Chapters The nature of evil, Image of perfection
Dwarf has snuck away in the wee hours of the morning before Eragon wakes up, apparently he didn't want to get caught sharing the bed with Eragon. When Eragon wakes up to Yoda's alarm he thinks that he's under attack. Which is bizzare, because this is the second time he's heard the noise and the last time he heard it he just sort of fumbled around for it to make it stop buzzing. So, there must be an ulterior motive for this. What is it? Why for Eragon's back to start hurting again. And then there's no moment of realization for Eragon to think, "Y hay thar it's not an attack it's that alarm clock thingy." instead he just blinks away tears and turns off the alarm. He's in pain and does his daily ablutions. That's a funny sounding word, ablutions. It is, to me at least. I get giggly when I hear it.
Eragon goes down to wait for the elf who'll help him with his sword training. The elf, Vanir, is our designated bully for the story. How do we know that he's our designated bully? He doesn't like Eragon, for starters. He ignores Eragon when they meet and then beats him at sword play, looking at him with contempt. Vanir proceeds to insult Eragon, calling him a "weakling human" and "a coward". Of course everyone on the field is shocked into silence, wondering how he could say such a thing to Eragon who is So Wonderful. Of course this makes him a horrible person, because everyone including all the stoner elves love Eragon and he's Jesus. Being a man Eragon tries to ignore the insults, turn the other cheek and all. Rather like Jesus.
Then Vanir insults Saphira, saying that she shouldn't have picked Eragon as a rider. This pisses Eragon off and he attacks Vanir with ferocity. Just when he finally nicks the elf on the hip, his back acts up again and he faints. Well not really, but he does drop, so I count that as fainting. That's six. Vanir sneers at him, and Eragon comes to the conclusion that he's very young for an elf. And this of course justifies the reason for why Vanir doesn't love him. He's not old enough to realize how wonderful he is.
When Eragon is conscious again he demands that Vanir finish their sparring for the assigned hour. Vanir has a bloody intelligent remark that Eragon really isn't in a condition to fight. But this is ignored and Eragon is surprisingly hale to battle Vanir. When they leave Saphira touches Vanir and says that he's dead. This frightens Vanir and everyone moves away from him like he's a leaper.
They do their training with Yoda, though Eragon is afraid that his back will start hurting again, and then he goes and contemplates ants again. While he's there, he comes to a rationalization for why he's right in fighting Galby. "Because Galbatorix has already caused more suffering over the past hundred years than we could ever in a single generation. And unlike a normal tyrant, we cannot wait for him to die. He could rule for centuries or millennia - persecuting and tormenting people the entire time- unless we stop him. If he became strong enough he would march on the dwarves and you here in Du Weldenvarden and kill or enslave both races. And..." Eragon rubbed the heel of his palm against the edge of the table, "... because rescuing the two eggs from Galbatorix is the only way to save the dragons." (page 374)
First off, what happened to the wild dragons? The ones that weren't paired with the Riders. The ones that would only give a few of their eggs to the riders every year. I don't think they were killed by Galby, but apparently they just sort of vanished. Then there's the fact that Eragon has no proof in his statements. He says that Galby is persecuting and tormenting people, but he never gives an example of this. As far as we can tell the Empire has been living in relative peace. Then there's the question of why hasn't Galby indicated any desire to attack the elves or dwarves before now? After all he took out the Riders and they were far tougher (in theory) that the dwarves and elves. But he doesn't have any interest in them. He has a dragon that breaths fire. The elves live in a forest. It doesn't take too much thought to plan an attack that devastates them and their homes. It's really a Kill it with Fire sort of plan. Strafing runs over the forest cities and whee every thing is on fire! But that would be the intelligent and logical thing to do. If he really wanted to take over the elves and all.
Yoda asks Eragon if he thinks Galby is evil, to which Eragon says "of course!" And then Yoda asks if Eragon thinks that Galby thinks that he's evil. To which Eragon says, "No, I doubt it." They discuss Durza, to which Eragon says that he wasn't evil, but the spirits that possessed him were. Then they discuss Urgals. To which Eragon thinks they should be extinguished to a man. Even the women and children. When Yoda ask him what he knows about Urgals and their history or culture, Eragon says that doesn't matter. Yoda then tells him to remember, "that at a certain point, your enemies may have to become your allies. Such is the nature of life." (page 375). Now this statement sends up a flag in my head. Especially with the venom that Eragon is expressing towards the Urgals, "When I think of death I see an Urgal's face" he says at one point in the discussion. This flag and discussion makes me believe that at some point in the third book the Urgals are going to become the Varden's allies, rebelling against Galby's evil rule.
