Inheritance Chapter 53

This chapter is called “a question of character”. Which means it should be a short one seeing how Eragon doesn’t have any.

So rejoin Eragon and right off his foot is slipping on mud and he falls onto the grass with “brutal suddenness”. Great, now all I can think about is Metalocolypse. He winces because his hip hurts and is sure there’s going to be a bruise. Which is odd for two reasons. One, the ground is wet and presumably soft if he can slip. Two, Eragon can heal himself so what’s a little bruise mean to him?

Eragon thinks it’s a good thing he didn’t fall on Brisingr and gets back up. They’re apparently camping inside some building for the moment. Eragon sees some frogs that have an anglerfish mutation and some of them are huge and Chris spare no expense at their description. He says they remind him of Angela and wishes she were there because she’d know their true names.  They decided to hang out for three days while they try and puzzle it out though they’re not sure.

He and Saphira had decided to trust Solembum and stay on Vroengard for another three days at most while they tried to discover their true names. Glaedr had left the decision up to them; he said, You know Solembum better than I do. Stay or do not. Either way, the risk is great. There are no more safe paths.

That all sounds an awful lot like ‘Do, or do not. There is no try.’ doesn’t it? But at this point I’ve been buried in Chris’s hack prose for so long I could just be barking at shadows. Saphira says that the werecats would never serve Gabby because they value their freedom too much. That’s the thing, Saphira. They don’t know who they serve so it could be Gabby. The beauty of mixing subterfuge with magic is that you can do some really evil things and no one would notice.

So they sit around trying to figure out their true names for a day. Glaedr stays out of it and says he’ll tell them if he comes up with it but otherwise he leaves Saphira and Eragon alone. Blah blah blah, Eragon hopes to learn it because he hopes it’ll help him control his thoughts and feelings but he’s scared blah blah. Also, he wants to figure out his own because it would be embarrassing for Saphira or Glaedr to know it first. Oh, don’t worry, Eragon. There’s no way your author would ever give someone else power over you.

Let’s see, Eragon enters the building and it gets described. Everything from the pattern in the floors to the requisite ivy growing through the one collapsed wall and even the puddles of moisture that are dripping from the ivy onto the floor. This way the fans have all sorts of details to fill in on their wiki. Oh, and apparently they bothered moving a large circle of stones to protect their camp inside the building.

I’m betting Chris thought that was being pragmatic but it just sounds stupid. Now I’d mention that if I were trying to show my character procrastinating as people are do when faced with an unpleasant task. Eragon hops over one of the rocks, which is six feet tall, and lands inside near Saphira.

Then Chris decides to start telling us about their characters, because why learn from past mistakes. Saphira had a hard time overcoming her vanity but that’s it. Whereas even the normally perfect Eragon has to overcome his arrogance—which he only sometimes displays apparently—and the feelings having to do with killing along with a short list of small character flaws Chris has never acknowledged. They examine themselves, still can’t find their TrueNames™ and Eragon whines that he doesn’t know how they’ll defeat Gabby.

He swore under his breath and surreptitiously punched a fist against the floor.

Hey Eragon, try punching the floor with your face and let me know how that works out. Words fail me on this one. I have written many stupid things in my time, things so silly that they are best banished to the bin of forgotten words and never have I ever been so redundant as Chris or Otis. And sure that’s an easy mistake to make when you’re busy writing, fine. He still should have caught it in revision as should the editor. Who the hell approved this, George Lucas?

Glaedr tells him to be calm and Eragon asks how. Glaedr ignores the question and tells him that it’s easy to be calm when there’s nothing to worry about but it’s hard to be calm “in a trying situation”. Uh, duh? Does that even need to be said? And the real challenge, Chris, is not staying calm in times of stress but dealing with it. Glaedr says Eragon must clear his mind and other Yoda platitudes filtered through the lens of fantasy. Glaedr says he must trust his experience in this matter and Eragon says ok.

Then Eragon goes and gets a bowl and fills it with water which he uses to scry Roran. Why he needed the bowl when he could have used the puddle he filled the thing from, I don’t know. I guess Eragon isn’t used to the idea of HD scrying just yet. So he sees Roran and Solembum and Jörmundur just to make sure they’re all safe I guess.

After that pointless intermission, Eragon goes back to failing to discover his TrueName™. Eragon then tells us he knows why he can’t find it he just doesn’t know how to remedy that. Why don’t you ask someone who hates you? They’d probably be able to list your faults and help you examine yourself. Especially if you let them beat you in return for the favor.

Now Eragon thinks about those robed people and how he hasn’t seen them since. Then he stares at the floor and describes it and then the rain. Oh, and he’s hungry but decides not to eat until he knows his TrueName™. Well, Chris, this little diversion has been fun but I think I’m going to call it a night. You let me know when your little book gets back on track, will you?

Having given up as quickly as he ever does, Eragon gets ready to go to sleep. Then Saphira growls and slaps the ground which “alarms” Eragon. Saphira says her TrueName™, breathes fire at the ceiling and then glows. I guess discovering that is akin to undergoing a class change/level up. Eragon says it’s majestic and sad because it names her as the last female of her kind. Does that mean her TrueName™ will change when there are more dragons running around?

