Ladies and gentlemen of the court, I stand before you to prove that the first book of the Inheritance Cycle, entitled Eragon, does have merits that make it worthy of existence. Out of respect for the court I will refrain from using the Age Card, “Ur jus jelous” argument or the ad hominem attack. Thank you.
 
First of all, Christopher Paolini began the series when he was fifteen. This is not to say that he is to be excused because of his age, but rather it explains why some of the plot seems so childish. This is a fantasy world of a kid who loved Tolkien and Beowulf. By my research, the Inheritance Cycle is read by kids who haven’t yet read Tolkien (for whatever reason…). While I admit that he did not think out everything despite all the time he had, Paolini tried.
 
Second, in regards to the story, it does sound like a Star Wars ripoff. Yet, remember, this has Paolini’s own unique, wordy, purple-proseful spin on it. It is not a published Star Wars fanfiction. After all, why have

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away…

when you can have:

Wind howled through the night, carrying a scent that would change the world.

??

Well?
 
Paolini invented new characters that did not specifically come from Star Wars, most notably Angela and Nasuada. And you have to admit that he came up with an original way of defeating Galbatorix, but I won’t go into specifics about that here.
 
Third, one of the most criticized aspects of the book is the subject of magic. I have not studied magic enough to make any argument on it, your Honor, either in this cycle or anywhere else. The defense requests that we let smarter people worry about that. This point is only here to explain that we know it’s there.

Fourth, here is more on the subject of characters. Murtagh is interesting; an ensemble darkhorse whom we only meet through Eragon. I present the court with Exhibit A:

Murtagh bowed his head. “Your words hearten me.” He paused. “But they don’t solve our problem.” (317)

From this we can deduce his practical mindset. This sentence is also supposed to portray him as more cynical and thus more of an antiheroic rival in contrast to the idealistic statement that Eragon, an alleged Epic Hero Archetype, just made. So Murtagh does start out as a character with the possibility of growth.
 
Another ensemble darkhorse is the herbalist Angela. While Angela is probably only in the series as an allusion to the author’s sister, the fact remains that she exists and is done relatively well. For example, Exhibit B:

The rich fool lords pay me for love potions and the like. I never claim that they work, but for some reason they keep coming back. (201)

This should show that Angela did have some sort of background before Eragon and, despite her falling into the same trap of praising the Gary Stu later on, does have a subtle character of her own.

In presenting these arguments the defense would like to conclude that while the Inheritance Cycle could have done a bit better and was probably not deserving of the attention that it got, Mr. Paolini’s piece is worthy of existence and is possible to enjoy.

The defense rests.

Tagged as:

Comment

  1. Taku on 21 May 2012, 04:39 said:

    I like what you’re trying to do, as mindless hatedom is just as bad as mindless fanboyism. However, I rebut that most of what you posted is no0t ‘good’. Compared to Paolini’s attempts at other things, perhaps, but compared to industry standard for published fiction? Not good.

    Point One: Writing Some Stuff. This is not a glowing positive. It is the minimum expected of any fiction book.

    Point Two: Original Characters. Again, this is not a glowing positive, it is the minimum expected of a published book.

    Point Three: Magic. Why even bring it up in an article specifically about defending Paolini’s work, if you aren’t going to bother defending it?

    Point Four: Characters with Stock Personalities and Vague Backgrounds. Again and for the third time, this is not something one would put in a review. It’s not a positive, it’s an intrinsic element of storytelling.

    Saying that Eragon is good because it has characters, and words, and the characters have some semblance of personality is like saying the amusement park was good because it was open, and it was in a place, and it had parking out front. These are not things you point out as good. Unless you are desperately trying to make up for its pitfalls. “Sure, the rides are lame and uninspired, the attendants are all either drunk, drugged or glowering hate-filled teenagers, and the food tastes like the leftover scraps from a different, better carnival, but at least it exists and is a thing!”

  2. Fell Blade on 21 May 2012, 09:26 said:

    The age of the audience has a lot to do with Eragon’s popularity, and I think you hit on a pretty valid reason. Many of the readers in a younger audience simply have not been exposed to the good fantasy and sci-fi that Paolini borrowed from. They also would be able to compare it to other books within the same genre that were written much better. To borrow from Taku’s analogy, it would be like a kid going to a local carnival and saying that the rides were “THE BEST EVER” because he or she hasn’t experienced the really big rides at places like Six Flags or Busch Gardens. Someone who has had that experience and then tries the rides at the local fair probably wouldn’t be very impressed, just as those people who have read better literature aren’t impressed with Paolini’s work and are quick to find its errors.

