So why didn’t the Imperials attack Roran’s forces last chapter? Okay, we’ll pretend they were impressed by Roran’s attitude. Sure, whatever you say Chris. But putting the stupidity aside, why wouldn’t they attack the scattered men?
Let me paint the scenario faced by Tharos and his calvary. They’re sitting inside their walled city, nice and cozy. They’re situated in the middle of a plains, as Roran mentioned there was no cover near their camp, and they watch hundreds of men scatter on foot in different directions. You have horses and spears and these are the guys besieging you. Do you, A: send out a small force of horsmen to run down these disparate groups and weaken your enemy or B: sit inside and hope they’ll just go away?
This chapter is called “my friend, my enemy”. Gee, does that mean Roran will be betrayed by someone? I can only hope so. Or maybe Tharos is supposed to have become friends with Roran in the brief time they met but they’re still enemies. Either way, Roran is worried.
That night, Roran’s sleep was shallow and troubled. It was impossible for him to entirely relax, knowing the importance of the upcoming battle and that he might very well be wounded during the fighting, as he often had been before. Those two thoughts caused a line of vibrating tension to form between his head and the base of his spine, a line that pulled him out of his dark, weird dreams at regular intervals.
Thanks for being specific, Chris. If you hadn’t told me which thoughts were making him tense, I might have ascribed it to a strained back or the camp stew made of week old rabbit. And who the hell feels tension like a line between their head and spine? I’m starting to think that Chris really is a robot and he’s trying to mix emotions with his own design.
‘Hey Chris? We need to go over some parts of your book.’ ‘Okay.’ ‘Let’s see. “Roran felt the sadness weigh heavily on his joints which were only rated to a ton.” For example. Do you see anything wrong with that?’ ‘No.’ ‘Alright, how about “his muscles strained like a thousand whirring servos buried beneath the Kevlar layer he called skin”. Does that set off any alarms?’ ‘No, my alarms are set off by fire and radiation, not prose.’ ‘Okay, Chris. I’m just going to come out and say it. Robot terminology doesn’t fit in a medieval setting.’ ‘Acknowledged. Error will be corrected in the next firmware update.’ ‘Good. I’m glad we had this chat.’
Roran wakes up late at night/early in the morning because he’s out of sorts. The camp is really quiet and Roran continues to feel tense until he sees a black gloved hand pawing blindly at his tent flap. Instead of calling out, he grabs a dagger and curls up and waits while the assassin fumbles with the string that keeps the tent closed.
Alright, so we at least have a scene that’s lead from one moment to another in a believable way. Points to whoever Chris was copying off of when he did this. But this assassin is pretty crappy. They wear all black which stands out at night and they’re being clumsy. Why not just cut the damn thing? It’d be faster and make them soon to be attacker more sinister. Unless he’s not a killer and this whole scene is just a red herring. The man comes in and Roran waits until he’s close. Then Roran throws his blankets at the man who shouts to wait because he’s a friend.
“Wait!” cried the man. Surprised, Roran stayed his hand, and the two of them crashed to the ground together. “Friend! I’m a friend!”
Then Roran feels pain in the kidneys. Keep hitting him there! Try punching his eye socket so he bleeds into his eye, then he won’t be able to see. Oh and jab him in the balls so he can’t have any breed any more. I can’t be the only one cheering this nameless attacker.
There’s a struggle that brings the tent down on them and still Roran and Friend manage to find each other. Roran grabs the man and holds him while asking who he is. The man says he is Roran’s friend again and I’m not disagreeing here. Maybe he’s just trying to let Roran bow out of the story heroically. More likely he’s just been enchanted to keep say “don’t run, we are your friends” like the aliens from a certain movie. Then Roran knocks him down and stabs the man over and over. So long nameless hero, you’ll be missed.
Roran managed to stab the man right in the heart, good aim for a man covered in tent fabric, so he sits there feeling the man’s heart shred itself around the blade until it stops. Roran then asks why and who he was. Inexplicably, the man who no longer possesses a pulse can talk and he says he almost killed Roran. Then other people show up, because the rules state that anyone who could help must not until you’ve taken care of the problem single handedly.
People began to pull at the fabric resting on top of him. “Get it off me!” Roran shouted, and lashed out with his left arm, unable to bear any longer the oppressive weight of the wool, and the darkness, and the cramped space, and the stifling air.
Oh no! My sudden onset claustrophobia which didn’t affect me while fighting has suddenly kicked in! Three people Roran knows and “ten soldiers” are there. What brand of soldiers, Chris? Imperials, Varden or other?
Roran stares at the body once they find it and Baldor keeps yelling for Roran’s attention. Then he asks if anyone’s been attacked. A couple of guys bring the body of the messenger from earlier and there’s much wailing and lamenting of how someone so young didn’t deserve to die by a sneaking coward. Oh the humanity, war is hell, honk if you’re horny.
Carn then comes over and tells Roran to sit down while yelling for some bandages and fresh water. He points at the cut on Roran’s chest and says that looks like a serious wound. Roran had mentioned feeling a slash barely touch him but now is the first we’re really hearing about it. Roran looks down and can see his fat and muscles through the gash and still he can’t feel anything.
Accustomed as he was to the horrific damage that swords, spears, and other weapons could wreak on flesh and bone, Roran still found the sight unnerving. He had suffered numerous injuries in the course of fighting the Empire—most notably when one of the Ra’zac had bitten his right shoulder during their capture of Katrina in Carvahall—but never before had he received such a large or uncanny wound.
