So when last we left our hero, Brom had sent him off to almost certain death by insisting that he walk home… alone… with creepy people on the lookout for him. Given that Brom is the Ben Kenobi of this series, that doesn’t sound promising.
Eragon’s mind churned as he sped on his way.
He ran as fast as he could, refusing to stop even when his breath came in great gasps. As he pounded down the cold road, he cast out with his mind for Saphira, but she was too far away for him to contact.
What the hell is the point of a dragon if it’s conveniently out of reach whenever Vague Minions of Evil are coming after you? It’s like having a submachine gun that you keep in a box in your basement – in all probability if you need it, it won’t be there!
He thought about what to say to Garrow. There was no choice now; he would have to reveal Saphira.
“Hey Uncle, I know you’re sad about Roran leaving and stuff, but I have something even better – a sparkly dragon!”
Seriously, I’m not entirely sure why he suddenly thinks it’s REALLY URGENTLY NECESSARY to tell Garrow that he has a pet dragon. I mean, wouldn’t having a dragon squatting in their farm make it MORE likely that the Ineffectual Minions of Evil will notice that them, not less? If she weren’t there he could claim he sold sparkly rock to a passing trader or some crap like that, but if they notice a giant sparkling lizard in the barn that lie will sound kind of silly.
Garrow stood by the barn with the horses.
HORSES? I thought they were supposed to be upper middle class dirt-poor to the point of risking starvation! How come they can not only afford to buy horses but also afford to feed said horses when they can’t even feed themselves?!
Eragon hesitated. Should I talk to him now? He won’t believe me unless Saphira is here—I’d better find her first. He slipped around the farm and into the forest. Saphira! he shouted with his thoughts.
To which Saphira replied, “Oh crap, it’s that dumb kid again. Won’t he EVER go off to college and leave me alone?”
I come, was the dim reply.
So is he admitting that Saphira is dim?
Through the words he sensed her alarm. He waited impatiently, though it was not long before the sound of her wings filled the air. She landed amid a gout of smoke. What happened? she queried.
So she doesn’t know what’s going on and she’s nowhere near the trouble… but somehow she’s alarmed by it. Another question would be – how loud are her wings?
So Eragon does a Dragon Rider Mild Meld and tells her about how he’s being chased by creepy strangers in the village and how Brom clearly wants him dead, and Saphira goes completely apeshit. She starts roaring and thrashing her tail around (almost taking off Eragon’s head… great telepathic companion!), and generally acting like a psycho… so, I guess we can assume that she has some sort of crippling fear of strangers.
Bloodlust and fear emanated from her in great sickening waves. Fire! Enemies! Death! Murderers!
… okay, this seems like an excessive reaction. I guess even a dim creature like her can recognize DESIGNATED CLICHE VILLAINS.
What’s wrong? He put all of his strength into the words, but an iron wall surrounded her mind, shielding her thoughts.
… which would be more dramatic if it weren’t bookended by two examples of him HEARING her thoughts.
She let out another roar and gouged the earth with her claws, tearing the frozen ground. Stop it! Garrow will hear!
“And then he’ll want you to do all the plowing like you’re doing now! And not the fun kind that you do in barns!”
Oaths betrayed, souls killed, eggs shattered! Blood everywhere. Murderers!
Yes, yes, it’s all very dramatic. But… how does she know these things happened? It’s not Eragon has been reading to her from The Big Book of Dragon History, last updated a hundred years ago. Are dragons like the Borg, with one brain between them? Do they have a hive memory?
And for that matter, why is she identifying THESE PEOPLE in particular, whose only distinguishing characteristic is that they wear cloaks, as being murderers and stuff like that? Or would she have this massive overreaction to ANY strange person wearing a cloak?
Honestly, this whole ridiculous scene makes ABSOLUTELY no sense. Saphira should be completely baffled like the baby she is, and maybe upset because ERAGON is so agitated. But she shouldn’t RECOGNIZE the generic baddies just by… their clothes… especially since she’s what, two months old and has never had any contact with another dragon or any of their history?! And even the hive mind/memory thing doesn’t make sense because allegedly she’s practically the ONLY dragon in the whole friggin WORLD. There is NO sense in this whole encounter!
takes a deep breath
Okay, then Eragon hops on her back, clings to her neck and starts screaming at her to stop.
