Inheritance Spork, Chapter 12 – Dancing with Swords
This chapter is rather bland, to say the least. And when I mean bland it’s can-be-summed-in-a-few-sentences bland. Here I will show:
Eragon is waiting the Varden break camp. He starts training swordplay alone. Then he calls a elf to train, but the elf is better than him so he stops training with him. Then he calls Arya to train and is curbstomped. Then Glaerd says Something Important. The end.
The chapter starts with Eragon bored. When even the POV character is bored why shouldn’t the reader be?
He, Saphira, Arya and the redshirt elves are waiting the Varden break camp. Everyone working makes a lot of noise. Eragon wants to plug his ears.
Let’s see. Everyone is helping the Varden to make things go faster, but Eragon and co. aren’t. I guess that when you are special you don’t need to help people, even when you are the Big Hero Good Guy. You see, a real True Chosen Hero Paragon Of Virtue would be helping the people. He would be helping everyone to make things go faster and because Good People Help. Even if his leader said “You need to rest now!” he would still help. Perhaps disguised but still. Now, Eragon is under no direct order to rest, so he doesn’t help just because. He must think that everyone should work for him, or something like that. As such, he is no Hero but just a spoiled little brat. And what is worse is that there is no way in hell that he would be so spoiled, since he was starving so hard in the start of the first book that he needed to go into the harmless lethal mountain range in order to hunt food. He should be helping these people just because they gave him a meal. But enough digression.
After this Eragon goes and talk with Saphira.
And we get this lovely exchange.
“You would think we would be better at this, considering how many times we’ve done it before, he commented to Saphira as he hopped down off the boulder.
She sniffed. They ought to put me in charge; I could scare them into position in less than an hour, and then we wouldn’t have to waste so much time waiting.
The thought amused him. Yes, I’m sure you could.… Be careful what you say, though, or Nasuada might just make you do it.”
First, Eragon, if you are so bored, why wouldn’t you help them? I mean, it would go faster and you wouldn’t have to wait so much. Second, Saphira, why don’t you do just this? You would be scaring people, something that you loved to do in Brisingr, and also saving time. There is no single disadvantage. Except perhaps disobeying Eragon, but since you aren’t his puppy… Oh wait you are! Nevermind then. But anyway, it’s also beyond me why would Eragon stop his puppy from helping the Varden. I mean he has less personality than a rock, he shouldn’t care unless it is plot important.
Then Eragon’s mind turn to Roran, and he is angry because Roran left without the magic wards.
“He’s an experienced hunter, Saphira pointed out. He will not be so foolish as to allow his prey to claw him.
I know, but sometimes it can’t be helped.… He had best be careful, that’s all. I don’t want him to come back a cripple or, worse, wrapped in a shroud.”
Wait, I thought that it was better to be dead than to be ugly. Why now it’s better to be ugly and a cripple than dead? Oh, wait this is only true if you are a girl, since you need to marry and only pretty girls marry. So boys can be ugly, but girls no. This is so much better than the original…
Afterwards Eragon is eager to do something physical before spending the next hours sitting in Saphira. So he picks his phallic object and starts practicing the style that Brom taught him. He delivers blows that would halve any elf, Urgal or man, regardless of their defenses.
Now, innuendo aside, why is Eragon able to imagine killing people? I mean he trained sword play, not how to kill someone. You see, the important thing that you learn in the Army, and Navy and all is that it’s ok to kill the enemy. This is because we live our whole lives with the idea that killing is wrong, and the army needs to take it from you, since odds are good that you will end up in the war and will have to kill truckloads of people. Especially if you are in a medieval setting, since you will need to kill lots of people. Perhaps monster people, but still. If you don’t have proper training you will end killing without the mental fortitude to do so, and will lose your mind slowly and painfully. Indeed everyone in the Varden should be suffering major mental trauma, and they shouldn’t be able to fight by now. This is something that rubs me the wrong way in almost all war stories, right next to the whole red shirt/faceless mook thing, which lead to a scene in my story where a general goes and reads the name, title and major actions of everyone that died in the last battle, in order to remember whoever reads that it’s people dying, not cardboard cutouts. But I’m once again digressing, so let’s move with the chapter.
Eragon goes and calls an elf to spar with him. The elf is named, probably to die a death later and it be claimed a death of a named character. They spar, and Eragon starts wining, but this change after a while. He whine that he should be untouchable. After he starts losing very badly he stops sparring with the guy. Bad loser.
Then he decides to fight Arya. They put themselves in positions. Eragon charges to Arya and when he is nearby to her…
She smiles and beats him.
Arya prepared her sword, then they faced each other, some thirty feet apart. Feeling confident, Eragon advanced swiftly, already knowing where he was going to strike: at her left shoulder.
Arya held her ground and made no attempt to evade him. When he was less than four yards away, she smiled at him, a warm, brilliant smile that so enhanced her beauty, Eragon faltered, his thoughts dissolving into a muddle.
A line of steel flashed toward him.
He belatedly lifted Brisingr to deflect the blow. A jolt ran up his arm as the tip of the sword glanced off something solid—hilt, blade, or flesh he was not sure, but whatever it was, he knew that he had misjudged the distance and that his response had left him open to attack.
Before he could do much more than slow his forward momentum, another impact dashed his sword arm to the side; then a knot of pain formed in his midsection as Arya stabbed him, knocking him to the ground.
Eragon is a really shit fighter. He was defeated by a crush. What kind of lame soldier is weak enough to be override be emotion? Half of fighting is hiding emotion so the other part doesn’t exploit it.
Then he whines and Arya tell him to shut up.
“You cheated,” he said between gritted teeth.
“No, I exploited a weakness in my opponent. There is a difference.”
“You think … that is a weakness?”
“When we fight, yes. Do you wish to continue?”
This is the best scene in the book so far. Eragon is beaten and when he starts whining Arya burns him. Arya just became a likable character.
They fight some more and Eragon keeps losing. She beats him and it’s amusing, as long as you don’t try to picture what is written and simply reads it has “Arya is kicking Eragon’s ass”. There is a blink and you miss scene where Arya blushes because she is almost touching Eragon and then they disengage with exaggerated care. Paolini is trying to set the romance. It doesn’t work very well because it comes from nowhere.
Eragon doesn’t understand how he keeps losing, and Arya says that it’s because he fought too many mooks and grew lax in his defenses. I call bullshit. Eragon left the elves in the end of eldest. While he was there, he was fighting elves every day, an hour per day. For months. Then he fought Murtagh, which was an even match, and then the Ra’zac, and then Murtagh again. Then he fought the ninjas. All of these battles were against worthy opponents, of great skills and all. Then he fought an army of mooks, but in the end faced a Shade. And on the last battle he killed an army of mooks. If two big battle was enough to make him grow lax in his defenses he is a really shit fighter, QED. And this ignoring the fact that he was good enough to break an elf arm in the middle of Eldest.
Eragon decides starting training with Arya to become a good warrior. Arya accepts. They will train when they can.
And then Glaerd says:
You must learn … to see what you are looking at.
Eragon will learn to see what he is looking at and use it to do something important(To a certain value of important.).
Eragon and Arya are surprised that Glaerd stopped to talk something so random. I’m too. They start discussing what to do to take Glaerd out of his stupor. But the Varden conveniently start moving.
Then Eragon and Saphira discuss when will Glaerd come back. Saphira says that it is only when he decides that he wants to continue living after having losing the most important people of his live and part of his mind and his body and sensory ability. I say that it’s when the plot need him.