Fire in the Sky pt.2 Edit

So, I want everyone to remember that Eragon hates Murtagh. He thinks that Murtagh is Evil and should Die because he clearly enjoyed fighting and using his magic the last time they met and didn't seem to be fighting against Galby's control. Everyone got that? Good.

Murtagh has called Eragon a great big chicken and that he should come and fight him. Saphira returns the challenge by roaring and scaring the shit out of the horses. This just leaves Eragon and the elves. Arya comes up to Eragon and puts her hand on his leg before giving him a surge of magical energy. Eragon says some gibberish in the Ancient Language to her and Arya replies.

Also in the ancient language, she said, “Be careful, Eragon. I would not want to see you broken by Murtagh. I . . .” It seemed as if she were going to say more, but she hesitated, then removed her hand from his leg and retreated to stand byBlödhgarm.

This is sort of interesting. It seems the sort of thing that a person would say when they're falling in love with another but don't want the other to know. But I can't think of an incident that would change her mind in how she regardsEragon. It's just the "traditional" thing for the Designated Love Interest to say when the hero goes off into battle.

After linking up with the other elves, Eragon and Saphira take to the air, Eragon getting his falchion ready.

I have been thinking about this for a while now. The up coming battle between the two dragons. It doesn't happen right away and I'm sort of skipping ahead, but bear with me for a moment.

The weapons that Eragon and Murtagh have to use are both swords. These aren't very practical weapons if you're fighting on dragon back, if you think about it. Dragons are large creatures, they need maneuvering room. Their wings need to spread out so that they can fly. Get too close together and they'll smack into each other. This doesn't give Eragon and Murtagh the needed reach to hit each other. Thorn and Saphira are a lot wider than horses because of the wings. They could maneuver perhaps into a position that would allow their riders to slash at each other, but it would be exceptionally difficult and dangerous. The battle would be better done dragon on dragon, where they can attack each other with claws and teeth, then trying to put themselves in a way that their riders can fight. In the Dragonlance Dungeons and Dragons setting the people who rode dragons fought against other riders with -as the setting title suggests - really long ass lances. This gave them the reach they needed to hit the other rider and the other dragon with out causing too much problems with the dragons getting close to each other and potentially fouling their wings together. This is safer for the riders as well, at least as safe as one can be while flying on a dragon trying to attack another dragon. Just a thought.

Back to the story at hand.

Might I add, there is still no plot. It felt important to say.

Getting close to see Thorn, he's gotten bigger even if he is a wee baby. Sometimes I wonder if this explanation of why Thorn got bigger is to cover up that plot hole. And since dragons don't stop growing, apparently, then what will happen to his size when he's old enough to be the size that he is now? Anyway Murtagh lets us know that Galby was very angry.

Murtagh was bareheaded, and his long black hair billowed behind him like a sleek mane. His face was hard, harder than Eragon had ever seen before, and Eragon knew that this time Murtagh would not, could not, show him mercy. The volume of his voice substantially reduced, but still louder than normal, Murtagh said, “You and Saphira have caused us a great deal of pain, Eragon. Galbatorix was furious with us for letting you go. And after the two of you killed the Ra’zac, he was so angry, he slew five of his servants and then turned his wrath upon Thorn and me. We have both suffered horribly on account of you. We shall not do so again.” He drew back his arm, as if Thorn were about to lunge forward and Murtagh were preparing to slash at Eragon and Saphira.

And Galby is Evil because he kills five random servants when he is angry. The thing is he took it out on the servants before he took it out on Murtagh. Why? Murtagh and Thorn are the ones who screwed up. Because he is Evil. And this is what Evil People Do. Half the problem with the way it is presented however is that there is no indication of Murtagh's tone of voice. We don't know his emotions in response to these five people. Or of being the object of Murtagh's wrath. It seems stated like he were giving off a laundry list. He's not anguished at the servants' deaths nor scared by his own pain or Thorn's. He just states it. So much information could be given here if there just was some emotional reaction.

