Chapter: Tea for Two, A Name of Power
Characters: Eragon, Brom, Roran
Shiny magical objects in Eragon's possession: One baby dragon
This chapter is what is known as an info-dump chapter. They're very hard to pull off because basically it's just exposition and background information being given, which can get very dull if not done properly. In this case it's done by through a question and answer exchange between Brom and Eragon. Eragon playing the reader in asking questions and Brom playing the author in answering them.
Of Brom we learn little, but of note is the fact that he arrived in Carvahall fifteen years ago. Now, at least, that's what it seems like. The text is ambiguous as to when exactly Eragon asked his question of "Where did Brom come from". He could have asked it when he was seven. The lack of time marking here makes placing how long Brom has been there impossible. But what it sounds like is that Eragon asked about it recently and Brom has been there for the same amount of time that Eragon has. Which means that he might have come with Eragon's mother, or around the same time. Which then leads to the question of WHY? It is a Big Mystery. And, if one were making comparisons, one could say this is rather like Obi Wan Kenobi's arrival to Tatooine coinciding with that of Luke Skywalker's. Somethings to keep in mind. But other than that, Brom is a storyteller.
Brom also, apparently, knows a lot about dragons. He gives Eragon, and thus the reader interesting hints into their life spans and things like that. One of the interesting things to note is the fact that the dragons never stop growing. Which makes their place in the Eco-system difficult. How can an ecosystem support an animal that doesn't stop growing? How can it feed it, shelter it, contain it? How does it even move itself, if it's bigger than a hill? Gravity would do something to a creature that size. There couldn't be a way this dragon could even fly with that much weight! And if there were more than one of them? The ground would shake constantly with their movements. And we learn that the dragons are immortal! So we would have possiblyv hundreds of dragons the size of hills wandering around. And they mature at five or six months old, which means they can be having babies before they're even a year out. The world should have been over run with large hill sized dragons.
But then again, hill sized dragons do sound sort of neat, so I guess it's okay.
We see a bit of Tolkien stealing borrowing here, in regards to Brom's comments on the elves. "Their world was unchanging until the first elves sailed over the sea on their silver ships". We also learn that Eragon is an elven name and that he was the first Dragon Rider. This is probably of some significance, especially when he runs into the elves. They will take it as a sign of portents that the old Eragon is born again in this human and they should do whaever he says.
Brom also confirms my assertion that he is Galby by saying that the "story" he told when the traders were there was no "story" but the truth. Again bringing up the question, "How does he know?"
Paolini makes dragons into his Dues ex Machina by saying that they effect the world in mysterious ways which allows them do things that aren't possible. Perhaps things like fly when they're they size of hills.
And then he adds this: "Along with this a human Rider would slowly acquire pointed ears, though they were never as prominent as an elf's." (page 54). I bring this to attention because it is an utterly useless thing to have happen. It doesn't seem to have any benefit to the dragon rider in any way. It's just one of those things that are just there. It seems like something that Paolini tacked on because it sounded neat. It's as if he went and said, and what else can I do to make my immortal dragon riding magic wielding super-humans even more special? I'll give them pointed ears! The story could have been perfectly fine without this addition to it. It's not like it's something that could be used to mark a dragon rider, they already have that thing on their palm. It's just there.
We also get our first indication that Brom used to be a dragon rider. When he gives off a list of dragon names he says, at the very end in a very quiet voice, "Saphira". Usually that sort of tone, in the mysterious old coot is used to indicate that they have lost someone but are pretending that they haven't. Saphira is a dragon's name so therefor Brom has lost a dragon. No, I haven't read this book before, why do you ask?
In a name of power we learn that Cousin Roran is leaving to become a Miller at the other village. Eragon is upset about this. He then goes to name his dragon. He tries an endless list of names and each time they are refused. It should be interesting to note that most of the names appear to be gender neutral, like the dragon itself. And, again, we come upon the problem that Eragon can't tell if his dragon is a male or female, which should be indicated at least by the dragon's voice, or mentioned that it's gender neutral. The dragon, of course, choses Saphira which will cause, later on, angst for Brom because that was the name of his dragon. No, I haven't read the book before, stop asking.
The chapter is entitled Name of Power, but there doesn't seem to be any indication that this name is any more powerful than the other possible names. It's just a name that Eragon heard muttered from Brom. It hasn't been featured in any story or anything like that. So, why is the name a name of power? The question remains unanswered.
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