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Bago!!!
2008-06-15, 04:19 PM
Is the Inheirtance Series a good book, or is it a complete rip off?

DraPrime
2008-06-15, 04:29 PM
Is this even a debate anymore?

TRM
2008-06-15, 04:33 PM
This (http://www.anti-shurtugal.com/wordpress/) website is essentially a compilation of well-written, rational arguments against Eragon, enjoy.
Personally, I don't care—it [Eragon] isn't entertaining enough to read, so I don't read it.

Bago!!!
2008-06-15, 04:40 PM
I know the website, and some of the things do intrigue me, but some of their complaints them I find unimportant or simply wrong in basis.

EvilElitest
2008-06-15, 04:46 PM
is this related to my comments in the other thread? Just check that out for a good demonstration of what is wrong with it
from
EE

Bago!!!
2008-06-15, 04:55 PM
This is so that we can discuss it in this topic instead of another topic. A bit more appropiate I think.

Will look into that later, I am working on a checklist right now for a certain project.

shadow_archmagi
2008-06-15, 05:01 PM
It's odd that no one mentions this (as far as I can tell) on that website. It probably isn't anything new, but i enjoy saying it.

(this is according to the film, because it fits even better)

A rebel princess, carrying the rebellion's last hope, is being chased by Imperial Soldiers, so she jettisons it off to parts unknown. She is then captured and interrogated by a magical swordsmen.

Meanwhile, the rebellion's last hope is found by a young farmboy, who is living with his aunt and uncle in the the middle of nowhere. The mysterious old man of the village learns of it. From the mysterious old man, he learns of an anicent race of guardians. These noble warriors, who fought with colored swords and had magic far beyond ordinary men, enforced peace and justice for thousands of years. One day an overambitious pupil betrayed his master, and destroyed the order, creating an evil empire.

The mysterious old man was a member of this ancient order, and will now begin to teach the young farmboy, who will be the final member of that order. Meanwhile, the farmboy's home is destroyed by agents of the empire, and he arrives to find his adopted parent's all burned and nasty looking. He burns the bodies.

He embarks on a journey, and finds the Evil Fortress, where he rescues the rebel princess. Unfortunately, the evil magic swordsmen appears, by the mysterious old man sacrifices himself so they can escape with their newfound friend, who is a rogue and likes to look cool.

They journey to the rebel base, where the young farmboy, using his newfound powers, saves the day in a spectatular ariel battle, with lots of explosions, and defeats the magic swordsmen.

...

Then, of course, in the second part he journeys to a forest and meets a mysterious old man, who is the last and greatest of the order.

Personally, I wish he'd been more honest about just LOTRizing star wars, but I feel it is nicely done and was a decent read.

So yeah; it was both.

Turcano
2008-06-15, 05:01 PM
I know the website, and some of the things do intrigue me, but some of their complaints them I find unimportant or simply wrong in basis.

Would you care to elaborate on that? There are arguments that do strain credulity (the Epistler's e-diagnosing Eragon as a psychopath is a good example), but it would help to know where you're coming from.

Renegade Paladin
2008-06-15, 05:04 PM
Uninspired ripoff that was only published because the teenager who wrote it is related to the publisher.

shadow_archmagi
2008-06-15, 05:06 PM
Uninspired ripoff that was only published because the teenager who wrote it is related to the publisher.

Fetch me my copyright lawyer and get my sister into publishing, PRONTO!

There are BILLIONS to be made I say!

Emperor Tippy
2008-06-15, 05:13 PM
A lot of the complaints and hate for Eragon are disingenuous and/or minor. But a good book? Not by a long shot. It's an ok book that is easy to read and can be used to waste time.

Millions of people bought the second book, which means they also bought the first book and found it enjoyable enough to buy the next. That seems to imply that it was reasonable well liked.

Thiel
2008-06-15, 05:16 PM
It's a complete rip off and a badly written one at that. It's one of the very few books I've given up on reading, and believe me, that takes a lot.

Steven the Lich
2008-06-15, 05:17 PM
The history of the site, the reason it was formed... its all based around hatred of the Inheritance Series. I question it's sanity and practical point. It is vulgar, with no apparent profanity rules. Its response to a hatemail of a guy with the name Uranus began with the same word... without two letters. I'll leave it to imagination which.
The rants seem outright ridiculous, it has completely wrong assumptions (They think Aryas outfit was skimpy. in the book, it is merely described as a leather shirt and leather pants, unadorned. Seems obvious as armor), and how it was formed is just stupid...

Eragon was a good book, truly in my oppinion. Eldest was awesome. I found the monster concepts unique, and it truly had an interesting storyline. A good read, as many others would agree I'm sure.

Bandededed
2008-06-15, 05:18 PM
<.<.

>.>.

Um, I liked it...

Well, I liked the first book, anyway. Getting into the second is more difficult for me, but if I know anything about how trilogies work (and I probably don't), the second one is supposed to be the one where bad stuff happens. And also the one with the giant Deus Ex Machina, but I still read it more than once, so, yeah.

And maybe it's just me - or that I haven't seen Star Wars in the Light only knows how long - but I didn't even realize that the plot was SW until I read it on this forum, and yet the book still manages to be different enough for me to enjoy it as a separate work of fiction.

Oh, and don't watch the movie. Especially if you read, plan on reading, or enjoyed the book. It will make you want to kill something. Guaranteed.

Bago!!!
2008-06-15, 05:18 PM
The one that really stands out is the Eragon Skimpy Leather rant. She doesn't wear skimpy leather as far as I know.

Mauve Shirt
2008-06-15, 05:23 PM
A poorly-written star wars rip off. It was written by a 17-year-old and reads like it.

Blayze
2008-06-15, 05:28 PM
Eragon is to books what Limbo of the Lost is to video games.

Turcano
2008-06-15, 05:57 PM
The one that really stands out is the Eragon Skimpy Leather rant. She doesn't wear skimpy leather as far as I know.

Yeah, that is pretty petty. A much more valid argument (which they also make) is why she's wearing leather at all, which clashes with the fact that Paolini's elves are portrayed as tree-hugging hippie animal-rights activists, which in fantasy literature is as inevitable as the fricking tides. Of course, this is still minor when compared to Paolini's more glaring faults, but it is indicative of the lack of thought he puts into his work.

EvilElitest
2008-06-15, 06:05 PM
Steven, i already showed the essays that prove why it is such a bad book. If i need to remind you, read the Eplicisters
from
EE

Icewalker
2008-06-15, 06:05 PM
I'd say...both. Everybody book has some themes that can be linked to other books, sometimes through coincidence, Eragon's are just impressively extensive. I thought the book was alright, and Eldest is certainly more original.

EvilElitest
2008-06-15, 06:09 PM
Steven i would recommend you get your facts straight. Choosing a parody article, and a bad one doesn't make the actual sites featured rants bad

For example

http://www.anti-shurtugal.com/epistles.htm

or if you don't trust them

http://swankivy.com/writing/essays/info/inheritance/eragon.html

http://swankivy.com/writing/essays/info/inheritance/eldest.html
from
EE

Tom_Violence
2008-06-15, 06:11 PM
It's odd that no one mentions this (as far as I can tell) on that website. It probably isn't anything new, but i enjoy saying it.

(this is according to the film, because it fits even better)

A rebel princess, carrying the rebellion's last hope, is being chased by Imperial Soldiers, so she jettisons it off to parts unknown. She is then captured and interrogated by a magical swordsmen.

Meanwhile, the rebellion's last hope is found by a young farmboy, who is living with his aunt and uncle in the the middle of nowhere. The mysterious old man of the village learns of it. From the mysterious old man, he learns of an anicent race of guardians. These noble warriors, who fought with colored swords and had magic far beyond ordinary men, enforced peace and justice for thousands of years. One day an overambitious pupil betrayed his master, and destroyed the order, creating an evil empire.

The mysterious old man was a member of this ancient order, and will now begin to teach the young farmboy, who will be the final member of that order. Meanwhile, the farmboy's home is destroyed by agents of the empire, and he arrives to find his adopted parent's all burned and nasty looking. He burns the bodies.

He embarks on a journey, and finds the Evil Fortress, where he rescues the rebel princess. Unfortunately, the evil magic swordsmen appears, by the mysterious old man sacrifices himself so they can escape with their newfound friend, who is a rogue and likes to look cool.

They journey to the rebel base, where the young farmboy, using his newfound powers, saves the day in a spectatular ariel battle, with lots of explosions, and defeats the magic swordsmen.

...

Then, of course, in the second part he journeys to a forest and meets a mysterious old man, who is the last and greatest of the order.

Personally, I wish he'd been more honest about just LOTRizing star wars, but I feel it is nicely done and was a decent read.

So yeah; it was both.

I enjoyed that. It made me chuckle. :smallbiggrin:

Innis Cabal
2008-06-15, 06:14 PM
guess i'll chime in here...From the get go i was leary about the book, about 40 pages in, i put it down and never picked it up again. It wasnt the star war's or LoTR rips, it was the way it was written. If i wanted bad fantasy i'd read any other numberof book on the market that arnt over hyped because they weren't written by 17 year olds. Thats its single reason for fame, and its a baseless one, as ive read senior thesis's that read far better then it.

Turcano
2008-06-15, 06:29 PM
I'd say...both. Everybody book has some themes that can be linked to other books, sometimes through coincidence, Eragon's are just impressively extensive.

The fact that it's that extensive convincingly suggests that it isn't coincidence. As one of my favorite fictional characters once said, "I believe in coincidences. Coincidences happen every day. But I don't trust coincidences."


I thought the book was alright, and Eldest is certainly more original.

Not really, seeing as how a good portion of Eldest is where Eragon goes to Dagobah Du Weldenvarden to continue his training under Yoda Oromis.

Mr. Scaly
2008-06-15, 06:38 PM
Rip offs don't bother me. As another great fictional character once said "If someone hadn't ripped off the Honeymooners we wouldn't have the Flintstones."

But, I got halfway through Eragon just past the confrontation with the...Nazgul things, I don't remember their names. Anyway. It had the potential to be powerful and moving. It was neither to me and I was very disappointed.

EvilElitest
2008-06-15, 06:43 PM
Actually i was asked to explain the concept to a another kid, and i was five min talking when he asked "is he allowed to use the word nazgul in his book? I thought those guys were from LotRs" turns out i was calling them that the whole time
from
EE

Jayngfet
2008-06-15, 06:47 PM
Ripoff, plain and simple.

EvilElitest
2008-06-15, 06:50 PM
Ripoff, plain and simple.

or talentless hack if your prefer
from
EE

Bago!!!
2008-06-15, 06:52 PM
Just a nit pick, though they are animal activists, could they merely not use the corpses of animals after they have died in general or something? Just a thought.

Mc. Lovin'
2008-06-15, 06:53 PM
Ooh! I've finally been on the forums long enough to complain when a topic comes up again! ;D

I'll say what I usually say, i enjoyed the books, but I can see the points of everyone against it.

Kane
2008-06-15, 06:59 PM
It's odd that no one mentions this (as far as I can tell) on that website. It probably isn't anything new, but i enjoy saying it.

(this is according to the film, because it fits even better)

A rebel princess, carrying the rebellion's last hope, is being chased by Imperial Soldiers, so she jettisons it off to parts unknown. She is then captured and interrogated by a magical swordsmen.

Meanwhile, the rebellion's last hope is found by a young farmboy, who is living with his aunt and uncle in the the middle of nowhere. The mysterious old man of the village learns of it. From the mysterious old man, he learns of an anicent race of guardians. These noble warriors, who fought with colored swords and had magic far beyond ordinary men, enforced peace and justice for thousands of years. One day an overambitious pupil betrayed his master, and destroyed the order, creating an evil empire.

The mysterious old man was a member of this ancient order, and will now begin to teach the young farmboy, who will be the final member of that order. Meanwhile, the farmboy's home is destroyed by agents of the empire, and he arrives to find his adopted parent's all burned and nasty looking. He burns the bodies.

He embarks on a journey, and finds the Evil Fortress, where he rescues the rebel princess. Unfortunately, the evil magic swordsmen appears, by the mysterious old man sacrifices himself so they can escape with their newfound friend, who is a rogue and likes to look cool.

They journey to the rebel base, where the young farmboy, using his newfound powers, saves the day in a spectatular ariel battle, with lots of explosions, and defeats the magic swordsmen.

...

Then, of course, in the second part he journeys to a forest and meets a mysterious old man, who is the last and greatest of the order.

Personally, I wish he'd been more honest about just LOTRizing star wars, but I feel it is nicely done and was a decent read.

So yeah; it was both.

It's nice to have my suspicions corroborated by an independent source. I've been thinking this ever since I read it back in middle school.

Turcano
2008-06-15, 07:02 PM
Just a nit pick, though they are animal activists, could they merely not use the corpses of animals after they have died in general or something? Just a thought.

They could, and Paolini does use that as an ad hoc justification, but there should still be some cultural baggage attached to it. For example, in India's caste system, leatherworkers are untouchables, since what they do is considered unclean (and knowing something about the pre-industrial tanning process, I can see where they're coming from, even if they didn't consider cows sacred).

Jerthanis
2008-06-15, 07:07 PM
Awesome, I love these Eragon Good or Bad threads, because I love both sides of the argument... I actually still haven't read them, but the spirited debate makes me really want to read them, just so I can really understand where people are coming from on this.

EvilElitest
2008-06-15, 07:15 PM
Awesome, I love these Eragon Good or Bad threads, because I love both sides of the argument... I actually still haven't read them, but the spirited debate makes me really want to read them, just so I can really understand where people are coming from on this.
well imagine Dominic Deegan without the good bits
from
EE

Quinsar
2008-06-15, 07:21 PM
http://i214.photobucket.com/albums/cc102/quinsarny/StarWarsMoviePoster1977.jpg
Eragon!

I Hate Eragon. It's a horribly written rip-off of Star Wars, and several other films.

Turcano
2008-06-15, 07:26 PM
well imagine Dominic Deegan without the good bits

Ooh. That burn gave me heat blisters from here.

EvilElitest
2008-06-15, 07:33 PM
Ooh. That burn gave me heat blisters from here.

thank you i try
\blush
from
EE

Thiel
2008-06-15, 07:56 PM
Just a nit pick, though they are animal activists, could they merely not use the corpses of animals after they have died in general or something? Just a thought.

Well, they'd practically have to stalk the animal for that to work since the first predators will begin to show up within less than an hour after it dies.
And even if that wasn't the case hoe eco friendly does cutting open a rotten corpse from neck to crotch, stripping the mouldy skin of it, bashing open its skull to get to its liquefying brain and then rubbing said brain into the skin sound. Because that's how you do it using pre-industrial methods. Well, the carcass wouldn't be as decomposed as the one the elves will have to deal with.
Paolini's elves live in the quintessential Large Fantasy Forest tm so the chances of finding a dead animal of sufficient size the next best thing to impossible, finding a newly dead even more so.

The Extinguisher
2008-06-15, 08:05 PM
Whether or not it is a rip off, it's still a very badly written book.

DraPrime
2008-06-15, 08:14 PM
What annoys me some times is when people tell me to give Paolini a break "cus he wrote the stuff when he was 15." Now all Inheritance defenders who intend to use this argument get this straight: Paolini wrote his first draft of Eragon when he was 15. It was published when he was 18. It's been about 5 years since then. I think he's something like 23 now. Do not continue to use this argument. I heard it when the books first came out, and I continue to hear it today. Paolini ages like any human being, and it just annoys me when I hear this argument. So if it's use on this thread, kindly direct the fool using the argument to this post.

Emperor Tippy
2008-06-15, 08:17 PM
What annoys me some times is when people tell me to give Paolini a break "cus he wrote the stuff when he was 15." Now all Inheritance defenders who intend to use this argument get this straight: Paolini wrote his first draft of Eragon when he was 15. It was published when he was 18. It's been about 5 years since then. I think he's something like 23 now. Do not continue to use this argument. I heard it when the books first came out, and I continue to hear it today. Paolini ages like any human being, and it just annoys me when I hear this argument. So if it's use on this thread, kindly direct the fool using the argument to this post.

To be fair, age when he wrote the book is all thats relevant. Not age at the moment. It's not like he goes through and rewrites the book as he gets older.

Thiel
2008-06-15, 08:28 PM
No, but he could have had someone read it before printing it. There's people out there who make a living out of doing it and I'm certain he could have gotten his parents to foot the bill. After all, they were willing to pay for the printing.
(I know they own the company but printing books still costs money.)

EvilElitest
2008-06-15, 09:18 PM
some good essays on Eragon from a different source


Or if you don't trust that site, try this one

Review of Eragon

ERAGON: Fantasy novel by Christopher Paolini; book 1 in the Inheritance Cycle.

A short (and somewhat sarcastic) summary: Main character = Eragon, mysteeeeerious boy-child left with his aunt and uncle by wandering mother, father unknown. Boy finds mysteeeeerious stone. Turns out to be dragon egg. Boy raises dragon and bonds with it strongly. Bad guys come and decimate boy's house and kill his uncle. Boy swears revenge. Boy's secret dragon is discovered by mysteeeerious storyteller who turns out to be master swordsman and random magic user. The hunt for the bad guys begins, and boy searches for his destiny as a legendary Dragon Rider (of course, that must be capitalized). Eragon goes through traditional bouts of training and learning about himself under the stern tutelage of old wise traveling companion. Along the way he gains and loses friends, and rescues a mysteeeerious woman from a horrible dungeon while never straying from his quest to put right all that is wrong a world oppressively ruled by an evil king.

This book has gotten lots of attention since it first came out, partly because the author is so young. He was fifteen when he started the book, and was nineteen when it was published. I do not generally like to judge based on age, especially since I am a young writer myself, but when I read this book, I could TELL that the writer was either young or an immature writer. Though it seems people think it "got published" somehow because of its great merit, this book was actually published by the author's parents' publishing company, and then it was paraded around on a parent-funded signing tour. An established author happened to run into the family, thought a kid writing a book was interesting, bought a copy and made his stepson read it, and decided to try to get the book a deal when the kid liked it. The people at Knopf re-edited and repackaged and re-released it under that label. I believe that if this book had meandered its way to publishing houses the usual way, it would have been rejected as unpublishable, for reasons I will discuss in depth here.

Christopher Paolini himself, in his own words, describes his story thus: "Eragon is an archetypal hero story, filled with exciting action, dangerous villains, and fantastic locations. There are dragons and elves, sword fights and unexpected revelations, and of course, a beautiful maiden who's more than capable of taking care of herself."

I would argue that this book is not an "archetypal hero story" so much as an overused and overly traditional Tolkienien "epic," with "epic" in quotes because it lacks exactly that epic nature that made the world of Lord of the Rings so rich. There was absolutely nothing new or "unexpected" in this book (though the author claims there are "revelations"), and if a reader is excited by this book it is because he or she has never been exposed to the dozens of fantasy and science fiction epics from which this author pulled his influences. My feeling was that this book was nothing special because, if I may be so blunt, "it's been done," and it's been done better.


Looks like Mikey wasn't impressed!

Though I have to give the single prop that by standards of TECHNICAL editing it was a smooth novel (I, a professional editor, did not notice a single typographical error), I must say that content-wise it was an editorial mess. The fact that this novel breaks about a billion rules of thumb in the writing industry raises my suspicions that it was not edited by a very discerning eye. Here are a multitude of examples, unavoidably coated in spoiler dust.

My complaints regarding the writing style itself:

Every imaginable permutation of the word "said" is used. If the reader cannot tell how someone is saying something by what they are saying, it is likely that the dialogue has been written sloppily. "'You're not thinking,' admonished Brom." Yes, that is an admonishment without you telling us so. Leave it out. "'Get on with the story,' he said impatiently." Well, if one person is urging another to get on with it, it stands to reason that it's being said impatiently. Running into "'Sorry,' apologized Brom" made me cringe. The fact that Brom said "Sorry" means that he apologized, so use "said." You can deviate from "said" if for some reason HOW the sentence is said is not obvious, such as volume ("he whispered") or intent ("he said sarcastically," if it isn't obvious that that's a sarcastic comment anyway). Leave out the decorations because they're tacky. The speech tags are not the part of the writing that is supposed to be interesting, so don't distract us; believe me when I say that if you do it, nearly any editor will consider it an early warning sign that you are an amateur.

Unnecessary description is inserted with maddening frequency. I am not usually a reader of traditional fantasy, and traditional fantasy does tend to be more flowery than the hard stuff, but either way random descriptions should not just be thrown into the mix. Eragon is waking up and stretching. Suddenly we get a description of the items on his night table, including the random information that he likes to look at one of the objects on it frequently. In the meantime, while we are getting this rush of information, Eragon is putting on his shoes. He then does not proceed to touch, pick up, or look at anything on the night table, and none of it is ever mentioned again. Also, people and places just get sudden paragraphs of description. We're fighting an Urgal and all of a sudden . . . drop some description on us. While he's rushing at Eragon with drooling fangs, no less. By all means, describe the fangs, slipping the adjectives in gracefully. But don't give us a run-down of a typical Urgal when we're a lot more interested in whether those fangs are going into Eragon's head.

And lastly, too many words, phrases, and concepts seem to be entirely lifted from other well-known works. Word choice seemed as though it was the author's attempt to use all his SAT words; it was verbose and flowery as if on purpose, trying to impress with vocabulary that would have been better used sparingly. The similarity of some people's and places' names to those of Tolkien have not gone unnoticed by seasoned fantasy readers; I have heard several people call this book "Aragorn" without even noticing that they weren't saying it right, not to mention things like Ardwen (compared with Arwen), Isenstar (compared with Isengard), and Isidar (compared with Isildur)--and there are a LOT more. A ridiculous number of phrases seem to be something I've heard before, though I'm not sure where; for example, near the beginning someone is touching a wrapped package repeatedly, "as if to reassure herself that it was still there." I mentioned this to a friend and said, "That's FROM something." He replied, "It's FROM everything!" Far too often, ridiculously overused or clichéd similes and metaphors are used, such as tears being described as "liquid diamonds." It is less like this book was written and more like it was sewn together from the torn apart products of others, like some old quilt on which the stitches are showing. (How's that for an original simile?)

And now, criticism regarding the content:

Two words: Unpronounceable names. Why is the land called "Alagaësia"? I think there is little actual consistency in the languages, though Paolini tries to explain that away by saying the land was settled by different people with different languages. (Seems to me an excuse for lack of consistency.) Actually, the randomness of the accents and umlauts really came off as an attempt to make the language look cool and foreign. There is plenty of other delightful language fun, besides the random umlauts: Take for instance magic words with no damn vowels, or words that possess random apostrophes as if they are contractions, though no letters have been left out. Why are they called "the Ra'zac"? What is being left out between Ra and zac? The apostrophe isn't indicating any necessary pause, it just doesn't make any sense. And how does one pronounce "Draumr kópa" anyway?? Yes, you have succeeded in making it all exotic. I guess that was the point? And yes, I know that these words were based upon real ancient and modern languages which many readers would consider "unpronounceable," but that's no excuse for the overall inconsistency; Tolkien's languages were hard to figure out, but he was a linguist, and there WAS rhyme and reason. You have to make all kinds of new language rules up to make "Alagaësia" actually be pronounced the way he says it is, and it just would have been easier to spell it in a more intuitive way. It is not as if he is failing to be true to a well-thought-out phonics system if he excludes the delicious foreign-looking characters.

Helpfully (of course), Paolini has included for us pronunciation guides and dictionaries in the appendices, though he warns us in said appendices that he is not translating Eragon's magic utterances word for word in order--and I quote--"to save the reader from Eragon's atrocious grammar." (In other words, we are supposed to believe that he, like Tolkien, created entire other languages for these books, but since these "languages" are unlikely to hold up to intense scrutiny by any linguist--if any linguist could be made to care--there is the excuse that Eragon doesn't really speak it right.)

And speaking of Tolkien. . . .

Okay. Attractive, complex map on inside cover. Flowery language, often to the point of ridiculousness (such as "when he would return, he knew not"). Elves are fair, beautiful, long-lived people with another language. Dwarves are short, stocky, bearded people who wear chain mail and use axes. Dragons breathe fire. Creatures called Urgals are fairly uncomfortable with the sun and speak a guttural language, though there are the "elite" forms of these which don't seem to mind the sun and have multiple times the strength and endurance. All swords seem to have names. Hmm, except for the fact that the name "Urgal" is used and people can actually ride the dragons, I think this might just be Middle-Earth. I kept expecting to see a hobbit.

On the same note, it seems the author felt compelled to cover nearly every fantasy-epic plotline known to man, and kept kind of changing his mind about what focus to use. First there's the whole Luke Skywalker thing; he comes to terms with his identity as a Dragon Rider and leaves his homeland in the company of a mysterious stranger who knows too much and can train him. We have the actual training and traveling, him kind of coming into his own--common fantasy coming of age and whatnot. Learning his new skills: Swordsmanship, dragon-riding, magic, reading . . . he gets all his tools for adulthood and for being a hero. And as soon as those who killed his uncle are destroyed (robbing him of an immediate goal), just in time, he starts having convenient dreams about a woman in a dungeon--who he of course has to rescue. What is a fantasy without a woman to rescue? Oh WAIT! She's been poisoned! QUICK! We must go on a quest to find the antidote in a race against time, though at no point during the frenzied journey are we actually worried that the girl is going to die. THAT wouldn't happen; love-interest girls are only allowed to have sexy and alluring "bad things" happen to them, like an attractive scar on the cheek or a tragic past where daddy didn't love her. They don't die of a slow-acting poison, making the hero's trip completely forfeit. Don't forget the proverbial choosing of sides, where upon his arrival the hero must decide where to cast his alliance, though of course there are spies and baddies among the "good guys." (And of course this place where they will find an antidote for that poison is also the place where Eragon can get full training in swordsmanship and magic so he can continue to kick ass.) What will he do? Will it be a wonderful epic quest during which he will overthrow the evil king and become a reluctant but benevolent ruler? YOU BET. Although that is just my speculation, considering there are still three books to go (the next book is called Eldest, though I think at least someone will sue Paolini if he decides to call the third volume Return of the King).

Additionally, the story contains many details that might have been included in the interest of fleshing out the world of Alagaësia, but they were rather pointless meanderings rather than descriptions that mattered later and added to the richness of the novel. I got the idea that the author just wanted to tell us some neat detail he'd worked out, one of those things that authors are supposed to KNOW but not tell the audience unless it MATTERS, and in order to squeeze it in he just randomly has the main character have these questions occur to him so that someone else can go off on a tangent explaining the finer points of, say, the communication system they use in this half-deserted mountain. Sometimes it just seems he hasn't quite figured out what inventive little blurbs should nevertheless be left out. Sticking these in is yet another hallmark of an amateur. Paolini would do better to avoid inventing this crap and chattering about it, and maybe instead do some research on pseudo-medieval settings so he doesn't make idiotic mistakes like having "poor" villagers living in what would have been rich people's conditions back then. Eragon had his own room in their "humble" house for crying out loud. Research much? I bet it had glass in the windows!

Then there is the matter of the overused characters. First, the random fountain-of-wisdom old man who obviously has a curious connection to the main character. (Can you say Luke, I am your father? Okay, so he's too old to be his father, but what he ends up being is close enough . . . never mind, spoilers bad. Besides, he's a lot more like Obi-Wan.) He hides information from Eragon because "oh that would be dangerous for you to know now" or "I will keep that to myself." Translation: Plot-wise, Eragon needs to be ignorant of that in order to make all the supposed revelations of the story more powerful, so we'll just make him a stubborn old man who talks all too freely once the dramatic revelations have passed. Completely manipulating a character to have all-too-convenient whims about what information he drops . . . this is just bad form. (Of course, he later justifies it by saying that some of those secrets are not his to tell, but still, awful convenient, don't you think? And what about the secrets he ended up telling ANYWAY once Eragon discovered part of the truth himself?) It is akin to the Scarecrow coming to Glinda the Good Witch at the end of The Wizard of Oz and asking her, "WHY didn't you just tell Dorothy to click her heels before she had to go through all this?" "She wouldn't have believed me!" says Glinda. Translation: "If it had been that simple, we couldn't have had a movie!"

And what about Arya, the token girl--I mean, the alluring love interest? Paolini seems quite proud of himself for having "a beautiful maiden who's more than capable of taking care of herself," but first off, does he have any idea how INSULTING that is? He's trying to make it out like this is a compliment, but if he were to say "a handsome hero who's more than capable of taking care of himself," people would go cross-eyed thinking, "Well, of course the HERO can take care of himself. He's the GUY!" But if a WOMAN can take care of herself in a story, well, now that's something different, isn't it? He seems to have no idea that he betrays a sexist attitude toward women if he suggests that this one being able to defend herself is somehow unusual. And beyond that . . . she isn't particularly independent, considering her role in the story begins when she has to be rescued by our bumbling dragon-riding hero. Arya pretty much has no personality--like everyone else in the story, actually--and exists as a plot device. At least it's kind of fun to watch her respond to Eragon as though she is offended by his attention. This, however, is the formula for falling in love with him later in the series. What young man and young woman portrayed as hating each other in the beginning don't end up together in the end? Paolini might end up NOT going this route, but frankly I'd be surprised if he didn't. This is archetypal, after all, and that means it has to rip off better works of literature. And in most works of literature, the guy and the girl get together.

And last but not least: Galbatorix. Big evil king. They haven't really mentioned much about what he's doing that's evil, though apparently he levies taxes (hmm, our government does that too--we should attack it with dragons!). People don't really seem that bad off under this guy, except that he seems to employ some real jerks as henchmen--he gives those guys jobs to run around and be scary and stuff. But . . . see, what is this guy's motivation? I bet you know. He's crazy! Everything he does is because he is insane. There is an explanation for his insanity, but it's pretty weak, and it was brought on by some very unwise choices he made in the past which also seem to have no motivation. (And by the way . . . Alagaësia is described as being an empire. Have you heard of many kings that rule empires? C'mon Paolini. Pick one. He's an emperor who rules an empire, or he's a king who rules a kingdom. Get it right.)

Foreshadowing? Yes. Often, and obvious. Even goes so far as to have a woman who tells Eragon's fortune, with deliberately dubious prophecies that supposedly will only make sense after they come true. (Incidentally, the fortune-teller is shamelessly based on the author's own sister, and bears her name.) She prophecies that a family member will betray him, and he doesn't think his only living cousin is capable of doing so? My guess is, he's going to somehow find his father, and his father will then give him up to the bad guys. A traitor! Heavens, no! More speculation on my part, of course, but then again, this story has mostly been written before, and it's more or less a toss-up to see if Darth Vader turns out to be Luke's . . . *ahem* Eragon's father, or if it's more of a Sauron/Saruman kind of deal.

Okay, note on the above, added much later because of all the mail I got about it from Eragon fans. My prediction wasn't dead on, how about that. And lots of fans have scrambled to tell me so, attempting to mock me by saying essentially "Ha-ha, you were WRONG, it wasn't his father, it was his BROTHER!" . . . Yeah. Does anyone else find this ironic? "Luke, I am your brother, and by the way our father was a bastard." That they're claiming I was "wrong" because instead of the classic father figure betraying the main character, it was a different relative? Do you people NOT see that it is still ridiculously predictable? Not to mention that in essence his father still managed to betray him even though you find out he really is dead. It's still the same overdone "shock" of family betrayal that he set up as if we wouldn't see it coming. The fact that it was his brother and not his father who stabbed him in the back does not disprove my point.

