the dead and to those who remember the dead. This may be a battle between gods” – he appeared perfectly serious to Eragon as he said this – “but I for one will keep fighting until the gods strike me down, or until I strike them down. A dragon might kill ten thousand wolves one at a time, but ten thousand wolves together can kill a dragon.”
So Roran declares that he’s going to go to Uru’baen, even if he has to go alone.
We all know how this ends, don’t we?
Arya’s the first to pipe up. Then the Urgal Kull, then Orik. Then Eragon. Then Grimrr. And then finally Orrin.
ALL FOR ONE AND ONE FOR ALL! *vomit*