So everyone tells Saphira “grats” on her newest achievement—that’s worth 5 gamerscore or a bronze trophy, depending on your preference—and Eragon pets her. And then he cries because he’s lucky to have bonded with the last dragon. They talk about what she learned and Eragon is slightly bitter because he can’t claim to be the first. So Eragon sits by the fire thinking until around midnight.

And I may have doubted the influence of outside media on Chris before but now we’re offered a clear case in my favor. Eragon decides to go for a walk and Glaedr stops him and tells him to leave his weapons and armor. Eragon asks why and Glaedr says whatever is out there he must face it alone. So Eragon leaves his magic sword and mail behind. This leaves Eragon with only his magic, complete with words of killing, at his disposal. Yeah, Eragon is really chancing it by heading outside without his sword. So I guess leaving his sword behind is one difference between Eragon and Luke, you got me Chris.

So Eragon runs around asking himself who he is, then stops at a courtyard. Once there, he decides to show off his strength by clearing the place of large rocks. Great, first he sits around and now does make-work. I can see why the fans love Chris so much. He offers them glimpses of things that they couldn’t do on their own, like move rocks and talk to people.

Then Chris decides to spice up the scene by having a snalglí show up. Eragon sees it moving at him at a “startling speed”. I’d think after having seen these before, Eragon wouldn’t have been so surprised by its speed. Now if it started puking poodles at him, that would be startling. So Eragon warns it and then they engage in a standoff. It hisses at him, he taunts it and then it charges. He jumps out of the way and says it’s not too bright.

They do that over and over until the snail tires and leaves.  Then Eragon decides that there’s a pillar he really wants to climb. So he uses a convenient vine to climb the three hundred feet up. Why he didn’t just use magic to fly up there, as he’s done previously, I have no idea. Once he’s at the top, he assumes the clichéd meditation pose, crossed legs and upward palms on his knees, and looks at the city.

Did you know the city was massive? It’s gigantic, perhaps even a little gargantuan in stature. Why, it’s almost big-like. Stop hammering that point home, Chris! We get it, Vroengard is a big place and it’s full of wondrous things. Eragon is hit by the realization that the local frogs are called angler frogs. What a simple name that makes perfect sense and translates into English without problems. Will Eragon’s name be like that?

Eragon meditates and we’re spared no detail on how his breathing slows down etc. Eragon looks at all his failures but isn’t bother by any of it—project much, Chris?—as he accepts everything. He, like Po, has found inner peace. He watches some Copperfield Owls land nearby. They stare at him and he stares back and they leave without incident. I can really feel the tension now. Then Eragon asks himself what he wants.

The obvious answer, to Eragon, is that he wants to overthrow Gabby. I’d say the obvious answer is to crush his enemies, to see them driven before him, and to hear the lamentations of their women. But Eragon thinks about home and how he no longer wants to go back there and they’ve got obligations and friends among other races. Then he wonders what they’d do with themselves and he says their destiny is to be a driving force of history, not sit in front of a fire and grow fat. Eragon voices the truth that he doesn’t want to go back and realizes he’s not the same as he was. Yes, you’ve got elf DNA in you now, Eragon.

So Eragon picks the right words and figures out his TrueName™. This makes him happy and he cries yet again. Number of tears shed for the widows and orphans Eragon has undoubtedly left behind; 0. Number of times Eragon has cried tears of joy while marveling at his own dumb luck in this chapter alone; 2. That’s the kind of sociopathic behavior that should make people nervous.

So Eragon feels triumph and jumps off the pillar in joy. Unfortunately for us, he remembers to cast feather fall before he lands. Then he runs off to tell Glaedr all about his newest accomplishment. Maybe now, after tree chapters that were the equivalent of sitting in a waiting room, we can get to the vault of souls.

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2 Responses to Inheritance Chapter 53

  1. Oculus_Reparo says:

    I have to admit, I was disappointed when I found out that we are not told Eragon and Saphira’s true names. Maybe it would have come a little late, but it would have been an opportunity to bring in some personality and tie together what we already know, as well as how Eragon might have changed. Besides, we know how important true names are–and that the process of discovering them can nearly break someone. Sometimes I *don’t* want things left to my imagination, and this was one of those times.

    Also–a big “OH NO HE DIDN”T” to the Star Wars illusion. That’s just a coincidence, right Nobody would have that kind of gall after all the other parallels that have been drawn between Star Wars and their work, right??

    • vivisector says:

      Yes, the truenames would be one of the few times I’d say Chris should have told us. I have a feeling Chris would have butchered it and I suspect he knows it. But at least if he’d had the guts to try it might have turned out alright. And even if it didn’t, he could own the mistake.

      And I think that Chris decided that if he lifted the scene without changing it too much he could just call it a “homage” to Star Wars. If you make it transparent enough people can’t call it theft.

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