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Brisingr Part Fourteen

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Escape and evasion pt.3Edit

Eragon? Still running.  I've noticed something about the way Paolini starts new scenes or chapters. He has a very brief sentence and then he starts his paragraph with actual detail. He separating his hook from the rest of the story/chapter. It's an interesting stylistic choice. I, personally, find it jarring because my mind has to stop suddenly and then go to the next paragraph to actually get going. \~/

Back on the road he starts to act suspicious because there are guards and soldiers on the road. How does he act suspicious? Eragon avoided those he could and trudged along with his chin
tucked against his collar the rest of the time.
This gives me the image of those people with their collars up as they walk past the guards trying not to get their face seen. The thing is, the likelihood of some solider noticing Eragon in a crowded road when they're not really looking for someone is pretty low. The best way to not to get noticed is to act like you're not trying to get noticed and you belong there. \~/ \~/

As he walks, Eragon finds himself being forced to go into a village for the evening. He rehearses the stories on why he's traveling. The village has a gate. If Eragon doesn't want to go into the village, all he has to do is go off the road, wait until the gate closes and then continue on his way. But his reasoning for having to go in is that he's in the company of three men at arms. So, he's trying to avoid being seen by soldiers by walking with three of them. Right. \~/ \~/

The village is called Eastcroft which is twenty miles north of Melian. The funny thing is, that means absolutely nothing to me. I don't know the world or the landmarks. If he said twenty miles north of Sudra (where the Varden is located) that would mean more. But Melian is nothing to me. I've never hear of it before. I don't care about its existence. I don't even want to bother to look it up on the map. \~/ \~/ \~/ It hasn't even been mentioned as a destination for Eragon. What it is, again, Paolini trying to create depth into his world.  \~/ \~/

He goes inside and a watchman stops him, somehow realizing that Eragon hasn't been to the village before. Because he can recognize every person who has ever walked through the village. He wants to know where he's going, Eragon says to fetch his sister family. He's surprised when this doesn't provoke a reaction, because obviously some random stranger is obviously suspicious when there's been tons of travelers wandering through. After telling Eragon to go to the wayfarer's house, he asks Eragon his name -Eragon lies- and then goes on his way.

This again, is one of those situations which happens all the time in fantasy novels. The there is only one person with a particular name in the entire world. There is only one person named Eragon in the entire world. In fact! It was mentioned in Eragon that there have only been, I believe, three people named Eragon in their history because SOMEHOW \~/ Brom knows every single person ever born in every part of the world. So obviously Eragon has to lie.  Instead of allowing the watchman saying "Just like that wanted guy, eh?" and then Eragon laughing and saying "Yes, I know." and then moving on his way. \~/ \~/

The point of this encounter was to create tension of Eragon almost getting discovered. Oh No! Will the watchman believe my story!? But the watchmen never gives any indication that he doesn't believe the story. So, again, there is no tension. \~/ \~/

When the watchman leaves, Eragon examines the message board with the criminal lists.

There, nailed over a half-dozen posters of various criminals, were two sheets of parchment almost three feet long. One depicted Eragon, one depicted Roran, and both labeled them traitors to the Crown. Eragon examined the posters with interest and marveled at the reward offered: an earldom apiece to whoever captured them. The drawing of Roran was a good likeness and even included the beard he had grown since fleeing Carvahall, but Eragon’s portrait showed him as he had been before the Blood-oath Celebration, when he still appeared fully human.

It's been maybe, six months, since Roran left Caverhall and he hasn't been seen by anyone who could give an accurate description of what he looks like, yet SOMEHOW \~/ they've managed to get an updated picture to some butt-fuck in the middle of nowhere village. There is no internet or cameras Paolini! There is no way to get an accurate drawing of someone unless the person is right there drawing Roran and Eragon.  And then getting it to somewhere where it can get printed out (do they even have printing presses? I don't think so as far as I can tell) and then get them distributed to all these places in Empire by people who can only travel as fast as a person can on horseback. I don't think they'll be using Murtagh and Thorn do drop offs. This completely illogical and impossible. I mean, why didn't the same thing happen to Brom? He vanished in some hole in the wall village and no one knew who he was. The same thing should happen with Eragon. There isn't an internet here. There isn't a way to get information out so quickly as there is today. \~/ \~/ \~/

Perhaps the only reason for this little scene is so that Eragon could gaze upon his old visage and reflect on how things have changed. OR at least, how his looks have changed. Woo. \~/

Eragon goes into the wayfarer's house and his sensitive senses are assailed again. Apparently the road with all the travelers on it was quiet. Of course, I'm not sure how crowded the road was exactly, it's hard to tell how often he ran into people. Then again, traveling with three men at arms couldn't have been too quiet. It just feels like this is something Paolini suddenly remembered existed and put it back in.

The room is crowded with about sixty people. Eragon makes his way to the bar to speak with the serving woman to continue in his lovely stilted way of speaking.

“Have you a room to let, or a corner where I could spend the night?”

“I wouldn’t know. The mistress of the house is the one you should speak to about that. She’ll be down directly,” said the serving woman, and flicked a hand at a rank of gloomy stairs.

