Gifts of GoldEdit
Here again is another useless chapter. I still don't know what the plot is. Eragon isn't doing anything important. Instead he's merely 'cleaning up' which doesn't make for very compelling story telling. In fact in this chapter we have even more house cleaning.
After having left Nasuada's tent Saphira and Eragon part. She is going hunting and bathing. Eragon warns her not to fly to close to the Empire because then they might see her. Which is silly because they already know she's there. She says she wouldn't mind being seen by a small troop of soldiers because then she could eat them. As she says Besides, humans taste just as good as deer
Um... how does she know that?
How does she know that?
From what she says next? Because she's done it already. Her eyes sparkled.Maybe, maybe not. It depends on whether they are wearing armor. I hate biting through metal, and scooping my food out of a shell is just as annoying .
Does Eragon, protector of life, hero to the people, tell her not to?
I see. He glanced over at the nearest elf, a tall, silver-haired woman.The elves won’t want you to go alone. Will you allow a couple of them to ride on you? Otherwise, it will be impossible for them to keep pace.
He never tells her not to do it. She never says she's not going to do it. While yes, I realize that dragons are predators, they're supposed to have a truce with the humanoid races and not eat them now.
Instead this conversation feels more like Saphira saying she likes fish just as much as she likes deer. Except the fish in this case are people. I imagine that if these people were on the Varden's side or if they were someone Eragon knows personally he would put up a bigger fuss. But these are nameless and abstractions. Just possibilities and so they don't count as "real".
The thing is they should count as real. A person mentioned is still a real person even if we never see them. That's how the world works. That's why people get upset about hearing about things they'll never see or ever interact with. There's a basic human connection between people and a built in empathy. It's what makes humans able to connect and cooperate. The fact that Eragon, Nasuada and others are incapable of doing this marks them completely as characters -puppets - moving to Paolini's tune and not fully actualized people which is what you want in a good story.
Once Saphira goes off, Eragon with his elf harem walks to the training field. There he makes gold balls.
He strode through the camp until he found a large square of open space where thirty-some Varden were practicing with a wide assortment of weapons. To his relief, they were too busy training to notice his presence. Crouching, he lay his right hand palm-upward on the trampled earth. He chose the words he would need from the ancient language, then murmured, “Kuldr, rïsa lam iet un malthinae unin böllr.”
The soil beside his hand appeared unchanged, although he could feel the spell sifting through the dirt for hundreds of feet in every direction. Not more than five seconds later, the surface of the earth began to boil like a pot of water left to sit for too long over a high flame, and it acquired a bright yellow sheen. Eragon had learned from Oromis that wherever one went, the land was sure to contain minute particles of nearly every element, and while they would be too small and scattered to mine with traditional methods, a knowledgeable magician could, with great effort, extract them.
From the center of the yellow patch, a fountain of sparkling dust arched up and over, landing in the middle of Eragon’s palm. There each glittering mote melded into the next, until three spheres of pure gold, each the size of a large hazelnut, rested on his hand.
I don't know how much a hazelnut size piece of pure gold is worth, but it's a lot. And he says a knowledgeable magician could do it. So, there appear to be a lot of knowledgeable magicians around and since Nasuada is foolishly spending her money/gold she could have them maybe once a day mine gold from the earth. Money problem solved.
The question now is, however, why is Eragon making gold? Anyone would be willing to give him anything he asked for as he is the Dragon Rider. Their savior. Etc. Etc.
We shall see.
The spell apparently has taken a lot of out of him. It would almost be easier to mine the gold, though. A spell hasn’t taken so much out of me since I carried Sloan down from the top of Helgrind . Really now. Let's see he's cured cancer and flubbed up a spell that was so complex it required five minutes to say and those barely bothered him. This one made him a bit sleepy but then he's fine. Still no lasting effects. Which really, makes it seem like the effort is easier than mining gold. Getting that much gold in that little amount of time? Miners would have to do hours of back breaking labor to find that much, if they're lucky. Especially of such pure quality.
Magic for mundane things doesn't appear to be used a lot. It's not used to help fields grow or make homes more comfortable. It's as if it doesn't exist except to blow things up or invade people's minds.
So, after that? Eragon eats lunch.
It's a big lunch too.
We don't get to find out what he ate though, which is somewhat disappointing. After all where's the lavish and strange descriptions of the food that we've come to expect from Paolini?
Continuing our ever thrilling adventures of Eragon Shadeslayer we follow him to the place where the Carvahall people are staying where he find Horst working on a makeshift forge. He's working near the tent instead of with the other smiths because he's worried about his wife's condition. Which is actually a human response. It seems the NPCs are more human than the PCs.
We also learn that Nasuada is mismanaging her money. See they need smiths. They were thrilled to learn that Horst was a smith. But they're not paying him well. You pay your skilled workers more than the unskilled and the valuable ones even more. After all Horst does likely need to buy supplies and things, so if he's not able to pay for them he can't make them and then he's no use to the Varden who needs him. However Katrina and Roran who have no skills whatsoever are given enough money to make them rich for the rest of their lives.
Yeah. That totally works.
I wonder if Paolini had a hand in the economy's collapse.
They chit-chat for a bit and then Eragon asks where Gedric is. Gedric is the man Eragon stole the leather from way back in the first book.
Here we get an interesting comment. Gedric is described and then there's this: Although he was far from handsome, Eragon knew him to be a kind and honest man. Despite being ugly he's nice. Basically we're being told ugly people can't be honest and kind normally. This is a trait that only handsome or beautiful people can have. Gedric here is the exception to the rule. What I believe Paolini is trying to say is that Gedric might look scary but he wasn't. By using handsome as the descriptive word his physical looks are being made to define what sort of man he is.
Eragon asks him about the three ox hides that were stolen. Gedric says that anyone could have stolen them. However the village seems small enough that everyone knows everyone and so it would be easy to find the culprit. But that's using logic. Anyway, Eragon admits to being the one who stole the hides and then gives him one of the gold balls in payment.
Of course it's far too much for the hides.
Of course Gedric says he wants to refuse it because it's too much for the hides.
Of course Eragon insists because he's a good and wonderful person and wants to be overly generous.
Of course Gedric takes it after being convinced and declares how wonderful Eragon is.
Is there a trope for this? There has to be a trope for this. I've seen this so often it's not even funny. One day there ought to be a similar scene except for it stops at the guy taking the hero's gold and saying thank you. He never tries to give it back, never says it's too much.
Gedric asks what Eragon used his hides for. When he learns that it was for Saphira's saddle he dances himself jig and then runs off to tell everyone he provided the hide for her saddle. Eragon escapes.
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