This is a very short chapter… in fact, it feels like Paolini started to write it and got bored with whatever he was doing. It basically has Eragon going to sleep, waking up, going to sleep, waking up and freaking out.
Eragon decides to do the same thing as Morlock Holmes, which seems kind of dumb because if Jewelry Man can’t scratch it with a DIAMOND, what can HE do?
He started with a wooden mallet and lightly tapped the stone.
…. followed by Garrow shouting “Stop damaging my tools, dammit!”
It has no effect, so he hits it with two other tools, namely a leather hammer and a “small chisel.”
As the final note died away, he thought he heard a faint squeak.
Designated Hero isn’t the sharpest knife in the drawer, is he? If most people heard a GEM squeaking, they might be slightly startled and start reconsidering what the gem is.
Merlock said the stone was hollow; there could be something of value inside.
Right, because hollow = valuable. For all he knows, the interior is filled with poison. Or, more likely, nothing at all. As most hollow things are. Because if there’s something inside, they’re less likely to sound hollow.
Incidentally, given that we already know it’s an EGG, that means that the creature inside must be very small. Merlock made it sound like the egg was hollow and empty – but apparently there’s a baby thingy inside. Which isn’t all curled up and packed in there, like baby egg creatures often are.
I don’t know how to open it, though.
Well, duh. It’s a solid mass, and apparently can’t be broken.
There must have been a good reason for someone to shape it, but whoever sent the stone into the Spine hasn’t taken the trouble to retrieve it or doesn’t know where it is.
So he knows it might be a valuable item that belongs to someone powerful… and his first impulse/goal is still to SMASH IT and steal whatever’s inside? Morals! Our Designated Hero haz dem!
But I don’t believe that a magician with enough power to transport the stone wouldn’t be able to find it again. So was I meant to have it?
Because of course he is JUST THAT SPESHUL! Magical strangers fling mysterious and highly valuable items at him, expecting nothing in return! Seriously, what a d-bag. Is there anything that he doesn’t think revolves around his meat-craving backside?
Anyway, Eragon then gets bored by the whole mystery and sticks the rock back on the shelf. but of course that night he wakes up because his shiny blue rock is squeaking. So he does what any village idiot would do: he goes back to sleep.
And when the squeaking continues, Eragon pulls out a knife and lights a candle… which seems like a bit of an overreaction unless he believes a clown is invading the house. Paolini claims it’s too loud to be a rodent, but they can be pretty loud. Aside from zoology fail, he also demonstrates basic architecture fail:
Nothing could be in the floor or walls; they were solid wood.
… which is why little rodents have those beaverlike teeth: so they can chew through solid wood. Anyone who’s ever given a hamster a block of wood can tell you that chewing through it is not a problem – it may take time, but they will do it.
The same went for his bed, and he would have noticed if anything had crawled into his straw mattress during the night.
That sounds contradictory: Apparently his bed is solid wood, and it’s also made out of straw. Also, I doubt he would notice, while fast asleep, if a mouse were dumb enough to crawl into his big sack of wooden straw.
But of course since Weird Things are afoot, Eragon goes over to the Sparkly Rock… which is apparently the source of the squeaking. So he does what any rational intelligent person would do if confronted by a gemstone generating its own noises: he gets ANGRY AT THE ROCK.
Clearly this is a normal reaction, rather than “WHAT THE HELL?”
And when it quiets down for a little while, Eragon decides to do the normal thing when confronted by a weird magic rock that is making strange noise: go back to bed. I’m so glad he’s the Designated Hero.
After awhile he wakes up again and finds that the stone is rocking back and forth. You’d think that growing up on a farm, he would eventually have figured out what the hell it is – but instead he decides that he’s going to go bury it for no explicable reason.
Suddenly a crack appeared on the stone. Then another and another.
Let’s review this, shall we? We know that egg-rock is made out of Harder Than Diamond substance… so how the hell is this baby creature getting out of it? Is baby creature harder than diamond, which would produce a whole slew of new problems (starting with, wouldn’t it be sort of a crustacean? Or a Twilight vampire?)? It would have to be, since obviously the eggshell is very thick and dense. If it weren’t, it would shatter pretty easily because it’s so hard and rigid.
Anyway, baby creature crawls out, and starts scampering around the room. You would think that Paolini would infuse this scene either with a sense of “awwww it’s so cute” or a creepy spooky vibe. But instead he just clinically describes how the egg hatches.
Soon the creature was all the way out of the stone.
Hasn’t Eragon figured out yet that the damn thing is NOT a stone? Or does he not know what an EGG is?
Eragon recoiled in shock. Standing in front of him, licking off the membrane that encased it, was a dragon.
Wow, I totally did not see that coming…. I mean, between the mysterious Hollow Egg-Shaped Magic Thing, all the raving about Dragon-Riders and the lobotomized Luke Skywalker clone.
Hey, wanna bet he’s supposed to save the world with his new dragon pet? Wanna bet Brom turns out to be an ex Dragon Rider? Wanna bet Brom will die after imparting all his relevant wisdom, forcing Eragon to seek training from ANOTHER ex-dragonrider? Maybe Galby will turn out to be Eragon’s dad (or some other bad guy). Ah, cliche fantasy.