Eragon: Chapters 35 & 36

Eragon, Chapter 35: The Ra’zac’s Revenge

Unsurprisingly, Eragon wakes up to find that he, Saphira, and Brom have been tied up and taken captive by the Ra’zac. He’s also been drugged so that he can’t use magic. Wait a minute – the Ra’zac? The guys who wear black all the time? Then how did you notice a flash of color, at night, in the middle of a storm? Has Christopher Paolini even been introduced to the concept of continuity? Or can he only remember things that happened within the last three chapters?

The Ra’zac taunt Eragon, then drag Brom into the center of camp. Just as they’re about to kill him, they’re shot at. While fleeing, one of them throws a knife at Eragon, and Brom throws himself in front of it and gets himself stabbed. And then Eragon faints yet again.

Chapter 36: Murtagh

Eragon wakes up slowly and painfully, to find that he’s been rescued:

The stranger, dressed in battered clothes, exuded a calm, assured air. In his hands was a bow, at his side a long hang-and-a-half sword. A white horn bound with silver fittings lay in his lap, and the hilt of a dagger protruded from his boot. His serious face and fierce eyes were framed by locks of brown hair. He appeared to be a few years older than Eragon and perhaps and inch or so taller.

Meet Murtagh. He seems to be a big hit with the fangirls, and it’s not hard to see why, as he’s an obvious mash-up of Han Solo and Aragorn, with just enough of an angsty backstory to make him the perfect woobie. He’s also hunting the Ra’zac, a concept that Eragon seems to have trouble grasping.

Saphira hasn’t let Murtagh anywhere near Eragon, which makes no sense since she allowed him to tend to Brom’s wounds. You’d think she would care a bit more about him, or at least realize that if Murtagh is trying to save Brom then he’s not going to hurt Eragon. Instead, Eragon has to free himself from the ropes the Ra’zac tied around him and tell Saphira to let Murtagh pass, and Murtagh diagnoses him with broken ribs and tells him he’s lucky not to be coughing up blood.

Eragon slipped the shirt back on. “Yes . . . I’m lucky.” He took a shallow breath, sidled over to Brom, and saw that Murtagh had cut open the side of his robe to bandage the wound. With trembling fingers, he undid the bandage.

“I wouldn’t do that,” warned Murtagh. “He’ll bleed to death without it.”

Eragon ignored him and pulled the cloth away from Brom’s side. The wound was short and thin, belying its depth. Blood streamed out of it. As he had learned when Garrow was injured, a wound inflicted by the Ra’zac was slow to heal.

It’s so good to know that Eragon can put Brom’s best interest before his own curiousity. Murtagh just doctored his wounds; couldn’t he ask how Brom is doing and make his own conclusions from Murtagh’s description?

With Saphira helping him, Eragon manages to close the wound in Brom’s side, but says he only fixed the surface cut and the rest is “up to him [Brom]”. That’s nice. You know what’s not so nice? The blood poisoning he’s going to get from a perforated intestine. No strength of will is going to help fight off septicemia.

Determining that the only way for Brom to travel is if he’s carried, Murtagh helps Eragon make a litter for Saphira to carry him in and announces that he’ll come with them, until they’re out of danger. Saphira flies ahead, and when she gets tired she lands on a sort of sandstone mound that’s pockmarked with caves. They hide in one of these caves for the night. With Brom not waking up and not taking any water or food, the only thing left to do is – you guessed it – sleep.

Memorable Quotes:

“An oxbow moon provided wan light, but he knew that it would only make it easier for the Ra’zac to track them.” I spent a good five minutes trying to google “oxbow moon”, thinking it was a special sort of moon like a harvest moon, only to realize that Paolini was referring to a crescent moon. Put down the thesaurus, dude.

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