Chapters In a starry glade, Landfall
Before I begin, I would like to mention that I'm about three-fourths of the way through the book and nothing has happened yet. We have no over-riding threat. Eragon isn't working towards some goal. He's training, but there's no hurry. The Varden is safe in Sudra. The people of Carvahall aren't being perused. Or at least when they're being perused their peruser leaves them alone. Basically, there's no tension. Everything is just moving along with out any high points. Oh, I suppose that the whole pain in Eragon's back thing could be considered a story point. But it felt very forced and never really put Eragon in any danger. Especially since it only happened when it felt like Paolini wanted something to dramatic to happen.
So, Eragon wakes up after fainting, and he feels good. He's been unconscious for an hour. Saphira tells him that he was anointed by the dragon's magic and that nothing like this has occurred before. What did the dragons do to him? It was as if the the numerous physical changes that, over time, alter the appearance of a human Rider - and which had already begin to experience since bonding with Saphira - had been completed while he was unconscious. His face was now as smooth and angled as an elf's, with ears tapered like theirs and eyes slanted like theirs, and his skin was as pale as alabastar and seemed to emit a faint glow, as if with the sheen of magic. l look like a princeling. Eragon had never applied the term to a man, least of all himself, but the only word that described him now was beautiful. Yet he was not entirely an elf. His jaw was stronger, his brow thicker, his face broader. He was fairer than any human and more rugged than any elf.
With trembling fingers, Eragon reached around the nape of his neck in search of his scar.
He felt nothing.
Eragon tore off his tunic and twisted his in front of the mirror to examine his back. It was as it had been before the the battle of Fathen Dur. Tears sprang into his eyes as he slid his hand over the place where Durza had maimed him. He knew that his back would never trouble him again.
[...cut some stuff about him not having any more scars anywhere]
I have become what I was meant to be he thought, and took a deep breath of the intoxicating air (page 471)
What we have her is the classical transformation scene, often found in Mary Sue fan fiction. This scene is where the Mary Sue turns into something more than human. Or becomes a more perfect human. The author is usually displeased with the way they normally look and to fix that they have their avatar become what they feel is perfect looking. In this case, Eragon becomes more elf like, because elves are Paolini's ideal race.
Eragon's back is also now fixed. Earlier, Paolini had written himself into a corner with it. He had a problem: the back was causing mind numbing pain, but he did nothing to try and fix it. There was no effort on anyone's part to try and fix the his back. Finally, we're three fourths of the way through the book and there's no cure in sight. The climatic battle is coming up, we all know it is, and he still has a crippled hero. So, he needs a quick fix. Thus the magical dance ceremony that automatically cures him. And not only that, it's a gift. Eragon didn't earn this cure. He didn't do anything for it, it just happened to him. The entire point of Eragon trying to overcome his injury and become stronger for it doesn't happen now. After all that is the point of such injuries: to over come it and become stronger for it. But having it magically fixed makes it a cheap throw away. Eragon didn't learn anything from having that injury. He didn't grow, he didn't learn how to defeat it. It just went away magically and became utterly pointless.
Of course Eragon doesn't see it this way. Instead he feels as if this is his right and how he should be. The scars of his experience gone, and he's been reborn.
And then we get another description of his clothing. "He dropped the mirror on the bed and garbed himself in his finest clothes: a crimson tunic stitched with gold thread; a belt studded with white jade; warm felted leggings; a pair of cloth boots favored by the elves; and upon his forearms leather braces the dwarves had given him." (page 471) Which is also another Sue trait. And we'll probably never see these clothes again.
In any case, Eragon goes out and no one recognizes him. They all thought he was another elf and invited him to join into their saturnalias. Fortunately he doesn't join in any of the elf orgies. Instead he revels in his new senses where he's able to count the number of hairs on a leaf by touching it and tell what a person is by their smell. Yeah, I don't get it either.
So he wanders around until he spots Arya. She leaves and he decides to stalk her. When Saphira asks him where does he go, he says, "I walk between the candle and the dark". I'm not really sure what this means. If you walk between the dark and a candle... you'd be in shadow? It sounds like Eragon is trying to be all mystical and mysterious ... but he doesn't make any sense. He follows Arya by the way she smells and some other creepy stuff.
He's very aware of what she's like, including her eyelashes and the fact that they're coated with oil. These senses are better than Wolverine's.
So he feels closer to her than he ever felt before so he starts spouting poetry. "How tall the trees, how bright the stars and how beautiful you are, O Arya Svit-Kona." This annoys Arya and when he tells her that he'll do anything to win her hand, she tells him that what she really wants is for him to stop persuing her. She then tells him that she only feels like a friend towards him and since he can't get that through his thick head, they can't be friends anymore. She then leaves.
This makes Eragon cry. We get a lovely description of the tears on the ground, and how his love for Arya will be unrequited. Saphira shows up and they cuddle as he cries.
Meanwhile, back with Roran, they're almost to Teirm. In sight of the city, Roran has the barges make landfall. The sailors on the other barges give us our Thesaurus raped word of the day, "Vociferous". Dictionary.com defines it as 1. crying out noisily; clamorous, which actually makes sense in this context, but still it feels out of place, because it is highly unlikely that Roran knows such a word. Though this brings up an interesting point. There is no difference in any of Paolini's point of views. Every person sounds the same. If the first sentence didn't begin with Roran's name, it would be impossible to know. There is no difference in how they think, or view the world Everyone sees in constant similes and no one has a certain type of simile that they like, like a tendency for nature similies or fighting similies. They're just random comparisons that don't have any meaning and often distract from the flow of the story.
Once on land, one of the women come up to Roran. Her son was the unfortunate boy who had to hide the soldiers bodies back in Narda. Apparently he's been gambling on the trip and she wants Roran to talk some sense into him. Their dialog is very stiff and formal with phrases like, "You have ever dealt generously with Mandel." and "Put your heart at ease". The phrases feel like something said in a formal court and not between two commoners.
Roran gathers some men to him, and they're going to go into Teirm, telling Horst that he has to make sure that the barge owner doesn't destroy the barges in any way or up and leave. He then talks to the barge owner, making sure that he won't up and leave, mildly threatening him. Of course the poor man says that he's going to do what Roran wants. He has an entire village that'll kill him if he doesn't.
The barge owner then asks what Roran is going to do when he gets to Sudra. Roran replies that he's going to go hunting. When the barge owner asks if it's about Katrina, Roran gets angry and leaves. His anger isn't explained. He just gets angry for some reason. It doesn't serve any story purpose, it just happens and then is forgotten. Perhaps Roran was upset that the barge owner reminded him of Katrina and the fact that he had some sort of personal revenge quest.
He finds Mandel (it may be interesting to note at this time, that the previous naming convention established that the unimportant people have normal names, appears to be abolished) throwing knives. We then have a highly ironic conversation where Roran tells him that throwing weapons is a foolish idea because it leaves you without a weapon, when earlier Roran has thrown his own weapon away in battle. He then tells Mandel that he's coming with him to Teirm.
Apparently the idea of disguises never occur to Roran, because he's worried about people recognizing him and Gertrude in Teirm and yet he does nothing to disguise his appearance. But then again, if he doesn't disguise himself then there isn't the potential of him getting caught and killing people which will lead to a few paragraphs of angst.
And thus they head into Teirm.
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