Hello, everyone! Stealingvowels was sick and busy and unfortunately didn’t get the chance to do her chapter, so I’m posting in her place. In the last chapter, we found Eragon in a battle and he expanded his equipment by obtaining Plot Coupon Spear, which triples his stat points. Suddenly, something happened to Roran!
“No!” shouted Eragon as the wall of the keep tumbled down with a thunderous crash, burying Roran and five other men beneath a mount of stone twenty feet high and flooding the courtyard with a dark cloud of dust.
No! Roran was just recently married! His wife was pregnant! This isn’t fair! He’s so totally going to be fine!
In all seriousness, we antis know better. For protagonist deaths, Paolini tends to only kill them off if they’re 1) support characters that add to angst (Hrothgar) or 2) no longer useful for teaching the younger generation anything (Garrow, Brom, Oromis and Glaedr). However, I feel like being an optimist and will hold out hope that perhaps Roran is permanently gone. I mean, he was buried under a solid pile of stone about four times his height. I have never heard of a case where someone survived that without there being some sort of special factor that saved them.
Eragon’s shout was so loud, his voice broke, and slick, copper-tasting blood coated the back of his throat. He inhaled and doubled over, coughing.
Errr . . . I’m pretty sure that voice cracking or breaking doesn’t work like that. I’m not exactly an expert, so correct me on that if I’m wrong. Also, isn’t blood usually “copper-tasting” and “slick”? I suppose the Department of Redundancy Department has a new entry to file.
After this devastating catastrophe, people are gaping “at the front of the damaged keep” and “rubble from the building spilled into the middle of the courtyard,” obscuring a complete floor mosaic. Three entire rooms are exposed due to the collapse! Eragon goes into the first stage of grief and death and repeats “He can’t be dead. He can’t, he can’t, he can’t” over and over, which is appropriate. He’s in shock and denial, after all. But with every repetition, it becomes less a statement of fact or hope and more a prayer to the world at large.
Paolini, we know that you think religion is silly and you dedicated a lot of philosophical crap in your second book to fueling shallow anti-religion arguments (and that appearance of a “god” in Brisingr is just a retcon, in my honest opinion). Why do you keep attaching pseudo-religious details and “traditions” to your nonreligious characters in your books?
Our hero goes over all the possibilities of digging Roran out fast since time is vital for his cousin’s survival (when this should be an instant kill). Every idea he comes up with ends up being scratched off the list. Eragon tried to guess the weight of a block in the pile of rubble; it must have been many hundreds of pounds.
If that’s a single brick in the twenty-foot pile, Roran is totally dead.
Then Eragon has the sudden revelation that Roran was standing underneath the keep’s doorway eaves, which apparently brings hope to Eragon that Roran is still alive despite this being the front of the keep that collapsed with three full rooms exposed, a twenty-foot pile of solid stone brick, and each brick weight hundreds of pounds. Eragon climbs up the rubble to get to the second story and goes through the keep to get to the other side of the rubble.
On the way there, Eragon gets an enemy encounter.
He sped around a corner and collided with a soldier walking in the opposite direction. Eragon’s vision flashed red and yellow as his forehead struck the rim of the man’s shield. He clung to the soldier, and the two of them staggered back and forth across the corridor like a pair of drunk dancers.
As a side note, Microsoft Word says that “a pair of drunk dancers” is grammatically incorrect. It wants to change it to “a pair of drunken dancers.” I don’t know if that’s a jab at Paolini or Microsoft considering that Paolini isn’t the best of writers and the biggest oxymoron I’ve ever seen is Microsoft Works.
The soldier uttered an oath as he struggled to regain his balance. “What’s wrong with you, you thrice-blasted—” he said, and then he saw Eragon’s face, and his eyes widened. “You!”
Eragon balled his right hand and punched the man in the belly, directly underneath his rib cage. The blow lifted the man off his feet and smashed him into the ceiling. “Me,” Eragon agreed as the man dropped to the floor, lifeless.
1) I think “curse” would be a better word in place of “oath.”
2) “Eragon balled his right hand” is redundant to the rest of the sentence, slows the pacing down, and needs to be cut.
3) “Said” works better instead of “agreed” in that last dialogue tag.
4) Our hero, ladies and gentlemen. He killed another soldier he could just run pass and feels no remorse for it.