How about physical impossibilities? Yes, we're reading a story that has a talking dragon in it, so maybe we're supposed to suspend disbelief, but it seems mostly the laws of physics apply in Alagaësia. So. A bad storm descends upon the boy and his dragon, and before the poor creature has managed to fold her wings appropriately, she is caught by the wind and blown over, and she does not seem to be strong enough to tuck her wings in against the wind to avoid getting blown over again. This right here could maybe be ignored, because I don't think it was ever explained how big her wings are, so maybe she'd lose control if there were really strong winds, though we'd have to ignore that she'd have to have very STRONG wings to get her giant dragon body off the ground. But get this. Eragon, a teenage boy, runs over to help Saphira close her wings. Now, if a mighty dragon cannot summon the strength to close her sails against the wind, exactly how much will it help to have a little human teenager pushing on them? So, this is just silly to be sure, but I think I've figured out why it was written that way. Being a writer myself, I know this syndrome very well: It's called "I just really wanted to write this scene" disease. Whole stories are constructed around these gratuitous scenes, the ones the author saw in the mind early in the story-creating process. It ended up in the story rough around the edges because it just doesn't quite go.

Oh yeah, don't forget when Eragon accidentally does magic for the first time to defeat an Urgal. Background: He doesn't know any wizards (has yet to find out that his traveling companion can use magic). He doesn't know anything about magic and if he did he wouldn't believe that he had any. But oh look . . . under attack, he not only uses the magic against his foe, but just happens to find the necessary magic word on his tongue and says it in conjunction with his attack (without which, he finds out later, nothing would have happened). He had heard his companion say the magic word for "fire" once. He did not know it was a magic word then; he thought it was a curse word. Why would he randomly say it? That is a hell of an intuition, even given the dire circumstances, and considering it never happened before or after, that's just too much of a coincidence for us to swallow just in the name of letting Eragon have his little revelation of "OMG I gotz magic??" A little side effect, I think, of not ironing out all the rules of the land before writing it, and not tweaking earlier writings to match the consistent rules.

Because he is needed to help sort through some secret information, Eragon is taught how to read. In a week. Yeah. (Sure maybe he could recognize some letters and be of some help in finding keywords, but all of a sudden after that he mostly reads like anyone else. 'Nuff said.) He learns the ancient magic language similarly easily, and though he was only taught it for the purpose of using magic, he is still somehow able to have a complex conversation with an elf using only that language, and understands her giving him directions to an unfamiliar place. I am having trouble swallowing this.

Pet peeve: At least three or four times in this novel it is mentioned that someone "cries a single tear" or has a "single tear" running down his or her face. Why does it always have to be one tear? This is not the movies; you can have torrential crying in a book if you want to. This does not strike me as romantic. This strikes me as obviously fake and contrived, not true emotion but more to write a cool visual scene. I am really turned off by this.

Another pet peeve: A minor villain is destroyed at the end; since it is a series, it cannot be the MAIN villain (assumingly it's the oppressive king), but the major villain of the book is heroically killed by the main character, who is of course scarred physically and emotionally by the experience (but not, of course, on his face; only upon skin that will show if he takes off his battle gear in the privacy of a secluded room, preferably with a sexy elf woman watching). During the battle, details are revealed about the villain's past that make the reader understand why he turned evil; in other words, his actions are sort of justified so that we sympathize a bit before he, ya know, DIES. This slight redemption of the evil guy is only slightly preferable to the plot where the villain is just evil for no reason, but it's only a step up, and not a big one. Of COURSE the villain was scarred for life by losses he incurred as a child. It's only natural. And instead of being the giant revelation the author was expecting to unveil, that was my exact thought: Well, of course.

Overall, I just think that this book was written as though it had a template or blueprint for "traditional fantasy novel" and the details and names were simply filled in. I couldn't help feeling the entire time I was reading it that I had read this story before, nothing was much of a surprise, and things that didn't make sense or got in the way of a conflicting original vision were smoothed over with excuses or deliberate muddling of motives. I think that in order to write something so traditional, a writer needs something special, a unique twist or slant, and this just hasn't got it. (In other words, I'm not saying that writing an "archetypal fantasy epic" is BAD; I'm saying that it needs to not be a rehashing of overused themes that were INVENTED--not derived from mythology or legend, but INVENTED--by classic writers.) The boy and his powerful companion having an intimate relationship? Done, in everything from Anne McCaffrey to freaking Digimon. The hero quest to punish the baddies and bring the good guys back into power? Done, in Lord of the Rings and Star Wars. Lush descriptions of landscapes and surroundings? Done by Tolkien of course, but more as a background to action rather than in stagnant heaps of detail. Mysterious companions to whom there is more than meets the eye? I don't even want to think about all the books and movies that have done that. I can't pick out a single thing that this book has that has never been done before, the characters didn't interest or capture me, the storytelling was riddled with too many attempts to be grand that I was just entirely turned off by it.


In short, I very much doubt I will enjoy reading the rest of the Inheritance Cycle. But you can read more for yourself if you choose, by looking at other reviews and checking out the Web site at www.alagaesia.com .

An added note:

I've heard silly stories about this author going to speak at school assemblies and whatnot (dressed in some sort of goofy medieval costume, so I hear), telling them all about his ideas and inspirations as if he is already a legendary master storyteller instead of a kid who likes to write and happened to get a break. I'm betting that if Paolini does eventually get to the point where he has enough experience to write something I can respect, he will probably be kicking himself that he let this baby go before he did his homework. I know the stuff I wrote when I was nineteen was pretty abysmal (though not in the same ways that this kid's is). Difference is, I knew it, and I did not press my idea prematurely into print through a vanity press (which is how his book started getting its distribution, until it was serendipitously picked up by Random House). I've done my damn homework. And if he had done likewise, we'd see evidence that he could show his work on these little math problems here. Copying them out of the textbook and then fiddling with the end sums does not a homework assignment make. Okay, well, since I am now at the risk of going on in metaphor pretentiously for the next hour, I think I will end this here. Thank you for listening to my whining opinions.

My review on Amazon.com was number a hundred-and-something, so I figured it was buried and would never be seen. Au contraire! Apparently enough people voted it "helpful" that it became the spotlight review, viewable as one of the first things whenever anyone looks this book up on that site. As a result I started getting mail. Weirdly, ALL of it was POSITIVE! I was expecting lots of little kids to send me e-mails that were the equivalent of "nuh-uh!" But it was mostly people who agreed with me. I saved but didn't post people who agree with me, but there have been dozens and dozens of them, literally. Apparently a lot of people are encouraged to see that someone can intelligently explain why this book is not all that.

However, I have gotten some negatives, through the comments box on my Web site, through my e-mail box, and through direct comments referring to me in other people's Amazon.com reviews. If you'd like to read some interesting responses, please go back to the jump-off page and look through the comments and responses.



from
EE

EvilElitest
2008-06-15, 09:22 PM
on Eldest


"Is it better than Eragon??"

Lots of people have asked me if I liked Eldest better or thought it was a better book. The answer is 75% no, 25% yes. Reluctantly, I will give this praise to the book: The writing was more coherent and sounded a little less like it was written by an inexperienced person, and some of the perspective changes made it a little easier to read. But to tell you the truth, that isn't really much of a compliment. If a writer doesn't get better on his second book or as he gets older, he's kind of a moron, eh?

And the main reason I say that 75% of my brain dubs Eldest to be no better than its predecessor is one thing: The audience factor. Chris was quite a bit more (painfully) aware this time that he had an audience, that his book's arrival was being anticipated with bitten nails, whining, and drool. He therefore did even more of that language dress-up and song-and-dance, more of that irritating demonstration of his belief that the words themselves should be the art rather than the art being the story they describe.

If you do not believe that the author was obvious about getting off on his publicity, feel free to follow this link and read the letter he wrote to be read at the national laydown events for the book's release. It's full of modesty that rings false and a bunch of b.s. poetry that is supposed to be epic but really mostly just sounds really silly. Not to mention that the dude opens and closes his letter by writing to the fans in his made-up elf language. It's quite an underwhelming introduction to an appropriately mediocre book.

This essay will be divided into several main sections. You can choose one now by a link and go straight to it, or you can just read in order and take them all in.

Topics to choose from:

Author Stupidity * Bad Narration * Bad Dialogue * Stuff stolen from other fandoms * PLOT ISSUES: Ridiculously Predictable Events * PLOT ISSUES: Nonsense, Holes, and Contrived Events * GOOD Stuff * My personal commentary

AUTHOR STUPIDITY

This section is in some ways riddled with opinion, but my basic assertion here is that Paolini appears to be convinced that talking in pseudo-archaic language is grand and epic rather than, well, MORONIC. If you haven't looked at it already, my copy of the promotional letter he sent with the release of his book is a good example, but here I'd like to quote some very silly things the guy has written that he obviously thinks are quite impressive and majestic.

But first I have to say that one thing stuck out as the silliest, stupidest thing in the book--an obvious goofy author choice that no one had the good sense or the observation skills to identify and tell him to TAKE OUT.

The "barges" comment.

At one point a character says "Barges? We don't want no stinking barges!"

Would anyone like to explain to me why a 1935 movie reference is slipped into a pseudo-medieval fantasy novel?

I submitted this to the Stinking Badges page because I thought it was so screwed up. Take a look if you want.

Bad, bad little Chris. Pop culture references are very very silly in this kind of book.

On to the stupid mediæval spæk.

In the author's notes: "Stay with me, if it please you." I'm afraid it does not please, thank you, kind sir. More about this later.

Name of the king's group of assassins: "The Black Hand." Oh yes, that is very likely. Rulers often consider themselves "evil," and enjoy naming their helpers very sinister things. Is this any different than Tolkien naming Sauron's mountain "Mount Doom"? No, not really. [Note: Two people have mentioned to me that the "Black Hand" has actually been used before as the name of an actual historical group of assassins. I think that's pretty stupid too. If you give yourself a name like that, you must be *trying* to be sinister. Laaame.]

In talking about the novel's inconsistency with place names: Chris claims that all of Alagaësia's different areas are sorta mix-n-match because all the places were settled by different races. Umm . . . in real life, usually if that is the case then each race or culture has a name for each area, and depending on which language the map is in, you will see different names. English maps don't identify Japan as "Nihon" or Germany as "Deutschland." On a Spanish map, you will see "Estados Unidos" instead of "United States." If a bunch of different races named the places, each would call the areas different things.

"While this is of great historical interest," he writes, "practically it often leads to confusion as to the correct pronunciation. Unfortunately, there are no set rules for the neophyte." Oh yes, everything's so much more confusing because the local populations altered spellings--it doesn't have anything to do with author inconsistency or not wanting to be held to any conventions. He goes on (and this is practically unbelievable): "The enthusiast is encouraged to study the source languages in order to master their true intricacies." The source languages? The ones that are in your head?? Dude, no one is convinced by this ramble that there is actually an alternate world where these languages are spoken. EVERYONE who reads it, including little kids, knows it is a fantasy book, so it's just silly to pretend there is something you can study if you want to speak Paolini-Dwarfish or something. Oh my god, this is worse than the people who learn Klingon . . . because someone actually bothered to lay out laws for the speaking of Klingon. You CAN actually learn it, and while its vocabulary is a bit restricted unless you want to talk about war, it has pronunciation conventions and a grammar structure. Odd how instead of doing his homework, Paolini makes up an excuse for why homework is not necessary in this instance.

"When I first conceived Eragon, I was 15--not quite a boy and not yet a man--just out of high school." Ahh yes, that middle age when you are no longer a boy, but not an adult . . . wait, we all know what a frigging teenager is. Just talk to us like a person, please. And "just out of high school" makes it sound like you actually "went to" high school rather than being homeschooled. I have no doubt that someone who spends as much time on cultivating his words as Paolini does could have found a more accurate statement to describe his schooling. Not that it matters--I think he did it just to draw attention to the fact that he was done with high school at age fifteen. Hint, hint, check it out--I'm a prodigy. Good for you.

And then he says this: "One more volume to go and we shall reach the end of this tale. One more manuscript of heartache, ecstasy, and perseverence. . . . One more codex of dreams." I'm going to die. Codex of dreams?? "Stay with me, if it please you, and let us see where this winding path will carry us, both in this world and in Alagaësia."

I'll tell you where it's going to lead us. Read The Hero's Journey by Joseph Campbell, go watch Star Wars, study some Lord of the Rings and some obscure mythology, steal some words from ancient languages and pretend they're magic words, and read Story by Robert McKee and The Writer's Handbook, and then write a book ganking one or two aspects from all the other high fantasy you've read and liked. That's the formula. It should work for you too.

PLOT ISSUES: NONSENSE, HOLES, AND CONTRIVED EVENTS

These are things that seemed utterly out of place and bizarre to me. They are things that I would have thought an early editor would say to Paolini: "Wait . . . this makes no sense." Sometimes they are minor, such as people acting very different from their previous characterizations for no apparent reason, but often they are full-blown apparent contradictions. Unfortunately Paolini's style is to write off contradictions with goofy excuses instead of actually taking the time to make his world a believable, seamless whole.

Here is my list.

* A random Urgal attack kills the Varden leader, and Eragon is neatly chosen to be in charge . . . instead of choosing the second-in-command. Huh?

* Despite her apparent general lack of confidence and lack of actual power, Nasuada says things like "leave me" and displays a calm and cool disposition. She comes across like she has a split personality sometimes.

* Instead of calling a spade a spade and saying Murtagh and the Twins are "dead," the narration "sneakily" refers to them as "gone." That way, after the characters have lamented their kidnapping and apparent death, Paolini can rejoice in the fact that he tricked us into thinking they were dead, but then point and laugh when they reappear on the battlefield and say "HA, see I never SAID they were dead!" We know you didn't. As soon as they found no bodies, we knew they were coming back. This was not a surprise.

* Some guy wanders up to Roran out of nowhere and gives him "Gertrude's salves . . . in case you injure yourself." Oh gee, is he going to?

* Saphira's magic powers. It's been said throughout the books so far that magic comes from dragons and whatnot, but that Saphira and other dragons don't really use it the same as elves and humans do. It's pointed out several times that the "rules" for dragons performing magic are not set--I suppose that's so that whatever Saphira wants to do, she can do, period. (Don't you hate when the laws of magic aren't defined, or when there are all these exceptions for no apparent reason?) Anyway, then all of a sudden at one point Saphira promises to perform a piece of very complicated magic in the future, and comments, "I can do it if the need is great enough." Since when?

* Also, Saphira was the one who broke the Star Rose and pissed everyone off. But if she heals it, she'll be honored for "uncounted generations." Does this bother anyone else? I would think that the dwarves would pretty much reluctantly agree to tolerate her presence if she undid the damage she did and maybe kissed up to them for a few thousand years. I somehow doubt that she'd suddenly be a hero just because she's willing to clean up her own mess.

* "I've been trying to wake you for almost an hour." How does that work? It's one thing if they wander into your room every fifteen minutes and tell you to get up and walk away, but unless you're DRUGGED or something you don't lie asleep for almost an hour getting constantly shaken or whatever. What was he doing still lying down if it was urgent almost an hour ago that he get up?

* At one point a young boy named Jarsha calls Eragon "sir," and he goes on about how surprised he is about being called "sir." Too bad the first time Jarsha called him sir was 50 pages earlier. He asked the kid's name and replied, "That's a good name. You carried your message well; you should be proud." Umkay.

* The Ra'zac tell the citizens of Carvahall that they have two choices: They can stop hiding Roran and give him up to them, at which point they will be "spared" by being SOLD AS SLAVES . . . and their other choice is NOT giving Roran up and being EATEN. Then . . . the Ra'zac . . . LEAVE. Like they're going to give them time to decide. Now, faced with two choices that are hideously unacceptable, how likely is it that they're going to just sit there and wait for the Ra'zac to return? GIVE ME A BREAK.

* At one point there was some dissent among the dwarves about whether Eragon should be welcome in their city. Some found it very insulting that Eragon was wearing a special helmet given to him by the big cheese. Based on the dwarves' attitude, they decided to "get out of sight before blood was shed." . . . HE'S WITH A GIANT DRAGON. NOBODY IN THEIR RIGHT MIND IS GOING TO ATTACK THAT.

* The citizens of Carvahall decided to build a wall of protection around their city. They did this with . . . SIXTY TREES. I see no possible way anyone could get through that! Especially not with, oh, fire or an axe. Or hell, just flying over or climbing it. C'mon. Building a wall with trees. You gotta be kidding. As if the Ra'zac are going to wander up, see a wall, and go "Duuuuh . . . well, we can't get through that. Let's go home. Forget slavery or eating their young."

* Here's another thing I don't get. The elves are usually described as being ageless. And yet at one point there is an elf with a face described as "old." Apparently they can't be the wise mentor type teacher unless they look like Yoda.

* The talking raven. Who can speak warnings, but only in rhymes or songs. I don't even know . . . this is just so goofy. And when you become aware of the raven and what it can do, it's also obvious that Eragon is going to receive important information from it. In this sort of book you don't create a character like that and then not use it; it's just not done.

* Helzvog, a god of the dwarves, is said to have a nude statue. But somehow later someone swears on his girdle. Huh?

* I'm starting to see signs of patchwork, late editing here; in other words, I'm seeing evidence that questions came up suggesting contradictions--either submitted by others or Paolini realized them himself--and he attempted to fix them by slipping in silly excuses. For example, Brom's name was never mentioned in the Forsworn's deaths. OH, but that's because evil king Galbatorix didn't want it publicized that any existed that could have done such a thing. Sure.

* "The majority of those blessed with magic have little or no appreciable talent, they struggle to heal even so much as a bruise." Buuut . . . "Every elf looks exactly as he/she wishes to." Why do they look like their parents, then? Isn't that incongruous? Wouldn't there be a bit more variation if that was the case? This doesn't make any sense.

* I think my BIGGEST problem is with the apparently incoherent magic system. Now, in this book, Eragon studies magic in depth. His teacher, Oromis, says it is the thoughts that matter; "Sound has no control over magic. Saying a word or phrase in this language is not what's important, it's thinking them in this language." Why is it, then, that Eragon's slight misunderstanding of the language when he was more inexperienced caused him to CURSE instead of BLESS a child? He used "shield" instead of "shielded" in a spell to protect a child, and as a result the girl ended up BEING a shield from harm instead of being shielded from harm. Is this consistent with the suggestion that it is the thoughts that matter? Surely Eragon did not mean to curse this child; he was horrified by it when he found out what he'd done. So how is it that intent is what's important, yet add the equivalent of "ed" to the end of what he SAID but not what he MEANT warped the kid's life? The answer is: DING DING DING! We have our Alia-from-Dune character. (What's her name? Elva? Hmm.) It's convenient, and serves a purpose in the plot. Doesn't matter if it's actually inconsistent with the magical rules, after all, since the dragon is already breaking them whenever she wants. I'm standing by for a justification of how Eragon's words somehow took precedence over his meaning in that instance in particular.

PLOT ISSUES: RIDICULOUSLY PREDICTABLE EVENTS

A lot of people have either said this book is NOT predictable--which tells me they probably have never read another high fantasy book--or they make up a bunch of excuses why it's okay to be predictable because this is a basic story type. Sure, by all means, excuse it for all its faults because it is a hero "type" story. Which of course means that he should do the same things in the same order as every hero of myth and fantasy from Odysseus to Luke Skywalker.

A book should not be so based on a story "type" that it feels like it is following a template; every "revelation" in this book is more of a confirmation of a suspicion than an actual surprise. Before opening the book, I knew Eragon would find out information about his parents and that it would turn out that his dad is on the "evil" side; of course he is, because Darth is always going to be Luke's father. Before beginning the story, I knew that Eragon would have to be sequestered in a special training environment with a very wise and very accomplished yet very old tutor, and of course it happened, because we had yet to have a Yoda in this book. And before I started the book, I knew he would have to overcome the physical damage he encountered in the first book--AND I knew that success would come to him not because he worked hard or made a personal breakthrough, but because he was given a supernatural gift of some kind. I didn't know this stuff because I'm psychic or just a really good guesser. I knew because it is part of the story map for this kind of story, and Chris Paolini doesn't so much invent a story as he does figure out what to name the pieces before he puts them together in the same layout that was predetermined by someone else's jig saw.

In the synopsis of the book, it says "Nothing is known of his father." Unless you've ever studied the hero's journey story type. Nothing is known, except that nothing is known . . . so therefore, the father will not only turn out to be evil, but will have to be fought by the hero. In the book, Eragon answers the question of whether he has any family with "Only a cousin." Well, and a mother who's missing and a dad he doesn't know. What are the chances that they're both dead and no one will ever know what became of them? Riiiight.

Now, in my original Eragon essay, I suggested that Eragon would have to fight his father. That's the classic story type. And then after Eldest came out, I got all kinds of triumphant razzing because Eragon's father couldn't possibly fight him, since he turned out to be, well, dead. Now. The Darth Vader thing isn't over yet; just because Vader is already dead does NOT mean that he isn't a bad guy, or that his turn to the Dark Side did not have effects on Eragon. No, he does not fight his father. Instead, he fights his BROTHER, whose betrayal was a direct result of the father's original betrayal. That is exactly the same thing in different clothes. If a person thinks I'm off-base in my evaluation of this as being a hackneyed, overused plot just because the line was changed to "Luke, I am your BROTHER," that person would be mistaken. It would have been a stroke of originality only if maybe Eragon hadn't been betrayed from within his family, or maybe wasn't betrayed at all, or perhaps did something himself to upset a good character and cause the betrayal. But no, it's the same old thing: Hypnotized and brainwashed, his brother was taken and turned against him. Same old.

More predictable plot points: In the beginning, Murtagh and the Twins randomly get abducted, and Eragon's search for them turns up with nothing . . . not even a body or three. Consequently, what does he do? Assumes them dead. But not me! If they were dead, in this sort of story we'd have found a body for Eragon to cry over and sprinkle rose petals on, and maybe Saphira could have encased someone else in diamonds. But no; he has to have his romantic "nooooo, whyyyy!" moment when any discerning reader KNOWS they're not dead. I wrote that down in my notebook at the beginning: "Murtagh & Twins missing but not found dead. That means they're alive." I was right. Surprise. Important characters that an author like Paolini spent a long time developing in book 1 do not disappear without a trace in book 2's beginning, lost to death. Something like that would only happen in REAL life or a realistic book. And while it would be disappointing to lose a character who had a lot of personality and whatnot, it is important that writers don't cheat their readers by turning them into functionally immortal people whose impenetrable shield is the role they play in the story.

"Whatever my fate may be, I don't aspire to rule." Of course you don't, Eragon. This story type always involves the hero fighting valiantly and emerging victorious, and being offered leadership of something but declining with a "who, me? No, not me, I want my simple life back" line.

In the hero's journey, there is always a "meeting the goddess" and a "temptation" bit, which of course drives suspicion and anger between characters. Would you believe that Eragon meets a goddess-like woman and apparently pledges himself to her aid, and also is tempted by a woman and it pisses his dragon off? Nah, never would have seen that coming.

Also, in the hero's journey, there's this annoying bit about weapons. He receives very common fantasy items as gifts in this book; I almost thought I might be playing Final Fantasy or something. He received a belt, a drink, and a scroll, and a bow from Galadriel--I mean Islanzadí. Feh.

And then there was the bit where some characters are about to be in serious trouble trying to go across a stretch of dangerous water called the Boar's Eye. Just like in the first book where Eragon is racing to save Arya from slow-acting poison, I was in no way worried that anyone was going to die. If this was an original and well-written book, there would have been reasonable doubt about whether the characters would make it. After all, this is written in third person; the story could easily go on even if a catastrophic event has occurred. But because the plot is set up in such a way that characters are assigned specific roles and those roles have certain parts to play, they *cannot* die before they perform certain actions. Eragon's cousin Roran has not performed all his deeds yet by the time this impending tragedy occurs. So obviously he is going to survive. Knowing that someone is going to survive something like that does not just make me excited to see how it's going to happen; it makes every "hopeless" situation seem that much more contrived.

In one of my favorite children's series, Artemis Fowl, characters have a funny way of getting out of rather difficult situations, but because of the way Eoin Colfer writes, you're never sure if they're going to make it. And this gnawing suspicion that someone just might die is brought home when in one of the books a main character is killed pretty much without warning. Not in a particularly heroic way; not to directly save someone else; not in a place where his death was the only way. It just kind of sucked, and it was shocking. And there was no setting him up as a tragic character whose death provides the necessary motivation for a hero to succeed; there was no reviving him at the end; there was no reason he had to die for the story to move forward. Except that his death promoted exactly the kind of uncertainty that such novels need in order to stay exciting. When nobody important dies except at the point they're supposed to--such as Brom's convenient death occurring just as Eragon got everything he needed and acquired a new traveling partner--it stops being an adventure and starts being more of a farce. Notice how in books like Harry Potter, characters who have important roles do die; they're characters that people have grown to like, they're characters whose deaths come at fairly unexpected times, they're characters whose futures seemed assured until we realized that--gasp--this author kills people! Suddenly no one is safe. Even Harry might die. See how that's different?

BAD WRITING: NARRATION

There's an awful lot of this, so instead of rambling about it and trying to describe it, I will just quote it and maybe give a little editorial advice as to either how to fix it or why it is mind-numbingly, well, bad.

* From the jacket flap: "Will the king's dark hand strangle all resistance? Eragon may not escape with even his life. . . . " May not escape with even his life? Could you make that a tad more awkward, please?

* "For gray-eyed Destiny now weaves apace, the first resounding note of war echoes across the land." Or you could try to be a little more vague, please. And I think this needs to sound a little more like bad teenage poetry. No, really. Is there anything to be understood from calling Destiny "gray-eyed"? Do these words actually mean anything? If not, then why were they chosen?

* First line: "The songs of the dead are the lamentations of the living." Eragon's walking along through a battlefield thinking this. Unless I really don't understand something, this sentence is an attempt to write romantically but actually does not say anything. It makes no sense. What are these songs of the dead? How are they lamentations of the people who are still alive? If you're going to make these artistic metaphors, they have to actually mean something, okay?

* Eragon's tear was described as "A small, glistening dome." I think I have discovered something. Christopher Paolini has never actually seen a tear before. And the trend continues in this book for there to be a single tear. It's irritating. Doesn't anyone actually cry, with buckets of tears and snot pouring out of their noses? I wanna see boogers and red eyes and wet cheeks and actual SORROW. Not a single tear. That's nothing but a mockery of sadness. My "single tear" count (which may not be complete): Four. Regardless of whether there are more, that's too many times for someone to sit there feeling sad and express it with a single tear. Meh.

* "Movement flickered through it, like the swish of a bird across a clouded moon." Way to go, throw a completely unrelated simile in there to draw our attention AWAY from what's happening. Just say that there was movement. We don't need this. Maybe stuff like this is why the book is as long as it is.

* Just in general, I'd like to point out that Paolini desperately needs to study the usage of the past perfect tense. He misuses it all through the book.

* "Rubies wrought into his golden helm glowing dully like flecks of hot iron." I've got to say I'm getting frustrated with every description requiring at least one hackneyed simile.

* "Together they waited, though for what, Eragon knew not." Can't you just say "Eragon didn't know"? This sort of thing does not sound authentic in any modern documents, I'm telling you.

* "A spark of anger flared within Trianna's eyes, then vanished so quickly, he wondered whether he had seen it at all." Except that you said it was there. Eragon's supposed to be pretty perceptive at this point. He wouldn't doubt this sort of observation. This is just cheesy. "Oh yeah, maybe I didn't really see that." Meh.

* "She said, 'Eragon.' It was a simple statement, neither friendly nor hostile." Yeah. Read it again. She came up and said his name, and this is a "statement" that didn't carry friendliness or hostility. Generally when you come up and say someone's name IT IS YOU COMING UP AND SAYING THEIR NAME. Why make a big deal out of how it isn't carrying any other meanings? People don't usually come up and say names layered with other messages. What??

* Just noting that it seems one of the only characters who occasionally comes to life with a personality you don't really expect is Angela. There's a reason for that: Instead of being based on story character types or other stories' characters, Angela is based on Chris's sister. I bet you can't guess her name. (Hint: It begins with "A" and ends with "ngela.") Her quirky personality comes out in the book, but I bet that's her doing, not his. Surprise.

* Completely ridiculous simile: "Slippers flashing beneath her dress, like mice darting from a hole." First of all, why would you compare someone's feet to MICE? That is just something a person doesn't want to associate with a body part. And on top of that, I can't imagine someone walking along with their slippers "flashing" and it being anything like mice--unless mice normally do pair up and take turns going in and out and in and out of holes right next to each other. Feet don't behave like mice darting from holes. What a stupid simile.

* During the main characters' time with the dwarves, Paolini subjects the reader to long passages of Dwarvish. Not in poetry or anything; just with people talking to each other and whatnot. Guess what? In situations like that, if the character through whose eyes you are filtering the scene does NOT understand the language, you might save the reader a lot of annoyance by just saying they rambled in Dwarvish. If he DOES understand it, just translate it for us. Nobody finds it more authentic or more impressive when you write the sentence in Dwarvish and then we look it up in the back to see if it's there and piece together what was said. Paolini has always had this disease of "if I invented this bit, I have to find a place to use it in the book." Inventing background is good, but it should be used to enhance the author's understanding of how things work so that if a situation comes up where it is important, it can be used. Instead, this comes across like he's trying to find a place to stick in everything he invented.

* "The dawnless morning. . . . " Should I even say? Yes, I should. HOW IS IT MORNING IF THERE WAS NO DAWN? Why does he think this sounds cool? He is so obsessed with making things sound cool that he doesn't even think to himself, "Wait, this makes no sense. How is it a 'dawnless' morning?" Answer is: It isn't!

* Oh god. Here's some supreme goofiness: His attempt to have the dwarf characters speak in a slightly different stylized way when they talk in Eragon's language. Take the following examples:

o "It would be foolish now for you to wander mine city."

o "It is difficult enough to keep you unharmed without you and thine dragon fighting wind-vipers."

o "What will you do with thine horse?"

o "Keep your thoughts to thyself."

Maybe no one told Chris, but if you're going to use "thy" and "thine," there is also these words called "thee" and "thou." Yet the dwarves insist on using "you." Okay, if you're going to go Shakespearean For Dummies on our butts, it'd be cool if you actually studied ye olde phrasing a bit. Ooh, but they're dwarves--maybe they are supposed to use "thy" and "thine" without using "thee" and "thou." For no apparent reason of course. Just seriously, what is the deal? Why are they talking English (or whatever language Eragon speaks) using words that people who speak the language don't use?

* The weapon descriptions and the scenery descriptions. I got very bored. Big clump of description inside Celbedeil, big clump of description while talking about the bow. I would much rather see a character admiring the things that were described rather than have them described to me in the author's narration voice.

