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Brisingr Part Thirty One

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I Need a Sword pt. 2 Edit

So, you thought the chapter was over, didn't you? After all, Eragon now has his sword despite being an ungrateful brat about it. But no! We're not done at all. We still have FILLER!! Yes. Paolini throws in a bunch of filler which is basically Eragon and Saphira flying together. I imagine it's supposed to be bonding time for them and character development. It is still, however, filler.

Saphira shows up once Fredric is done showing Eragon how to take care of his weapons. Eragon is upset that she didn't show up earlier.

You waited,said Eragon. You deliberately waited! You could have rescued me ages ago, but instead you left me here to listen to Fredric go on about water stones, oil stones, and whether linseed oil is better than rendered fat for protecting metal from water.

And is it?

Not really. It’s just not as smelly. But that’s irrelevant! Why did you leave me to this doom?

One of her thick eyelids drooped in a lazy wink. Don’t exaggerate. Doom? You and I have far worse dooms to look forward to if we are not properly prepared. What the man with the smelly clothes was saying seemed important for you to know .

Well, perhaps it was, he conceded. She arched her neck and licked the claws on her right foreleg.

Because, yes, learning how to take care of your weapons is a waste of time. Not only that but Eragon doesn't completely believe it to be so by the use of the word "perhaps" as opposed to "You're right" or any other complete acknowledgment. The fact that he didn't think it was necessary to know in the first place and instead a great waste of time doesn't help matters much.

Now, I'll admit that this could be a good character flaw, the sincere lack of caring on how to do things. The problem comes from the fact that it's not a flaw that Paolini intended for Eragon and so does it make it a legitimate flaw I can use against the character? Does authorial intent override reader interpretation? It's an interesting question, one that I have no real answer to.

In my literary criticism class there was a theory of criticism that said authorial intent stopped once the book got published. It didn't matter what the author thought, once the readers had it, it's what they said that mattered. It leads to lots of interesting interpretations of things like Melville's Moby-Dick and Melville's possible repressed homosexuality (see the chapter: "A Squeeze of the Hand" for all sorts of fun stuff in regards to that.) This is also where you get the strange fan interpretations like Draco in Leather Pants. I know for certain that there are going to be character interpretations that I didn't expect when they look at my work down the line, and I know that I have a tendency for certain kinds of characters which probably means things. It's a part of how a person views the world and themselves and how it's different than how other people see them. Especially when it comes to things that they don't want to admit about themselves or things that they think just feels "right".

This isn't to say that Paolini subconsciously thinks that everyone who displeases him should die and they all should bow down to him.... but then again, if we look at his upbringing and the constant giving that his parents have done for him - they apparently put all their money into printing the first book and driving around the country to promote it - it could be said that yes he is used to being given the world for no effort; I know my parents certainly wouldn't have done that for my first novel, but the fact that they make much of their son's supposed genius gives him a sense of over-importance which is translated into his books and his authorial avatar = Eragon. Of course Paolini would never admit to this! And to him it's completely not true, he thinks he is writing a grand adventure story and for him it is.

So, I suppose in the long run it could be said that both interpretations are right, mine that Eragon is a deranged loony and that Paolini's that he's a perfect hero because the text can support it. This doesn't mean that the text is deeper -in this case- just that Paolini isn't as good as getting his authorial vision across to the readers on different levels.

Eragon and Saphira take off into the air giving Paolini a chance to indulge in a bit of over wrought description.

Giddy, Eragon clung to the spike in front of him and watched the people and tents below dwindle away into flat, miniature versions of themselves. From above, the camp was a grid of gray, triangular peaks, the eastern faces of which were deep in shadow, giving the whole region a checkered appearance. The fortifications that encircled the camp bristled like a hedgehog, the white tips of the distant poles bright in the slanted sunlight. King Orrin’s cavalry was a mass of milling dots in the northwestern quadrant of the camp. To the east was the Urgals’ camp, low and dark on the rolling plain.

The one thing that struck me when reading this is the hedgehog. I cannot wrap my mind around fortifications and hedgehogs in the same sentence. While I get what he is going for, the idea of hedgehog bristling fortifications don't seem to be very wise to me. I can't think of any instances when this has been used. It puts me in mind of a mud wall with lots of tooth picks sticking out at all angles. That is counterproductive as you would be spiking your own men if they had to retreat to the walls of their fortifications. Also it would give attackers footholds to climb up said fortifications when they attack; which would be the last thing you would want.

It sounds pretty though.

And they fly higher and higher.

There is more descriptive passages about the land below them as they fly. There they enjoy some together time and it's sort of sweet. And then it's ruined when Eragon starts ruminating about how he's going to marry Roran and Katrina in the morning.

What a strange thought that is. Strange Roran should marry, and strange I should be the one to perform the ceremony. . . . Roran married. Thinking about it makes me feel older. Even we, who were boys but a short while ago, cannot escape the inexorable progress of time. So the generations pass, and soon it will be our turn to send our children out into the land to do the work that needs to be done.

I don't really know who thinks like that. Honestly. That sounds like something a poet or philosopher would say or someone who is trying to be like that. It feels hollow and forced and not something that Eragon would say. (Or anyone really).

But it sounds cool.

Or at least, it's supposed to sound like it's cool.

Or at least, it's supposed to sound like something that's supposed to sound cool, deep and meaningful.

Or... something. I dunno anymore.

They do some flying antics and Saphira says, "There is no more exciting sport than flying, for if you lose, you die."

Which is an odd thing, because well, there are lots of sports or activities where you can die as well besides flying. And it's a bit too... death obsessed. It's not the best sport because of the skill it takes or anything like that but because if you lose you die. Which in theory is any sport. If you're dumb at least. Still, I always thought that one of the reason why sports was exciting was not so much the thrill of maybe dying so much as watching what happens. It's rather morbid to say otherwise.

Yet, this book and these characters seem to be rather death obsessed in a way. Or at least extremely fatalistic. Everyone is always "Well, I could die, but that's okay!"

They land and I almost miss this Very Important Piece of Information: Eragon learns how to marry someone. How come I missed it? It's two sentences.

Dismounting, Eragon left her grooming herself with six of the elves standing nearby, and with the other six, he trotted through the camp until he located the healer Gertrude. From her he learned the marriage rites he would need the following day, and he practiced them with her that he might avoid an embarrassing blunder when the moment arrived.

Hrmm... let's see. I imagine trying to make sure that the goat stands still for Roran is very important. It would be embarrassing if it kicked him while he was trying to use it to show how manly he is. Eragon would have to show him how of course. Being able to handle goat meat is important. Then he'd have to offer it to Katrina all raw and dripping with hot juice and she'd have to eat it. Right there in front of everyone. If she can't do it right, if she can't handle the meat then she wouldn't be a good mother and all. Once people are satisfied that the both of them can handle the meat, then they will be allowed to be joined.

I imagine this is not what Paolini imagined at all, however since he didn't give a hint to it and merely threw it out there as two sentences I have nothing to work with. And this could be a legitimate marriage rite....

I'm sure.


So, Eragon learns how to sodomize... I mean marry people and then he goes to dinner with King Orrin (I hear they had goat) and then goes to bed.

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