So Eragon keeps running, and running, and running. It keeps boring, and boring, and boring me. He finds another random encounter, but it too is completely meaningless. A robed and bearded man sends “a contingent of fifty or more soldiers” after Eragon and bribes them with treasure. Eragon lights his sword on fire and “a rush of air, a cocoon of wraithlike blue flames sprang into existence around the blade, running up toward the tip.” Though, Paolini really should’ve replaced “existence” with “life.” I’m surprised he didn’t do so considering his thesaurus abuse.
Then Eragon lowered his gaze to the soldiers. “Move,” he growled.
The soldiers hesitated a moment more, then turned and fled.
All fifty or more of them fled when, normally, there’s strength and confidence in numbers. Normally, I’d say that they’re all a bunch of cowards who are spoiled by there not being any superheroes around like Batman who use his enemies’ fear against them, but this is Paolini Land where average farmers like Roran can kill two hundred trained soldiers. I can’t really blame them here.
So Eragon keeps running, and it’s still boring, when he comes upon a room full of soldiers who don’t do anything and a portcullis blocking his way. The iron grating bent as Eragon slammed into it, but not enough to break the metal.
He again channeled energy stored within the diamonds of his belt—the belt of Beloth the Wise—and into Brisingr, emptying the gemstones of their precious store as the stoked the sword’s fire to an almost unbearable intensity. A wordless shout escaped him as he drew back his arm and struck at the portcullis. Orange and yellow sparks sprayed him, pitting his gloves and tunic and stinging his exposed flesh. A drop of molten iron fell, sizzling onto the tip of his boot. With a twitch of his ankle, he shook it off.
Or you can use half that amount of energy to, you know, break the metal. You used your natural strength to put in a severe dent in the portcullis. It won’t take that much energy to destroy it. And what’s with mentioning that the belt belonged to Beloth the Wise? It’s not like Beloth is part of some established mythos that the fandom knows about. It’s just something to make Eragon Gary Stu Bromson more special.
Eragon goes through the new hole he made and . . . keeps . . . running . . .
But then after the next few short paragraphs he comes upon his destination!
When he rounded the last corner, Eragon saw his destination: the debris-choked vestibule. Even with his elflike vision, he could make out only the largest shapes in the darkness, for the falling stones had extinguished the torches on the walls. He heard an odd huffing scuffing, as if some sort of clumsy beast were rooting through the rubble.
“Naina,” said Eragon.
A directionless blue light illuminated the space. And there before him, covered in dirt, blood, ash, and sweat, with his teeth bared in a fearsome snarl, appeared Roran, grappling with a soldier over the corpses of two others.
JK Rowling needs to write this book. With her powers of killing off every minor character we love in a final book, JK Rowling will right this wrong and save the Inheritance Cycle! Muahahahahahahahah!
Oh, wait, there are no minor characters we love in this book.
Roran kills the soldier he fights with and then faints from exhaust, ending this boring chapter.
Now for a rant before ending this spork chapter.
I frequent the fanfiction community, I read quite a few fantasy books, and I love playing video games, especially JRPGs. I’ve seen my fair share of insane plot armor. I’ve seen one fanfic writer kill off her main self-insert character and have said character resurrected by a goddess that was established in canon to be fictitious; in Final Fantasy VII, where Cloud and Tifa come out of the Lifestream alive and well when other characters ended up either frozen in materia or comatose, the plot armor was getting ridiculous there, too; then there’s the Harry Potter series and Harry’s full set of plot armor protecting him. I’ve seen plot armor, and lots of it.
Roran’s set of plot armor has got to be the most contrived and anticlimactic plot armor I have ever seen. I took a peek at the next chapter for an explanation for how Roran escaped death and it’s terrible and sounds like an ass-pull. Roran’s “death” is cheap and amateurish. This scene tells me that Paolini is afraid of killing off his beloved characters (much like Masashi Kishimoto is with Sasuke in his Naruto manga). Knowing Paolini, everything will be healed in a matter of minutes while those five other men that were buried in the rubble will be completely forgotten. No consequences, no permanent injuries, and no death. At least with the above examples I gave for plot armor (with the exception of Final Fantasy VII) there’s some sort of explanation given to the reader that makes sense. Here, it’s just . . . what the hell?
But, you know, I would forgive all of this if this chapter wasn’t such a complete bore. Nothing came from this chapter; nothing challenged Eragon and, when a challenge came up, Paolini wrote in the cheapest way around the challenge he could write; nothing happened in this chapter; and all attempts at emotion were bogged down by slow pacing and redundant writing. It’s just boring.
This chapter should’ve been cut during editing.