For some reason this chapter opens with Eragon plotting to kill the Ra'zac, mainly because his entire body is sprained. Yes, I can see how Brom's little strategy is turning him into a master swordsman. It's like trying to turn someone into an ace pilot by spinning the place around until he pukes. It isn't how you teach ANYTHING.
And now it's time for.... EPIC TRAVELING DETAILS. Yeah, most of this chapter really does nothing.
“If this keeps up, you’re going to batter me to pieces.”
“I wouldn’t push you so hard if I didn’t think you were strong enough.”
"I only beat you because I love you!"
Cadoc pranced nervously as Saphira approached. Saphira eyed the horse with something close to disgust
... uh, why is she doing this?
So she decides to fly above them because there's nowhere to hide on the plains. There also apparently isn't anyone to hide from. So they go down some steep areas that they apparently have to lead the horses down.
The ground was scattered with loose rocks, which made the footing treacherous.
Isn't it kind of unsafe to bring horses down it?
The ordeal left them hot and irritable, despite the cold.
"This wouldn't have happened if you would have let me beat you with a stick this morning!"
The Anora River veered to their left and flowed northward. A biting wind scoured the land, whipping them unmercifully. The soil was parched, and dirt flew into their eyes.
- This is a choppy description. It's very vague. The first sentence has nothing to do with the first sentence. The first sentence has nothing to do with the third sentence. I like cupcakes.
- Does parched dirt automatically mean... dust? Most parched dirt I've seen tends to be fairly solid.
- At least the biting wind isn't bothering Eragon. I imagine he's now used to being unmercifully whipped.
- Also, shouldn't that be "mercilessly" and not "unmercifully"?
Eragon gets all creeped out by the area because it's so... flat. Admittedly this isn't too surprising, since he's lived his whole life in a forested mountainous area, but... they're not that far from a mountain! They just went down a hill!
The trail split in three once it reached the plains.
Wait, wha? When did we start going again? Last time we saw they were having a break!
The first branch turned north, toward Ceunon, one of the greatest northern cities; the second one led straight across the plains; and the last went south. They examined all three for traces of the Ra’zac and eventually found their tracks, heading directly into the grasslands.
- It appears that they were following a covered wagon.
- ... so why were we told about what Ceunon was if it doesn't have any bearing on the story?
- It would make sense of Brom was explaining this out loud, but... Eragon shouldn't know this!
- Also, how come one of these roads just goes "south"? What is "south"? Does it just meander southwards and then end in a cul-de-sac?
“It seems they’ve gone to Yazuac,” said Brom with a perplexed air.
“Due east and four days away, if all goes well. It’s a small village situated by the Ninor River.”
Wait, so this looooonnnngggg road that takes four DAYS to ride to... only goes to ONE tiny village? No branches, no crossroads, just a four-days'-ride to some OTHER tiny village? I could understand if it was a big city, but a SMALL VILLAGE? Who made a ROAD to it?
He gestured at the Anora, which streamed away from them to the north. “Our only supply of water is here. We’ll have to replenish our waterskins before attempting to cross the plains. There isn’t another pool or stream between here and Yazuac.”
The excitement of the hunt began to rise within Eragon.
"I can't wait to find more WATER! Maybe a muddy stream or a rain puddle.... but I will find water! I alone will find it! I am the WATER HUNTER!"
In a few days, maybe less than a week, he would use his arrows to avenge Garrow’s death. And then . . . He refused to think about what might happen afterward.
Uhhhhh.... why? Does he expect something bad to happen, pray? Usually when you refuse to think about something, it means that there's something bad ahead that you don't WANT to think about.
They filled the waterskins, watered the horses, and drank as much as they could from the river.
Fifteen minutes later, Eragon announced, "Brom, I need to go to the bathroom!"
"What? Why didn't you go when we were at the river?"
"I didn't need to go then!"