* "He fell asleep." "Very slowly, he fell asleep." "He experienced a slow sinking through layers of sleep until finally he knew no more." Okay, even the last example would have been readable. I wrote them all--various ways of saying Eragon fell asleep. Guess how Paolini decided to write that Eragon was falling asleep? Okay, here we go: "He closed his eyes and sank into the warm dusk that separates consciousness and sleep, where reality bends and sways to the winds of thought, and where creativity blossoms in its freedom from boundaries and all things are possible." I don't know. Don't you just want to, I don't know . . . DIE right now?

* Supreme badness. Can you visualize this scene? "Katrina screamed again and jumped on the men, biting and clawing furiously. Her sharp nails furrowed their faces, drawing streams of blood that blinded the cursing soldiers." I cannot see this. At all. One woman--who might be somewhat tough but is not superhuman--is somehow biting and clawing . . . several men at once . . . to the point that they are all blinded by the blood that runs from the scratches she has caused. Oh, and they respond by standing there cursing, not, say, immobilizing her. I don't mean to be sexist, but surely it would take no more than two men to subdue a woman who is fighting with her frickin' fingernails. CP, the idea is to try to actually visualize this happening, and then THROW OUT SCENES THAT ARE STUPID.

* "I swear on Helzvog's stone girdle." I probably don't even need to say anything to make you aware of how painful that is.

* "Bright as a flaming sun." Call me crazy, but are there any suns that aren't, oh, in flames? Could we have some similes here that don't forget that they are for description above and beyond sounding cool?

* At one time, Eragon is told that the Ra'zac are referred to as "the nightmares of our race." Later, when Roran is fighting them--without having discussed this with Eragon, mind you--he makes this statement: "Now the time has come to see if we can slay a nightmare." Wait. Eragon was the one who was told that the baddies his cousin was fighting were the nightmares of our race. Somehow this knowledge was transferred to Roran. Baaaad writing. Keep in mind your characters haven't read the book, Chris.

* Why does everyone on the ship talk like people in pirate movies? Apparently when Paolini writes, he just visualizes the setting he's familiar with and transplants the accents and everything from whatever movie he last watched, and even though the guys on this ship don't appear to be a) pirates or b) associated with any foreign group who talks like pirates, for some reason they still talk like pirates. It's absurd.

* "Hair as black as a forgotten pool." I think I'd like to go on record as saying that being forgotten does not make water black. I bet there's tons of pools around that have been forgotten and nevertheless are not black. What exactly does this simile mean?

* "Silent as the night." Ever been in the night, Chris? It's pretty quiet in your room with your earplugs in, I guess. This is silly. I won't even go on with this one.

* "They were grim-faced and said little, for words only emphasized their insignificance in that bare and empty land." How? How do words emphasize insignificance? Grr, I wish he would stop for a second trying to sound so grand and actually think about what the words he chose MEAN.

* As the book winds up to make its climax, there are all kinds of REALLY dramatic sentences that are so silly they just make me cringe. "Shall we dance, friend of my heart?" "That is the sound of our destiny." "'What do you intend to do, Roran?' 'Do?' Roran laughed and spun widdershins to stand toe to toe with the smith. 'Do? Why I intend to alter the fate of Alagaësia!'" Truly. There is a time and a place for drama. But asking "shall we dance?" upon going into battle is one of the goofiest things I've heard in my life. This makes me wonder whether CP watches the movies that would be shown on Mystery Science Theater 3000 and thinks the dialogue is smooth.

* Ahh, and now one that is similar to "'Sorry,' apologized Brom" from the first book. Now we have "'Aye,' Orik agreed." The "Aye" indicates that he is saying yes. You don't have to go on and tell us it was an agreement. This is all so silly.

Once someone told me that all that matters is that the reader understands what's going on, and that I shouldn't nitpick these annoying permutations for the word "said" that distract people from what's actually going on. I disagree. It's called style, finesse, et cetera. It wouldn't be a good book if it was just written in boring declarative sentences, like "Eragon found a weird thing. But it turned out to be a dragon egg. He took care of the dragon." Blah blah blah. The parts that he's making "colorful" with zesty little words like "proclaimed" and "apologized" and "expectorated" are not the parts of the story that NEED to be colorful. They are middle school English attempts to make writing varied. What needs to be colorful is the storytelling, the descriptions, the dialogue. Not the permutations of "said." It's misplaced. That's why editors and publishers look at that as the hallmark of the amateur writer. Because it indicates a basic misunderstanding of the whole point of language. His problem is that he concentrates so much on making his prose elegant that he doesn't understand that prose's job is to be elegant enough to be invisible.

A quote from Paolini: "In my writing, I strive for a lyrical beauty somewhere between Tolkien at his best and Seamus Heaney’s translation of Beowulf."

Well . . . I suppose we can give him an A for effort, can't we? We definitely see the trying.

* And last but not least: The overused, horrific "you should be hit on the head by a troupe of 100 literature professors if you do this" literary device: HAVING THE VILLAIN EXPLAIN EVERYTHING IN THE END. Oh god, how I hate that. And the fact that it was written in such a way that the author obviously thought having these characters charge in as the main villains of the story when everyone thought they were dead just adds insult to injury. This sort of writing just insults my intelligence. If you didn't see this coming or thought it was a revelation, please go find that aforementioned troupe of literature professors and let them hit you for a while. I'll join in.

* And I guess while I'm at it I'll point out that I believe I found an editing mistake: At one point someone uses the phrase "undo alarm." It's "undue." Like, not due. Not as in "undone."

STOLEN FROM LORD OF THE RINGS AND OTHER FANDOMS

I won't go into this one too much because I already discussed the subject so much in my previous essay. But I wanted to point out a few more things that caught my eye that were snatched from the classic fantasy story:

* Galbatorix gathered 13 traitors: The Ringwraiths. I mean, the Forsworn. Argh.

* Telepathically contacted by Togira Ikonoka, they were told to come to Lothlórien. CRAP! I meant to say Ellesméra!

* I'm not sure what's up with there being a "Barad-Dûr" in Lord of the Rings and a "Farthen Dûr" in Eldest (and both are place names), but at least they aren't the same type of place and don't mean the same thing. ("Barad-Dûr" was Sauron's tower, meaning "dark tower," and "Farthen Dûr" was a dwarvish city, meaning "our father.") It just sounds similar to me, but maybe that is being picky.

* The Kull have so many similarities to the Uruk-hai that I can hardly believe it.

* Random sticking in of poems and songs in other languages, apparently to try to trick us into thinking these groups have a rich culture even when we're not looking at them. Instead of enhancing the narration by flowing naturally from the context, a lot of these poems and songs seem stuck in and deliberately featured, like the plot steered onto this topic because Chris had written the poem and wanted to show it to us. To tell you the truth, I don't really give a rat's behind about the iron song.

* The decision to have the dwarf Orik accompany Eragon and Arya seemed less like it was done out of necessity and more like it was done so that there could be a man, an elf, and a dwarf running around the pretty hills like in Fellowship.

* "The ring must symbolize something dreadful indeed if it could undermine [the dwarves'] courage." DEAR LORD, IT'S THE ONE RING!

* The scene where elf queen Islanzadí of Ellesméra gives out weapons reminds me way too much of the same scene with the elf elder Galadriel of Lothlórien doing the same.

* There's a random bout of riddling that's waaaay too close to a famous scene from The Hobbit.

BAD DIALOGUE

This is mostly just a list of quotes from characters talking and either bombing their attempts at grand archaic speak or just saying really lame things. I probably won't have to explain why they're so out of place and impractical; just read them and I think mostly it will be self-explanatory.

* Arya: "I scryed both Murtagh and the Twins, and saw naught but the shadows of the abyss." (Not only does that fancy language serve to make this character seem stiff and unbelievable and, well, made up . . . it's also deliberately misleading. More of Paolini's "Ha-HA, I never said they were DEAD, now DID I??")

* "'All is not bad,' she reproached."

* "I feel once more a reason to rule and live." Okay, there's a war on and the thing you're most worried about is your heirloom.

* "Wake, knurlhiem!" Why is it that characters who have other languages frequently use their foreign words with others for greetings and insults? Truth is, when you learn someone else's language, the first things you learn are usually "hello" and "&@#$* YOU." I also think it's goofy that that translates to "stonehead," and the dwarves respect the stone, don't they?

* Saphira gets drunk and does not feel real well after she passes out. When she is addressed later, she replies, "A pox on all mead!" Very cute, Chris. But MEAD CAN'T GET POX. IT IS NOT ALIVE.

* "Beware the rotten stone." Buuuut stone . . . is . . . not . . . organic. . . . How can a stone be rotten?

* "I have no desire to squander what time we have when a whim of fate could tear us apart." I wonder why every attempt at a dramatic phrase instead makes me want to laugh?

* "You needs must fly there." Now, is that a typo, or is that just another one of the many attempts to render the dwarves' speech in a way that is charmingly off-kilter? Making them sound like Tarzan does not work here.

* "Draw thy sword and guard its edge as your first master taught you." Did you just use "thy" and "your" in the same sentence? I've said it before, but if you're going to try to write in your crap attempt at ancient phrasing, you should at least be consistent.

GOOD STUFF

Now I'd just like to say there were a couple things I thought were good about the book. I do like to give credit where credit is due, and while I think this was a book that was basically a chore to read and was not deserving of most of the recognition it got (besides my aforementioned nod from Entertainment Weekly), I'll be willing to say there were a couple things the guy did right.

The introduction of Roran as one of the main characters provided a little bit of variation in the plodding journey that is a blueprint-written novel. Watching Eragon go through all the steps in his role as the epic hero gets old real fast, but since Roran is NOT the epic hero, he is not held to quite as strict of a plan, and therefore there is a little wiggle room for his adventures to be more interesting. He still has a role to play, but since he only has to show up for his parts and is free to do whatever for the rest of the book, he actually does sometimes do whatever. (In a really limited way, unfortunately. But some of his lifestyle choices and whatnot are not quite as cookie-cutter as Eragon's.)

An amusing line from Saphira: "Go apologize, Eragon, or I'll fill your tent with carrion." That image was just funny to me. I'm not sure why.

A sort of cool idea he came up with: Nasuada realizes that she needs to raise funds for the Varden or something like that, and makes use of her group's magic users in an interesting way. Because magic takes the same amount of energy out of a person that it would take to do that action the regular way, she comes up with an idea: Get magic users to do something that takes a long time but not much energy, and sell the product. She makes money on her magic users using their talents to create lace, a time-consuming but not-very-strenuous task, and she sells the product. I thought that was kind of inventive--though I don't know how original it is--but regardless of whether it was an original idea I did think it was kinda amusing that her group's rebel efforts were funded in part by LACE.

And the one thing I thought was the BEST bit of the book was an unusual bit of realism. For once, a rag-tag rebel leader tells the fighters not to stand and fight soldiers because they want to be heroes, because . . . they will be fighting trained soldiers. I thought it was really cool that he actually recognized that a group of villagers with no real fighting training would be very unlikely to best a group of trained soldiers, and that ego and pride and stupidity would not be able to overcome a group whose JOB is fighting. However, I feel kind of annoyed about making this observation, because it's essentially, "Congratulations, Chris, you DIDN'T do something stupid." I'm so used to him NOT taking practical considerations into account that I'm surprised when he actually refrains from falling into traps.

Yup, and that's it for my praise. Um, besides that the cover, again, is pretty. And that is a compliment for John Jude Palencar, not Paolini.

MY COMMENTARY

This is just a little bit of my philosophizing on the book itself--some simple things that don't fit into any category but I feel need to be said. It's mostly my collection of retorts to the most common arguments I have gotten since first posting my essay about Eragon.

This also functions as my list of critical points people have submitted to me to try to tell me I don't know what I'm talking about. It's interesting to read, but it is not really part of the essay and has a slightly different tone. If you plan to send me a comment, you might want to read it to make sure I haven't already answered this question or argued this point before.

EvilElitest
2008-06-15, 09:26 PM
on Eldest


"Is it better than Eragon??"

Lots of people have asked me if I liked Eldest better or thought it was a better book. The answer is 75% no, 25% yes. Reluctantly, I will give this praise to the book: The writing was more coherent and sounded a little less like it was written by an inexperienced person, and some of the perspective changes made it a little easier to read. But to tell you the truth, that isn't really much of a compliment. If a writer doesn't get better on his second book or as he gets older, he's kind of a moron, eh?

And the main reason I say that 75% of my brain dubs Eldest to be no better than its predecessor is one thing: The audience factor. Chris was quite a bit more (painfully) aware this time that he had an audience, that his book's arrival was being anticipated with bitten nails, whining, and drool. He therefore did even more of that language dress-up and song-and-dance, more of that irritating demonstration of his belief that the words themselves should be the art rather than the art being the story they describe.

If you do not believe that the author was obvious about getting off on his publicity, feel free to follow this link and read the letter he wrote to be read at the national laydown events for the book's release. It's full of modesty that rings false and a bunch of b.s. poetry that is supposed to be epic but really mostly just sounds really silly. Not to mention that the dude opens and closes his letter by writing to the fans in his made-up elf language. It's quite an underwhelming introduction to an appropriately mediocre book.

This essay will be divided into several main sections. You can choose one now by a link and go straight to it, or you can just read in order and take them all in.

Topics to choose from:

Author Stupidity * Bad Narration * Bad Dialogue * Stuff stolen from other fandoms * PLOT ISSUES: Ridiculously Predictable Events * PLOT ISSUES: Nonsense, Holes, and Contrived Events * GOOD Stuff * My personal commentary

AUTHOR STUPIDITY

This section is in some ways riddled with opinion, but my basic assertion here is that Paolini appears to be convinced that talking in pseudo-archaic language is grand and epic rather than, well, MORONIC. If you haven't looked at it already, my copy of the promotional letter he sent with the release of his book is a good example, but here I'd like to quote some very silly things the guy has written that he obviously thinks are quite impressive and majestic.

But first I have to say that one thing stuck out as the silliest, stupidest thing in the book--an obvious goofy author choice that no one had the good sense or the observation skills to identify and tell him to TAKE OUT.

The "barges" comment.

At one point a character says "Barges? We don't want no stinking barges!"

Would anyone like to explain to me why a 1935 movie reference is slipped into a pseudo-medieval fantasy novel?

I submitted this to the Stinking Badges page because I thought it was so screwed up. Take a look if you want.

Bad, bad little Chris. Pop culture references are very very silly in this kind of book.

On to the stupid mediæval spæk.

In the author's notes: "Stay with me, if it please you." I'm afraid it does not please, thank you, kind sir. More about this later.

Name of the king's group of assassins: "The Black Hand." Oh yes, that is very likely. Rulers often consider themselves "evil," and enjoy naming their helpers very sinister things. Is this any different than Tolkien naming Sauron's mountain "Mount Doom"? No, not really. [Note: Two people have mentioned to me that the "Black Hand" has actually been used before as the name of an actual historical group of assassins. I think that's pretty stupid too. If you give yourself a name like that, you must be *trying* to be sinister. Laaame.]

In talking about the novel's inconsistency with place names: Chris claims that all of Alagaësia's different areas are sorta mix-n-match because all the places were settled by different races. Umm . . . in real life, usually if that is the case then each race or culture has a name for each area, and depending on which language the map is in, you will see different names. English maps don't identify Japan as "Nihon" or Germany as "Deutschland." On a Spanish map, you will see "Estados Unidos" instead of "United States." If a bunch of different races named the places, each would call the areas different things.

"While this is of great historical interest," he writes, "practically it often leads to confusion as to the correct pronunciation. Unfortunately, there are no set rules for the neophyte." Oh yes, everything's so much more confusing because the local populations altered spellings--it doesn't have anything to do with author inconsistency or not wanting to be held to any conventions. He goes on (and this is practically unbelievable): "The enthusiast is encouraged to study the source languages in order to master their true intricacies." The source languages? The ones that are in your head?? Dude, no one is convinced by this ramble that there is actually an alternate world where these languages are spoken. EVERYONE who reads it, including little kids, knows it is a fantasy book, so it's just silly to pretend there is something you can study if you want to speak Paolini-Dwarfish or something. Oh my god, this is worse than the people who learn Klingon . . . because someone actually bothered to lay out laws for the speaking of Klingon. You CAN actually learn it, and while its vocabulary is a bit restricted unless you want to talk about war, it has pronunciation conventions and a grammar structure. Odd how instead of doing his homework, Paolini makes up an excuse for why homework is not necessary in this instance.

"When I first conceived Eragon, I was 15--not quite a boy and not yet a man--just out of high school." Ahh yes, that middle age when you are no longer a boy, but not an adult . . . wait, we all know what a frigging teenager is. Just talk to us like a person, please. And "just out of high school" makes it sound like you actually "went to" high school rather than being homeschooled. I have no doubt that someone who spends as much time on cultivating his words as Paolini does could have found a more accurate statement to describe his schooling. Not that it matters--I think he did it just to draw attention to the fact that he was done with high school at age fifteen. Hint, hint, check it out--I'm a prodigy. Good for you.

And then he says this: "One more volume to go and we shall reach the end of this tale. One more manuscript of heartache, ecstasy, and perseverence. . . . One more codex of dreams." I'm going to die. Codex of dreams?? "Stay with me, if it please you, and let us see where this winding path will carry us, both in this world and in Alagaësia."

I'll tell you where it's going to lead us. Read The Hero's Journey by Joseph Campbell, go watch Star Wars, study some Lord of the Rings and some obscure mythology, steal some words from ancient languages and pretend they're magic words, and read Story by Robert McKee and The Writer's Handbook, and then write a book ganking one or two aspects from all the other high fantasy you've read and liked. That's the formula. It should work for you too.

PLOT ISSUES: NONSENSE, HOLES, AND CONTRIVED EVENTS

These are things that seemed utterly out of place and bizarre to me. They are things that I would have thought an early editor would say to Paolini: "Wait . . . this makes no sense." Sometimes they are minor, such as people acting very different from their previous characterizations for no apparent reason, but often they are full-blown apparent contradictions. Unfortunately Paolini's style is to write off contradictions with goofy excuses instead of actually taking the time to make his world a believable, seamless whole.

Here is my list.

* A random Urgal attack kills the Varden leader, and Eragon is neatly chosen to be in charge . . . instead of choosing the second-in-command. Huh?

* Despite her apparent general lack of confidence and lack of actual power, Nasuada says things like "leave me" and displays a calm and cool disposition. She comes across like she has a split personality sometimes.

* Instead of calling a spade a spade and saying Murtagh and the Twins are "dead," the narration "sneakily" refers to them as "gone." That way, after the characters have lamented their kidnapping and apparent death, Paolini can rejoice in the fact that he tricked us into thinking they were dead, but then point and laugh when they reappear on the battlefield and say "HA, see I never SAID they were dead!" We know you didn't. As soon as they found no bodies, we knew they were coming back. This was not a surprise.

* Some guy wanders up to Roran out of nowhere and gives him "Gertrude's salves . . . in case you injure yourself." Oh gee, is he going to?

* Saphira's magic powers. It's been said throughout the books so far that magic comes from dragons and whatnot, but that Saphira and other dragons don't really use it the same as elves and humans do. It's pointed out several times that the "rules" for dragons performing magic are not set--I suppose that's so that whatever Saphira wants to do, she can do, period. (Don't you hate when the laws of magic aren't defined, or when there are all these exceptions for no apparent reason?) Anyway, then all of a sudden at one point Saphira promises to perform a piece of very complicated magic in the future, and comments, "I can do it if the need is great enough." Since when?

* Also, Saphira was the one who broke the Star Rose and pissed everyone off. But if she heals it, she'll be honored for "uncounted generations." Does this bother anyone else? I would think that the dwarves would pretty much reluctantly agree to tolerate her presence if she undid the damage she did and maybe kissed up to them for a few thousand years. I somehow doubt that she'd suddenly be a hero just because she's willing to clean up her own mess.

* "I've been trying to wake you for almost an hour." How does that work? It's one thing if they wander into your room every fifteen minutes and tell you to get up and walk away, but unless you're DRUGGED or something you don't lie asleep for almost an hour getting constantly shaken or whatever. What was he doing still lying down if it was urgent almost an hour ago that he get up?

* At one point a young boy named Jarsha calls Eragon "sir," and he goes on about how surprised he is about being called "sir." Too bad the first time Jarsha called him sir was 50 pages earlier. He asked the kid's name and replied, "That's a good name. You carried your message well; you should be proud." Umkay.

* The Ra'zac tell the citizens of Carvahall that they have two choices: They can stop hiding Roran and give him up to them, at which point they will be "spared" by being SOLD AS SLAVES . . . and their other choice is NOT giving Roran up and being EATEN. Then . . . the Ra'zac . . . LEAVE. Like they're going to give them time to decide. Now, faced with two choices that are hideously unacceptable, how likely is it that they're going to just sit there and wait for the Ra'zac to return? GIVE ME A BREAK.

* At one point there was some dissent among the dwarves about whether Eragon should be welcome in their city. Some found it very insulting that Eragon was wearing a special helmet given to him by the big cheese. Based on the dwarves' attitude, they decided to "get out of sight before blood was shed." . . . HE'S WITH A GIANT DRAGON. NOBODY IN THEIR RIGHT MIND IS GOING TO ATTACK THAT.

* The citizens of Carvahall decided to build a wall of protection around their city. They did this with . . . SIXTY TREES. I see no possible way anyone could get through that! Especially not with, oh, fire or an axe. Or hell, just flying over or climbing it. C'mon. Building a wall with trees. You gotta be kidding. As if the Ra'zac are going to wander up, see a wall, and go "Duuuuh . . . well, we can't get through that. Let's go home. Forget slavery or eating their young."

* Here's another thing I don't get. The elves are usually described as being ageless. And yet at one point there is an elf with a face described as "old." Apparently they can't be the wise mentor type teacher unless they look like Yoda.

* The talking raven. Who can speak warnings, but only in rhymes or songs. I don't even know . . . this is just so goofy. And when you become aware of the raven and what it can do, it's also obvious that Eragon is going to receive important information from it. In this sort of book you don't create a character like that and then not use it; it's just not done.

* Helzvog, a god of the dwarves, is said to have a nude statue. But somehow later someone swears on his girdle. Huh?

* I'm starting to see signs of patchwork, late editing here; in other words, I'm seeing evidence that questions came up suggesting contradictions--either submitted by others or Paolini realized them himself--and he attempted to fix them by slipping in silly excuses. For example, Brom's name was never mentioned in the Forsworn's deaths. OH, but that's because evil king Galbatorix didn't want it publicized that any existed that could have done such a thing. Sure.

* "The majority of those blessed with magic have little or no appreciable talent, they struggle to heal even so much as a bruise." Buuut . . . "Every elf looks exactly as he/she wishes to." Why do they look like their parents, then? Isn't that incongruous? Wouldn't there be a bit more variation if that was the case? This doesn't make any sense.

* I think my BIGGEST problem is with the apparently incoherent magic system. Now, in this book, Eragon studies magic in depth. His teacher, Oromis, says it is the thoughts that matter; "Sound has no control over magic. Saying a word or phrase in this language is not what's important, it's thinking them in this language." Why is it, then, that Eragon's slight misunderstanding of the language when he was more inexperienced caused him to CURSE instead of BLESS a child? He used "shield" instead of "shielded" in a spell to protect a child, and as a result the girl ended up BEING a shield from harm instead of being shielded from harm. Is this consistent with the suggestion that it is the thoughts that matter? Surely Eragon did not mean to curse this child; he was horrified by it when he found out what he'd done. So how is it that intent is what's important, yet add the equivalent of "ed" to the end of what he SAID but not what he MEANT warped the kid's life? The answer is: DING DING DING! We have our Alia-from-Dune character. (What's her name? Elva? Hmm.) It's convenient, and serves a purpose in the plot. Doesn't matter if it's actually inconsistent with the magical rules, after all, since the dragon is already breaking them whenever she wants. I'm standing by for a justification of how Eragon's words somehow took precedence over his meaning in that instance in particular.

PLOT ISSUES: RIDICULOUSLY PREDICTABLE EVENTS

A lot of people have either said this book is NOT predictable--which tells me they probably have never read another high fantasy book--or they make up a bunch of excuses why it's okay to be predictable because this is a basic story type. Sure, by all means, excuse it for all its faults because it is a hero "type" story. Which of course means that he should do the same things in the same order as every hero of myth and fantasy from Odysseus to Luke Skywalker.

A book should not be so based on a story "type" that it feels like it is following a template; every "revelation" in this book is more of a confirmation of a suspicion than an actual surprise. Before opening the book, I knew Eragon would find out information about his parents and that it would turn out that his dad is on the "evil" side; of course he is, because Darth is always going to be Luke's father. Before beginning the story, I knew that Eragon would have to be sequestered in a special training environment with a very wise and very accomplished yet very old tutor, and of course it happened, because we had yet to have a Yoda in this book. And before I started the book, I knew he would have to overcome the physical damage he encountered in the first book--AND I knew that success would come to him not because he worked hard or made a personal breakthrough, but because he was given a supernatural gift of some kind. I didn't know this stuff because I'm psychic or just a really good guesser. I knew because it is part of the story map for this kind of story, and Chris Paolini doesn't so much invent a story as he does figure out what to name the pieces before he puts them together in the same layout that was predetermined by someone else's jig saw.

In the synopsis of the book, it says "Nothing is known of his father." Unless you've ever studied the hero's journey story type. Nothing is known, except that nothing is known . . . so therefore, the father will not only turn out to be evil, but will have to be fought by the hero. In the book, Eragon answers the question of whether he has any family with "Only a cousin." Well, and a mother who's missing and a dad he doesn't know. What are the chances that they're both dead and no one will ever know what became of them? Riiiight.

Now, in my original Eragon essay, I suggested that Eragon would have to fight his father. That's the classic story type. And then after Eldest came out, I got all kinds of triumphant razzing because Eragon's father couldn't possibly fight him, since he turned out to be, well, dead. Now. The Darth Vader thing isn't over yet; just because Vader is already dead does NOT mean that he isn't a bad guy, or that his turn to the Dark Side did not have effects on Eragon. No, he does not fight his father. Instead, he fights his BROTHER, whose betrayal was a direct result of the father's original betrayal. That is exactly the same thing in different clothes. If a person thinks I'm off-base in my evaluation of this as being a hackneyed, overused plot just because the line was changed to "Luke, I am your BROTHER," that person would be mistaken. It would have been a stroke of originality only if maybe Eragon hadn't been betrayed from within his family, or maybe wasn't betrayed at all, or perhaps did something himself to upset a good character and cause the betrayal. But no, it's the same old thing: Hypnotized and brainwashed, his brother was taken and turned against him. Same old.

More predictable plot points: In the beginning, Murtagh and the Twins randomly get abducted, and Eragon's search for them turns up with nothing . . . not even a body or three. Consequently, what does he do? Assumes them dead. But not me! If they were dead, in this sort of story we'd have found a body for Eragon to cry over and sprinkle rose petals on, and maybe Saphira could have encased someone else in diamonds. But no; he has to have his romantic "nooooo, whyyyy!" moment when any discerning reader KNOWS they're not dead. I wrote that down in my notebook at the beginning: "Murtagh & Twins missing but not found dead. That means they're alive." I was right. Surprise. Important characters that an author like Paolini spent a long time developing in book 1 do not disappear without a trace in book 2's beginning, lost to death. Something like that would only happen in REAL life or a realistic book. And while it would be disappointing to lose a character who had a lot of personality and whatnot, it is important that writers don't cheat their readers by turning them into functionally immortal people whose impenetrable shield is the role they play in the story.

"Whatever my fate may be, I don't aspire to rule." Of course you don't, Eragon. This story type always involves the hero fighting valiantly and emerging victorious, and being offered leadership of something but declining with a "who, me? No, not me, I want my simple life back" line.

In the hero's journey, there is always a "meeting the goddess" and a "temptation" bit, which of course drives suspicion and anger between characters. Would you believe that Eragon meets a goddess-like woman and apparently pledges himself to her aid, and also is tempted by a woman and it pisses his dragon off? Nah, never would have seen that coming.

Also, in the hero's journey, there's this annoying bit about weapons. He receives very common fantasy items as gifts in this book; I almost thought I might be playing Final Fantasy or something. He received a belt, a drink, and a scroll, and a bow from Galadriel--I mean Islanzadí. Feh.

And then there was the bit where some characters are about to be in serious trouble trying to go across a stretch of dangerous water called the Boar's Eye. Just like in the first book where Eragon is racing to save Arya from slow-acting poison, I was in no way worried that anyone was going to die. If this was an original and well-written book, there would have been reasonable doubt about whether the characters would make it. After all, this is written in third person; the story could easily go on even if a catastrophic event has occurred. But because the plot is set up in such a way that characters are assigned specific roles and those roles have certain parts to play, they *cannot* die before they perform certain actions. Eragon's cousin Roran has not performed all his deeds yet by the time this impending tragedy occurs. So obviously he is going to survive. Knowing that someone is going to survive something like that does not just make me excited to see how it's going to happen; it makes every "hopeless" situation seem that much more contrived.

In one of my favorite children's series, Artemis Fowl, characters have a funny way of getting out of rather difficult situations, but because of the way Eoin Colfer writes, you're never sure if they're going to make it. And this gnawing suspicion that someone just might die is brought home when in one of the books a main character is killed pretty much without warning. Not in a particularly heroic way; not to directly save someone else; not in a place where his death was the only way. It just kind of sucked, and it was shocking. And there was no setting him up as a tragic character whose death provides the necessary motivation for a hero to succeed; there was no reviving him at the end; there was no reason he had to die for the story to move forward. Except that his death promoted exactly the kind of uncertainty that such novels need in order to stay exciting. When nobody important dies except at the point they're supposed to--such as Brom's convenient death occurring just as Eragon got everything he needed and acquired a new traveling partner--it stops being an adventure and starts being more of a farce. Notice how in books like Harry Potter, characters who have important roles do die; they're characters that people have grown to like, they're characters whose deaths come at fairly unexpected times, they're characters whose futures seemed assured until we realized that--gasp--this author kills people! Suddenly no one is safe. Even Harry might die. See how that's different?

BAD WRITING: NARRATION

There's an awful lot of this, so instead of rambling about it and trying to describe it, I will just quote it and maybe give a little editorial advice as to either how to fix it or why it is mind-numbingly, well, bad.

* From the jacket flap: "Will the king's dark hand strangle all resistance? Eragon may not escape with even his life. . . . " May not escape with even his life? Could you make that a tad more awkward, please?

* "For gray-eyed Destiny now weaves apace, the first resounding note of war echoes across the land." Or you could try to be a little more vague, please. And I think this needs to sound a little more like bad teenage poetry. No, really. Is there anything to be understood from calling Destiny "gray-eyed"? Do these words actually mean anything? If not, then why were they chosen?

* First line: "The songs of the dead are the lamentations of the living." Eragon's walking along through a battlefield thinking this. Unless I really don't understand something, this sentence is an attempt to write romantically but actually does not say anything. It makes no sense. What are these songs of the dead? How are they lamentations of the people who are still alive? If you're going to make these artistic metaphors, they have to actually mean something, okay?

