After college, I got a job that required a lot of driving in vans that didn’t have CD players or aux cables. Only three radio stations came in clearly: Top 40, Christian rock, and country music. Thus, I began listening to a lot of country music, and generally hating it, but thought it was better than the alternatives. After a few months, I was happily singing along to the songs that I couldn’t stand.
I called this “musical Stockholm Syndrome”.
In the last few chapters, I was worried that I was developing “literary Stockholm Syndrome”, as I was actually enjoying Eragon a lot more than I expected. Would the rose-tinted glasses of nostalgia block me from seeing the truth of this book?
Upon reading this chapter, I was glad to find that this was not the case. Maybe those chapters I’d liked so much were genuinely good. Once Brom and Eragon get on the road again, though, I can start looking at the story with a more critical eye. Or, rather, one that pokes and prods at tiny details that just happen to annoy me.
Like, Eragon asking Brom about werecats as they leave Terim. Eragon lies to Brom, saying it was just something that he heard about, not that he met Solembum or Angela. But why lie about that? Wouldn’t it be helpful to just be honest with Brom, who could probably help him sort this out?
On the plus side, Eragon is finally wising up and questioning Brom.
‘There’s a lot going on that I don’t understand. For instance, who are your ‘friends’, and why were you hiding in Carvahall? I trust you with my life–which is why I’m still traveling with you–but I need to know more about who you are and what you are doing. What did you steal in Gil’ead, and what is the tuatha du orothrim that you’re taking me through? I think that after all that’s happened, I deserve an explanation.’
To his credit, Brom answer most of Eragon’s questions about how Saphira’s egg was stolen from Galby, and partially how it came to Eragon. Brom doesn’t tell him everything, but that’s forgivable because Brom himself doesn’t know everything that happened. But he still won’t tell Eragon he was a Dragon Rider, and Eragon still doesn’t have a clue about that. Which, c’mon, he really should at this point.
What does Brom have to gain by withholding that information from him? How is that trying to protect him in the slightest?
Brom and Eragon also discuss his options as a Dragon Rider, and it seems that Eragon will eventually have to decide if he will side with the evil Empire, or the Varden, a group of rebels fighting against Galby. Brom claims that they’re not fighting for land or people, but for control over the first Dragon Rider in a million years. You know, so they can have him on their side to control the land and people.
Are those the only options? For someone whose fate is supposedly in his own hands, they seem like pretty limiting choices. There’s no way for Eragon and Saphira to strike out on their own?
When Eragon relays the story of how Saphira’s egg came to him, we get this.
He told Saphira what he had learned. She was intrigued by Brom’s revelations, but recoiled from the thought of being one of Galbatorix’s possessions. At last she said, ‘Aren’t you glad you didn’t stay in Carvahall?’
That’s it, and it’s pretty disappointing. I want to see Saphira’s reaction to this news, I don’t want to be told about it. Considering her terror just at the presence of the Ra’zac in Carvahall, I thought there’d be a lot more from her at this news. If nothing else, at least she switches back to sarcasm pretty quickly.
A little later on, Eragon breaks his wrist at an inconvenient time, when a band of Urgals start chasing after him, Brom, and Saphira. Since Eragon can’t ride his horse, he rides on Saphira to get away from the Urgals. This leaves Brom riding on the ground, and the Urgals are threatening to overtake Brom. Instead of trying to protect Brom or fight the Urgals with magic, or even have Saphira attack them from the sky, he has her land in front of the Urgals.
Not on them. In front of them. To his credit, this does throw the Urgals from their horses, and makes the horses fall and get tangled up in each other. They’ve been significantly slowed, but he still doesn’t have Saphira attack them, or have her fly away. Instead, he wants to talk to them.
‘We have do do something!’ exclaimed Eragon.
‘Land in front of the Urgals!’
‘Are you crazy?’ demanded Saphira.
Listen to your dragon, kid.
Eragon wants to talk to the Urgals, presumably to get information out of them. When the conversation seems to be going nowhere, Eragon just uses magic to injure them. Not kill them, note. You know, the same thing he could have done from the safety of the air.
Eragon, just because you are unique does not mean that you are useful.