When I read books, I really like it when teenagers and child characters actually act their age. This was one of the problems I had with Angelic Layer, which was that the young child acted nothing like a little kid. But in Chapter 8 of Eragon, I can’t decide if Eragon is acting his age, or just being a big idiot ball. But since he’s only fifteen, I think it’s fair to say that he’s an idiot by default.
When Roran tells his father, Garrow, that he plans to leave, Garrow is totally okay with it. In fact, he’s happy for Roran. Eragon is pretty surprised at Garrow’s reaction, and disappointed with it. On one hand, I understand that he’s going to miss Roran. But on the other, what the hell was he expecting? Roran’s got an opportunity to make a better living than he does on the farm, and make enough money to get married.
I think I’m supposed to be sad, or at least feel something. But Roran doesn’t have any real character yet, and the only thing we know about him so far is that he’s in love with Sloan’s daughter. I’m almost reminiscent about when my sister left for college. I was sad when she left, but I also knew that her leaving home was inevitable, and it ended up being one of the best things to happen to her. So sure, Eragon, be sad, but don’t resent Roran for moving forward with his life.
Before we move on to the next chapter, I’d like to end it with a quote near the end of the chapter, when Roran is packing to leave.
“[Roran] paused, then picked up something from the pillow and bounced it in his hand. It was a polished rock Eragon had given him years ago. Roran started to tuck it into the bundle, then stopped and set it on a shelf. A hard lump formed in Eragon’s throat, and he left.”
I know that this is supposed to make me feel sad, but it only reminds me of “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown!”
Moving on to chapter nine, where we finally got…plot! Yay, plot! The chapter begins with Roran leaving the farm and Garrow giving advice to him and Eragon. It’s as awkward as it is sweet. But in the back of my mind I had to remember that the author was only fifteen when he wrote this. A lot of that shows in his prose, but it kind of dampened the impact of Garrow’s farewell speech to me. Garrow talks about life and love, giving him advice for the future. Things that the author’s never experienced. It actually reminds me of a time, during my senior year of college, when a freshman tried to complain to a group of seniors about his workload. In an out-of-character moment for me, I ripped this guy a new asshole, (loudly) explaining how he can complain about his work to other freshmen, but he had no right to whine to us.
He never complained in front of me again.
Of course, when we’re teenagers, we think we know everything. So maybe Paolini trying to show off his “wisdom”, such as it is, is entirely in-line with the rest of his writing.
Eragon goes into town to see Roran off, and is warned by another villager that there are strangers who have been asking about the “stone” he found in the Spine. Eragon puts the pieces together that someone is after Saphira. Well, what were you expecting, Eragon? You know the Empire and Galby killed the other Dragon Riders, and you even acknowledged that they would probably hunt down Saphira, too. God, you’re dumb.
And watch out, because I’m going to tear apart a single sentence. Again.
“The voice was deep and moist.”
No one likes the word moist. And I’m not even sure how a voice can sound “moist”, unless they’ve got a lot of spit in it. The idea was that the stranger’s voice gave Eragon a sense of rot and decay. But there just had to be some better way to evoke this. Because right now, I’m only giggling. Because the voice is deep, like a cave. And moist, like a…cave.