chapters Hall of the Mountain King, Ayra's Test Or as a friend of mine calls it the elf's tale of woe


So, Eragon is standing around and a dwarf comes to tell him that the king wants to see him. Saphira wants Eragon to take the rock of doom with him. Why? Because it's a rider's sword and he should forge a new history for it. Earlier she disliked the sword because it belonged to someone who killed dragons and their riders. She gives no reason for this change. She does say that Eragon needs to show that he's above people's disapproval (Ajihad suggested that he not wear it because of its history) and his own person. But there's nothing that happens to her to make her think any differently of the sword. No conversation between her and Eragon or anyone else. She just changes her mind all of a sudden.

Eragon meets up with dwarf who takes them to see the king. The throne room is below the city. What is the point of the throne room being below the city? Shouldn't it be apart of the city? There seems to be a lot of things that aren't apart of the city that are important to running a city. Why aren't these parts apart of the city? I guess it's more dramatic. Anyway, I'd like to call your attention to this lovely bit of description as Eragon and Saphira approach the king.

"Their footsteps echoed through the hall as they advanced toward the throne. In the recesses between the stalagmites and stalactites rested large statues. Each sculpture depicted a dwarf king crowned and sitting on a throne; their sightless eyes gazed sternly into the distance, their lined faces set in fierce expressions. A name was chiseled in runes beneath each set of feet." (440)

Now, this book is from Eragon's perspective. How did he know that the dwarves there were kings? Orik didn't say anything to this effect. No one told Eragon about it for sure. They could be, for all he knows, dwarf gods. Or mythic heroes. They could have been... anything. But somehow Eragon knows that they're kings.

Then we get the description of the king.

"The dwarf king himself sat like a statue upon a raised throne craved from a single piece of black marble. It was blocky, unadorned, and cut with unyielding precision. Strength emanated from the throne, strengtt that harked back to ancient times when dwarves had ruled in Alagesia without opposition from elves or humans. A gold helm lined with rubies and diamonds rested on Hrothgar's head in place of a crown. His visage was grim, weathered and hewn of many years' experience. Beneath a craggy brow glinted deep-set eyes, flinty and piercing. Over his powerful chest rippled a shirt of mail. His white beard was tucked under his belt, and in his lap he held a mighty war hammer with the symbol of Orik's clan embossed on his head." (441)

Enough stone metaphors used there for you? Dwarfy enough for you? King dwarf then says some tried things and apparently also likes Eragon. These dwarves who don't trust riders really seem to like Eragon.

King dwarf, while talking to Eragon says, "The first statue is the likeness of my ancestor Korgan who forged this mace, Volund."

A war hammer is not a mace.

This is a war hammer:

This is a mace:

See, one is a hammer. The other one has spikey bits on it. They are different. They are not comparable weapons except for the fact that they are both do bludgeoning damage. Other than that they are completely different.

Apparently the dwarves have ruled from under Farthen Dur (where the city is located)since the dawn of their race. If they've been living underground all this time, why did they build a city above ground? Do they live both above and below ground? I'm not certain about this and it bothers me. It's as if Paolini is keeping with the dwarf stereotypes by making them live underground but at the same time making them different by making them build above ground in mountain cities. It dichotomizes their society. People usually have a reason for building under or above ground. They usually don't waste their effort in building both ways.

They talk for a bit about Eragon's motivations and then we learn that Dwarf is Dwarf King's nephew. He then dismisses Eragon. Saphira goes off to the dragon hold and Eragon eats breakfast and then goes to the Library. For some reason, the dwarves, though they've been around since before the humans were around, have the same alphabet as the humans do.

While reading he is ambushed by the twins and they have hot sex together in the library.

Well no. But they do ask him to join their little magic club and apologize to him for their earlier behavior. Paolini further indicates that the Twins are evil by comparing them to the Ra'zac. They insult each other without really insulting each other. Apparently the Twins only want to know what Brom taught Eragon. When he calls them out on this, they start to be threatening and leave.

Eragon finds Dwarf polishing his war ax. Why? Because he's a dwarf and that's what dwarves do in their spare time. He couldn't be reading. Nope, he's polishing his ax. Because he's a dwarf.