Just unnerving? Is Roran supposed to be possessed of that characteristic British understatement? Because if he is, it’s really not coming across Chris. Personally, I’d be panicking if I could see my own musculature and it didn’t hurt. Carn tells him not to pass out because it’ll be more difficult then. How and unconscious person makes healing more difficult, I don’t know. I’ve noticed doctors tend to prefer operating on people that don’t move a lot but I guess Chris’s magicians are the opposite. They want you to do laps around your tent while they try to reattach your arm.
Carn gives Roran a breathing exercise to calm him which works right off. Because there’s no better time to learn meditation that when you have a gaping chest wound. Suddenly, blood starts shooting Carn in the face and Roran says now it hurts. Carn sits Roran down and shoves a thing of lint, yes the stuff you pull out of the dryer trap, against the wound.
Then Carn tells Roran he has to clean the wound before he can heal it. Why? I thought healing magic healed everything? Does it fail to prevent infection? Why hasn’t Eragon gotten sick then? However magic healing works, Roran wants a stick to bite on before Carn pours mead over the wound. They give him one and then Carn pours perfectly good drink on Roran, washing out the “hair, gore, and other accumulated filth” from the wound. Maybe some of that filth wouldn’t have been there if they hadn’t used lint as a towel.
Then Carn waves his hands and makes Roran all better. A couple of guys look at Roran with wide eyes. I guess no matter how many times a magician heals someone it always comes as a shock to them. Roran sends Carn to go rest while he screws around for the rest of the night. He gets his dagger back from the dead man and prepares for battle in the cold silence of the night. Then he eats a cold chicken. So much for Carn’s efforts to keep Roran safe from disease. At the very end, he waxes about who decides who lives or dies and what will happen tomorrow and blah blah blah. I hope you drown in a pool of your own spit, Roran.
I have read some of your posts about this fourth book and although I usually thoroughly enjoy a good measure of sarcasm, there is a point where it stops being funny and becomes a plain rant. So, I started wondering if there is ANYTHING in the Eragon series that you like at all? Is there any character not retarded in your view? If there is, I’d really like to know and it’s why I’m writing this comment.
Btw I will agree with you on one point. Roran IS indeed annoying as hell in all of the chapters dedicated to him. Yeah, no sense hiding it – he’s just lame with that hammer of his. However, you also seem to have a problem with everyone else including Eragon and Saphira. Why do you then even bother reading the books if you feel such annoyance about the MAIN characters? Like as if everything they say just proves how retarded they are.
This book indeed sometimes over-explains stuff or some comments are all too obvious, but that’s just because it’s mainly meant for teenagers around 15 yo. I’m 10 years above that age, but I take the target audience into account when reading and therefore don’t try to over-analyse each paragraph as you seem to enjoy though.
So anyway, once again, I’m just curious if and what do you like about the series? 🙂 out of sheer curiosity. Will you also read the fifth book if it gets published?
Best regards from Slovenia
Let me ask you to think about this for a second. What makes a character likable? The short answer is you have to be able to identify with them and none of these characters are more than two or three stock traits. Eragon and Sahpira are the worst offenders and I don’t know how anyone can’t see that. Eragon has no character flaws and everybody loves him which makes him boring. Saphira does nothing but sit around telling us, and him, how great he is. There’s no conflict between any of the characters. The good guys are fighting the bad guys because that’s what they do. On rare occasions Chris tries to explain motivation but it’s feeble and lacking substance. The only character I felt had any depth was Carn and that came from him being a weak magician but making do. But he’s no deeper than a raindrop.
Secondly, the intended audience argument is weak one. There are some cases where the target audience matters but it doesn’t apply here. This is because the “Young Adult” literature is horse shit. Writing a book devoid of substance and style and then marketing at teenagers is insulting to teenagers. That’s about the age that they should be tackling the same books as adults. Treating them like slightly smarter children leaves them ill prepared to deal with harder literature and doesn’t challenge their mind. The kind of kids that are still reading, on their own mind you, quickly become connoisseurs of literature and start noticing when they’re being talked down to by authors.
And based on the subject matter Chris touches on, this book/series is not intended for young adults. It might be intended to have broad appeal as he shows an aversion to some matters but it’s fare for a general audience. But even assuming it was aimed at that short lived demographic as the reading youth, that doesn’t mean it has to be bland and toothless. Harry Potter is the best example here. It was marketed towards children but the story and characters are engaging enough to be enjoyed by adults. It’s like Pixar movies, they may be targeted to kids but they aren’t lacking in story.
And I don’t over analyze this thing. I simply read it and scribble down whatever leaps out as the most offensive in the chapter. The few times I’ve gone back over a chapter I see more than I did the first time. If I wrote out everything that made this story bad, it would make a book larger than the brick it’d be based on.
That’s perhaps the one thing I take away form this series. Note, I didn’t say like because there is nothing I like about this series. See, I’ve learned from this. By looking at how these books don’t work, I’ve begun to see common mistakes and how they affect a story. When something’s bad, it’s important to find out why because only then can we learn how to avoid repeating the mistake. I could just write it off as terrible because it sucks but no one would learn anything, least of all me. That’s the same reason I think all aspiring movie directors need to watch bad movies like Troll 2. It teaches you what not to do.
And yes, in two plus years when Paolini writes another book, I’ll savage it too even if it’s only for my own pleasure.