Chapter Twenty-Nine – To Feed A God
“The first thing Eragon noticed was the difference in the colors. The stone blocks in the ceiling appeared richer than before. Details that had been obscure now seemed sharp and vivid, while others that had been prominent were subdued. Below him, the sumptuous nature of the patterned disk was even more apparent.”
Now, in the last chapter Eragon fainted or something, since there was some drama about how his last though was of Saphira. So now he regained his senses and the first thing that he notices is that the colors are different. So I’m now guessing that everything is alright, since he would have noticed if he was locked in some way shape or form.
“It took him a moment to understand the reason for the change: Arya’s red werelight no longer illuminated the chamber. Instead, what light there was came from the muted glow of the crystals and the lit candles in the candelabra.”
Two paragraphs into the chapter and I still don’t know what is going on. Sure now the room is lit, but couldn’t he simply write “When Eragon regained his senses the room was lit.”? Then we could get to see what is going on sooner, instead of putting the book down out of boredom.
“Only then did he realize that something was crammed into his mouth, stretching his jaw painfully wide, and that he was hanging by his wrists from a chain mounted in the ceiling. He tried to move and found that his ankles were shackled and secured to a metal loop in the floor.”
So he noticed that the room was lit before he noticed that he was painfully gagged, hanging from his wrists, and with his ankles shackled to the ground. And he still spend two paragraphs to say that the room was lit even though being painfully gagged, hanged from his wrists and shackled to the ground is something not so comfortable and would draw your attention almost immediately.
The only explanation that I can come up with now is that Eragon is into bondage, and had a lot of experience from Carvahall, so regaining his senses while being gagged and bound is par of course to him.
And now I need Brain Bleach.
Anyway, Eragon look to his side and sees Arya, who is also in the same state has Eragon. She is already awake and is relieved that he woke up. He wonders why she didn’t free herself, but being an idiot, never thinks that maybe she can’t. He feels like he is exhausted, which probably means that he is drugged, which would imply that she also is drugged and can’t free herself with magic. But he still doesn’t think any of this and instead notices that he was stripped of all his possessions, and is only in his leggings.
Now, what about Arya? Is she half-naked too? Is this just a long setup to put Arya in one of Paolini fetishes? And what does Eragon think about it, and how does he react? I mean, how is a 15-17 year old boy, who as some really creep lust toward Arya, so his reaction are important, and could lead to a lot of character development. Does he stare at her naked form for a long time without a care in the world, or does he start staring and stops because he doesn’t to look at her without permission, or does he simply don’t look because they are in a really bad situation? It could tell us a lot about Eragon maturity and if he thinks about her as just a piece of meat or not, which could be some nice character development. And it could be something, you know, interesting! Something that people would want to read. But instead we get no description of Arya clothing or lack of thereof, so I’m guessing that she is naked but there is an in-universe censor that puts black stripes to cover naked women.
Also what we have here is and old setup in RPGs around the world. The Heroes are captured, stripped of all his possessions and bound to the ground, probably scheduled to execution in a few days. But they break out/are rescued before said execution, or before the Big Bad torture them. They will also recover all their possession, except maybe some MacGuffin, or an overpowered magic item that the DM finds especially game breaking, so odds are good that Eragon will lose Aren and/or the Belt of Beloth the wise (More likely the belt, since Aren was Brom’s ring.), probably triggering the prophecy of “When you lost all your power, say your name and open the chest of eldunari” in the process. He could also lose his masterwork vorpal flaming bastard sword +5 made with a katana technique, but we had a book with the “I need a sword, but not more than I need to wangst about needing a sword” plot already, so it’s unlikely (Or at least I’m hoping.).
Anyway Eragon starts panicking because he lost everything that he had. But then he remembers that he can simply magic out his way out of here. Even though earlier in this chapter the book outright stated that he was exhausted, probably implying that he was drugged/without enough energy to use magic. There is also a short info dumb on how magic can be cast by either saying the magic words or thinking the magic words or by simply changing the reality with magic. I guess I could point out a lot of flaws on the magic system, but I’m pretty sure that Paolini pretty much give up on it and is just changing it base on how he needs it to work at a given scene, so I will leave it be.
He starts concentrating on the magic and Arya starts shaking and making muffled noses, as if she wanted to say something. Eragon, being stupid, doesn’t notice that she could be trying to say that he shouldn’t use magic right now. Instead he tries to make mental contact and discovers that something is blocking his mental powers. He says it’s not drug because he is sure that he is not drugged but it has to be drug because only drug or an unknown kind of magic could do this. It’s pretty stupid. More so than the usual. So he stares at Arya and notice that her wrist is bleeding! It’s unacceptable! He rages and tries to break the chains through sheer strength. Unfortunately for him the chains are anti-rider-elf-god-mode-sue, so it doesn’t break. When he stops he is bleeding so much that the blood from his wrists is onto the back of his neck and shoulder. Also since some arteries pass through the wrists and he heavily damaged both of them he dies from exsanguination.
