Chapters His Enemy's Face, Arrow to the Heart
Now, of all the chapters that I've looked at so far, in Eragon and Eldest, I can't say that anyone bothered me particularly much. Oh they were annoying, idiotic and just graaagging. His enemy's face? I hate.
It begins with Roran going to check up on Katrina. The two of them are cute together. And Elain, Hurst's wife, sends Katrina to bed. She then gives Roran an earful. It's the typical Katrina just gave up everything for you so you better really love her and this better not be some sort of youthful fancy speech and makes him promise that he'll care for her without grudge or resentment. She then brow beats him for not telling Sloan sooner and tells him that he has to go and apologize Sloan or else he'll regret it.
Roran goes to bed thinking about what Elain said to him and Katrina shows up in his room. I imagine they had sex. I will now express my eternal thanks to God that Paolini did not try and write a sex scene. Or if he did, it didn't make the cut. Thank you God for saving us the terror of reading a sex scene by Paolini. From the terrible similes that he would have used in reference to the act of sex and the horrible purple prose of Katrina and Roran finally feeling complete and knowing each other better than they ever knew each other before. You are truly a wonderful and awesome God who has spared us, your lowly readers and for that we give you our eternal thanks. Amen.
Later that night Roran and Katrina are attacked by six soldiers and the Ra'zac. Somehow they managed to make their move silently checks, despite the penalty of wearing armor and swords and everyone in the house failed their listen checks. The Ra'zac have Roran. They're telling the soldiers to tie him up. And then Katrina jumps them. She bites and claws them and manages to draw blood and they're not able to subdue her.
Six trained soldiers are unable to subdue her.
Thus giving Roran a chance to get his hammer and he becomes invincible because Katrina is in danger. He goes around smashing helmets in and is the unstoppable Juggernaut. So, the Ra'zac kidnap Katrina. When Roran goes after them, one of them grabs him by the wrist and he can't break free. It then bites him and Lets. Him. Go. The Ra'zac are obviously stronger than any one man. They could have easily taken down Roran by themselves. Hell they could have drugged him like they did Eragon and then taken him, without the need of soldiers (since their move silently checks are so awesome) and slipped off into the night with no one the wiser until the morning. Instead they break loudly into his room, thus giving up the element of surprise after managing to SNEAK quietly into the house, allow Roran near his weapon and kill off most of the soldiers or at least incapacitate them, kidnap the girl instead of getting him, and then when they have him in their hands, BITE him and let him go.
That is an utter fiasco. That is the most idiotic way I've ever seen to get someone you wanted.
But, it gets worse.
Instead of taking Roran (who is probably bleeding to death) to the healer, they stopper up his wounds and let him come with the Katrina Rescue Party. Roran is injured. He is a liability. It may be his future wife that has been kidnapped, but he is still a liability and he should realize that it would be better for Katrina that he not go. But he has to be all manly and ignore the pain and go after her. They discover where the Ra'zac and soldiers got in. Apparently no one noticed a bunch of trees getting moved. This village must have a negative modifier on their listen checks or Paolini's loading his dice. And the watch doesn't make rounds so they didn't discover the Large Gaping Hole in their wall and raise the alarm. But of course, we couldn't have the alarm raised because then the Ra'zac couldn't have sneaked into the house and kidnapped Katrina. So Paolini deliberately makes his guards blind and dumb to move his story along instead of finding a probable way for them to capture Katrina.
When they reach the outskirts of the soldiers camp, the soldiers are rebelling against the Ra'zac. Which doesn't last long when the Ra'zac attacks the leader and kills them. The Ra'zac then say that they're going to go and that reinforcements are on the way. They call their rides, which are some sort creature that I'm not really sure what it looks like despite the awfully long description. They then go into a tent and take out a bound Katrina and Sloan.
Who is not tied up.
Why? Because he betrayed the village. He went to the flesh eating monsters in an effort to protect his daughter. Instead of trying to work things out with the man his beloved daughter loves he went to the flesh eating monsters.
Because he's evil.
Sloan protests them taking Katrina so they knock him out and take him too. He'll probably end up sacrificing his life for her and Roran at one point and giving them his blessing before dying... or end up the Ra'zac's snack.
The Ra'zac fly off and finally, Roran passes out. Why do I say finally? Because it's the most dramatic time for him to do so, just after seeing his beloved get carried away and betrayed by her own father. And Paolini needs to do a chapter end. So, our POV character goes unconscious.
So, this total and utter ruining of what little character Sloan had, as a man utterly devoted to his daughter gets completely pissed down the toilet in the name of drama and plot contrivance. And we're never given a reason to explain why Sloan does this. Sure, he protested a lot of the ideas that the village had, but he was also very big on protecting the village and his daughter. But all of this goes away, because he's evil. Why is he evil, because he doesn't agree with Eragon and later Roran. And in Paolini's cut and dried world, that's the only thing that can be.
Our second chapter goes back to Eragon.
The elves are still stoned. They act like Saphira is the most fascinating thing that they've ever seen and talk only about her when she's around. She must look really interesting in the drug haze. Maybe they're on LSD? They're also perpetually smiling, laughing and singing.
We get a wonderful infodump about the elves and about the humans. About eight hundred years ago the humans with their King named Palancar (also the name of the valley where Eragon grew up). Palancar was an idiot. Why? Because he attacked the Dragon Riders. Yes. He attacked the elves with the Large Flying Beasts that Breathe Fire and Can Do Magic. Three times.
The King's nobles being more intelligent than the king, sign a treaty with the dragon riders and get the king usurped and him and his family exiled. They stayed in the valley and the blood of kings still runs in the villages of Therinsford and Carvahall. Now, what Paolini is trying to do is make us, the readers go, oh the blood of kings! Eragon might be descended of usurped royalty! And so is Roran! But what good is it to be descended from kings, if the king was bloody useless? And being descended from a king doesn't give you any special properties, unless you're like Captain Carrot. Even still, why would you want someone descended from this particular king? He's obviously mentally unstable and useless. But this isn't what Paolini is going for. Instead he's trying to recapture the old cliche of the poor farm boy descended from exiled kings who discovers his destiny and becomes the rightful ruler of the land. It's probably going to be Roran.
This incident also made the Dragon Riders decide that they need to allow humans into their club. Not really the smartest idea. After all the humans haven't proved themselves to be trustworthy or intelligent. But then again, if they weren't allowed into the club then Galby couldn't have become a rider and if he didn't become a rider then he couldn't have betrayed them all and then Eragon couldn't have gotten his egg. Mmm... the logic astounds me.
We also learn that the elves became immortal. They weren't born that way. An interesting concept, but one that isn't delved into.
There's some more talk about where the humans came from and if they could get reinforcements from there. And then Saphira shows up from hunting so the conversation goes back to admiring her.
The final scene of the chapter involves Eragon finding a gyrfalcon with a broken wing and Arya shooting it through the breast. When Eragon asks her why she did it she says, "It was too injured for me to heal and would have died tonight or tomorrow. Such is the nature of things. I saved it hours of suffering." Some how I find this hard to believe. First of all, she didn't even examine the bird close up to discover the extent of its injuries. Second of all Eragon has healed worse with his magic. Surely Elf Sue with her even more magical abilities could have done something for it. A broken wing should hardly present a challenge to her. Yet for some reason it was beyond her abilities and she didn't even allow Eragon a chance to try. She just killed it. I think Paolini was trying to show how cold Ayra had become. But to be honest, I'm not really sure what he was trying to do here.
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