Chapter Thirty-Six- The Word of a Rider
So Eragon and Arya dash outside because he thought he heard a dragon (not Saphira) roar. It would’ve been great if he was just imagining or mishearing something and the last chapter’s cliffhanger led to an anticlimatic funny moment of !drunkEragon making a fool of himself.
“Outside… [he] fell to one knee… He clutched at a tuft of grass, using it as an anchor while he waited for the dizziness to abate.”
What type of grass is can a person “use as an anchor”? I mean the ground is right there to put your hand out… Oh he means anchor as in attach… but that’s a verb…. So this sentence means “he held on to the grass, by holding on to the grass”? Unless a tuft of grass can be used as a physical anchor to hold down a ship, Paolini’s writing is still a mess.
The affects of his meaningless drinking earlier have severely limited his senses. So much so, that he can’t even think to use a spell to fix this problem. The only reason I can think of for him not to use a spell right now is that he is afraid he might mess up the spell. Maybe he would slur his words and end up with his eyes hearing and his ears seeing.
Saphira is apparently also inebriated. As far as I can remember they don’t share sleep or hunger patterns but apparently when Eragon gets hammered, it hits her too. Because that’s dramatic.
Sorry to get stuck again, but there are WAY too many simile/metaphors on this page. At least 7. Thorn is “red as blood and glittering like a million shifting stars.” And attached to Thorn is a detachment of several dozen soldiers. Wow what a brilliant tactical move. If this was followed up by a full on attack, the Varden would be in complete disarray and obliterated, but that would make sense, can’t have the bad guys actually win by their superior tactics.
To address my points Eragon thinks he hears combat erupting near their outer defenses. (technically this means Galby isn’t using the dragon drop to distract from the army or the army to distract from the dragon drop… simultaneously. Meaning this attack doesn’t make sense, pick one.) He also tries to cast a healing spell but it… doesn’t work… Maybe the elf alcohol was charmed or cursed and Wydren knew it wasn’t for drinking. “Let’s drink this.” “Eragon that’s acid for cleaning dragon’s scales.” “To our health!”
Or maybe all that brain damage is finally rearing its derpy head. Some other soldiers (the bad guys we assume, the text doesn’t really indicate it well) run at them while some elves come to protect Eragon and Arya. Did they somehow know Eragon and Arya were incapable of fighting for themselves? Angela also is here, being quirky. She’s fighting with combs, how hilarious.
Sorry, you can’t see my “Totally not amused” face. These combs get a paragraph of description.
“The tines were longer than Eragon’s forearm and were sharped to needle-like points – he knew that if you pricked yourself you could catch blood poisoning from the unwashed wool they had been drawn through.”
So they aren’t even people-combs. And apparently Eragon just knows about blood posioning and thought he’d share that with us. Maybe he’s trying to show off all he remembers from Elf-school, while drunk. If Saphira gets dumb-word-combo-nouns in her POV why isn’t this chapter through drunk-goggles? That would be great, except it’s conceivable Paolini has never actually been drunk and is basing his description off some uncle of his who only went to a wedding for the booze. Some people have claimed this chapter is anti-alcohol, I say this book is anti-good writing so I’m not sure where one starts and the other ends.
Anyway, back to Angela, “the picture of ferocity”. When did Paolini decide he wanted Angela to be the main super-duper special character of awesome epic quirky coolness? I disliked Angela from the beginning. I find her extremely obnoxious. But she always gets dragged back into the plot to help Eragon with the supposed plot. She kills a bunch of dudes and then the werecats show up.
Hey they actually did something! The werecats are pretty pointless throughout the book. Only a few casual mentions of them in battles remind us they are even around.
And apparently these last 6 paragraphs of information “transpired at such speed Eragon barely had time to react” (I guess he spent his reaction phase observing the combs)
And I guess no one has even attempted to attack Eragon during this time either. Saphira wants Eragon to get on her back. The phrase “Dude, come on, do it! It’ll be awesome!” come to mind. Arya magics away the drunk and Eragon gets on his flying blue taxi. Yep, guess the drunkenness could be taken away instantly… why didn’t they do that first?! And what was the point?
Oh no! He’s slightly off balance! Never mind, he’s fine.
He tells Arya to get the Deathdart. Glaedr joins their minds or whatever. Eragon notices Murtagh isn’t in Thorn’s saddle and a few other irrelevant details like: “In the gloom, his claws appeared startlingly white.” Fingernail fetish or bad detail writing, you decide.
