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Brisingr Part Fifteen

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A Delicate MatterEdit

Hrmmm... Could this be in regards to Katrina's pregnancy? I wonder!

We begin our chapter with Roran lifting rocks with his arms. I think it's some sort of weight lifting thing without the barbells.

He rested the large rock on his thighs for an instant and then, grunting, pressed it overhead and locked his arms straight. For a full minute, he held the crushing weight in the air. When his shoulders were trembling and about to fail, he threw the boulder onto the ground in front of him. It landed with a dull thud, leaving an indentation several inches deep in the dirt.

On either side of Roran, twenty of the Varden’s warriors struggled to lift boulders of similar size. Only two succeeded; the rest returned to the lighter rocks they were accustomed to. It pleased Roran that the months he had spent in Horst’s forge and the years of farm work before had given him the strength to hold his own with men who had drilled with their weapons every day since they turned twelve.

Um... so, he managed to hold a giant rock over his body for an entire minute. Isn't that a bit dangerous (never mind likely impossible), especially since no one is spotting him. If that rock dropped on him that'd be an owie of the first degree, especially if the rock leaves an indentation several inches deep in the ground. Also, while I'm at it, enough with making Roran special because he can lift up a rock that only two other "normal" people can lift. \~/ \~/

He gets up, rubbing his shoulder and marveling at the fact that there is in fact no more pain. Which is a good character building action here. He doesn't automatically assume that his arm is healed, but questions it and marvels at it. Walking out of the training field he sees two of his fellow villagers training with swords. He himself, while training with a sword, feels that a hammer is a better weapon because you just have to hit someone's hand with it and then they have to deal with a broken hand. Swords required more finesse than he felt most fights deserved: bash a swordsman on the wrist and, armored or not, he would be too preoccupied with his broken bones to defend himself. \~/ Of course you have to be able to hit the hand first. And swinging a hammer can leave yourself wide open for a sword attack in the gut. \~/ Especially if you're not trained in it, which it doesn't sound like Roran is. He just swings it around and hits people with it. \~/

Continuing on our I don't think Paolini knows what he's talking about streak, he comments about the people of Caverhall and how they're getting into the swing of things when it comes to learning how to use weapons. Swinging a sword was no worse than chopping wood, and it was a far sight easier than breaking sod or hoeing acres of beets in the heat of summer. Ummm... yeah, no. Swinging a sword is a lot more difficult, because for starters trees and beets aren't moving targets. \~/ Nor do they fight back. \~/ Or have armor \~/. So, I think it's a bit different than being a farmer. And there's more skill involved. Also, how does the Varden have all those swords? \~/ They're expensive! They should be using spears! \~/ Or the Urgal instruments. Tambourines maybe. \~/

Roran walks towards the tents and for some reason or another picks up a long, stands it up right, pushes it over and does it two more times before continuing to walk on. No, I don't get it either. \~/ He's greeted by a lot of people marveling at how so many know who he was, but he doesn't know them. A reasonable response.

He then goes into his tent and takes off his bow and quiver... wait, what bow and quiver? Were they on his back when he was lifting rocks? He must have! Because he never picks them up! Why aren't they crunched then? \~/ Oh wait, this is probably Paolini forgetting to put information in and/or thinking that of course Roran has a bow because that's what typical fantasy heroes have. \~/ Or maybe it's just a magically appearing bow. \~/ After putting away his miraculously unharmed bow and quiver (as well as a short sword... look Roran doesn't get as big of a phallic object as Eragon!) he cleans himself up and goes to find Katrina.

As he walks he notices that Birgit is watching him. Birgit is the wife of Quimby. Quimby got eaten by the Ra'zac and she promised revenge on Roran because she believed he had a hand in her husband's death. IE the Ra'zac were after Roran and while they waited they ate Quimby. Since the Ra'zac are now dead, she wants her compensation. We don't know what it is, but it apparently involves a knife.\~/ Roran is worried because he think she might be able to kill him. Yes, he's not worried about the trained solider with a sword or other weapon, but a woman untrained? That's scary. Especially since he could hit her with his hammer and break her wrist. \~/ \~/

There's supposed to be tension in this scene. But it feels sort of random, especially since we don't get the circumstances behind her anger towards Roran. At least, we don't get Roran's reaction to her anger that feel like he's afraid, except from this

Roran froze, ready to draw his hammer at the slightest provocation. He knew that he was in mortal danger, and despite his prowess, he was not confident of defeating Birgit if she attacked, for like him, she pursued her enemies with single-minded determination

Um, since when does pursuing enemies with single minded determination have anything to do with how well you can fight? I'm sure I could pursue an enemy with single minded determination all I want with a stake knife, but if the guy is a soldier I don't think I'd get very far. Even if he was unarmed. So, really, he shouldn't feel at all in mortal danger, if he's as good as a warrior as Paolini says he is. \~/ Once again, we have tension fail. \~/

Once Brigit skips off (Okay, she doesn't really skip)he continues on his way to see Katrina. While he walks he has an Eragon sort of epiphany.