Before Murtagh can attack, Eragon asks him to hold, saying he knows how Murtagh can free himself from Galby's grip.

I could have sworn earlier Eragon voiced that he would show Murtagh no mercy, that they were not related and that he wanted nothing to do with him. Again, like when Arya touches Eragon's leg, we never see the turning point of when Eragon decides that Murtagh is worthy of saving. These are important emotional and character building points. We don't see the struggle that such a decision would make. It's just all of a sudden he wants to saveMurtagh. Why? Because it's more dramatic for the scene.

We get to see a bit of Murtagh's struggle to decfide to listen to Eragon though.

Murtagh seemed to be struggling with himself, and for a while Eragon thought he might refuse. Swinging his head around, Thorn looked back at Murtagh, and something passed between them. “Blast you, Eragon,” said Murtagh, and lay Zar’roc across the front of his saddle. “Blast you for baiting us with this. We had already made peace with our lot, and you have to tantalize us with the specter of a hope we had abandoned. If this proves to be a false hope, brother, I swear I’ll cut off your right hand before we present you toGalbatorix. . . . You won’t need it for what you will be doing in Urû’baen.”

True, giving blowjobs generally doesn't require both hands.

But here at least we can see that Murtagh is struggling. That he's not sure he wants to listen to Eragon but he'll give it a chance. Here is a turning point. He's willing to listen. He doesn't believe that it will work, whatever it is, but he's going to listen.

What Eragon suggests is that his True Name can change and if he can do that Murtagh and Thorn would be free.

A tangential thought.

We were told that the Foresworns' dragons had their True Names erased from existence and because of that they became nothing more than dumb animals. But we've also learned that everything has a True Name. Fire has a True Name, trees, water, earth, meat. So, taking away the dragons' True Names would only, logically speaking if we're using the present rules, give them a new name. And since they have a new name, they couldn't lose their personalities because no matter what is done, they'll always have a new name to reflect what has been done to them.

And this is the sort of plot hole you get when you don't think out your magic system or pay attention what you've said before and go for what sounds cool. It makes my head hurt.

Murtagh wants to know why Eragon didn't mention this before. His answer, "I was confused."

Which doesn't make any sense whatsoever as Eragon didn't know about such things at the time. He didn't even know about how to find a True Name much less how to change one. So what could he possibly be confused about? There's nothing to be confused. He was ignorant, but not confused. Perhaps he is trying to show that he isn't ignorant. Instead though it sounds like he's addle headed. What is there to be confused about in such a thing? "I didn't understand" would be better than "I was confused".

Paolini gives us a short paragraph description of what Thorn is feeling, which I feel is one of his more effective bits.

A scant fifty feet separated Thorn and Saphira by then. The red dragon’s snarl had subsided to a faint warning curl of his upper lip, and in his sparkling crimson eyes appeared a vast, puzzled sadness, as if he hoped Saphira or Eragon might know why he had been brought into the world merely so Galbatorix could enslave him, abuse him, and force him to destroy other beings’ lives. The tip of Thorn’s nose twitched as he sniffed at Saphira. She sniffed him in return, and her tongue darted out of her mouth as she tasted his scent. Pity for Thorn welled up inside Eragon and Saphira together, and they wished they could speak with him directly, but they dared not open their minds to him.

While Thorn here isn't speaking we get physical reactions from him that hint at his thoughts. The sniffing and relaxing of the snarl go back to the idea that this dragon isn't angry. He's only doing this becauseMurtagh wants to. And Murtagh and Thorn appear to have a better relationship than Saphira and Eragon for Murtagh seems to have listened! to Thorn when before he was going to attack. Thorn and Murtagh came to this decision together as opposed to the relationship between Eragon and Saphira where she does what he says cause he's the rider. Just an interesting thought point.

