This is actually an exciting part, for a given value of exciting, in that we - for the first time - get to see Galbatorix speak. Sort of. He doesn't speak to Eragon, nor does he speak in person. He uses Murtagh as his megaphone. But it is his first appearance for cliched villainy. Or any sort of villainy.

Glaedr and Oromis are fighting Thorn and Murtagh. Murtagh apparently maybe trying to commit suicide and being very unhappy at Glaedr and Oromis' existence. The dragon is uncertain because apparently after being bonded for Oromis for probably hundreds of years he still has trouble reading human facial expressions.

The clanging of metal ceased, and Murtagh shouted, "Curse you for not showing yourself sooner! Curse you! You could have helped us! You could have-

A legitimate complaint on Murtagh's end, I think. He could have had a fighting chance if he'd known that there was somewhere safe to go to. Not that it would have helped much as he is Morzan's son so that automatically makes him evil.or at least doomed to evil. Glaedr does show some concern however or at least wondering why he's doing it.

It doesn't matter! For Galby takes over Murtagh and Glaedr felt the scales on his shoulders crawl as he recognized the voice of their ancient foe.


Ancient foe?


If I were to have to pick an ancient foe for Glaedr and the dragons, it would have been the original elves, or maybe even the dwarves. After all they and the dragons had been fighting on and off long before the elves or humans got to the continent. Then there are the elves who actually did have a war with the dragons but they made up and got better. Humans, I think, were always snacky food.

The thing is, if you're going to have an ancient foe they have to be at least as old as you are and have been fighting against you for a good amount of time to create a sense of ancientness. This is like saying that the annoying kid down the street is your ancient foe. Admittedly Galby is a bit more dangerous than some kid down the street. But they have the same age relationship. Glaedr and Oromis are that old cranky dude with the cane screaming "You kids keep off my lawn!" while Galby is the one TPing the house. With death. There's no real ancient foe in this relationship. The conflict is too new, the players are too old.

It just sounds more dramatic to say "ancient foe" than "foe". Ancient foe brings a lot of weight to the contest before them. The problem is that the conflict, such as it is, isn't much that should garner an ancient foe. The two of them haven't clashed over the years trying to kill each other. In fact I don't think they have clashed at all. In fact Galby thought he was dead even, so how much of an ancient foe are you if the foe isn't even worried about your existence cause he thinks you're dead. That's even worse than the old guy and the kid metaphor. That's paranoia right there. Or over conceitedness.

If I were to list some good ancient foes I would go with things like: the Jedi and the Sith, Gandalf and Sauron, Vulcans and Romulans, Ruin and Preservation from the Mistborn series, Thor and Loki, the Amazons and Hercules... Lucifer and Michael etc. The Slayer verses vampires.

Galbatorix and Oromis are more like Dumbledore and Voldemort. With Eragon as Harry Potter.

Galby expounds about how Oromis was a wise old elf in convincing the others to not let him have another chance at an egg. ...

Wait, I just realized something. The council had nothing to lose by letting Galby try for another egg.

Dragons will only hatch for the person that's right for them. If none of the dragon eggs were right for Galby then none of them would have hatched for him. Then the council could have said, "Well looks like you're shit out of luck, sorry." Then Galby couldn't say they didn't give him a chance. It also makes me wonder, what sort of therapy they had for the poor riders that occasionally lost their dragon. Or at least care for them.

In the Dragon Riders of Pern, when a rider lost his or her dragon the others will take care of the rider, trying to get them stable and give them what they need to learn to live or at least exist without their dragon. In one case they even tried to let a rider who lost her dragon take another shot at impressing a dragon, despite the discomfort at others. It didn't end well at all, except in the case that it snapped the girl out of her stupor and helped her live again.

Since Oromis is the one who said that they shouldn't help Galby, it's all his fault that he went mad, stole the dragon's egg, killed all the other riders and 'took over the world'. Nice one there.

Anyway, Galby then says that he knows he did wrong.

A brief pause marked Galbatorix's speech. "There is no need to continue fighting me. I freely admit tat I committed terrible crimes in my youth, but those days are long pas, and when I refelct upon the blood I have shed, it torments my conscience. Still, what would you have of me? I cannot undo my deeds. Now, my greater concern is ensuring the peace and prosperity of the empire over which I find myself lord and master. Cannot you see see that I have lost my thirst for vengeance? The rage that drove me for so many years has burned itself to ashes. Ask youself this, Oromis: who is responsible for the war that has swept across Alagaesia? Not I. The Vaden were the ones who provoked this conflict. I would have been content to rule my people and leave the elves and the dwarves and the Surdans to their own devices. But the Varden could not leave well enough alone. It was they who chose to steal Saphira's egg., and they who covered the earth with mountains of corpses. Not I. You were wise once before, Oromis, and you can become wise again. Give up your hatred and join me in Ilirea. With you by my side, we can bring an end to this conflict and usher in an era of peace that will endure for a thousand years or more.

First off, this speech should be given to Eragon. The join me part, the Varden were the ones who started the war, the I am content to leave them all in peace. To tell this to Oromis isn't going to do much good.l He's already set in his ways. He's already made his judgment calls. He already believes that Galby, rightly or wrongly, is evil and unchangeable, all the way back before this mess even started.

