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Brisingr Part Thirty Two

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And it's the day of the wedding, Eragon begins his morning with exercises that the elves made up. Yoga, if I remember correctly: He began to pant from the effort, and sweat coated his limbs, which made it difficult for him to keep hold of his feet or his hands when contorted into a position that felt as if it were going to tear the muscles from his bones. After an hour of that he then practices with his new shiny his new Special Object of Stuness his new sword. He does this for a half hour, wishing he could do more. Instead he goes off to help with the wedding preparations because they need all the help he can get, even though he'd like to practice with the sword all day.

This feels sort of like a miss-placed priorities to me. The villagers can always snag a new person but if Eragon doesn't get himself competent with his new sword then those villagers will be having worse problems than with not having enough hands. Eragon is the most important person in the Varden , as we're constantly told, and so he should make sure that he's doing what's needed to protect them. While yes he may want to help his people, he has a greater responsiblity to the Varden as a whole. His small and selfish thinking could get a lot of people killed.

The selfishness that is being displayed here seems to be a common trait among bad fantasy heroes. They make sacrifices but not quite the right ones. Tristan from the Fifth Sorceress for example put his own desires above those of his people when he rescued that one girl, the girl who ended up getting him captured. However this was Dues ExMachina'd out by saying that whatever he does is right. In comparison, Frodo left the Fellowship with the One Ring because he felt that it was the best way to save the group. He didn't want them to fall prey to the same lurings that Boromir did. Though his companions would have tried to dissuade him of this action he did it for the greater good. In these epic world saving stories, the greater good should be paramount and the hero's desires be the thing sacrificed and not the other way around.

But as Eragon is not an example of a good hero, he goes off to help with the wedding, his elf stalkers behind him. They don't really seem to be doing much beyond stalking him. At the place where they're making preparations for the wedding Eragon is shanghaied into kneading bread dough. It's interesting that he's not made to do the work of the men, but instead put with six women. It could be that Paolini is trying to make a statement about gender roles, but then there should be an equal mix of women and men making bread. But he's given the soft labor or perhaps better said: the traditional, stereotypical woman's labor. The reasoning I think for this, finally, is so that Eragon can be embarrassed by the women talking about things, if you know what I mean, wink wink nudge nudge, eh eh?

“The mighty warrior is nervous ere his contest,” observed Isold, one of the six women next to Eragon. The group laughed.

“Perhaps,” Birgit said, stirring water into flour, “he is worried his sword may bend in the battle.” Gales of merriment swept the women.Eragon’s cheeks flushed. He kept his gaze fixed on the dough in front of him and increased the speed of his kneading. Bawdy jokes were common at weddings, and he had enjoyed his share before, but hearing them directed at his cousin disconcerted him.

Wink wink nudge nudge?

It also allows Eragon to be sad about the folks who weren't able to make it to the wedding because they are dead.

The people who would not be able to attend the wedding were as much on Eragon’s mind as those who could. He thought of Byrd, Quimby, Parr, Hida, young Elmund, Kelby, and the others who had died because of the Empire. But most of all, he thought of Garrow and wished his uncle were still alive to see his only son acclaimed a hero by the villagers and the Varden alike and to see him take Katrina’s hand and finally become a man in full.

But not Katrina's father. Cause he's evil, dontcha know. Also it's not really the Empire's fault. Well, yes they attacked his home, but they attacked becasue of Eragon and I would think he should feel guilty about that. If it wasn't for him the Empire wouldn't be interested in his home, etc. etc. etc. Instead it's a nice shift of blame to the Empire who was reacting as they should when confronted with a dangerous criminal - trying to find out where he is - because they're evil.

However we don't get to do the wedding just yet as suddenly the most exciting thing happens in over a hundred pages. They're being attacked! War drums start beating out.

He tells Limp Wiener to have his stalkers meet him at the north entrance (I don't know why, he doesn't have any information as to which direction the attack is coming from) and runs off toSaphira. Then Angela informs him telepathically that Nasuada wants to meet him at the north entrance. How convenient that Eragon is already going in that direction and has his powerful elf spell casters there too! Angela also tells him that Elva is also there and she's in great pain. Pain. Great pain. Yours. TheVarden’s . The others’. I’m sorry, she’s not very coherent right now. It’s too much for her to cope with. I guess she's seeing something, but if there is going to be a battle, it's sort of obvious that there's going to be a lot of pain.

Before going to the north entrance, Eragon does something sensible and puts his armor on. Though this is something that I'm not sure I should be nit-picky about or not. Part of me wants to say that it's in a time of war when they could be attacked at any moment so he should put on his armor first thing and the other part of me is that he is going to the wedding to help out and the armor would get in the way so it could be sort of reasonable that he didn't put it on. Yet, one of the reasons why people sometimes attack at dawn or night is because they know that the soldiers have likely taken off their armor for the night and are unprotected. People are scrambling around for their weapons and putting on their armor. Mothers ran for their children and cooks dampened their fires while the rest of the men and women scrambled after their weapons. It seems rather foolish for the fighters not to keep their weapons near by. They aren't going camping they're in an army. Thinking about it, I'm reminded of the Obsidian Trilogy again. Every morning when they woke up the main characters would put on their armor. Even when they were fairly certain they weren't going to be attacked they put on their armor. After all those few minutes that it takes to get to your armor and put it on could mean the difference between life and death.

