It's the Infamous Dr.Who Chapter!! Bum-Bum Buuuuuuum!!!

Shadows of the PastEdit

Okay, we're a fourth of the way into the book; who can tell me what the plot is.

No one?

Eragon whining doesn't count.

Neither can I.

Things that could have been sub-plots but got wrapped up to quickly: Nasuada fighting to keep control of the Varden and Roran trying to rescue Katrina and then fearing for the baby's life. Dealing with Sloan. These are things that could have, if drawn out correctly, been interesting to read about. Nasuada's Trial of the Long Knives was a sort of cheat. We didn't see the others upset at the way she was running things, we're just told they were and then they go all emo chicken. If it were shown through out the book, them questioning her and questioning her and then she does something that proves she's a good leader at the climatic battle or what-have-you then it would have been much more effective. As for Roran and Katrina, that could have been the main plot of the novel: taking out the Ra'zac and rescuing her and then trying to deal with Sloan. They could have planned how to find them, how to get in, make sure that they had all the right weapons. Make the Ra'zac scarier. After all, in the previous books it seemed like entire armies couldn't stop them but here they were defeated by two teenagers and a dragon. Then once they rescued Sloan and Katrina, they could make a race to the Elven lands to help save her baby and try to figure out what to do with Sloan.

I think that would have been more interesting. That's just me, however.

Onto the meat of the chapter, where it begins with Arya and Eragon enjoying rabbit food: dandelions, roots and seeds etc. Which Eragon finds boring to eat and wishes he could have some meat, but he doesn't want Arya to disapprove of him and he didn't think he could kill something after the battle earlier: Moreover, after their fight with the soldiers, the thought of taking another life, even an animal’s, sickened him. It's an interesting thought here. If killing really sickened him to that degree he'd be a pacifist or be like the heroes that will injure but not kill. Instead the fact that he's not eating meat here is to show that killing has bothered him. It upsets him sooo much that he can't eat meat, but he was like that at the beginning of the book; he wouldn't eat meat because taking the life of an animal bothered him sooo much. It's just hypocritical here and put in to show that Eragon is feeling remorse.

In fact, the next thing that Eragon ponders is the fact that he doesn't have a sword and that he needs some sort of protection for his hands so he doesn't cripple himself. He could learn how to hit people properly but that would be logical.

His chin sunk low against his chest, Eragon massaged his right hand with his left, trying to dispel a deep-seated ache.I need a sword, he thought.Short of that, I could use some sort of protection for my hands so I don’t cripple myself whenever I hit something. The problem is, I’m so strong now, I would have to wear gloves with several inches of padding, which is ridiculous. They would be too bulky, too hot, and what’s more, I can’t go around with gloves on for the rest of my life. He frowned. Pushing the bones of his hand out of their normal positions, he studied how they altered the play of light over his skin, fascinated by the malleability of his body. And what happens if I get in a fight while I’m wearing Brom’s ring? It’s of elvish make, so I probably don’t have to worry about breaking the sapphire. But if I hit anything with the ring on my finger, I won’t just dislocate a few joints, I’ll splinter every bone in my hand. . . . I might not even be able to repair the damage. . . .He tightened his hands into fists and slowly turned them from side to side, watching the shadows deepen and fade between his knuckles. I could invent a spell that would stop any object that was moving at a dangerous speed from touching my hands. No, wait, that’s no good. What if it was a boulder? What if it was a mountain? I’d kill myself trying to stop it .

Let's deconstruct this paragraph. He needs a sword. He was presented with several swords after he killed the soldiers, did he take one? No. Obviously he doesn't need a sword so much as need to whine about needing a sword. He's cutting off his nose to spite his face when he says no sword is good enough for him except Za'rac. I'm reminded of Mercedes Lackey book Exile's Honor where the main character becomes Weapons Master for the Herald school. At one point he's looking at the swords and thinking about how his old master never let his students get attached to any one weapon. If they gave it a name, he'd toss it in the fire. The point of this being that it crippled them if they thought they needed a special sword to fight with, when really any sword would do.

If Eragon really was as good of a swordsman that Paolini says he is, then he could use any old sword and be just as good. He wouldn't need teh Speshul Sword. It would help him, but he wouldn't need it. Now, I'm guilty of having a Speshul Sword in my own novels, however Alec doesn't need it to fight with. It doesn't augment his (limited) fighting abilities whatsoever instead it's a key to lock portals that open up in his world. The only reason why he'd prefer it is because it's a superior crafted sword. If it wasn't there, he'd take what he had. The whining about the sword would be much more effective if Eragon was using a inferior sword and not just wishing he had one.

The glove and ring thing is just ridiculous. You can take off gloves and not wear rings.

THIS Pushing the bones of his hand out of their normal positions, he studied how they altered the play of light over his skin, fascinated by the malleability of his body. on the other hand makes it look like his bones are made of putty. You can't push your bones out of their normal positions unless you do some serious damage to them and it would HURT. This is just bad imagery.

Finally, if someone's throwing a mountain at you I think you have bigger worries than "what will happen to my hands if I hit it?" like OH FUCK SOMEONE THREW A MOUNTAIN AT ME HOW IS THAT EVEN POSSIBLE??!?!!!