What would have been more interesting is if Oromis did believe Galby and decided to join with him. Or believe that maybe if he did he could help Murtagh and Thorn come back from the brink and maybe help stop the war. It would have been a plot twist. And a dilemma for Eragon to deal with. An actual moral dilemma. But we can't have Yoda joining the dark side.

Rebuffed like a jilted lover, Galbatorix goes into the spitting rage. ... You know there maybe something there. *coughs. Kicks plot bunny*

“Bah! You are a senile old fool,” said Galbatorix, and his voice acquired a harsh, angry cast. “You should have accepted my offer; you would have been first and foremost among my slaves. I will make you regret your mindless devotion to your so-called justice. And you are wrong. I can keep you thus as long as I want, for I have become as powerful as a god, and there are none who can stop me!”

MWHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAAAA!!!!!! /end evil cackling.

But seriously, doesn't it sound like a jilted lover? First and foremost of my slaves? Keep you thus as long as I want? Fuck you and the dragon you rode in on?

Also," his voice acquired a harsh, angry cast" should be instead "his voice became harsh and angry".

So after the stand up and posturing, continuing with the jilted lover theme, after all, he swears that he'll have Glaerdr's hearts of hearts for ever and kill them all. If Galby were intelligent he would have continued on the theme of "I reformed". But the fact that he turns to anger so quickly indicates perhaps, other deeper and hidden emotions.

  • kicks plot bunny*

Or that he's just stuck in cliched villainy territory.

Sadly more likely the latter than the former.

Anyway, Murtgah gains the advantage on Oromis when the elf has a seizure (he has those, remember?) that bone-blight-nerve-rot which they couldn't heal (but Eragon can cure cancer!) and loses his sword. Murtagh cuts him from shoulder to him and he starts bleeding heavily. Glaedr tries to make it back to the spell casters and the elves, but he's too late. Oromis asks him not to mourn him as he dies.

Glaedr goes after Thorn in a bloody rage and bites off the poor dragon's tail as the red dragon tries to flank him. Now, my understanding of flanking comes completely from D&D terms where upon you try to get to the side of your enemy as he's blocked by another ally thus giving you an advantage in combat because he's surrounded on two sides by attackers. Great fun if you're a rogue. However, with one dragon, I'm not sure if that works. I could see trying to strike his flank or do a strafing attack, but not flanking him.

Not that it works. Thorn lands a killing blow and the Glaedr realizes that he fucked up.

He was alone and in the dark, and he could not move or see.

He could feel the minds of other creatures close by, but they were not the minds of Thorn and Murtagh but of Arya, Eragon, and Saphira.

And then Glaedr realized where he was, and the true horror of the situation broke upon him, and he howled into the darkness. He howled and he howled, and he abandoned himself to his agony, not caring what the future might bring, for Oromis was dead, and he was alone.

Yeah, so why again is putting yourself in your heart of hearts a good idea?

I think the dragons stuck in their hearts tell the other dragons that it's an awesome thing and that way they can have other dragons share in their misery.

Anyway, as Eragon wakes up on the ground crying we missed the transformation of the man into the Shade because that would be interesting. Instead we get the Shade holding Arya by the neck.

Arya: Kicks at Shade. It has No Effect!

Shade (Varaug): Randomly speaks in plural unlike Durza! It sounds stupid! He tries to get into Eragon and Saphira's minds! It's super effective!

Saphira: Sits like a statue snarling under the attack; She looks stupid and is ineffective!

Arya: Can break the Shade's elbow but apparently kicking is useless! Not that it matters! The elbow heals!

Shade (Varaug): Is pissy that he's stuck in the human body and blames it on Eragon and the others! It's super convenient!

Eragon: Strips himself of every emotion except determination! He tries to isolate the Shade's mind Not the Spirit's! It's super confusing! After all, isn't the Shade just a bunch of spirits stuck in a body and there isn't a one mind?

Battle: It's super boring! It takes place in the mind.

Eragon: Gets controlled by the Shade: He just stands there!

Arya: Manages to break free! She goes for her sword!

Eragon: Contines fighting the Shade with his mind. It's super undramatic!

Shade: (Varaug): Wrestles with Arya for the Sword. It's Super Suggestive! There is pouncing!

Eragon: continues attacking the Shade with his mind! It's still Super Stupid!

Arya: Lands the killing blow! Killing the Shade instead of the Hero! It's Why the Hell Did She Do It And Not Eragon.

Eragon: Continues standing around! He doesn't kill the Boss for this level book.

Shade (Varaug): Apparently has bellies in his muscles! The spirits break through them!

Yeah. So, that's pretty much the final battle. Eragon and Saphira stand around doing nothing and I don't at all want anyone to say OH But they battled in the MINDS because I've already covered the utter inanity of the mind battles of you need to control the mind before you can do magic stuff as Arya kills the bad guy who wasn't even much of a threat because he just showed up and vanished. The real battle happened to other people.

Saphira starts to keen because Oromis and Glaedr are dead. Arya starts to cry when she finds out. Eragon tries not to. Eragon says he'll tell them what happened when he talks to Nasuada because he doesn't want to say it twice.

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