Chapters Broken Egg and Scattered Nest, the Gift of Dragons
We begin with Eragon at his lessons. He's having trouble concentrating. Suddenly something's wrong with Saphira and Glaedr. Eragon is in pain on his leg and Yoda is clutching his arm. Eragon has trouble connecting with Saphira. Glaedr returns with a cut on his forearm. So, suddenly Eragon is feeling Saphira's pain, an echo of it on his own body. But he never felt this before, when she got injured in the previous book. She had been badly hurt in the climatic battle, but he felt nothing. That wound seemed to be much worse than the one he's currently feeling, but then he didn't feel anything. This appears to be some sloppy work on Paolini's part, in an effort to have Eragon realize that something is wrong with Saphira. As it hasn't happened before, it feels tacked on.
Yoda tells Eragon that he has to go to Saphira... where ever she is. Eragon can't contact her, but after calling up the horse that brought him, he rides off to where she is. He even knows the name of the peak that she's on, even though no one tells him what it is. Eragon has not been told where Saphira is. He's not able get into contact with Saphira. Yet, he's able to find her with no explanation. This is a small plot hole that could have been easily fixed with a few lines of diaglog, but forgotten it's rather glaring.
He goes right to where she is. She's actually up on a spire of stone with no way up, so he uses some magic to push himself up. His back does not hurt him for this expenditure of magic. Probably because it's not dramatic for it to happen. The rock where Saphira is perched is called "The stone of Broken Eggs". It's where dragons used to lay their eggs, up until the evil elves went and smashed them all and killed the dragons living there.
As for what happened with Saphira, she tried to put the moves on Glaedr and he violently rebuffed her attention. To comfort her, Eragon tells her that Glaedr did this because he knew that she was meant for someone else. One of the two remaining eggs. Yes. Even dragons have their one true loves, or at least Saphira does. Of course, this makes no sense, as they are currently the only two dragons still living and it would be better for them to mate and produce some eggs. Thus they would be taking the dragons away from extinction. After all there's no reason why Saphira can't mate with more than one dragon. In fact, if she's the only female left, it's better that she does so, to widen the genepool of dragons. The more dragons the better, one would think. Especially after all this talk about restoring the balance to the land and trying to stop the fading of elves and men. But of course this flies in the face of Paolini's need for true love, and he can't have Eragon sleeping around with just anyone, much less a guy. So, Saphira, instead of starting to be the savior of her race, has to wait and waste potential time laying eggs--eggs which can sit around and wait forever until their rider shows up-- because Glaedr is not the one for her.
She then tells Eragon that she treating him poorly by not listening to him. He reassures her that this is not so. And they're all happy again. It's sweet.
Time passes as it gets closer to Agaetir Blodhren, "which were the best and worst times for Eragon." (page 455) And there's a tale of Two Cities right there. Arya showed Eragon around, but always with a chaperone. Eragon bores her with his life story, hoping to learn more about her. And he does. Everyone is busy getting ready for the big day. Arya suggests that they both bring something to the celebration. It should be hand-made, without any magic. Saphira suggests that he create something from his identity. Use his past to create something unique.
He decides to write an epic poem, because he likes them so much. We get an insight into Paolini's writing processes with this writing effort. The words flowed from his pen seemingly of their own accord. He felt as if he were not inventing his tale, but merely acting as a conduit to transport it fully formed into the world. Having never composed a work of his own before, Eragon was gripped by the thrill of discovery that accompanies new ventures- especially since, previously, he had not suspected that he might enjoy being a bard.
He labored in a frenzy, not stopping for bread or drink, his tunic sleeves rolled past his elbows to protect them from the ink flicked from his quill by the wild force of his writing. So intense was his concentration, he heard nothing but the beat of his poem, saw nothing but the empty paper, and thought nothing but the phrases etched in lines of fire behind his eyes.
An hour and a half later, he dropped the quill from his cramped hand, pushed his chair away from the desk, and stood. Fourteen pages lay before him. It was the most he had ever written at one time. Eragon knew that his poem could not match those of the elves' and dwarves' great authors, but he hoped it was honest enough that the elves would not laugh at his effort. (page 456)
Now, some of this is pretty standard writer's flow. I've been known to sit in front of my computer typing out twenty pages in two hours. It should be noted that this is his finished product and he doesn't do any revisions beyond this point in time. The epic poem is as is. This is important for later on, to remember.
When he shows it to Yoda, the elf is surprised that Eragon can speak it, for it is written in the ancient language. As he says, "The difficulty rises when one attempts to speak it, for that would require you to tell untruths, which the magic will not allow."
"I can say it," replied Eragon, "Because I believe it's true." (page 457)
Let us look at this carefully. One of the Rules (with a capital R) of Paolini's world is that you can not tell a lie in the ancient language. No if, ands, or buts. Storytelling is a form of lying. Fiction is lying. You're telling something that doesn't exist. The fact that he believes this fiction is true shows that he doesn't have a firm grasp on reality: he can't tell what is real and what isn't. The fact that he believes his fiction is true--that is really that thing, as the rules of the ancient language go--is the only way he'd be able to speak it. And if that's so then he's obviously delusional. It's not, at least as far as we have been lead to believe, the intent of the word you're saying, but the actuality.
