Chapters Arya Svit-Kona, Ceris
Just a bit of a warning. There's more poetry in this analysis.
Now that we're all properly frightened (makes you wish this was another Meat fic, doesn't it?) let's get started.
Arya is a zombie. She refuses to ride a donkey and instead is able to run faster than a horse or a donkey and keep up at it all day without getting tired. Or maybe she's an elf and this is a super special elf ability. Tolkien's elves could do that. So, Paolini's elves can. I like the zombie theory better. In any case they make their way to Du Weldenvarden, which apparently is a forest that stretches the length of Alagaesia. Either Alagaesia is really small or ... well... Paolini is really bad with geography.
One night Arya comes to him. But not in the way that Eragon would like. She wants to have a private chat, but not about that. Instead it's about Politics. Elven politics. And courtesy. Since they live so long they can't afford to give offense when a grudge may last for decades. Our Thesaurus raped word of the day is Fecund. The elves are not fecund. And I quote, "Nor are elves fecund, so it's vital that we avoid conflict among ourselves." (Page 160). Fecund, I am told means capable of having children. If elves are not capable of having children the question is, how do they reproduce? Now it could be argued that Paolini may have meant not very fecund, but that is not what he said. And we can't go by assuming things, only what is on the page. This is where Mark Twain's quote, "The difference between a right word and an almost right word is like the difference between lightning and a lightning bug" comes in handy. The thesaurus, while a useful tool, does not give words that mean exactly the same thing. And this is what Paolini fails to see, so caught up in his cleverness. And even still, he should have realized what it is that he says. Back to our original reproduction question. How do they then reproduce. Well, they could split like amoebas or perhaps even do budding. Little elves growing off the parent elf at odd places until they've fully developed and then falling off. I like that image. So, now we have budding elves.
I now want an icon that says, "My fandom has budding elves and zombie horses."
Apparently, according to the elves, Eragon is expected to know the intricacies of their social norms, and more harm will come to him if the elves discover he was rude out of ignorance than if he was rude on purpose. As Ayra says, "Far better to thought rude and capable than rude and incapable, else you risk being manipulated like the Serpent in a match of Runes." (page 161) Now I have no idea what the Serpent in a Match of Runes is, so the simile makes no sense to me. I am supposing that he's referring to a game, but I have no context. Terry Pratchett used the game of Thud as a political metaphor in his book, Thud, but before he made it as a metaphor, he brought it up several times in different books. Vimes, commented on the game. We knew about the game, what it was about, so when Pratchett started using it as a metaphor for what was happening in Thud we knew what he was talking about. But I digress. We're looking at Elven politics, which are starting to sound rather like the Game that is played by the nobby folks in Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time books. (What is this, the third reference so far?)
Eragon shows his uber learning skills again, absorbing all sorts of niceties of elven culture with in several hours. We even learn the elven greeting which translates as "May good fortune rule over you, peace live in your heart and the stars watch over you." While sounding like something a bunch of corny fluffy wiccans would say, one has to wonder, why would the stars watch over someone? The stars are non-sentient. They would only be sentient things in a culture that has a religious philosophy, like they're they souls of the departed or the eyes of the gods or something. But for an atheist culture referring to the stars in such a manner makes no sense. In many ways this is just as ridiculous as the dwarves belief in the gods. But at least the dwarves have religion to back their sayings.
Arya then gets bitchy at Eragon when he asks if she's all right. She says that he shouldn't be so familiar to her when they're in the elf kingdom. She then leaves him. Saphira has a rather cute line when she tells him to go after her and make amends. She says that if he doesn't she'll fill his tent with carrion. He goes after Ayra and makes amends. She accepts his apologies and tells him that she's afraid before wandering off again.
On the fourth day there's a completely random conversation between Shrrgnien and Eragon involving the number of toes each race has. Dwarves have seven on each foot. Apparently Shrrgnien had a bet with the other dwarves about something. Eragon only saw them exchanging money. My guess was if the could get Eragon to take his boot off.
Anyway, they finally reach the elves.
Ayra talks to some of the elves at this meadow and the elves get all excited to see her and start dancing, singing and laughing around her like a bunch of stoned hippies. "The elves dropped from the trees and embraced Arya, lauging in clear, pure voices. They joined hands and danced in a circle around her like children, singing merrily as they spun through the grass" (page 166)And these are Paolini's chosen people. Don't you want to be like them? They must have dropped their weapons to do this because they're all holding hands. But they manage to pick them up... or never have dropped them to aim at Saphira when they see her. Ayra talks to them and they start laughing.
In fact they really don't stop laughing. They do it incessantly. And sing and hum. They sing as they make food for the dwarves and Eragon. They laugh as Eragon and the Dwarves walk through the forest. And the only difference between the four elves that we meet is that one has black hair and the others silver. They eat and then one of the elves starts to play the pipes and another sings.
And now, because I hate you all, the elf's song:
The day is done; the stars are bright;
The leaves are still; the moon is white!
Laugh at woe and laugh at foe,
Menoa's scion now is safe this night! A forest child we lost to strife;
A sylvan daughter caught by life!
Freed of fear and freed of flame,
She tore a Rider from the shadows rife!
Again the dragons rise on wing,
and we avenge their suffering!
Strong of blade and strong of arm
the time is ripe for us to kill a king!
The wind is soft; the river deep;
The trees are talk; the birds do sleep!
Laugh at woe and laugh at foe,
The hour has arrived for joy to reap!
Well, it rhymes, which is a step up from the other poems. And it almost has a meter, but in the third verse the meter is completely forced. And then look at the actual lyrics. First of all who is Menoa's scion? Second of all how do you get caught by life? Freed of flame makes no sense at all, was someone on fire? Third stanza appears to be talking about Eragon. Do they actually think that because they suddenly have one fledgling dragon rider on their side that they'll be able to defeat Galby who KILLED OFF ALL THE OTHER RIDERS with only thirteen people to help him?! Of course, I forget, this is Eragon we're talking about. The birds do sleep, what about owls? And the whole laugh at woe, laugh at foe makes them sound a bit sadistic and psychotic.
Eragon goes to sleep. He wakes up as the dwarves are preparing to leave. They promise to take care of Snowfire for Eragon, saying that he'll be fat and sleek when he comes back. Most riders do not want their horses to be fat.
The elves are going to take Arya, Eragon, Dwarf up the river in two white canoes. Yes, the elves have white canoes. I can't really comment any more on that without getting upset.
So, they go upstream into the lake and when he pauses to rest, he starts to play with the puzzle ring again. The elf in the canoe with him asks to see it and Eragon gives it to him. It takes him a few moments to solve the puzzle. Eragon is of course upset at this show of intelligence. But in the end he wants to be able to figure it out on his own. This puzzle ring is starting to puzzle me. I'm beginning to think that Paolini is going to use it as a symbol of Eragon's development and only when he reaches his height will he be able to solve the puzzle.
We'll have to see.
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