Inheritance Chapter 8

So I know that Chris has used the pregnancy of the blacksmith’s wife, Elain, to sort of provide a timeline. Even if he doesn’t, that does set down a timeframe which is familiar to us, the audience. Approximately nine months, give or take. Thus we can round up and be generous, as Chris did drop a line in the last chapter about Elain’s “overlong” pregnancy, and say that, so far, the entire Eragon story has taken place in a year. Think about that for a second.

In less than a year, Eragon has become a master swordsman, magician and dragon rider. I mean, unless humans in this world have a vastly different reproductive cycle than us. Of course Chris already ruined the chance to use that when Roran and Katrina were rushing to get married before evidence of their boning can’t be ignored.

Does Chris realize how ridiculous that makes everything? I mean, maybe Eragon did become a sword master in the few evenings Brom trained him. I could buy that if the art of sword fighting wasn’t particularly advanced and the same goes for magic. Maybe they live in a society where such things have yet to really evolve to an art form and not cutting your own foot off is still considered advanced. Which means the battles are all fought by people fighting like extras in an old sword and sandal flick or by people who can’t invest the one year of solid training needed to be awesome.

Anywho, we’re now with Nasuada. And this is going to be important, you can tell because her handmaid is unwrapping the bandages from her arm. She’s all healed up from the stupid trial that showed she’s just about the worst possible leader right behind Eragon. I think that’s why the Varden aren’t moving to replace her, in spite of her ineptitude. Whenever they think about it they look over at Eragon and remember he’s her second. And so they take great pains to make sure Nasuada stays alive. Oh, and Chris wastes a bunch of time describing Nasuada’s scars.

The scars were asymmetrical: six lay across the belly of her left forearm, three on her right. Each of the scars was three to four inches long and straight as could be, save the bottom one on the right, where her self-control had faltered and the knife had swerved, carving a jagged line nearly twice the length of the others. The skin around the scars was pink and puckered, while the scars themselves were only a little bit lighter than the rest of her body, for which she was grateful. She had feared that they might end up white and silvery, which would have made them far more noticeable. The scars rose above the surface of her arm about a quarter of an inch, forming hard ridges of flesh that looked exactly as if smooth steel rods had been inserted underneath her skin.

Oh, thank author. It would hardly do for one of his playthings to have unsightly markings. What is so damn bad about scars, Chris? Why do all of your characters have a fear of living with marks on them? Are they all hoping to go back to their careers as models? Were they avid tanners? Is it because you’re afraid of living with scars, Chris? If so stop making all your characters share that, okay? It’s starting to get old.

The whole thing just doesn’t fit with the time period. I mean, this is an era where the closest thing to medical care is to have some flower picker rub some crushed leaves on the wound and hope for the best. Infection, amputation and death would be common. Living with scars would be a lot easier that living without an appendage and, again, it’d be a common sight. Nasuada then tries to tell us that she regards the marks with “ambivalence”. Liar, no you don’t. You just told us how you’d been worried about them looking pale and ugly.

She goes on to tell us that, although her father spoke of the tribal customs of her people, she grew up around dwarves and people. She also says that, though she hasn’t master ceremonies that Chris made up on the spot, she did win the “trial by long knives”. Also, she could have a magician remove the marks but that would somehow invalidate her victory. Then she sighs because her arms will no longer attract the admiring glances of men. Oh? But I thought you regarded your scars with ambivalence?

Nasuada asks Orrin what he thinks. He says she should cover herself because it’s unseemly in polite company. He seems to mean that her having bare arms, not the scars, isn’t proper. So now Orrin is a high born Victorian English man? He never complained about her dresses before. Nasuada says no. After all, she wants her underlings to know she’s not afraid to cut them if they get out of hand.

We’re then treated to a description of Orrin while being told he’s matured. Apparently he no longer plays around in his “lab” and talk about philosophy. Gee, do you think that was something we could have noticed on our own, Chris? Oh, and then she wonders if she could live married to him and wondering if he’d make a good father even while admitting that she wouldn’t have considered him a match if he weren’t the king of Surda and a possible threat to her power. Yeah, that’s pretty cold.

Orrin says that they might need to break the contract they have with the Urgals. Nasuada says they need them and Orrin says they’re hurting their cause. He says that the citizens are still afraid of them and that there are soldiers who find it easier to fight with the empire because they’re against the Urgals. Right, except for when the Urgals were on the side of the Imperials.

Nasuada says they can’t because if they defeat Gabby they’ll need the Urgals to leave them alone. She says they’ll need peace after a hundred years of strife. Really? A hundred years of strife? You mean conflict that lead to no direct battles because the Varden were hiding out in a mountain range? Yeah, that conflict.

Orrin keeps pushing for her to end their treaty, and Nasuada keeps saying no. Then she notices the “obvious pain in his voice” and asks who it was he lost. And instead of her being wrong for making assumptions, because maybe Orrin just doesn’t like Urgals because he’s racist, he did lose someone. And when I say someone I do mean an anonymous person who even Chris doesn’t know.

Orrin balled up a fist and slowly, haltingly, brought it down upon the windowsill, as if he wanted to pound it with all his strength but did not dare. He thumped the sill twice more, then said, “A friend I grew up with in Borromeo Castle. I don’t think you ever met him. He was one of the lieutenants in my cavalry.”

Nasuada asks how he died. Oh you know, Orrin went out on an away mission with Eragon and Roran and the nameless ensign who promptly stepped into a bear trap and died. Orrin’s story doesn’t really add anything to his character and Nasuada says he can’t let anger rule him and blah blah blah. Also, she’s not sending the Urgals away. Then it’s time for more non sequitur theater.

Orrin accepted the news with an equanimity that unsettled her. Then he gripped the sill with both hands and returned to his study of the city. Adorning his fingers were four large rings, one of which bore the royal seal of Surda carved into the face of an amethyst: an antlered stag with sprigs of mistletoe wound between his feet standing over a harp and opposite an image of a tall, fortified tower.

Right. Is now really the best time to be talking about jewelry, Chris? What does that add to our experience again? Oh right, you don’t know. You just copy from all the adults who write and pretend you’re a big boy.

Now Nasauda and Orrin talk about the “soldiers that are enchanted to not feel pain”, as Nasuada puts it. Or the “laughing dead” as Orrin calls them. Both are the worst possible ways to refer to them. Then Orrin asks if they’ve found a way to break the magic oaths yet and Nasuada says no.

They babble on about having to leave guards behind to watch the few people they’ve captured. Nasuada complains about how Gabby made all the soldiers, nobles and random people swear the oaths. Which still doesn’t make sense. Wouldn’t swearing an oath in the “ancient language” require someone to use magic? I mean, it’s a magic bond, after all. Or do they need a magician present to make it happen? And why would Gabby make random people swear to him? Probably because he’s “mad”.

They talk about the dwarves coming and whether or not they’ll avoid Dras Leona. Nasuada decides to try and comfort Orrin because she thinks his confidence is shaky. So she tells him they really can’t do much but accept their fate because worrying will let Gabby control them or something. Wow, it’s like Nasauda has all the wisdom of daytime TV at her disposal after being filtered through a self-help book.

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1 Response to Inheritance Chapter 8

  1. …Can we pretend the Ra’zac are back?
    ‘Cuz that would make this story a lot less boring.

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