Read the second argument, it did not bother me. Diferent people have diferent tastes. To me that paragraph helped me understand Elves in general and how the seem to make the world light up when happy.
EDIT: And purple is my favorite color.
quote: Galbatorix is the looming threaht that is behind almost every bad thing that happened. He is a faceless shadow whose presense affects everything in Alagaesia. That is all you need to know about him.
For example, the villain. Galbatorix. To date he has not appeared in person at any point in the books, and thus we are given an idea of his character by other characters, who describe him, his past and his actions. And this is all we get. We hear almost nothing of him from people who are not his enemies, hence we only see one view – the one that says he is mad, evil, cruel and tyrannical. That’s it. That’s all we ever get. This being so, how can we truly feel angry toward him or care about his actions? Villains, just like heroes, need personalities and Galbatorix has had no opportunity to display one.
quote: And yet I am satisfied with the character. And not a lot of people know about the cursed girl, or at least they don't know it's his fault. Punishing him would have made people suspisious. It is inportantthat people look up to him, he boosts morale. Also, being a dragon rider, he can do what he wants.
With Eragon, the hero, the opposite is true. Or is it? Unlike Galbatorix he remains central to the plot and is rarely not around. The bulk of the story is told through his eyes. This means plenty of opportunities to develop him as a character. This being so, what do we know about him? He’s brave, impulsive, somewhat naïve, hates Galbatorix with a passion and harbours unrequited love for Arya. But... that’s all we know about him. In spite of the fact that we know all this, Eragon still fails to be a fully fleshed out, three-dimensional character. The reason for this is fairly simple: he is never developed beyond what is absolutely necessary for the plot. He says, does and feels what the plot requires him to, and no more. The so-called ‘epic romance’ (Paolini’s own words, from Eragon) is limited to Eragon’s immature lust toward Arya the elvish woman. He rarely if ever makes a serious mistake, and when he
does it is forgiven and forgotten almost immediately and never has any significant repercussions for him. For example, in Eldest it is revealed that he accidently put a curse on a small child he was supposed to be blessing. In a properly developed book with properly developed characters, there would be consequences for Eragon. For example, he may become unpopular among some people. His reputation might suffer. He could suddenly be deemed unfit to perform complex magic lest he make another mistake. He could suffer a period of self-doubt and need reassuring. But none of this happens. Instead Eragon feels embarrassed for an extremely short space of time, apologises to the child and offers to try and reverse the spell, and then all is well again.
quote:Granted, although I have no problem with this.
This is not the only deficiency in Eragon’s personality. Many, many important things are never adressed. How does Eragon feel about being a Rider and having so much responsibility rest on his shoulders? Is he afraid he won’t be strong enough to do what he must? Does he miss his old, easier way of life? Does he ever wonder if war is the only answer and whether they could try negotiating with Galbatorix instead of resorting to violence? What does he think of himself? Is he humble? Narcissistic? Does he think he is good-looking or does he wish his nose was smaller? What kinds of food does he enjoy?
Questions like these may seem unimportant, but if they were answered they would go a long way toward developing Eragon and making him come alive. But they are either briefly skipped over or avoided altogether, and the result is, of course, a flat, cardboard cutout of a character. Even fans often claim they are more interested by side characters than by Eragon himself. And, unfortunately, these problems are present with every other character in the series. The ways in which they relate to each other are simple and clear-cut, with no ambiguities or subtleties present. Every character who dislikes Eragon is either on ‘the bad side’ or is unimportant. All the important characters on ‘the good side’ adore him, and he accepts this without question.
quote: I found the argument interesting, as it showed where each chararter stands when it comes to religion. The fact that Arya is a better debater is irrevelant.
