Chapter 10: No Rest for the Weary

Althought the chapter is named for the popular misquotation of Scripture, I think it would’ve been just as apt to use the proper quote, “No rest for the wicked.”

We open the chapter with Roran and six of Nasuada’s Nighthawks thinking about how they might kill each other. Oh, but it’s just a game they play! Ha ha! Do I have to go into much detail about how wrong this is? Well, let me present a few thoughts anyway.

Where did Paolini get this? Since I’m not a mindreader, I don’t know for sure, but I’d be willing to bet he got it from either a martial arts movie (like Hero) or Robert Downey Jr.‘s Sherlock Holmes movies (because he figures exactly how he’s going to defeat someone before he does it). Here’s the thing, though: I don’t think I’ve ever seen that used by good guys against other good guys. Here’s another thing: Roran would be outnumbered 6 to 1 by presumably the best of the best (after all, they’re tasked with guarding the leader of the entire Varden), two of which are much-stronger-than-human Urgals. Then again this is the guy who killed almost 200 men in one sitting, so moving on…

Anyway, Nasuada calls Roran in to give him a mission. The resistance at Aroughs has been stiffer than expected (must have taken city Viagra), and they need the men back right away, so she’s sending Roran to replace Brigman, the captain currently in charge of the siege. He has a week to accomplish his mission before Nasuada will have to send Eragon there, and it’s going to take four days of travel, so he basically has three days to end a siege that’s already gone on too long.

I found this quote of Nasuada’s quite amusing, though:

If you can’t, then I’ll have no choice but to send Eragon and Saphira to Aroughs, which will leave us barely able to defend ourselves should Murtagh or Galbatorix attack.

First of all, they’ve always said before that if Galbatorix were to ever attack them directly, they’d stand no chance, but now she’s saying that even without Eragon, they’d barely be able to defend themselves against him? Second of all, Murtagh? Well, spoiler alert, but you’ll see later how well they’re able to defend themselves against Murtagh even with Eragon and Saphira present.

Roran avers that he doesn’t have experience with sieges and maybe someone better qualified would be in order. However, Nasuada knows that there’s no city that could withstand the cousin of Stu, so off he’ll go.

Then, we get the most mystifying argument in favor of literacy that I’ve ever read. Paraphrasing it wouldn’t do it justice, so here’s what Nasuada tells Roran about being able to read:

“For all you know, one of those might be a writ ordering your execution. You are of limited use to me like this, Stronghammer. I cannot send you messages without others having to read them to you, and if you need to report to me, you will have no choice but to trust one of your underlings to record your words accurately. It makes you easy to manipulate. It makes you untrustworthy. If you hope to advance any further in the Varden, I suggest you find someone to teach you. Now begone; there are other matters that demand my attention.”

Let’s start with the first one. Let’s just say, for sake of argument, that one of the letters she gave him really was a writ of execution and that Roran actually does know how to read. She could just seal the letter, say, “This is for Brigman’s eyes only,” and, as long as Roran isn’t suspicious about it, being able to read makes no difference AT ALL. (By the way, this makes the second time in one chapter where one of the good guys has thought about killing one of the other good guys… Just throwing that out there; make of it what you will.) As for the other argument, yes, it would be something of a hassle communicating with him, but I don’t think it makes him much more susceptible to manipulation than a literate person. Let’s suppose for a moment that an unscrupulous underling wants to give Roran the wrong orders. If he knows that Roran is illiterate, sure he could try to say whatever, but he runs the risk that someone else may notice that what he’s saying doesn’t match what’s written and calling it to Roran’s attention. And although that particular type of manipulation wouldn’t work on a literate Roran, that doesn’t mean he’s immune. Someone could forge orders and swap them out so that Roran reads the wrong one. And it’s the same for him communicating back to his commanders. He could either dictate to someone he really trusts, or if no one that he really trusts is available, he could get a few other people to read it back to him to verify its contents. But even if he’s literate, he still has to rely on the delivery person to deliver the message he actually wrote, and not swap it out for a bogus report.

Oh, and you know all this hoopla over Roran needing to learn to read, and he won’t advance if he doesn’t learn how to read? Do you think he learns how to read? No. He doesn’t even get someone to start teaching him. That entire bit was superfluous.

But at least the plot moved forward a bit.

Chapter 11: Dancing with Swords

Unlike this chapter. All that happens in this chapter is that Eragon spars with an elf named Wyrden. Eragon wins at first, but Wyrden adapts and starts beating him, making Eragon have an internal hissy fit. Eragon then spars with Arya, and she beats him, too.

Glaedr does say one line before going silent again. I guess that counts for something.

Tagged as: , , , ,


  1. Nate Winchester on 16 December 2012, 02:01 said:

    Wait… what? I blinked and apparently missed everything.

    Seriously, this is a… weird world where everyone is constantly suspicious of everyone else. What’s with the obsession of killing everybody? At this point, I want to say Galbatorix is a hero like Zero from Code Geass. Maybe he just decided to become a villain so everyone would focus on killing him instead of each other.

    And is it just me or does this book want to be meta? “Don’t worry, the city walls will be of no use against your main character power!”

  2. Epke on 16 December 2012, 12:22 said:

    In the land of Aläégâèsiã… nothing happens. You know, it wouldn’t surprise me if Galbatorix died of old age/boredom a decade ago and everyone just keeps fighting to save themselves from going mad with boredom. I guess it’s sister-nation, Tattooine Pern Middle-Earth got all the good stuff, what with the Elves sailing away on their silver ships…

  3. Pryotra on 21 December 2012, 15:24 said:

    At this point, I want to say Galbatorix is a hero like Zero from Code Geass. Maybe he just decided to become a villain so everyone would focus on killing him instead of each other.

    That would be awesome. I would love him to at the end say something like Lelouch and his “I create worlds…destroy worlds” thing.

    You know, it’s easy to stick him in leather pants…

  4. Grrarrggh on 24 October 2015, 23:18 said:

    I just wanted to tell you that even after almost three years you’re bringing laughter to your reader. Purposely, as opposed to CP. City viagra and cousin of Stu, love it. Thank you. I wish all the emotions for you formerly baby human.