  3. Asahel on 21 May 2012, 10:34 said:

    Many of the readers in a younger audience simply have not been exposed to the good fantasy and sci-fi that Paolini borrowed from.

    I was remarking something similar to one of my friends the other day. After slogging my way through Inheritance, I decided to pick up an old classic that I’d never got around to reading before, The Prydain Chronicles.

    The difference in experience was almost shocking. The entire Chronicles is barely more page count than one of Paolini’s Inheritance books and yet packs into that space far more character development, world-building, and original thought than the cycle ever had.

  4. Fell Blade on 21 May 2012, 11:57 said:

    Edit: I meant to say, “They would NOT be able to compare it to other books within the same genre that were written much better.” Sorry about that.

  5. Tim on 21 May 2012, 13:32 said:

    First of all, Christopher Paolini began the series when he was fifteen.

    I will refrain from using the Age Card

    You didn’t do so well with that. And it’s a bullshit defence anyway, since it ignores that Paolini was writing the first book for years. Eragon was published in 2002, Paolini was born in 1983. Math suggests this means he finished the book when he was nineteen, not fifteen. He therefore gets no “but he was only fifteen” points because he wasn’t, and should have seen how immature the outline he was working from was.

    Paolini invented new characters that did not specifically come from Star Wars, most notably Angela and Nasuada.

    The accusation is that he copied it, not that he photocopied it. A handful of changes do not alter the fact that he ganked the entire story outline and most of the character outlines from Star Wars or Lord of the Rings to the point you could predict what characters would do simply based on what those characters did in the book / film they actually came from.

    Third, one of the most criticized aspects of the book is the subject of magic. I have not studied magic enough to make any argument on it, your Honor, either in this cycle or anywhere else. The defense requests that we let smarter people worry about that. This point is only here to explain that we know it’s there.

    You just took a whole paragraph to say nothing. Um, well done?

    As for the character arguments, so what? I really don’t know either what this article is aiming at or why it’s on the site for that matter.

  6. Kyllorac on 21 May 2012, 14:04 said:

    or why it’s on the site for that matter.

    Because II isn’t AS and so there’s no reason why articles in favor of the Inheritance Cycle cannot be posted. Really, the question here is why aren’t there more articles in favor of the Inheritance Cycle. At the best, it would add more balance to the site’s overall perspective. At the least, it would prove to be an excellent exercise in forming counterarguments.

    And so I propose a challenge to all who read these comments: if you think this article could have argued Eragon’s merits better, then submit an article that better argues Eragon’s merits.

  7. Tim on 21 May 2012, 14:45 said:

    I don’t buy that, it’s the same line of argument that if you don’t like Eragon you should write something better yourself. More to the point, since I don’t think Eragon actually has any particular merits (meaning things it does particularly well, rather than things it does passibly or to the same standard one would expect of any readable fiction) I can’t argue what they are. That doesn’t mean I can’t see this article does a terrible job of it; it repeats the common “Paolini was only fifteen” argument which is misleading, makes the argument that it isn’t as much of a ripoff as it could be (which roughly the same level of praise as saying the common cold is worthwhile because it isn’t malaria), rambles for a paragraph about magic without actually saying anything in the process (I guess some weird attempt to invoke “it’s magic so it doesn’t have to make any sense,” though it’s so unclear I couldn’t even say that for sure), and praises the fact that it has characters at all.

    The only thing this article does is make the pro-Paolini camp look like they’re clinging to anything positive they can say, which if anything is worse than not having an article at all.

  8. Kyllorac on 21 May 2012, 14:50 said:

    I don’t buy that, it’s the same line of argument that if you don’t like Eragon you should write something better yourself. More to the point, since I don’t think Eragon actually has any particular merits (meaning things it does particularly well, rather than things it does passibly or to the same standard one would expect of any readable fiction) I can’t argue what they are.

    It’s not an argument. It’s a challenge. Challenges wouldn’t be challenging if they were easy, after all.

  9. Tim on 21 May 2012, 15:21 said:

    Actually, it is an argument. To be exact, it’s a fallacious argument that in order to regard this article as flawed, you must be able to write a better version of this article. This does not follow.

