This chapter is called ‘a taste of terim’. I don’t think I want a taste of Terim. Cities are usually made of things like brick, dirt and varying degrees of syphilitic politicians. None of which would be palatable to even the hungriest of dragons let alone people.
They approach the city two days after the last chapter. We get a quick rundown of the defenses including exactly how thick the walls are, a hundred and thirty feet thick to be precise. Just who the hell is that wall meant to defend against? A seventy foot snow monkey that comes down from the hills every winter?
Eragon has Saphira hide while they approach, preparing to use their fake names. Where do you hide a dragon with a wing span to shame a light aircraft? It’s not easy to camouflage a plane so people can’t see it. I don’t even want to know what a blue dragon, that contrasts with everything in the countryside like a leisure suit does for cover. Maybe she just glares at anyone that gets too close and tells them they didn’t see her.
‘My word, look at that. It’s a dragon.’ ‘No, I’m not. I’m a frog.’ ‘Pardon me?’ ‘I said, I’m a frog.’ ‘Last I checked frogs weren’t blue and scaly.’ ‘I’m a new kind of frog, you’ve never seen one of me before.’ ‘And how do I account for the fact that you can talk?’ ‘I’m magic. In fact I grant wishes to people that find me.’ ‘Oh, well I wish…’ ‘I know what you want already. I’m sensing that you don’t want to be eaten. You can have that in exchange for keeping your mouth shut.’ ‘Alright then, I’m going to go play with the smaller frogs over that way.’
Saphira doesn’t like Eragon getting too far out of her sight. Eragon dismisses her and tells her he’ll be fine. You know, like how he was fine when the urgals attacked. I’ve got a solution for Saphira, build a low tech cryogenic tank and freeze Eragon. As he won’t be technically dead or alive she’ll be able to live as long as she wants. In fact, she can then go battle the king and restore peace to all the land. Then she can unfreeze him if she begins to miss his suicidal nature.
Brom and Eragon come upon a pair of guards with their story carefully planned. Guards, not being cool in Chris’s opinion, are the fantasy equivalent of security guards. They barely listen to the fake names and wave them on through. And here I was worried they’d be caught and thrown directly into an oubliette just to spice things up.
Terim was reinforced because it once nearly burned down in a pirate attack. Brilliant, ensure that the wooden buildings are surrounded by thick and high stone walls with only a few exits. Surely that won’t be a recipe for disaster at some point.
They go to an inn, they barter for information, then they stop and get their money back. They’re looking for some guy named ‘Jeod’. Some guy sitting near the bar offers the info for free and then wants to know why they need his help because he just lost a ship. And I care because?
Look Chris, you needn’t have the characters vomit exposition all over us. You as the author could tell us this and skip the middlemen. Then it’s more like you were showing us rather than telling us. You know, maybe using a little magic of the storyteller.
It seems there’s been all sorts of ships vanishing, never to be seen again. The guy at the bar casually says they’ve been captured but doesn’t know what happens to them, wink wink.
Just for grins I’d like it to turn out to be Saphira. They finally catch her one night flying off towards the ocean where she grabs one of those wooden filled snack packs out of the ocean and carries it inland. After beating spitting them all on the mast she slow cooks them with her breath and eats them like so many chips.
The man finishes his beer, after telling them what he does for a living, and Eragon and Brom leave. They walk among houses and Eragon feels out of place. Hell, you should be feeling that way the whole story, Eragon. Especially being as you’re an avatar so thinly disguised he might as well be stapled to a mobile billboard saying ‘I’m What Chris wishes he was!’
And that’s it, that’s how he ends this chapter, with Eragon feeling uncomfortable. That’s the kind of ending you get with one of those educational films from elementary school where they teach you about bad touch. That’s right around the mark where the teacher would pause to discuss. Good job for making me remember that Chris.
show me on this doll where the dragon touched you.
I’d like to see how that court case played out. ‘Your witness…would the defendant please stop eating the bailiffs!’ ‘But they’re so soft and tasty!’
Oh, hero’s dragon eating pirate ships, how cool you would be! Unfortch, the ethical system in Eragon is Shiny+Pretty=Good and Black+Ugly+Smelly=Evil. The farther you get into the series, the clearer that becomes.
Well that’s standard practice in a lot of stories. If Chris sticks with it all the way through then at least he’s playing it straight. That’s kind of admirable in an age where everyone thinks they’re clever by being ironic.
Hmm. Maybe I haven’t read enough stories, but I haven’t seen enough of the ironic form of “Beautiful=Good” for me to be sick of it. I still kind of appreciate an evil-looking race being actually good, so long as the writer actually backs it up with good actions and doesn’t make a stupid trope of “Ugly=Good”.
Side note: I just barely noticed “syphilitic politicians”. Ha! Do you think Saphira could get syphilis from eating syphilitic politicians?
It pops up in a bit of fiction featuring monsters. I just wish I could think of an example right now.
And I’m sure Saphira could catch it but she’d be cured by Eragon’s burgeoning list of powers.