This chapter is called “a crown of ice and snow”. Well, I would have settled for a crown made out of either but both? Now you’re just getting flamboyant. We rejoin Eragon now who’s not busy falling in love with his torturer.
When the first pale rays of light streaked across the surface of the dimpled sea, illuminating the crests of the translucent waves—which glittered as if carved from crystal—then Eragon roused himself from his waking dreams and looked to the northwest, curious to see what the light revealed of the clouds building in the distance.
Purple, pointless and it features Eragon waking up, how refreshing. And here I thought Chris had forgotten his roots. I’m also still curious how Eragon has waking dreams. Does that mean he’s actually awake? Because if that’s the case, why does he lay down to sleep? Why not just enter that meditative state while riding around on Saphira? I think he’d get a lot more done that way.
So they look at the horizon and see that there are clouds. Good job, Eragon, you get a cookie. They decide that they’re too high for Saphira to fly over so they’re going to have to fly through them. I thought this was established the last time we had the misfortune of spending time with Eragon. They said that there wasn’t any time to waste so they had best just dive into the storm and hope their plucky youthful energy sees them through.
And so they first bicker about flying there because we all know how exciting it is when the characters just stop and start discussing things. I wish they were arguing because at least then there would be conflict. Instead they’re just calmly discussing distance and weather patterns like it’s really just one person talking to himself. Glaedr says there’s lots of wind and Saphira says it isn’t that far. ‘Don’t worry. I’m sure that the place I’ve never been to or even heard of until yesterday can’t be that far away.’ Glaedr says she could get tired and she says he can just lend his energy to her and he says ok.
Wow, for a moment I thought the expedition to Vroengard was in serious jeopardy. They take off and fly into the clouds while Eragon roots around his pack for food and tells us about how hungry he isn’t and that eating a large meal while riding on Saphira makes him queasy. Then he starts telling us how nervous he is being so far away from land.
For a second, Eragon imagines drowning and then realizes he could just magic himself so he could go into the ocean. He decides that there’s nothing down there for him because who in the hell wants to explore things? It’s probably all boring and full of really stupid fish that can’t use magic and are nothing like elves. Gee Chris, why don’t you just rivet me to the seat.
They finally get near the storm and Saphira runs into a headwind. This doesn’t slow her down much yet but she decides to land in the water. Eragon watches a pair of albatrosses fly away from the storm. Eragon says they would leave if they were smart and Saphira says they’d leave Alagaёsia if they were really smart. Is that supposed to be foreshadowing or just plain retarded? The bob along in the water like tourists and splash in the water. Then Glaedr panics and tells them to take off now.
Apparently some large sea creature is coming up at them. Which would mean all Saphira has to do is fly in some other direction instead of climbing upwards in a spiral. The critter misses and falls back into the ocean and Glaedr tells us it’s a Nidhwal which is related to dragons and they even had a sort of eldunari. Oh, and they’re not often talked about which is why we’ve never heard of them until recently in spite of the time Roran spent sailing a couple books again.
Chris tries to hand wave their sudden appearance by having Eragon ask Glaedr why he wasn’t told about it. Glaedr says there’s lots they didn’t teach him about so let’s all try and act surprised when more creatures and legends get pulled out of thin air. Glaedr says if they shut up and survive until the next week he’ll tell them about every species and race he knows about. They agree and get down to the business of flying into the storm.
So they fly through the storm and it’s pretty boring. There’s wind and swooping and blah blah blah. Glaedr, calmly, reminds her how to fly in inclement weather which calms Saphira and Eragon down. After two hours they still haven’t quite gotten through the storm and Glaedr says they need to turn because she can’t keep going west.
So she turns and quickly after they find themselves in the eye of the storm. Not being a meteorologist I can’t say for sure if a tempest has an eye or not. I’m pretty sure that’s reserved for cyclonic storms like hurricanes and tornados. But sure, for dramatic effect they find the gooey, calm center of the chocolate rain.
They can’t see anything but Saphira hasn’t lost her sense of direction. Eragon scans for life forms and then casts a spell that Oromis taught him which told him exactly how far from the water, or ground, they were at any moment. How very, very convenient. Does Eragon have any other magical instruments of flying besides an altimeter like a fuel gauge or maybe an inclinometer? How about a transponder so the control tower can track Saphira’s movements?