    More to the point, this is not an article that praises the merits of Paolini’s work, it’s a bunch of halfassed backhanded compliments that, “well, this thing maybe could have sucked even worse so that’s a thing, right?” That’s in the places where it’s actually coherent enough to tell what the author is even trying to say.

    The real challenge would be asking people to write a worse article than this one.

  10. Danielle on 21 May 2012, 15:21 said:

    First off, I would like to commend Hanceek’s balls of steel for submitting an article defending Eragon to a site devoted to discrediting the books.

    I think this article is an excellent starting-off place for conversations about the books. However, I think it could (and should) have been taken further. For example, when you say that Paolini came up with “an original way of defeating Galbatorix, but I won’t go into the specifics here.” Why the heck not? It could have made your argument stronger.

  11. Danielle on 21 May 2012, 15:25 said:

    The real challenge would be asking people to write a worse article than this one.

    Tim, I fail to see why this article made you so angry. Yes, the Inheritance Cycle is crap. Yes, it’s easy to pick it apart. It’s far more difficult to point out the good things about it, which is all Hanceek tried to do. Could he (she?) have done it better? Yes. But I fail to see that as grounds for your flaming.

  12. Rorschach on 21 May 2012, 15:44 said:

    I was excited when I saw the title of the article. Then I read it, and I was disappointed.

    There is certainly an argument to be made in defense of Eragon. Hell, the first time I read Eragon, I enjoyed it. I knew it was flawed, certainly, and the various stolen bits (erm, “homages”) annoyed me, but it was reasonably entertaining and had a certain boyish enthusiasm to it. Also, the first book has Murtagh, who kicks a hundred times as much ass as Eragon. It wasn’t until I got into the literary abortion that was Eldest that I truly began to hate Inheritance.

    Hanceek – as someone who has written a LOT of literary criticism, I’m going to recommend that you keep at it. But take the criticisms that others have already written about this piece to heart. You don’t really analyze anything that makes this book good. Too much of this article is saying nothing, IMNPHO. If you like Eragon, that’s fine, and by all means, write an article about it, but you’re going to need to really drill down and get at what you like about it. Give us specifics, and really analyze. Otherwise, no one will take you seriously, and your argument will fall flat on its face.

    And so I propose a challenge to all who read these comments: if you think this article could have argued Eragon’s merits better, then submit an article that better argues Eragon’s merits.

    Challenge accepted.

  13. Tim on 21 May 2012, 15:52 said:

    Tim, I fail to see why this article made you so angry.

    Well, let’s see:

    1. The article sets the bar insanely low. We’re trying to prove the book is “worthy of existence?” You can find grounds for parasites to exist, that doesn’t mean anyone wants one. In the same way, since Haceek sets the bar at “anything even remotely positive,” he / she / it has set a standard so low that literally any book in the universe that doesn’t actually kill you in the act of reading it is guaranteed to pass.

    2. First point repeats a patently false claim about Paolini’s age and concludes “(he) tried.” This is what you’d write in a parody that was trying to make the fans look desperate. “Well sure, it’s an awful book, but he tried to write a good one, so that’s ok!” Also, nothing to do with the author has any bearing on whether or not it’s a good book anyway.

    3. Second point compliments with an insult (purple prose not being a good thing) and praises him for not totally ripping off something else. Again, this is backhanded; how is it good that he could have ripped it off even more? Pointing out a horse has one leg that isn’t broken still highlights that the other three are; again, it seems more like this is designed to make actual fans look bad rather than to actually praise the story’s good points.

    4. The magic paragraph is utterly incoherent; the “court” theme of the article overwhelms whatever point is supposed to be present. I guess it’s the tiresome “magic doesn’t exist so it doesn’t have to make sense” gambit, which ignores that magic should make sense in narrative terms. Regardless, the paragraph just ends without any kind of resolution or semblance of a point.

    5. Praising two characters because they have motives criticises by omission; really, these are the only two characters who have even the most basic traits expected of anyone in a fictional work? Again, by being so specific, it just highlights that everything except what it praises is broken.

    6. It’s not flaming. I’m saying this article is terrible, not the person who wrote it. It fails at even the most basic level of actually praising the thing it’s supposed to be praising; instead the praise is so over-precise that it reads as either mockery or denial on the level of saying that drowning in piss is ok because at least you won’t be thirsty.

