Chapters the Secret Lives of Ants Or as I like to call it, the Hairless Groin Chapter Under the Menoa Tree
Our chapter begins with Saphira gushing over how wonderful Glaedr is. How shiny his scales are. How big he is. Just every little bit about him. She's like a girl on her first crush. Which is kind of cute. She doesn't pay any attention to Eragon which makes him feel really lonely.
The next morning Eragon stares at himself in the mirror.
I look older. Older and worn. Not only that, but his features had become far more angled, giving him an ascetic, hawklike appearance. He was no elf, but neither would anyone take him to be a purebred human, if they inspected him closely. Pulling back his hair, he bared his ears, which now tapered to slight points, more evidence of how his bond with Saphira had changed him. He touched one ear, letting his fingers wander over the unfamiliar shape.
It was difficult for him to accept the transformation of his flesh. Even though he had known it would occur -and occasionally welcomed the prospect of as the last confirmation that he was a Rider - the reality of it filled him with confusion. He resented the fact that he had no say in how his body was being altered, yet at the same time he was curious where the process would take him. Also he was aware that he was still in the midst of his own, human adolescence and its attendant realm of mysteries and difficulties.(page 286)
He appears to be in the midst of the transformation that most Mary Sues or Gary Stus go through in a lot of fan fiction, when the author decides that their "normal looks" aren't special enough and they have to be even more special. Common versions of this are the Hermione make-over and the Mary Sue who turns into an elf once she comes to Middle Earth. These show that the author is uncomfortable with the way they look and they wish they looked better, different, so instead of transforming themselves they transform their self inserts.
Eragon then tries shave for the first time. When he cuts himself for the first time, he decides to give up on using a razor and use magic to get rid of all the nasty hairs. "Composing himself, he reviewed his store of words from the ancient language, selected those that he needed, and then allowed his invented spell to roll off his tongue. A faint stream of black powder fell from his face as his stubble crumbled into dust, leaving his cheeks perfectly smooth." (page 287). This is obviously Paolini who's cut himself shaving a bit to much wish fulfillment.
After this Eragon goes back to visit Yoda who gives him a new saddle for Saphira. Saphira then goes off with her crush and Eragon and Yoda do something called "Rimgar or the Dance of Snake and Crane" which is a series of poses developed for warriors but now everyone does it for health and fitness. It's Yoga. The Stoned Hippie Elves do Yoga. Eragon is initially reluctant to do the yoga because he's afraid his back is going to act up. Of course it doesn't, because it's not dramatic for it to happen.
After that we have the beginning of our Porno scene. "Let us wash the sweat from our limbs". Yoda says to Eragon.
Going to the stream by the house, they quickly disrobed. Eragon surreptitiously watched the elf, curious as to what he looked like without his clothes. Oromis was very thin, yet his muscles were perfectly defined, etched under his skin with the hard lines of a woodcut. No hair grew upon his chest or legs, not even around his groin. His body seemed almost freakish to Eragon, compared to the men he was used to seeing in Carvahall -although it had a certain refined elegance to it, like that of a wildcat. (page 289)
Now, looking at this scene, it seems a bit innocuous. Eragon is curious to see what a naked elf looks at. But what brings out the homosexual undertones to the front of this section are the words used to describe what Eragon sees. He lingers over Oromis' body, over his muscles and groin area using similes to describe them. And he even notes that he's paid attention the other men of Carvahall. Something that someone who isn't interested in men wouldn't pick up on. If anything, to get rid of the homosexual feelings it should have been something like, "Eragon noted that Oromis appeared to have no body hair, unlike the humans of Carvahall."
After they bathe Yoda takes Eragon to a hollow in the woods and tells him to sit on a stump and empty his mind. The object is to listen to what's around him using his mind. He discovers ants. He listens to the ants. We get minute descriptions of what the ants are doing. For two and a half pages. When he's done listening to the ants he goes back to Yoda and tells him what he learned. But apparently that was not the point of the exercise. No the point was to become aware of everything that was around him, "when you can watch one and know all" is what Yoda tells him. So apparently Eragon was supposed to become one with the universe. I think he needs some more of the elves' drugs.
