When Eragon opened his eyes in the morning, he thought the sky had fallen.
He was just THAT hung over!
An unbroken plane of blue stretched over his head and slanted to the ground.
... is he describing the sky, or is Paolini talking about a tent?
Oh wait, it's Saphira's wing... which doesn't make any sense, because wings don't tend to be solid membranes - they have bones and muscles and tendons! If you had a giant bat and was lying under its wing, you could still see that there were fingers on the wing.
It took him a long minute to realize what he was staring at.
"Duhhhhh, did Uncle Garrow take me camping again while I was asleep?"
He bent his neck slightly and glared at the scaly haunch his head rested on.
He's... using Saphira's BUTT as a pillow?
His legs are achy, he's hungry, and he probably needs to pee. So he starts hitting Saphira, and she pulls off her wing and promptly blinds him with sunlight. Beside him Saphira stretched like a cat and yawned, flashing rows of white teeth. It doesn't exactly shock me that Paolini based his fictional dragon's behavior on... his cat. It makes so much sense! Because when I think of a flying fire-breathing reptile the size of a bus, I think "cat."
So after we get another description of the area, and Eragon goes over to a tree, pulls off some twigs and uses a branch as a crutch. So then he goes to... hold some water.
He broke through the hard shell and cupped the clear, bitter water. Sated, he returned to the clearing.
So... he's satisfied just by HOLDING the water? He's... not gonna drink it or anything?
As he emerged from the trees, he finally recognized the mountains and the lay of the land.
"Wait, how did I get into Mordor?"
But no, it turns out that.... no, please... not the cliche... yes, it is. It's the EXACT SPOT where her egg appeared. This so stupid that even Eragon can't believe it. How did Saphira know where this was? She was still in the egg. My memories must have given her enough information to find it. Or... maybe this is just one of those crappy ideas that sounded cool until even Paolini realized how dumb it was.
He asks Saphira to take him home, and she.... doesn't really react.
Both of us carry an obligation to Garrow. He has cared for me and, through me, you. Would you ignore that debt?
If I were a dragon.... yes. May I remind audiences that not only is she not human, but she's a BABY?
What will be said of us in years to come if we don’t return—that we hid like cowards while my uncle was in danger? I can hear it now, the story of the Rider and his craven dragon!
So... his best argument to convince her is to appeal to her ego? Uh, why should he even think that anyone will say ANYTHING about them? Isn't it kind of egotistical to assume that no matter what they do or where they go, they're automatically going to be legends that people talk about in the future?
I mean, if they get captured by the bad guys, NOBODY will say ANYTHING about either of them except, "Hey, where did that kid Eragon go? He owed me six pieces of fantasy currency for all that damn meat!"
If there will be a fight, let’s face it and not shy away. You are a dragon! Even a Shade would run from you! Yet you crouch in the mountains like a frightened rabbit.
Shut up, you little asshole. You've never even fought anybody, so quit flexing your biceps and insisting that other people should risk their lives so YOU can become a living legend.
Apparently he did this to piss her off, but he managed to not only piss her off but do it in a really egotistical, arrogant way. And Saphira does get pissed, apparently because she's very gullible.
Blood will meet blood. I will fight. Our wyrds—our fates—bind us, but try me not. I will take you because of debt owed, but into foolishness we fly.
- Blood will meet blood and.... I don't know, because apparently both parties will be badly injured.
- Why does Paolini insert the word "wyrds" into the dialogue? I mean, why didn't he just say "fates" since he ends up including that word anyway?
- And why does Saphira explain what "wyrds" means? I mean, shouldn't Eragon know what it means?
- Since when do baby animals say stuff like "debt owed" or "try me not"?
- "Into foolishness we fly... so have your passport ready."
But Eragon refuses to be put off, so he rips his shirt in half... because apparently his shirt is very flimsy, and impoverished medieval people had plenty of clothes... and pads his thighs with them. Sadly, his genitals have probably reached the point of no return. So they fly away, and Saphira says one of the dumbest things anyone in this book has said yet:
Don’t let go, she cautioned
... "Don't let go"? So, do dragonriders regularly let go of their dragons while their dragons ARE FLYING? Or does she figure that Eragon is stupid enough to do that?
"Hey Shamblam the Green and Sparkly, look at that pretty bird back there!"
"Back that waaaAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHAIIIEEEEEEEEEEEEE..."
"Aww dammit, not another one! That's the third rider this month!"
Also, this is a continuing trend in Paolini's words. Nobody ever "says" anything - instead we get redundant stuff like "Brom apologized" or "Saphira cautioned." Later in the same page, we get another one in Faster, faster, he urged. It's totally pointless and just plain bad writing to use verbs to clue in people when they can SEE what the person is doing by their dialogue! We know Brom is apologizing! We know Saphira is cautioning! We know Eragon is urging! JUST SAY "SAID!" We can figure out the rest without help!
So Saphira flies faster, and Eragon's legs are bleeding... which makes Saphira go EVEN FASTER even though their increased speed seems to be making him worse. "Stop! Stop! I think my balls just fell off!"
And once again, it takes SIX FRIGGIN' HOURS for them to get back to Palancar Valley... even though it should take far, far less time than it took Eragon to WALK.
Eragon imagined that to someone on the ground, they were just a blur.
Yes, a blue sparkly blur with big batlike wings. I'm sure the minions of Vague Evil will not notice this at all.
Saphira glided down while Eragon searched for the farm.
"I know I dropped it somewhere around here."
But oh horrorz! When he finds the farm IT'S BURNING. And the skeletons of Uncle Owen and Aunt Beru are lying outside... wait, wrong story. But still!
She locked her wings and tilted into a steep dive, hurtling groundward at a frightening rate. Then she altered her dive slightly so they sped toward the forest.... Saphira waited until they were only a hundred feet off the ground before driving her wings downward in several powerful strokes.
Seriously, isn't there some other way of flying around there? And since when did a BABY become so adept that she could pull out of a dive like that perfectly?!
And so the house has been destroyed, the entire farm has been blasted apart, even the barn is on fire and the animals are gone. It is SO painfully obvious what has happened to Garrow and WHY that I won't even bother explaining.
Eragon goes through the wreckage looking for Garrow, and Saphira walks through.... the house. Just how big is she? Oh, and she's being totally unhelpful:
Sorrow breeds here, she said.
Yes, thank you SO much for that. As usual, you're useless.
Eragon has a more-or-less normal reaction to this: he goes apeshit at Saphira, screaming at her that this is is all her fault and that he could have warned Garrow if she hadn't kidnapped him. Saphira's lameass response?
You would not be alive if we had stayed.
Yeah, no thanks to you. Seriously, there are TWO BAD GUYS. Not dozens. Not an army. TWO. What is the point of having a dragon if they can't even blast off the heads of random Minions Of Unspecified Evil? So two minions versus two men PLUS A DRAGON would still defeat them? This is PATHETIC.
He slammed his fist against a pole
Ah, unintentional sexual moments. Yeah, I know it's weak, but I also don't know why, in a house that has been blown apart, there would be a random POLE standing in the middle of it.
Several tracks were before him, but his vision was blurry and he could barely see. Am I going blind? he wondered. With a shaking hand, he touched his cheeks and found them wet.
So our hero doesn't even know what crying feels like? He's NEVER cried in his entire life?
... yeah, I've got nothing. Eragon is right next to Bella Swan as sociopathic people who don't know what human emotions feel like, and are shocked when they cry APPARENTLY FOR THE FIRST TIME.
Saphira decides to belatedly tell Eragon that HEY, Garrow might not be quite dead after all. She just didn't mention the fact that only TWO sets of prints are leaving the place... which doesn't mean anything because they might have been carrying him.
Now, I hate it when characters spontaneously generate skills out of nowhere, and don't worry, we'll have plenty of THAT later on. But it is a nice bit of continuity that Eragon can tell that the people who left weren't carrying anything they didn't come with, since he's supposed to be Epic Fantasy Tracker.
So Eragon starts... going through the rubble. Uhhh, why didn't he do that to begin with? I mean, if there's a giant pile of rubble in your kitchen and a relative is MISSING, why wouldn't you check it first BEFORE you go all emo? Yes, Garrow is buried under a part of the collapsed roof, and obviously he's not doing too well. Saphira shows up and lifts the portion of roof off him.
Garrow lay on his stomach, his clothes mostly torn off.
... okay, I'm not sure why the Minions Of Undescribed Evil would do that.
Okay, I know why they MIGHT, but... I don't want to think about it.
Anyway, Garrow is in really bad shape, and has been burned and cut all over. For some reason, he smells like decaying fruit. No, I don't know why.