From a description of Thorn we go to a description of Murtagh that reminds me of a cartoon character or one from anime/manga. Murtagh has a forked vein in the middle of his forehead that is pulsing. I know this is supposed to show how angry and frustrated he is, but I keep on imagining a cartoon version of him where's just about to get steam bursting out of his ears.

There's then an interesting exchange between Murtagh and Eragon.

“I am not evil!” said Murtagh. “I’ve done the best I could under the circumstances. I doubt you would have survived as well as I did if our mother had seen fit to leave you inUrû’baen and hide me in Carvahall.”

“Perhaps not.”

Murtagh banged his breastplate with his fist. “Aha! Then how am I supposed to follow your advice? If I am already a good man, if I have already done as well as could be expected, how can I change? Must I become worse than I am? Must I embrace Galbatorix’s darkness in order to free myself of it? That hardly seems like a reasonable solution. If I succeeded in so altering my identity, you would not like who I had become, and you would curse me as strongly as you curse Galbatorix now.”

First off again there is a lack of emotional response to Murtagh's statement. How Eragon feels about such a thing is important. Here it sounds like he's just brushing it off. It's not important. But this is something that he should dwell on. Something that should have been bothering him since he found out that he andMurtagh were brothers. This would be a good piece of character development for Eragon as he worried about running into Murtagh. We get nothing. Not a hint of how he feels about this statement.

The rest of Murtagh's speech is something different and yet echos a bit of the previous acceptance of fate that is a reoccurring theme in the book. He says that he's a good man so how can he change? For obviouslyEragon would want Murtagh to change into a good person, so he goes for the other side, something he doesn't want to do. It is a bit extreme but it sort of makes sense. A person can't change their personality easily or who they are.

Eragon doesn't get it as he says, “Yes, but you do not have to become better or worse than you are now, only different. How would he become different? Should he become straight? Change his liking of raspberry tarts to peach? Decide to call himself Betty? Act like a chicken every day for an hour? How do you become different enough to change your fundamental being? For that's what you need to do to change your True Name. You need to fundamentally change who you are.

As Murtagh points out. Murtagh sneered at him. “So you are asking me to be that which I am not. If Thorn and I are to save ourselves, we must destroy our current identities. Your cure is worse than our affliction.” Which is true.

Eragon continues to assert that he just needs to change his personality, to let go of his anger. I would think that Murtagh's anger is what is keeping him focused and not dropping into despair. It's something he's had since he was little. And letting go of it would change him, but for how long? Until he gets angry at something again? It's a difficult quandary. And I wonder if it's even possible.

Feeling the same, Murtagh says he will think on it and that he and Eragon can work on it when they're both prisoners. He points out that Galby knows that names can change over a person's life time. Which is now a curious thing for me. Shouldn't a True Name encompass what a person is and will be? After all it's their True Name it's what they Are. Fire doesn't change its True Name if it's a campfire or a fireball or a light, so why should a person's True Name change just because they change what they are, if it's supposed to be their essence?

Continuing to plead with him, Eragon asks if he doesn't want to throw off the shackles of working for Galby. Murtagh says that he would, but likely Galby would just find out his new True Name.

Then there's an throw-away line that could have so much potential. “You underestimate Galbatorix, Eragon,” growled Murtagh. “He has been creating name-slaves for over a hundred years, ever since he recruited our father. Does this mean then thatMurtagh's father wasn't a servant by choice? Think of the impact this could have! Think of what this could mean if it was true. Eragon's father isn't evil! He was just caught under the same circumstances as Murtagh is. Yes, I know that Eragon's father really isn't Morzan, but for all intents and purposes at this point he is.

But the line is thrown away. There isn't any thought of it. It's just there to show how good Galby is at making "name-slaves" with no thought as to the implications of what it means.

Finally, Murtagh has had enough of this, saying he'll think about it and see if it might work before asking if Eragon will surrender.

Eragon says not.

And the fight starts.

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