Her stream of thoughts ceased abruptly.
Somehow it doesn’t surprise me.
She crouched and her wings rushed upward. They hung there for an instant, then drove down as she flung herself into the sky.
… okay, first her wings are apparently dragging them upward, and then they go DOWN…. into the SKY, which is UP. What the hell is going on here? Is Saphira flying in the opposite direction of her apparently disembodied wings?
Turbulence buffeted him, snatching the breath out of his mouth.
“Ladies and Gentleman, we are experiencing some turbulence, so please stay in your seats…”
Eragon sees his farm and the nearby river, and he almost pukes on the spot. We’re not really told WHY he almost pukes, whether it’s from the altitude or sudden motions, but whatever. They are apparently SO high that he has frost on his eyelashes, which begs the question: shouldn’t the air be getting kind of thin, especially for a newborn dragon without much flying experience?
We have to go back, he pleaded. The strangers are coming to the farm. Garrow has to be warned. Turn around!
Uhhhhhh… how does he know this? And why should Saphira give a crap about Garrow, whom she’s never even met?
Then again, maybe she doesn’t. Saphira’s all “lalalalala NOT LISTENING!” because she’s so scared and angry. So Eragon starts forcing his way into her mind to make her listen… which sounds kinda rapey to me.
Soon mountains surrounded them, forming tremendous white walls broken by granite cliffs.
The descriptions, they break my brain! Uh, a mountain isn’t made up of “walls” unless you live in some weird parallel universe where mountains are blocky pillars of some kind – they tend to slope and be irregular. Also, a cliff and a wall are both vertical expanses, so we’ve got ONE vertical expanse broken by ANOTHER.
Blue glaciers sat between the summits like frozen rivers.
- Since when are glaciers BLUE?
- Since when are glaciers balanced between separate mountaintops? For that matter, who the hell put them there?!
- How are frozen rivers and glaciers even comparable?! When was the last time you saw frozen rivers going BETWEEN SUMMITS?
Saphira keeps flying and frightening the local wildlife, and apparently Eragon really sucks at this whole flying thing because every time she flaps her wings or moves her head, he’s getting hammered or tossed.
He was afraid she was going to fly through the night. Finally, as darkness fell, she tilted into a shallow dive.
… okay, how the hell long have they been FLYING? He and Roran left at the buttcrack of dawn, they spent about ten minutes in the village and Eragon went straight home. Even if it took a few hours to get from their house to the village, that still means it should have been noon at the latest when he got home. Have he and Saphira been flying ALL DAY? Just how far have they gone?
Anyway, we get a detailed description of how Saphira lands, and Eragon promptly rolls off her and lands in the snow, but it really really hurts his legs. At this point, he notices that his inner thighs are bloody and raw, which is actually a rather nice touch – you’d expect that someone riding on a creature with hard scales without a saddle would have some problems with friction, and it probably WOULD cause bleeding. But it also begs two questions: why aren’t his pants ripped up too, and why isn’t his CROTCH also bleeding?
So he puts his pants back on, and starts understandably freaking out: The deepening night obscured his surroundings; the shaded mountains were unfamiliar. I’m in the Spine, I don’t know where, during the middle of winter, with a crazed dragon, unable to walk or find shelter.
So, these mountains are unfamiliar but he still somehow knows that he’s in the Spine. Yeah, whatever. Also, apparently the time-space continuum is warped around there, and it takes longer to fly via dragon than it does to WALK. If only this had been the case in other books – Bilbo could just have OUTRUN Smaug to Laketown and evacuated everybody before the dragon even turned up! How does that even work?!
Night is falling. I have to get back to the farm tomorrow.
… to find my uncle’s horribly burned corpse so I can go to Alderaan with Old Ben. Wait, wrong movie… er, book.
Oh, I wish Saphira could breathe fire.
Yeah, it would be nice if the dragon has thought of that before dragging him to the snow-covered mountain with no coat or anything. Some fire would be NICE.