See, Eragon and the woman's speech don't match at all. His is formal and stilted, hers is not. Also, I'd like to know how the barkeep knows that the mistress will be down directly. Of course it could be that she said she would. Still. Sometimes I don't know if I'm being to harsh or not. \~/

Eragon looks out at the crowd.

While he waited, Eragon rested against the bar and studied the people in the room. They were a motley assortment. About half he guessed were villagers from Eastcroft come to enjoy a night of drinking. Of the rest, the majority were men and women—families often times—who were migrating to safer parts. It was easy for him to identify them by their frayed shirts and dirty pants and by how they huddled in their chairs and peered at anyone who came near. However, they studiously avoided looking at the last and smallest group of patrons in the wayfarers’ house: Galbatorix’s soldiers. The men in red tunics were louder than anyone else. They laughed and shouted and banged on tabletops with their armored fists while they quaffed beer and groped any maid foolish enough to walk by them.

Do they behave like that because they know no one dares oppose them and they enjoy
demonstrating their power?
wondered Eragon. Or because they were forced to join Galbatorix’s army and seek to dull their sense of shame and fear with their revels?

Or they could just be a bunch of hormonal young men, like most soldiers are. Because recruiting old men generally isn't a good idea. And actually, I would think a lot of people would be willing to sign up for the glory of battle and getting the girls etc. But why would people willingly join up to fight for the evil Empire? \~/  I'm sure some of it is demonstrating their power but I think also they're doing what any other single young man would do with a pretty girl around. Also, I'm sure that some of the regulars would be teasing and groping the ladies, because they too are drunk and there are pretty girls. They can't be doing it, of course, because they are poor oppressed people in the Empire and therefor good. Villagers are always good and oppressed. \~/  \~/  \~/

In fact we get an interesting hypocrisy in the next couple of paragraphs. Eragon sees a woman sitting at a table by herself, with four drunken farmers.

The crowd shifted and granted Eragon a view of a table pushed against one wall. At it sat a lone woman, her face hidden by the drawn hood of her dark traveling cloak. Four men surrounded her, big, beefy farmers with leathery necks and cheeks flushed with the fever of alcohol. Two of them were leaning against the wall on either side of the woman, looming over her, while one sat grinning in a chair turned around backward and the fourth stood with his left foot on the edge of the table and was bent forward over his knee. The men spoke and gestured, their movements careless. Although Eragon could not hear or see what the woman said, it was obvious to him that her response angered the farmers, for they scowled and swelled their chests, puffing themselves up like roosters. One of them shook a finger at her.

To Eragon, they appeared decent, hardworking men who had lost their manners in the depths of their tankards, a mistake he had witnessed often enough on feast days in Carvahall. Garrow had had little respect for men who knew they could not hold their beer and yet insisted on embarrassing themselves in public. “It’s unseemly,” he had said. “What’s more, if you drink to forget your lot in life and not for pleasure, you ought to do it where you won’t disturb anyone.”

So, the farmers are decent and hardworking, but just forgotten their manners while the soldiers abusing their power or trying to drown away fear and shame. They're both doing the same thing, so why can't the soldiers be hardworking. Surely Eragon's seen the Varden's soldier's work hard as he's seen farmer's work hard. What's the difference then? One works for the Evil Empire and one doesn't. \~/ \~/ \~/ \~/

The woman turns out to be Arya. Eragon goes over to get rid of the ruffians. He keeps with the  formal speech, making him sound like something from Shakespeare. We get things like the following:

“Sir, be reasonable. There’s no need for this unpleasantness. The night is young, and there’s drink and music aplenty. Let’s not quarrel about such a petty misunderstanding. It’s beneath us.”

His entire way of speaking has turned into this. It sounds ridiculous. There's also this horribly creepy stalkery line. \~/


The four men exchanged uneasy glances. Three of them began to edge away from Arya, but the largest planted himself a few inches in front of Eragon and, breathing upon his face, said, “I’m not sure I believe you,friend. You’re just trying to drive us away so you can be with her yourself.”

He’s not far off, thought Eragon.

I find that horribly creepy. Really, I do. \~/

The four farmers leave without incident and Arya and Eragon go up to her room and he explains to her what he did with Sloan. She too disapproves with what he did.

“I didn’t kill him because I thought it was wrong.” Eragon frowned with concentration as he searched for the words to explain himself. “I wasn’t afraid . . . not that. Not after going into battle. . . . It was something else. I will kill in war. But I won’t take it upon myself to decide who lives and who dies. I don’t have the experience or the wisdom. . . . Every man has a line he won’t cross, Arya, and I found mine when I looked upon Sloan. Even if I had Galbatorix as my captive, I would not kill him. I would take him to Nasuada and King Orrin, and if they condemned him to death, then I would happily lop off his head, but not before. Call it weakness if you will, but that is how I am made, and I won’t apologize for it.”