So they start going across the plains after that, and Eragon begins whining about how much he hates the wind. He hates the wind like Bella Swan hates rain, humidity, cloudiness, and anything else that isn't rich and sparkly. And since apparently nobody thought to bring a TENT on their cross-country trip, they don't have any shelter.
Eragon found some scrub brush, a short tough plant that thrived on harsh conditions, and pulled it up.
"I wonder how this tastes. It HAS to be better-tasting than that rock over there!"
No, actually Eragon is trying to light a fire, even though there are BLUSTERY WINDS blowing all the time which would probably extinguish it. But apparently you can't even light this stuff. so Eragon gets pissed.
“See if you can get it going: otherwise dinner will be cold.”
"And after that, my shoes need shining! And my shoulders aren't massaging themselves, you crazy old coot!"
Brom knelt by the brush and looked at it critically.
"Hmmm, I've seen scrub brush that is both scrubbier and bushier, but this is larger than average. I give it a six out of ten."
Brom tries to set fire to it a few times, and then does something that seems really random: “Brisingr!” he swore angrily. Bless you. Of course, that does the trick and the brush catches on fire despite the brush not being that flammable, and the REALLY STRONG WIND blowing the whole time. Brom makes the lame excuse that "It must have been smoldering inside,” but it's pretty obvious that this is FIRE MAJIKS. Eragon, naturally, doesn't realize this. Because he's stupid.
So they whack each other with phallic weapons for awhile, then cuddle next to the dragon. Wow that sounded weird.
The same cold wind greeted them in the morning, sweeping over the dreadful flatness.
Bella Swan sees your cold wind sweeping over the dreadful flatness, and raises you the dampness drizzling over the dreadful GREENNESS.
So we get some whining about how Eragon's lips have cracked from the constant wind. My question is: why aren't they sleeping under Saphira's wing, which apparently can not only keep the wind from hitting you but can apparently keep you warm and toasty? He did that just a few chapters ago!
On the third day, Eragon
... rose again from the dead?
woke well rested. That, coupled with the fact that the wind had stopped, put him in a cheery humor. His high spirits were dampened, however, when he saw the sky ahead of them was dark with thunderheads.
But if their heads are there, where's the rest of them?
Okay, I know that's a legit way to describe storm clouds, but it's so undescriptive.
Brom looked at the clouds and grimaced. “Normally I wouldn’t go into a storm like that, but we’re in for a battering no matter what we do, so we might as well get some distance covered.”
"Fortunately that won't bother you since I like to beat you with sticks. Soon you will graduate to the next level: The cat o' nine tails! And then something I like to call the Spiky Club Of Eternal Torment In The Butt!"
So they actually ride all the way to the storm front, and it apparently has an actual sharp shadow border like a building. And since this is a Rule of Cool sort of book, even the storm clouds have to be awesome. Like, acid trip awesome. Magic mushroom awesome. What was in that water Eragon was drinking?!
The thundercloud had an exotic structure,
Sort of like a tiki hut.
forming a natural cathedral with a massive arched roof. With some imagination he could see pillars, windows, soaring tiers, and snarling gargoyles. It was a wild beauty.
- ... I see one that looks like a fish. And there's a three-legged dog. And there's a 1950s pickup with no wheels. And there's the letter Z. And there's Meg Ryan's face. And there's half a pizza with a head on it.
- Seriously, is someone engaging in Ye Olde Fantasie Cloud-Sculpting, or is Eragon just WAY too bored?
- It's especially weird because he doesn't say that the cloud LOOKS like a natural cathedral with a massive arched roof, he says that it IS a natural cathedral with a massive arched roof! There is a giant cathedral floating up in the clouds! How the hell did THAT happen? And who made it? How does it stay up? Call Hayao Miyazaki!
- Again, since this world is pretty much atheistic and Eragon has lived in the BACKSIDE OF NOWHERE for his entire life, how would he even know what a cathedral looks like, let alone whether it has gargoyles?
