Eldest Chapters 23 & 24

These chapters are called ‘his enemy’s face’ and ‘arrow to the heart’.

As Roran proceeded about his work throughout the rest of the day, he felt Carvahall’s emptiness deep inside. It was as if part of himself had been extracted and hidden in the Spine. And with the children gone, the village now felt like an armed camp. The change seemed to have made everyone grim and grave.

So building a wall, digging a spike pit and burying the dead didn’t accomplish that. It took the removal of the children to make everyone in Cravenhall grim. I would have figured the opposite, given how little they care for their children. I mean, they do let them run around underfoot while there’s a battle going on.

Roran goes in to talk to Katrina. She’s okay, just a little shocked that her dad is a jerk. ‘I mean there might have been warning signs, what with the dour descriptions the author used but never in my life did I think he would do something rude.’ Elain, Horst’s wife, sends Katrina off and then tells Roran if he doesn’t keep his promises to Katrina, she’ll see him exiled.

You mean he’d have to leave Crafthall? Like go away, never to return for the rest of his days? No more turnips and stubborn goats that need to be beaten like their owners to get them to work? Quick Roran, now’s your chance to flee! Lie to Katrina and run to the coast where you can sit on the beach, drinking and fishing, while seducing the young daughters that come to collect sea shells.

Elain claims that if Roran doesn’t follow through, Katrina will have to become a beggar. What, being disowned means no one will hire her? Oh and being denied her inheritance means she gets no linens or silver or blah blah blah. I don’t care Chris. All of your characters sound like they ate a dictionary and then followed it up with a verbal ipecac and started spraying dialogue all over the place.

Elain also says Roran has to try and make peace with Sloan. Yes, or else you’ll have to drive all the way over to the next county to purchase your winter ham, Roran. Roran shrugs his shoulders and goes up to his room to fall asleep.

Roran Wakes: 9

The wall explodes and six ‘soldiers’ and the Ra’zac show up. The Ra’zac order them to bind Roran by his hands and feet. I love how bad guys never go over the plan before they attack. ‘Ok, so what are we up to boss?’ ‘You’ll sssee when we get there.’ ‘But shouldn’t we be informed ahead of time so we can strike with speed, giving them no time to react?’ ‘Don’t ssstart thinking. That’sss againssst the rulesss!’

Roran hulks out and kills a few soldiers before the Ra’zac grab Katrina and take off. Roran leaps out after them and one of them catches his hand as he’s about to hammer it in the face. Roran decides to use his free hand to pull down its hood and we get our very first description of them.

A hideous, tortured face screamed at him. The skin was shiny black, like a beetle carapace. The head was bald. Each lidless eye was the size of his fist and gleamed like an orb of polished hematite; no iris or pupil existed. In place of a nose, mouth, and chin, a thick beak hooked to a sharp point that clacked over a barbed purple tongue.

There we go and it only took you one and a third book to figure out what they looked like. Good job Chris. By the end of the series you just might have decided on Galbatorix as well.

The Ra’zac lets Roran go because Horst shows up, opting to crush his wrist and bite his shoulder before doing so. Roran looks at the Imperials he killed and goes, ‘oh noes, I’m a killer! And damn it would you look at the blood? They got it all over my bed and everything!’

The townsfolk gather and decide to take off after the Ra’zac to rescue Katrina. They go together as a mob, now galvanized by purpose they approach the soldiers and…stand around as the soldiers act shocked that the Ra’zac are monsters. Yes, the Imperials tell the Ra’zac that they aren’t following their orders anymore, they want a human commander which prompts one of the Ra’zac to bite his spine and kill him.

See, now that’s just poor management guys. You need to adopt an open door policy, maybe even offer a suggestion box. If you don’t accept the criticism, even the speciesist kind, how will the soldiers ever learn to respect you?

The Ra’zac say sure, they’ll go but don’t think this won’t get reported to management. They call down two flying dogs with beaks before retreating to their tent followed by, ready for it, Sloan.

Oh look, Sloan turned out to be a traitor. The only person who objected to Roran’s stupid plan and dared tell the Ra’zac about Eragon stumbling on the stone. And gee, is that the Ra’zac climbing onto the backs of their flying pets with Katrina in tow because evil always betrays those that serve them? Yeah, I haven’t seen that plot point so times on Saturday morning cartoons that it’s been etched into my brain by the light of the television focused into lasers by the lens of my eyes.

Roran sees his fiancée disappear into the night sky and he gets ready to attack the soldiers. But he’s suddenly struck by a bit of sense as reality catches up to him and reminds him he’s lost a couple pints of blood. He then passes out and falls over, because Chris can’t figure out how else to end a bloody chapter.

And now we’re back with Eragon who’s commenting on paddling up the river and singing Kumbaya while making smores every evening. The elves that are with him are different, like not exactly human, like they have their own culture and stuff. Chris describes them as talking a lot, i.e. using roundabout expressions and singing, and not talking a lot, i.e. giving short answers to Orik.

Chris really loves the elves. He’s spent much more time talking about them and how different they are from the humans and dwarves who are, supposedly, similar. Which is hilarious considering that both humans and elves are the foreigners. You’d think the dwarves would be the different ones but Chris doesn’t like short people with facial hair so they get screwed.