If you're going to kill people in a war, then you are deciding who lives and who dies. The entire point of this war is to get rid of Galby. Capturing him will give him a chance to escape and then where will you be? \~/ Also, what about those Ra'zac you killed, who were obviously intelligent? I guess it only counts towards humans and pretty races. \~/

Arya says then that he will be "a tool wielded by others" if he keeps acting like this and chides him for not putting the races of the Empire (minus the Ra'zac because they don't count) at risk when they depend on him. They agree to disagree and Eragon wants to know what she's doing there. I like how Eragon is never shown the error of his ways. \~/

Looking for you, duh. How did she find him? The whisperings of the land told her so.

No. Really.

“A Rider does not walk unnoticed in this world, Eragon. Those who have the ears to hear and the eyes to see can interpret the signs easily enough. The birds sing of your coming, the beasts of the earth heed your scent, and the very trees and grass remember your touch. The bond between Rider and dragon is so powerful that those who are sensitive to the forces of nature can feel it.”

Yay? But seriously what makes dragon riders so special that the land sings of their coming.... DAMN THAT PARAGRAPH IS ALL SORTS OF INNUENDO.   \~/ \~/ \~/ \~/ \~/ \~/ \~/

Damn.

Where was I? Right. What was nature like when there were all sorts of dragons and riders? This is making it seem like Eragon is Just That Special \~/, but if you look into the context of his world, he's not, because there used to be hundreds of riders. Eragon isn't the second coming of Christ. There isn't only One Dragon Rider per century or anything like that. It sounds like they used to be pretty common, so the land really shouldn't be that impactive. \~/

Oh, Arya is wearing a dress, which is apparently something she doesn't like doing. *GASP* Rebellious Princess SUE! “Only for the duration of this trip. I’ve lived among the Varden
for more years than I care to recall, yet I still forget how humans insist upon separating their women from their men.
She stole the dress by the way.

The noble elf princess stole the dress instead of paying for it. Because people have clothes just laying around in excess. Never mind that dress could have been the woman's only good clothes or other set of clothes, or anything like that. People obviously have clothes like the do nowadays with room to spare. \~

Somewhere out there, there's a poor woman with no dress on. Thanks Paolini. \~/ Arya can't give it back to the woman either because she used magic to alter it.

They make plans: Sleep until just before sunrise and then sneak out. Because that wouldn't be suspicious at all. It's like they WANT to be caught. Eragon sleeps on the floor and Arya on the bed, becuase -not because Arya's a girl - but because it would look funny if a girl was sleeping on the floor if by some chance someone randomly decided to barge into their room. \~/

Eragon angsts about how she keeps on rejecting him and wondering what he can do to make her stop it. It could have been an effective bit of character building here except that Paolini waxes too much in the purple prose and not in any of Eragon's emotions.  The prhase waking dreams gets used again. ...drifted into the waiting embrace of his waking dreams. You don't have dreams when you're awake DAMNIT. \~/  \~/ Unless you're hallucinating.

Which might explain a lot, actually...

In the wee hours of the morning, they sneak out the window, Eragon commenting that perhaps they shouldn't have. It would be suspicious. Arya says the inn keeper won't mind because they paid for the room and that's all that matters. I still think it would be better if they walked out the door at the appropriate time, with all sorts of other travelers thus making it hard to be noticed.

In fact if they did do that then they wouldn't have to worry about that watchman who nearly sees them when they're trying to scale the fence. The watchman, for some reason, has his sword drawn but then puts it away after a minute and starts to hum, with no indication that something aroused his suspicion. If there was tension that was supposed to be there, it didn't quite make it. \~/

And they're running! I'm not sure what they're evading because they haven't actively been being chased by anything, but they're running! In fact there's this bit, "When it became apparent that they were utterly alone and no one was trailing them" which makes no sense because no one HAS been following them! \~/ If you want people to be afraid they're being followed, put people following them, not just haphazard random encounters that don't lead anywhere.

ANYWAY, they stop off to report back in to Nasuada using a scrying spell. She's happy to see them and wants them to contact her once before nightfall and once before noon to make sure they haven't been captured. If they don't she'll send Saphira out with people to rescue them. OR she could send Saphira up now to pick them up and save them a lot of time and trouble. \~/ Nausada, at Eragon's request, goes to get Saphira so she can talk to Eragon.

While she's gone, Eragon stares at the back of Arya's neck, fascinated. This is in no way creepy. \~/

A single step carried Nasuada out of their field of view, leaving behind a static image of the table and chairs inside her red pavilion. For a good while, Eragon appraised the contents of the tent, but then restlessness overtook him and he allowed his eyes to drift from the pool of water to the back of Arya’s neck. Her thick black hair fell to one side, exposing a strip of smooth skin just above the collar of her dress. That transfixed him for the better part of a minute, and then he stirred and leaned against the charred stump.

I'm thinking vampire here, personally. \~/

Eragon and Saphira talk for a bit, with Nasuada playing Saphria's voice, never mind the fact that they could be seen or someone is supposedly following them! Let's chat about inconsequential things. (It actually says they talked about that). The spell is terminated and they start running.

Again.

Drinks: 51

Brisingr
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