A raven soared overhead, and as he tracked it, his mood lightened and he smiled. “Well,” he said to himself. A man rarely knows the day and hour when he will die. I could be killed at any moment, and there’s not a blasted thing I can do about it. What will happen will happen, and I won’t waste the time I have above ground worrying. Misfortune always comes to those who wait. The trick is to find happiness in the brief gaps between disasters. Birgit will do what her conscience tells her to, and I will deal with it when I must .

A lot of Paolini's characters seem to have this fatalistic attitude. Very "today is a good day to die". I rather like Cohen the Barbarian's version "today is a good day for someone else to die". Also it's very... like their fate has already been written so there's nothing they can do about it, so why bother to try? \~/ I feel like they're not going to try to win, they're just going to let it happen and if it does happen then Yay! And if it doesn't Oh Well. That's not how I want my heroes. I want them to try and fight destiny, fight to do what needs to be done. Not leave it up to chance. \~/

Roran continues on his way, stopping to pick up a stone and make it magically rise. It doesn't. He throws the stone away. I'm vaguely thinking that when he needs it Roran will be able to use the magic. It'll involve that one spell, of course. \~/

Finally, Roran gets where he's going. Horst's tent where Katrina is staying. She runs out to great him and he swings her around. Her only apparent problem? She's pale and thin. Trauma? What trauma? \~/ \~/ \~/ The only thing she needs is to be with Roran and under the sun. \~/ \~/ \~/ Which is what any tortured victim needs. \~/ Roran also asks about her "condition". She's apparently fine, and not showing. It's been at least three months. Of course, then again, she probably shouldn't still be pregnant after the conditions she's been in. She was being starved and certainly wouldn't have enough for her and baby. \~/ Of course, this is no where near logic land.

We never see Roran's reaction to learning Katrina is pregnant either, which would have been interesting, I think. Was he horrified at first? What? We'll never know. But now he's perfectly happy to be a soon to be daddy. \~/ No conflict. No concerns because he sees that Katrina is acting all right. No "gee I'm bringing this baby into this world during the middle of a war". None of that. \~/

Elain, Horst's wife, who is pregnant and has been for a while- a bit too long, I think - is having trouble with her pregnancy. Seeing as how she seems to have been pregnant for more than nine months. We're not really sure, since we don't have a time-line to go by, but it seems like it anyway. Of course then again, Eragon and Murtagh made a seven day journey in three days so perhaps Elain is a zombie. Perhaps the entire village of Caverhall are zombies! That means Roran is a zombie! Which explains how he's so Stu'y!

Brilliant! Paolini's slowly turning everyone into zombies! Soon the entire Varden will be zombies and they'll shamble into the Empire and infect everyone they come into contact to creating an entire nation of zombies! That's fantastic! I never knew Paolini could be so original! \~/ \~/ \~/ \~/

After Katrina cleans him up a bit, Roran goes off to Nasuada's tent. Which is bright red so everyone knows where it is, including the bad guys. \~/ After being challenged by the guards, he's let in where we get Roran's impression of Nasuada.

Nasuada’s features and bearing were so different from those of the women Roran had grown up with, he was not sure how to act. She appeared strange and imperious, with her embroidered dress and the gold chains in her hair and her dusky skin, which at the moment had a reddish cast, due to the color of the fabric walls. In stark contrast to the rest of her apparel, linen bandages encased her forearms, a testament to her astounding courage during the Trial of the Long Knives. Her feat had been a topic of constant discussion among the Varden ever since Roran had returned with Katrina. It was the one aspect of her he felt as if he understood, for he too would make any sacrifice in order to protect those he cared about. It just so happened that she cared about a group of thousands, while he was committed to his family and his village.

Now, I can understand bearing, but not so much features. Of course, then again, people do react differently when confronted with the unknown. But here again is the damn courage for the emo chicken game. \~/ Roran did more for his people when he forced them to leave their homes to protect them from the Ra'zac that she did by cutting herself and leaving herself open to potentially dying by blood loss and/or infection. \~/

Then we get the stereotypical speech of politics makes it so I can't speak bluntly but I think it would be best to speak bluntly with you and then Roran's response of I prefer it because that is how I only know how to speak. \~/ It happens so often, it does. I mean, why can't she be blunt all the time if she doesn't like it. It would make things a whole lot easier and DIFFERENT!! But that's just my opinion. And I don't think I've seen much political machinations from her anyway. \~/

Nasuada has two problems with Roan, one she doesn't know if she can rely upon him to help with the Varden if he's with the people from Caverhall, if he doesn't have them to protect. The thing is, even if they aren't with them, he'll still be protecting them by helping the Varden, but this is trying to cast doubt about what Roran can do and if he is a good leader or just a leader of people he knows. \~/ \~/ Also she wants to know, more reasonably, if he can follow orders instead of just giving them.

