This chapter is called “interregnum”. Was your thesaurus getting uppity with you Chris? Maybe it mouthed off and said you’re not a good writer and all you do is use it so you had to smack it around a bit.
We’re still with Roran who remains as interesting and articulate as a sack of potatoes. Well, excluding a five pound bad of Idaho’s finest russets, those won’t ever shut up. Hey, Chris? I know that I’m a hack and I’m addressing someone who gets paid to wipe the crack of their brain with stationary which goes to publication, but your chapter shouldn’t start off like this.
Roran sat hunched over the edge of the table, toying with a jewel-encrusted goblet that he stared at without interest.
Well I sat hunched over my desk, reading a book without interest when I wrote this. What’s funny is the next paragraph is actually serviceable as is the one that follows it. Chris just should have dropped that first line altogether or shoved it in as an afterthought. I guess that could be his style, the dull, disinterested prose that makes you want to get out and do something else like aerate the lawn with a straw.
Rather than get down to telling the part of the story that fits in this chapter, Chris continues to waste our time. Though I probably don’t need to say that anymore. It’s like saying that the sun is bright or that gravity keeps you down, it’s just an immutable fact. How does he waste paper this time? By telling us wine stings Roran when it touches the split in his lip.
Roran is sitting by the phone, I mean mirror, waiting for a call from Nasuada. I have to wonder why Gabby isn’t using one of these. I mean, give a single, weak magician one of these Palantirs, I mean have them use a mirror to report back and have them spy on the Varden? They wouldn’t even have to be planted high up. Just have them work in the stables or so and check in every night with an update on troop movements. Then ol’ Gabs can plan out a sneak attack or ambush. Anywho, Roran sits and waits.
* * *
Yes, the asterisks, they’re actually little stars from the looks of things, are part of the story. It’s a stylish way of inserting an ellipsis which I’m pretty sure is a coded way of telling us all to go to hell. Though it’s better than Otis’s month pages from New Moon.
Late that night, the mirror shimmered like a rippling pool of quicksilver, causing Roran to blink and gaze at it through bleary, half-closed eyes.
Okay, first things first. Why didn’t Roran nap in his seat and wait for Nasuada to wake him up? Even better, why not have a servant, or squire or whoever the hell they have complete menial tasks, wait by the mirror while he slept on a cot? I’m pretty sure Nasuada would understand and it’s not like he shouldn’t have some pull after he managed to take a city. But this exchange offer some of the funniest dialogue Chris has ever written.
“Roran,” she said by way of greeting, her voice clear and strong.
“Lady Nasuada.” He straightened off the table as far as he dared, which was only a few inches.
“Have you been captured?”
I think I’ll borrow a page from the gilded age and guffaw politely into my handkerchief. ‘Good morning, Alice.’ ‘Afternoon, Ted.’ ‘Now, this may be a stupid question and pardon my asking, but were you captured last night?’ ‘No.’ ‘Are you certain?’ ‘Well, I don’t think my captors would allow me to talk with you if I was, do you?’ ‘Maybe. They are crafty bastards. Why I was captured just yesterday.’ ‘That was you getting tangled in your bed sheets.’ ‘Nay! ‘twas the work of nefarious assassins!’
Somehow, Nasuada figures out that Carn is dead. She says it’s sad because they need all the spell casters they can get. I say it’s sad because he was the closest thing to a likable character in the whole series. Nasuada asks if the city is theirs and Roran says yes. Then Roran fills her in on the details and, here’s a shocker, Chris skips the bulk of the details. He still touches on the salient moments though, which was beyond unnecessary. Still, it’s improvement and it gave me the shivers.
Roran mentions that he got shot in the back by an arrow. Though I picture him as that guy who starts bragging at the drop of a hat. ‘Yeah, Happy Feet was a great movie. It reminds me of the time I got shot in the back.’ ‘Oh shut up already, Bob. It was a BB gun and you didn’t even bleed.’ Nasuada then marvels that he’s still awake and able to talk to her. That must mean people from Carphall are made of “stern stuff”. Let us know when you’re done patting him on the head, Nasuada. You’ve got a war to lead, after all.
