Eragon 4-5: How to Write Your Dragon

Remember when I said that the chapters in this book were really uneven, length-wise? Chapter 3 was 16 pages of exposition, backstory, and stupid names. Chapter 4 isn’t quite 3 pages long, and so short it would hardly be worth mentioning, if not for one event in it.

Saphira!

That’s right, the dragon finally hatches, and I remember the reason I started reading this book in the first place. So far I’ve found it cliche and unintentionally humorous, but maybe things will change from here on out. Maybe, with the dragon in the picture, things will get better from here.

Let’s read to find out. Moving on to the next chapter!

What I like about this is that it actually goes into depth about Eragon’s thought-process when it comes to keeping Saphira. He has to take into consideration how he’s going to take care of a dragon, how he could hide it, and even if he should keep it. It takes him a couple pages figuring out his rationalization to keep the dragon, despite all the reasons he shouldn’t. You know, like Galbatorix (I hate typing that name) swooping down to kill him and everyone he loves. So that’s decidedly a “con”. Pros of raising a dragon: IT’S A DRAGON!

If I were Eragon, I would totally risk keeping a dragon. Saphira’s the best part of this book! You have no idea how much I love dragons, guys. If someone offered me a billion dollars or a dragon, I would take the dragon. Especially if it was an intelligent one that you shared a mind-link with! And if a dragon egg hatched under my watch, you can imagine I wouldn’t be calm about it. Which is why I’m a little disappointed that Eragon is so cavalier about this.

Let me put it like this:

Remember when you were a kid, and you loved dinosaurs? You read books about dinosaurs, you drew dinosaur pictures, you collected dinosaur stickers, you loved to hear stories about dinosaurs. You were probably sad that there aren’t any dinosaurs anymore, and wouldn’t it be great if they came back?

Well, suddenly, a baby dinosaur hatched in your bedroom, and it’s the first dinosaur to be born in millennia. What do you do?

You’d probably freak out, for a start. Maybe wonder if it’s a prank, or if the dinosaur is real. After all, there haven’t been any for millions of years. My point being, you would not be calm and rational, and you wouldn’t accept it right away that suddenly you have a long-extinct creature in your bedroom.

Eragon doesn’t for a second doubt that it’s a dragon, that it’s real, and that he was meant to have it. Remember, dragons were supposed to be wiped out by Galby (I refuse to write “Galbatorix” one more time) hundreds of years ago, but Eragon doesn’t have any trouble accepting that this mythical, should-be-extinct creature, is in his bedroom. His calm reaction is just so unnatural.

The rest of this chapter is Eragon learning more about Saphira, and it’s pretty disappointing. In fantasy and science-fiction, characters experience things that we, in the real world, will never get to do. That’s a big part of their appeal. We’ll never be able to fly on the back of a dragon or shoot fire from our hands, but through books like this one, we can imagine what it’s like. Which is why Paolini’s vague descriptions of Eragon’s interactions with Saphira are so annoying to me. For example, he tells us that Eragon played with the dragon, but doesn’t say what that means. Were they playing fetch? Hide and seek? Chasing mice? How would an intelligent creature with abilities different than ours (and a newborn) react to her rapidly expanding world? How does Eragon respond to her actions? There’s a lot of possibility to show us some exciting (and adorable) stuff, but it just gets glossed over.

I want to play fetch with a baby dragon so badly.

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2 thoughts on “Eragon 4-5: How to Write Your Dragon

  1. Just read through your Eragon posts. I loved that book when I was 15. It was the first high fantasy I’d ever read. As I read more of that genre I came to hate it. Your discussion of the chapters are great and a lot of fun to read, takes away some of the trauma.
    Also now I can’t stop thinking about how to play with baby dragons.

    Like

    1. Same here! I fell in love with the genre pretty quickly, and a lot of my own writing in high school was based in it. I’m glad you’re enjoying the reviews so far! I’m a little amazed I haven’t thrown the book across the room myself yet…

      Like

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