Eragon, Chapter 24: A Taste of Teirm
Finally, our heroes reach the coastal city of Teirm. The endless traveling will stop, if only for a few short chapters; unfortunately, the laziness and bad writing just keep chugging along regardless.
Eragon told Saphira, You should land somewhere now and hide. We’re going in.
Sticking your nose where it doesn’t belong. Again, she said sourly.
Eragon’s not actually sticking his nose where it doesn’t belong here. His only goal at this point is to get revenge for his uncle’s death. To get the information he needs to accomplish that goal, he has to go to Teirm and check those shipping records. He’s doing exactly what he needs to do to get the result he wants. He’s not intruding into other people’s affairs uninvited.
I don’t even know what she means by “again”. Aside from that brief stop in Daret, he hasn’t interacted with anyone but Brom since leaving the valley. I think she might mean what happened in Yazuac, but that wasn’t Eragon not minding his own business so much as it was him and Brom being ambushed when they stopped for supplies. Eragon’s actually been pretty good about keeping to himself so far (though I suspect it’s because he hasn’t had many opportunities to butt in yet).
What exactly is Eragon supposed to do, Saphira? He doesn’t have a home to go back to, and even if he did I suspect you wouldn’t want him talking to the neighbors much. Saphira’s starting to come across as a jealous girlfriend, especially after this creepy little exchange:
If anything happens, I’m going to pin you to my back and never let you off.
I love you too.
Then I will bind you all the tighter.
JFC, Saphira really needs to learn boundaries. I really hope that this behavior is a result of not being raised around other dragons and learning social interaction from another member of her own species, because if all dragons are this controlling, then they officially scare the crap out of me. You’re going to tie him to your back if anything happens, whether it’s his fault or not? Do – do I really have to go into why that’s not okay? Can we just all agree that Saphira is seriously getting creepily possessive and move on to less disturbing scenes?
I mean, come on, back the fuck OFF, lady.
At the entrance to Teirm, the guards stood straighter and blocked the gate with their pikes. “Wha’s yer name?” asked one of them in a bored tone.
“I’m called Neal,” said Brom in a wheezy voice, slouching to one side, an expression of happy idiocy on his face.
“And who’s th’ other one?” asked the guard.
“Well, I wus gettin’ to that. This’ed be m’nephew Evan. He’s m’sister’s boy, not a . . .”
The guard nodded impatiently. “Yeah, yeah. And yer business here?”
“He’s visitin’ an old friend,” supplied Eragon, dropping his voice into a thick accent. “I’m along t’ make sure he don’t get lost, if you get m’meaning. He ain’t as young as he used to be – had a bit too much sun when he was young’r. Touch o’ the brain fever, y’know.” Brom bobbed his head pleasantly.
Okay, first off, the transcription of that accent is atrocious. It’s readable, at least, not like the moles in the Redwall series, but “this’ed”? “Young’r”? What the hell am I reading?
What kind of accent is Eragon putting on? What kind of accent could he have possibly been exposed to? Is he picking up the guard’s accent from the three sentences he’s spoken? Shouldn’t he have a different accent than the people in this region? If most of the trade on the coast is done in Teirm, then the guards should probably be used to dealing with people from all over the continent. Why would Eragon draw attention to himself with a fake accent when he could just speak normally? He doesn’t keep it up the entire time he’s in town, just around the guards, so what’s the point of bothering here?
What’s the point of this scene, anyway? Is it really so vital that we establish the local accent and make sure our heroes’ fake identities hold up under minor scrutiny? Is their cover story going to play a larger part in the narrative as a whole? (Spoiler: No, of course not.)
“I’ve never seen a city planned like this,” said Eragon in wonder.
You’ve never seen a city in your entire life! You should be gaping in slack-jawed wonder as Brom drags you down the street and tells you to stop looking like a tourist! Don’t you talk about city planning like you know a damn thing about it, boy.
As they continued up the street, people gave them searching looks, but there was not an undue amount of interest.
If Teirm is such a big city, then people here should be used to strangers walking the streets. Eragon and Brom shouldn’t be attracting any more attention than the next person unless they’re dressed or acting oddly.
Compared to our reception at Daret, we’ve been welcomed with open arms. Perhaps Teirm has escaped notice by the Urgals, thought Eragon. He changed his opinion when a large man shouldered past them, a sword hanging from his waist.
That’s not really a definite sign that Urgals have been attacking. The man could be a criminal, or a mercenary, or an off-duty soldier. Perhaps Teirm has enough of a crime problem that citizens feel the need to arm themselves before stepping out in public – it doesn’t seem like they’re in a particularly nice neighborhood. Or maybe that guy just likes trying to intimidate people. There’s a lot of reasons people carry weapons other than the threat of attack from a specific source.
Brom doesn’t remember where Jeod lives, but instead of going straight to the merchant’s quarter or market district to ask about the whereabouts of a merchant, they stop at the first run-down tavern they see and ask the bartender. The bartender tries to demand a bribe, but is admonished by one of his regulars. (We get both their names, of course, because the greedy bartender and the guy with two fingers are such important characters that they never show up again.) Two-Fingers tells them where Jeod lives, and that he and a few other merchants are having some business troubles due to the fact that they’ve been losing ships for the last few months. Brom thanks him for the information and he and Eragon leave, heading for the nicer section of town where Eragon feels “conspicuous and out of place.”
(Paolini seems to have the same trouble I do with ending chapters (or blog posts, in my case), because that’s what he ends on: “Eragon felt conspicuous and out of place.” Hardly a cliff-hanger.)