Glaedr says they haven’t seen the worst of it yet. Maybe he should share exactly how he’s getting all his weather updates with everyone. A sudden updraft throws Saphira up into the air and her wings begin to ice up. She freezes to death and they crash into the water below. As a final humiliation they’re eaten by the Nidhwal in one bite and never heard from again. And there was much rejoicing throughout Alagaёsia.
Or Saphira dives back down. Eragon complains about all the thunder and lightning and rips a couple pieces off of his cloak to stuff in his ears. Why? Didn’t Oromis have a spell you could use to muffle noises?
More wind tossing Saphira around, more lightning and thunder and more wind. Glaedr gives her some energy but she’s definitely getting tired. Then Eragon pitches in as well until it’s clear it’s not working. Then Glaedr says Eragon has to extend his spell of warmth to both Spahira and him otherwise she’ll freeze to death and Glaedr will crack apart. I didn’t know the Eldunari were quite so fragile. They fly really high, pushed by the wind and just kind of hang out.
Finally things get quiet which means the chapter is almost over. I mean, the storm, it’s the storm that’s almost over. Eragon’s magic is draining him and he feels his body growing cold as it drains his life force. Oh no, Eragon is in peril…for a half second until Glaedr shares some of his with Eragon. Then they flaot above the storm and Eragon marvels at all the stars. No one cares, Chris. Oh and now Eragon makes a discovery of epic proportions.
“The world is round,” he whispered. “The sky is hollow and the world is round.”
Whoa, there. You just blew my mind. I hate to be the soggy napkin thrown in your lap by the angry waiter, Chris. But people in medieval times understood that the earth was round. That was old news, like before the Roman empire old. I would have expected that the elves, being smarter than everyone, would have already knew this. But Eragon gets to be the great discoverer as well as savior.
So it would appear, Glaedr said, but he seemed equally impressed. I heard tell of this from a wild
dragon, but I never thought to see it myself .
Interesting. Because the theory of a round earth seems to have been proposed to explain how you couldn’t see the same stars in the sky if you went far enough north or south. I’d think a race who supposedly studied the world, like the elves, would have noticed that. Though, to be fair, they don’t like to leave their wooded corner of Alagaёsia for fear of catching human diseases.
Eragon thinks about how far his mind has been expanded and how maybe everyone would just get along if they knew what he does. Glaedr says you can’t “make wolves into sheep” and that settles that. Oh, and he wondered if they could fly to the moon if they had enough magic and Glaedr supposes so.
Hours later, after the sun has come back up, they’re just gliding along and Glaedr notices the island. How he did this before either of them while lacking eyes is a beautiful mystery. They look over and the description says the island is very pretty what with clouds ringing the mountain/volcano. And then a couple of guys in white suits start waving at them from the beach and welcome them to Stock Fantasy Island. I just hope the next chapter isn’t taken up by them landing.
A NIDHWAL? Is that a narwhal covered in nits, with the nits subsequently spelled with a d?
Maybe he was trying to sound realistic by making this name so similar to an actual animal’s name, but this just made me amused/annoyed.
It does sound like a fictional version of a Narwhal, like something that would show up in Skyrim. ‘Watch out for the Nidhwals if you go near Smuggler’s Grotto.’ Marker added to map.
Man, I wanna ride a Nidwhal now. Cast a spell to make a bubble of well-oxygenated properly pressurized air, maybe a Lumos-type spell, and have it dive me down to the bottom of the ocean. We’d check out all the anglerfish and tubifex worms and all the bioluminescent life.
And then out of the water, I’d ride around on a Lethrblaka, from one of those Ra’zac eggs I took from the cult forever ago. Ride it all over the continent, maybe take a peek above the cloud line. Ride all the way to Orange County and have a vacation.
Maybe I just want to ride something from this story that isn’t a frikkin dragon. Like I want to stick it to Paolini, be all “your dragons are boring and preachy”.
I’d ride a Fire Mare from Krull well before one of Chris’s irritating dragons. Of course, I’d rather lash hamsters to my body and hope their tiny legs could carry me rather than ride one of Chris’s dragons.