Apparently a lot of people take the stairs up to the dragon hold because after Eragon wanders off to find Angela (who he doesn't find) he discovers that someone is there. It's a girl. The Star Sapphire casts a rosy glow on her.

Now, I was originally going to protest this as how do blue gems cast rosy glows, but I did some research and apparently not all sapphires are blue. So... he gets away with this. Barely. Mostly because he never gives the Sapphire a color.

The woman is called Nasuada. As Paolini naming conventions follow, she's important. In fact her father is Ajihad. She's also met with Murtagh. She came all the way up to tell Eragon a message from her father. Now we learn that there is a pulley system in place that allows transport of goods to the upper levels. Why don't people use it? We don't know. She then leaves after giving him her message.

The next day Eragon goes to the training field. He meets up with Fredric who is not important because he has a normal name and is told that he's going to be tested on endurance because he may be in a battle that last for hours or even weeks if it's a siege. Now they're not going to be fighting continuously in a siege. That's the point of a siege. You stand around and try to starve the people you're sieging out. There's really very little fighting. And battles don't really last that long because people will get tired out and retreat for a rest. But this isn't important because the Twins show up and test Eragon in his magic skills.

They test him and test him and test him. Finally they tell him to summon the essence of silver. Eragon has no idea what that means. But before he can try Elf Sue shows up and berates them for apparently summoning silver is something that only a master can do. We also get another long description of Elf Sue including what she's wearing.

When she walks into the center of the training field everyone stops and stares at her in awe of her presence. He actually says that.

Eragon and her then fight. It's very sexual. We get things like "Taut skin only a hair's breadth away." and "Their sinuous forms wove together like twisting ropes of windblown smoke". There's really nothing you can say to that. Really.

She eventually beats him.

Saphira calls him out on his crush and is Jealous.

We then get the Elf Sue's Tale of Woe©.

Durza apparently tried for months with torture to get her to reveal information. "His methods were ... harsh. When torture failed, he ordered his soldiers to use me as the would. Fortunately, I still had the strength to nudge their minds and make them incapable." (462) She was able to stop people from raping her, but not in making them let her go? I guess she really liked the torture. And apparently, as previously seen, it didn't seem that very harsh. Her pretty face was still intact.

Then we learn that Eragon and Elf Sue have a Speshul connection. Eragon tells her about his dreams of her and she tells him that she could feel a presence sometimes and that she's never heard of someone being able to scry in their sleep. Technically speak, according to Paolini, he shouldn't have been able to see her at all. But he could because they're just that special.

Brom had a ring (which Eragon now has) that makes him a very special elf friend and Elf Sue has a tattoo on her shoulder that's the same as the mark on the ring. Which she doesn't want anyone to know about. This is probably important. We'll hear about this more later.

Eragon finally goes and checks up on Murtagh. Murtagh has a very nice room. He's being very well treated. He's got a nice bed and all the food he wants. They bring him up books from the library if he wants and Ajihad's daughter who's name I can't recall, comes and visits. He really likes her and Eragon is actually jealous. "Eragon listened to his praise with growing apprehension. It may be nothing,he reminded himself, You're leaping to conclusions. Yet the foreboding wouldn't leave him." They're so cute when they're slashy.

The chapter ends with Murtagh saying that he's content living in his room for now.

As a side note, I just recalled something. In the very beginning of the Novel we are told that the Spine is a very dangerous place. People don't enter it lightly. But then later Brom and Eragon cross it like twice and there's no mention of it being dangerous at all. There's no mention of that at all. It's just like every other mountain range. So... why is the mountain range so dangerous in the first place, if they can cross it without worry. This seems to be another instance of Paolini writing one thing and completely forgetting about it a few chapters later.

This is the second to last one, there are three more chapters left. So far nothing has happened. Events have happened but there has been no overall story. No building of character. No drive. No story arc. Things have just happened one after another in a fairly random manner propelling Eragon around the world. He goes here, he goes there, but there hasn't been any tension. I haven't ever felt in fear of Eragon's life. Or anyone else's. Everything is just very there. Eragon hasn't changed a single bit since he started on this journey except to grow more powerful physically. But emotionally, he's still the same empty brat that we met in the beginning. He has not grown as a character. He just is.

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