Eragon 36-37: The Worst Laid Plans

Every so often, someone asks me how I find the time to read so much. The answer is simple: move to two different states within the span of five months where you don’t know anyone, be severely underemployed, and you will read a lot. Now that I’m settled in to my new new adopted state, I thought it was time to start back down the treacherous path that is Eragon.

My list of complaints about the chapter “Ra’zac’s Revenge” might be longer than the chapter itself.

Eragon has awoken from his most recent fainting spell to discover that he and Brom have been kidnapped by the Ra’zac. He’s tied up and can’t seem to muster the mental capacity to use his magic. The Ra’zac make it known pretty quickly that he and Brom have been drugged. Because the Ra’zac are such deadly foes that they spill their whole plan in front of the groggy heroes.

It is kind of weird to see the Ra’zac speak. The only other time we’ve seen them talk was in Carvahall as they were looking for information on Saphira. I think the Ra’zac were scarier after they burned Eragon’s farm, killed his uncle, and disappeared. We’ve seen what they’re capable of, and can only imagine what they must be doing while Eragon and Brom are trying to track them. The Ra’zac were more frightening when they couldn’t be seen. To hear them arguing with each other like generic henchmen destroys the image of them as formidable foes.

There’s also the matter of Saphira. You know, Saphira, the reason I’ve been able to keep slogging through this book. She’s also been captured by the Ra’zac. They explain that she allowed herself to be chained down after they threatened to kill Eragon if she fought back. I’m really, really disappointed with that. Remembering her rage and fear when the Ra’zac came to Carvahall, I don’t think it’s in her character to have given into them. Especially when she declared to Eragon that she would not run from them any longer.

What might be really exciting if Saphira, knowing she couldn’t save Eragon, fled and kept in touch with them through their mental link. Eragon ends up not needing herself to escape, so it’s not like we’d be missing much without Saphira captured as well. Then we could at least have a subplot of trying to reunite with Saphira.

I also want to remind everyone that the Ra’zac are really stupid hunters. More than once they threaten to kill Eragon, even though they discuss that they’re supposed to keep him and Brom alive. They also mock him, saying that they’re much more valuable to Galby than Eragon is. Yeah, no. Other than making the rookie mistake of leaving your supplies behind, Eragon is unique. He is the only Dragon Rider on the continent within Galby’s reach, and (as we find out in Eldest), Saphira is the only female dragon remaining. At this point, I’d say that Galby would much rather have Eragon as a potential ally, rather than dead.

Of course, if Galby didn’t want to make Eragon his enemy, then maybe he shouldn’t have just up and murdered the kid’s family. Try some diplomacy first. If that doesn’t work, then murder the family.

Oh, and Brom jumps in front of a knife to save Eragon from dying, blah blah blah. And Eragon is so shocked that he fucking faints again.

At least the next chapter, “Murtagh”, is also short. It’s where–wait for it–we meet a guy named Murtagh.

Well, still a better chapter title than “Doom of Innocence”.

After passing out for the…fifth time? Eragon awakes to find that the Ra’zac have been chased away (though not killed) by a young man named Murtagh.

To his credit, Eragon does try to heal Brom as soon as he’s able, but says he can only fix what’s on the surface, not the internal damage. That works for me, especially because Eragon is still a novice when it comes to magic, and Brom’s likely too weak to heal himself.

We learn a little bit about Murtagh, who had also been tracking the Ra’zac. I’m not really sure why, and I don’t think he ever explains. He also agrees to travel with Eragon because…well, I’ll let him tell it.

I’ve no better place to be. Besides, if I stay with you, I might get another shot at the Ra’zac sooner than if I were on my own. Interesting things are bound to happen around a Rider.

“Because it might be interesting” is already a lazy excuse, Murtagh should want to stay far away from any Dragon Riders, and even further from Galby or any of his servants. In Eldest, it’s revealed that Murtagh is actually the son of Darth Vader Morzan, the Rider who fell to the Dark Side betrayed the ancient Dragon Riders to Galby. Even if Eragon could help Murtagh find the Ra’zac (spoiler: he doesn’t), he would have been much better off on his own.

They flee the Ra’zac’s encampment, with Saphira carrying Brom. Eragon decides that if Murtagh is untrustworthy, Saphira can chase him away.

You know, just like she did with the Ra’zac.

I’m not angry, Saphira. Just disappointed.

 

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