Chapters The Hammer Falls, The Beginning of Wisdom


Reader's advisory, there is more poetry in this analysis.

Now that we have that lovely thing to look forward to, we go back to Roran.

Roran has watch. It's dark. The moon is floating. He's trying not to fall asleep. A wind blows and all of a sudden he starts feeling the need to flee. And the Ra'zac are back. Or one of them at least. Riding on their parent, which apparently is very cunning... but doesn't seem to be able to speak... unless they do it telepathically. In any case, this very cunning creature lets out a very loud screech thus breaking its cover and letting everyone know it's there.

This gives the watch time to get to everyone and tell them to shut up. They also have time to calm the animals down, though Roran has to shoot a donkey that doesn't shut up. This donkey has alerted the Ra'zac to their position. However... they fly away. Which then leaves me to wonder, what was the point of this scene? The Ra'zac knew they were there... but they left. It vaguely reminds me of the scene in the Lord of the Rings in Hollin when the Crebin attack the the Fellowship.

But it's over and done with and then the next morning they go to talk to the Barge owner. They discuss when they're going to leave and things like that. Then the villagers prepare to leave. The next day, Roran and a group of villagers who are going to guard the boats and help man them go into town again. This time the guards stop them and one of them goes, and the following scene ensues:

Gaurd: Um.. you look familiar, what's your name?
Roran: Stronghammer.
Gaurd: Are you sure it's not Roran?

See, now what I would have done, is bluffed my way through, saying something, like, "No, I'm sorry. Remember I came through here a few days ago. That's probably where you remember me from." No, instead he ups and kills them and thinks "Now I've killed ten." And then has one of the guys get rid of the bodies in a ditch. They then go to the docks and get ready to leave. The barge captain wants to know how he won such loyalty from his men. Roran says because he saved them from slavery and being eaten. I think it's because he's going to go all berserker on them.

The barge captain's daughter shows up to wish him a good journey and makes Roran feel all sad for the people he killed, "As he watched Clovis bid his family farewell, Roran thought of the two soldiers dead by the gate. They might have had families as well. Wives and children who loved them and a home they returned to each day... He tasted bile and hate to wrench his thoughts back to the pier to avoid being sick." (page 424). My only response to this is, Roran should have thought about this before he went all stabbity. I think it's there to show that Roran isn't a cold blooded killer and feels that he did something wrong. But it doesn't work because he didn't think when he went all stabity. He just did. And he had no bad thoughts about it until maybe several hours later. So, he's not a man who doesn't like killing, but instead, a cold blooded killer who maybe later feels remorse and only for a minute. In fact he probably wouldn't have felt remorse at all, unless he saw the child.

As they're leaving the town goes up into alarm. There's some talk about going to see what's up, but they decide they can't because they'll lose the tide. As they float out to see, Roran contemplates how beautiful the day is, the fact that he just killed two people completely forgotten.

When they get to the cove where the other villagers are, the barge owner is all WTF, this isn't what I signed up for! And Roran is yeah well, you're still gonna do it or else. And the barge owner is Okay fine, then tries to stab Roran in the back. And Roran is All No you don't, you're going to do what I say or I'll steal your boats. Barge owner is "oh fine, whatever, I never liked the king anyway." They load up and they leave. The End.

Back to Eragon. Eragon loves the elves' city. He really does. All the animals love the elves because they're not going to get eaten. However, Arya is avoiding Eragon and he's sad about that. So he picks her a bunch of flowers and goes to her room. She's not there, so he proceeds to snoop. He discovers a poem she wrote.

Under the moon, the bright white moon,
lies a pool, a flat silver pool,
among the brakes and brambles
and black hearted pines

Falls a stone, a living stone
cracks the moon, the bright white moon
among the brakes and brambles,
and black heart pines

Shards of light, swords of light
ripple 'cross the pool
the quiet mere, the still tarn
the lonely lake there.

In the night, the dark and heavy night
flutter shadows, confused shadows
where once...

Well, this one certainly has better rhythm than the other poems we've discovered. Not great rhythm, but better. The imagery needs some work however. I'm not sure what exactly are confused shadows are. It's nothing really spectacular either.

Arya, of course, shows up and Eragon is all I got you flowers as an apology for the picture I made of you, I didn't mean to cause you problems can we still be friends? After a bit Arya is "oh fine." They talk for a bit and the Blood Oath celebration is mentioned. Apparently you're supposed to compose a piece of art for it. Eragon says that her poetry was really good and she demurs saying if he had read any real poetry he would know it's not good. And he tells her that he has. And she goes, "Forgive me. You are not the person I first met in Gil'ead"

We then get an infodump on how the nature of the dragon and elves' bond and how it was formed. The word Thereupon is used at one point. The joining changed us. We dragons gained the use of language and other trappings of civilization, while the elves shared in our longevity since before that moment, their lives were as short as humans'. In the end, the elves were the most affected. Our magic, dragon's magic- which permeates every fiber of our being - was transmitted to the elves and, in time, gave them their much-vaunted strength and grace. Humans have never been influenced as strongly, since you were added to the spell after its completion and it has not had as much time to work upon you as with the elves. Still- and here Glaedr's eye gleamed. - it has already gentled your race from the rough barbarians who first landed in Alagaesia, though you have begun to regress since the Fall.

"Were dwarves ever part of this spell?" asked Eragon.

No, and this is why there has never been a dwarf Rider. They do not care for dragons, nor we for them, and they found the idea of being joined with us repellent. Perhaps it is fortunate that they did not enter into our pact, for they have escaped the decline of humans and elves.

