Small Rebellions with more Nasuada.
One could claim there is a severe pacing problem here. If she is such a big deal could Paolini have at least used a chapter to show how the Varden are without her? Are they fearful and losing the will to continue? Especially since they replace her with Eragon who decided the best way to lead them was by leaving. Do they not find anything suspicious about that situation? He could have attempted to give Roran and the Varden a second wave of troops to deal with. That could've proved how important Nausada's leadership was for tactics or something.
Anyway she's busy wishing Murtagh would come back... to heal her from the agonies of torture, sounds like a great relationship blooming here. She gets excited when someone enters the room but it's not Murtagh, it's the jailer... Spoilers, this chapter is pretty pointless.
He practically just puts some band-aids on her, not such why they would treat her wounds at all, unless their afraid of infection which... I need to quit thinking about this nonsense. She needs to go potty and is let up from her restraints... cuz they give you proper bathroom breaks during torture or something. I guess it's things like this that bug me a lot. If the point is to break her why are they allowing her any comforts? Real torture doesn't just involve mustache twirling and a hot poker with a side of “I'll never join you!” Maybe leaving her to crap her starving bleeding self would be too dark for a kids book, but a book this pretentious can't solely be aimed at little children can it?
Maybe it's just an excuse for her to try something... Or not. “she found she was too weak to make any attempt to grab the knife on the tray of food. Instead, she contented herself with thanking the man for his help and, for the second time, complimenting him on his nails, which were even shinier than before and which he quite obviously wanted her to see, for he kept holding his hands where she could not help but look at them. ” This goes nowhere in case you didn't know.
She gets scared when someone enters the room but it's not the jailer, it's Murtagh... Spoilers, this chapter is pretty pointless. He heals her. Is no one keeping tabs on Murtagh? When I first read this book I hoped this was a gambit of some sort, the whole evil cop, bipolar cop routine. If Galbatorix can control Murtagh, he shouldn't be able to get away with sneaking down here. Galbatorix is literally all powerful by now. It is as simple as “Murtagh, you aren't allowed to sneak down here without me.” or even simpler, “Murtagh, you can only act as I command it.” There is a comment made here about Galbatorix being busy or asleep but that's really weak. Galbatorix is incompetent. Everyone is incompetent! Goodness I forgot how little sense all of this made.
Murtagh encourages Nasuada not to give up. She asks him to help her escape. He says it's impossible and he can't use magic against him... I guess healing the prisoners is part of the plan. And also I guess unlocking her cuffs is totally cool too. He does that for her when she asks. He returns to he gloomy seat as if “it was his attempt to give her some privacy” Actually that would probably include looking away or covering his eyes, not just being sorta over thataway. They chat about his dead mentor, because we were all waiting to hear about that. Due to backstory contrivance, Murtagh escaped Galbatorix the same day the razac killed Eragon's uncle. “So you see, Eragon lost his foster father almost at the same time I lost mine. Fate has a cruel sense of humor, don’t you think?” The parallel is lame and doesn't add anything.
Nausada points out the obvious plot hole: “But if Galbatorix could scry you, why didn’t he track you down and bring you back to Urû’baen later on?”
The reply “He was playing with me...Galbatorix knew where I was ...Galbatorix went to Dras-Leona...But he was too late ” Anyone else see the problem with that beyond the lazy hand wave? He knew where I was, but missed. No. And if so he could just find you again. Which would include knowing where Eragon is too i'd imagine, but I don't remember exactly how scrying works in this world so moving on.
Also “My whole life, people have looked at me differently because I am the son of Morzan.” NO ONE KNEW HE HAD A KID SO NO THEY DIDN'T! And even without this continuity snarl you just need to move somewhere where they haven't heard of you or use magic to alter your appearance. Dumb angst is dumb.
She tells him not to give up, he says he is helpless to resist and sends her back to the stone. She continues to talk at him. “You have to decide whether you are willing to risk your life in order to save yourself,” she said. “You and Thorn both. And you have to decide now, while there is still time. Ask yourself: what would Tornac have wanted you to do?” We should make bracelets WWTD?
“Without answering, Murtagh extended his right arm and placed his hand upon the upper part of her chest, his palm hot against her skin. Her breath hitched at the shock of the contact. ” Apparently, Tonrac would steal to second base. He whispers some magic words, casting some spell which will lessen her pain during torture, further proving Galbatorix's oaths might be in need of a tune up. He tells her to fake the pain so he doesn't get caught. Because that's would be unnoticeable. Can the owner of all magic not sense such an enchantment?
Nasuada and the readers are left to wonder whether Murtagh is good or evil, because that's a thing, nope no layered characters allowed, you either save the kittens or light them on fire. She sleeps then stares at the ceiling for a long time... I'm imagining Paolini must have done this a ton while writing this book and it's slipping into the narrative subconsciously. There is a chip in a tile on the ceiling and this brings her some joy, cause symbolism I guess. A better author would not take so many words to mean so little here. In fact he spends a paragraph explaining the symbolism; it kinda ruins it.
The jailer brings her food again. Maybe she's just crazy and just got taken to a psych ward and it's all just delusions. Yeah.
Another bathroom break and this time she intentionally trips as to steal a spoon, the most deadly of weapons. This brisk event is padded out and takes like three paragraphs. Somehow the jailer doesn't notice her keeping the spoon. In the restroom she uses a couple of her own hairs to tie her weapon of choice to her leg. The narrative here makes it sound like Nasuada can just easily rip chunks out of her hair without a flinch. Literally no reaction.
The jailer noticed. “Spoon,” he said, mashing the word with his tongue as if it were a piece of overcooked parsnip. Another contender for Worst Metaphor Ever I see. But for whatever reason, he doesn't search her (beyond her hair) and just leaves. Vanishing spoons, seems legit.
Back on the slab, “A broad smile passed across her face as she felt the bowl of the spoon with the tip of her index finger. Now she had a weapon. ” Again, if a better author wrote a scene like this we might be able to share in her triumph instead of laughing at how stupid everything is.
(I'll spell/grammar check this in the morning, need to sleep.)
Tl;dr: She got a spoon and bits of Murtagh's backstory. NEXT!