Chapters Eldest, Inheritance
Saphira and Eragon return from seeing Roran, with Eragon angsting about how Roran seems to hate him. And then a sword bounces off Eragon's greaves. This means that either a) Saphira if flying awfully close to the ground or b) the guy threw his sword or c) he's a giant. As there are known giants in Eragon land this leaves choices a and b, both are equally plausible according to past know behaviors of individuals in the book. Seeing as it bounces off the greaves and Saphira later lands, I'm going to assume that the guy threw his sword. However, Saphira appears to be flying low enough for Eragon to slash downward and gut the guy. My final guess is that Paolini has no real idea where Saphira and Eragon are in relation to anything and is instead making things up as they are convenient.
Eragon tells Trianna that no one should harm Roran's ship, and then Saphira lands and leaps over to the dwarves. Apparently landing in front of the dwarves never occurred to her. They greet each other and have a little small talk, never mind the fact that there are people DYING HORRIBLY waiting for the dwarves reinforcements. After the small talk, the dwarves finally join into the battle. Eragon charging, once again, on the ground with them.
And as they fight, the Varden start to win, and the day passes into late afternoon when two chapters ago it was starting to become evening. Apparently, someone rewound the day. Maybe like Superman did in one of those movies or something? As they fight, the Dragon's Wing launches flaming javelins which goes flying into the enemy camp. Eragon looks and sees this and wonders, "What are you playing at, Roran?" (page 639) This doesn't seem to be too hard to figure out. Roran is firing large flaming missiles at the enemy camp to kill it with fire. Which is something Saphria should be doing. But she's not.
Suddenly drums start going off in the enemy's camp. From the north, something detaches itself from the horizon and we discover it's a red dragon! Galby got another egg to hatch! We see the dragon rider, properly attacking from the air unleash a powerful magic attack. Who does the rider attack? Not Eragon, the most dangerous person on the field, but instead Dwarf King in his gold armor. Why? So Eragon could have his moment of screaming, "NOOOOOOO!!!" And vowing to kill the rider. Drama, once again, trumping logic.
Eragon and Saphira take off after the dragon. Just a little while ago, Eragon, in the middle of the battle, is able to spot Arya looking at him with concern. Saphira starts yelling at the dragon, "Traitor! Egg breaker, oath breaker, murderer!" (page 640) which is silly because this dragon, like herself, had nothing to do with the destruction of the dragons and is no more an oath breaker than she herself is. This dragon has not broken any eggs (except for its shell) and as far as we know, killed anyone. To the Ra'zac she had reason to scream these things, but to this dragon, she does not. For all we know this dragon could have been forced into servitude much like Galby's black dragon.
The dragon is apparently male, though we don't know how this is known, especially since Eragon never realized that Saphira was female up until he named her. The two of them do battle in the air. Although the red dragon doesn't have any armor on, Saphira doesn't appear to do much damage to him with her claws. It was because the dragons had thin skin that they needed to wear armor. She was able to rend armored humans quite well down on the ground, but not the exposed skin of a dragon. Perhaps she blunted her nails while charging around on the ground. At one point the rider blasts into Eragon's mind with force, "greater than any even Oromis was capable of summoning." (page 640) However, if we recall correctly, one of Oromis' problems was that he couldn't do large pieces of magic anymore. Only little spells. This is obviously a spell, so it's not going to be too difficult for it to be greater than anything Oromis could do.
As they fight Trianna lets Eragon know that there are two new and more powerful magicians that are beating up the Varden magic users. Now, we're pretty late into the battle, and only now the big guns are coming out? Why are they wasting the soldiers when the could take out large chunks of Varden with the big guns before the reinforcements arrive. It would have made the battle a decisive victory for the Empire long before the dwarves showed up after all the Empire was winning before the reinforcements came along. And then, there's the idea that if this rider, who is turning out to be more powerful than Eragon, really wants to take Eragon down without hurting him, he could always use his magic to make him and Saphira go to sleep. Sleeping dragons and riders can't fight back, plus it would be demoralizing for the Varden to see him go down.
So, Saphira and the red dragon are fighting and Eragon sees the other dragon diving up. Which is a pretty neat trick, since diving is a downward motion. (And I checked the dictionary to be sure on that one too.) So, Eragon gets off Saphira and falls onto the other dragon and rider. Somehow the dragon is unable to avoid him. It's a pretty big sky, and Eragon is a falling object. But the dragon is unable to avoid him, and Eragon is able to cut at the dragon's hamstring with his sword. Yet, Saphira was unable to injure him with her talons. Saphira catches Eragon, and he doesn't go plummeting to become a splat on the ground somewhere. The red dragon pushes Saphria down to the ground.
She lands near the river, which has turned red with blood, on a plateau. The red dragon lands across from them and the rider gets off and heals his dragon rather quickly, surprising Eragon. Then he thinks, "Still, whoever he might be, the new Rider certainly was not Galbatorix, whose dragon was black." (645) This is a line that should have been cut, as it's restating the obvious because the dragon is smaller than Saphira and you know, red, as opposed to you know, black. It's a completely useless observation.
The two riders fight, the other rider fending off Eragon's attacks as if he knew all of tactics and moves. When Eragon finally drops, he recognizes the other man's technique. He tackles the rider, removing his helm to discover... it's MURTAGH!
Now, I had Henry. Henry was my hope that the title "Eldest" would be explained in this chapter. Henry died a horrible painful death. Let us all take a moment of silence for the death of Henry. Not only that but there was no reason for this chapter to be called Eldest as nothing referred to it.