* Eragon's tear was described as "A small, glistening dome." I think I have discovered something. Christopher Paolini has never actually seen a tear before. And the trend continues in this book for there to be a single tear. It's irritating. Doesn't anyone actually cry, with buckets of tears and snot pouring out of their noses? I wanna see boogers and red eyes and wet cheeks and actual SORROW. Not a single tear. That's nothing but a mockery of sadness. My "single tear" count (which may not be complete): Four. Regardless of whether there are more, that's too many times for someone to sit there feeling sad and express it with a single tear. Meh.

* "Movement flickered through it, like the swish of a bird across a clouded moon." Way to go, throw a completely unrelated simile in there to draw our attention AWAY from what's happening. Just say that there was movement. We don't need this. Maybe stuff like this is why the book is as long as it is.

* Just in general, I'd like to point out that Paolini desperately needs to study the usage of the past perfect tense. He misuses it all through the book.

* "Rubies wrought into his golden helm glowing dully like flecks of hot iron." I've got to say I'm getting frustrated with every description requiring at least one hackneyed simile.

* "Together they waited, though for what, Eragon knew not." Can't you just say "Eragon didn't know"? This sort of thing does not sound authentic in any modern documents, I'm telling you.

* "A spark of anger flared within Trianna's eyes, then vanished so quickly, he wondered whether he had seen it at all." Except that you said it was there. Eragon's supposed to be pretty perceptive at this point. He wouldn't doubt this sort of observation. This is just cheesy. "Oh yeah, maybe I didn't really see that." Meh.

* "She said, 'Eragon.' It was a simple statement, neither friendly nor hostile." Yeah. Read it again. She came up and said his name, and this is a "statement" that didn't carry friendliness or hostility. Generally when you come up and say someone's name IT IS YOU COMING UP AND SAYING THEIR NAME. Why make a big deal out of how it isn't carrying any other meanings? People don't usually come up and say names layered with other messages. What??

* Just noting that it seems one of the only characters who occasionally comes to life with a personality you don't really expect is Angela. There's a reason for that: Instead of being based on story character types or other stories' characters, Angela is based on Chris's sister. I bet you can't guess her name. (Hint: It begins with "A" and ends with "ngela.") Her quirky personality comes out in the book, but I bet that's her doing, not his. Surprise.

* Completely ridiculous simile: "Slippers flashing beneath her dress, like mice darting from a hole." First of all, why would you compare someone's feet to MICE? That is just something a person doesn't want to associate with a body part. And on top of that, I can't imagine someone walking along with their slippers "flashing" and it being anything like mice--unless mice normally do pair up and take turns going in and out and in and out of holes right next to each other. Feet don't behave like mice darting from holes. What a stupid simile.

* During the main characters' time with the dwarves, Paolini subjects the reader to long passages of Dwarvish. Not in poetry or anything; just with people talking to each other and whatnot. Guess what? In situations like that, if the character through whose eyes you are filtering the scene does NOT understand the language, you might save the reader a lot of annoyance by just saying they rambled in Dwarvish. If he DOES understand it, just translate it for us. Nobody finds it more authentic or more impressive when you write the sentence in Dwarvish and then we look it up in the back to see if it's there and piece together what was said. Paolini has always had this disease of "if I invented this bit, I have to find a place to use it in the book." Inventing background is good, but it should be used to enhance the author's understanding of how things work so that if a situation comes up where it is important, it can be used. Instead, this comes across like he's trying to find a place to stick in everything he invented.

* "The dawnless morning. . . . " Should I even say? Yes, I should. HOW IS IT MORNING IF THERE WAS NO DAWN? Why does he think this sounds cool? He is so obsessed with making things sound cool that he doesn't even think to himself, "Wait, this makes no sense. How is it a 'dawnless' morning?" Answer is: It isn't!

* Oh god. Here's some supreme goofiness: His attempt to have the dwarf characters speak in a slightly different stylized way when they talk in Eragon's language. Take the following examples:

o "It would be foolish now for you to wander mine city."

o "It is difficult enough to keep you unharmed without you and thine dragon fighting wind-vipers."

o "What will you do with thine horse?"

o "Keep your thoughts to thyself."

Maybe no one told Chris, but if you're going to use "thy" and "thine," there is also these words called "thee" and "thou." Yet the dwarves insist on using "you." Okay, if you're going to go Shakespearean For Dummies on our butts, it'd be cool if you actually studied ye olde phrasing a bit. Ooh, but they're dwarves--maybe they are supposed to use "thy" and "thine" without using "thee" and "thou." For no apparent reason of course. Just seriously, what is the deal? Why are they talking English (or whatever language Eragon speaks) using words that people who speak the language don't use?

* The weapon descriptions and the scenery descriptions. I got very bored. Big clump of description inside Celbedeil, big clump of description while talking about the bow. I would much rather see a character admiring the things that were described rather than have them described to me in the author's narration voice.

* "He fell asleep." "Very slowly, he fell asleep." "He experienced a slow sinking through layers of sleep until finally he knew no more." Okay, even the last example would have been readable. I wrote them all--various ways of saying Eragon fell asleep. Guess how Paolini decided to write that Eragon was falling asleep? Okay, here we go: "He closed his eyes and sank into the warm dusk that separates consciousness and sleep, where reality bends and sways to the winds of thought, and where creativity blossoms in its freedom from boundaries and all things are possible." I don't know. Don't you just want to, I don't know . . . DIE right now?

* Supreme badness. Can you visualize this scene? "Katrina screamed again and jumped on the men, biting and clawing furiously. Her sharp nails furrowed their faces, drawing streams of blood that blinded the cursing soldiers." I cannot see this. At all. One woman--who might be somewhat tough but is not superhuman--is somehow biting and clawing . . . several men at once . . . to the point that they are all blinded by the blood that runs from the scratches she has caused. Oh, and they respond by standing there cursing, not, say, immobilizing her. I don't mean to be sexist, but surely it would take no more than two men to subdue a woman who is fighting with her frickin' fingernails. CP, the idea is to try to actually visualize this happening, and then THROW OUT SCENES THAT ARE STUPID.

* "I swear on Helzvog's stone girdle." I probably don't even need to say anything to make you aware of how painful that is.

* "Bright as a flaming sun." Call me crazy, but are there any suns that aren't, oh, in flames? Could we have some similes here that don't forget that they are for description above and beyond sounding cool?

* At one time, Eragon is told that the Ra'zac are referred to as "the nightmares of our race." Later, when Roran is fighting them--without having discussed this with Eragon, mind you--he makes this statement: "Now the time has come to see if we can slay a nightmare." Wait. Eragon was the one who was told that the baddies his cousin was fighting were the nightmares of our race. Somehow this knowledge was transferred to Roran. Baaaad writing. Keep in mind your characters haven't read the book, Chris.

* Why does everyone on the ship talk like people in pirate movies? Apparently when Paolini writes, he just visualizes the setting he's familiar with and transplants the accents and everything from whatever movie he last watched, and even though the guys on this ship don't appear to be a) pirates or b) associated with any foreign group who talks like pirates, for some reason they still talk like pirates. It's absurd.

* "Hair as black as a forgotten pool." I think I'd like to go on record as saying that being forgotten does not make water black. I bet there's tons of pools around that have been forgotten and nevertheless are not black. What exactly does this simile mean?

* "Silent as the night." Ever been in the night, Chris? It's pretty quiet in your room with your earplugs in, I guess. This is silly. I won't even go on with this one.

* "They were grim-faced and said little, for words only emphasized their insignificance in that bare and empty land." How? How do words emphasize insignificance? Grr, I wish he would stop for a second trying to sound so grand and actually think about what the words he chose MEAN.

* As the book winds up to make its climax, there are all kinds of REALLY dramatic sentences that are so silly they just make me cringe. "Shall we dance, friend of my heart?" "That is the sound of our destiny." "'What do you intend to do, Roran?' 'Do?' Roran laughed and spun widdershins to stand toe to toe with the smith. 'Do? Why I intend to alter the fate of Alagaësia!'" Truly. There is a time and a place for drama. But asking "shall we dance?" upon going into battle is one of the goofiest things I've heard in my life. This makes me wonder whether CP watches the movies that would be shown on Mystery Science Theater 3000 and thinks the dialogue is smooth.

* Ahh, and now one that is similar to "'Sorry,' apologized Brom" from the first book. Now we have "'Aye,' Orik agreed." The "Aye" indicates that he is saying yes. You don't have to go on and tell us it was an agreement. This is all so silly.

Once someone told me that all that matters is that the reader understands what's going on, and that I shouldn't nitpick these annoying permutations for the word "said" that distract people from what's actually going on. I disagree. It's called style, finesse, et cetera. It wouldn't be a good book if it was just written in boring declarative sentences, like "Eragon found a weird thing. But it turned out to be a dragon egg. He took care of the dragon." Blah blah blah. The parts that he's making "colorful" with zesty little words like "proclaimed" and "apologized" and "expectorated" are not the parts of the story that NEED to be colorful. They are middle school English attempts to make writing varied. What needs to be colorful is the storytelling, the descriptions, the dialogue. Not the permutations of "said." It's misplaced. That's why editors and publishers look at that as the hallmark of the amateur writer. Because it indicates a basic misunderstanding of the whole point of language. His problem is that he concentrates so much on making his prose elegant that he doesn't understand that prose's job is to be elegant enough to be invisible.

A quote from Paolini: "In my writing, I strive for a lyrical beauty somewhere between Tolkien at his best and Seamus Heaney’s translation of Beowulf."

Well . . . I suppose we can give him an A for effort, can't we? We definitely see the trying.

* And last but not least: The overused, horrific "you should be hit on the head by a troupe of 100 literature professors if you do this" literary device: HAVING THE VILLAIN EXPLAIN EVERYTHING IN THE END. Oh god, how I hate that. And the fact that it was written in such a way that the author obviously thought having these characters charge in as the main villains of the story when everyone thought they were dead just adds insult to injury. This sort of writing just insults my intelligence. If you didn't see this coming or thought it was a revelation, please go find that aforementioned troupe of literature professors and let them hit you for a while. I'll join in.

* And I guess while I'm at it I'll point out that I believe I found an editing mistake: At one point someone uses the phrase "undo alarm." It's "undue." Like, not due. Not as in "undone."

STOLEN FROM LORD OF THE RINGS AND OTHER FANDOMS

I won't go into this one too much because I already discussed the subject so much in my previous essay. But I wanted to point out a few more things that caught my eye that were snatched from the classic fantasy story:

* Galbatorix gathered 13 traitors: The Ringwraiths. I mean, the Forsworn. Argh.

* Telepathically contacted by Togira Ikonoka, they were told to come to Lothlórien. CRAP! I meant to say Ellesméra!

* I'm not sure what's up with there being a "Barad-Dûr" in Lord of the Rings and a "Farthen Dûr" in Eldest (and both are place names), but at least they aren't the same type of place and don't mean the same thing. ("Barad-Dûr" was Sauron's tower, meaning "dark tower," and "Farthen Dûr" was a dwarvish city, meaning "our father.") It just sounds similar to me, but maybe that is being picky.

* The Kull have so many similarities to the Uruk-hai that I can hardly believe it.

* Random sticking in of poems and songs in other languages, apparently to try to trick us into thinking these groups have a rich culture even when we're not looking at them. Instead of enhancing the narration by flowing naturally from the context, a lot of these poems and songs seem stuck in and deliberately featured, like the plot steered onto this topic because Chris had written the poem and wanted to show it to us. To tell you the truth, I don't really give a rat's behind about the iron song.

* The decision to have the dwarf Orik accompany Eragon and Arya seemed less like it was done out of necessity and more like it was done so that there could be a man, an elf, and a dwarf running around the pretty hills like in Fellowship.

* "The ring must symbolize something dreadful indeed if it could undermine [the dwarves'] courage." DEAR LORD, IT'S THE ONE RING!

* The scene where elf queen Islanzadí of Ellesméra gives out weapons reminds me way too much of the same scene with the elf elder Galadriel of Lothlórien doing the same.

* There's a random bout of riddling that's waaaay too close to a famous scene from The Hobbit.

BAD DIALOGUE

This is mostly just a list of quotes from characters talking and either bombing their attempts at grand archaic speak or just saying really lame things. I probably won't have to explain why they're so out of place and impractical; just read them and I think mostly it will be self-explanatory.

* Arya: "I scryed both Murtagh and the Twins, and saw naught but the shadows of the abyss." (Not only does that fancy language serve to make this character seem stiff and unbelievable and, well, made up . . . it's also deliberately misleading. More of Paolini's "Ha-HA, I never said they were DEAD, now DID I??")

* "'All is not bad,' she reproached."

* "I feel once more a reason to rule and live." Okay, there's a war on and the thing you're most worried about is your heirloom.

* "Wake, knurlhiem!" Why is it that characters who have other languages frequently use their foreign words with others for greetings and insults? Truth is, when you learn someone else's language, the first things you learn are usually "hello" and "&@#$* YOU." I also think it's goofy that that translates to "stonehead," and the dwarves respect the stone, don't they?

* Saphira gets drunk and does not feel real well after she passes out. When she is addressed later, she replies, "A pox on all mead!" Very cute, Chris. But MEAD CAN'T GET POX. IT IS NOT ALIVE.

* "Beware the rotten stone." Buuuut stone . . . is . . . not . . . organic. . . . How can a stone be rotten?

* "I have no desire to squander what time we have when a whim of fate could tear us apart." I wonder why every attempt at a dramatic phrase instead makes me want to laugh?

* "You needs must fly there." Now, is that a typo, or is that just another one of the many attempts to render the dwarves' speech in a way that is charmingly off-kilter? Making them sound like Tarzan does not work here.

* "Draw thy sword and guard its edge as your first master taught you." Did you just use "thy" and "your" in the same sentence? I've said it before, but if you're going to try to write in your crap attempt at ancient phrasing, you should at least be consistent.

GOOD STUFF

Now I'd just like to say there were a couple things I thought were good about the book. I do like to give credit where credit is due, and while I think this was a book that was basically a chore to read and was not deserving of most of the recognition it got (besides my aforementioned nod from Entertainment Weekly), I'll be willing to say there were a couple things the guy did right.

The introduction of Roran as one of the main characters provided a little bit of variation in the plodding journey that is a blueprint-written novel. Watching Eragon go through all the steps in his role as the epic hero gets old real fast, but since Roran is NOT the epic hero, he is not held to quite as strict of a plan, and therefore there is a little wiggle room for his adventures to be more interesting. He still has a role to play, but since he only has to show up for his parts and is free to do whatever for the rest of the book, he actually does sometimes do whatever. (In a really limited way, unfortunately. But some of his lifestyle choices and whatnot are not quite as cookie-cutter as Eragon's.)

An amusing line from Saphira: "Go apologize, Eragon, or I'll fill your tent with carrion." That image was just funny to me. I'm not sure why.

A sort of cool idea he came up with: Nasuada realizes that she needs to raise funds for the Varden or something like that, and makes use of her group's magic users in an interesting way. Because magic takes the same amount of energy out of a person that it would take to do that action the regular way, she comes up with an idea: Get magic users to do something that takes a long time but not much energy, and sell the product. She makes money on her magic users using their talents to create lace, a time-consuming but not-very-strenuous task, and she sells the product. I thought that was kind of inventive--though I don't know how original it is--but regardless of whether it was an original idea I did think it was kinda amusing that her group's rebel efforts were funded in part by LACE.

And the one thing I thought was the BEST bit of the book was an unusual bit of realism. For once, a rag-tag rebel leader tells the fighters not to stand and fight soldiers because they want to be heroes, because . . . they will be fighting trained soldiers. I thought it was really cool that he actually recognized that a group of villagers with no real fighting training would be very unlikely to best a group of trained soldiers, and that ego and pride and stupidity would not be able to overcome a group whose JOB is fighting. However, I feel kind of annoyed about making this observation, because it's essentially, "Congratulations, Chris, you DIDN'T do something stupid." I'm so used to him NOT taking practical considerations into account that I'm surprised when he actually refrains from falling into traps.

Yup, and that's it for my praise. Um, besides that the cover, again, is pretty. And that is a compliment for John Jude Palencar, not Paolini.

MY COMMENTARY

This is just a little bit of my philosophizing on the book itself--some simple things that don't fit into any category but I feel need to be said. It's mostly my collection of retorts to the most common arguments I have gotten since first posting my essay about Eragon.

This also functions as my list of critical points people have submitted to me to try to tell me I don't know what I'm talking about. It's interesting to read, but it is not really part of the essay and has a slightly different tone. If you plan to send me a comment, you might want to read it to make sure I haven't already answered this question or argued this point before.

shadow_archmagi
2008-06-15, 09:38 PM
Huh. Apparently that website already had the "fairly-detailed-but-vague-enough-to-cover-both" plot description.

Personally, this guy terrifies me. I'm 16 and I'm trying to write a novel. Granted, I don't expect to finish in under a year, and I would not be even slightly surprised if I had to go the way of Frank Herbert and rewrite it to pieces.

Still, I'm terrified of this. I dread the idea of just ending up on the pile with the crappy fanfics, but becoming successful and then hated by all...

*shudder*

EvilElitest
2008-06-15, 09:42 PM
Huh. Apparently that website already had the "fairly-detailed-but-vague-enough-to-cover-both" plot description.

Personally, this guy terrifies me. I'm 16 and I'm trying to write a novel. Granted, I don't expect to finish in under a year, and I would not be even slightly surprised if I had to go the way of Frank Herbert and rewrite it to pieces.

Still, I'm terrified of this. I dread the idea of just ending up on the pile with the crappy fanfics, but becoming successful and then hated by all...

*shudder*

hey i'm 16 too and i know i could write a better novel. We should make a club
from
EE

shadow_archmagi
2008-06-15, 09:45 PM
hey i'm 16 too and i know i could write a better novel. We should make a club
from
EE

You can't be in it. I don't know why, but I faintly despise you. Maybe it's because you don't capitalize your "i", maybe it is because you feel the need to manually type your signature rather than let people look up at to the left...

*shrug*

I doubt many people could write as good a book as Eragon. I mean, it wasn't good good, but at the same time..

It was hardly Half Life Full Life Consequences, you know?

EDIT: Those of you who haven't read the above fanfic, just watch the movie on youtube. It's only five minutes.

EvilElitest
2008-06-15, 09:48 PM
You can't be in it. I don't know why, but I faintly despise you. Maybe it's because you don't capitalize your "i", maybe it is because you feel the need to manually type your signature rather than let people look up at to the left...

*shrug*

1) That has to be the more odd reason to dislike somebody i've ever heard. My ego or my selfishness i could understand, but that?
2) I"m dyslexic if that helps
3) What does writing my sig bother people? it is formal and feels satisfyingly



I doubt many people could write as good a book as Eragon. I mean, it wasn't good good, but at the same time..

I'm quite sure a lot of people out there could write a book far better that Eragon, it just takes some basic talent. Now they might not make good books, but they can be better than Eragon
from
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Soviet Razor
2008-06-15, 09:50 PM
I was bored, and inspired by that earlier guy, so I made this:
http://img372.imageshack.us/img372/1452/eragonmx1.jpg

Assume those flying ships are dragons or something, and that the Eye is there because I'm trying to imply it's also a ripoff of LotR and not because I didn't know what to put there. Yeah, it sucks. I know.

But yeah, I read Eragon and Eldest when I was younger and more stupid, and I loved it. I carried the bloody heavy hardcover of Eldest everywhere I went, and read it at lunch, car rides, etc.
Not weird at all. No sir.
Eventually, I got bored of it, and left it in a closet for about a year and a half.
I found both of them again, and thinking I'd enjoy a lovely bout of nostalgia, I read them again.
And was horrified.
This is what I'd read as a child? This turgid, purple, and frankly awful mess of shredded paper and lies?! How many hours had I wasted reading and re-reading this disgusting ripoff of a series?! Far, far too many, and thus I washed my hands of that evil and am now a more moral and clean individual.

shadow_archmagi
2008-06-15, 09:55 PM
1) That has to be the more odd reason to dislike somebody i've ever heard. My ego or my selfishness i could understand, but that?
2) I"m dyslexic if that helps
3) What does writing my sig bother people? it is formal and feels satisfyingly


What does dyslexia have to do with the Shift button? Writing your sig LOOKS pompous and redundant. And beyond that; putting a signature in the post part is just wrong.

It's like putting mustard on pineapple, or putting coconut filling into a burrito, or putting nails on a chalkboard.

Returning to subject: I'd say Eragon is better than 60% of the world. Of course, he's definitely worse than 98% of writers, but...

(Obviously you've never other people's essays in English class.)

EvilElitest
2008-06-15, 10:03 PM
What does dyslexia have to do with the Shift button? Writing your sig LOOKS pompous and redundant. And beyond that; putting a signature in the post part is just wrong.

1) Normally because i, like most internet users don't have time to focus on things when i write. And i have trouble proof reading, considering this is a forum i tend to not spend too much time proof reading because i expect people to be use to bad spelling as long as it is readable and not focus on nitpicks. If i am writing something formal i'll go through the painful proof reading experience, but not on an internet forum
2) how is signing off pompous? Am i somehow instigating that by having a sign off i'm better than you?
3) And how is it "just wrong" That is a silly idea. That there is a "right" way to handle sig. Personally, i think it looks better, it is distinctive, and it is formal. i prefer signing off because i feel that it is more personal than adding it in a sig.


It's like putting mustard on pineapple, or putting coconut filling into a burrito, or putting nails on a chalkboard.
No because there is no logic in those thing, while signing off is simply being polite



(Obviously you've never other people's essays in English class.)

Actually i have, i've also read enough to know that there are plenty of actual writers (not normal people who write) who could do better

from
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Ozymandias
2008-06-15, 10:43 PM
Prose-wise, I'd say that Eragon is about at the lower end of "mediocre fantasy". It's not "And then John was a zombie" bad, but it's probably worse than Farland or Weisman or whoever is at the lower tier (I haven't read that sort of thing in a while). The sad thing is that Eldest, from what I've heard, is worse, riddled with purple prose and pointless archaic, redundant 'immersion aids'.

Eragon, at least, isn't that turgid, which is good. Too many books fall into the long=eloquent fallacy; some, like East of Eden or the WoT series can still be interesting (decreasingly so as the series progresses, unfortunately). Others, like the Eye of Argon can be, well, the Eye of Argon. Eragon isn't grandiosely, ostentatiously bad, it's not a work of genius perverted by hubris; nothing that romantic. It's not solely because it's a failure, because failures can still be beautiful. It's an inconsequential, derivative fantasy novel, the book teenagers everywhere and everywhen (including myself) who've just read their first Dragonlance epic (or whatever analogous entry-level novel) think, "Hey, I could write like this." I bet we all could have, too.

But should Paolini be ashamed that he wrote it? I don't think so. It's a sign of bravado more than artistic precocity that he published it, but the fear of failure is probably an impediment to a lot of potential artists, so he at least passed that gantlet. And, of course, there's the possibility that he's just a bastard cynic who read the field and is now smirking down at the indignant critics while he counts his money. (This isn't very likely, but it's a humorous image).

It's popular. People read it, people enjoy it. Isn't that why the books were written? Remember, Michael Crichton has considerably more renown than, say, V. S. Naipaul. It's the way of the world. And that's fine by me. Literary elitists don't have to be bitter. The runaway success of Stephen King doesn't make The Tin Drum any less perfect.

On the other hand, it's a lot of fun to make fun of things, so let's do that.

In summation: It's "Dragon" with the first letter advanced one step in the alphabet, possibly to form a portmanteau of "Dragon + Extreme". Also, that's no ripoff; it's a space station!

Ravyn
2008-06-15, 10:49 PM
I know a bunch of non-published people who are considerably better writers. I'd like to think I'm one of them, but I won't claim it unless someone else does first.

And let me tell you, you think this is intense, you need to see what happens when a bunch of conlangers decide to express their opinion. The line within three posts of the topic, I believe, was "Badly-written English clone with heavy borrowing from several languages and a serious apostrophe addiction, and then he starts acting like it's easy to make up a language and gives us a bad name..."

I read Eragon in one sitting at a bookstore, and I could tell where his influences were and that I really would've been better off with something else. I read Eldest in several sittings at my college bookstore between classes, because I was bored.... and that was the only way I managed to stomach it. To be perfectly honest, I prefer Eye of Argon--at least that one's shorter and a lot more fun to poke fun at because it might very well be that bad on purpose.

Soviet Razor
2008-06-15, 10:52 PM
Eye of Argon wasn't bad on purpose, but at least that guy realized it was crap.
Paolini thinks his is a freaking epic to rival the Iliad.
So EoA wins.

Chronicled
2008-06-15, 11:05 PM
To be perfectly honest, I prefer Eye of Argon

"For truth," quoth Grignr solemnly.


I know a bunch of non-published people who are considerably better writers.

I've read random fanfiction that was considerably better than Paolini's excuses for books. Not even superb fanfiction, mind you--this was me being bored and clicking on the "Latest Submissions" of Fanfiction.net (or some similar site).

Ulrichomega
2008-06-15, 11:08 PM
Um...

Why do you care?

I enjoy reading the book. I know people that enjoy reading the book. What do people read for? Around here, they don't read books to draw very vague connections to other stories (admitedly, the first couple chapters are pretty close to SW, but there were many other parts in Eragon that that one summary left out). It's been a while since I read them (I've been Harry Dresden-ing), so I'll have to brush up on them.

So why do people hate the book because it's mildly similiar to SW? I know that some people don't like it because they don't like the writing style. I can understand that. It's perfectly understandable. What's not is people taking it's plot, cutting out big chunks and comparing it to other big (fantastic) works. I've seen identical comparisons to Harry Potter that held more water than the ones that I've seen here.

I'll read what I want to read, and just because it's similiar to other good stories shouldn't stop anyone from enjoying it. In fact, shouldn't it be enjoyed more because it is similiar to other great stories?

EvilElitest
2008-06-15, 11:17 PM
1. What do you mean you don't have a lot of time? Are you punching this into your palm pilot with your mouth full because your lunch break only lasts 15 minutes? I assume that most people, when on the internet, are doing it in their leisure. As in, sitting at a desk late a night in a comfortable chair. As in, you could edit for twenty minutes and no one would notice. I don't proofread (well, I'm on firefox which spellchecks for me.)

2. Bad spelling is grating. I don't want to have to constantly correct myself so I don't take you literally. I read things out loud within my head (rather, I imagine them being said out loud. Listening to someone say "there is no logic in those thing" makes me feel like I'm talking to Mongo.

3. The correct place for a sig is in the sig box. This is because it is called the sig box and was designed for sigs. Its coloring inside the lines is all.

4. he's definitely worse than 98% of writers, but...

1) Yeah, i have a lot to do. Stuff to write, other forums post to read, ect. It is quicker to simply use lower case i because it is more efficent
2a) Using lower case i isn't bad spelling, it is just a minor grammar error
2b) the examples you've given don't make sense, while my sig use does
3) I don't like using the sig function. It feels impersonal and i like the formality to signing off. I don't consider it what i do a sig so much as a formal finishing of what ever i'm writing about, and it is distinct. I see no reason to change
4) but there are plenty of teens out there who could do better. Eragon is like an above average fan fic
from
EE

StGlebidiah
2008-06-15, 11:18 PM
What that one gentleman said about Galbatorix, or whatever his name is, made me laugh harder than I have in a long, long time. And I haven't even read the book (nor do I intend to).

CannibalHymn
2008-06-15, 11:21 PM
Books like Eragon are the reason Fantasy isn't getting in to the literary canon any time soon. It is useless, and useless without suitable aesthetic merit to redeem it. There isn't really a justifiable critical point of view where it can be considered anything above entertainment, a goal at which I also found it, personally, a failure.

averagejoe
2008-06-15, 11:26 PM
Awesome, I love these Eragon Good or Bad threads, because I love both sides of the argument... I actually still haven't read them, but the spirited debate makes me really want to read them, just so I can really understand where people are coming from on this.

I feel exactly the same way. I've participated in every one of these threads, but except for some poetry (which was Vogon bad), I've never read this series or author.

Ozymandias
2008-06-15, 11:27 PM
1) Yeah, i have a lot to do. Stuff to write, other forums post to read, ect. It is quicker to simply use lower case i because it is more efficent
2a) Using lower case i isn't bad spelling, it is just a minor grammar error
2b) the examples you've given don't make sense, while my sig use does
3) I don't like using the sig function. It feels impersonal and i like the formality to signing off. I don't consider it what i do a sig so much as a formal finishing of what ever i'm writing about, and it is distinct. I see no reason to change
4) but there are plenty of teens out there who could do better. Eragon is like an above average fan fic
from
EE

The "formal finishing" doesn't mesh well with the excessively haphazard fragments, improper conjugation, et al that pepper your writing. Plus, it just makes it look so ugly. Take pride in your writing mechanics, and you will get better at it, in all aspects. Eventually, proper capitalization and spelling will be second-nature, and you won't need to proof-read so much (or at all). It'll have you writing faster in the long run, believe me, especially in formal writing, as you will need far less editing.

Turcano
2008-06-15, 11:36 PM
But should Paolini be ashamed that he wrote it? I don't think so. It's a sign of bravado more than artistic precocity that he published it, but the fear of failure is probably an impediment to a lot of potential artists, so he at least passed that gantlet.

First off, asking "Mom, will you publish this?" is not running the gauntlet by any stretch of the imagination.

Second, you need to doubt yourself if you want to grow and improve. As I said the last time this topic came up, if there isn't a little voice in the back of your head that says your work is crap, you will never know greatness in the creative arts.

Let's face facts: everything everyone writes when they start out is pure, unadulterated crap, unless you're one of those prodigy freaks or something. And if you care about what you do, that old shame will drive you to do better. Case in point: I wrote short stories in junior high about the Vietnam War a la Tim O'Brien that my teacher loved, and I burned them when I re-discovered them. Yes, they were that bad. But I've improved quite a lot since then (although most of my writing since then has been academic in nature rather than fiction).

But in some cases, that process gets bypassed, and what would be a better creator's secret (or not-so-secret) embarrassment is seen as the benchmark for excellence, or at least "good enough." And then you get praise from people who will like absolutely anything, you get a swell head, and then suddenly you think that you don't have to listen to anyone, and then you're lost. Come to think of it, this happens to a lot of webcartoonists.

Soviet Razor
2008-06-15, 11:59 PM
Um...

Why do you care?

I enjoy reading the book. I know people that enjoy reading the book. What do people read for? Around here, they don't read books to draw very vague connections to other stories (admitedly, the first couple chapters are pretty close to SW, but there were many other parts in Eragon that that one summary left out). It's been a while since I read them (I've been Harry Dresden-ing), so I'll have to brush up on them.

So why do people hate the book because it's mildly similiar to SW? I know that some people don't like it because they don't like the writing style. I can understand that. It's perfectly understandable. What's not is people taking it's plot, cutting out big chunks and comparing it to other big (fantastic) works. I've seen identical comparisons to Harry Potter that held more water than the ones that I've seen here.