- Uh, most cathedrals have the pillars INSIDE.
- They also don't tend to have "tiers." A tier is an ascending-order STACK of somethings, like a wedding cake.
- Since when do cathedrals have arched roofs?
Here's an example of an arched roof:
And this is a cathedral roof:
I think he means "vaulted." But really, this description of a cathedral sounds like a description of a cathedral by someone who is going by the architecture of castles and yurts.
And since storms instantly spring out of nowhere with no warning, suddenly they're getting blasted in the face with EPIC MEGAWIND, instead of having the wind grow slowly stronger. It's like he thinks that there's a forcefield around thunderstorms and if you're far away enough, there's no air movement.
The gale was almost upon them when Eragon had a horrible thought and twisted in his saddle, yelling, both with his voice and mind, “Saphira! Land!” Brom’s face grew pale.
Um, are they for real? One of them is OBVIOUSLY AN EX-DRAGON RIDER, and the other supposedly has a super-speshul awesome bond with his dragon... yet it never occurs to them until the LAST MINUTE that maybe they should have the dragon get down
Overhead, they saw her dive toward the ground. She’s not going to make it!
And for that matter, why didn't SHE figure out that this might be dangerous?
So when Epic Fantasy Thunderstorm hits them, it's compared to a hammer blow, and we get a lot of details about how ridiculously windy and explosive it is. Seriously, this is less like a thunderstorm (which is a somewhat windy rain storm with lightning!) and more like a hurricane or tornado. Actually, I was once on the outskirts of a hurricane and there was less going on than there is in EPIC FANTASY THUNDERSTORM! I mean, how intense does it have to be to make horses almost fall over?
And to make things even more ridiculous, Saphira can't handle strong winds. Apparently dragons are just like kites and if a strong gust of wind hits them, they go twirling across the ground. I mean, it's not like dragons could fly OVER the storm and it's certainly not like they have muscles that control their wings. No, the moment the wind hits Saphira she gets flung around like an old sweater because apparently if wind hits a winged animal, they cannot stay still or fold their wings.
Hear that, bats of the world? If it's windy out, you will be helplessly smashed against rocks and trees because your little wings catch the wind. You can't alter the shape/size/orientation of your wings so you can fly IN the wind, you can't fold them, and you can't possibly land. That is why bats are now extinct - because they couldn't fly if there was any wind!
... oh wait, bats are very numerous, and they deal very well with wind. And after months of flying by herself, including in the MOUNTAINS, Saphira should be able to too!
So Eragon forces his horse to go running to Saphira, goading the horse with both heels and mind. Asshole. How about some empathy for the horse? But no, Eragon goes rushing up to Saphira who apparently STILL can't close her wings because of the wind, even though turning around would presumably have the reverse effect.
So Eragon tries to help Saphira.... and immediately gets tossed over her back by the wind. Yes, apparently the all-powerful and mighty dragons need a little teenage boy to fold their wings. I'm starting to see why they apparently needed the elves, with their opposable thumbs, to be their partners. How the hell did they survive in the wild?
She sounded shaken. Nothing’s broken—I couldn’t do anything; the wind wouldn’t let me go. I was helpless.
Is this really supposed to be a flying creature? How does this work? I have shocking news for the world: THE SKY HAS WIND! Flying creatures not only deal with that, they FLY ON IT.
Fortunately for Eragon, the panicked terrified horse he abandoned during a FRIGGING HURRICANE hasn't decided to run away. He's just... standing there. So Eragon orders him telepathically to go to Brom... and for some reason the horse actually does what he wants instead of running away from the storm in a panic. Again, why was Snowfire the speshul one again when this horse apparently has superhorsian strength of mind? Oh yeah, because he's WHITE.
Eragon rides Saphira over to Brom, and She crept up the road, fighting the gale while he clung to her back and kept his head down. Fighting the.... so a horse, a much lighter animal, is able to trot happily through a hurricane, but the giant DRAGON has to CRAWL and FIGHT against the storm?