Her other problems is that she has to "protect" him because if he dies in battle it might "unbalance Eragon". She actually uses the world unbalanced. If I send you into battle and you die as a result, grief and anger might very well unbalance him. Now this is an interesting thing. For one she says, that Eragon is the "keystone of their hopes" and this makes it so that they're putting all their eggs into one basket which isn't very smart of them. Besides, what were they doing before Eragon showed up? I think they were causing trouble enough by destroying ships that were bringing food and supplies to other places. But now they're useless without Eragon. \~/ \~/\~/ You really shouldn't put all your hopes in one person because - logically - they could die and then where would your rebellion be? Chosen One stories (and it is one even if Eragon is never referred to as such) rarely deal with such logical fallacies. \~/ \~/ In a more reasonable worry is that she doesn't want to put Roran with someone who might try and influence Eragon through him, she needs to leave that up to her and Arya. \~/

Roran believes that she's frightened of his ability to influence people like he did with the people of Caverhall, which I think is a reasonable worry as well. She decides that she'll send him out on a patrol under someone else who will be able to evaluate him and report back to her. It is a fair arrangement, even one that I can't pick apart. =D

Though Roran ends up having one problem with it. He has to leave to day and won't return until a fortnight. Two weeks is a bit too long for Roran because he wants to be there when Eragon returns. The reason? He wants Eragon to marry him and Katrina.

No. Really. \~/

See, Eragon is a rider and so it would be a great honor to be wed by a rider. Of course this is assuming that riders have the authority to marry people. Since it is Eragon, he obviously does. To me it doesn't feel like it's a proper and binding wedding ceremony because Roran is just designating someone to marry him. Someone who may or may not have the official authority. With his reasoning, other people could ask others that they feel would make it a "great honor" to wed them, let them get married. Weddings, to me at least, should be performed by someone who has the authority, traditionally has the authority. Now that I think about it, since the humans from Caverhall don't have a religion to speak of and it's only tradition that gives a person the ability to marry someone -as Nasuda asks "why not an elder" there isn't anything that makes it so that they have to be married by a particular person so that it is "official" in the eyes of the rest of their people. \~/ \~/ Yeesh that took some round about logic.

Nasuda's reaction? She's going to give Katrina all the gold and jewelry that the dwarves presented to her over the years as a dowry. \~/ Yes, the Varden needs money for supplies and things, but instead of selling all the jewelry for such things (she has sold some), she's going to give the left overs Katrina which would still keep a woman clothed in mink and satin for many years to come. Yeah, I don't think that's the actions of a good leader right there. \~/ Why is she doing it? Because Roran is Eragon's cousin. I'm sure there are plenty of others out there that also need a dowry, but won't have one, and Katrina gets all of this for no reason whatsoever? She should have only given her enough for a regular dowry, perhaps a little more because Katrina doesn't have a family any more, but not enough to keep her in mink and satin. That money is being wasted and not being spent for the good of her people, people who she supposedly has made the ultimate sacrifice for (Trial of the Long Knives anyone?).\~/ \~/

This is the same thing as the dress that Arya stole. It's supposed to make Arya look generous and kind to a poor woman with no dowry, but instead -reality- she is depriving her people needed money just to gift upon a woman riches that she doesn't need. \~/ \~/ \~/

Roran vows to repay her by fighting Galby so that he rues the day the Ra'zac were ever sent against him. She says he can stay until Eragon returns and marries him and Katrina, but then he has to be off to catch up with that patrol.

Roran's being a bit selfish. He's putting his own desires above the people he vows to protect because he was stupid enough to have sex with his girl before they got married. Her honor got ruined as soon as he did that. If he really cared about her honor he wouldn't have done it, and instead waited until they were married. When the baby is born it's also going to let everyone know that they had sex before they were married. Long before. However, it is likely that Paolini thought it was a nice romantic scene for the two of them before she got ripped out of his arms, and then only later, when writing this book decided it would be neat if she was pregnant. \~/ \~/ \~/ \~/ \~/

No wonder Sloan didn't want Katrina to have anything to do with Roran.

Drinks: 65 (good thing I did this over several days!)

Brisingr
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