  14. swenson on 21 May 2012, 16:13 said:

    Tim, Kyllorac’s challenge wasn’t “Don’t insult this article unless you’ve written a better one.” It was “If we all agree things could be improved about this article, here’s a challenge to try to do better.” I actually was thinking about coming up with one myself, being a (mostly) reformed Eragon fan myself. Because I used to like the book, I know there must be something I found likable about it. Seeing Hanceek’s article and Kyllorac’s challenge has got me thinking about what, exactly, it was that I found likable, even as I recognized the series’ flaws.

    Kyllorac, if you actually do get any submissions for that challenge (if I can overcome my crippling laziness, I’ll write something), you should definitely post them up! If they’re too short, just put them all in one monster article.

  15. Kyllorac on 21 May 2012, 16:25 said:

    To be exact, it’s a fallacious argument that in order to regard this article as flawed, you must be able to write a better version of this article.

    Except I never claimed that. Methinks you be misdirecting some frustration my way. Now, if I had said “unless you can write a better article than this, you have no right to complain”, that would be a fallacious argument.

    Swenson nailed my intentions.

    Kyllorac, if you actually do get any submissions for that challenge (if I can overcome my crippling laziness, I’ll write something), you should definitely post them up! If they’re too short, just put them all in one monster article.

    I was planning on doing exactly that.

  16. Tim on 21 May 2012, 16:36 said:

    Except I never claimed that. Methinks you be misdirecting some frustration my way.

    Well, I had said that I didn’t see why this article was on the site, and you responded by saying that this “isn’t AS” and then that. But the reason I was questioning why it was on the site was because it is a bad article, not because it’s pro-Paolini. The follow-on struck me as an attempt to say “this stays unless you write something better” and if that wasn’t your intent then I apologise, but that’s how it read to me given what led into it.

  17. Kyllorac on 21 May 2012, 17:28 said:

    But the reason I was questioning why it was on the site was because it is a bad article, not because it’s pro-Paolini.

    Depends on your definition of “bad article”. Could the arguments have been executed better? Definitely, but this article is grammatically sound, fairly coherent, and organized. It tackles a topic that hasn’t been addressed in an article before, and it opens the gateway for some interesting discussion. It also, if people are willing to take me up on my challenge, will act as a springboard for stronger articles arguing the merits of the Inheritance Cycle, which in turn will add more variety in content to the site. All rather good things.

    Considering your self-stated strong distaste for Paolini and his work, your questioning why the article was on this site read more as “Why is a pro-Paolini article on this site?” than “Why is an article with such weak arguments on this site?” at least to me, hence the not-AS reply.

  18. Danielle on 21 May 2012, 17:33 said:

    Considering your self-stated strong distaste for Paolini and his work, your questioning why the article was on this site read more as “Why is a pro-Paolini article on this site?” than “Why is an article with such weak arguments on this site?” at least to me, hence the not-AS reply.

    Not to mention it came across as a little too hard on Hanceek. I read it less as a complaint of the article itself and more of a complaint of why Hanceek had the gall to post it in the first place.

  19. VikingBoyBilly on 21 May 2012, 19:14 said:

    Here’s my article defending the merits of The Inheritance Cycle:

    It’s not Maradonia.

  20. Tim on 21 May 2012, 20:21 said:

    Could the arguments have been executed better? Definitely, but this article is grammatically sound, fairly coherent, and organized.

    It’s not that they couldn’t have been executed better, it’s that it’s hard to think of a way they could have been executed worse. The third point doesn’t even make any sense, and the first tries to wing praising the author instead of his work as an argument. That’s 50% of the actual content of the article either not making sense or not valid as praise of the work itself.

    The rest of your statements do not relate to this article, and would be the same for any article on this subject regardless of how well or how badly written it was. A post-it note with “Eargog is gud” written on it would achieve the same effect.

  21. Kyllorac on 21 May 2012, 21:50 said:

    A post-it note with “Eargog is gud” written on it would achieve the same effect.

    No, it would not, and you know it.

    This article, while not great, is decent, which is more than can be said of past pro-Eragon posts. It also does present some arguments, which is why it’s a good source of discussion.

    Fine. You don’t like this article. No need to be a dick about it.

  22. Lurker on 21 May 2012, 22:43 said:

    Lurker here. Is this sort of thing an isolated incident in II’s comments section?

  23. Kyllorac on 21 May 2012, 23:36 said:

    Usually. We’re normally quite civil/cooperative/all that fun stuff.