This points to another problem – this being the fact that Eragon is a Mary-Sue (or Gary-Stu in this case). Mary-Sues tend to be ridiculously powerful – and given that Eragon is a Dragon-Rider, expert magician, elite swordsman and, by the end of Eldest, an elf/human hybrid with heightened senses, he fits that part to a tee. They also tend to be, yes, loved by every good character and hated by every bad character. There are other Mary-Sue characteristics which Eragon also fits, but these are the most important.
quote: I like Mary Sue, whomever that is. And not all stories have to have shades of gray.A problem many young authors encounter at some point. After they have mastered – or think they have mastered – the basics of telling a story, beginning authors will start experimenting with the notion of inserting morals into what they write. This is a bad idea, and most authors eventually realise it, because moral lessons which have been deliberately inserted into stories inevitably appear forced and didactic. In Eldest Paolini betrays the fact that he has not yet learnt this, and he includes a few glaringly obvious anti-religious messages, as seen in the extracts below.
And so, with a world which is essentially Middle-Earth, a hero who is a Mary-Sue and a villain the reader has no chance to hate, it is safe to say that the Inheritance series has failed to provide a living, breathing story.
“I deny nothing, only ask what good might be accomplished if your
wealth were spread among the needy, the starving, the homeless, or even to
buy supplies for the Varden. Instead, you’ve piled it into a monument to
your own wishful thinking.”
“Enough!” The dwarf clenched his fists, his face mottled. “Without
us, the crops would wither in drought. Rivers and lakes would flood. Our
flocks would give birth to one-eyed beasts. The very heavens would shatter
under the gods’ rage!” Arya smiled. “Only our prayers and service prevent
that from happening. If not for Helzvog, where—”
Eragon soon lost track of the argument. He did not understand
Arya’s vague criticisms of Dûrgrimst Quan, but he gathered from Gannel’s
responses that, in some indirect way, she had implied that the dwarf gods
did not exist, questioned the mental capacity of every dwarf who entered a
temple, and pointed out what she took to be flaws in their reasoning— all in
a pleasant and polite voice.”
And yet, somehow, we are expected to agree and sympathise with her. This segment is particularly annoying because it assumes that the reader will
automatically side with Arya… even though there is no reason given to do so. In fact this part is a collossal misjudgement on Paolini’s part, as it does nothing more than offend people with religious beliefs and also make Arya appear rude and self-righteous.
quote: And yet later, an actual god shows up. Paulini doess not reveal wich side he is in, but rather what side the characters are in. Just because Elves are anti-religious does not mean he is trying to convince us into being so. He was trying to show that Elves were like modern day scientists.
Later on, the subject comes up again when Eragon asks Oromis about what the elves believe in:
“And you don’t put stock in gods.”
“We give credence only to that which we can prove exists. Since we
cannot find evidence that gods, miracles, and other supernatural things are
real, we do not trouble ourselves about them. If that were to change, if
Helzvog were to reveal himself to us, then we would accept the new
information and revise our position.”
“It seems a cold world without something... more.”
“On the contrary,” said Oromis, “it is a better world. A place where
we are responsible for our own actions, where we can be kind to one
another because we want to and because it is the right thing to do instead of
being frightened into behaving by the threat of divine punishment. I won’t
tell you what to believe, Eragon. It is far better to be taught to think
critically and then be allowed to make your own decisions than to have
someone else’s notions thrust upon you. You asked after our religion, and I
have answered you true. Make of it what you will.”
It could hardly be more clear which side Paolini is on here. The fact that he appears to be unaware that moralistic writing is unlikely to win him any admiration speaks volumes about his ignorance about writing for an audience. Whether you agree with him or not, it is hard to feel anything but irritation over having these morals forced down your throat. Again, this is something a more seasoned and talented writer would know better than to do.
quote: This is not another problem, this is a sumary of the other problems, your conclusion. The urgals are ugly, yet they are not all bad. And where in the book does white come as a good color? The way I see it, blue represents all that is good in that book.
The final and most sweeping problem of all is this: the Inheritance series is simply boring. What with the emotionless writing, shallow world and characters, and forced, obviously morality, the books simply collapse in on themselves and become tedious. If the reader does not care about Eragon or his struggle against the Empire, then there is no reason to read on. In reading Eragon and Eldest, all the reader can summon is, at best, vague curiosity. Capping this off are other problems – the slow pacing, the needlessly meandering plot, the black and white morality (evil is always ugly and black, good is always beautiful and shining white), and the forced and ridiculously archaic dialogue. All this put together does not make for a gripping read.
< Message edited by Arzamol -- 8/8/2009 17:03:00 >