Now that they're all done killing things, Saphira and Eragon go through the plain full of the dead and injured, which does not smell at all. As they go through the battlefield, Eragon heals whoever he comes across, be it Galby's men or Varden. Eragon, last we checked, was absolutely drained of magical energy. He had used it all up. Yet, he has enough power to heal people as he walks through the battlefield. The fact that he made no distinction between the Varden and the Empire soldiers is to show that Eragon has compassion. It's a very cliched thing to do, the hero who cares for both his enemies and his own people to show how noble and wonderful he is. He also thinks to himself about how senseless the fighting has been, feeling very sorrowful. "What a tragedy that so many must die to thwart a single madman." (page 654) he thinks. Which is another contender for the most ironic line in the book. After all, it is the Varden who started the aggression. And he was the one who wanted to start fighting as well. Galby has only been trying to protect his empire which is being beset by people who intend it harm and by a rider who wants to destroy him. He's perfectly justified in protecting his interests.
As he does this, he thinks about Murtagh's revelation. We're told that it would take him months if not years to come to terms with this and that he feels sullied being sired by a monster. Then, he rationalizes it away.
But no... As he healed a man's broken spine, a new way of viewing the situation occurred to him, one that restored a measure of his self-confidence: Morzan may be my parent, but he is not my father. Garrow was my father. He raised me. He taught me how to live well and honorably, with integrity. I am who I am because of him. Even Brom and Oromis are more my father than Morzan. And Roran is my brother, not Murtagh. (page 655)
Now any potential personal challenges that being Morzan's son could present have been essentially wiped off the board. He isn't really Morzan's son. Morzan was just a sperm donor. He doesn't have to think, well what if I turn out like Morzan (which he has). He doesn't have to compare himself to his father, wonder if the same thing that made Morzan go bad will happen to him. But now, he doesn't have to worry about that. He's just rationalized it away so that it's okay. He doesn't have to worry about it anymore. It didn't happen. He barely felt the emotional trauma of having Morzan as his father before he shoves the emotion away. And then there's Murtagh, who saved his life on numerous occasions, fought with him and helped him rescue Arya and himself, is thrown out of the family equation because he's on the side of evil. Not willingly, mind you, but there isn't room for that in Paolini's land. If you work for Galby -willingly or not- you're automatically evil. Eragon never even seemed to process the fact that Murtagh did what he did because he was forced to. He was too busy being upset that Murtagh betrayed him to understand what his friend was going through.
As Eragon goes through the battlefield he eventually stumbles upon the dwarves mourning the dwarf king. Dwarf asks him if he killed the rider who did it, and Eragon tells him that no, he got away, not mentioning it was Murtagh. He does swear that he'll do what he can to avenge Dwarf King's murder. Dwarf mentions that he's Dwarf King's heir. Which probably means that the only reason why Dwarf King had to die was so that Dwarf could become king and unconditionally support Eragon. So, Eragon'll have the dwarves, the Varden and the elves supporting him. The final big battle will be like the last alliance of Men and Elves... with dwarves thrown in as they face
Sauron Galbatorix. Eragon will be Isildur.
Though, now that I think about it, if this is really going to be a Star Wars rip off, where is the Death Star equivalent? I want my giant planet-killing moon! It should be a flying warship with magical lasers that rain death from above. And its weak spot will be a chimney stack. The Varden will learn about it when one of their diplomatic envoys send a map with a messenger bird before being captured by Murtagh. During the climactic battle, Eragon flies on Saphira to try and destroy it, Brom's spirit guides him to the correct chimney stack to blow up.
Roran catches up with Eragon and tells him what happened with Katrina. Eragon introduces him to Saphira, and he's surprised she can speak. Eragon takes him to Nasuada's tent. When Nasuada learns what he's done, she offers him all the supplies he wants. She has an army of wounded and in-need men and she's offering Roran's group which is intact and uninjured supplies. This is a fantastic allotment of resources. Especially since Roran's people were already offered whatever they needed in one of the cities that they stopped at when they first got to Sudra.
Once that is settled, Eragon tells Nasuada, Arya, and Roran what happened with the rider. Nasuada guesses that the rider was Murtagh. Then he tells them what Murtagh told him. They decided not to tell anyone about this because it might demoralize the troops.
Eventually, Eragon and Roran have a heart-to-heart talk together. It begins with Roran wanting to know how his father died. Eragon says, "Our father." Eragon remained calm as Roran's expression hardened. In a gentle voice, he said, "I have as much right to call him that as you. Look within yourself; you know it to be true." (page 665) This sound familiar to anyone? Anyone? Roran, however, doesn't to be too excited about this prospect as he appears to reply rather tersely with "Fine. Our father, how did he die?" He seems to be more interested in learning what happened to his father than accepting Eragon as his brother. So, Eragon tells him what happened.
Roran then comforts Eragon by saying that they both made mistakes and are both equally guilty. They clasp hands and "wrestle" like they used to do. It is not slashy at all. When they're done wrestling in bed, Roran tells Eragon what happened with Katarina, asking him to help him.
Eragon takes out the Deus Ex Machina potion and swallows a sip of it, getting enough energy to try a scrying. He uses the rest of the Dues Ex Machina potion -the potion that Yoda told him to use carefully - to create a surface for him to scry in. They discover that Katrina is still alive.
When the vision fades, Eragon says that yes, he'll go with Roran to rescue Katrina. Yes, he's going to leave the Varden and the people who need him to go on a rescue mission for one insignificant person. Just a chapter ago he was willing to sacrifice Murtagh--someone of far greater importance--to help untold innocents. But one random person who is obviously the bait in a trap and not that important at all, even if Roran loves her, is worth the deaths of untold innocents. Showing, in the end, as in the beginning that Eragon hasn't got his priorities straight and doesn't know how to do anything right.
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