I'll read what I want to read, and just because it's similiar to other good stories shouldn't stop anyone from enjoying it. In fact, shouldn't it be enjoyed more because it is similiar to other great stories?

Because it's not "mildly similar", it's nearly intellectual theft. If you make a description of Star Wars' plot, and don't mention names or space, it's nearly the same thing.
The fact that it's so similar and he thinks he's such a genius, aside from the terrible writing, is another reason I hate him.
A story can still be good, even if it's similar, if it's written well. It is not written well in any way, shape or form.


In fact, shouldn't it be enjoyed more because it is similiar to other great stories?
No it shouldn't, because they did it first and they did it better.

Sorry if that was ranting, I just really, really, really, really HATE Paolini. :smallfurious:

Joran
2008-06-16, 01:10 AM
So why do people hate the book because it's mildly similiar to SW?

I can definitely see where the hate is coming from; some of it has to be jealousy and some of it has to be a rejection of something popular.

He's basically living the dream of an author; his books were published, became pretty popular, got a movie deal and he is famous because of it (albeit not mainstream). However, he didn't achieve this by writing a superior work of fiction; instead he wrote what many people consider sub-par fantasy that cribs a lot of its material from other sources. The only reason it got published was that his parents were publishers. It's nepotism and I can see why people would begrudge him his fame and popularity if they don't feel like he deserves it.

P.S. I can also see if someone hates the books because they've read them and wanted that time back ;)

Lord Seth
2008-06-16, 01:11 AM
So why do people hate the book because it's mildly similiar to SW?Because it's not mildly similar to Star Wars. It's extremely similar to Star Wars. TV Tropes perhaps puts this most succinctly:
"The novels feature the tale of a farmboy who discovers a Plot Coupon sent to a wise old mentor by a captured princess, and has his uncle who raised him killed by the impenetrably cowled servants of the Evil Empire. The two set off for revenge. The mentor is a former knight, who teaches the farmboy how to use his mystical powers in about five days and gives him a magical sword that belonged to his father before buying the farm. Luckily, the farmboy meets up with a badass Anti Hero, rescues the princess, who is also a major player in the Rebel army, and joins the rebellion, becoming a key member before going to train with a half-mad old hermit in the forest. After this, he discovers that his father was the Empire's right-hand man and he's been betrayed by his own family.

Somehow, people think this sounds familiar..."

I'm sorry, but it's hard to dismiss those as "minor similarities". It can pretty much be described as "Star Wars in Middle Earth".

Also, while this is related to the movie rather than the book, I personally found this recap (http://agonybooth.com/recaps/Eragon.aspx) hilarious.

averagejoe
2008-06-16, 01:28 AM
I can definitely see where the hate is coming from; some of it has to be jealousy and some of it has to be a rejection of something popular.

He's basically living the dream of an author; his books were published, became pretty popular, got a movie deal and he is famous because of it (albeit not mainstream). However, he didn't achieve this by writing a superior work of fiction; instead he wrote what many people consider sub-par fantasy that cribs a lot of its material from other sources. The only reason it got published was that his parents were publishers. It's nepotism and I can see why people would begrudge him his fame and popularity if they don't feel like he deserves it.

P.S. I can also see if someone hates the books because they've read them and wanted that time back ;)

As a writer, I have to say that "the dream" is to create something good. If that makes money, that's cool too. It's pretty wrong to assume that it's all jealosy. And that's putting things mildly, because I'm the civilized sort.

I mean, come on. This is the internet, man. Hating stuff is like half the point.

I might as well say you only dislike the Eragon haters because you're jealous of their skill in discerning fine literature. The difference is that I realize that this is a wrong statement.

Turcano
2008-06-16, 01:42 AM
I can definitely see where the hate is coming from; some of it has to be jealousy and some of it has to be a rejection of something popular.

Uh, yeah, I'm extremely jealous of Paolini. Just the other day I said to my self, "You know, I wish people came up to me and told me, 'I could eat a box of Alpha-Bits and dump a load on a printing press, and it would still be better than the dreck you write.'"


I mean, come on. This is the internet, man. Hating stuff is like half the point.

Exactly. This is the internet: all of the nice people are outside doing something else.

Anteros
2008-06-16, 01:44 AM
These threads always remind me of this.

http://www.penny-arcade.com/comic/2007/4/11/

Seems appropriate.

Turcano
2008-06-16, 01:49 AM
These threads always remind me of this.

http://www.penny-arcade.com/comic/2007/4/11/

Seems appropriate.

Not really; that's about people thinking they're making a difference by protesting something online. I doubt any of us have any illusions about criticism actually doing anything besides venting.

H. Zee
2008-06-16, 01:54 AM
What annoys me about the Inheritance trilogy is that Paolini seems to be a genuinely talented writer, but despite this he can't seem to come up with anything even remotely original or interesting.

If you deny that his writing is in any way talented, just look at the Roran chapters. They're actually pretty damn good. But their denouement is discarded at the end and becomes a mere off-screen "Oh, Roran killed some bald magician guy," because the book focuses so damn much on Eragon, who by the end, you just want to beat to death with a sledgehammer.

I'm sure it's not impossible for Paolini to come up with interesting and original ideas. But now he's realised that his generic fantasy world with its generic hippy elves and generic ripped-off plot is such a cash cow, I doubt he'll even try.

Joran
2008-06-16, 02:24 AM
Uh, yeah, I'm extremely jealous of Paolini. Just the other day I said to my self, "You know, I wish people came up to me and told me, 'I could eat a box of Alpha-Bits and dump a load on a printing press, and it would still be better than the dreck you write.'"


I'd be jealous of that, yes. If I were him, I'm basically set for life, can do what I love for a living, and most people who hate me don't even know what I look like.


As a writer, I have to say that "the dream" is to create something good. If that makes money, that's cool too. It's pretty wrong to assume that it's all jealosy. And that's putting things mildly, because I'm the civilized sort.

You are a better man than me; I'd rather produce crap and be rich than to produce art and be poor. It's sad, but I like money.

You're right that there's multiple ways to hate him without being jealous; hating poorly written work and plagiarized material is quite possible. I thought I'd stated that but apparently not well enough, since you think I hate the haters. Anyway, there just seems to be an undercurrent of jealousy in some of the hate, and I recognized it in myself and thought I'd write about it.

Turcano
2008-06-16, 03:04 AM
I'd be jealous of that, yes. If I were him, I'm basically set for life, can do what I love for a living, and most people who hate me don't even know what I look like.

You are a better man than me; I'd rather produce crap and be rich than to produce art and be poor. It's sad, but I like money.

I guess that's just a difference between you and me. If offered the money Paolini has made for his writing on the condition that my name were associated with something of that quality, I might take it, but only reluctantly, and under no circumstances would I be proud of it. Maybe it's just because I don't like the idea of my dignity being for sale, but I'd much rather be known for something that's actually good, even if I didn't make a lot of money from it.

Closet_Skeleton
2008-06-16, 04:44 AM
Ooh! I've finally been on the forums long enough to complain when a topic comes up again! ;D

I'll say what I usually say, i enjoyed the books, but I can see the points of everyone against it.

I've only been on this forum for a year longer than you and I've seen this come up three times in the last 2 years.

Selrahc
2008-06-16, 06:56 AM
3) I don't like using the sig function. It feels impersonal and i like the formality to signing off. I don't consider it what i do a sig so much as a formal finishing of what ever i'm writing about, and it is distinct. I see no reason to change

I've got to say... I'm not a big fan of the sign off either. Has anyone ever given you good feedback on it? Because I've seen about a half dozen people complain about it, but never seen anyone go "Woah, what a formal yet stylish way of finishing a post. I am impressed."

I'm not saying this to gang up, but merely to try and offer some constructive criticism. I've seen a fair amount of misunderstandings or anger arise because of how you formatted your posts. And you spend a lot of time debating stuff. If you are seriously trying to convince people of your point of view, then needlessly antagonizing them with your writing format seems like a counter intuitive move. And heck, the misunderstandings that arise due to a wierdly formatted post, or having to defend your writing style probably take upo more of your time than just spending a few seconds looking over your posts would!

Arioch
2008-06-16, 08:12 AM
I've got to say... I'm not a big fan of the sign off either. Has anyone ever given you good feedback on it? Because I've seen about a half dozen people complain about it, but never seen anyone go "Woah, what a formal yet stylish way of finishing a post. I am impressed."

Thirded, or fourthed, or whatever. You're a good debater, EE, but the signoff just irritates me because it serves absolutely no purpose. At all.

EvilElitest
2008-06-16, 09:00 AM
The "formal finishing" doesn't mesh well with the excessively haphazard fragments, improper conjugation, et al that pepper your writing. Plus, it just makes it look so ugly. Take pride in your writing mechanics, and you will get better at it, in all aspects. Eventually, proper capitalization and spelling will be second-nature, and you won't need to proof-read so much (or at all). It'll have you writing faster in the long run, believe me, especially in formal writing, as you will need far less editing.

When i'm actually writing something important, like a paper or something, i normally do try to make it look nice When i'm doing a forum, i can't be buggered, as long as it is understood and my point is made

And i still do not see the problem with signing off, disliking it seems immature

Actually i have gotten compliments on the sign off, and i have yet to find an actually logical argument on why it is annoying. How on earth does having "From EE" bother you. Does it limit the understanding of the post. Does it make my point seem any less valid. No. I like it because it feel formal and proper, as well as rather polite, and complaints seem down right petty

Personally i'm no in envy of Eragon's writer because i want to be able to take actual pride in my work
from
EE

shadow_archmagi
2008-06-16, 09:18 AM
"Stuff to write, other forums post to read"

Wait a minute.. did you honestly just use "I'm too busy posting on the internet" as a response to "Why don't you have any time to post properly?"

Would you mind quoting some of those compliments? With links to the actual post?

In the meantime, perhaps you can show us some of this work in which you take so much pride. Perhaps I am wrong, perhaps you are a rare shining star of brilliance and insight once you put your makeup wrong, but in my experience people who can do it right tend to do it right all the time.

Does Tony Hawk just sorta fall off his skateboard and say "well, you know, I could balance, but I figure this isn't for a major competition or anything, so its easier to deal with scrapped shins?"

Do airline pilots say "Well, this is just a test run, so I don't think we'll need to bother with protocol. Lets just ignore the tower and do a barrel roll."

Back on topic;

Suppose you (meaning the vague, general public, not specifically you E.E.) were offered the chance to become the next Christopher Paulini? The agreement is; you'll get large sacks of money. Thousands will love you. Unfortunately, thousands more will hate you, you arn't allowed to ever try anything too original and you get beaten over the head if you start to show competence.

Oh, and you have to pretend you're proud of it, too. Maybe you can, in tears, tell a close friend in the dark of night, but as far as the world is concerned you think you're god's gift to man.

Foeofthelance
2008-06-16, 09:36 AM
As far as it goes for Paolini, his big problem was that Mommy and Daddy bought him Protection from Editors. They then published it for him, which was such a big deal because it was a 'major fantasy work' (based almost solely on page count as far as I can tell) by a 19 year old author written when he was fifteen. The result is a swamp of mucked together cliches, inconsistancies (Magic works based on what you intend, but you still need to enunciate clearly because it works on what you said instead...), and clear examples of him not knowing what the heck he was writing about. (Butcher shop. If I need to explain that one by now...)

For comparison, go pick up a copy of the first book Robert Heinlein wrote. It's titled "For Us, the Living", and is utterly, truly, horrible, as anyone who has read it will tell you. In fact, it reads a lot like the Eragon books. The major difference? It wasn't Heinlein's first published work. He submitted it, got rejected, and went back and worked at being a better writer. The end result? The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, the Future Histories, and Starship Troopers, almost all of which are regarded as SF classics.

Now back to Paolini. What happens when you try and criticize him? You're a talentless hack who is simply jealous of his success. The kid tried to bash J.K Rowling. He simply doesn't want to admit his flaws, and will never get better.


I'm an author; I'm working on an SF novel. I willingly admit that I'm cribbing several ideas from published authors (Distrustful good guy aliens, nanite technology, and a rampaging race that destroys everything in its path) but I like to think that I'm making it enough my own. (The distrustful good guy aliens are actually sort of split over the heroes, the nanites aren't actually all powerful, and the rampaging aliens are really just hunting specific species to extinction for religious reasons. Kinda friendly once you get to know them.) I post the samples to a publisher's site, and get slaughtered over everything, from punctuation to details to plot speed. And I go back for more. Why? Because I don't want to be Chris Paolini.


In regards to EE:

The reason the sign off is so annoying isn't that you're signing off. It is the fact that you post this mishmashed replies filled with inconsistent spelling and inconsistent spelling errors (it wouldn't be half as bad if you just left everything uncapitalized, instead of randomly picking and choosing words), and all the other mistakes that you make, all of which we then half to decipher.

And then you take the time to spell out the ending, the exact same way, every time. Why shouldn't that annoy us? Apparently making it so we understand you is less important than your signature...

EvilElitest
2008-06-16, 09:56 AM
"Stuff to write, other forums post to read"

Wait a minute.. did you honestly just use "I'm too busy posting on the internet" as a response to "Why don't you have any time to post properly?"

Yeah. I spend maybe 5 min per post tops, often less than that because i tend to argue on a lot of different posts, and i am often doing other stuff at the same time. I make sure that the post is basically understandable then move on. If having non capital I is somehow enough to annoy you so much, i really have to conclude are a petty spiteful person because quite frankly that is absurd. This is the internet, not a formal reading


Would you mind quoting some of those compliments? With links to the actual post?

.....:smallconfused: ok that is just overly absurd. You want me to go through the forums and my inbox to link compliments to you about my sig? What happened to taking my word for it. From memory there is one on the "Who you would like to meet on the play ground, and a few more in my inbox that haven't been deleted yet, but really, over radical once



In the meantime, perhaps you can show us some of this work in which you take so much pride. Perhaps I am wrong, perhaps you are a rare shining star of brilliance and insight once you put your makeup wrong, but in my experience people who can do it right tend to do it right all the time.

1) So wait, you want me to get my own work from Word, post it here on the site simply to prove........something......because it seems that you need proof that i don't ,ale minor spelling errors in my actual work have to be considered intellegent wow, petty much
2) Who says i'm not a shining star of brilliance and insight on this forum. Not making my I capital and leaving a formal finishing doesn't make my points any less true.


Does Tony Hawk just sorta fall off his skateboard and say "well, you know, I could balance, but I figure this isn't for a major competition or anything, so its easier to deal with scrapped shins?"

Do airline pilots say "Well, this is just a test run, so I don't think we'll need to bother with protocol. Lets just ignore the tower and do a barrel roll."

You need to work on metaphors, because nether of those address the situation. Your the one who in a rather petulant manner are claiming that not capitalizing I at time and signing my name somehow make me a unpleasant person who you despise (never mind all of the actually accurate reasons to dislike me) or make my points any less accurate. In both of your above examples you are talking about trained professionals not doing their jobs right, whereas i am not making the claim of being professional. If you want to dislike me fine, but the reasons you give a petty, immature, and frankly borderline pathetic



In regards to EE:

The reason the sign off is so annoying isn't that you're signing off. It is the fact that you post this mishmashed replies filled with inconsistent spelling and inconsistent spelling errors (it wouldn't be half as bad if you just left everything uncapitalized, instead of randomly picking and choosing words), and all the other mistakes that you make, all of which we then half to decipher.

general spelling errors and minor ones are two different complaints. Now i have already admitted to bad spelling, i am dyslexic so i tend to struggle with spelling, and as this is the internet, i just want to make my words basically understandable. If i published a formal paper then you can feel free to nitpick, but in a forum it is the points that matter. Everybody here is guilty of spelling errors, it is people's points that matter most


And then you take the time to spell out the ending, the exact same way, every time. Why shouldn't that annoy us? Apparently making it so we understand you is less important than your signature...

........what? I spell out my ending because it is easy

From
EE

that takes like 5 seconds, and it is an easy thing to spell. You think i'm putting it as a first priority. I'm writing down something i'm use too writing and it takes like five seconds. From EE isn't a very hard thing to spell and doesn't take more effort than my posts

from
EE

DomaDoma
2008-06-16, 01:10 PM
Capitalization and spelling are, in fact, a legitimate complaint about EE's posts, but I don't see what it has to do with the sign-off. At any rate, everyone is taking this way, way too seriously.

Thiel
2008-06-16, 04:59 PM
At any rate, everyone is taking this way, way too seriously.
Indeed.

Back on topic. I don't envy Paolini for one very specific reason. I know my limitations, he doesn't. I couldn't write a good novel if my life counted on it and I know it. Neither can he, at least not yet. But he doesn't seem to realise that.

Zarrexaij
2008-06-16, 06:30 PM
As an aspiring amatuer writter, the Eragon series and Paolini in general is frustrating as Hell. What he is written is mediocre; there are several published authors that are far worse than what he is written, and there are several other authors that are far better than himself. However, as we all know, the whole reason why he has been published is because of good ol nepotism in its best. Most editors and publishers would CRINGE reading his stuff; he blattantly rips Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, and Dragonriders of Pern off (HORRIBLY, I might mention) and reads like he picks words straight out of the thesaurus because he thinks the word sounds cool or intellectual. It's clearly immaturely written, and from the bits I've read in Eldest he hasn't improved that much as a writer in years. The fact that he refuses to change is one of the things that pisses me off the most about him. He's still a young writer, but I'd like to point out Stephen King published short stories around Paolini's age and they were tons better (not to mention original, ugh). His age has little to do with the fact Paolini is, to put it bluntly, in love with the way he writes.

Cristo Meyers
2008-06-16, 07:40 PM
I've only been on this forum for a year longer than you and I've seen this come up three times in the last 2 years.

2 years? Try just the past year. I haven't been here much longer than that and I've seen this thread at least three times.

Anyway, read both, enjoyed them in a stupid sort of way. Though I bet it had more to do with the idea that I too was once that bad and it was a trip down nostalgia lane.

Now that I've begun seriously working on my own book, looking at Eragon and the slightly better Eldest just makes me cringe. All the cliches, tropes, and blatant rip offs just...ugh. It's nearly impossible to avoid using cliches and tropes to some extent, the trick is making them your own. He didn't even try, just slapped a fantasy coat over them and called it a day.

CannibalHymn
2008-06-16, 08:08 PM
Capitalization and spelling are, in fact, a legitimate complaint about EE's posts, but I don't see what it has to do with the sign-off. At any rate, everyone is taking this way, way too seriously.

Dear, dear Doma. This is the internet. It is serius bizzness.

shadow_archmagi
2008-06-16, 08:22 PM
Yeah. I spend maybe 5 min per post tops, often less than that because i tend to argue on a lot of different posts, and i am often doing other stuff at the same time. I make sure that the post is basically understandable then move on.


ya dood, butt wee liek moarr ten juss bassick unnerstandin, is nice nice to has it bee floo ent. bassick unnerstandin iz nut plez ant two reed.




.....:smallconfused: ok that is just overly absurd. You want me to go through the forums and my inbox to link compliments to you about my sig? What happened to taking my word for it. From memory there is one on the "Who you would like to meet on the play ground, and a few more in my inbox that haven't been deleted yet, but really, over radical once

Oh, I'm sorry, I forgot your internet time was vital and every second you spend doing something is a second you didn't spend doing something else! Please forgive me for asking 30 seconds work to clarify and back up your points! From now on I'll simply take everything you say for granted and if I don't understand I won't ask further because your time is vital.





1) So wait, you want me to get my own work from Word, post it here on the site simply to prove........something......because it seems that you need proof that i don't ,ale (???) minor spelling errors in my actual work have to be considered intellegent wow, petty much


Well... yes. If you're going to argue you are a competent writer and capable of NOT sounding like an idiot, and that you could, personally, beat Paulini, I would like evidence. I would like evidence that you actually can format your work nicely. I have asked for evidence, now you can either say "A simple YUH HUH should be good enough" and we can argue in the tradition of small children, or you can say "Very well good sir, here is the Chronicles of EE, by EE, my essay on how cool I am. Note how the cool leaks out of the pages." and we can debate on that.




2) Who says i'm not a shining star of brilliance and insight on this forum. Not making my I capital and leaving a formal finishing doesn't make my points any less true.


I say you are not a shining star of brilliance. Perhaps your points ARE true. Perhaps everything I've said is wrong. If you can conclusively prove your shining, your starness, or even your brilliance, I'll be happy to concede your right to make everyone work a bit to understand you. Until then, let the debate continue.




the one who are claiming that not capitalizing I at time somehow make me a unpleasant who you despise person.The reasons you give a petty, immature, and frankly borderline pathetic


Read that out loud. Can you honestly say that you sound pleasant, likable, or even over the age of 10? I just deleted the excess, unnecessary parts of your paragraph. Which is to say, the parts that actually either were grammatically correct. I was careful not to delete anything that was vital to the sentence structure. That was broken before I touched it.



You need to work on metaphors, because nether of those address the situation. Your the one who in a rather petulant manner are claiming that not capitalizing I at time and signing my name somehow make me a unpleasant who you despise person (never mind all of the actually accurate reasons to dislike me) or make my points any less accurate. In both of your above examples you are talking about trained professionals not doing their jobs right, whereas i am not making the claim of being professional. If you want to dislike me fine, but the reasons you give a petty, immature, and frankly borderline pathetic


Now that I've had my fun, I'll address my point. My point was not about professionals not doing their job; I was saying that people who are good at something on a regular basis tend to remain good at it at all times. I have often heard claims from people that run something like this

"shur i kin tipe wel iss jusht i dun wnna rite nao. fur leik essays 'n carp i kin profred rel gud but dis r juss innir net carp so i wil not"

You see, I've never, ever, actually seen something decent by one of these people. I expect that say, Orson Scott Card or Tamora Pierce write very nice, perfect forum posts without even thinking about it.




general spelling errors and minor ones are two different complaints. Now i have already admitted to bad spelling, i am dyslexic so i tend to struggle with spelling, and as this is the internet, i just want to make my words basically understandable. If i published a formal paper then you can feel free to nitpick, but in a forum it is the points that matter. Everybody here is guilty of spelling errors, it is people's points that matter most


First off, spelling is inexcusable. I don't care if you are dyslexic, that doesn't make the big red underline (or are you not using firefox? You could copy-paste things into word I suppose... oh wait, that'd suck up nearly ten precious seconds of your internet time!) any less visible.




that takes like 5 seconds, and it is an easy thing to spell. You think i'm putting it as a first priority. I'm writing down something i'm use too writing and it takes like five seconds. From EE isn't a very hard thing to spell and doesn't take more effort than my posts

from
EE

The above poster brought up a terrific point. You arn't signing off. You're ending a post. If you signed off after, say, declaring a topic pointless and not worthy of you any more, that'd be one thing. If you signed off at the end of the night when you finally decide to go to sleep, that'd be one thing.

But "signing off" and then immediately running from post to post is a bit silly. Imagine doing it in reality, ending every snatch of dialogue with "From, EE."

Soviet Razor
2008-06-16, 10:14 PM
I'm sorry to say this Elitist, but he's(she?) got a point. It isn't really that difficult to proof-read if you use Firefox or MS word, especially if you are trying to establish your plausibility as a competent writer. It sucks that you're dyslexic but it means you have to go that extra mile, even on a forum, if you want to be taken seriously.
Although non-capitalization of "I"s is a bit of a stretch to complain about.:smallconfused:

Anyway, can we stop focusing on Elitist's typing, and get back on topic?

Waffles
2008-06-16, 11:18 PM
Eragon is enjoyable in the same way that a Stephen King or JK Rowling novel is. It's just pulp, it's there to tell a story and nothing more. You aren't going to learn anything from it, and that is not necessarily a bad thing. It's just simple entertainment. Debating it's merit is okay, I guess, but when doing so you need to take into account what the books are trying to do, which is precisely what they do do.


And I hate it when people sign their posts. The way I read is such that I have to read every part of text on a page, and seeing "EE" and having to read it several times without being able to stop myself annoys me to no end.

Querzis
2008-06-16, 11:24 PM
Its no rip-off, its unoriginal thats for sure but I dont think anything can really be considered original after thousand of years of human history. Whatever what you do, someone did it before.

So its not a rip-off...but it sure as hell aint a good book either and I have pretty low standard, I usually enjoy pretty much every fantasy books!

Waffle, I'm amazed and disgusted that someone actually could compare Eragon and two of my favorite author...I'll just stop now or I'm gonna get really rude and nobody want that.

EvilElitest
2008-06-17, 12:05 AM
ya dood, butt wee liek moarr ten juss bassick unnerstandin, is nice nice to has it bee floo ent. bassick unnerstandin iz nut plez ant two reed.

You should go into propaganda , i hear lies and exaggerations can get you far

As anyone reading my posts can attest, my spelling is far from that level. Exaggerating and out right lying in an attempt to....what discredit me, is rather childish.


Oh, I'm sorry, I forgot your internet time was vital and every second you spend doing something is a second you didn't spend doing something else! Please forgive me for asking 30 seconds work to clarify and back up your points! From now on I'll simply take everything you say for granted and if I don't understand I won't ask further because your time is vital.

Yet again, petty petty petty. Lets break down the gists of your "complaint" here

1) You original claim is that i don't often use capital I and us From EE and somehow this is a justification for you to "despise" me
2) now i find this rather absurd. I write fast, and as i said, yes i am a very busy person. This might sound shocking, but what i say is still understandable weather the I is capitalized or not. As i focus more upon making a point on a forum, because i'm not writing a formal paper, the fact that you use nitpicking is very petty as a justification to dislike somebody. What i say is still understandable, it is like a rough draft for a paper you might say, before being edited and re-read. Since this is, i don't know, the internet, on a forum, i tend to be content with making my point across. As long as i am understood and my point is made, i'm content with minor spelling errors, and any thing major is fixed for clarity. Now you find this as some sort of justification for hate and blood flame me, as well as making unbacked attacks on my intelligence. Maybe in an extremly narrow minded and black and white world, you can judge people's intelligence by their minor spelling errors, but in you know, reality there is no justification for this. If you want to insult my intellegent fine, but use some damn justification for it, actually back it up. I fail to see how minor spelling errors and a formal ending to my writings somehow make my points any less valid as long as it is understood, and it certainly does not justify your childish and borderline pathetic personal attacks. Really, you've make over exaggerated lies about my spelling quality, you've mocked me in an extremly insulting manner, you've made the incorrect claim that my minor spelling errors are somehow a sign of lesser intelligence, regardless of my actual points on the matter, and then we go to
3) you absurd demand for evidence. What, is this a trial (it would have to be a kangaroo one then)? Do i need to produce proof of my "worthiness" to be considered intellegent. Do i have to "proof" to you that when i put my mind to it, IE when i am writing some sort of actual power for class or what not i can spell correctly and edit properly, through it takes a long time and effort. In order to be considered a valid poster, do i need to provide evidence and proof of my worthiness. On that note, who made you the judge. You have made not indication of being this almighty judge of writing quality, and considering your immaturity shown in these personal attacks, i doubt that. I haven't seen any writing from you to prove that your some sort of intellectual judge who can decide who is a worthy person? Which brings us back to our original point, what kind of arrogence does it take to simply judge somebody as moronic without any actual basis.



Well... yes. If you're going to argue you are a competent writer and capable of NOT sounding like an idiot, and that you could, personally, beat Paulini,
1) Considering your childish attacks, i doubt you'd make a good judge.
2) more to the point however, why do i need to prove anything. This isn't a writing quality judgment thread, and i haven't asked for literary critiques If this was a writing forum, or i made a thread asking for feedback, but as this is not, why should i provide my personal work for you? Why should i even consider submitting my work to a childish, petulant, petty person, who demands evidence to prove that i am a worthy writing. Ignoring your rudeness and ignoring your arrogence, the idea of having to submit my work to a bias unqualified judge to prove something that i don't need to prove to anyone with basic reading comprehension skills is simply absurd


I would like evidence. I would like evidence that you actually can format your work nicely.
Why? Is there some sort of trial where i need to prove my writing skills. Apart from you pettiness, i fail to see any justification to attack my writing, as apart from minor spelling errors, and a formal ending, there is nothing to indicate bad writing or lack of ability to make my point, at least none you've mentioned


I have asked for evidence, now you can either say "A simple YUH HUH should be good enough" and we can argue in the tradition of small children, or you can say "Very well good sir, here is the Chronicles of EE, by EE, my essay on how cool I am. Note how the cool leaks out of the pages." and we can debate on that.
1) Actually, no. Being concerned about my privacy and not seeing the need to my work over to random internet people who will judge my "worthiness" don't suit me, as i see no logical need to go through with it
2) yet again, why do i need to prove anything to you. Your demand is irrelevant, and rude. I fail to see why i need to provide proof, because you've given no indication on why my writing is bad other than minor spelling errors, nor why i need to prove anything to you



I say you are not a shining star of brilliance. Perhaps your points ARE true. Perhaps everything I've said is wrong. If you can conclusively prove your shining, your starness, or even your brilliance, I'll be happy to concede your right to make everyone work a bit to understand you. Until then, let the debate continue.

Then lets focus on my points. Instead of acting like a petty whiner, how about you grow up, and read my actual points. Are there any criticism of Eragon i have said that is somehow false? Somehow incorrect? Am i somehow
wrong in any of the criticisms i have leveled. I don't see any problems with any of my points, just your flaming


Read that out loud. Can you honestly say that you sound pleasant, likable, or even over the age of 10? I just deleted the excess, unnecessary parts of your paragraph. Which is to say, the parts that actually either were grammatically correct. I was careful not to delete anything that was vital to the sentence structure. That was broken before I touched it.

how very propagandist of you. Now let see what i wrote without your editing


Your the one who in, a rather petulant manner are claiming that not capitalizing I at time and signing my name somehow make me a unpleasant person who you despise (never mind all of the actually accurate reasons to dislike me) or make my points any less accurate. In both of your above examples you are talking about trained professionals not doing their jobs right, whereas i am not making the claim of being professional. If you want to dislike me fine, but the reasons you give a petty, immature, and frankly borderline pathetic
1) so we have minor spelling errors, and yet my point is still made. Remarkable
2) deleted the unnecessary parts. Hmmmmmm, like the actual point i was making about how petty your being, fancy that
3) actually, no your wrong. Because the point i'm making is still being made,



Now that I've had my fun, I'll address my point. My point was not about professionals not doing their job; I was saying that people who are good at something on a regular basis tend to remain good at it at all times. I have often heard claims from people that run something like this
And again, i fail to see how that in any way condemns me. As i said i'm dyslexic, and so editing is painful. When i need to write something formal i'll take the effort to improve, but here i just need to be basically understood.


"shur i kin tipe wel iss jusht i dun wnna rite nao. fur leik essays 'n carp i kin profred rel gud but dis r juss innir net carp so i wil not"
yet again, exaggeration and lies, because i actually do make my point across and my spelling isn't nearly as bad as that.


You see, I've never, ever, actually seen something decent by one of these people. I expect that say, Orson Scott Card or Tamora Pierce write very nice, perfect forum posts without even thinking about it.