So it’s time for Magic Sparkly Dragon Therapy Time. Hoo-freaking-ray. Eragon clamped down on it and slowly soothed her with gentle images, although of course we don’t know what the fuck those images ARE. He could be soothing her with a nice juicy steak. Or a Christmas tree. Or an evil clown. We just don’t know!
Why do the strangers frighten you?
Murderers, she hissed.
Ya know, Paolini, it didn’t make sense the first time and it doesn’t now!
Garrow is in danger and you kidnap me on this ridiculous journey! Are you unable to protect me? She growled deeply and snapped her jaws. Ah, but if you think you can, why run?
Death is a poison.
And life is a boat and a highway and a journey, and I am the walrus, and I am also the egg man.
Seriously, Saphira’s reply makes no fucking sense. Yes, Mr. Paolini, I’m sure that sounded awesome in your head and you wanted someplace to shoehorn it in, but why couldn’t Brom or someone with the slightest shred of LIFE EXPERIENCE say this? Saphira’s never seen anyone die except her food! And she shouldn’t even know what a poison is!
And even if it were spoken by someone who would understand it… it would STILL be stupid. Poisons are toxic substances which are usually absorbed through epithelial linings (such as the skin or digestive tract) which can cause more damage than an irritant; chemically speaking, they also are things that stop a reaction. Is she saying that death is a physical substance? Or is she saying… that death is harmful to your health?
So Eragon understandably yells at her because his legs are hurt and they’re in the butt-end of nowhere, up on a mountain with inexplicable glaciers and floating rivers. This is starting to sound like a Final Fantasy game; all we need is an airship, big swords and some funky fantasy clothes. Saphira refuses to tell him why she did this and apparently isn’t sorry either, even though Eragon is probably going to freeze solid, which would kill her too.
Saphira’s not too bright, is she?
The icy temperature deadened Eragon’s legs; although it lessened the pain, he knew that his condition was not good.
When your legs are apparently suffering from gangrene, it does tend to be “not good.” It’s one thing to have the PAIN deadened, but your legs… not so much!
Eragon points out that he’s going to turn into a Stusicle if Saphira doesn’t find him some kind of shelter, and she replies that, There is no need. I will curl around you and cover you with my wings—the fire inside me will stay the cold. “… Until I go into torpor because, y’know, I’m a reptile and that sort of thing happens when it’s freezing cold and there’s nowhere warm to stay.”
Eragon reluctantly agrees to her stupid plan, which is slightly better than “I am the rider, and I say we go.” Douchebag. But he demands that she sweep away the snow with her tail… wait, how big is her tail anyway? For that matter, how big is Saphira? Her size fluctuates wildly through the series, in case you’re wondering.
Then Eragon whines that he can’t walk (how bout crawling?), and Saphira has to drag him with her head. I’m not entirely clear why she doesn’t use her foreleg or something like that, since it seems like dragging him with her head would just strain her neck unnecessarily.
He stared at her large, sapphire-colored eyes and wrapped his hands around one of her ivory spikes.
… does that mean her teeth? And why is he looking into her eyes?
Stars danced in his eyes as he slid over a rock, but he managed to hold on.
“Yeah, thanks for dragging my ass up here, ripping the skin off my legs and giving me a concussion while my uncle is being horribly killed by Minor Minions of Evil. Best animal sidekick ever, Saphira. Are you gonna step on me too?”
Fortunately (or unfortunately, depending on your perspective) she doesn’t. Instead she plops Eragon against her stomach and pulls her right wing over him, and this somehow warms him up. This raises a question: what the fuck are Paolini’s dragons? Are they reptiles or not? Because a reptile would probably be comatose or dead by now, given that reptiles are COLD BLOODED. It’s not just SOME reptiles that are cold-blooded – ALL of them are cold-blooded. And some mammals are too, if their habitat is Washington DC.
Oh, and Eragon realizes that he’s hungry. And he’s worried about what will happen to Uncle Owen when the stormtroopers arrive at the farm… yeah, he doesn’t even consider the possibility that they’ll search the area thoroughly and then leave without hurting anyone. They are Generic Minions of Mild Evil, so they have to kill people.
Even if I can force myself to ride Saphira again, it’ll be at least midafternoon before we get back.
“And by then, my crotch will look like tartare!”