If we go back to Brom's original introduction to the ancient language, he was able to coax a bird to his hand by saying he wasn't going to hurt it. He wouldn't have been able to say that if he was really going to hurt it. The bird knew that since he said it, it was true. For Eragon's story to be told, the world would have to remake itself to be true to what he says, because that's the only way the words would be true. Bringing this to its logical conclusion, he could say, "Galby's true name is Rodrick" And believe it is true, and then he would know that's his true name. And then he could say "Galby is before me" and believe that is true and Galby would appear before him.
But this could only work if he truly was incapable of telling the difference between reality and what's going on in his own mind.
So, now he's delusional as well as sociopathic. Some wonderfully heroic traits.
The Blood Oath ceremony lasts for three days.
Eragon gets stoned during the event. What transpired afterward, Eragon was never able to adequately recall. It was as if he had a fever and faded in and out of consciousness. He could remember certain incidents with vivid clarity -bright, pungent flashes filled with merriment- but it was beyond him to reconstruct the order in which they occurred. He lost track of whether it was day or night, for no matter the time, dusk seemed to pervade the forest. Nor could he ever say if he had slumbered or needed sleep, during the celebration..."(page 459)
They blame the magic of the elves' party. I say it's the magic of the elves' drugs.
There's some description of what it's like at the party and all the strange elves there that goes on for three pages and then we get to Eragon's Epic Poem.
In the kingdom by the sea,
In the mountains mantled blue,
On frigid winter's final day
Was born a man with but one task:
To kill the foe in Durza
In the land of shadows.
Nurtured by the kind and the wise
Under oaks as old as time,
he ran with deer and wrestled bears,
and from his elders learned the skills
To kill the foe in Durza
in the land of shadows.
Taught to spy the thief in black
when he grabs the weak and strong;
to block his blows and fight the fiend
with rag and rock and plant and bone
and kill the foe in Durza
in the land of shadows.
Quick as thought, the years did turn
'Til the man had come of age,
his body burned with fevered rage,
while youth's impatience seared his veins.
Then he met a maiden fair,
Who was tall and strong and wise
Her brow adorned with Geda's Light
Which shown upon her trailing gown.
In her eyes of midnight blue
in those enigmatic pools,
appeared to him a future bright
together, where they would not have
to fear the foe in Durza
In the land of shadows.(page 462)
Oh we're not done yet. I'm just breaking this up for my sanity. The meter seems to have vanished, as usual in Paolini's poems. Now, usually the last day of winter is not frigid because the next day is the first day of Spring and it's been steadily getting warmer. At least, in theory. I'm not entirely sure because I live in Los Angeles and we have no seasons. Oaks can't be as old as time. What is the thief in black supposed to be? And you can't fight things with rags, unless you flail about and whip them at someone. Still, they're not practical weapons. And not things that you think to fight with. Now, is his body burning with rage or youth's impatience? What is Geda's light? That sounds like a potential goddess, but there are no elven gods nor do the humans seem to have any, so the reference doesn't make any sense. And how does a light on your forehead shine on the back of your dress? Your body would get in the way. This is not even mentioning the fact that "In the land of shadows" sounds like comes from Tolkien. So Eragon told of how the man voyaged to the land of Durza, where he found and fought the foe, despite the cold terror within his heart. Yet though at least he triumphed, the man withheld the fatal blow, for now that he had defeated his enemy, he did not fear the doom of mortals. He did not need to kill the foe in Durza. Then the man sheathed his sword and returned home and wed his love on a summer's eve. With her, he spent his many days content until his beard was long and white. But:
In the dark before the dawn
in the room where slept the man
the foe, he crept and loomed above
his mighty rival now so weak.
From his pillow did the man
raise his head and gaze upon
the cold and empty face of Death
the king of everlasting night
Calm acceptance filled the man's
aged heart; for long ago
he'd lost all fear of Death's embrace
the last embrace that a man will know
Gentle as a morning breeze
bent the foe and from the man
his glowing, pulsing spirit took
and thence in peace they went to dwell,
forevermore in Durza
In the land of shadows
So, apparently the great foe is Death. Death is wondering what he's doing in Eragon's poem and would like to have nothing to do with him. So, he fought Death in the land of Durza, which would mean that he's fighting to survive, to live. But when he stops fighting Death ... and just leaves... wait the doom of mortals... isn't that from Tolkien? So he stops fighting Death and instead goes and lives... but isn't that what fighting Death is? Living your life? And then he's happy to die... so the um... everything he fought for was for naught? And now the land of shadows is not a bad place.
Well, in any case, the Queen of the elves declares that it will be added to the library and one of the elves declare that he has talent. They even ask for an encore.
Yoda offers a copy of the lay of Vestari the Mariner, which sounds awfully like Elendil the Mariner.
Finally a pair of naked elf girls with a dragon tattooed on them dance and sing a song of dragons. As they dance the dragon on the girls suddenly comes to life. It looks at Eragon touches him saying, "Our gift so you may do what you must". Eragon gets all painy again and then faints.
That's seven faints.
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