If it turns out there's going to be mountain throwing, I'm going to be very, very, very, very, very, very cranky.

After some more inner thoughts along this line, Eragon decides that he wants to make something like those metal spikes the dwarves have on their knuckles sometimes. The sort of Wolverine rip-off claws. With a word in the Ancient Language (It slices! It Dices! It makes Julian Fries!) Eragon reshapes his knuckles.

The backs of his hands began to crawl and prickle as if he had fallen into a patch of stinging nettles. The sensation was so intense and so unpleasant, he longed to jump up and scratch himself as hard as he could. With an effort of will, he stayed where he was and watched as the skin on his knuckles bulged, forming a flat, whitish callus half an inch thick over each joint. They reminded him of the hornlike deposits that appear on the inside of horses’ legs. When he was pleased with the size and density of the knobs, he released the flow of magic and set about exploring, by touch and sight, the mountainous new terrain that loomed over his fingers.

After some thought and trying to picture this, I believe what we have here is some home-grown (literally) brass knuckles made out of bone. He should have gotten some from Mrs. Goodbody at No. 8 Easy Street as there are types to suit all pockets.

There's a sort of ridiculousness here. The description sounds really cool, but there's no reason for him to be doing this. Oh yes, he needs something to protect his hands, but the way he goes about this doesn't seem to follow any sort of human logic train.

Let me see if I can even work it out.

If Magic Sword [MS] > Non Magic Sword [NMS] > Staff [S]/ Hands [H]

Therefore [H]/[S] > [NMS]?

If Strong (s)> Durable (d) > Fragile (f)


[H] = (f) [NMS] = (s) [S] = (d)

Therefore [H] = [NMS] ?

Anyone else getting confused here besides me?

I suppose the thing I'm trying to get at is the choices Eragon is making here isn't one created from train of thought. There isn't an A -> B -> C way of thinking. It's more of a dropped thought, where Eragon doesn't have any thoughts until Paolini gives him something to think of. He doesn't learn from past experiences, he's always in the "now". There isn't really a future for him beyond what Paolini says in broad strokes like "Destroy Galby" but when it comes to little things like needing a sword, he doesn't take the in between step.

I wonder how the bone brass knuckles will play out now.

Brom's ring still fits on his hand and he shows his new fists to Arya. Her only comment is that it will be hard to put gloves on.

Suddenly I'm just thinking some people say that if you masturbate too much you'll get hairy palms. What will people think you did to get bony knuckles? Fist yourself?

Eragon stares into the fire and he starts to remember that poor soldier begging for his life.

Tormented by the memories, Eragon clenched his teeth and breathed hard through flared nostrils. Cold sweat sprang up over his entire body. He shifted in place and strove to dispel the soldier’s unfriendly ghost, but to no avail.Go away! he shouted. It wasn’t my fault. Galbatorix is the one you should blame, not me. I didn’t want to kill you!

No one makes you kill someone. You have a choice. The man was unarmed and begging. Eragon had his life in his hands and he snapped his neck. Galby had absolutely nothing to do with his actions. Eragon is refusing to take responsibility for his actions. It's not his fault. He's blameless. By doing this Paolini makes it so nothing will stick to his hero. Eragon didn't want to do it, so it's okay. It's not his fault because Galby is the one who set the soldier at him he was just reacting. He's making Eragon the victim of circumstances and people always are supposed to feel sorry for the victim.

The thing is, the same could be said for the soldier and it applies there even more so.

Our poor soldier ghost brings Eragon to ask Arya how she deals with people she kills. This I don't mind so much, it's a reasonable response for a person, a response Eragon should have been having all along, but it seems like the toll of killing people is starting to get to him. We could even consider this character development, even if the way he's dealing with it isn't quite how I would like him to deal with it, it is consistant with his character.

She tells him about the first time she killed someone, an Urgal, and that it bothered her greatly. It troubled me for weeks afterward, until I realized I would go mad if I continued to dwell upon it. Many do, and they become so angry, so grief-ridden, they can no longer be relied upon, or their hearts turn to stone and they lose the ability to distinguish right from wrong.”

Little warning bells going off here when I see the phrase, "continued to dwell on it". Also the rest of her speech here bothers me as these are the only two options she appears to acknowledge for someone to have when they kill people. I'm not saying that the other reactions people have when they kill someone are better or worse than these stated reactions, but there's more than two.

So, how did she fix her little problem? She found her happy place. No. Really.

“I examined my reasons for killing to determine if they were just. Satisfied they were, I asked myself if our cause was important enough to continue supporting it, even though it would probably require me to kill again. Then I decided that whenever I began to think of the dead, I would picture myself in the gardens of Tialdarí Hall.”

“Did it work?”

Brushing her hair out of her face, she tucked it behind one round ear. “It did. The only antidote for the corrosive poison of violence is finding peace within yourself. It’s a difficult cure to obtain, but well worth the effort.” She paused and then added, “Breathing helps too.”

Or um... become a pacifist. But seriously, this makes it seem like she's detaching herself from reality and the reality of what she's doing so that she doesn't have to care about it any more. My cause is right, so therefor it's okay to kill these people.

Eragon does some breathing and he feels better. The ghosts have left him.

Hrmm... we'll have to get to the Dr. Who bits later. It's a long ass chapter.

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