So why are there so few named people in this story? Why is it that so many characters wander about known only by their relation rather than be given a proper name? Take Murtagh’s mother, for example. That’s how we know her. She doesn’t get a title, a name or even an insulting nickname like ‘hippo ankles’. Why not just pretend Murtagh was torn from the thigh of a dragon or fashioned from the bones of a mountain?
I understand that Chris didn’t invest a lot of sentiment into his secondary characters. He was too busy fantasizing about everyone being in love with him and riding a dragon to bone an elf princess. But at least give them a goddamned name, even the horses have that.
Thus going by Chris’s hierarchy it goes; Eragon, Arya(‘cause she’s hot ‘n stuff), Saphira (and other supporting characters), plot tokens, exposition characters, inanimate objects(Za’roc), animals, relatives(of anyone who’s not in the top one), plot advancing characters(such as Jeod), herb dealers, sandwich makers, cows, the dirt he washed off his boots in chapter four, important figures in history, whoevers face is on current coinage(Gabby), and whoever’s face was on the coinage before.
This chapter is called ‘ajihad’. I see what you did there, Chris. You’re trying to incite a jihad against everything you’ve ever written. You clever bastard, making us buy then burn your books in order to maximize profits off your lighter fluid distributor. I won’t fall for that pyramid scheme again.
His skin gleamed the color of oiled ebony. The dome of his head was shaved bare, but a closely trimmed black beard covered his chin and upper lip. Strong features shadowed his face, and grave, intelligent eyes lurked under his brow. His shoulders were broad and powerful, emphasized by a tapered red vest embroidered with gold thread and clasped over a rich purple shirt. He bore himself with great dignity, exuding an intense, commanding air.
Hmm, let’s see. Description, shaved head and father figure countenance. He must be a good guy and he’s a replacement for Brom just waiting to happen. Let me make a wild guess and say that this is going to be a Morpheus clone cut so recently from the Matrix that he’s still having flashbacks of the tube scene whenever he flushes the toilet.
When he spoke, his voice was strong, confident: “Welcome to Tronjheim, Eragon and Saphira. I am Ajihad. Please, seat yourselves.”
Thank you, Laurence Fishburne. Do I get to pick between two colored pills or is it something more appropriate for the medieval setting? Maybe and indigo and blood colored sword or scabbard?
Eragon slipped into an armchair next to Murtagh, while Saphira settled protectively behind them. Ajihad raised his hand and snapped his fingers. A man stepped out from behind the staircase. He was identical to the bald man beside him. Eragon stared at the two of them with surprise, and Murtagh stiffened. “Your confusion is understandable; they are twin brothers,” said Ajihad with a small smile. “I would tell you their names, but they have none.”
I know, I’m not getting far into this chapter. Did you see what Chris just did? ‘Oh man, I hate coming up with names for people that don’t even matter. Hmm, what if I simply said they don’t have names? Why, that would make my job as a writer so much easier. I am so brilliant. Now I can stop looking through the Silmarillion for names.’ Plus the twins were lifted from the Matrix universe as well.
You’ve got to say that much for Chris, he’s not consistent in what he cribs from. A dash of fantasy, sci-fi or even some crappy horror movie. Whoever has something shiny and marketable, Chris is going to “borrow” from you so hard you won’t be able to sit down for a week. I’m just waiting for character’s yanked out of Hogwart’s on their way to Charms to be airdropped in and forced to fawn at the grinning idiot with the sword.
Ajihad is magic because the moment Murtagh speaks he recognizes the voice as similar to Morzan. Then he makes him take off his shirt and turn around. ‘Oh dear god, no! Help! I need an adult! I need an adult!’ ‘Quiet, I am an adult.’ And sees a scar on his back which identifies him as Murtagh.
Considering that Ajihad hasn’t been outside of Tronjheim for twenty years and Murtagh is eighteen, maybe nineteen it makes me wonder how he knows this. He must have traded in his copy of Plotanica Encyclopedia for Plotpedia which is constantly updated through the GnomeWispernet.
Ajihad wants Murtagh to submit to mind rape. Murtagh, understandably says no. This pisses off Ajihad who is apparently the fantasy world equivalent to head of the TSA. ‘I demand to know your inner most secrets before letting you into Tronjheim.’ ‘But I haven’t done anything to the Varden! I ran from Galbatorix, I’ve killed Urgals and I acted as Eragon’s babysitter for god’s sake!’ ‘It’s true, he even helped me into my leather pajamas and read me a story before bed.’ ‘Not good enough. We’ll have to do a full mind scan! Ergaz? Grease the probe! Now drop your pants Murtagh!’
Murtagh gets arrested and taken away without even a peep from Eragon. ‘Oh well, he probably wasn’t a good guy anyway.’ Eragon shrugs and asks if Arya is doing fine. Ajihad says no but she’ll recover. So, yes then. Eragon then tells Ajihad what happened up to this point.