  24. Sweguy on 22 May 2012, 02:00 said:

    I’ve been a fan of AS and II for a long time (I think I encountered the site 4-5 yeas ago and have been checking for updates and articles daily since then) and this is the first time I’ve seen such a heated discussion thats is not a eragon haters vs. eragon fans-scenario.

    While I do feel that this article is lacking in content, I really enjoyed the topic and would love, absolutely LOVE, to see some more depth about what exactly is appealing about Eragon (like many here, I was a Eragon fan until I discovered, much through AS help, that it’s utterly crap. So exactly what was it that caught all of ours attention in a positive way back then when the first book was released?).

    Hanceek, I salute you for at least trying to get your point across. Now, let’s bring forth more valid pro-Pao articles! :>

  25. Tim on 22 May 2012, 04:46 said:

    No, it would not, and you know it.

    It’s called hyperbole, and you skipped over the actual criticism. Your praise of the article as a starting point for discussion does not actually require the article itself to be any good. If it did, you would have to accept that Chris Paolini, Gloria Tesch and Stephanie Meyer all produce “decent” work because it produces a large amount of discussion and debate, and with the exception of Tesch clear the ridiculously low bar of being “grammatically sound, fairly coherent, and organized.”

    This is bullshit and you know it.

    This article, while not great, is decent, which is more than can be said of past pro-Eragon posts.

    You’re saying it could be even worse and acting like that’s a good thing. Which is exactly what this article does, weirdly enough.

    It also does present some arguments, which is why it’s a good source of discussion.

    Same as above, this is the same weaksauce praise as “it has two characters!” or “it’s not a complete ripoff!” It presents one invalid and misleading claim, one point that goes nowhere, and two claims that boil down to “it does not completely fail at X, so that’s something, right?”

    This does not strike me as something which qualifies for inclusion on a lit-crit site I fairly routinely recommend to my friends with statements like “these guys know what they’re talking about.” At minimum whoever edited this should have caught that the third point doesn’t make any sense and sent it back to the author for a re-write rather than letting them post an embarassingly awful first draft. In that way, oddly enough, it’s actually an excellent summary of Paolini’s work, albeit not in a way I think the author intended it to be.

  26. TakuGifian on 22 May 2012, 05:34 said:

    Unfortunately, I have to agree with Tim’s points, however little I condone his attitude. The points being raised are only marginally positive, and bear more in common with defensive rationalisation. However, that is no excuse for acting like a dick, or acting ‘more literate than thou’, as the article does serve an important role as a rational Devil’s Advocate, something I think we anti-fans have been sorely lacking. It’s good to expand our minds and think about why we dislike the series, not just that we dislike it, or which bits in particular we disliked more.

    In short: Tim, please don’t be a dick; Harceek, keep up the good work, but you might want to think about the process of debate, and how explanations, examples and critical analysis contribute toward an opinion/article, and how you can use these skills, among other argumentative techniques, to improve your opinion-writing skills and gain a more constructively critical perspective in general.

  27. Fell Blade on 22 May 2012, 09:19 said:

    Personally Hanceek, I think that was a good first attempt. Now, I think it should be expanded to a series of articles, with at least one article per point, so that you can go into detail about your opinions and provide examples from the book. It’s time consuming, but that’s what it takes to write a good critique.

    I do agree with Hanceek’s second point, in that Eragon is not a direct rip-off of Star Wars. The Eragon film was, but not the book. While there are many, many examples of the author borrowing from other sources, it’s not the scene-for-scene reenactment that many people want to portray it as. Nor is it a complete Lord of the Rings rip off. Paolini was clearly influenced by Tolkien’s names for people and places, but he borrowed very little from Tolkien’s plot. The differences are in the details, and it’s pretty clear that Paolini really was trying to come up with his own story.

    One thing that I would like to bring up is the character of Murtagh. I’ve seen some people call him the “Han Solo” of Alegaesia, but he really isn’t. While he fills the role of the hero’s accomplice, Paolini wrote him differently than Han Solo. Solo was a smuggler concerned with keeping his customers satisfied and making a profit; he had no political motivations and very little back story. In the end it was Solo’s connection to his friends that kept him in the fight against the Empire. Murtagh was a renegade, a guerrilla soldier who had an axe to grind with Galbatorix. He was a darker character than Solo and even more morally ambiguous. He was invested in the war against Galbatorix from the start, but he was someone that the Vardan were very unwilling to enlist. And he had a back story that did provide motivation for his character.