And yet, i'm not one of those people who can't spell English at all, and any attempt to claim i am is an out right and cowardly lie. My points are made, and if a few minor spelling errors are made in the process, so be it, as long as it is understandable



First off, spelling is inexcusable. I don't care if you are dyslexic, that doesn't make the big red underline (or are you not using firefox? You could copy-paste things into word I suppose... oh wait, that'd suck up nearly ten precious seconds of your internet time!) any less visible.

1) Don't be absurd, some people aren't good spellers. That is a fact of life, some people just don't spell well. Does that make them less intellegent. Well not, unless your looking from the mindset of a bigot. As long as the post is understandable, the points that are being made are more important
2) Um, i use Firefox. The errors you've mentioned, like lower case I aren't ones that are caught by spells check, which is, you know, not perfect. Who says i don't use my spell check. I do, and i correct the red lines. However Firefox doesn't catch everything



The above poster brought up a terrific point. You arn't signing off. You're ending a post. If you signed off after, say, declaring a topic pointless and not worthy of you any more, that'd be one thing. If you signed off at the end of the night when you finally decide to go to sleep, that'd be one thing.
1) What point? The one about me somehow putting more effort into my formal finishing than the rest of the post? I've already addressed that
2) I don't think so. Because each post addresses different issues. So it is more like writing a bunch of different letters, you sign you name at the bottom. It is formal, and i like it, and still you have not produced and actual valid argument on why "From EE" bothers you so much that it has to be "wrong"



But "signing off" and then immediately running from post to post is a bit silly. Imagine doing it in reality, ending every snatch of dialogue with "From, EE."
1) I fail to see why it is silly. Each post is different
2) Yet again, really work on the metaphors, because the idea about real life conversations fails when you remember writing is a different medium
3) Apperently your not paying attention to the Firefox red lines ether



Eragon is enjoyable in the same way that a Stephen King or JK Rowling novel is. It's just pulp, it's there to tell a story and nothing more. You aren't going to learn anything from it, and that is not necessarily a bad thing. It's just simple entertainment. Debating it's merit is okay, I guess, but when doing so you need to take into account what the books are trying to do, which is precisely what they do do.
Except King and Rowling have actual quality in there writing and original ideas


And I hate it when people sign their posts. The way I read is such that I have to read every part of text on a page, and seeing "EE" and having to read it several times without being able to stop myself annoys me to no end.

:smallconfused:
how does reading "from EE" hurt you. Its too freaking words, you can just gloss over it and move on
from
EE

Zarrexaij
2008-06-17, 12:16 AM
EE and shadow_archmagi, quit being butthurt and stop the fighting. Srsly guise.

Leigh
2008-06-17, 01:00 AM
I for one enjoyed Eragon enormously...
but Eldest kind of ruined the story for me. The plot gets tiring after a while, but I still think that Eragon was a pretty great book. Nowhere near the Harry Potters (or Artemis Fowls), but still interesting.

Solo
2008-06-17, 02:00 AM
Lay off EE.

From,
Solo

Demons_eye
2008-06-17, 02:15 AM
I liked the book very much, and I for one dont care if he ripped other stories off. It has been better then some books I have read, and I love writers are trying to write in the setings Token and others used. I really hate the 200 books I have read in the past year that some kid from the present dose some thing or gets powers and ect...

Solo
2008-06-17, 02:47 AM
I liked the book very much, and I for one dont care if he ripped other stories off.
As this is a discussion of the book's literary merit, not of whether people like it or not, your enjoyment of the book and non-concern with his plagerism is not relevant to the topic at hand. What matters is whether he is actually guitly of plagerism or not.


It has been better then some books I have read, and I love writers are trying to write in the setings Token and others used.
I love writers are trying to write in the setings Token and others used as well.

Writers who do it well, at least.



I really hate the 200 books I have read in the past year that some kid from the present dose some thing or gets powers and ect...
Ok...

shadow_archmagi
2008-06-17, 06:18 AM
childish. petty petty petty. absurd. petty childish borderline pathetic personal attacks. absurd immaturity arrogence childish childish, petulant, petty arrogence, pettiness, irrelevant, and rude. petty whiner, flaming propagandist petty exaggeration and lies, bigot


0. (All I ever implied was that you weren't a good writer, and now you have to go and say all THAT? Tch Tch Tch, please try to keep a civil tongue good sir.)

1. I apologize solo, I hadn't realized you supported this... evil elitist.

2. You keep saying "Just because I am a bad speller doesn't make me wrong" When did I say "Your poor spelling clearly shows that paulini is a genius." You said you were a better writer than paulini, and I challenge that fact on the basis that I don't know anyone who can write but not spell/use grammar. Not capitalizing I doesn't make you a bad writer, it is simply that in my experience good writers do capitalize their I's.

3. Let us take this to PMs. I think you and I have cluttered the good people's thread long enough.

FROM TEH SHADOWZORS LOLOLOLOLOL.

Project_Mayhem
2008-06-17, 07:29 AM
Eragon is enjoyable in the same way that a Stephen King or JK Rowling novel is.

Oh no you didn't ...

Excuse me. ARRRRGHH THERE IS NO GOD Sorry.

Seriously though, my experience of Eragon was that it was readable. I read it, and didnt feel like the time was wasted. Thats the nicest thing I can say about it really. However, I won't ever read it again, I won't ever read the sequals, and I won't ever watch the film. I'd much rather read a good book.

The thing is, as people have commented, is that anyone with acceptable writing skills could write a book of that quality or greater. I could, and I like to think it would be superior. The reason you haven't seen me published, is because I wouldn't submit anything unless I thought it would actually be worth reading.

Zairron
2008-06-17, 07:33 AM
Good Book.

Were-Sandwich
2008-06-17, 07:36 AM
some good essays on Eragon from a different source


Or if you don't trust that site, try this one

Review of Eragon

Snipped for length



from
EE



on Eldest


Snipped for length


I agree with everything in them thar spoilers, but I think I have an explanation:

He was 15 when he wrote this book. Thus he had a 15 year old's idea of what good writing is, and that was influenced by his schooling. I can't speak for the American education system, but in England, until you get to the very last year or two of high school, 'good writing' is the ability to take 2 pages to describe something, using lots and lots of similes, and use lots of synonyms for said (I spent most of Year 4 english lessons filling in the blanks on work sheets where 'said should have been), because these are what get you marks in the Long Writing sections of exams. Things like style, finesse, taste etc don't really come in until GCSE. So he was just doing what he'd been taught.

Although, according to wiki, he wrote 'a novel he would enjoy reading'. Yes, he likes his little Star Lord of The Jedis story, but did he consider asking the opinion of someone who wasn't a family member?

I'm going to chime in with the people who say "I'm 15 and I could write a better novel". I think that on technical writing ability, I could write better than Paolini (he says modestly:smalltongue:), although I have a terminal inability to think up plots, so we're about even there.

What really gets my goat about this guy, though, is the way he won't admit to making a mistake, he just comes up with all these crappy excuses. If he came to terms with his limitations, he might actually improve.

EvilElitest
2008-06-17, 07:48 AM
0. (All I ever implied was that you weren't a good writer, and now you have to go and say all THAT? Tch Tch Tch, please try to keep a civil tongue good sir.)


Lets see, you have publicly insulted my intelligence, my writing, and my quality, my points, and my way of doing things. Keep your hypocrisy to yourself



1. I apologize solo, I hadn't realized you supported this... evil elitist.

2. You keep saying "Just because I am a bad speller doesn't make me wrong" When did I say "Your poor spelling clearly shows that paulini is a genius." You said you were a better writer than paulini, and I challenge that fact on the basis that I don't know anyone who can write but not spell/use grammar. Not capitalizing I doesn't make you a bad writer, it is simply that in my experience good writers do capitalize their I's.

3. Let us take this to PMs. I think you and I have cluttered the good people's thread long enough.

1) solo is very good at recognizing stupidity
2) I said i could do better than Pauloni, not that i already has a book ready for critique. You also claimed you were better.
3) No, i think i'd rather avoid your pretuculence as you haven't countered any actual points
4) You also have insulted, and made the assumption that i need to produce the writing to be worthy, which is absurd considered you are no authority



FROM TEH SHADOWZORS LOLOLOLOLOL.
Yet again, bad sarcasm and childish insults, good day



I liked the book very much, and I for one dont care if he ripped other stories off. It has been better then some books I have read, and I love writers are trying to write in the setings Token and others used. I really hate the 200 books I have read in the past year that some kid from the present dose some thing or gets powers and ect...
i like watching Buffy the Vampire slayer, but i still realize it has some major major major flaws. Through while trying to emulate Tolkien is good, you still need to bring something new to the table, something which CP has not.





Oh no you didn't ...

Excuse me. ARRRRGHH THERE IS NO GOD Sorry.

There is nothing. Nothing. We shall turn to worship Link's hat



He was 15 when he wrote this book. Thus he had a 15 year old's idea of what good writing is, and that was influenced by his schooling. I can't speak for the American education system, but in England, until you get to the very last year or two of high school, 'good writing' is the ability to take 2 pages to describe something, using lots and lots of similes, and use lots of synonyms for said (I spent most of Year 4 english lessons filling in the blanks on work sheets where 'said should have been), because these are what get you marks in the Long Writing sections of exams. Things like style, finesse, taste etc don't really come in until GCSE. So he was just doing what he'd been taught.

1) well America education is actually worst currently, but CP is homeschooled
2) the 15 year old thing is actually a lie. He started when he was 15, and it was published when he was 19 (or was it 20?).
3) Pretty much, i does read a lot like a fan fiction. maybe a slightly above average one, but hey
from
EE

DomaDoma
2008-06-17, 08:10 AM
Well, in fairness, Paolini did come up with some original ideas:

* The Seithr oil. Actually, I thought this was pretty neat.
* Grammatical error turns protection blessing into compulsory-bodyguard curse.
* Training sequence as vegan tract. I wish he hadn't, but it is original.

And that is pretty much all I can think of. But hey, it's something.

EvilElitest
2008-06-17, 08:14 AM
Well, in fairness, Paolini did come up with some original ideas:

* The Seithr oil. Actually, I thought this was pretty neat.
* Grammatical error turns protection blessing into compulsory-bodyguard curse.
* Training sequence as vegan tract. I wish he hadn't, but it is original.

And that is pretty much all I can think of. But hey, it's something.

hmmmm, impressive. I think the Vegan thing had been done somewhere, and didn't David Eddings do the poison, but the spelling error i didn't realize, your right
from
EE

Bookman
2008-06-17, 08:23 AM
Well, in fairness, Paolini did come up with some original ideas:

* The Seithr oil. Actually, I thought this was pretty neat.
* Grammatical error turns protection blessing into compulsory-bodyguard curse.
* Training sequence as vegan tract. I wish he hadn't, but it is original.

And that is pretty much all I can think of. But hey, it's something.

There are more but I haven't read them in 2 or 3 years.

What really bugs me about these threads are they seem to conceive that Paolini went out and stole every single plot line he used. I disagree. Sure it's a general plotline but how many OTHER fantasy stories are out there with a young farmboy type having to go out after his family is killed? There's more then Star Wars out there folks. It's just a useful plot device. You'll also need to explain the Ra'Zac. Sure they're your typical minions running after you but the fact that they are a mostly creative creature creation (albeit an unusual one) means he's put thought into it.

Also for those who said early on he got published because of being related that's true........partially. Essentially his parents self published the book and went on the road in an effort to sell it. A nephew or something of someone big over at Random House picked up the book and enjoyed it. THEY gave it to their relative because they enjoyed it. So it was (IIRC) a 12 year old boy saying "I like this story" and so the upper person considered it because frankly there isn't much fantasy out there right now that appeals to teens. 99.999% of the "Teen Books" are trashy romance. (Twilight anyone?)

So......lay off of it. They're not meant to be the next Great American Novel but they're ENJOYABLE for some to read. And they aren't plagiarism. The plot is just a general fantasy one. If you don't like it........go write your own since you know what you want to read and what others want to read as well.

Krrth
2008-06-17, 08:27 AM
hmmmm, impressive. I think the Vegan thing had been done somewhere, and didn't David Eddings do the poison, but the spelling error i didn't realize, your right
from
EE

When I read the Vegan part, it made me think of the "Wizards First Rule" series. This may be a bit of a stretch, but the spelling error brought to mind "The Mis-Enchanted Sword", in which a simple mistake when casting a spell caused a real problem for the main character.

WalkingTarget
2008-06-17, 08:46 AM
A nephew or something of someone big over at Random House picked up the book and enjoyed it. THEY gave it to their relative because they enjoyed it. So it was (IIRC) a 12 year old boy saying "I like this story" and so the upper person considered it because frankly there isn't much fantasy out there right now that appeals to teens.

This type of event has historical precedent too.

Tolkien hadn't been looking to publish The Hobbit, but the copy that he'd typed up to loan to friends made it into the hands of Stanley Unwin (of Allen & Unwin publishers) who had his 10 year old son, Rayner, read it. Rayner's recommendation is essentially what got it published.

It wouldn't surprise me if Paolini got similarly lucky in some respects.

Project_Mayhem
2008-06-17, 09:24 AM
So......lay off of it. They're not meant to be the next Great American Novel but they're ENJOYABLE for some to read. And they aren't plagiarism. The plot is just a general fantasy one. If you don't like it........go write your own since you know what you want to read and what others want to read as well.

Couple of points here - Basically, nobodys accusing him of plagiarism, just unoriginality, a less cardinal sin for authors, but still an important one. Also, the point is, I imagine that with the inclination most of the playground could write stories like this. However, they aren't related to publishers.

Also, Huck Finn was the last great American novel, everything else pales in comparison :smallwink:

Bryn
2008-06-17, 09:53 AM
Whether or not Eragon is a bad book, whether or not Paolini commited plagiarism, is it really worth getting angry about? I genuinely don't understand why people are willing to go to such immense lengths to complain about a book; when I read a book that I don't enjoy for some reason, I will stop reading it, put it down, and find something better to do with my time. Nobody has ever been hurt by Paolini's writing.

It's not as if there is some comedy to be found in snarking about Eragon, as there might be for, say, Dominic Deegan; at least, there is no longer since Anti-Shurtugal has thoroughly torn it to pieces.

There are worse books than Eragon, and many of them. As a serious question, why is it that Eragon is so much more deserving of hate and periodic bashing than any other book?

In short, I suppose, why has everyone forgotten the MST3K Mantra (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/MST3KMantra)?

shadow_archmagi
2008-06-17, 10:13 AM
Lets see, you have publicly insulted my intelligence, my writing, and my quality, my points, and my way of doing things. Keep your hypocrisy to yourself


1) solo is very good at recognizing stupidity
2) I said i could do better than Pauloni, not that i already has a book ready for critique. You also claimed you were better.
3) No, i think i'd rather avoid your pretuculence as you haven't countered any actual points
4) You also have insulted, and made the assumption that i need to produce the writing to be worthy, which is absurd considered you are no authority


Yet again, bad sarcasm and childish insults, good day


1. You've insulted me every bit as much.
2. Apparently less so than I thought.
3. I did indeed, and were someone to call me on it, I would be happy to produce something to the effect of eragon.
4. If I recall, your points were (feel free to correct me on this)
A. Shadow is childish and petulant and arrogant and petty and irrelevant and snobbish and drunken and elitist and childish and petty.
B. Just because you make minor errors it doesn't mean you're a bad writer.
C. Ending every post with "from, EE" is formal and stylish.

5. I am not an authority. The forums, collectively, are. I am sure all of them have read Eragon, in addition to plenty of fantasy, and the mandate from the masses will be more than adequate. If you like, I'll even do the same.

Why do I get the feeling this is going to be called an absurd demand?

Shademan
2008-06-17, 10:39 AM
im impressed at the fact that he actually wrote a book at that age. i couldnt amass the patience as a fifteen year old.
... i still can amass it...
anyways! when he growsup i think he will make better books.¨maybe...

EvilElitest
2008-06-17, 10:47 AM
1. You've insulted me every bit as much.
2. Apparently less so than I thought.
3. I did indeed, and were someone to call me on it, I would be happy to produce something to the effect of eragon.
4. If I recall, your points were (feel free to correct me on this)
A. Shadow is childish and petulant and arrogant and petty and irrelevant and snobbish and drunken and elitist and childish and petty.
B. Just because you make minor errors it doesn't mean you're a bad writer.
C. Ending every post with "from, EE" is formal and stylish.

5. I am not an authority. The forums, collectively, are. I am sure all of them have read Eragon, in addition to plenty of fantasy, and the mandate from the masses will be more than adequate. If you like, I'll even do the same.

1) I have only pointed out your childish and pettiness in this entire attack
2) Yet again, a waste of my time
3) Before you make petulant demands from others, do so your self.
4A) And i explained why in my lengthy paragraph
4b) and i am wrong how?
4C) Yes, and i see no problem with it
4d) and your general laco of evidenct
5) you claim to represent the forum. What arrogance. The forum hasn't made a collective demand for writing evidence only you have, and you have only asked me, not the other people who claim (most likely rightfully) that they could do better. I'll only provide evidence if i can
A) see an actual point to doing so
b) there is an actual demand for it, not one persons immaturity



Why do I get the feeling this is going to be called an absurd demand?
[/QUOTE]
Because it is. your entire basis for your attack has holes, and is an extremly immature way to handle writing
from
EE

Waffles
2008-06-17, 11:19 AM
Waffle, I'm amazed and disgusted that someone actually could compare Eragon and two of my favorite author...I'll just stop now or I'm gonna get really rude and nobody want that.

Their books are similar in that nothing they've ever written has nothing more than entertainment value. You won't garner anything from the experience and the books have nothing to teach.

Unless Harry Potter teaches you about the power of friendship or whatever.

Were-Sandwich
2008-06-17, 11:28 AM
Their books are similar in that nothing they've ever written has nothing more than entertainment value. You won't garner anything from the experience and the books have nothing to teach.

Unless Harry Potter teaches you about the power of friendship or whatever.

Most fiction doesn't teach you anything. Even political-essays-in-disguise like Heinlein's work doesn't really teach you anything, it just gives you a very good idea of someone's opinions. Well, except little kids books, but then they're supposed to teach kids about love, friendship and stuff.

DomaDoma
2008-06-17, 11:42 AM
Ah, now, I've found Cornelius Fudge analogies (for example) helpful in talking politics with my fellow Potterites. And that's not to get into all the miscellaneous bits about stargazing and obscure Greek mythology I've found on Potter-fueled research benders. Heck, I picked up crochet so that I wouldn't need to spend thirty bucks on a Gryffindor scarf. This is, mind you, because I was a pretty obsessive fan, but Paolini's general lack of a) research, and b) a compelling enough story to make people care, does cost him.

EvilElitest
2008-06-17, 12:39 PM
Their books are similar in that nothing they've ever written has nothing more than entertainment value. You won't garner anything from the experience and the books have nothing to teach.

Unless Harry Potter teaches you about the power of friendship or whatever.

well they both have originality and don't use purple prose, so that is a plus
from
EE

Artemician
2008-06-17, 12:39 PM
I believe I've said before that trading text walls with other posters is an exercise in futility. There comes a point when it's just down to hard-nosed stubbornness to read through voluminous but ultimately empty posts. At this point, you need to take a step back and do Summary&Review.

@EE:

Point the First: The Spelling
You have dyslexia. Fine. That isn't the problem. However, your unwillingness to do something about the difficulties that you know you face is. Since you know you have problems with spelling, do something about it.

Point the Second: The Gratituous Signature
I honestly couldn't care less about your "Signing Off" since as you said, I can skip it. But I can see why other people might have a problem with it. It's annoying. It's arrogant. It's unnecessary. It has no merit other than to annoy people. It's just a minor detail, but as they say, the devil's in the detail.

Regarding the Topic:

Point 1: The Plagiarism/Inspiration
Paolini stole plenty of stuff. He invented some stuff. Whatever.

As far as I'm concerned, you can steal all the stuff you want, as long as you make it good. This is purely my own personal opinion. You don't see me trying to pass it off as fact.

Some people resent him doing so, because he really took a lot of inspiration. But he has also invented some stuff on his own. Whether the ratio of Stolen/Original is too much for you is entirely your own decision.

Point 2: The Quality
Paolini's world-building isn't exactly fantastic. He has many crapsack errors that make you want to do a wallbanger. He has plot holes, entire annoying sappy chapters that should be deleted for stupidity, and in general, lots of ****.

But quality is not an absolute value. He has lots of ****, but there are some gems hidden here and there. Noone is going to say that Paolini is a *fantastic* writer, but he isn't absolutely horrible. He is good enough for some people to read. Others think he's below their standards. Again, it's your own decision.

Point 3: The Bad Feeling
Many people feel that Paolini isn't deserving of the hype that has been given him. Others think he just sucks horribly. Whatever the case may be, some people hate Paolini. But that doesn't mean that everyone hates Paolini.

The Bottomline:

Nothing is an absolute when debating subjective opinions. You propose opinions. You do not cite them as absolute fact without Evidence as you have done so far.

shadow_archmagi
2008-06-17, 12:56 PM
1) I have only pointed out your childish and pettiness in this entire attack
2) Yet again, a waste of my time
3) Before you make petulant demands from others, do so your self.
4A) And i explained why in my lengthy paragraph
4b) and i am wrong how?
4C) Yes, and i see no problem with it
4d) and your general lack of evidence
5) you claim to represent the forum. What arrogance. The forum hasn't made a collective demand for writing evidence only you have, and you have only asked me, not the other people who claim (most likely rightfully) that they could do better. I'll only provide evidence if i can
A) see an actual point to doing so
b) there is an actual demand for it, not one persons immaturity


Because it is. your entire basis for your attack has holes, and is an extremely immature way to handle writing
from
EE[/QUOTE]

3. Petulant? You made a claim and I called you on it. If you want, I'll do it as well. I'll even use a short story I started (and never finished) when I was 15.

4B. As I've said before, it isn't impossible. But it is rare, and unlikely.

4C. I don't think we'll ever convince you its stupid. It isn't really possible to say without a doubt "well your signing off, divided by cool, is an irrational number, see? It doesn't work out." Likewise, you cannot prove beyond a doubt that it is stylish. Of course, I could raise the question of why "formally" sign off when this is not a "formal" post and therefore not worthy of even minor grammatical attention. But lets let this particular argument rest; it can't be won.

5. I never claimed to "represent" the forum. I said to turn it over to the forum. As in "well you throw the witch into that there pond and we'll see if she's made of wood."


5A. But there would be a point, wouldn't there? Imagine it; the entire forum saying you are better than a published author.

5B. I only wanted to see something incredibly rare and hard to find. If you can show me that you, someone whose posts are riddled with grammatical errors and misspelled words, can write well, then it'd prove me wrong.

I admit, I can't prove that you, or anyone who can't spell, is automatically a poor writer. But I've never seen something brilliant or insightful that wasn't also clean and near-perfect. Now it seems I never will.

EvilElitest
2008-06-17, 01:03 PM
@EE:

Point the First: The Spelling
You have dyslexia. Fine. That isn't the problem. However, your unwillingness to do something about the difficulties that you know you face is. Since you know you have problems with spelling, do something about it.

Who says i don't do anything about it? I try my best to make my spelling understandable, and i use spell check. I can deal with minor spelling errors, because everybody makes minor spelling errors, as long as i'm understandable, like below


Point the Second: The Gratituous Signature
I honestly couldn't care less about your "Signing Off" since as you said, I can skip it. But I can see why other people might have a problem with it. It's annoying. It's arrogant. It's unnecessary. It has no merit other than to annoy people. It's just a minor detail, but as they say, the devil's in the detail.

1) as you can see, it is a minor spelling error. I can understand what you are trying to say however, so it isn't something to get worked up about
2) the thing is, i fail to see what makes it annoying. You can read over it. It isn't going to burn anyone's eyes out, and i forgive me if i lack sympathy with people who have to take 3 seconds to read from EE
3) Arrogant? I don't see why, i'm only saying "From EE" What arrogance is there? Every "reason" has been faulty, and requires a good deal of leaps in logic. I fail to see how the words "from EE" are any more offensive than signing your name in a letter "from, John Doe"
4) Unnecessary? I like to have a formal finishing. As it is my post, i deiced if it is necessary or not. I fail to see any sort of negative repercussion that comes from that, because six extra letters in my word count won't make a difference ether way
5) Nor do any of these reasons justify SA's petulant and out right childish attacks


Point 1: The Plagiarism/Inspiration
Paolini stole plenty of stuff. He invented some stuff. Whatever.

As far as I'm concerned, you can steal all the stuff you want, as long as you make it good. This is purely my own personal opinion. You don't see me trying to pass it off as fact.

Some people resent him doing so, because he really took a lot of inspiration. But he has also invented some stuff on his own. Whether the ratio of Stolen/Original is too much for you is entirely your own decision.
[/QUOTE]



Epistle the Seventh

Imitation as the Most Insincere Form of Flattery

Let it not be said that the Epistler does not listen to his readers. He is pleased that the fruits of his labours have provided entertainment and proven informative. It has reached his attention that his diagnosis of Eragon’s sociopathy has been challenged. The Epistler admits that he may have been less thorough than he should have been, but would like to add that he sadly passed beyond the mortal plane before he had the opportunity to make a study of psychology, much as he would have liked to. Either way, even if Eragon is not a full-blown sociopath, it remains true that he has severe psychological problems. Much like the Epistler does, but the Epistler would like to believe that his own psychosis is a little more entertaining.
The Epistler would like to take this opportunity to thank those who have put forward suggestions for further Epistles, as he had been having difficulty thinking of a new topic to cover. In order to thank these people, he will now offer the following teaser for future Epistles. The Epistler intends to view the upcoming Eragon movie and will compose an Epistle which gives his views on it – even if the movie proves to be good, which at the moment appears unlikely. He will also obtain a copy of the Eldest Deluxe Edition as soon as he is able to, and will write an Epistle about the “special exclusive features” therein (the use of salesperson language puts a bad taste in the Epistler’s mouth). When the final book of the Inheritance trilogy is released, the Epistler intends to read it and write a running commentary on it, most likely spread over several Epistles. He cannot but feel some trepidation at this prospect, especially if said book proves to be as long as rumour implies, and even more so if people’s impressions of the sample provided in the Eldest Deluxe Edition is found to be accurate and the book surpasses the awfulness of its prequel (now there is a run-on sentence to be proud of!).

And now, without further ado, on with Epistle the Seventh. Of all the topics that have been suggested so far, the Epistler found this one the most challenging but also the most tantalising. Besides which, how can he set out to criticise Paolini’s work without doing justice to what is possibly the most loathed aspect of it? He cannot and shall not.

Of all the crimes Paolini has committed against literature, possibly the most heinous one is his plagiarism. The Epistler absolutely refuses to call it “homage”, “tribute” or “influence” for the simple reason that it is not. Perhaps Paolini thinks it is these things, but if he does then he is wrong. Epistle the Seventh will discuss the difference between plagiarism and paying tribute, and will explain why Paolini should not be excused.

On Originality
True originality does not exist.
This is a sweeping statement which many people – including writers – have made and created instant controversy with. The Epistler thought long and hard about it and eventually decided that it was both true and untrue.

Interpreted at its most superficial level, the statement is false. If one reads it to mean that it is impossible to create a work which is distinct, then it is absolute nonsense. Anyone who truly believes this should not be allowed to write novels. Ever. But at a deeper level, it is true. If by “true originality” one means that every story has something in common with every other story, then, no, true originality does not exist. Every story ever written is related to every other story ever written at a fundamental, unchangeable level. No matter how hard you may strive to make your work completely different from everything else, others will always find ways to compare it to something else. All stories have one thing in common: they are stories. If one were to take out the things that make a story – plot and character are the most fundamental – there would be nothing left but a lot of words strung together. And, although there is nothing wrong at all with experimentation and thinking outside the box, most writers are disinclined to create works that other people will not want to read, because a story not read is completely worthless.

In literature, much emphasis is placed on experimental works such as, for example, the French novelette called The Malady of Death, which goes so far into the realm of plotlessness and characterlessness that it is virtually incomprehensible. The Malady of Death is a smoothly written and beautiful work, but very few people would be able to relate to it, even though they may feel sophisticated and intellectual for having read it.

What people want – the dirty little secret that lurks at the bottom of literary study – what people truly want from stories is very simple: entertainment. People read stories because it’s fun. The human brain does not take kindly to boredom. Stimulation is what it craves. In other words, entertainment. Stories are a way to make life interesting, a way to escape from reality and a way to define the world and create some kind of order out of chaos and confusion.

The best stories, the ones that provide the entertainment people want, are the ones that are easy to relate to, and hence, in the end, they must have characters and situations the reader finds familiar in some way, and there must be something going on in order to maintain the reader’s interest – in other words, a plot. There is little point in writing a novel if nobody can relate to it. The Epistler has travelled in academic circles and has been forced to listen to a large amount of nonsense about style, trend, literary theory and the importance of showing the world how clever you are by writing a 60-page novel wherein two people do nothing but screw and talk about nothing, and the conclusion he has reached is as follows: pull your head in and just write a good story.

So. The point of this rather longwinded discussion is that, no, in the end the true essence of originality does not exist because at the end of the day stories remain stories and cannot escape from what lies at the heart of their nature and which they all have in common.

But this in no way implies that each story should not strive to be unique.
A story is not just a collection of words. It is, at bottom, an expression of something pure that lies inside every person. Everyone has at least one story in them. And this story comes from them. Not from anyone else. There will inevitably be influences from elsewhere in any given work, but the driving force behind the story comes from inside its writer’s soul. A writer writes to express something. It can be anything, but this something is always something they have felt and been profoundly affected by. This is what every true novel has at its heart. It may not be well-expressed, it may be obscure, it may be false or distasteful, or even boring, but it is always there.
But the Inheritance trilogy has no heart. It is a book without a soul. The Epistler says this with complete seriousness.
Why?

The Inheritance trilogy is pulp. Mindless, empty, bland pulp. It cannot be called literature because it, unlike those novels worthy of the name, completely lacks that sense of truth at its heart. Not a hint of its creator’s soul showed through at any point in the text. It never had the chance. How could it possibly reveal anything about the boy who wrote it when he has utterly failed to include even a hint of original thought or creativity?

The trilogy does not have a “voice”. Instead it is an echo of an echo of an echo. It does nothing but mindlessly and pointlessly regurgitate things which have been done a million times before, in exactly the same way, over and over again. While Paolini has lifted the characters, worlds, ideas and plots of other writers verbatim, what he has failed to transplant is what that really matters about these things. Everything in his books is there “because”. For example, in the Star Wars trilogy, it was revealed that Darth Vader was Luke Skywalker’s father because this revelation created realistic and sympathetic conflict within the hero’s mind. It added a touch of darkness and complexity to the story and heightened the viewer’s interest and emotional investment in what was happening. At the time, it was also a relatively new and fresh idea that genuinely surprised people.

