Chapter The Horns of a Dilemma, Hunting for answers


In our last summary we learned that Murtagh is the son of Morzan. The first and last of the Forsworn. Eragon is all Ohmigawd suspicious that Murtagh is going to attack him. Of course if Murtagh was going to attack him, he probably would have done it along time ago. To prove that he's not evil, Murtagh shows him a nasty scar on his back that stretches from shoulder to his hip. Daddy apparently gave it to him when he was three in a drunken rage. Thus we have proof that Morzan is well and truly evil. He throws his sword at his son. Now never mind the fact that swords is not a throwing weapon, Paolini has just thrown Morzan into the Stereotype evil. He doesn't even try to give Morzan a good side. He's evil so therefor he must beat his children. Heaven forbid we have a villain that is a good father. We can't have that. Evil must be Evil. It can't do anything good like raise a child. It must be Evil. See, it would have been interesting if Morzan was a good father. It would have made him a real person. Three dimensional. But Paolini took the easy way out and made him flat and boring.

On a second note, Eragon has magic that can heal. He was able to heal Elf Sue of her injuries without any scars. But some how Murtagh manages to retain a very nasty scar. Apparently the magic fails you if you need future angst. Or you're not a Mary Sue.

We learn that Brom killed Morzan. Actually we relearn this. It's all rehash. And weren't they being attacked by Urgals and needing to get Elf Sue to the Varden to save her life? Apparently angsting is more important.

And apparently the Varden would recognize Murtagh. I don't know how. It's not like they'd have a photograph of him to publish or hand out. This isn't important however.

Eragon and Murtagh eventually start moving, arguing over if Murtagh is really evil or not. Eragon should know by now that since Murtagh likes Eragon and is pretty, he isn't evil. All his worry however seems to be intellectual. He doesn't seem to feel any fear. He just gives out logistical reasons as to why Murtagh may be untrustworthy.

As they bicker they finally reach the waterfall. The Zombie Urgals have caught up with them. Saphira flies off... for some reason and then dives under the water of the lake and attacks the Urgals. Brilliant strategy there. One small dragon against an army of Urgals and she's doing a one on one attack. She should get skewered by the Urgals. Instead she manages to keep them at bay. Why haven't they just skewered her? I have no idea.

Eragon gets to the waterfall and speaks the magic words. Nothing happens. He tries again. Nothing happens still. Then they're attacked by Kull (a Kull apparently a type of Urgal) and Murtagh mimics his father and throws his sword. Swords are not throwing weapons. Despite this, Murtagh still hits the guy in the chest. Apparently the coolness of the maneuver out does the fact that this shouldn't work.

Then it is realized that they're on the wrong side of the lake. They go through the waterfall and Eragon almost drowns, getting thrown into the water by the force of the waterfall. Eragon is saved by a dwarf.... wearing a chain-mail jacket... a war ax and a helmet. Which he didn't take off to get to Eragon. I know that dwarves are stronger than humans but that is impossible. The weight would pull him down to the bottom and he would have drowned faster than Eragon. How does he do this then? He just does. Apparently Paolini has rewritten the laws of buoyancy to make metal float. The dwarf appears to be a typical dwarf. And that's about all the characterization he gets.

They regroup and are lead into a tunnel where a tall bald man threatens to kill Murtagh if Eragon uses any magic. The tall bald man then has the three of them go inside the tunnel. The Zombie horses are still with them. The bald man leads them to a side room and has them disarmed.

Baldy then says that he's going to read Eragon's mind. Eragon protests saying that Elf Sue needs a healer. Baldy wants to make sure they're not spies. Dwarf intercedes for Elf Sue's sake. Then they recognize Elf Sue. Apparently she is "the egg courier" and someone important.

Eragon's mind is then examined, but Saphira saves him and hides what he wants to be hidden, including Murtagh's parentage. It's still very painful. And he almost faints when it's removed. Apparently baldy doesn't like Eragon that much.

Murtagh refuses to be examined. Baldy insists. Murtagh refuses. Dwarf intercedes again. Murtagh doesn't have to be examined.

Murtagh and Eragon have to stay in the room however. We get Murtagh's life story.

Morzan showed mommy some kindness (a ploy he says, because we all know that Evil can't love) to get her to follow him. Mommy fell in love with him and he tormented her, because he was evil. He taught her some magic and used her as a loyal servant. Mommy gets pregnant daddy hides mommy away. Galby knows of his existence but doesn't say anything. Mommy can't visit as often as she wants. Daddy gives him a scar. Daddy goes looking for Saphira's egg. Mommy vanishes. Info dump about what happened to the other forsworn (they're all dead). Mommy returns. Mommy dies. Murtagh gets raised in the court. Murtagh some how isn't evil. He was raised by evil. But somehow he's not evil. There is no explanation for this. He just is good.

Murtagh turns eighteen. Murtagh meets Galby for a nice romantic candle light dinner. Galby says Join the Dark Side Luke... wait... wrong story. Galby apparently has stolen Saruman's voice because his words are "entrancing, like a snake whispering gilded lies in my ears. A more convincing and frightening man I've never heard" (390). Galby paints a picture of a peaceful and prosperous kingdom where the Urgals are eradicated, the arts flourish, beautiful cities are built filled with warriors and philosophers.

... wait... isn't he supposed to be the bad guy?

So... the Evil Bad Guy is saying let's bring about a reign of peace and prosperity ... and this is bad somehow?

And the Varden are against this? So.., does that mean that they're all for a reign of terror?

I'm confused.

Murtagh then tells us that the Varden attack and destroyed some of Galby's army and he wants Murtagh to go and destroy a village that was known to harbor the rebels. He wants them burned at the stake and their ashes buried with dung. Murtagh decides this is a bad thing and flees.

A digression here. The kingdom was running along fine. Then the Varden show up and start causing problems. So the King wants to eliminate the problems and he's a bit ruthless about it, but theoretically he has a legitimate complaint. After all these people are, just for some random reason, attacking him. One could even draw a parallel to the United States if they really wanted to. One could even say that if the Varden never existed that none of this ruthless attacks would be happening. The king may not have even needed to resort to using the Urgals to attack the Varden (because it was previously mentioned that he was keeping them at bay).

So... why are we rooting for the Varden again?

Oh wait, I know.

Because the King is evil and the Varden is good.

Right. Glad I got that straight.

So... where was I?

Murtagh escaped. He hid. He heard about Eragon... and yes, we're all caught up now.

Eragon wants to know why Murtagh doesn't want to join up with the Varden. Murtagh shows some actual character traits and says that he may not like the king but he thinks that the system works and if the king finds out he's working for the Varden there would be no end to trouble for him.

They get fed. They go to sleep.

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