Yoda then tells Eragon that he doesn't have to become fluent in the ancient language but he has to be able to use it without thinking about it. This leads into a lesson on grammar and then Eragon commenting that he's always been really good at doing magic with only a few words. And then to the fact that he blessed a child in the ancient language. This makes Yoda alert and it is discovered (after a short linguistics lesson where Paolini shows off that he has made a language with different tenses.) that the small baby that Eragon blessed in book one, is really cursed. There's some babble about how you can't gainsay a word's inherent nature but you can twist it and then Yoda learns that Saphira gave the baby a mark on the forehead.
Yoda gets shell shocked, "One who bares the sign of the Riders, and yet is not a Rider," he murmured. "In all my years, I have never met anyone such as the two of you. Every decision you make seems to have an impact far beyond what anyone could anticipate., You change the world with your whims." (page 295) Which means that Eragon is just that special that he's managed to surprise and shock an old elf who has practically seen it all and done it all. This is a classic Sue trait here. Being told that he's done something that no one has done before and that he has an impact on the world that no one could anticipate. He's a world changer, as if we didn't know it before, it's now been hammered in one more time.
After the discussion of the child, where Eragon learns that he's now in charge of her fate, they go back to their lessons and at the end of the day we learn that Saphira should have learned what Eragon had learned and Eragon what she did. They should have been mind melding the entire time.
Before they go for the day, Yoda give Eragon an alarm clock. No really. It's a small clockwork device that will wake him up at the proper time as long as he keeps it wound.
When Eragon gets back to his tree house, Arya shows up and offers to take him on a tour. As they're walking around Eragon asks Arya what elves do for a living or a profession.
"Arya answered just as quietly. "Our strength with magic grants us as much leisure time as we desire. We neither hunt nor farm, and as a result we spend our days working to master our interests, whatever they might be. Very little exists that we must strive for." (page 300)
Now my first thought after reading this was "Oh dear lord, they really are hippies." My second thought, however, was what's the point of having a society where you have nothing to strive for? The elves exist in a state of luxury but they do nothing but peruse their own selfish interests. They claim to be powerful magically but they do nothing to help the rest of the world. Wasn't it Arya who chastised the Dwarf Priest for spending money on the temple and not on the poor? What about the elves? They have plenty of time on their hands, they have nothing they need to strive for to live, so they could be going out and helping those poor. They could be out there singing food for the unfortunate, helping farmers grow their crops, making clothes for the needy. Paolini is trying to make the elves seem so wonderful and powerful, but instead he's just shown them to be hypocrites.
We then get to visit the smith who made all the Dragon Riders' swords. She took a vow never to make another sword again after what the Forsworn did with them. This means that Eragon isn't going to be getting a new made sword from her. The swords were apparently all destroyed by the Forsworn as well. Though Brom's sword was "lost" and not "destroyed". This is probably important.
When they're done talking to the Smith, Arya mentions that a special celebration is coming up that celebrates the pact made with the dragons and that it's auspicious coincidence that Eragon is going to be there for it.
We then get to the Menoa tree. This is the tree that Serious Ass mentioned to Eragon where a weapon would be hidden when he really needed it. He opens his mind and discovers that the tree has an intelligence! Why? Well... Ayra tells us a story.
Once upon a time, before the war with the dragons, elves weren't immortal. Apparently the bonding of a few to the dragons made the entire race immortal. No, I'm not sure how that works. Anyway. One of these not so immortal elves was a lady who never was in love with anyone until one day she was older and she met an young elf dude. They fell in love, or she fell in love with him. He obviously wasn't in love with her because she was old and he went and found a younger cuter chick. When she found out about this, she killed him and then merged herself with the tree.
The moral of this story is apparently you should only fall in love with someone who is suited for you. This of course is going back to Paolini's original thesis that there is only one true love for a person and that you shouldn't experiment to learn who it could be. You're just supposed to know.
They talk some more afterwards, about how Arya doesn't have to become Queen if she doesn't want to be, because the elves feel that you should only be queen if you really, really think you should. And Eragon tells her about the baby. Meanwhile the white raven is back screeching "Wyrda". Right after Eragon says, "I wonder what will become of the child".
I believe we'll find out, in our next chapter which appears to go back to the Varden.
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