In Eldest, it is revealed that Morzan was Eragon’s father and this makes absolutely no difference to anything. Paolini includes this plot point for the gods alone know what reason – most likely because he thought it was “cool” – apparently unaware that it has to do more than just be there. In Star Wars the “I am your father” revelation was shocking and involving. In Eldest the only response from the reader is one of boredom and contempt. Why should anyone find it at all shocking or interesting when it is so familiar? Everyone knows about what happened in Star Wars – the “I am your father” line has been relentlessly copied and parodied and has ingrained itself into popular culture to the point that most people know it before they even watch the movie. The way it is done in Eldest means that the reader feels absolutely no surprise, only astonishment that Paolini apparently believed it would provide a big “wow” moment for his readers.



And yet the idea of the protagonist of a story being in some way related to the villain does not need to be unoriginal. The reasons why Paolini failed to make it work are as follows:

Firstly, it is clumsily done. The fight between Murtagh and Eragon is painfully contrived, and when Murtagh “dramatically” reveals to Eragon that they are brothers it is hampered by Paolini’s excruciatingly stilted writing. There is no sense of drama inherent in the prose at this point; the dialogue remains as horribly forced and unrealistic as ever, and this makes it difficult for the reader to immerse himself in what is going on.

Secondly, the theft is so blindingly obvious as to render this part of the book outright laughable. Absolutely no attempt has been made to hide the “inspiration” behind it; on reading it, one instantly recognises it as having come from Star Wars. Some time later the line “look inside yourself, you know it to be true” appears. This is almost identical to Vader’s famous line; “search your feelings, you know it to be true”, and only helps to confirm that, yes, Paolini stole the scene from Star Wars.

And finally, the impact that it has on the plot and characters is virtually nil. Eragon feels a little depressed about it for approximately half a page, and then it is all over and forgotten. The fact that it makes so little impression on Eragon makes the reader dismiss it just as quickly and move on. If Eragon is barely upset by it, why should the reader care? Thus we see the point emerge; we have had the idea without the spirit. Paolini stole the “I am your father” element but completely ignored the whole reason why Lucas used it in the first place. It is simply there, and that is all.

Now, there could easily have been a way to make Eragon be related to a villain without making it an obvious ripoff of Star Wars. There would have been nothing wrong with Paolini using the idea, even if he did get it from Lucas, if he firstly put an original spin on it and secondly made it count. There was no need to have it revealed at the height of a fight scene with the evil emperor’s right-hand man. It could have been known from the beginning. A different character could have revealed it. Eragon could have gone through the whole trilogy not knowing and not found out until the very end of the story. By taking not just the essence of the idea – ie that the hero’s father was evil – but the way in which someone else has already expressed it, Paolini made the ripoff incredibly blatant. The near-identical “revelation” scene means that the reader can easily see the strings, and hence it is not an old idea expressed in a new way, but simply another example of plagiarism.

Paying Tribute: a Tithe to the Greats

In writing, it is common practise to pay tribute to the works of other people. Homages are completely the norm in the creative world. For example, Quentin Tarantino is a fan of old Japanese kung-fu movies and constantly references them in his own works. But this does not make him a plagiarist. Kill Bill is not a ripoff just because it includes a line from another movie called Lady Snowblood. Why? Because the plotline and characters are original, the way in which the movie was made is Tarantino’s own unique style, and the whole production is stamped with his personality. The “revenge movie” is a well-known subgenre, but it is the way in which Tarantino has created his own revenge movie that makes it his and nobody else’s. He created the character of The Bride, he created the Deadly Viper Assassination Squad, it was his idea to show parts of the movie out of sequence, to include a segment shot in black and white and to animate another part. This all came from him. But, every now and then, something appears in the movie which is not his creation. When O-ren Ishii says “look at me… take a good look at my face… do I look familiar? Do I look like someone you murdered?” she is paraphrasing Lady Snowblood’s line; “…do I look familiar? Do I look like someone you raped?”. But the line is used for a different purpose and in a different way. It is not there to compensate for a lack of creativity on Tarantino’s part. If he had written a different piece of dialogue that expressed the same thing, the impact would have remained the same. He took the line and used it in a slightly similar scenario (ie someone getting revenge) as a nod to a movie he admired. At the same time, the tribute only extends as far as this one line. There are no major plot-points lifted wholesale from somewhere else – even if there is influence present, Tarantino has put his own spin on everything.

Thus we have an excellent example of a proper tribute. It is not intellectual theft; it is perfectly acceptable, even clever.

Some people, in attempting to defend Paolini on the charge of plagiarism, have said that all his supposed thefts were in fact tributes. But they are not.

For one thing, in all the interviews he has given, although he claimed that some of his names were “tributes” or “contained hidden jokes” (in fact, virtually all of them were lifted from Lord of the Rings with a few letters changed and none of them were either hidden or at all amusing), Paolini never added that his plot-line was taken from Star Wars – hence he did not acknowledge that it does not belong to him, which amounts to pretending that it does. When challenged about his thefts, he simply responded that “all fantasy is derivative”. It is highly probable that he knows his works are unoriginal, but he is apparently under the delusion that this is somehow acceptable. Or perhaps he simply does not care. The Epistler is uncertain as to which attitude is more aggravating.

Another reason why Paolini’s “ideas” are not tributes but thefts is that he has used what he has taken not in order to enrich a world, story and characters that belong to him, but in place of the original ideas that should have been there. Instead of coming up with his own plotline he copied Star Wars, and instead of creating his own world he stitched together a Frankenstein’s monster from pieces of a hundred other fantasy books. Absolutely everything in his books is recognisable as having been taken from somewhere else, and only the barest hint of originality ever shows through. Even the most minor and inconsequential elements are stolen.

Solembum the werecat? Taken from Garth Nix (albeit with an absolutely ridiculous new name slapped on). Angela the witch? Which of any number of “cheerfully eccentric” mystics would you prefer? Elva? Taken from Dune, or possibly The Ring. Arya’s name? Stolen from G.R.R.Martin. Eragon? Perilously close to Aragorn. Even if it was actually created by changing one letter in the word “dragon”, as Paolini claims, the Epistler does not believe it. Saphira? Taken from, of all places, the Bible. Hrothgar? Taken from Beowulf. The Star Sapphire? Step forward, David Eddings. Elves and dwarves? Everyone already knows the answer to that one.

And so on and so forth.

Paolini seems to have written the books in reverse. The so-called “tributes” make up the bulk of the story, and the very, very few vaguely original elements appear here and there and do not make an important part of the story, as if they were taking the place of proper homages.

The reason why his “tributes” are not tributes is because, rather than enriching the story, they are the story. It is all homage, all reference. Eragon and Eldest are nothing more than a pair of extended quotations with a few words changed here and there. Because Paolini has allowed other people’s ideas to take the place of his own, he has stepped very firmly indeed over the line from tribute into plagiarism.



Plagiarism: The Unforgivable Crime

In the literary world, there are few things as despised as much as plagiarism. A book is hard to write, and new ideas are worth their weight in gold. Hence, stealing them is the equivalent of stealing money. It is, in essence, cheating. Not taking the time to think up your own ideas shows open contempt for the creative process, and stealing someone else’s ideas mocks and cheapens their hard work.

Paolini is a literary parasite. He has taken things which do not belong to him and used them as if he owned them, and in the process has made the entire world of fantasy writing look bad. This is not something that should be ignored. Too many people have admitted that he is a thief, but then proceeded to pretend that it doesn’t matter. It does matter. It matters because writing is an art, and one which has enriched the lives of millions ever since the written word first came into existence. If the Epistler stole a necklace from a jewellery shop and then claimed to have made it, even though it still had the maker’s label prominently visible, would you be impressed?

So, you may be wondering, if Paolini is indeed a thief, what should be done about it?

The Epistler is aware that, as far as most people know, none of Paolini’s victims have pressed charges. Unfortunately, copyright cannot be placed on ideas. Paolini had just enough common sense to make enough changes – superficial though they be – to avoid actually breaching copyright laws. However, he need not be taken to court. All it would take would be for George Lucas, Anne McCaffrey, the Tolkien estate, David Eddings or any one of those whose ideas he stole to acknowledge the crime committed against them and, preferably, condemn it. The Epistler does not know why they have not done so. Perhaps they don’t know about it, or perhaps they don’t care. But the Epistler believes that they have a duty to their fans to not let this sort of thing pass unchecked. There should be some sort of reaction.

As for the rest of the world, who are not so fortunate to have been left with an itchy welt from Paolini’s proboscis, if they truly care about creativity, and respect those who take the time and effort to be original, the way to punish Paolini would be to boycott him. Do not buy his books. Do not see the movie or buy any of the tie-in merchandising. Stop putting money in his pockets, because he has not earned it. Stealing is a crime. See to it that it doesn’t pay.

CP doesn't simply take "inspiration" from other works, he shows an a horrid lack of originality. He produces nothing but a stream of cliches , and maybe 1 or 2 original ideas that are badly implemented due to crappy writing

Point 2: The Quality
Paolini's world-building isn't exactly fantastic. He has many crapsack errors that make you want to do a wallbanger. He has plot holes, entire annoying sappy chapters that should be deleted for stupidity, and in general, lots of ****.

But quality is not an absolute value. He has lots of ****, but there are some gems hidden here and there. Noone is going to say that Paolini is a *fantastic* writer, but he isn't absolutely horrible. He is good enough for some people to read. Others think he's below their standards. Again, it's your own decision.

[/QUOTE]
http://anti-shurtugal.com/epistle2.htm
need i say more


Point 3: The Bad Feeling
Many people feel that Paolini isn't deserving of the hype that has been given him. Others think he just sucks horribly. Whatever the case may be, some people hate Paolini. But that doesn't mean that everyone hates Paolini.

But the hate has a logical basis
http://anti-shurtugal.com/epistle1.htm



The Bottomline:

Nothing is an absolute when debating subjective opinions. You propose opinions. You do not cite them as absolute fact without Evidence as you have done so far.
We have standards in terms of writing. That is how we judge the difference between George Orwell's 1984, and some fan fiction. That is how we can judge real quality, using real standards. If everything is subjective in terms of quality, then i say again, there is nothing wrong with Shreeded Moose or Eye of Aragon (however you spell it)
from
EE

Artemician
2008-06-17, 01:20 PM
Who says i don't do anything about it? I try my best to make my spelling understandable, and i use spell check. I can deal with minor spelling errors, because everybody makes minor spelling errors, as long as i'm understandable, like below

You evidently don't do enough.


Long Stream of Polemics

See below.


We have standards in terms of writing. That is how we judge the difference between George Orwell's 1984, and some fan fiction. That is how we can judge real quality, using real standards. If everything is subjective in terms of quality, then i say again, there is nothing wrong with Shreeded Moose or Eye of Aragon (however you spell it)

I never said you couldn't attempt to do objective evaluations, even of inherently subjective areas like Literature. However, there is a major difference between an Objective Evaluation and a Rant. One of these considers the other side of view, before ultimately rejecting it. The other trumpets its own opinion as absolute fact.

You say, I consider Work X to be of poor quality, for the follow reasons A, B and C. It may have redeeming features X and Y, but ultimately I feel that these are not enough to redeem the work as a whole.

You do not say Work X sucks horribly and has no redeeming features at all, because everything has a redeeming feature of some sort.

EvilElitest
2008-06-17, 01:23 PM
3. Petulant? You made a claim and I called you on it. If you want, I'll do it as well. I'll even use a short story I started (and never finished) when I was 15.

And there is a proper time, place and manner to demand evidence, not acting like an interrogator with a deadline. You've made a totally unjustified full blown attack on my person, with an extremly faulty basis.


4B. As I've said before, it isn't impossible. But it is rare, and unlikely.
proof? I mean, your claims mean nothing because you aren't any person of authority, nor do you provide and facts or evidence to back you up


4C. I don't think we'll ever convince you its stupid. It isn't really possible to say without a doubt "well your signing off, divided by cool, is an irrational number, see? It doesn't work out." Likewise, you cannot prove beyond a doubt that it is stylish. Of course, I could raise the question of why "formally" sign off when this is not a "formal" post and therefore not worthy of even minor grammatical attention. But lets let this particular argument rest; it can't be won.

1) because i enjoy the formally, it is writing a letter. I prefer it to a sig, because this feels more personal
2) and yet you used this as a justification for a personal attack, which is childish and immature, considering no harm comes from it, and is no justification for hatred.


5. I never claimed to "represent" the forum. I said to turn it over to the forum. As in "well you throw the witch into that there pond and we'll see if she's made of wood."

You made the claim when you made the demand. Plenty of other people have claimed, most likely rightfully to be able to produce better quality than Eragon, and yet you haven't called them out, as you would if you had an actual standard. You have made a demand, not a request, not polite question, but a demand for my personal writing, rather than say, actually looking through my past posts for evidence, which would be easier and less childish. This isn't a writing thread, if you really wanted to act like an adult and get writing samples, you should have started your own thread and asked people to submit work to demonstrate quality.


5A. But there would be a point, wouldn't there? Imagine it; the entire forum saying you are better than a published author.

Yeah, that would be nice. But if i wanted that, and i am tempted, i would do so in the proper time, place and using the proper manner, not because some random internet flamer demanded it


5B. I only wanted to see something incredibly rare and hard to find. If you can show me that you, someone whose posts are riddled with grammatical errors and misspelled words, can write well, then it'd prove me wrong.
Yeah, but i don't see the need to provide my own work. i have plenty of long lengthy posts all over this forum that you can uses a basis. If you are really so eager to see people's writing, then start your own thread, not make attacks. I mean, basic F**king civility. And when i'm lecturing on civility, that is pretty sad because i'm a generally nasty person. But opening a personal flame attack and utterly unbacked and misunderstood claims? that is out right offensive, and extremly low, hence childish, immature, and time wasting



I admit, I can't prove that you, or anyone who can't spell, is automatically a poor writer. But I've never seen something brilliant or insightful that wasn't also clean and near-perfect. Now it seems I never will.
1) I claim to be a better writer tahn CP, that doesn't mean i have to be brilliant or insightful, that just means i need to have a better plot, less purple prose, more originality, and a good editor
2) there are plenty of people who suffer with spelling who still write. They get editors when they publish something, which i don't actually have, but they can suffer when they write on their own. Are you making the claim there are no people in the world with Dyslexia who can write well?
from
EE

EvilElitest
2008-06-17, 01:32 PM
You evidently don't do enough.

As i said, minor spelling errors. If somebody cries every time they see a lower case i on an internet forum, i honestly can't be bothered to care. As long as i am understandable here, i am content, as my ideas are what i put stock into



See below.

wait, what about the links and the essay i provided. Eh?


I never said you couldn't attempt to do objective evaluations, even of inherently subjective areas like Literature. However, there is a major difference between an Objective Evaluation and a Rant. One of these considers the other side of view, before ultimately rejecting it. The other trumpets its own opinion as absolute fact.

But how does the essay i proved not provide the other side. I think Mr. E very effectives breaks down what is wrong with Eragon in a mature manner. Somebody like John Solomon is a person who would be guilty of what you say, yes, as he simply attacks without restraint or understanding, but i fail to see how the essay i provided doesn't fall through



You say, I consider Work X to be of poor quality, for the follow reasons A, B and C. It may have redeeming features X and Y, but ultimately I feel that these are not enough to redeem the work as a whole.

You do not say Work X sucks horribly and has no redeeming features at all, because everything has a redeeming feature of some sort.

I didn't, i acknowledged the few good things about it, i just focused on the negative because that is far more prevalent

Or in the essay i provided, the review of Eldest acknowledges some unexpected realism with Rowan's story

from
EE

edit
Eragon could be the book version of Uncharted Drake Fortune
from
EE

Oregano
2008-06-17, 02:11 PM
I'd just like to point something out EE...


And there is a proper time, place and manner to demand evidence, not acting like an interrogator with a deadline. You've made a totally unjustified full blown attack on my person, with an extremly faulty basis.

I'm going to answer this with a quote from someone you might know well:


proof? I mean, your claims mean nothing because you aren't any person of authority, nor do you provide and facts or evidence to back you up.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------


proof? I mean, your claims mean nothing because you aren't any person of authority, nor do you provide and facts or evidence to back you up.
I'm going to answer this with a quote from the same person:

And there is a proper time, place and manner to demand evidence, not acting like an interrogator with a deadline. You've made a totally unjustified full blown attack on my person, with an extremly faulty basis.

One more point, he is referencing your posts as measures of your writing ability and you yourself said you don't put too much effort into them so that's moot.

On Topic:
I've never read Eragon or Eldest or the other one but I didn't like the film of Eragon however someone I know has read all of them and they seem to like them so there must be something good about them.

@V:The quotes are fine, I just wanted to point out the hypocrisy of what you're saying. I don't really want to get involved in the argument though.

EvilElitest
2008-06-17, 02:26 PM
you've screwed your quotes up, you should fix that

Also, if you want writing quality, just general quality, the if one can ignore spelling errors my posts can provide a general understanding of my writing. Demanding evidence is simply rude and bad form
from
EE

Project_Mayhem
2008-06-17, 02:35 PM
In all seriousness, just drop the sodding EE flaming now, its boring and petty. You might have some good points about grammer, but your phrasing them far too rudely.

And EE, don't rise to it, it just encourages.

EvilElitest
2008-06-17, 02:50 PM
Thank you. If we want to judge my writing, we can make a thread about that
from
EE

Selrahc
2008-06-17, 03:40 PM
Again, meant merely as constructive criticism...


As long as i am understandable here, i am content,

Sometimes you really aren't. Honestly, I've debated you on a few threads, and on occasion there were some hopelessly garbled pieces of text. It's something that elementary proof reading could fix, and I do feel it would help you as a debater.

On grammar and spelling in general then... a well laid out, grammatically good post is easier to read. Especially if its a longer offering. Making things easier on others is not strictly neccesary, and may cut into some of your posting time, but it would be a nice gesture, to adhere to the same general standards that the rest of the community follows.

As to why I find the "From EE" slightly annoying(Note, I did not say it burnt my face off, or any of the other hyperbole you've been using), it is because of how blatantly unnecassary it is. You have a username, you have a sig. Nobody is confused as to who it is. A formal signoff is used in letters, not forum posts(Which are notably very unformal places).

Aside from that, theres the other reason of a more pratical and less aesthetic tack. Every time I have to quote you, I need to cut that bit off the end of your posts. It wastes my time. Not much, but enough to be slightly annoying, as I don't really want to continually be removing a useless piece of text whenever I'm in a debate with you.

Lord Seth
2008-06-17, 03:50 PM
You evidently don't do enough.You do not say Work X sucks horribly and has no redeeming features at all, because everything has a redeeming feature of some sort.Spoken like someone who has never played Custer's Revenge and has never watched Manos: the Hands of Fate.

EDIT: And has never played Big Rigs: Over the Road Racing. I can't believe I forgot to mention that.

EvilElitest
2008-06-17, 03:58 PM
Again, meant merely as constructive criticism...



Sometimes you really aren't. Honestly, I've debated you on a few threads, and on occasion there were some hopelessly garbled pieces of text. It's something that elementary proof reading could fix, and I do feel it would help you as a debater.

And if this is the case, i try my best to edit it



On grammar and spelling in general then... a well laid out, grammatically good post is easier to read. Especially if its a longer offering. Making things easier on others is not strictly neccesary, and may cut into some of your posting time, but it would be a nice gesture, to adhere to the same general standards that the rest of the community follows.

As i said, i try my best to make my self understood, and get my point across, which is my first priority


As to why I find the "From EE" slightly annoying(Note, I did not say it burnt my face off, or any of the other hyperbole you've been using), it is because of how blatantly unnecassary it is. You have a username, you have a sig. Nobody is confused as to who it is. A formal signoff is used in letters, not forum posts(Which are notably very unformal places).
1) Wasn't addressed to you actually
2) you find it unnecessary, i don't. I feel that the post is complete when i sign it at the end, because it feels finished, like a letter. I'm not trying to get people to remember my name, through it does help, i simply wish to finish off the post, and i feel that a formal ending is the best way to do so.



Aside from that, theres the other reason of a more pratical and less aesthetic tack. Every time I have to quote you, I need to cut that bit off the end of your posts. It wastes my time. Not much, but enough to be slightly annoying, as I don't really want to continually be removing a useless piece of text whenever I'm in a debate with you.

Why do you need to cut it off. Just include it, it is only six characters, and i doubt anyone is going to start crying seeing that the quote slightly longer
from
EE

Selrahc
2008-06-17, 04:35 PM
And if this is the case, i try my best to edit it

But a bit of proof reading would stop that situation occuring in the first place.

As i said, i try my best to make my self understood, and get my point across, which is my first priority

Well great. But following grammar and spelling certainly won't hurt your point, and would make your posts more readable. Are you really opposed to that?


1) Wasn't addressed to you actually

Well nobody actually said their eyes bleed upon reading it, or expressed anything other than mild annoyance, so I assumed it was general hyperbole directed at anyone who disaproved.


2) you find it unnecessary, i don't. I feel that the post is complete when i sign it at the end, because it feels finished, like a letter. I'm not trying to get people to remember my name, through it does help, i simply wish to finish off the post, and i feel that a formal ending is the best way to do so.

You find it necessary? A part of the post that is integral to the message?

I find your whole attitude radically different when it comes to the quasi-sig when compared to the body of text. As far as I can work out your priority list goes:

1. Getting message across in general
2. Quasi-sig.
3. Time
4. Getting message across perfectly(Hence no proof reading)
5. Spelling and grammar.

It takes time to do the quasi sig. It takes time to make your posts nice to read. In one case that is judged fine, yet in the other it is judged expedient.

Why do you have the time to write the quasi sig, but not the time to capitalize an I? Or write make instead of ,ale? Or reread your post? Why the big attitude shift over the two subjects?

My slight annoyance comes because in a very informal written medium you sign off in a formal way. You are mixing writing styles, and I do find that just a tad annoying. I could live with it, but since someone else already brought it up, I thought I might as well give my two cents.


Why do you need to cut it off. Just include it, it is only six characters, and i doubt anyone is going to start crying seeing that the quote slightly longer

If I quote your post and am responding point by point(As I am here), then I only need the parts of your posts that are actual points. Of course nobody is going to start crying, but it would make my whole post a little bit clumsier if the point I am trying to adress includes an unnecessary little extra bit. And so I delete it. And that is a little bit annoying.

EvilElitest
2008-06-17, 07:35 PM
Before we get off topic, am i right in comparing Eragon to Dominic Deegan in terms of some of its badness



But a bit of proof reading would stop that situation occuring in the first place.


Well great. But following grammar and spelling certainly won't hurt your point, and would make your posts more readable. Are you really opposed to that?

Sorry, i meant proof reading, not editing. I tend to do a brief proof read before each post, it is however diffacult as you'll understand



Well nobody actually said their eyes bleed upon reading it, or expressed anything other than mild annoyance, so I assumed it was general hyperbole directed at anyone who disapproved.

Some people did blow it far out of proportion however



You find it necessary? A part of the post that is integral to the message?

I find your whole attitude radically different when it comes to the quasi-sig when compared to the body of text. As far as I can work out your priority list goes:

1. Getting message across in general
2. Quasi-sig.
3. Time
4. Getting message across perfectly(Hence no proof reading)
5. Spelling and grammar.

It takes time to do the quasi sig. It takes time to make your posts nice to read. In one case that is judged fine, yet in the other it is judged expedient.

Why do you have the time to write the quasi sig, but not the time to capitalize an I? Or write make instead of ,ale? Or reread your post? Why the big attitude shift over the two subjects?

Wait, the sig is last, because it doesn't take any time, mental focus or effort. It takes literally two seconds to write from EE, and i tend to do it on instinct. I'm not taking effort away in formally ending the post, if i didn't write from EE my spelling isn't going to be any better or worst



My slight annoyance comes because in a very informal written medium you sign off in a formal way. You are mixing writing styles, and I do find that just a tad annoying. I could live with it, but since someone else already brought it up, I thought I might as well give my two cents.

I fail to see how that is an issue really. I write to make my point, then i finish it off. Brian P does the same thing



If I quote your post and am responding point by point(As I am here), then I only need the parts of your posts that are actual points. Of course nobody is going to start crying, but it would make my whole post a little bit clumsier if the point I am trying to adress includes an unnecessary little extra bit. And so I delete it. And that is a little bit annoying.
I fail to see why, i just indicates that you are addressing the end of my point, i'm sure everybody will understand. Now if you want make it neat for yourself, thats fine, but that will require slightly annoying yourself
from
EE

Cyclone231
2008-06-17, 07:53 PM
On the subject of EE's poor spelling and dumb pseudo-sig:

I don't need you to say "from, EE," Evil Elitest. I already know it's you by the content of your posts: the random misspellings, the fact only half the words that should be are capitalized, the annoying arguments and irrelevant attacks on people unrelated to the subject at hand. Even if you shaped up and removed this, I could still tell by your avatar.

EvilElitest
2008-06-17, 07:58 PM
On the subject of EE's poor spelling and dumb pseudo-sig:

Yes yes yes, judgmental and irritable, we've heard it

[QUOUTE]
I don't need you to say "from, EE," Evil Elitest. I already know it's you by the content of your posts: the random misspellings, the fact only half the words that should be are capitalized, the annoying arguments and irrelevant attacks on people unrelated to the subject at hand. Even if you shaped up and removed this, I could still tell by your avatar.[/QUOTE]
And when did i say that i do the sig to let people know that it is me. Try bringing something new to the table next time :smallsigh:
from
EE

DomaDoma
2008-06-17, 08:01 PM
The next person to drag out this petty, vicious, pointless flame war gets reported.

EvilElitest
2008-06-17, 08:13 PM
touche



Anyways, on the subject, does anyone else detect a similarity between Dominic Deegan and Eragon in terms of flaws and how they are both overrated?
from
EE

DraPrime
2008-06-17, 08:32 PM
The next person to drag out this petty, vicious, pointless flame war gets reported.

I applaud your use of common sense.

Zarrexaij
2008-06-17, 08:50 PM
The next person to drag out this petty, vicious, pointless flame war gets reported.Thank you for saying that. I was beginning to think it would last another three pages.

I don't know about overrated; The Inheritance series has quite a group of people that think it's the spawn of something far more vile than Lucifer himself. Just because it has a few rabid fans that go "ERAGON IS THE BEST NOVEL EVER AND IF YOU DISAGREE YOU ARE WRONG AND I WILL RIP YOUR HEAD OFF," doesn't mean it has a ton of people saying it's great.

I don't know, you could just ignore this. I tend to stir controversy when I don't mean to. And when I do... well, it backfires. :smallwink:

Demons_eye
2008-06-17, 08:54 PM
As this is a discussion of the book's literary merit, not of whether people like it or not, your enjoyment of the book and non-concern with his plagerism is not relevant to the topic at hand.


Writers who do it well, at least.



Ok...

Sniff... Well the title of the thread says Eragon: Rip off or good book? So I was saying even tho he did rip of other books it is STILL a good book itself.

But this intire thread is kinda pointless (unless its a place to find out others veiws) cuz some people like the book others dont thats the end of it.

Zarrexaij
2008-06-17, 09:03 PM
That would make all debates pointless since there is always someone who disagrees with the majority. If we all held the same opinions about everything the world would be so boring.

EvilElitest
2008-06-17, 09:05 PM
That would make all debates pointless since there is always someone who disagrees with the majority. If we all held the same opinions about everything the world would be so boring.

Quoted for truth, and i wish i had sig room for that. You should sig it

As for Eragon's fan following, it actually has a pretty devoted fan base, i mean look at its sales

from
EE

Demons_eye
2008-06-17, 09:13 PM
I do find most debates pointless, rarely do I find that imposing my veiws on other people work. I just tend to tell people what I think and hope they agree. And if they dont well I will just not bring it up around them. And as to how well the book is writen, that is what people think. If I say look at that pink flower and name all the uses and why pink is great alot of people wont say hay I like pink now. Books are the same, if you say why its good or bad thats not going to change alot of peoples mind. Now if this was did he rip off other peoples books then that would be diffrent.

EvilElitest
2008-06-17, 09:19 PM
I do find most debates pointless, rarely do I find that imposing my veiws on other people work. I just tend to tell people what I think and hope they agree. And if they dont well I will just not bring it up around them. And as to how well the book is writen, that is what people think. If I say look at that pink flower and name all the uses and why pink is great alot of people wont say hay I like pink now. Books are the same, if you say why its good or bad thats not going to change alot of peoples mind. Now if this was did he rip off other peoples books then that would be diffrent.

As i always say, under that standard, is not FATAL just as good as a game as say, Planescape torment
from
EE

Solo
2008-06-17, 09:27 PM
Sniff... Well the title of the thread says Eragon: Rip off or good book? So I was saying even tho he did rip of other books it is STILL a good book itself.
Sorry for being hard on you.

I don't know if you read up to it, but in the page or two before you posted, we had been discussing the literary merits of the book itself, aside from the copying. It didn't turn out well.

I just don't see much literary merit in it. The copying I can stand if he does something fun, good, innovative, or creative, but it honestly doesn't seem to be that way.



But this intire thread is kinda pointless (unless its a place to find out others veiws) cuz some people like the book others dont thats the end of it.
This is the interent. It is what we do.

DomaDoma
2008-06-17, 09:56 PM
As for Eragon's fan following, it actually has a pretty devoted fan base, i mean look at its sales

from
EE

I do know one true fan of the series, but his friends are buying the next book for snark purposes. The hatedom for Inheritance really is pretty disproportionate - I've read much, much worse in the fantasy field, Thomas Covenant being a prime example - but I guess it comes with the fame.

snoopy13a
2008-06-17, 10:08 PM
I think that much of the criticism towards Eragon is a bit unfair. My impression of the book is that it was geared towards a younger audience instead of adults. Therefore, it should be compared with the likes of the Hardy Boys or the Boxcar children and not Mark Twain's Huck Finn or Toni Morrison's The Bluest Eye.

Eragon is derivative but few works are completely original. Star Wars, arguably Paolini's biggest influence, is heavily influenced by Japanese film. The Lord of the Rings, a common fanasty influence, is influenced by Norse mythology. Even Shakespeare's Romeo and Juilet was inspired by a previous work. All authors have influences and if Paolini's influences are more transparent then others, then so be it. This isn't necessarily a fault. Granted, some of us may prefer those authors who draw real life experiences in constructing their novel (e.g. Hemmingway) but one cannot severly fault a young author who draws inspiration from other

A portion of the criticism appears to sprout from jealousy. A few of the posters in this thread claim to be better writers then Paolini and are angry that he was published. An argument is that Paolini was published simply because of family connections. However, many authors are published and their work is largely ignored. Eragon was a commericial success and this was due to popularity, not publishing connections. Connections may get you published but they can't Joe Q. Public to purchase your book. Quite frankly, it is easy to criticize but it is difficult to create.

As I stated before, Eragon was a great commericial success as it spawned a trilogy and a movie deal. Apparently, a great deal of people must have enjoyed reading it. I'd also bet that few of these people would claim that it belongs in the pantheon of great American novels. Instead, they'd probably agree that it is an enjoyable read for teenagers who like fanasty.

Overall, I believe that most of the criticism towards this novel is over the top. I hate to use this overused saying but Eragon "is what it is". It is a successful and popular escapist fanasty book geared towards teenagers. It isn't the next Lord of the Rings nor does it claim to be. Thus, it is a bit unfair to judge it so harshly.

