Chapter Twenty-Two: Interregnum
I’ll start off this chapter spork by admitting that I had no idea what ‘interregnum’ meant. Originally I thought it made up, like the title of the next chapter Thardsvergundzmal, but then after a quick Google search I figured that what Paolini might be describing here is the second definition of the word:
2 : a period during which the normal functions of government or control are suspended.
So this chapter title is in regards to Aroughs’s government being overthrown. And yes, this does mean that all that this Roran-POV chapter is is a big waste of space and time because all he does in this entire chapter is stay in his room doing nothing whilst waiting for Nasuada to phone him.
Yes, really. I really could just leave it there with that limited description – because it doesn’t really need any more – and torylltales could resume the spork with the next chapter which is FINALLY back to Eragon’s POV.
But I won’t do that, because I’m feeling rather snarky at the moment and wouldn’t mind ripping Roran a new hole.
So. We start with a description of Roran sitting hunched over a table in his bedroom, playing with a ‘jewel-encrusted’ goblet. It’s night-time, and Roran has a fire going in the fireplace. The breeze is described as salty. So I had a look at the map and, yes, Aroughs is right on the South-west coast of Alagaesia. Ok Paolini, you dodged that bullet there.
Although I will take a moment to nitpick here. The windows have thin white curtains on them. The breeze is described as parting them but only in the next paragraph Roran can apparently see the entire region of Aroughs ‘laid out before him’. That’s a pretty stiff breeze!
Aroughs is dark and motionless. Apparently everyone is hiding in their homes. From the Varden. Yeah, the ‘good guys’. Too bad only the Varden support the Varden.
When the breeze ceased, he took another sip from the goblet, pouring the wine directly down his throat to avoid having to swallow.
I don’t think throats work like that, Roran. It’s the swallowing motion which prevents that wine from going down your trachea. Right? So anyway he gets a bit of wine on his split lip and all of a sudden it’s ‘Roran has a boo-boo!’ 🙁 Or ‘spike of pain’, which ever you prefer. Seriously, I’ve had splits in my lip before and I know they can hurt like hell but not enough to make me tense and suck in my breath at how painful it is (which is how Roran reacts). I guess the swallowing motion would be even more painful for him…?
So yeah the table gets more description – it’s got a plate of bread and lamb on it plus a half-empty bottle of wine (don’t you mean, half-full, Paolini? *snrk*) – and then Roran looks into this random mirror also on the table and we get a nice little description at how roughed up he looks.
It still reflected nothing but his own haggard face, bruised, bloodied, and missing a goodly portion of his beard on the right-hand side.
Why don’t you go and shave the entire lot off when you stop hurting so much?
Ok, this is the funny bit. Funny stupid, not funny ha-ha.
He looked away. She would contact him when she did. In the meantime he would wait. It was all he could do; he hurt too much to sleep.
He picked up the goblet again and rolled it between his fingers.
HOLY SHIT this is so boring! This entire sequence is EVEN WORSE than the ones before. Yes, not much happened that was worth putting in the final draft, but this nine-paragraph bit is just stupid wasteful description and a meaningless tautology in ‘she would contact him when she did’. It takes up an entire page and all it is is drivel. We don’t need it in the book. Roran waiting for Nasuada to contact him is NOT INTERESTING. Not even the actual communication – which comes next – is interesting. Unless you really have a great curiosity for what Nasuada thinks about every single bit of Roran’s storyline which the reader already knows about because every single moment is described in painful detail. Anyone? No? Well, ok. I’ll try and save you some pain and shorten their conversation a little. And as an added bonus I’m going to just ignore all of Paolini’s futile attempts at making this interesting by putting stupid description in between speaking.
R: Lady Nasuada.
N: Have you been captured?
N: How’s Carn?
N: Lol. How’s Aroughs?
R: Taken, baby.
N: ORLY? NOWAI.
R: *recounts EVERYTHING* (Thank goodness Paolini doesn’t chuck a Tesch here and actually have him go through everything in the dialogue!) Oh and Brigman’s awesome for taking that arrow out of my back, btw.
N: Get it healed by a proper healer?
R: Yeah but he sucked lol.
N: You have balls, my Carvahall compatriot.
R: Took the palace and the soldiers surrendered, lol.
N: What about Lord Halstead?
R: OMG, lol @ him. Went into the wine cellar with his guards and locked the door, so we got pots of oil and lit them on fire at the door. Hectic, bro.