So maybe I'm not being so nit-picky.

Anyway, Eragon struggles into his armor and then struggles to put on Saphria's armor, as he complains that she's too big. In Naiomi Novak's Temeraire's books the dragons have a standing crew to help rig the dragons when they're needed for battle. Sometimes they're not even disarmed. In fact this was fairly traditional until Captain Laurence andTemeraire showed up, as Laurence knew nothing about how to handle dragons. Yet still their crews are ready at a moment's notice to armor them up and get them ready for battle. Eragon should probably invest in something like that.

Eragon manages to get most of his armor on and Saphira's armor on and they take off. As they head towards the north entrance Eragon he realizes that he never recharaged his belt which is a problem apparently. (I guess he forgot about his magic ring full of power?) It will probably end up being important in the upcoming fight.

Everyone important gathers at the gate with a lovely gathering of forces paragraph.

He was just fitting on the bracers when Saphira arched her wings, cupping the air with the translucent membranes, and reared, stalling to a standstill as she alighted upon the crest of one of the embankments that ringed the camp.Nasuada was already there, sitting upon her massive charger, Battle-storm. Beside her was Jörmundur, also mounted; Arya, on foot; and the current watch of the Nighthawks, led by Khagra, one of the Urgals Eragon had met on the Burning Plains. Blödhgarm and the other elves emerged from the forest of tents behind them and stationed themselves close to Eragon and Saphira. From a different part of the camp galloped King Orrin and his retinue, reining in their prancing steeds as they drew near Nasuada. Close upon their heels came Narheim, chief of the dwarves, and three of his warriors, the group of them riding ponies clad with leather and mail armor. Nar Garzhvog ran out of the fields to the east, the Kull’s thudding footsteps preceding his arrival by several seconds. Nasuada shouted an order, and the guards at the north entrance pulled aside the crude wooden gate to allow Garzhvog inside the camp, although if he had wanted, the Kull probably could have knocked open the gate by himself.

The gang's all here and they look and find their enemy landing at the river banks from black painted ships. That's how you know they're the enemy, because they've painted their ships black. Evil people paint their ships black. Good people leave their ships wood colored. Gay people paint their ships in rainbow colors. GaryStus Awesome heroes don't need to paint their ships because they don't need no stinking ships. They fly or teleport or run on water which makes them awesomer than Jesus. People who live under the ocean paint their ships... well no their ships look like sea monsters. Communists paint their subs steel gray even though everyone knows they're red. It's how the sneaky bastards trick you into letting them around you and then getting picked up by theun-American committee or whatever it was called. Aquaman or Namor ride whales cause they're just that awesome. Moses is even awesomer because he parts the ocean and doesn't need ships or anything.

I'm sorry, where was I?

Right the Evil People.

Arya, with her awesome eye sight. (Elves always have boats in the shape of swans) manages to guess the number of Evil People coming at them: Arya shaded her eyes with a hand and squinted at the soldiers. “I put their number between two hundred seventy and three hundred.” This is a small number compared to the Varden and they wonder why they're being pitted against so little. Orrin confidently says that they could attack the force and not have any casualties.

I am reminded however of the Silver Horde versus the Imperial armies.

Of course, they were really good at not dying.

Nasuada decides that they weren't going to face them in open battle and instead let them come to them. The Evil People would be picked off by them as well as getting hurt by the protections around the camp.

Looking back at the approaching soldiers, Nasuada said, “I can think of no reason to engage them in the open. We can pick them off with archers once they are within range. And when they reach our breastwork, they will break themselves against the trenches and the staves. Not a single one will escape alive,” she concluded with evident satisfaction.

Personally I think it would be better to blow them into bits with the magic users. One well placed fire ball and BOOM. Why else do you have them after all?

However all their plans are derailed when the spot a giant red...

Red as a ruby dipped in blood, red as iron hot to forge, red as a burning ember of hate and anger, Thorn appeared above the languishing trees. And upon the back of the glittering dragon, there sat Murtagh in his bright steel armor, thrusting Zar’roc high over his head.

Two of those three similes don't make any sense. How would a ruby dripped in blood be any redder? And how does an ember burn with hate and anger? They sound pretty but when you look at them and try and actually figure out what they mean they don't make any sense. Embers don't have any emotions and if anything they are the dying bits of a fire, so logically that would mean that they're not very angry. Firestorm would be a better word to use than ember.

Beyond that silliness, it does make for a nice cliffhanger.

Brisingr
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