Murderers, hissed Saphira.
Yeah, thanks for the input, you sparkly wuss. Again, this is partly your fault, oh fearsome dragon who runs away from the bad guys even though she's huge and has pointy teeth and claws. Saphira is turning out to be less terrifying than the Monty Python rabbit.
Don’t say that. He can still be saved!
"But he's been dead all day!"
"Don't worry, Saphira. He's only MOSTLY dead."
Seriously, I think we all know perfectly well what's going to happen. His uncle will die, Eragon will be sad, he'll have nothing to tie him to his hometown anymore
except the cousin he was wanking on about, so he'll go on an adventure with the weird old Jedi.... er, ex-Dragonrider, who will die after turning our hero into an awesome warrior who will go blow up the Death Star before going on a training journey to ANOTHER ex-Dragonrider-turned-hermit who will teach him the ways of the Ancient Language before expiring.
Am I close? Tell me if I'm close! Hot or cold? This story is just SO unpredictable!
Eragon dug through the rubble until he found a board and leather thongs.
I know that "thongs" is an old-timey way of basically saying "strings," and that it means different things in different places. But when I read a book written by a modern American talking about finding leather thongs, my mind automatically goes to dirty places. Especially when they like to punch their poles.
So he turns the board from the... splintered and wrecked house into a sort of stretcher that he ties to Saphira's forelegs. Yeah, this sounds REALLY insecure and not something you'd want to FLY with, unless you were okay with possibly dropping the victim. And as a SUBTLE HINT, Garrow also drops a piece of EVIL BLACK CLOTH OF EVIL, since obviously we couldn't have figured out who had done this WITHOUT that hint.
I'll give Paolini credit: he does make it hard for Saphira, who isn't even fully-grown, to fly with TWO people's weight. Usually dragons in fantasy can carry... however many people they need to, so this is an interesting piece of realism.
Garrow swung wildly underneath them; only the slender leather cords kept him from falling.
Yes, the slender leather cords that were in a burning building. Does it seem weird that they weren't hurt by the fire at ALL?
Before long her head sagged, and there was froth at her mouth.
Rabid dragon on the loose! Shoot it! Shoot it!
So about a league from Carvahall, Saphira decides that she can't go on and lands. Since the townspeople can't find out about the dragon yet, because that might put complications in the hero's Epic Journey of Epicness, Eragon tells her to hide out for the foreseeable future.
He gritted his teeth and began to drag Garrow down the road.
Yes, drag the dying man down the road. Wouldn't it make more sense to leave him there with Saphira the Apparently Warm-Blooded Dragon, and have her hide out when he returns with the villagers?
The first few steps sent an explosion of agony through him. “I can’t do this!” he howled at the sky, then took a few more steps.
... while the dragon just sits and watches, since there's no mention of her leaving.
The minutes crawled by at an excruciating rate.
... but he still had an hour of Battlefield Earth to suffer through before the agony would be over.
With desperation he wondered if Carvahall still existed or if the strangers had burnt it down, too.
I... don't know why they would. I mean they have a motivation to trash Eragon's farm (looking for the egg) and attack his uncle (because the guy wouldn't do what they said), but they wouldn't have any reason to destroy Carvahall. It wouldn't do anything for them. And "because they're evil" is not a legitimate answer, okay?
After a time, through a haze of pain, he heard shouting and looked up.
"You will go to the Dagobah system!"
Brom was running toward him—eyes large, hair awry,
It's usually fashionably styled in a chignon.
and one side of his head caked with dried blood.
Wow... so... he met up with the minions of Vague Evil, I take it?
He waved his arms wildly before dropping his staff and grabbing Eragon’s shoulders, saying something in a loud voice.
.... are you going to tell us WHAT he said? I mean, I know Eragon is disoriented but there's no indication that he's THAT disoriented. Is Brom just yelling random stuff in his face? Is this supposed to be "magic language" - and if so, what is the point of whatever he's saying?
Eragon blinked uncomprehendingly. Without warning, the ground rushed up to meet him. He tasted blood, then blacked out.
Get ready for this to happen a LOT in this series: ending a chapter by having Eragon drop like a stone and faint/fall asleep/get knocked out.
Also, thanks for catching him, Brom. And if you just used your magic language to sedate him, it's SO nice that you just let him fall down so hard that he injured his mouth. As the Gandalf of this novel, so far you suck.