    I do disagree that Nasuada was an original character, though. I haven’t read much past Eragon; I’ve only seen summaries and sporks. But it seems to me that Nasuada was Paolini’s version of Mon Mothma from Star Wars, although he tried to give me more of a part in the story.

  28. Danielle on 22 May 2012, 12:15 said:

    Okay, Tim, we get it. You don’t like the article, and you’re sick of people defending it. Let it drop, will ya? Your hammering on the same point is getting old.

  29. swenson on 22 May 2012, 14:22 said:

    @Fell Blade – you know, I never thought of Nasuada in Mon Mothma-like terms before. I think you may be right in that parallel, whether or not it was intentional.

  30. Fireshark on 22 May 2012, 17:50 said:

    This article should have been longer, because I think there really are more ways to defend Inheritance. You’re opening yourself up to negative reaction by not fleshing out your points enough, as you may have already seen by a few of the comments here.

  31. NinjaCat on 23 May 2012, 17:07 said:

    I think that if Paolini were to re-write the entire cycle now, get rid of some of of the adjectives, hire an editor, and actually go through the whole publishing process just like everyone else who’s parents don’t own a publishing company, it could have a lot of potential. Nothing’s good the first time.

    Well, as for the point of most people who like Eragon haven’t read or seen other things, I was raised on Star Trek, Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, Harry Potter, Michael Crichton, Anne McCaffery, and a lot of the old ‘good’ fantasy. I still liked Eragon the first time I read through it, and Eldest. But Brisingr made me open my eyes more to what it really is. I don’t hate it, but it’s no longer my favorite either.

  32. Betty Cross on 24 May 2012, 09:56 said:

    I regret the acrimony of this discussion. I think the participants could have handled it better.

    I know the Inheritance Cycle only through sporkings. I haven’t read it and don’t care to read it, on the basis of what I’ve read in the sporkings.

    However, on the subject of “ripping off,” I want to make a qualified defense of Paolini. Everybody rips off plots. Shakespeare stole the plots of nearly all of his plays from either other dramatists or historians. We don’t remember the other dramatists, we remember Shakespeare because of his characters and his poetic style.

    Which brings me to this point from Tim:

    A handful of changes do not alter the fact that he ganked the entire story outline and most of the character outlines from Star Wars or Lord of the Rings to the point you could predict what characters would do simply based on what those characters did in the book / film they actually came from.

    This is the point worth discussing. I’d like to hear some more details and opinions of this.

  33. LoneWolf on 24 May 2012, 15:16 said:

    Paolini is not a plagiarist; he is, however, an unoriginal author.

  34. swenson on 24 May 2012, 16:43 said:

    @Betty – Thanks to your inspiration, I have now spent the last hour and a half writing an article on that subject. Personally, I think the supposed copying is wildly overexaggerated, as when you look at the stories and characters in any close detail, there’s a lot of differences. They have similar broad strokes, but I don’t think they’re all that close down deep. As others have said before, neither was all that original of a story to begin with. It’s just Star Wars had better writers/actors/directors/editors and did some very interesting and original things with the old cliches. (for starters, making it sci-fi instead of fantasy!)

  35. Betty Cross on 24 May 2012, 19:23 said:

    @swenson – I’m looking forward to reading it. Please post it when it’s done.

  36. Hanceek on 24 May 2012, 20:26 said:

    I WAS asking for it, wasn’t I?
    I-I promise I’ll read the green brick, finish my research on court techniques, and write something better. I’m completely serious here. The thing is that I consider everything you’ve written on Eragon to be completely correct…

    I’m never playing devil’s advocate again. I suck at it.

  37. Kyllorac on 24 May 2012, 21:20 said:

    I’m never playing devil’s advocate again. I suck at it.

    That’s what applying criticism is for! And why playing devil’s advocate is such good exercise.

  38. Sweguy on 24 May 2012, 22:03 said:

    Don’t let this bring you down, Hanceek; you made a serious debate bloom, and that’s a good start on your sporking career. Isn’t it?

