It was dark when Eragon jolted upright in bed, breathing hard.
Yup, here we have another one. At least two instances apiece of Eragon waking up at the start of a chapter and falling asleep at the end up until now, and this super-short chapter is another one.
Eragon wakes up before dawn and it’s freezing out. He has a Bad Premonition, which means that Uncle Owen… I mean, Garrow is officially dead. So Emo Eragon gets up, gets dressed, and goes to Garrow’s room.
Alarm shot through him when he saw the door to Garrow’s room open and people clustered inside.
No, we’re never told who most of these people are.
Garrow lay peacefully on the bed.
You see? I told you he was dead!
He was dressed in clean clothes, his hair had been combed back, and his face was calm. He might have been sleeping if not for the silver amulet clasped around his neck and the sprig of dried hemlock on his chest, the last gifts from the living to the dead.
… which is all very nice, but what exactly do the amulet and hemlock sprig signify? We haven’t been told about any religious beliefs or practices just yet, and if you read ahead in the book you’ll discover…. that the humans in this series don’t have any.
I mean, for instance, the funerary rites of the ancient Egyptians made perfect sense once you found out about their religious beliefs,and why they had those gold-faced sarcophagi, mummified bodies and elaborate statuary for graves. Same with the Greeks and their tongue coins, which were so they could pay their way on Charon’s boat. Irish wakes and funerary traditions have a number of rituals like covering mirrors, opening windows and stopping clocks, all for the sake of helping the spirit pass on to heaven, and the ritual keening in question is carefully done to avoid attracting evil spirits.
So what significance does the hemlock and silver have? … nothing, apparently! They’re just there to…. be there. Funeral gifts are supposed to have significance, dammit! Traditions just don’t appear out of nowhere.
And since Katrina is almost as sensitive as Saphira, she tries to make the whole thing all about her: Katrina stood next to the bed, face pale and eyes downcast. He heard her whisper, “I had hoped to call him Father one day. . . .” Yes, make it all about YOU and how much you want to have sex with Roran, while the kid he RAISED is standing there looking at the dead body.
Unsurprisingly, this causes Eragon to go emo again: Call him Father, he thought bitterly, a right even I don’t have. Given the abnormally modern attitudes and architecture in this story, I don’t see why he doesn’t have it. This guy has only raised him for LITERALLY his entire life, and treated him exactly the same as his biological son. So why the angst?
There’s actually a rather nice scene where Eragon is very devastated by Garrow’s death, and starts crying and collapsing next to the bed. He even psychically shoves away his dragon because he doesn’t want to be distracted from his misery. Unfortunately, Paolini destroys this very nice, character-building scene by trying to be… DEEP.
He could not accept that Garrow was gone. If he did, what was left to believe in?
… so, that normal “stage of denial” thing isn’t working for you?
Only a merciless, uncaring world that snuffed lives like candles before a wind.
Of course, there’s no real evidence that Garrow has taught them that there’s any other kind of world.
Frustrated and terrified, he turned his tear-dampened face toward the heavens
Or since they’re indoors, the ceiling.
and shouted, “What god would do this? Show yourself!” He heard people running to his room, but no answer came from above. “He didn’t deserve this!”
… who is Eragon talking to? Seriously, who is he talking to?
We have literally not been told of any religious beliefs at all. No gods. No temples/churches. No superstitions. Nobody even swearing by a deity’s name. Yet out of the blue, Eragon starts screaming at an unspecified god and demanding that he show himself… which would be obnoxiously cliched in another story, but just seems surreal in this one because it’s so RANDOM and there’s nothing to support it. Where the hell did this come from? WHO IS HE TALKING TO?
Also, why are people coming to HIS room, since he’s in Garrow’s? And… where did all the people who were in Garrow’s room go?
So Elain comes and sits beside him, and hugs him while he falls asleep. Take another shot.