Having paid our respects to poor unfortunate Henry, we move on. Eragon goes all emo on Murtagh, saying that he scried for him, that they found his clothes, that he mourned for him. Murtagh tells him that it wasn't his fault, that the Twins captured him, that he and Thorn (the dragon) were forced into obedience by saying oaths in the ancient language.
So, Murtagh is being forced to do something against his will, and what does Eragon say to him? "You've become like your father." There is absolutely no reason for this comparison. Morzan willingly joined up with Galby and willingly destroyed the other riders. Murtagh was forced unwilling to do this. There is no comparison between the two of them. It's like the difference between someone who had sex willingly and someone who was raped. By indicating that the raped person was willing completely takes away the horror of being raped and all the trauma that came from it. Murtagh has essentially been raped. His mind was broken open and he was forced to do things that he didn't want to do. This, of course, is not addressed at all, but instead, Murtagh merely says that he's stronger than his father ever was. And that he knows all sorts of special magical powers that Galby taught him.
And then for some random reason, the Twins show up. They're going around casting magical fireballs at the Varden and completely miss the fact that Roran is sneaking up behind them. Murtagh and Eragon watch him do this, Eragon worried that something bad will happen to his cousin. And then in the most anti-climatic scene ever, Roran bashes their heads in.
Together they watched as Roran hid behind a mound of bodies. Eragon stiffened as the Twins looked toward the pile. For a moment, it seemed they had spotted him, but then they turned away and Roran jumped up. He swung his hammer and bashed one of the twins in the head, cracking open his skull. The remanining Twin fell to the ground, convulsing and emitted a wordless scream until he too met his end under Roran's hammer. The Roran planted his foot up on the corpses of his foes, lifted his hammer over his head and bellowed his victory.(page 648)
This reminds me of a scene in the Wheel of Time. Jordan spent two and a half books building up this big battle between Rand and one of the Forsaken (I don't remember which, they're all the same to me). Finally, something happens and the big battle plan is abandoned and Rand goes off chasing this guy on his own. They end up in this city that is haunted by an Evil Wind (not to be confused with an Evil Mountain) and this girl shows up that Rand thought was dead. The Evil Wind starts to get at her and Rand throws Balefire -which is a sort of temporal eraser - at the Evil Wind to protect her and the Forsaken gets in the way accidentally and dies.
Both scenes are very anti-climatic and rather random, though I do have to admit that the one with Roran is more random than the one with Rand.
In any case, after seeing this happen, Murtagh and Eragon carry on like nothing happened. Galby, according to Murtagh wants Eragon alive because Saphira is the only female dragon left. Galby apparently doesn't want to destroy the dragons but instead rebuild the riders. He wants to, as Murtagh says, "unite Alagaesia under a single banner, eliminate the need for war, and restore the Riders!" (page 649) Eragon protests saying that Galby killed the Riders in the first place, Murtagh replying that they were corrupt.
A furious scowl contorted Eragon's features. He paced back and forth across the plateau, his breathing heavy, then gestured at the battle and said, "How can you justify causing so much suffering on the basis of a madman's ravings? Galbatorix has done nothing but burn and slaughter and amass power for himself....(page 649)
Again, we haven't seen Galby do anything that he's been accused of. Instead, we've seen Eragon and the Varden do it. If anything Galby is putting down a terrorist group. After all his empire was at peace except for the random Varden attacks.
Eragon tries to get Murtagh to join him, saying that they could free him from his oaths, telling him that he could be praised and admired instead of cursed and hated. Though, I'm certain that the Empire would like him. But Murtagh refuses. So Eragon suggests letting him kill them, to free them from their bonds of servitude. Rightfully, Murtagh says, "No. Because you know, I'm not ready to give up living." Eragon decides to kill him anyway.
And fails miserably, as Murtagh is stronger than him. In fact, Murtagh is able to stop Saphira from pouncing on him. Eragon marvels at Murtagh's strength and tries to counteract the spell. It ends up like a staring contest, with Eragon losing.
Eragon pleads with Murtagh not to take him to Galby. Eventually, Murtagh agrees, saying that he was told to try and capture Eragon, which he did. He then takes Eragon's sword, saying that "Zar'roc should have gone to Morzan's eldest son, not his youngest. It is mine by right of birth." (page 652)
This is our big reveal for the book. Eragon is Murtagh's brother and Morzan's son. This is also insanely similar to "Luke, there is something you must know. I am your father". After all who would expect that the poor farm boy who lived with his uncle in the middle of nowhere who goes off on an adventure after his uncle was killed with a slightly crazy old man, discover that he has special powers and decides to fight the Empire would discover that his father was the Empire's leader's right-hand man? These stories are so similar to each other that even though it is Murtagh that speaks the lines, it is still the same. It makes the plagiarism that much more noticeable. This also isn't very subtle. It's dropped out of nowhere. If Murtagh and Eragon were siblings, some mentioned to the fact that they looked alike or that someone mistakes them for being related should have been brought up earlier in the book. After all, siblings do have similar features. There also isn't any reason for Eragon to be related to Morzan, except for the fact that Luke was related to Darth Vader. All it's going to cause now is angst for Eragon.
Murtagh says to Eragon that they're the same, whereupon Eragon says that they aren't because he doesn't have his scar anymore. Murtagh then leaves without looking back. Eragon is all sad now as he watches as the birds of prey and the scavenger birds go down to get their meal on the battlefield, though what the hawks and eagles are going to eat, I don't know.
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