N: Smoke them out?
R: His guards piss-bolted but Hally and his daughter Lady Galiana suffocated. LOLZ. *takes time to remember her: ‘tiny, delicate, garbed in a beautiful lavender dress covered with frills and ribbons’*
N: Who’s next in line?
R: Tharos the Quick. Y’know, the guy who came and chatted with me while I played knucklebones.
Here Roran remembers how Tharos reacted that midafternoon when he was brought to him.
… Roran – who was lying belly-down on a padded couch to save his back – had said, “I believe you owe me a bottle of wine.”
“How have you done this?!” Tharos had demanded in response, the sound of despair ringing in his voice. “The city was impregnable. None but a dragon could have broken our walls. And yet look what you wrought. You are something other than human, something other than…” And he had fallen silent, unable to speak any longer.
Sorry Tharos, but if you guys did not notice a stinkin’ barge crashing into your walls in time (and you had plenty!) to realise the Varden was sneaking in around the back way you deserved to get attacked.
And yes, Paolini does really use ‘?!’.
N: How did he go learning his dad and sis are dead?
R: Not very well. *remembers Tharos abusing him after learning that Galiana was dead*
N: Roran? Roran?
R: Sorry, spaced out for a sec there. Now that Carn is dead I can’t tell who has already taken vows for Galbatorix.
N: I’ll send you someone who can mindrape.
R: *spaces out again* I wonder if the bottle of wine is poisoned. Meh, CBF.
N: … so don’t let your soldiers burn, rape and pillage the citizens of Aroughs.
R: I don’t have enough soldiers for them to make mischief. They know that if they tried anything Arough’s soldiers could retake the city.
Um, Roran calls pillaging ‘making mischief’? GEEZUS. Also I don’t understand how that is logically meant to work. If the soldiers of Aroughs could retake the city given even the slightest opportunity why don’t they?
N: How many of yours died?
I SO see what you did there, Pao.
N: Did Carn have family?
R: No idea. We didn’t talk about our lives. Wasn’t important. *cough cough cough cough cough hack hack hack cough cough*
N: Dude, get a healer and go to bed.
R: No. They’ve done all they can already and besides, I’m not a kid anymore.
R: So what happens now?
N: I wanted you to come back here as soon as Aroughs was captured but you’re in bad condition. You’ll have to wait until-
R: I WON’T WAIT! Don’t coddle me! I can ride, and I can ride fast. The only reason I came here is because Aroughs was a threat to the Varden. That threat is gone now – I removed it – and I’m not about to stay here, injuries or no injuries, while my wife and unborn child sit camped less than a mile away from Murtagh and his dragon! BAAAAWWWWWWW!
N: I sent you to Aroughs, remember? Anyway, whatever man, chill out. You can come back if you want. But be sensible about it. Don’t kill yourself on the way back. Who should be your replacement when you leave Aroughs?
R: My homey Brigman.
N: What, the guy who hates you?
R: Yep, he’s kinda handy after all. Kept the men collected after I’d been shot. Led them when I was stuck in this miserable music box of a castle. He’s got the experience. Without him we couldn’t have done it. Also the guys like him, and he’ll make a good governor.
Alagaesia has music boxes? How do they work?
N: Ok. Truth be told I didn’t think you’d actually manage to capture Aroughs.
N: Oh well, it was something to do.
R: You better start kissing my arse right now bitch.
N: *takes a deep breath* Sneer if you want, but you cannot deny your own success. You have won a great victory for us today, Stronghammer. Or rather, Captain Stronghammer, I ought to say. You have more than earned the right to that title. I am immensely grateful for what you have done. By capturing Aroughs, you have freed us from the prospect of fighting a war on two fronts, which would have almost certainly meant our destruction. All of the Varden are in your debt, and I promise you, the sacrifices you and your men have made will not be forgotten.
R: That’s a little more like it.
N: Anyway, I gotta go. It’s pretty late, and you’re sick…
N: I’ll see you soon, ok?
N: … Bye!
N: Ok, you hang up first.
R: Nahhhh, you hang up first. 😉
N: No, you! 😛
R: No, you!
N: Ok! Bye!
R: … You didn’t hang up, did you?
Alright, alright, so that last bit was purely tongue in cheek, and what Nasuada actually says before she hangs up is that the siege of Dras-Leona is not going at all well and Roran should get there ASAP. And that’s what ends the chapter.