The elves whine about how Glabatorix destroyed art and stories except some fanciful tales he allowed to remain. Why? How? I mean, if there are troubadours still, that means there are still tales being passed orally. And if it’s only been about seventy years that’s not really long enough for all those stories to have been forgotten. Unless Brom wasn’t the only one straining rubbing alcohol through his beard and drinking it.

‘Man, I knew this story once. It was…it was…’ ‘Was it the one about the elves?’ ‘No, it wasn’t that one.’ ‘Was it the one about the Ra’zac and how they came to be?’ ‘Maybe but that doesn’t sound right.’ ‘Was it the one about the Tanner, the Hunter and the Fisherman’s wife?’ ‘Hell, I don’t remember. Ever since Gabby started handing out these free Sterno cocktails my memory has been a bit fuzzy.’ ‘Speaking of which, is this your house or mine?’ ‘I think we’d better figure out who we are first.’ ‘Oh, good point.’

They start talking about king Palancar, the first king of the humans. Some eight hundred years ago, or still not long enough for an elf to learn a little humility, the humans showed up and moved into the only unclaimed valley. They wanted to expand so they started a war with the elves, totally unprovoked. It had nothing to do with how the elves kept talking loudly about how dirty and hungry and stupid and smelly all the humans looked to be and how their brains were probably too small to understand what they were saying in the first place.

The king attacked three times and lost all three. The nobles wanted it to stop but the king figured that fourth time was the charm. The elves helped overthrow and banish him. His family stayed behind though and did terrible things like assassinate one another and green light the Yogi Bear movie. So the elves decided to let humans into the rider club to avoid disputes.

And the elves were once mortal too, just like humans. But then there was this accident involving a particle collider and chunky peanut butter. Sure they live forever but there’s a downside that they don’t like to talk about. Oh and Arya was born the year of the ‘fall’, when the riders were destroyed. Eragon comments that means she’s a century old and how pathetic his flirting must seem.

Eragon also wants to know what’s wrong with Arya, like, what’s her deal. The other elves say it’s not their place to tell him. Well it could be she’s rude, arrogant, racist and an elf. Or she’s a poor broken dove that just needs to be healed with the right tender touch. If Eragon starts singing Broken Wings to Arya I’m going to impale him on a sharpened curtain rod.

As they arrive, Arya spots a wounded falcon and puts it down with one shot and Orik makes a lame joke about asking elves for help. A pity she didn’t act like that after Eragon was wounded by Sam.

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3 Responses to Eldest Chapters 23 & 24


    The Imperial soldiers had no idea up to this point that the Ra’zac weren’t human? Geez, that’s stupid! Wouldn’t the hissing, skeletonizing a corpse and talking to each other in clicks have tipped them off?

    …The Ra’zac came for Roran and randomly took Katrina instead because of some convoluted reason? Geez, that’s not-as-stupid-as-the-soldiers-but-still-stupid! The only race PaoPao wrote with any semblance of creativity, the kick-awesome athropod maneating beings, that sometimes seem to be futuristic superevolved insects or aliens in a medieval setting … and he’s having them act this stupid? Screw this!

    *reaches into pages of Eldest and pulls out the Ra’zac and their “flying dogs”*

    As PETV’s first act of ethical treatment of villians, the Ra’zac have been removed from an unfit environment. Be free, little ones! ❤

    …OUCH! Stop biting! I'm your SAVIOR!

    …Ahem. Anyway. I know they'll probably never look as cool to you as they do to me, but can you at least understand why I don't think they're as stupid as everything else in Eragon? Their species isn’t borrowed from stock fantasy folklore, maybe Paolini accidentally wrote something original! And they’re so cool. Like I said before, I tend to think of them as a race of super-evolved insects that terrorize humans and battle with them for the title of dominant species.

    It’s only a breathing issue that keeps insects from getting longer than 8 inches in this world. With the minor modification of a more efficient way to breathe, we could have cockroaches the size of Jack Russel terriers and dragonflies the size of ravens. Does that sound chilling? 😉
    And it sounds like this has already happened to the Eragon universe. Along with a modification to the exoskeleton that lets them be human-sized and bipedal without being crushed under their own weight. I love to talk about the biology of fantasy creatures!

    P.S. Those “flying dogs” you mentioned are called Lethrblaka, and there’s a twist involving them and the Ra’zac. For once I don’t think you’ll be able to guess (It’s like this is the only area where Chris shows some talent!) but you’re welcome to try. 😉

    P.S.S. Er, how can I keep the Ra’zac from eating people? I haven’t seen my little sister all day, and one of them just burped…

    P.S.S.S. This bite wound just turned purple and started smelling like old ham. Should I see a doctor?

    • vivisector says:

      Yes, I’m certain the Ra’zac were an accident, hence why Chris doesn’t know what to do with them. If they were stolen wholesale from another author, then they’d be much more dull. Also, you don’t have to keep them from eating people, just have them eat people that we won’t miss, like Chris and Otis.
      As far as the flying dogs, that’s how Chris describes them by the way, are they related to this? Because that would be awesome. A race of giant, flying brew masters that wish to take over the world and usher in a golden age of ales and lagers. They allied with the Ra’zac because they can provide them with the highest quality yeast which they detect with their highly advanced sense of taste.

      • Thanks for the advice, Vivisector! I’ll start the Ra’zac on their Idiot Diet as soon as I can! Tracking down Otis’s address…

        And no, the Lethrblaka aren’t related to Flying Dog Beer. Not that that wouldn’t be cool.

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