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Brisingr Part Forty Four

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Over Hill Land and Mountain pt. 2 Edit

In this section I want to take a little bit of time to examine what Paolini has written and created in terms of Urgal culture. Eragon has asked Kull to tell him a story. This is the story he told:

The Kull pondered for a moment, then removed the bone from his mouth. He said, “Long ago, there lived a young Urgralgra, and her name was Maghara. She had horns that shone like polished stone, hair that hung past her waist, and a laugh that could charm the birds out of the trees. But she was not pretty. She was ugly. Now, in her village, there also lived a ram who was very strong. He had killed four rams in wrestling matches and had defeated twenty-three others besides. But although his feats had won him wide renown, he had yet to choose a brood-mate.Maghara wished to be his broodmate , but he would not look at her, for she was ugly, and because of her ugliness, he did not see her bright horns, nor her long hair, and he did not hear her pleasant laugh. Sick at heart that he would not look at her,Maghara climbed the tallest mountain in the Spine, and she called out to Rahna to help her. Rahna is mother of us all, and it was she who invented weaving and farming and she who raised the Beor Mountains when she was fleeing the great dragon. Rahna, She of the Gilded Horns, she answered Maghara, and she asked why Maghara had summoned her. ‘Make me pretty, Honored Mother, so I can attract the ram I want,’ said Maghara. And Rahna answered, ‘You do not need to be pretty, Maghara. You have bright horns and long hair and a pleasant laugh. With those, you can catch a ram who is not so foolish as to look atonly a female’s face.’ And Maghara, she threw herself down upon the ground and said, ‘I will not be happy unless I can have this ram, Honored Mother. Please, make me pretty.’Rahna, she smiled then and said, ‘If I do this, child, how will you repay me for this favor?’ And Maghara said, ‘I will give you anything you want.’

“Rahna was well pleased with her offer, and so she made Maghara pretty then, and Maghara returned to her village, and everyone wondered at her beauty. With her new face, Maghara became the brood-mate of the ram she wanted, and they had many children, and they lived in happiness for seven years. Then Rahna came to Maghara, and Rahna said, ‘You have had seven years with the ram you wanted. Have you enjoyed them?’ And Maghara said, ‘I have.’ And Rahna said, ‘Then I have come for my payment.’And she looked around their house of stone, and she seized hold of Maghara’s eldest son and said, ‘I will have him.’ Maghara begged She of the Gilded Horns not to take her eldest son, but Rahna would not relent. At last, Maghara took her brood-mate’s club, and she struck at Rahna, but the club shattered in her hands. In punishment, Rahna stripped Maghara’s beauty from her, and then Rahna left with Maghara’s son for her hall where the four winds dwell, and she named the boy Hegraz and raised him to be one of the mightiest warriors who has ever walked this land. And so one should learn from Maghara to never fight one’s fate, for you will lose that which you hold most dear.”

First of all, it starts off as a typical "fairy tale" there is beautiful girl who wishes to have a man. I say beautiful because Paolini gives us the typical traits that is considered beautiful,horns that shone like polished stone which Urgals seem to prize, long hair and a Snow White voice. But we are told she is ugly. We aren't told what makes her ugly though. What about her makes her ugly? I thought the horns were something that made an urgal desirable. And desire is what makes a person pretty or ugly in the beholder's eye. If, for example, a person likes small breasts, then if they see a woman with large ones they wouldn't think them as desirable or good looking as a woman with small ones.Uragl culture, from what we've been told, find horns an important part of status and showing of a good mate. If Maghara has nice horns why would she be ugly? Apparently it's her face that makes her pretty or ugly. What about her face though is wrong? This is an important detail to know in fairy tales.

They usually go like this: Saundra desired the handsome lord's son for a husband, but he wouldn't look at her for she was poor and plain. So she went to the witch and said to her "Give me riches and beauty and I will give you what you want". This is what happened in the Little Mermaid. She gave up her voice for legs to be with the man she loved.

The price for the beauty is not set at the onset of the deal either. We don't know what Maghara is giving up in exchange for her beauty. It turns out that it will be her most valued possession. Nor is the time limit set. Clearly there must be one forRahna says seven years when she comes back to Maghara . These are things that must be set up at the beginning of the story. All fairy tales are like this from around the world. The mortal asks for something from the gods and the gods will give it to them for a price, even if it is "Your most valued possession" to be set later. Without setting the price or the time line any smart woman would say something along the lines of, "You never said when the bargain is up." There was no contract. Yes, she said that she could have whatever she wanted, but she never said what she wanted.

Continuing on. As fairy tales do, the goddess comes to collect her price in this case Maghara's eldest son. Of course Maghara fights to keep her child and she loses. In punishment her beauty is taken away as well as her son. Which is typical fairy tale endings. But then there's the moral: Don't fight fate or you lose what's most dear. You would think that in this case the story is talking about the son. But it's not. If Maghara didn't fight fate she would still have lost her son, but she would have kept her beauty. Since she fought fate she lost her beauty. So that means that it was her beauty and not her son that she held most dear. Her son ended up pretty well as a great warrior, and you would think in these tales that the son would take revenge for being stolen or at least return to his mother. I don't know. The thing is this: 1. You're not supposed to fight fate. 2. Beauty is more important than family.

Here again is this idea of not fighting fate. That just letting things happen to you is the way to do things. If you win, hey that's great, if not oh well I guess you weren't supposed to. It also takes responsibility away from the person. It was fate that I didn't get to him in time to save him. It was fate that chopped off his head. It just happened, there wasn't anything I could do about it. If it wasn't supposed to happen it wouldn't have happened. I was fated to do that. The debate between fate and destiny is an old and on-going discussion. One that I don't feel like getting into. It's just an interesting thing to see how fatalistic the entire world is. Why bother trying to do something for yourself when no good will be come of it?

Brisingr
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