I’m not sure I get Saphira. She was my favorite character when I first read this book, mostly by logic of “ohmygodohmygodDRAGON”. She tries to give Eragon sage advice while he grieves, but I’m not sure of its validity:
Anguish enveloped Eragon as he awoke. [. . .] “I can’t live with this,” he moaned.
“Then don’t.” Saphira’s words reverberated in his head.
…did Saphira just suggest that Eragon kill himself?
Even now, I still like her character, and some of her dialogue.
The worth is in the act. Your worth halts when you surrender the will to change and experience life. But options are before you; choose one and dedicate yourself to it. The deeds will give you new hope and purpose.
But Saphira’s only a few months old at this point, though. She’s still a baby; the only human she’s seen up close until this point is Eragon. She understands how his mind works, but there’s no real reason for her to know anything about the world outside Eragon’s farm. Do dragons have some kind of ancestral memory that allows them to dole out advice like an older, wiser dragon? It’s the only explanation that would make sense to me, because Saphira knows things that there’s no way Eragon could have taught her.
On the other hand, some of her advice might be terrible.
Saphira was right. Nothing mattered anymore except the act itself.
We’ve also encountered the dead parent trope again. I’ll probably talk about this in more depth in a separate post, but I’m really sick of this. The laconic version is this: characters are more interesting when they have more to lose. Even if it leads to cheesy lines like this:
“Nothing is more dangerous than an enemy with nothing to lose,” he thought, “Which is what I have become.”
I used to love that quote when I was fourteen–a year younger than Eragon, actually. Growing up, I was bullied, ignored, never felt welcome in my school. I was an angry kid, an angrier teenager, and a line like that really spoke to me. For a long time I felt like it was me against the world, that everyone was my enemy. Since I felt so unwanted, I didn’t really see the point in playing nice with others. You might be able to imagine the unfortunate cycle that led to. The idea of a hero, fighting with no one on his side–and presumably winning–was very appealing to me.
At Saphira’s encouragement, Eragon decides to leave Carvahall and hunt down the Ra’zac, who destroyed his home and killed Garrow. Now, I know that we need the real adventure to start somehow, but I don’t like Saphira’s sudden change of heart. When the Ra’zac first came to Carvahall, she was so scared that she took off in a frenzied flight, taking Eragon with her. She was so terrorized that she wouldn’t even tell Eragon what was going on, and he was rebuffed when he tried to reach her with their mind-link.
Have you ever been so afraid of something that you couldn’t speak, or literally ran away from? I can almost guarantee that you would not be charging directly towards whatever it is you fear just because a teenager gave you a short lecture about running away.
Saphira’s fear was real and palpable, but nope, let’s forget that it ever happened. She’s over it now!
As they’re leaving town, Brom also comes to join Eragon and Saphira’s quest. He tries to sound mysterious about how he knows so much about dragons and the Ra’zac, but he’s not fooling anyone. Anyone who’s picked up a book or watched a movie like this already knows that he’s going to end up being a former dragon rider, and no doubt “Saphira” was also the name of his dragon. It doesn’t take a genius to figure that out. So why so the smokescreen? I honestly don’t remember if Brom ever gives a real reason for not telling Eragon about his past right away. I hope he does, and that it’s not something stupid.
This post is a bit lengthy, so I won’t go on to the next chapter right now. I will, however, leave you with this quote:
Brom’s eyebrows beetled with anger.