Chapters Running the Boar's Eye, Aberon


How to begin? These two chapters are filler. There is no character development and nothing really important happens. So, what are the events that do happen?

The Dragon Wing is going to go through the Boar's Eye. They clear off the wreckage of the storm and get ready to go through the whirlpool of doom. Roran goes up into the crow's nest to watch things. He watches the upcoming whirlpool and the ships that are following them. As he watches he realizes that they're late, the high tide already past. Fortunately, they're going with the current.

They go and man the oars, they go faster. Roran fears for their lives. Roran sees that the Boar's Eye center is over nine and a half miles wide. Now, I have to wonder, what is a mile. Why do I say this? Because the previous unit of measurement for distance was leagues. If we remember, on Eragon's mad dash through the desert they used leagues. I remember this distinctly because I had to figure out the difference between a league and a mile. It is highly unlikely that they'd have two different forms of measurement or that Eragon and Roran would use different forms of measurement. Carvahall is too small to have different forms of measurement like meter and mile. They would use one or the other. It's sloppy that he changes measurement forms like this, even if they are two books apart.

Roran goes and rows for a while. Then he goes and talks to the captain. Things aren't going well. The other ships get caught in the whirlpool and go down. They, on the other hand, get free.

Isn't that terribly exciting? At no time were we ever in fear for their lives. We knew that they were going to get out okay and there really wasn't any reason for this chapter or the one before it. It didn't add anything to the story nor did it develop anything. If we removed these chapters nothing would be lost.

Meanwhile Eragon, Saphira, and Dwarf are flying. To pass the time Dwarf and Saphira tell riddles. They both complain that the riddles don't work because they don't know the other's culture. There's some description of clouds. They make camp. They fly some more over the desert. They do not make camp but bivouacked. I think Paolini was trying to avoid using the word camp for the third time. Unfortunately, as it is in these cases, he misuses the word, as bivouacked refers to a military camp as opposed to two guys and a dragon.

They fly some more and Eragon gets directions to the Capital of Sudra by looking at birds' memories. Birds really wouldn't know where Aberon is, as they wouldn't know what the city is called, and it's highly unlikely that the birds that Eragon encounters on his way to the city have ever been to the city. Even if they did, they don't have the same frame of reference that a human does. They wouldn't be interested in human cities in regards to their names or capitals or things like that. Their lives are more concerned with things like food and reproduction. Their minds aren't made to remember things like human city locations. And even if they did know where Aberon is and retained the memory of it, there is no way that Eragon would know if he's seeing the right city because he's never been there before and has no idea what it looks like. So, while it seems like a very neat idea, it is completely infeasible.

Finally, they get to the capital and find out that Nasuada, Orrin, and the Varden have gone and marched off to war. The guy in charge tells Eragon that he'll get them anything they'll need. Eragon realizes for the first time that he can give orders and they'll be followed. I think this is in there because it's supposed to show how humble Eragon is, that he doesn't realize the power that he has over people.

The battle is going to take place on the Burning Plains, "The plains -which contained huge deposits of peat - lay along the eastern edge side of the Jiet River where Sudra's border crossed it and had been the site of a skirmish between the Riders and the Forsworn. During the fight, the dragons inadvertently lit the peat with the flames from their mouths and the fire burrowed underground, where it remained smoldering ever since. The land had been rendered uninhabitable by the noxious fumes that poured out of the glowing vents in the charred earth." (page 579)

Now, first of all, the phrase "flames from their mouths" seems to indicate that dragons can flame using other methods. Perhaps like Errol from Guards! Guards!. Now, I doubt that's what Paolini had in mind when he wrote that, but since he was inaccurate with his phrasing, this possibility occurs. Then there are the actual plains themselves. They're on a swamp-like land next to a river, it's highly unlikely that the dragons'[ breath would dry out the entire thing and still have enough energy left over to continually burn like that. And then, finally, if the plains are so inhospitable why are they taking the army there?! The soldiers are probably going to be suffering from the less than ideal conditions, especially since they're going to be waiting for Galby's army to attack them. Noxious fumes are not something you want to have your army around because it's more than likely that they'll get sick and die from lack of oxygen. But, it does sound pretty cool, which is all that is needed.

Eragon and Dwarf then prepare to leave, though Eragon mentions that this one guy is going to commit murder in a minute unless he's stopped. The lackey they are talking to is suitably impressed at his knowledge and asks how Eragon knows this. Eragon says, "Because I'm a Rider". Which is trying to lend an air of mystery to Eragon, which he doesn't need because he's a dragon rider and looks like an elf and is oh so special in so many other ways. They then fly off to the Burning Plains.

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