They go on to discuss how to kill things with magic. Eragon is delighted because he learns how to kill people more efficiently and with less effort. He learns twelve ways to kill someone that takes less energy than lifting a pen. This leads to the discussion of the attack in Dwarf City and the Twins. Remember them? It turns out they're the leak and spies for Galby. Eragon is SHOCKED, SHOCKED I say, to learn of this. And the entire attack was a trap to take Eragon. However, there is no mention of Murtagh. Not even the pang of memory. It's as if he doesn't exist. But Eragon had been so upset when Murtagh died, he even shed a single tear for him. Apparently he didn't care that much for him.
We then get to learn about the origins of the Ra'zac. Apparently there used to be a lot of them on the continent and that the humans came to Alagesia to escape them. The riders had a difficult time exterminating them. This of course contradicts what we were previously told in that they were first seen with Galby. Also apparently the humanoid form that we've seen is actually their juvenile form. It is the large winged beasts that are the adults and the Ra'zac's parents. I'm not really sure why we needed to know that. While it is interesting, it's not really necessary to know this about them. It's just an infodump about them that grinds the story to a halt. It feels like Paolini was saying, "And look, the Ra'zac are really these neat creatures that I created, aren't I clever?"
After this discussion of the Ra'zac they go onto making art. A fairth to be exact, which is kinda like taking a photograph, but with magic. The spell to make it work is "Let that which I see in my mind's eye be replicated on the surface of this tablet". I think that would be a rather neat thing to be able to do, actually. I have enough pictures in my head that I'd like to be able to put down directly onto paper without the transition of it having to go through my hand. As neat as this idea is, I'm left wondering if he came up with this idea by himself or did he steal it from somewhere else?
Dwarf and Arya show up around this time. Dwarf says that he's supposed to be watching the lessons. Yoda says that he can't be sharing Rider's secrets to anyone. Dwarf says but they live in uncertain times and they need to verify the training. Of course, I'm not sure exactly how Dwarf will know if Eragon is getting the right training because he doesn't know what a dragon rider needs to know. But this is immaterial. See the real reason for this is so that Arya can be there and distract Eragon. Yoda tells him to make another picture and Eragon does one of Arya because he's so attracted to her. At last he realized that it was futile for him to resist the attraction. He composed an image of her in his head- which took but a heartbeat, since he knew her features better than his own- and voiced the spell in the ancient language, pouring all of his adoration, love and fear of her into the currents of fey magic.
The results left him speechless.
The fairth depicted Arya's head and shoulders against a dark, indistinct background. She was bathed in firelight on her right side and gazed out at the viewer with knowing eyes, appearing not just as she was but as he thought of her: mysterious, exotic, and the most beautiful woman he had ever seen. It was a flawed, imperfect picture, but it possessed such intensity and passion that it evoked a visceral response from Eragon. Is that how I really see her? Whoever this woman was, she was so wise, so powerful, and so hypnotic she could consume any lesser man. (page 385)
And thus we have Paolini's wet dream described once again. Once again we see that Eragon is only interested in her looks. He doesn't seem to be interested in her personality, just the fact that she's so wonderful looking. But that's okay. It's not personalities that make a person their love, but how the fact that they both look pretty together. Eragon just isn't pretty enough for her yet. Arya gets to see this picture of her and she gets pissy, breaking it. Apparently she's offended at being Paolinj's wet dream. Eragon, on the other seems to think that just because she's beautiful and he's infatuated with her is all he needs. Never mind the fact that they seem to have nothing in common or that she seems to really not want to have anything to do with him. He's just hanging on like a love sick puppy.
Yoda takes him to task for this, saying that Arya and him can't be together because he's human and young and she's an elf and a princess and there are differences between culture and race and things like that. He tells Eragon that it's normal for people to have crushes when they're his age and that he just better not let it interfere with his lessons.
What I think will happen with Arya's relationship with Eragon is that at one point in the third book, he'll do something so amazing that she'll forget all her previous reservations about him and realize that he's the one for her.
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