So then he explains the surrender of the Imperials and capturing Halstead. And being as we weren’t there for Halstead’s downfall we get the play by play from Roran which carries the same impact as pillow thrown by a hummingbird. They tried to smoke them out but Halstead and his daughter suffocated to death. This left Tharos in charge who they captured and brought before Roran in order to stroke his ego.
“How have you done this?!” Tharos had demanded in response, the sound of despair ringing in his voice. “The city was impregnable. None but a dragon could have broken our walls. And yet look what you wrought. You are something other than human, something other than …” And he had fallen silent, unable to speak any longer.
I’m starting to think that Chris is a very insecure prick and that one day he’s going to capture me and tie me to a wheelchair, a la Red Dragon, and force me to look at passages in his books. ‘Roran is awesome and brilliant. Do you see!?’ ‘What?’ ‘Eragon is a kind and wonderful hero. Do you see!?’ ‘Yes! Whatever you say!’ ‘Good. I shall now read you some of my poetry written in my made up elf language.’ ‘Noooooo!’
Apparently Tharos is the son of Halstead and that means his sister died in the Varden’s attempted smoke out. Tharos swears to kill Roran but Roran says that someone else is first in line. Then he says Tharos makes a good envoy but they can’t tell who’s sworn to Gabby. I’d think you could come up with a simple test for that, like asking them to swear allegiance to someone else, would probably give you an idea. But Nasuada is sending a new magician to Roran so it’s all good.
Nasuada asks if Roran’s men are doing bad things like pillaging or taking advantage of the locals. Why of course not, they’re part of the Varden? Didn’t you know, Nasuada, that means you’re made of rainbows and friendship and, when you burp, a dozen butterflies are released from your mouth. Roran says there’s too few of them to cause any trouble and she wants to know how many casualties they suffered.
“A mixed blessing, I suppose.… How many casualties did you suffer during the attack?”
Wow, so exactly forty two, eh? And Nasuada doesn’t ask for clarification or anything, which is weird. Last I checked casualty can mean wounded or dead. I think Nasuada is just assuming that they’re all dead for the same reason I am. Because Roran is an incompetent prick.
Roran has some spasms and then demands that he be allowed to come back. Nasuada says he’s in no condition and he says that he won’t leave Katrina and their spawn alone less than a mile away from Murtagh. I take it that means Murtagh and Eragon didn’t fight or anything. I guess the Varden came up to Dras-Leona, say Murtagh and decided they’d rather have a glare-off.
Nasuada wants to know who Roran would leave in his place. Roran says Brigman and Nasuada is shocked. I don’t know why, really. He is one of four other people in the camp that has a name. Nasuada agree because she can’t tell a protagonist no and says she didn’t expect him to succeed.
Roran then asks why she sent him and her answer is basically because he’s awesome. Yes, Chris, we get it. You really, really like Roran too. Save the praise for an epilogue or don’t. She tells him that he’s done well and to get some rest. Roran asks how the siege of Dras-Leona goes and she says not well.
She stared at him, her expression flat. “Badly. And it shows no signs of improving. We could use you here, Stronghammer. If we don’t find a way to bring this situation to an end, and soon, everything we have fought for will be lost.”
Yeah, a single non magical guy like Roran would make all the difference. I’m pretty sure the big obstacle in the siege of Dras-Leona is the sub boss and his dragon. I don’t think a quarter baked plan devised by an idiot farm boy is going to cut it this time. But I’m sure I’ll be wrong.
Twenty bucks says PaoPao chuckled and Pat himself on the back when he wrote forty-two casualties. “I haz clevar!” He then went to experiment with that “thing” that happens to his body when writing about Arya.