We would be so lucky.
After his attempts to break the chains through strength fails he tries to use magic! But the room is magic proof, so once he tries to cast magic every nerve of his body sear with pain, and he lose control of his magic, even though the pain should be enough to put him on a coma.
He notices then that Arya should have tested it by herself earlier and was trying to warn him, once again proving that a door thinks faster than him. Really, if it was so easy she would have already freed herself. Stupid Sociopath.
Then he recaps how they got on this mess (Because it’s not like it was 5 pages ago, we obviously need a recap.) and wonders how a group as awesome as theirs lost so badly. Maybe because they were stupider than a 13 year old playing a chaotic neutral sorcerer, and did things like stopping in the middle of enemy territory to read something write on the cellar. And navigating an underground maze without a single plan. And casting Find the Path only deeper into the maze. And being generally dumb in others ways, shapes and forms.
So he starts thinking what would happen if they don’t escape. Since it as a great potential for character development he stops thinking about it in the same instant. It’s annoying how often Eragon starts thinking about something that could lead to character development and then he stops. Why put this line there if it as no use?
He tries to pull the chains out of the cellar for some more time, but stops after a while, because he is afraid that he will cut his muscle if he keeps going on, and because he may lose too much blood. If you hurt your wrist so much that you are afraid of crippling your muscle, you already died from exsanguination a long, long time ago. There is a reason why cutting the wrist is such a popular suicide method, and it is because it works. Arterial blood doesn’t stop flowing from a cut without treatment, so if you cut an artery and wait, you will die. Since Eragon has no way to stop the bleeding, he should be dead by now. Since he is alive, he is some kind of undead that has blood, but doesn’t need blood in order to survive.
So Eragon and Arya endure, for a long time. To quote:
“For the most part, he and Arya endured.”
It feels strikingly similar to this strip. Except that O-Chul is an actual heroic character, and that the endure, part actually work, since something really, really bad is going on, and O-Chul has no choice but to endure the senseless sacrifice of human life. It’s something especially painful to him, and he has to endure. On Eragon and Arya situation, they are in a bad situation, but there is not so much to endure. They are just waiting to see if someone comes in. That is it. The endure part is just DRAMAH! for drama’s sake. And those kinds of things rarely work.
After a while their captors appear. And they are the guys who worship the mountain in the evil religion of evil. Indeed the leader is a guy who has no limbs. It must suck to be him. There is a lot of description when they enter the room, but thanks to the needless description in the start of the chapter I’m not willing to read it all.
So the leader goes and talks:
The High Priest spat at him, and spittle drooled from its slack lower lip. “There is no torture horrible enough for your crime, Rider. You killed our gods, you and that accursed dragon of yours. For that, you must die.”
I like this guy. He wants to punish Eragon from being a genocidal bastard, so I like him. Also they worship the Ra’zac instead of Helgrind, which is a nice piece of background info that makes their religion actually make sense.
Eragon tries to talk his way out of the situation, but since he is gagged it doesn’t work. Then the high priest guy explains why magic doesn’t work:
In a hideous gesture, the High Priest smiled, showing its gray gums. “You will never escape, Rider. The crystals here were enchanted to trap any who might try to desecrate our temple or steal our treasures, even one such as you. Nor is there anyone to rescue you. Two of your companions are dead—yes, even that meddlesome witch—and Murtagh knows nothing of your presence here. Today is the day of your doom, Eragon Shadeslayer.” Then the High Priest tilted back its head and uttered a gruesome, gurgling whistle.
First of all, I would like to say that I’m by any means a gum specialist, but I don’t think that a human can have a gray one. Second thing is that this crystal system is really neat, but feels way to much like some random trap that you would find in a dungeon (EL 20). Third of all, Angela is just as dead as Murtagh was in the starts of Eldest, and will appear, save everyone and kill the priest, because Paolini think that no one will notice his anvils and that he is really clever. At last, but not least:
Four slaves appear carrying two Ra’zac eggs in response to the whistle. It’s a relief to see that there are some Ra’zac eggs around. They may be evil, but they are still sentient creatures, and as such, don’t deserve to simply disappear just because a God-mode sociopath wants to. Especially when the only evil thing that they did was under Galbatorix orders, and we are supposed to believe that they are evil because they eat human just like the dragons do.
