Eragon, Chapter 39: Capture at Gil’ead
After Saphira turns Brom’s final resting place into a sure target for grave robbers, the story finally gets back on track … starting with an entire page talking about the horses. Boring. The only thing we learn that is even slightly interesting is that Murtagh named his horse Tornac, after the guy who taught him how to fight.
He dreamed of the woman no more. And though he tried to scry her, he saw only an empty cell. Whenever they passed a town or city, he checked to see if it had a jail. If it did, he would disguise himself and visit it, but she was not to be found. His disguises became increasingly elaborate as he saw notices featuring his name and description – and offering a substantial reward for his capture – posted in various towns.
How is Eragon changing his appearance? He doesn’t find out until much later in the series how to magically modify his body, and he clearly doesn’t know how to cast a glamour, so he’s limited to whatever supplies he can scrounge up. What was his first disguise, a beaglepuss?
I would think that if there are already posters with Eragon’s description on them, he should constantly be in disguise – and not an “elaborate” one either, because that will just draw more attention to him. He should be changing his hair color and going by an assumed name at the very least. (Although with the description we got of him in Chapter 1, he’s pretty generic-looking to begin with. He would just have to cover up his hand.)
The day finally came when Eragon unwrapped his side for the last time. His ribs had healed completely, leaving him with only a small scar where the Ra’zac’s boot had cut his side. As Saphira watched, he stretched slowly, then with increasing vigor when there was no pain. He flexed his muscles, pleased. In an earlier time he would have smiled, but after Brom’s death, such expressions did not come easily.
As opposed to after his uncle’s death, when he was waking up crying and feeling homesick. He was just a bundle of laughs then, wasn’t he? Man, a few months is such a long time ago. How can you expect a kid to still be sad over the death of a family member he knew his whole life when the mentor he’s been with for a couple months just died? I really shouldn’t be surprised, since Garrow’s only purpose was to be killed off so Eragon could be shoved into the role of the unwilling hero.
Once the bandages come off, the first thing Eragon does is challenge Murtagh to a sparring match. Screw testing yourself to make sure you’re completely healed up, it’s perfectly safe to jump straight from stretches to full-out sword fighting! No risk of injury there at all. Eragon and Murtagh are, of course, evenly matched.
“You’re just as good,” observed Eragon, still panting. “The man who taught you, Tornac, could make a fortune with a fencing school.”
Does Murtagh really need to be reminded what his teacher’s name was? Do we, for that matter? Yes, he’s an important figure in Murtagh’s past, but he’s never brought up again. The only reason we know his name is because that’s what Murtagh named his horse – which we learned three pages ago and could easily look up if we forgot. This sentence would work just as well and be a lot less condescending to both Murtagh and the reader if either “the man who taught you” or “Tornac” were taken out.
Anyway, Tornac’s dead. Glad we’re spending so much time on a dead guy who has no bearing on the plot whatsoever.
Eventually they reach Gil’ead, and Murtagh points out that the Empire is much more keen on capturing Eragon than himself, so he should be the one to look for the Varden contact. Unfortunately, he’s seen by someone who knows him while he’s in town. He leaves in a hurry, but he was either followed for left enough of a trail for someone to follow him, because the next morning before dawn (two hours before dawn to be precise, though how Eragon can tell I have no idea) they’re attacked yet again by Urgals. Eragon manages to take four of them down before he’s knocked out. Again. Anyone else think Eragon should have had a concussion by now?