    Anyway, I’d like to contribute to this discussion about Pao-being-a-plagiaristic-prick or not. In my honest opinion, he is one. One could argue (like Betty Cross, comment nr. 32) that lots of artist rip off each other (that sounded dirty). But the thing successful artist do is that they find the juicy bits from good stories, tweet them and adjust them until something interesting happens, and find a proper place to fit them in into THEIR stories, and then smooths it all over during the editing. Paolini did not, he simply copy-pasted the beginning of Star Wars into his own book and changed a few bits here an there like the settings and characters. What he could’ve done, to change his plagiarism to only inspiration, would be to change the scene order from 1. princess run away from evil henchmen and blasts away the secret weapon to 2. farmboy and secret knight who’s undercover and they discovers the secret weapon which leads to 3. farmboy finds out his farm has been destroyed and therefore 4. they set out on a journey. Why must it be 1, 2, 3 and 4? Couldn’t he thrown those numbers around until he found something unique? Now that’s just lazy design and in my opinion, plagiarism.

  39. Danielle on 24 May 2012, 22:16 said:

    Yeah, don’t let this bring you down, Hanceek. Like I said when I first read this article, you clearly have balls of steel for submitting such an article to an anti-Inheritance site. :P

    If it’s any comfort, it’s inspired me to write a few articles playing Devil’s advocate. Namely, a few criticizing Harry Potter’s weaker points. You’ve started a trend. :)

  40. LoneWolf on 25 May 2012, 08:28 said:

    Cliched, bland, over-used storylines =/= plagiarism.

  41. Darsaan on 25 May 2012, 11:16 said:

    Sorry LoneWolf, but while what you said is true, I cant agree that Eragon was not plagiarised. It is a carbon-copy of starwars with lotr names.

  42. Danielle on 25 May 2012, 11:40 said:

    Well, Paolini DID try to take his characters in new directions. Don’t know if that still counts as plagiarism, since he failed and/or seemed to chicken out, but at least he tried.

  43. swenson on 25 May 2012, 13:08 said:

    Conveniently enough, I have an article on that very topic that will come out next week.

  44. Darsaan on 26 May 2012, 02:49 said:

    good to hear swenson. I look forward to reading it. And may I say what a pleasure it is to finally find a site with good and thoughtful criticism on the terrible series.

  45. Jaggers on 1 June 2012, 19:37 said:

    There had better be a Part II to this article. This was pretty wimpy. Give us MORE, comrade!

  46. Catflap on 5 June 2012, 21:27 said:

    “Wind howled through the night, carrying a scent that would change the world.”

    1. The rhythm of the sentence is wrong for an opening.
  47. Lena on 20 February 2014, 00:50 said:

    I agree.
    Eragon seems to me the kind of series that is a good enough read only as long as you don’t think too deeply about it, or re-read. I used to really love those books when I read them for the first time, being eleven, but now they seem very flawed.
    However, I really don’t think they it deserve all the hate they are getting…

  48. Far Voyager on 29 May 2014, 10:23 said:

    I’ve readen the fourth books of the Inheritance tetralogy and even watched the movie (something I deeply regret, even after knowing beforehand it sucked, with those elves without pointed ears and giant dwarves and a big headache after leaving the theater).
    The books are dense as neutronium, so dense I skipped entire chapters and if you throw aside all those inconsistences, errors, etcetera (thanks for pointing them in the sporks; since the books are so dense except the most obvious (what the hell happens afterwards with that nun who attempted to kill Eragon and Arya as he couldn’t free them?)) are fun to read in a casual read in my opinion. But it’s not the same fun as reading real literature such as LOTR; I still remember the sadness when I ended Return of the King as there was no more, or Asimov’s original Foundation series just to name two, and very likely I’d even prefer to read a technical/scientific book (even one about a discipline I’ve no idea about) over Paolini’s work if I had to chose between the two. It serves just a time filler, a dense one who ends forgotten, and nothing more.

    Paolini may be in the future a good writer if he improves, but so far is at parsecs of being the new Tolkien as he has been hailed; at least, however, is a fairer player than Tesch’s teams and their abuses of the DMCA to censor certain opinions.

    Now on the article: my main complaining with the books, and that without accounting for the things that appear when sporking it, is the way Galbatorix is physically presented, after three books and more than a half of the fourth and in a way that is even sympathetic (another thing is to wonder why he left the Vardens to siege the capital of the empire as well as was unable to stop them before having the power to do so) and, especially, how fastly is defeated. No epic fight between Eragon and him (not Murtagh) that lasted several chapters, even after the combat between both dragon riders, just the way we know, as original it was, and he going out with a bang, when as others have stated the spell he used likely would have been even more powerful and nastier than just going nuclear. It seems Paolini had a deadline looming closer and closer and decided to end it quickly.