“Since you killed the Old Ones,” said the High Priest, “it is only fitting that you provide the food for their rebirth. You do not deserve such a great honor, but it will please the Old Ones, and in all things we strive to satisfy their desires. We are their faithful servants, and they our masters cruel and implacable: the three-faced god—the hunters of men, the eaters of flesh, and the drinkers of blood. To them, we offer up our bodies in hope of revelation into the mysteries of this life and in hope of absolution for our transgressions. As Tosk wrote, so shall it be.”
The religion is starting to make sense, or at least as much sense as something can hope to make in this book. Sacrifices in order to gain a higher level of understanding and to seek redemption for you sins is the kind of thing that exist in religion and that makes sense, trading one thing for another. Especially when it’s stated that even an ultimate sin, like killing a god, can still be saved, as long as it makes a sacrifice that even things out. Except the Three-faced god part, that makes no sense. I mean is hunting man, eating flesh and drinking blood three things different enough to be considered three faces of a god? I mean the three of them are pretty much the man eating aspect of the Ra’zac. Not to mention that any carnivore also eat flesh and drink blood, and since some animals also hunt humans, would that make then gods too? Indeed, before the Rider thing, the Dragons were also hunters of man and all this shit. And Saphira actually has the three aspects, since she is willing to hunt down some empire soldiers that were mind raped into fighting for a cause that is not theirs. She is also cruel and implacable, so does that make her a god? I say this because, at least as far as I know, when the expression “faced god” is used, it normally means that anything with those aspect is the same god, just using another physical form. But I’m by no means a specialist so I could be wrong here.
After this the High priest explain that they hates Galbatorix guts, because he enslaved their gods, but they hates Eragon guts more, because he is a Rider, and the dragons are the Ra’zac enemies. I want to sit down and cry. Isn’t Galbatorix a Rider too? And shouldn’t they hate Eragon more because he kind of gone all genocidal against their gods? The only explanation I can come up is that Paolini think that the Rider are inherently Good, so he doesn’t think of Galbatorix as and Dragon Rider, even though he has a dragon that he sometimes ride and even though he received all training and stuff that Riders had. And it’s stupid.
They put the eggs in the altar in the center of the run and leave. And we have the tittle drop.
“Who could ask for anything more than to feed a god with the marrow of their bones?” asked the High Priest.
I would ask a lot of things more. I don’t think being eaten alive is on my list of top googolplex things that I want to do. Also this part seems forced, just so Paolini can show of his “cleverness”.
After that the priest and the followers start chanting a song, that somehow mangle and misuse the ancient language, even though the deal with the ancient language is that you can’t lie while using it in any way, shape or form, but like the magic system, I think Paolini just give up on consistency. After that they leave and Eragon and Arya are alone with the Ra’zac.
Eragon and Arya start trashing and twisting, trying to free themselves from the chains. It fails spectacularly. Eragon then starts thinking about breaking his thumbs in order to free his arms. I’m not sure if it would work, but since we have no way to know how wide the manacles are, I’m guessing it is reasonable. Then he would take a piece of the Ra’zac shell, after it would have already hatched, to cut his legs off in order to free himself, then crawl his way out of the circle to cast magic and stop the healing and stuff. All in order to save Arya. Or at least he says so, but I’m not buying it. Especially since the newly hatched Ra’zac would eat him before he did all this, since his plan rely on waiting one of the eggs to hatch. When Eragon is almost ready to do this he hears Arya screaming.
Apparently Arya though the same thing, because she broke her thumb first, and freed one of her hands. Eragon as an emotional reaction for once, and shouts her name into his gag. It is good to see that Eragon can care about seeing people being hurt, but it feels as the only reason that he is panicking is because now she will not be as pretty as before, since he only ever looked at Arya as a piece of meat, except when they were sparring that one time.
When Arya starts reading herself to free her other hand, a young man enter the room. Apparently he thinks that the evil religion is evil, and wants to free them, as long as they
let him join the party take him with them. He brought a file, a chisel and a wooden mallet, and tries to use it to free them, starting with Arya. But the magic protections are too strong, and the tools have no effect. So, once the Ra’zac start hatching he decides to kill them. He is crying when he decides to do this, and I think that he noticed that he will not succeed into freeing then, so he decided to give them a more merciful death than being eaten alive, but even with this resolution he still cries and have to talk to himself that it is for the best. He is more heroic than Eragon “I will take the only thing that keeps you from mentally breaking from you forever” Shadeslayer will ever hope to be. Why isn’t the story about him?
Unfortunately before he can kill Eragon and put us out of is misery, Solembum comes out of nowhere and knocks the young man out. He is in his human form and is almost naked, except for the loincloth that he apparently made out of his attackers cloth, even though cats couldn’t care less about their nakedness. But anyway he is here, and behind him is Angela, ending the chapter with a lame fact that anyone with half a brain saw coming.