Eragon: Chapter 30

Eragon, Chapter 30: Vision of Perfection

Eragon wakes up alone at camp. Unable to reach Saphira, he spends a few hours lazing about, then goes off the explore the woods around him – while injured, I might add. He also tries to scry Saphira and Roran, both of whom show up in a blank white field which means that he can’t tell where they are.

Brom said that scrying takes a lot of energy, but I’m stronger than he is . . .

You’re also still recovering from knocking yourself out with magic and nursing a broken wrist. You’re not that strong right now.

Then, feeling quite clever, he decides to try and scry the woman from his dream.

After fixing the scene in his mind, he spoke the words and watched the water intently. He waited, but nothing happened. Disappointed, he was about to release the magic when inky blackness swirled across the water, covering the surface. The image of a lone candle flickered in the darkness, brightening to illuminate a stone cell. The woman from his dream was curled up on a cot in one corner. She lifted her head, dark hair falling back, and stared directly at Eragon. He froze, the force of her gaze keeping him in place. Chills ran up his spine as their eyes locked. Then the woman trembled and collapsed limply.

The water cleared. Eragon rocked back on his heels, gasping. “This can’t be.” She shouldn’t be real; I only dreamed about her! How could she know I was looking at her? And how could I have scryed into a dungeon that I’ve never seen? He shook his head, wondering if any of his other dreams had been visions.

This is the titular “vision of perfection”. I don’t know why Paolini felt the need to name the chapter after this part. There is nothing to suggest that this woman is particularly perfect or beautiful, and while the vision has some bearing on future events, it has nothing to do with the rest of the chapter. It’s just making the foreshadowing even more obvious.

Then Brom and Saphira get back, and Brom immediately sets in on Eragon:

“What happened?” roared the old man. “I’ve been trying to clean up your mess!” He slashed the air with the sword, flinging drops of blood along its arc. “Do you know what you did with that little trick of yours? Do you?”

Shouldn’t that blood have dried by now?

“I stopped the Urgals from catching you,” said Eragon, a pit forming in his stomach.

“Yes,” growled Brom, “but that piece of magic nearly killed you! You’ve been sleeping for two days. There were twelve Urgals. Twelve! But that didn’t stop you from trying to throw them all the way to Teirm, now did it? What were you thinking? Sending a rock through each of their heads would have been the smart thing to do. But no, you had to knock them unconscious so they could run away later. I’ve spent the last two days trying to track them down. Even with Saphira, three escaped!”

Did you ever try telling him this stuff before he had to use it?

Maybe I’m being too harsh here. We haven’t seen exactly what Eragon’s been learning – maybe Brom has been going over the best ways to kill or disable opponents and Eragon simply disregarded his teachings. Who knows? Brom still comes off looking like a jerk.

After Brom berates him some more for revealing himself, Eragon appeals to Saphira only to get “Speak with Brom” as a response. (How very helpful.) When he apologizes, Brom gives him the “you made some bad choices” speech which just pisses me off. Yeah, Eragon acted without thinking, but considering that he doesn’t have a quarter of the training a “proper” Rider his age would have by now, I don’t think he’s doing that bad. Is he an idiot? Sure. Should he be expected to act like a fully-trained Rider? Of course not!

The problem here, I suspect, is that Brom expects Eragon to behave just the way he did when he was sixteen. We see glimpses of this in his surprise that Eragon doesn’t know how to read, in his rage at Eragon’s accidental discovery of magic. He doesn’t take into account the fact that Eragon doesn’t have the mindset a properly trained Rider would have; he doesn’t have the discipline or the information necessary to handle situations like the Urgal attack properly. So while Eragon could definitely stand to use his head more, Brom could also take a minute to pull his own head out of his ass and stop expecting Eragon to be something he’s not.

Eragon nodded, abashed. “It’s not as bad as you think, though; the Urgals already knew about me. They had orders to capture me.”

Astonishment widened Brom’s eyes. He stuck his unlit pipe in his mouth. “No, it’s not as bad as I thought. It’s worse! Saphira told me you had talked with the Urgals, but she didn’t mention this.”

Why wouldn’t she mention something so important?! That’s definitely something you mention at the debriefing.

Eragon tells Brom about the conversation between him and the Urgals, and I do like that Brom’s reaction can basically be summed up as “Aaaaand you blatantly flipped this guy’s master the bird. Congrats, you’re screwed.” He also, finally, admits that he messed up in Eragon’s training, saying “I’ve been teaching you how to do things, but not whether you should.”

Nooo. Ya think?

Then Saphira chimes in while they’re packing up to leave, chastising Eragon for not telling her what his plan was and saying that if she’d known she’d never have let him do it in the first place. Aren’t you telepathically connected with him? Couldn’t you have read his mind if you wanted that information? He wasn’t putting up any shields! I swear, the telepathy in this book is hugely inconsistent.

That night, instead of sword practice, Eragon is treated to a series of quizzes about strategy. Predictably, Brom doesn’t bother explaining anything beforehand, so Eragon gets most of the questions wrong and Brom acts like a huge jerk about it. ‘Cause, y’know, why bother giving your student a foundation to work from when you can immediately attack them for not knowing as much as you do?

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