When they reached Brom, he shouted over the storm, “Is she hurt?”
Probably, since dragons are obviously more fragile than Ming vases.
And in a staggering bit of inconsistency within the same SCENE, Cadoc wanders over to Saphira's side to see Eragon. He was terrified of her just a few minutes ago, but apparently she doesn't scare him anymore. WHY? Oh, never mind.
As he stroked the horse’s long cheek, Brom pointed
... wait, so Brom is stroking the horse that just went to Eragon.
at a dark curtain of rain sweeping toward them in rippling gray sheets.
“What else?” cried Eragon, pulling his clothes tighter. He winced as the torrent reached them. The stinging rain was cold as ice; before long they were drenched and shivering.
WHAT A SHOCK! I mean, who ever would have expected RAIN in the middle of a storm! That is SO insanely ridiculous! I mean, why not just throw the wrath of God at them?!
So after the wind storm from hell and the freezing rain assault, we FINALLY get some thunder and lightning... and like everything else, it's ridiculously over-the-top.
Lightning lanced through the sky, flickering in and out of existence. Mile-high blue bolts streaked across the horizon,
This sounds impressive until you realize that most lightning bolts are almost two miles long. The longest recorded bolt was 118 miles long!
followed by peals of thunder that shook the ground below. It was beautiful, but dangerously so.
This is starting to sound a lot like Twilight.
The wild elements were slow to abate, but as the day passed, they wandered elsewhere.
"Brom, why didn't the storm travel if it had these insanely high winds?"
"Because in Generic Fantasyland, storms stay still and never move with the wind."
"Then... Brom, why didn't we just go around it."
"Shut up or I will slap you with my sapphire ring hand."
the setting sun glowed with brilliance.
Captain Redundant Iz a Redundant Captain!
As beams of light tinted the clouds with blazing colors, everything gained a sharp contrast: brightly lit on one side, deeply shadowed on the other. Objects had a unique sense of mass; grass stalks seemed sturdy as marble pillars. Ordinary things took on an unearthly beauty;
Fortunately, the LSD water hadn't worn off yet.
Wait, this entire chapter could be explained away by the effects of illegal drugs. I mean, it explains the weird hallucinations of a flying animal unable to deal with wind, over-the-top hurricanes coming out of nowhere, the crazy landscapes with pillar-like grass and crazy lighting.
Eragon felt as if he were sitting inside a painting.
May I remind you that Eragon is a medieval peasant who has lived in the butt-end of nowhere his ENTIRE LIFE? If he's ever seen paintings, they would probably have been of pretty mundane topics, in pretty mundane styles, with limited materials. I mean, different artistic movements like impressionism, surrealism and abstract did not exist back then.
Were there beautiful paintings? Yes! There were some LOVELY paintings back then! But they did not alter your perspective or flip you sideways with odd lighting or coloring. Medieval paintings tended to be very grounded thematically, and if they contained anything outside the realm of human experience, they were usually RELIGIOUS works like the millions of Madonna and Child pictures.
The rejuvenated earth smelled fresh, clearing their minds and raising their spirits.
"Smells like mud. Brom, do we have to go through the mud?"
"Can't we fly over it?"
Saphira stretched, craning her neck, and roared happily. The horses skittered away from her, but Eragon and Brom smiled at her exuberance.
Then they stopped smiling when they realized that she just scared the horses away, and they have no chance of catching them, because horses run a lot faster than humans.
Before the light faded, they stopped for the night in a shallow depression.
- Which is just where you want to be after a thunderstorm with torrents of freezing rain!
- I'm also in a shallow depression. It comes from reading this.
Too exhausted to spar, they went straight to sleep.
Add that to the long list of homoerotic things that pop up. Okay, it's fine by itself, but with all the other ones....