A Feast With Friends Edit

How about that? It's a chapter that isn't as headache inducing as the previous ones! Of course it's insanely short which helps a lot. I'm not sure if it should have been cut or not. It could have been more, I feel.

We begin with Eragon returning to his tent and there's a hog's head of steaming water waiting for him. I am ninety percent certain that the image Paolini was going for is not that of a of a hog's skull filled with boiling water: There he found a hogs -head of boiling water waiting for him,. Or even that of a hog's un-skull filled with boiling water. I honestly don't know what he meant with that... but that's what I'm thinking and I just can't get it out of my mind. This is why you need to be careful with your words, if they're not right they end up projecting the wrong image and that will completely ruin your scene. Yes, it's just supposed to be a passing description but now I can't move past it. I have to spend some time obsessing about it and trying to figure out what it means!

Inside his own special tent and continues to take bad care of his armor by stuffing it under the bed saying that he'll clean it later. See now armor is not like laundry. You don't just shove it under the bed to clean it later. You take care of it by hanging it up some where so it doesn't get turned into a tangled mess if you can and you clean it! The first thing he should be doing is taking the time to clean it as part of getting ready for the dinner that Nasuada has planed. Instead he acts like any fifteen year old boy trying to keep his room clean by shoving stuff under the cot.

Then from under the bed he retrieves Murtagh's sword. The hand and a half sword that he used. The sword is so poorly made that after a night in the elements, inside its sheathe, it has started to rust.

Yes, rich kid Murtagh, raised in privilege somehow ended up with a sword that starts to rust over night.

Eragon sat and stared at the weapon, conflicted. He did not know what had prompted him, but the day after the battle, he had returned to the plateau and retrieved the sword from the morass of trampled dirt where Murtagh had dropped it. Even after only a single night exposed to the elements, the steel had acquired a mottled veil of rust. With a word, he had dispelled the scrim of corrosion.

AGH! He has time to clean off Murtagh's sword quickly with a short spell, but he doesn't have time to do the same to his armor?! Why?! It takes him about half a second here it looks like! He doesn't even like Murtagh!

Why? Because of this: Paolini isn't connecting one action to the other. That is he could use the same action: Using magic to clean off his armor and the sword, but he's only doing it for one. Logically the one spell could be used for both purposes. It can't be said that it was a powerfully draining spell because Eragon doesn't seem to notice any drain and it's not even a matter of convenience. The armor is less important in this scene than the sword so the sword is the one that gets the special treatment, while the armor is just thrown away. The concept of one spell being used for the two things doesn't appear to have occurred to Paolini because he doesn't think in logical applications of his world or his magic. It exists solely on the rule of cool. Cleaning armor? Mundane. Cleaning sword of your worst enemy while angsting about it? Cool.

And angst he does!

Perhaps it was because Murtagh had stolen his own sword that Eragon felt compelled to take up Murtagh’s, as if the exchange, unequal and involuntary though it was, minimized his loss. Perhaps it was because he wished to claim a memento of that bloody conflict. And perhaps it was because he still harbored a sense of latent affection for Murtagh, despite the grim circumstances that had turned them against each other. No matter how much Eragon abhorred what Murtagh had become, and pitied him for it too, he could not deny the connection that existed between them. Theirs was a shared fate. If not for an accident of birth, he would have been raised in Urû’baen, and Murtagh in Palancar Valley, and then their current positions might well have been reversed. Their lives were inexorably intertwined.

Poor Murtagh how horrible his fate is, my life sucks because of him. Eragon continues his tradition of turning other people's misfortunes into things that he can angst about because they're bad for him. Sure, Murtagh has a shit of a draw but you know what that shit of the draw could have been Eragon's! Instead of feeling grateful that it wasn't he feels woe because it could have.

Oh, and remember that scar he got from Durza? The one he couldn't get rid of until the elves Magicked away? Well apparently he kept that on purpose and not because they couldn't heal it. As a reminder of their encounter. Nice history revision there. He thinks about this scar because he wonders if he should wear Murtagh's sword for the same reason as a reminder of what happened. He decides against using it and puts it back under the bed.

Then he goes to take a bath. Sadly there is no loving description of Eragon's bathtimes.

Saphira is suddenly too big to go walking around the tents without knocking them over so she flies while Eragon meets up with Nasuada. They talk and Eragon realizes how easy it is to talk to her even though she's a girl.

Eragon and Nasuada spoke of many things. Little of consequence passed between their lips, but her wit, her gaiety, and the thoughtfulness of her remarks charmed him. It was easy for him to talk to her and easier to listen, and that very ease causd him to realize how much he cared for her. Her hold on him far exceeded that of a liegelord over her vassal. It was a new feeling for him, their bond. Aside from his aunt Marian, of whom he had but faint memories, he had grown up in a world of men and boys, and he had never had the opportunity to be friends with a woman. His inexperience made him uncertain, and his uncertainty made him awkward, but Nasuada did not seem to notice.

We've got some informed behavior here, but the sentences are odd. "Her hold on him" seems to indicate something like blackmail, but he means that of a bond of affection. Also there were more than several women that Eragon interacted with back home, including Katrina and Horst's wife. Also, there should have been some girls around Eragon's age as well. This "fear" of girls makes me continue to wonder about Eragon's interest in them.

