Inheritance Chapter 23

This chapter is called “Thardsvergûndnzmal”. So Chris heard someone sneeze while trying to describe their hiccups and said ‘yeah, that sounds like a word that belongs in my elf gibberish’. I would have thought Chris finally learned that funky symbols don’t make a word any more interesting. But it’s amazing how wrong I can be when judging his stupidity. It’s like he creates an intellectual illusion that makes it hard to gauge just how deep he really is.

Anywho, we’re back with Eragon now and it’s a good thing too. After the last chapter we spent with him, I figure that Eragon and Murtagh will have a showdown where they’ll actually work out some of their conflict. Maybe Eragon will find a way to free Murtagh or maybe they’ll reveal something deeper about themselves. It could be a chance for some real character growth…

Ok, you knew I was screwing with you when I said character development, didn’t you? That’s why you won’t stop laughing. Instead of that, we’re treated to Eragon and Saphira sitting down by the lake. Saphira’s staring at her reflection and whining about losing a scale. Eragon says she looks fine and that it’ll probably grow back. Saphira says she doesn’t know because she’s never lost one before.

Wow, that’s so stupid it hurts. I mean, I can’t claim to be an expert on dragon biology but if she’s got scales I’m going to assume she has lizard like skin, so no pores or hair follicles but her skin would have to grow with her so it couldn’t be made of interlocking plates unless she shed them. Therefore she’d have to lose a scale or two regularly, especially when she was growing up. Otherwise she’d have a solid layer of skin like an iguana or snake that would shed it all at once. If that were the case then losing a “scale” would be more like having a chunk taken out of her.

But, none of that matters. Probably due to magic or unicorn tears or something. Saphira obsesses about it like a teen over her zit in a sitcom and it goes on so long I had to check the title and make sure it hadn’t become a parody. Saphira wonders if the dwarves could make a little metal patch to go over it, Eragon says that’d be ridiculous and offers to magic it safe instead.

Once she’s good and safe, not that Eragon really cares, he rides her back into camp. He glances over at Thorn who’s just laying atop the city wall with one eye on the entrance. Huh, so the bad guys would rather not fight. Here I thought they would kill at the drop of a hat because they’re evil. I guess they’re the flexible villains which do whatever is convenient for the protagonists.

Apparently everyone is moving slowly except for some feral dogs. Eragon says some of the dogs have scratches on them which they got for screwing with the werecats. Which still doesn’t make any sense, Chris. If werecats are stronger or faster than regular cats you need to explain this now. Otherwise they’re just regular cats that are as smart as anyone else in the book. Then he complains about how long the siege is taking.

If only Murtagh and Thorn would leave, thought Eragon. They wouldn’t have to be gone for more than a day for us to capture the city .

Gee, if only Galbatorix would step out in front of a stampede and die. Why should the bad guys make things easy on you, Eragon? You’re the jackass with the huge, invincible army full of werecats and elves and dwarves. At this point Murtagh has Thorn, himself and a bunch of people who thought that cutting body parts off would be brilliant. I’d bet half of them can’t even hold a knife let alone fight. But I’m sure there are some stock Imperials troops finishing up their gestation period in their clone pods. Once they hatch, Murtagh might, maybe, think about attacking.

Apparently Nasuada won’t allow Eragon to fight Murtagh because last time he barely kept him at bay and he was stabbed in the hip. Oh and Murtagh said he’d be stronger next time which Nasuada doesn’t think was the kind of idle boast a jerk might make and he probably has some magic backup from the priests of Dras-Leona. Ya think? So Eragon says the only strategy is to lure Murtagh away but they can’t come up with one that’s too risky.

Hmm, Eragon, do you remember that dwarf bow you got? The one made of Urgal horn that can shoot miles away? Go get that and start firing enchanted arrows at Thorn and hit him in the flank to draw him out. Or, you can start flying away and see if he won’t come after you. If not, maybe he’ll try attacking the camp and you can fly back. Or maybe wait until night and make Saphira and yourself invisible and wait for Murtagh to react then surprise him. I can keep this up all day, Chris.

For once, Chris examines the problems facing the Varden. Apparently they gather supplies from conquered foes and from the land as they go and they’re running out fast. This was an actual problem in medieval times as they hadn’t yet figured out supply trains yet which left armies pretty screwed. The problem is that Eragon says the moment where the Varden will give up instead of starve is fast approaching. So, they can’t find supplies to last even a week? How’d they manage the march there?