Ol’ Aji wants to know about ‘this shade’. Again I ask, how many shades are there? A dozen? Two? Four million? Apparently Sam’s “real” name is Durza. Wow, he’s finally not anonymous. Congratulations Chris, you’re starting to understand that names are important.
Aji once fought Durza and put a scratch in his sword while trying to stab him. Eragon remember Sam had a sword with a scratch in it and therefore it must be the same person. I mean, it’s not like a sword could get scratched in combat and surely Sam has never had to fight before. And it’s not like Durza could have gotten a new sword and some other, more pragmatic, shade grabbed his seeing that it was functional if not aesthetically perfect.
Sam, or Durza, isn’t dead. Only being stabbed in the heart can kill Shades. Just nicking the heart with a crystal or breaking their heart with insults just won’t cut it. You heard me Eragon, put that big book of putdowns back and sharpen your sword. Oh, and he’s part Saiyan because he’ll come back stronger.
Blah blah blah, Saphira’s egg came to them and there was much whining amongst the Varden. Some people said no one should touch it because they like living in the mountains, others just want to get this crap over with. Elves and humans each wanted their own rider and the dwarves argued with both of them for some unknown reason.
So the Varden are made of stupid. They were moving Saphira’s egg across the land every year to let kids touch it and see if they could make it hatch. That’s when Arya got jumped and lost it. Sure you could make the people come to the egg but this way is riskier, therefore better.
Eragon said slowly, “Why doesn’t Galbatorix know where Farthen Dûr and Ellesméra are? Surely he was told of them when he was instructed by the Riders.”
Farthen is the volcano and the other is the elf village. Chris realized this was a major plot hole. His fix? Uh, like, Galbatorix wasn’t told where they were, yeah. He was, like, not trained completely and junk.
Yet Galbatorix is getting stronger every year. How? Shut your face is how. Aji doesn’t know but the elves are capable of holding back his “dark sorcery” for now and they’re hoping that he’ll somehow kill himself with one of his spells. Again, how that works no one knows! That’s because even the author doesn’t know what rules his magic follows.
Good god this is a long chapter. Lots of boring talky that elucidates little and keeps adding questions. Well, back to pilfering from Star Wars. Aji shows him an encoded letter they took from some Urgals which cost them. Many Bothans died to bring you this information, Eragon. It says that Urgals are gathering somewhere that no one’s ever heard of.
Like potatoes in a breakfast burrito, Chris lays the starchy filler on thick. How did the Varden know he was coming? Miss Cleo. How did Gabby know what merchants work for the Varden? Miss Cleo. What does the Varden want Eragon to do? Take out Miss Cleo.
Or he’s supposed to act like a king. Aji tells him that people are going to come to him to settle disputes, to propose marriage or to make them a damn sammich ya lazy dragon riding hippie. Eragon gives a token complaint about Murtagh’s imprisonment but then goes back to fantasizing about Arya riding Saphira topless while Dio plays in the background. ‘Like the Dragon! You can see her scales but you know she’s clean! Oh don’t you know what ahhh meeeeeaaaaannnn!’ ‘Eragon? What are you muttering to yourself? Are you making…guitar noises?’ ‘Hush, I’m doing the solo. Bow wow beedly beedly weee beedly weee!’
Suddenly Aji looks up and realizes there’s been a dragon in the room the whole time. ‘Oh, hello darling. What’s your name? Do you want a biscuit? Roll over, shake. Whosagoodgirl!’ Saphira wants him to know that if they’d killed Eragon she would have killed everyone. I thought Dragons died with their rider? Aji says ‘the twins’ would have stopped her. Eragon says he doesn’t think so because he has a dragon and that makes him stronger than Brom was and Brom was one of the Varden’s strongest ‘spellweavers’. He wasn’t very good at dream weaving, however. He never could get anyone through the night.
Oh and the dwarf, Orik, gets demoted to Eragon’s personal bodyguard/tourguide. What a way to close the chapter Chris. You know you’ve only got seven chapters to make this interesting, right? Chris? I’m just pointing that out.
speaking of names, i really hope Galbatorix is a name he gave himself. can you imagine naming your baby Galbatorix? the baby talk alone would be hilarious.
“did Galbatorix make stinky? did widdle Galbatorix make stinky? yesyoudidoodoowooble!”
PARTIAL SPOILER: There’s actually a plot twist involving Murtagh’s mother that giving her name would have given away, so at least in THAT case Chris has an excuse. The plot twist, however, is lame and predictable. Wanna guess, vivisector? *Jeopardy theme plays*
oh god no.
What do YOU think, maeverin? 😉
She turns out to have been half dragon and is secretly Saphira’s mother.
No, but it’s not gonna surprise you that much when you figure it out.
You think the magic issues are bad now….wait til you get to the little Alia ripoff….it’s special, and I think in the next book