It turns out that the so called important dinner they go to is a surprise dinner with a bunch of people from Caverhall and a bunch of other supporting cast members, like Jeod and Angela. Jeod you may ask, who is he? Well, he's an old buddy of Brom but this is his first mention in the book. And all we know about him here is that he has a wife named Helen. We aren't reintroduced to him at all. Oh and Elva is there and Paolini keeps on reminding us about how creepy she is.

He saw Elva sitting cross-legged in the far-left corner of the tent, a platter of food on her lap. The other children shunned her—Eragon could not imagine they had much in common—and none of the adults, save Angela, seemed comfortable in her presence. The small, narrow-shouldered girl gazed up at him from under her black bangs with her horrible violet eyes and mouthed what he guessed was “Greetings, Shadeslayer.”

“Greetings, Farseer,” he mouthed in return. Her small pink lips parted in what would have been a charming smile if not for the fell orbs that burned above them.

Horrible violet eyes and then fell orbs. Though burning fell orbs put me in mind of crystal ball like things that are on fire and not eyes. Burning is, after all, associated with fire which is not violet -unless it's a gas fire. Also using orbs is a rather cliched term that is silly and seemingly over-wrought. There's nothing wrong with using "fell eyes that burned above them". Besides, we already know she's creepy, we don't need it hammered over our heads with a brick.

Saphira sticks her head into the tent as she smells meat. And they eat drink and are merry. Something that is left out but would have been nice to have seen is Eragon's reaction to the food, to the meat to be exact. Would he go back to eating it or does he go back to his pledge of not eating meat. This is not addressed however and it's a missed opportunity for character development.

Instead we have people laughing and he gives several examples of what people do for entertainment. Jeod recites a song, Angela makes a sourdough man dance, Tara dances a jig and Nasuada smiles and has white teeth.

Wait, what?

One of these things is not like the other.

The exact section is this:

Eragon laughed as he watched. Jeod entertained the crowd with a song he had learned from a book long ago. Tara danced a jig. Nasuada’s teeth flashed as she tossed her head back. And Eragon, by popular request, recounted several of his adventures, including a detailed description of his flight from Carvahall with Brom, which was of special interest to his listeners.

This here is a list of things done for entertainment at the party. There are three things here that are entertaining. But Nasuada's teeth flashing here, while odd as it is, presents an image that she's doing this to amuse people. To make it so that she's flashing her teeth at the entertainment (for some reason I keep on thinking her as a horse tossing her head back) something like as she tossed her head back, laughing at the dance... or something.

Eventually the party breaks up.

Nasuada before she leaves gives him a two day vacation. Which is nice of her, I suppose, but I would think it'd be more reasonable to put him to work right away. After all they need him, don't they? But he's getting special treatment, apparently. Also apparently he's not that needed if she can afford to give him the vacation.

Then the conversation turns to Elva. Eragon wants to remove the curse from her which he promised to do. But he's asking Nasuada if she minds. Since when does she have an opinion on this matter? It's a matter between Elva and Eragon. By consulting Nasuada first on this Eragon is disregarding Elva's feelings on her curse. A curse that causes her constant pain! And a curse that Nasuada wants her to continue to bear because it's helpful. Her pain is helpful.

Surely a good and kind and wise leader that Nasuada is supposed to be would reluctantly allow it saying that while it would be hard to replace her talents they would have to find another way. After all the point of the Varden is to alleviate suffering isn't it?

No, instead Nasuada asks Eragon if he could pretend to do it and have it fail. This does however give Eragon a chance for righteous indignation as he chides her. But the reasoning for it seems to fail. It's so that she doesn't turn into an enemy and not because it would be breaking a promise he made. And then he adds it might fail so she could still be like that anyway. Eragon has twelve learned elf spell casters with him. Apparently they're there for decoration because he doesn't think about asking them for help or advice.

Or at least not at this juncture. It seems that he's going to give it one shot and if it doesn't work... oh well.

Instead of trickery, Eragon suggests that Nasuada talks to Elva about what her powers mean for the Varden etc and ask her to continue. He says "She may refuse; she has every right to, but if she does, her character is not one we would want to rely upon anyway." Yes because a little girl not even a year old deserves to feel all the people around her suffer. And if she doesn't want that it means she's cruel and selfish. Unlike the others. God forbid she should want to be a normal child!

Nasuada agrees and says that she'll talk to her in the morning, three hours after sunrise. Still wondering how Eragon will know it's three hours after sunrise, for she wants him there too. To help plead her case and if not to reverse the curse.

She then leaves.

Later Roran pulls Eragon aside and asks about what happened at the Evil Mountain. If what he said was all there was too it. Eragon asks him not to ask that question again. After a moment, Roran decides to trust him and instead asks Eragon to marry him. I mean marry him and Katrina. >.>

After being surprised and saying that someone else should do it, Eragon agrees, much to Roran's delight. Eragon suggests next month but Roran's all um... that'll be to late if you know what I mean. Eragon does and agrees to do it in two days time.

Roran gone, Eragon slips out to go flying with Saphira, or she flies and he takes a nap. A nap with visions.

And he rested, and visions beset him of a circular stone city that stood in the center of an endless plain and of a small girl who wandered among the narrow, winding alleys within and who sang a haunting melody.

This is foreshadowing of some sort, we'll have to see of what though. However circular stone city reminds me of Minas Tirith. Something to keep in mind for later. Whenever it appears again.

Still no plot though.

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