Chris meanders a bit and suddenly Eragon focuses on some dwarves arguing. He can’t understand what they’re saying—what, he didn’t learn dwarfish in a few days?—but says it must be important. Then he waves at Katrina who calls him cousin which was the style at the time. And then Saphira and him wander over to a meadow and relax. Maybe next they can have a picnic out there on the lawn in the shadow of the tower? Oh wait, that’s exactly what they do.

After both he and Saphira enjoyed a leisurely lunch—which involved a fair amount of tearing and crunching on Saphira’s part—they retired to the patch of soft, sunlit grass next to Eragon’s tent. By order of Nasuada, the patch was always left open for Saphira’s use, a dictate that the Varden observed with religious zeal.

I don’t think it would take a dictate to keep the space next to Eragon empty. I wouldn’t want to camp within forty yards of him and his pack animal. I’d rather sleep near the tents reserved for the camp whores and latrines than near Eragon. At least then I wouldn’t die a the hands of a magic psychopath.

So Eragon reads some “convoluted sentences” of Helsant the Monk until he can’t stand it. So even Chris’s own characters can’t make much sense of his writing. For those who don’t know, the whole Helsant Monk shtick was from “Domia abr Wyrda” a fake book. Of which, Chris put an excerpt of it in a special edition of Eldest and he’s apparently “expressed interest” in writing the whole thing. It, like everything Chris does, makes no sense.

Once Eragon is done totruring a book, other than this one, he takes a walk and stumbles upon Orik. Remember Orik? He’s the dwarf/adopted brother of Eragon who’s supposed to be good friends with him. I can only imagine why he hasn’t been around very much what with the dwarves being Chris’s favorite race, supposedly. Orik is busy playing in the dirt and we get a hilarious scene where Eragon says he never thought he’d see a dwarf king playing in the mud.

Orik huffed, blowing out his mustache. “And I never thought to have a dragon and a Rider staring at me while I made an Erôthknurl.”

“And what is an Erôthknurl?”

“A thardsvergûndnzmal.”

And of course Orik seems generally annoyed at Eragon’s confusion. I’ve noticed all characters are like that to Eragon. They make every question seem like it’s the stupidest thing they’ve ever heard and yet they treat his dumb suggestions like pearls of wisdom from the heavens. It makes me wonder if that’s not how Chris gets treated by other people. ‘So this…’ ‘Lightswitch.’ ‘Yes, this light-switch. That controls the…?’ ‘Lights.’  ‘Right, got it.’

So Orik explains that he’s making clay dirt balls that’ll dry out and be shiny. And he explains the long, boring process by which this comes about. Eragon asks why and he says it’s because he doesn’t want to do nothing while they wait for the fight to start. And then Orik complains about not being able to just hang out with his fellow dwarves and sing ‘Hi Ho’ or audition for the part of Oompa Loompa number seven.

Eragon’s reaction to this? ‘Well, whadaya gona do?’ Eragon shrugs and so does Orik as they both realize that they can’t learn anything from this or it might result in accidental character growth. I guess the only thing this did was demonstrate that Chris has also heard that it’s lonely at the top. And then Orik starts talking about the clay balls again.

Apparently balls like those are sacred to dwarven culture. They value them and demand that they put time and care into them and they serve as a sign that their god gives them power or something. He also says their god doesn’t look kindly on people who engage in such rituals in a frivolous manner. Then Eragon says that seeing Orik playing in the mud makes him think it’s the answer to a riddle that hasn’t been written yet.

Blah blah blah, Eragon asks Orik about the dwarf who opposed him in the elections. He’s apparently drinking himself to death and living powerlessly. Orik then says Eragon is a good person for not getting caught up in other people’s schemes. I’d say Eragon doesn’t engage in schemes for the same reason a duck doesn’t hunt moose. They end their conversation by saying they’ll look after each other because they’re foster brothers.

“After all, we’re foster brothers, aren’t we? And brothers ought to watch each other’s backs.”

That they should, thought Eragon, though he did not say it out loud. “Foster brothers,” he agreed, and clapped Orik on the shoulder.

Wow, that’s amazing. It’s like I can feel the camaraderie leaking out of this scene. I’ve seen more authentic affection between welding robots and the cars they build.

This entry was posted in Inheritance, Recap, Spork and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Inheritance Chapter 23

  1. That working-with-wet-balls-of-clay thing is a real life thing in Japan, I think. It was on Mythbusters. Adam did it with some poo.

    Paolini’s name for it is still retarded.

    • vivisector says:

      That Mythbusters was them trying to polish turds. But I could see Chris borrowing from real life just as he did with the sword smithing. I’d wager this will have even less to do with the plot though.

  2. Mangraa says:

    Yep, stolen, er, “inspired by” a Japanese art called dorodango.

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