Here we are once again, with the short chapter-long chapter couplet. The first paragraph or so is actually pretty relatable, with Eragon remembering Garrow’s death and not wanting to get up and face the world. I think we’ve all done that at some point. After a loved one has died, sometimes the hardest thing to do is get out of bed.
I also want to share one line with you.
“He jammed his cold fingers in his armpits and crouched by the fire until the food was ready.”
Does that remind you of anything?
Ah, the 90s. A time when the women were strong, the men were good-looking, and the children are all wondering what the hell I’m referencing.
This chapter is (appropriately) called “Saddle Making”, in which Brom makes a saddle for Saphira out of a leather apron. Except I highly doubt that Brom is able to make a saddle for a dragon – albeit a young one – out of a single apron. Never mind the extra straps he cuts for when Saphira grows larger. Also, how the hell hasn’t Eragon figured out Brom’s a Dragon Rider?
Obi-Brom Kenobi is the source for all information on dragons up to this point. He has a “mysterious” past, and knows way more than any simple storyteller should. He can communicate with Saphira with his mind, build a dragon saddle, and freaking gives Eragon an actual Dragon Rider’s sword. Why the pretense, Brom? And why are you so dumb, Eragon? How have you not put the pieces together yet?!
Sighing and shaking my head, it’s time to move on to chapter 16. The first part of this chapter is largely exposition, and I’m pretty okay with how it’s been done, mostly because it makes sense with the story. Eragon has questions about dragons, and Brom answers them. What I like about this is that it’s not all done in Brom’s dialogue, nor is it done completely as narration. It actually strikes a good balance between the two. A surprise bonus of this is that I don’t have to read too much overly-flowery dialogue. Yay!
There is something I’ve always wondered about, though. Brom says that dragons don’t hatch until conditions are right for them to be born, which usually meant there was enough food for them. Dragons that the Riders used, though, would only hatch when the right Rider touched their egg. In other words, Saphira might have never hatched if Eragon hadn’t found her egg.
What happened to the “wild” dragons that were mentioned? I also find it hard to believe that dragons – notable for being a proud race – would leave the future of their species to humans and elves. Sure, Galby (I refuse to write his full name one more time) killing dragons and Riders didn’t help matters, but eggs only hatching when the right person touches them? Yeah, you’re going to wind up with an endangered species right there.
If the Eragon-verse had tumblr, I can only imagine what it would be like. “Dragons only hatch when humans or elves touch their eggs? SO RACIST. Check your privilege!”
Along with learning about dragons, Eragon asks Brom about how he got the sword of another Dragon Rider. Brom tells him that he doesn’t want to reveal it yet, and, “I don’t want to keep you ignorant, far from it.”
EXCEPT YOU TOTALLY ARE.
The sword’s history is revealed in the second book, if I recall correctly, and it would be pretty upsetting for Eragon to learn. I won’t hold it against Brom for not telling him, but…God, Brom just tell him you’re a Dragon Rider. It’s obvious to anyone who’s not Eragon.
One good thing about the book is that Eragon isn’t a total Mary Sue right away. During this chapter, he and Brom start practicing swordplay, and Eragon gets his ass kicked time and time again. He develops his sword skills throughout the book, and I like that he isn’t a “natural”. He has to learn, struggle, and get his ass handed to him. And since he’s been driving me crazy, reading about him covered in bruises fills me with a kind of smug satisfaction. Especially since Brom is a much more interesting character, and I’d be pretty happy if he lit out on his own with Saphira.
There’s also one more thing that’s really bugging me. Let’s see if you can spot it in this chapter summary.
Eragon takes his sword, Za’roc, so he can fight the Ra’zac while he’s traveling outside Utgard.
I’m not even halfway through the book, and I am so sick of these unpronounceable names with apostrophes.
Wait. I stand corrected. They’re not unprouncable.
But I feel like if you have to put a pronunciation guide in your novel, you’ve done something wrong.