Decline, Master? queried Saphira in what Eragon would have sworn was a teasing tone of voice.

Aye, decline. If one or another of our three races, so do they all. By killing dragons, Galbatorix harmed his own race as well as the elves. The two of you have not seen this, for you are new to Ellesmera, bu the elves are on the wane; their power is not what it once was. And humans have lost much of their culture and been consumed by chaos and corruption. Only by righting the balance between our three races shall order return to the world.

The old dragon kneaded the scree with his talons, crumbling it up into gravel so that he was more comfortable. Layered within the enchantment Queen Tarmunora oversaw was the mechanism that allows a hatchling to be linked with his or her Rider. When a dragon decides to give an egg to the Riders, certain words are said over the egg -which I shall teach you later - that prevent the dragon inside from hatching until it is brought into contact with the person with whom it decides to bond. As dragons can remain in their eggs indefinitely, time is no concern, nor is the infant harmed. You yourself are an example of this Saphira.

(page 438)

So what have we learned here? Dragons are wonderful, of course. However, one has to wonder something. Treaties are things that civilized people use to end conflicts. If the dragons weren't civilized, how did they know what a treaty is and what its purpose was? Such an understanding would only come with civilization. And it took them nine years after they decided to do it to get civilization. I'm curious as to what else the dragons learned from the elves. Did they learn how to make art? It looks like the elves really got the better end of this bargain. They got long life, good looks and magic. The dragons got...language and civilization. Which they apparently already had.

And then how did the first Eragon and dragon bond if this magical ability only happened after the treaty and the magical spell. This spell also is reminiscent of what Wind Blossom did to the fire-lizard eggs to make them dragons. One of the things that she did was create the "need" for the dragon hatchling to bond with the right person when they hatched.

We also have the decline of the elves cliche. There is no particular need for this, nor reason. From what we are told, the dragons and elves start entwining souls or something. By this logic, that the decline of the dragons have caused the decline of the elves, instead almost all the elves should be dead, because almost all the dragons are dead, and so should all the humans. After all the dragons aren't declining they're near extinct. Of course, that's how it should be done logically. But really, if we were to do that, then there wouldn't be any people in the story.

With the idea that the dragons brought culture to the humans with their bonding, if we recall, the humans had enough culture to have nobles and kings and they knew also what a treaty is and how to write one up even. Generally speaking barbarians don't know how to do such things. And there hasn't been much chaos among the human lands since the dragons all died. It's been pretty peaceful, as far as we've been able to tell. Unless this chaos is all happening somewhere else that we don't know about.

With this lovely infodump done, there is some discussion of the soul, basically saying that if the flesh is destroyed so is the soul. I'm not completely up on atheist practices, but the idea of the soul seems to be something that religion would deal with, especially what happens to the soul after it dies.

In any case, they have to learn how to sever their bond so that way in case one of them is injured it will be protected from the pain. I thought one of the points of the bond between them is that they share everything good things and bad. It's not something that can be broken. Apparently, of course, I was wrong. The bond is merely something of convenience.

Eragon muses on the fact that it's horrible to die alone and Glaedr says well yeah, everyone dies alone.

Lovely thoughts.

Finally Eragon gets sick of the vegetarian fair and decides to go hunting for meat. He and Saphira fly out to some place and Eragon kills some rabbits with magic. He muses how easy it was... which took out some of the fun of hunting. In any case, he gets the rabbits all nice and cooked and then he has a revelation. As he opened his mouth to take the first bite, his thoughts turned unbidden to his meditations. He remembered his excursions into the minds of birds and squirrels and mice, how full of energy they felt and how vigorously they fought for the right to exist in the face of danger. And if this life is all they have...'

Gripped by revulsion, Eragon thrust the meat away, as appalled by the fact that he killed the rabbits as if he had murdered two people. His stomach churned and threatened to make him purge himself. (page 445)

Now, why didn't this revelation occur to Eragon when he used his mind reading powers to locate the rabbits in the first place, before he killed them? Obviously, he's not so concerned as he appears to be, if it's coming to him after he's skinned and cooked them already. And then, he feels like he just killed two people, but if we recall Eragon's reaction to killing people, he has no reaction to it. He doesn't ever feel remorse or guilt or horrible or anything. So he shouldn't be having these reactions to killing the rabbits. He should be fine. But of course, since Paolini doesn't see this in his character, and doesn't see that he's made Eragon a remorseless killer, we have such statements as this, that completely contradict the previously stated actions of the character.

When Saphira returns from hunting, she tells him its the way of the world, things eating things. Still Eragon takes a vow of Vegetarianism. When Saphira asks him why he answers her thus: Because we can better ourselves, he answered Saphira Should we given into our impulses to hurt or kill anyone who anger us, to take whatever we want from those who are weaker, and in general, to disregard the feelings of others? We are made imperfect and must guard against our flaws least they destroy us. He gestured at the rabbits. As Oromis said, why should we cause unnecessary suffering?

Would you deny all your desires, then?

I would deny those that are destructive.(page 444)

I find this discussion to be highly ironic. Once again Eragon has shown no remorse for the killing and torture of people, yet here he talks about not needlessly causing pain and destruction. While this is fine and good philosophy, it doesn't fit in with his character and who he is, as loose of a term we can use in regards to him as a character. Instead it feels like Paolini preaching the reason why we shouldn't eat meat. Eragon has come to the realization that it is cruel to the animals to kill them and hunt them. But then again, how much suffering did they go through when he magically snuff their lives out? I doubt very much, so his argument holds no water. It is just the preaching forced into the mouth of a character who is forced out of character to recite it.

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