The dragons fight in midair for a bit but without a saddle, Eragon slips off and begins to plummet toward the ground. Called it.
Two sentences later, he shouts a magic word and stops ten feet above the ground. He didn’t even try to milk that for drama. Odd.
Thorn sets a bunch of tents on fire like any good dragon should, and Eragon starts running toward Nausada’s tent.
Another great example of expositing a sentence to death follows:
“Eragon felt a sense of primal fear. What was he doing running towards them,” (Sapira and Thorn fighting) good as is, but…. “…towards them, toward a pair of snapping snarling creatures, each larger than a house—larger than two houses in Thorn’s case– and each with claws, fangs, spikes larger than his whole body?” Yeah, we know what a dragon is, way to ruin the pacing, but since it’s broke, let’s keep breaking it! “Even after the initial surge of fear subsided, a small amount of trepidation remained as he raced ahead.” He’s not afraid anymore, except a little bit. Thanks, we totally needed to know that. I think Paolini just likes using the word trepidation.
Arya shows up again and the description pauses to tell us the deathdart is glowing green, but you can’t really see it with the flames everywhere. So much unneeded description, so little time.
Orik joins them randomly. They want to take out Thorn… except they are on the ground and he is in the air… right. We get more fighting description for a page, checking off the minor characters and groups in the battle. Elva apparently can make people kill themselves with her words… I don’t remember why she can do that. Especially if you consider that’s the opposite of her curse AND it was earlier said that Elva can barely stand up when there is violence going on nearby, nevertheless what that should mean when she is surrounded by death.
Eragon considers using Elva against Galby and Thorn but Glaedr says he is wasting time. Sounds about right. Nasuada is finally seen being dragged Murtagh. She tries to kick him and his wards protect him then “He pulled her closer with a cruel tug” That’s a tad silly and redundant but whatever. “then he struck her on the temple” Because everyone in books has a magic sleep-mode button on their foreheads “knocking her unconscious”
Eragon charges ahead, casually leaping a mound of corpses, (I don’t know either) at Murtagh who is kneeling as if in prayer. (Another religion = evil moment?) Thorn grabs Murtagh and Nasuada and starts to fly away. Saphira follows and can’t catch up to help so whatever can they do? Arya runs past and jumps into the air and grabs Thorn’s tail! I’ve read this section several times and I can’t help but think something got messed up in editing. (or rather lack of editing) If Arya had just jumped immeadiatly after Thorn swooped by it could be plausible, but there is a sentence here indicating Saphira is chasing Thorn in midair for at least a short period of time. She just can use magic to fly faster than a dragon I guess.
Turns out that is exactly how it works because Eragon does something similar! He shouts a magic word and gets launched into the sky like arrow. He PASSES Saphira. Why do they even need dragons again?
Arya stabs Thorn with the deathdart. He wiggles. She drops the weapon, and is subsequently thrown from the dragon. It mentions here that she was holding on with her “injured hand” but didn’t they heal that? It also uses the phrase “Ere long” which just seems silly to me.
And just to add injury to injury to gravity, Thorn blasts Arya with a wall of flame, turns, and smacks her with his giant tail. That seems a tad excessive, but I guess since they can practically fly unaided he has to try harder to kill them.
Eragon gives up on catching Thorn and stops the spell. (So was he flying or just shooting straight through the air?) He dives after Arya, and he senses that she is not dead. Guess overkill wasn’t enough. Saphira swoops by and catches Arya instead. Eragon “slows to a halt” by using the same magic word he used earlier to “freeze in midair” (shrug)
“Hopelessness overcame Eragon” And to beat that in we get some melodramatic rhetorical questions.
“How could they continue now? How could they possibly hope for victory without Nasuada to lead them?”
They can continue quite easily. Consider the following:
She wasn’t the original leader. She has never actually led them in battle. She hardly did more than make a few tactical decisions which were questionable at best. But of course we need to angst over this terrible loss. I’d like to see a book where a kidnapping was treated with “Good riddance!” sentiment. Well we were meaning to replace her anyways… but it would’ve been awkward… so thanks for cleaning that up for us!
So far Eragon has done whatever he wanted and it worked out fine without her “leadership” Kidnapping Nasuada makes no sense in the narrative especially when they do that instead of actually destroying the Vardern when they have plenty of chances. I’m pretty sure it only happened so Galbatorix could have someone to monologue at.