Turcano
2008-06-17, 10:27 PM
I do find most debates pointless, rarely do I find that imposing my veiws on other people work. I just tend to tell people what I think and hope they agree. And if they dont well I will just not bring it up around them.

The main difference here, though, is that in this case, the people who don't like The Inheritance Trilogy can explain why they don't like it. To wit:

The biggest issue discussed so far, the fact that the plot is a shameless ripoff: it's at best terminally unimaginative and at worst outright plagiarism. The plot at its basic level is Star Wars set in Middle-Earth, the Dragon Riders are ripped bodily from the Pern series, and the magic system comes from A Wizard of Earthsea. Anything that wasn't "borrowed" from some other writer is a cliche that could come from any dime-a-dozen pulp fantasy hack.
The writing is pure dross. The prose is so purple it practically bleeds grape jelly, the writing suffers from Thesaurus Syndrome (especially Eldest), descriptions are thrown willy-nilly into action sequences which not just breaks the narrative flow but shatters it to a million pieces, and most of the prose consists of cliches strung together like popcorn tinsel. Oh, and Paolini is preachy as all-get-out. On the other hand, if you're the kind of person who reads fanfiction for its unintentional hilarity, Paolini's work is solid gold.
The characters are completely unrelatable; Murtagh is the only character that's even remotely sympathetic, which may be an accident on Paolini's part. Most of the main characters are, at best, two-dimensional, which is one more dimension than most of the characters. Eragon and Arya in particular come off as intolerably smug, and if they existed in real life, most people would probably have trouble suppressing the urge to beat the stupid out of them with a tire iron. Eragon is treated like he eats coal and craps out diamonds, even though he gets knocked unconscious more often than he actually accomplishes something. The audience is given no real reason to dislike the main villain other than the fact that he levies taxes and subcontracts his wars out to xenocidal thugs (who are, like, totally victims too, honest).
Paolini himself has a massive ego. He acts like his success is due to his own merits when nothing could be further from the truth, and he has the temerity to look down on writers with actual talent.

Those are the general arguments, anyway.

Solo
2008-06-17, 10:38 PM
Quite frankly, it is easy to criticize but it is difficult to create.


Which is why I, Solo, shall publish, on this very forum, "Solo's Stupendously Superior Story".

Eita
2008-06-18, 04:54 AM
Well, in fairness, Paolini did come up with some original ideas:

* The Seithr oil. Actually, I thought this was pretty neat.
* Grammatical error turns protection blessing into compulsory-bodyguard curse.
* Training sequence as vegan tract. I wish he hadn't, but it is original.

And that is pretty much all I can think of. But hey, it's something.

Something that only destroys organic compounds? Correct me if I'm wrong, but I think Star Trek did that. I know there's something like that that I've read or seen before.

... You've never fairy tales. Or watched their Disney Channel adaptations. Yes, the Disney Channel did it first.

One, you used 'tract' incorrectly, two, Simpsons did it when Lisa entered a vegan club at "the poser level". Although, true, it wasn't a training sequence per say.


Eragon was a commericial success and this was due to popularity, not publishing connections. Connections may get you published but they can't Joe Q. Public to purchase your book. Quite frankly, it is easy to criticize but it is difficult to create.

As I stated before, Eragon was a great commericial success as it spawned a trilogy and a movie deal. Apparently, a great deal of people must have enjoyed reading it. I'd also bet that few of these people would claim that it belongs in the pantheon of great American novels. Instead, they'd probably agree that it is an enjoyable read for teenagers who like fanasty.

You must realize something. People, in general, are not smart. People, in large groups, are stupid. Add in unceasing advertising and peer pressure from people who have already succumbed to said advertising and you relatively intelligent people reading them even though a part of their mind tells them that its drivel.[/true story]

Also, on the "Inheriwki" there is, I sh!t you not, an "Anti-Eragonism" page. Yes, even the fans are too conceited to just use "Criticism". Also, on said page, there are no counter-arguments. At all.

Turcano
2008-06-18, 07:01 AM
* Grammatical error turns protection blessing into compulsory-bodyguard curse.

The problem with that is that Paolini had previously established that magic worked based on intent, not wording. Which means that he managed to screw up his own magic system, which happened to be a magic system that's almost impossible to screw up, and that's impressive, I guess, in a retarded sort of way.


I think that much of the criticism towards Eragon is a bit unfair. My impression of the book is that it was geared towards a younger audience instead of adults. Therefore, it should be compared with the likes of the Hardy Boys or the Boxcar children and not Mark Twain's Huck Finn or Toni Morrison's The Bluest Eye.

So writing can be crap as long as it's marketed to kids? What the hell kind of lesson is that?


Eragon is derivative but few works are completely original. Star Wars, arguably Paolini's biggest influence, is heavily influenced by Japanese film. The Lord of the Rings, a common fanasty influence, is influenced by Norse mythology. Even Shakespeare's Romeo and Juilet was inspired by a previous work. All authors have influences and if Paolini's influences are more transparent then others, then so be it. This isn't necessarily a fault. Granted, some of us may prefer those authors who draw real life experiences in constructing their novel (e.g. Hemmingway) but one cannot severly fault a young author who draws inspiration from other

First off, Goethe put it best when he said, "The most original authors are not so because they advance what is new, but because they put what they have to say as if it had never been said before." (Actually he didn't say that, because he didn't speak English, but let's roll with it.) Paolini has not done this by any stretch of the imagination. Second, notice that you keep using the terms "influenced" and "inspired," not "ripped off with a pair of pliers," which is the more accurate turn of phrase. If you're going to steal from another author, the least you can do is try to file the serial numbers off. Third, Shakespeare isn't judged by the same standards because he lived and wrote before the development of the concept of intellectual property. Also it should be mentioned that George Lucas did rip off a lot of stuff from Frank Herbert, but that doesn't make it right.


A portion of the criticism appears to sprout from jealousy. A few of the posters in this thread claim to be better writers then Paolini and are angry that he was published.

We've dealt with that already. If my middle-school The Things They Carried rip-off somehow made it on the shelves of Barnes & Noble, I would practically die from sheer embarrassment, even if it made me a millionaire. (But hey, I wrote it when I was fourteen; that magically makes it better!)


As I stated before, Eragon was a great commericial success as it spawned a trilogy and a movie deal. Apparently, a great deal of people must have enjoyed reading it. I'd also bet that few of these people would claim that it belongs in the pantheon of great American novels. Instead, they'd probably agree that it is an enjoyable read for teenagers who like fanasty.

I don't believe in quality by popular vote. If I did, I would think that Peter Jackson made a good adaptation of The Lord of the Rings.


Overall, I believe that most of the criticism towards this novel is over the top. I hate to use this overused saying but Eragon "is what it is". It is a successful and popular escapist fanasty book geared towards teenagers. It isn't the next Lord of the Rings nor does it claim to be. Thus, it is a bit unfair to judge it so harshly.

To quote Samuel Johnson, "He that writes may be considered as a kind of general challenger, whom every one has a right to attack; since he quits the common rank of life, steps forward beyond the lists, and offers his merit to the public judgment. To commence author is to claim praise, and no man can justly aspire to honor, but at the hazard of disgrace." In other words, as soon as ink hits paper, it's open season.


Also, on the "Inheriwki" there is, I sh!t you not, an "Anti-Eragonism" page. Yes, even the fans are too conceited to just use "Criticism". Also, on said page, there are no counter-arguments. At all.

Man, that's too much like creationists throwing around "Darwinism" for comfort.

DomaDoma
2008-06-18, 07:20 AM
I've read plenty of fairy tales, including utterly obscure ones like "The Salad" and "The Water of Life". I mean, there was the basic concept of a curse intended as a blessing in Ella Enchanted, but if that's where Paolini got it, it's pretty safe to say he made it his own. (Elva herself, though, is completely and utterly Alia from Dune.)

And I'm also reasonably sure that The Simpsons wasn't his main motivation to beat us all over the head with a sledgehammer. (By "tract", I mean the definition from reference.com that runs "a brief treatise or pamphlet for general distribution, usually on a religious or political topic." Seem reasonable?)

The Seithr oil, for what it's worth, only destroys animal matter, but eh, you're probably right. That whole bit with tracking down the trade routes struck me as one of the only truly inspired bits in the entire mass of pages, but then again "The Last Debate" is one of my favorite chapters of Return of the King for some unfathomable reason. I'm sure it's related somehow.

puppyavenger
2008-06-18, 05:03 PM
I think that much of the criticism towards Eragon is a bit unfair. My impression of the book is that it was geared towards a younger audience instead of adults. Therefore, it should be compared with the likes of the Hardy Boys or the Boxcar children and not Mark Twain's Huck Finn or Toni Morrison's The Bluest Eye.

aren't Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer children books? I read them when I was 10 one of the them has an animated animal adaption.
Anyway, if its a children's book, than why is it 500 pages long? also, lets compare to Artemis fowl and Harry Potter instead.

Project_Mayhem
2008-06-18, 06:26 PM
aren't Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer children books? I read them when I was 10 one of the them has an animated animal adaption.
Anyway, if its a children's book, than why is it 500 pages long? also, lets compare to Artemis fowl and Harry Potter instead.

Yeah, I bought Huck up because its the only Great American childrens story I know off the top of my head. I mostly grew up on British or European stuff. Gotta love a bit of Roald Dahl.

Ahh, Wiki reminds me of 'Charlotte's Web', and the whole 'Series of Unfortunate events'. Hmm, thats three. Keep up America.

puppyavenger
2008-06-18, 06:38 PM
It's wiki has an article for every chapter of the series...:smalleek:

Solo
2008-06-18, 08:25 PM
Making good on my word, I now present to you Solo's Stupendously Superior Story!

There once was a happy little sausage named Baldrick, and it lived happily ever after.

Paolini, eat your heart out.

EvilElitest
2008-06-18, 09:11 PM
Making good on my word, I now present to you Solo's Stupendously Superior Story!

There once was a happy little sausage named Baldrick, and it lived happily ever after.

Paolini, eat your heart out.

Shod off Baldrick
from
EE

Turcano
2008-06-18, 09:49 PM
Making good on my word, I now present to you Solo's Stupendously Superior Story!

There once was a happy little sausage named Baldrick, and it lived happily ever after.

Paolini, eat your heart out.

And here's Paolini's "homage:"

There once was a happy little sausage named Beardrack, which was brown with a crispy skin. And it lived gladsomely ever after.

Also there was a dragon.

EvilElitest
2008-06-18, 10:08 PM
And here's Paolini's "homage:"

There once was a happy little sausage named Beardrack, which was brown with a crispy skin. And it lived gladsomely ever after.

Also there was a dragon.

You've ruined the entire thing. Lets make a sequel, just put in some mary sue elves
from
EE

Solo
2008-06-19, 12:49 AM
Seriously, though, I am going to write a short adventure story, and it will be better than what Panolini produces, because not only will i adopt a superior writing style, but I will also be very responsive to feedback and not criticize JK Rowling.

Expect to see it around in a week or so.

Nibleswick
2008-06-19, 03:40 AM
Making good on my word, I now present to you Solo's Stupendously Superior Story!

There once was a happy little sausage named Baldrick, and it lived happily ever after.

Paolini, eat your heart out.

SAUSAGE!? SAUSAGE!!!!!!

Gosh, I haven't seen that show in years.

hmm, I think I might have to write a story of my own now, I think I shall call it Trope Wars or maybe Starship Tropers. I can see it now, an intrepid band of heroes make their way across the galaxy righting wrongs and giving out silly lessons and morals at the end of each episode in a ship that runs on the power of friendship (it's a friendship you see, (is it bad if you hurt yourself with you own puns))

This Rambling is is brought to you by cranberry juice, and the fact that it is two in the morning.

On the subject of the books I think it's pretty bad that when you get to a section about a minor character you're exited because you don't have to read about the boring main character for a bit.

Kane
2008-06-20, 01:49 AM
SAUSAGE!? SAUSAGE!!!!!!

Gosh, I haven't seen that show in years.

hmm, I think I might have to write a story of my own now, I think I shall call it Trope Wars or maybe Starship Tropers. I can see it now, an intrepid band of heroes make their way across the galaxy righting wrongs and giving out silly lessons and morals at the end of each episode in a ship that runs on the power of friendship (it's a friendship you see, (is it bad if you hurt yourself with you own puns))

This Rambling is is brought to you by cranberry juice, and the fact that it is two in the morning.

On the subject of the books I think it's pretty bad that when you get to a section about a minor character you're exited because you don't have to read about the boring main character for a bit.


LOL and seconded at that last part.

Further, let us all take a moment to contemplate and worship the power of 2 AM...

Helanna
2008-06-20, 09:37 PM
The next person to drag out this petty, vicious, pointless flame war gets reported.

Slightly late, but I just wanted to thank you for being the sole voice of reason!! I was getting worried by how LONG that argument went on!




Seriously, though, I am going to write a short adventure story, and it will be better than what Panolini produces, because not only will i adopt a superior writing style, but I will also be very responsive to feedback and not criticize JK Rowling.

Expect to see it around in a week or so.

Darn right I'm expecting it. You have one week. Begin.


On the actual subject? Eragon isn't any more horrible than many fantasy books. It's just been subject to too much hype. And now people are angry and (righteously) jealous because they could write stuff a hundred times better, but it still wouldn't be good enough to be published. Yet Paolini just got a lucky break, and made millions off of innocent kids who don't know what GOOD fantasy is yet.

Falconer
2008-06-22, 10:43 PM
Making good on my word, I now present to you Solo's Stupendously Superior Story!

There once was a happy little sausage named Baldrick, and it lived happily ever after.

Paolini, eat your heart out.

Solo, you are a master.




Personally, my beef with Inheritance has pretty much already been stated here a great many times.

-Shamelessly "pays homage" *coughplagiarismcough* to other authors and stories, to the point where the whole entire series might as well just be taken as a fan-ficky-ish "homage".

-Paolini is overall so incredibly smug about his success, to the point where he feels he has every right to criticize people like J.K. Rowling.

-The whole "a fifteen year old wrote it!!!!" thing, though here the blame probably belongs more to the marketing.

-The reason he was published, the way I understand it, is because his parents own a publishing company (though if I am wrong here, by all means correct me. If am to be disgusted, I wish to be so for the correct reasons)

-Going back to the actual writing: I find the characters two-dimensional, the prose so purple that it makes Barney seem a sort of hot pink, and the story to be unpleasantly preachy. Plus we have precious little reason to hate the villain, let alone find him evil (perhaps the good Emperor Galby has some influential foes), making the story seem that much more artificial and contrived.

-I'm not even going to get started on the Thesaurus syndrome. I don't even need to say it...

chiasaur11
2008-06-22, 10:48 PM
Making good on my word, I now present to you Solo's Stupendously Superior Story!

There once was a happy little sausage named Baldrick, and it lived happily ever after.

Paolini, eat your heart out.

Way to hog the Nobel this year Solo.

Jerk.

DomaDoma
2008-06-23, 06:45 AM
-Paolini is overall so incredibly smug about his success, to the point where he feels he has every right to criticize people like J.K. Rowling.


Eh, well, criticizing Rowling is fine. I'm as diehard as they come, but I still realize that if she's going to develop the minor characters (read: Remus and Tonks) in various uber-dramatic fashions, she really shouldn't do it offscreen. It's regarding her as a fledgling writer - from his oh-so-lofty position - that's the problem.

Squidmaster
2008-06-25, 01:56 PM
I pretty much agree with almost everything said here. Eragon made by brain cry a single tear of pain.

Also, until a few days ago, I had to deal with whiny middle schoolers who thought it was gods gift to mankind, so I give it a special place of loathing in my heart just for that.

puppyavenger
2008-06-25, 03:53 PM
Also, until a few days ago, I had to deal with whiny middle schoolers who thought it was gods gift to mankind, so I give it a special place of loathing in my heart just for that.

and that why I'm glad only 3 people in my class read (and some other people might just be illiterate)

DraPrime
2008-06-25, 04:19 PM
-I'm not even going to get started on the Thesaurus syndrome. I don't even need to say it...

Did you know that he actually admitted to the thesaurus thing? It was in some interview along with 2 other far superior authors. He said that he has this huge thesaurus with words that no one's ever heard of. It was kind of funny to hear him sound so proud when I was just shaking my head at that.

Oslecamo
2008-06-25, 07:00 PM
My god, won't the hate die?

What if Eragorn rips off from other books? There are MILLIONS of books out there. Try to write something whitout whitout copying anything from them, acidentaly or not.

The book isn't plagiarism, otherwise Paolini would be swiming in processes. Even J.K Rowling had to fight over a guy who acused her of stealing the muggle word.

Now, if it's a good book or not, this demands yourself the question of what the hell is a good book.

Is it a timeless master piece? Surely not.

Is it a book wich managed to entertain a sizeable amount of readers? Aparently yes, since it selled pretty well.

So, if what Paolini was trying to do was to create entertainment, he seems to have managed to do so relatively well.

Also, stop with the whole 2 dimensional character thingy being a bad thing. 2 dimensional people exist in reality. Let them have their moment of glory.

Personally, I enjoyed reading Eragorn as a satire of the typical fantasy adventure. The main hero is a sociopath easily manipulated who got chosen by a dragon precisely because he's a sociopath, so the dragon doesn't have to worry about an ethic rider bossing her around. Then said hero gets recruited by the resistance who is trying to take the power by force against the mighty evil king who dares to make their people pay taxes. We have the narcissist elfs who are uber powerfull but are too busy being perfect to help their neighbours. Then kill stuff, because, hell, last week you were just a farmer boy being stomped, and now you have POWAR! Let those puny mortals taste your wrath!

DraPrime
2008-06-25, 07:15 PM
Personally, I enjoyed reading Eragorn as a satire of the typical fantasy adventure. The main hero is a sociopath easily manipulated who got chosen by a dragon precisely because he's a sociopath, so the dragon doesn't have to worry about an ethic rider bossing her around. Then said hero gets recruited by the resistance who is trying to take the power by force against the mighty evil king who dares to make their people pay taxes. We have the narcissist elfs who are uber powerfull but are too busy being perfect to help their neighbours. Then kill stuff, because, hell, last week you were just a farmer boy being stomped, and now you have POWAR! Let those puny mortals taste your wrath!

The problem is that it isn't intended as satire. It's taken completely seriously. Which is what makes it even worse.

Turcano
2008-06-25, 08:01 PM
Personally, I enjoyed reading Eragorn as a satire of the typical fantasy adventure. The main hero is a sociopath easily manipulated who got chosen by a dragon precisely because he's a sociopath, so the dragon doesn't have to worry about an ethic rider bossing her around. Then said hero gets recruited by the resistance who is trying to take the power by force against the mighty evil king who dares to make their people pay taxes. We have the narcissist elfs who are uber powerfull but are too busy being perfect to help their neighbours. Then kill stuff, because, hell, last week you were just a farmer boy being stomped, and now you have POWAR! Let those puny mortals taste your wrath!

If that were the author's intent, that would be freaking awesome. Of course, it would also require a competent writer.

Solo
2008-06-25, 08:25 PM
Is it a book wich managed to entertain a sizeable amount of readers? Aparently yes, since it selled pretty well.

So, if what Paolini was trying to do was to create entertainment, he seems to have managed to do so relatively well.

So basically Paolini created the literary equivilant of fast food.

chiasaur11
2008-06-25, 08:51 PM
So basically Paolini created the literary equivilant of fast food.

Not true.
In N Out Burger, for example, is actually good. Paolini's work has no such redeeming features.

Solo
2008-06-25, 08:53 PM
Darn right I'm expecting it. You have one week. Begin.

It is easier to exect than to create.

Speaking of which, you have one week to write your own story.

Revanmal
2008-06-26, 01:05 AM
What if Eragorn rips off from other books? There are MILLIONS of books out there. Try to write something whitout whitout copying anything from them, acidentaly or not.

While it is true it's probably impossible to write ABSOLUTELY ORIGINAL fiction, without any reference to anything else ever, it isn't that Paolini rips off a little bit of some stories or uses some similar elements. It's that the whole Cycle is thus far a patchwork of far better-written stories sloppily stitched together by someone who was essentially handed their success by Mama and Dada.


The book isn't plagiarism, otherwise Paolini would be swiming in processes. Even J.K Rowling had to fight over a guy who acused her of stealing the muggle word.

There are certain limitations to copyright and plagiarism laws. Paolini has managed to dodge court by making his work MARGINALLY different than other works, but anyone can see that he still shamelessly rips off other peoples' creativity.


Now, if it's a good book or not, this demands yourself the question of what the hell is a good book.

Is it a timeless master piece? Surely not.

Is it a book wich managed to entertain a sizeable amount of readers? Aparently yes, since it selled pretty well.

I agree it is not a masterpiece, and it has entertained quite a few people. Of course, tabloids ALSO entertain millions of people, and they can hardly be considered artful or truly creative. Much like Eragon.

In my own personal opinion, a good book is one which can affect the reader emotionally and mentally. The book immerses you in a new world or one that is strangely familiar, and enraptures you to the point where you FEEL as the characters feel and care about them. Eragon does not do this. The stilted writing, Mary Sue lead, 2-dimensional characters, overzealous description, and everything else people have mention here and elsewhere, and more besides, makes this book, and indeed this whole series as a worthless, scummy, foul, trashy excuse for a waste of paper. I spit upon these books and Paolini as well.


Also, stop with the whole 2 dimensional character thingy being a bad thing. 2 dimensional people exist in reality. Let them have their moment of glory.

Why should two-dimensional people have glory? If they're fake, superficial, single-minded chumps then they don't deserve it. No person is truly two-dimensional the way Paolini writes, anyway. Everyone has inner-thoughts and emotions, even if it may seem impossible. ...Yes even Paris Hilton. ...I think. I'm as cynical and bitter as they come, but even I know that people in general have more depth than Arya or Eragon. Paolini's characters are cardboard cutouts.

Squidmaster
2008-06-26, 02:45 AM
BTW, does anyone here know if there is any footage of someone tearing one of those books in two, (like tearing a phone book) because I would pay good money to see that. Then let them tear mine.

Solo
2008-06-26, 02:45 AM
I want a show of hands before I cross the Rubicon.

Who wants to see "Solo's Stupendously Superior Story", and where should I post it?

DraPrime
2008-06-26, 07:46 AM
...Yes even Paris Hilton. ...

You don't need to go that far.


I want a show of hands before I cross the Rubicon.

Who wants to see "Solo's Stupendously Superior Story", and where should I post it?

I want to see it! Post it on this thread in a spoiler or something.

Solo
2008-06-26, 08:18 AM
Can I make a thread for it in Arts and Crafts? I haven't seen any fiction in that place, though.

Oregano
2008-06-26, 08:44 AM
Yes you can Solo, I'd also like to read this, especially if it's serious.

DraPrime
2008-06-26, 08:49 AM
Can I make a thread for it in Arts and Crafts? I haven't seen any fiction in that place, though.

Don't they have an Iron Author competition over there? I'm pretty sure that includes fiction.

Solo
2008-06-26, 08:50 AM
Yes you can Solo, I'd also like to read this, especially if it's serious.

Prepare to be 40% disappointed.

Oregano
2008-06-26, 08:52 AM
:smallwink:I never said it'd dissapoint me if it wasn't serious just that it'd be better and 60% seriousness is the majority.

EvilElitest
2008-06-26, 04:06 PM
I want a show of hands before I cross the Rubicon.

Who wants to see "Solo's Stupendously Superior Story", and where should I post it?

Me
from
EE

Oslecamo
2008-06-26, 04:10 PM
If it's so stupnedly superior, why don't you try to publish it? People seem like they'll buy anything nowadays.

Revanmal
2008-06-26, 04:29 PM
Even if he was serious, publishing isn't easy. Actually getting a company to accept your book can take years, even lifetimes, sometimes not at all.

BRC
2008-06-26, 04:33 PM
Even if he was serious, publishing isn't easy. Actually getting a company to accept your book can take years, even lifetimes, sometimes not at all.

Unless your parents happen to own a publishing company, in which case you can get things published that most agents would laugh at and use for kindling.

Oslecamo
2008-06-26, 04:41 PM
Unless your parents happen to own a publishing company, in which case you can get things published that most agents would laugh at and use for kindling.

Tell that to J.K. Rowlings, who had trouble even geting paper to write the first book, got his story refused by several editors and still managed to go forward and get the thing published.

BRC
2008-06-26, 04:57 PM
Tell that to J.K. Rowlings, who had trouble even geting paper to write the first book, got his story refused by several editors and still managed to go forward and get the thing published.

Yes, but JK Rowlings parent's didn't own a publishing company. My point was that Paolini's parents DID, in fact, own a publishing company if I remember correctly.

EvilElitest
2008-06-26, 05:04 PM
Unless your parents happen to own a publishing company, in which case you can get things published that most agents would laugh at and use for kindling.

wait, i have friends who do own a publishing company, and i have connections in the literary world........................
from
EE

Innis Cabal
2008-06-26, 05:05 PM
His family might own a publishing compeny but it was not in fact the compeny that published his garbarge(and will continue to publish is garbage as two more books are on the way). Also Entertainment Weekly and several other prominent names in the BIZ have said almost exactly whats been said here, with a bit of a nicer PC spin

Don Julio Anejo
2008-06-26, 05:41 PM
Looking at the title (haven't read the thread) and from reading only the first book, all I have to say - cliche. It's not really a rip-off, it's just that the plot itself and storytelling devices/characters are so overused that they're pretty much stereotypes of what fantasy is about.

Also, it sounds like a 10 year old wrote some parts, the grammar is really bad.

However, on a good note, the book is pretty captivating.

PS: 90% of the time you can tell what's going to happen.

Solo
2008-06-26, 06:39 PM
If it's so stupnedly superior, why don't you try to publish it? People seem like they'll buy anything nowadays.

Where does one publish a short story of perhaps 15 chapters and 30 pages?

It's too short for a book, but it would be too long for a periodical.


Tell that to J.K. Rowlings, who had trouble even geting paper to write the first book, got his story refused by several editors and still managed to go forward and get the thing published.

1. Her name isn't Rowlings.

2. Paper is easy to come by. Even street bums have copious amounts of it on their person.

3. J.K. Rowling is a woman.

Gaelbert
2008-06-26, 06:51 PM
2. Paper is easy to come by. Even street bums have copious amounts of it on their person.

If I remember correctly, she wrote on napkins.

Helanna
2008-06-26, 06:52 PM
It is easier to exect than to create.

Speaking of which, you have one week to write your own story.

That's why I was on the expecting side :smalltongue: That is, until you decided to reverse the challenge . . . darn karma.

Some of my stuff is already up at Elfwood. (http://www.elfwood.com/libr/d/e/death_dragon/death_dragon.html) Actually . . . not much. I should update that soon.

EDIT: Oh, yeah, the rules at Elfwood say you have to use your real name . . . so if anyone asks, that really is my name, okay? Because I'd never use a false alias online if it was against the rules . . .

Superglucose
2008-06-26, 06:55 PM
Christopher Paoloni has talent as a wordsmith. That being said, he should be relegated to the land of ghost writers.

Eragon is not only one of the most seamless hybrids of Lord of the Rings and Star Wars I've seen, but every single 'original' bit (from some of the character's auxiliary personalities to the side conflicts to the way the world works) is so friggen groan inducing. I mean, the magical tree of uberness? The elves being so vehemently atheist and perfect (at the same time too! wonder what the author's religious views are?), and Eragon's reaction to the whole idea of slavery?

He also managed to utterly fail to make a believable plot. One example of a hole:

Unwritten rule: wizard's duels can't start until someone's in the other's mind. Ok, but if the evil emperor is such a big baddy, why the **** even wait that long? Why doesn't one of the elves just, you know, ride his horse up next to the castle of the emperor and do the whole "pinch his nerve" in whatever language they use thing? Yeah, so what if the Emperor would be able to give a last-minute retaliation against the elf... one elf to stop a war seems like a damn fine trade.

All in all, Paoloni should hire someone to write a plot for him, as well as characters. I think he could eventually write a masterpiece, but the Inheritence trilogy is NOT that masterpiece. I for one am upset that I've actually heard people see Star Wars and say, "This reminds me of that book... Eragon." Makes me want to kill something.

If Paoloni learns to write characters and plots, or hires someone to do that for him, Paoloni may become one of the better writers in this time period. Short of that, I enjoy reading Inheritence but only because of my deep fondness for the sword-and-sorcery genre. I will probably check the last two books out from the library, but I won't waste my money on them (I bought the first because I heard rave things about it).

EvilElitest
2008-06-26, 06:56 PM
in terms of plot holes, why is the empire evil?
from
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Helanna
2008-06-26, 07:03 PM
in terms of plot holes, why is the empire evil?

Duh. It's because the Empire taxes people. Everyone knows that taxes are evil unecesarry things that only evil tyrants use to support their countries.

Also because the Empire makes alliances with orcs Urgals, which are obviously evil, 'cause Paolini said so. Geez, read the book!

Zarrexaij
2008-06-26, 07:13 PM
in terms of plot holes, why is the empire evil?
from
EEBECAUSE PAOLINI SAID SO.

That's why.

HIS WORD IS LAW.

Sorry, I'm not in a good mood. I'll go back to the cage now. :smallredface:

BRC
2008-06-26, 07:23 PM
Consult BRC's guide to Imperial Morality!

An Evil Emperor: Killed the previous leaders and took power.
A Good Emperor: Killed the previous leaders and took power.

An Evil Empire: Makes alliances with evil races.
A Good Empire: Reaches out to other races in an attempt to overcome prejudices.

An Evil Empire: Controls a vast army of fanatics.
A Good Empire: Inspires great loyalty in it's troops.

An Evil Emperor: Lives in a lavish palace that is funded by the hard earned money of the peasants.
A Good Emperor: Lives in a glorious palace that is paid for through unspecified means.

Make your own!

Turcano
2008-06-26, 07:32 PM
Christopher Paoloni has talent as a wordsmith. That being said, he should be relegated to the land of ghost writers.

Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, in my eyes, his terrible writing is a far greater literary crime than his terminal unimaginativeness. I guess it bears repeating:


The writing is pure dross. The prose is so purple it practically bleeds grape jelly, the writing suffers from Thesaurus Syndrome (especially Eldest), descriptions are thrown willy-nilly into action sequences which not just breaks the narrative flow but shatters it to a million pieces, and most of the prose consists of cliches strung together like popcorn tinsel. Oh, and Paolini is preachy as all-get-out. On the other hand, if you're the kind of person who reads fanfiction for its unintentional hilarity, Paolini's work is solid gold.

This is by no means unique to Paolini; if you read Mark Twain's "Fenimore Cooper's Literary Offenses (http://ww3.telerama.com/~joseph/cooper/cooper.html)," the similarity in the literary defects in both bodies of work is quite startling.

EvilElitest
2008-06-26, 07:38 PM
ah yes, i forgot how taxes are the sign of evil. All goverments that have taxes are evil. We should all embrace teh true way of Elven kind


Also, apperently PAOLINI is the new mookie

And you forget one thing BRC

If the person is evil, he is an emperor

if the ruler is good, he is a king

Understand now

also
Evil Ruler shows sends out brutal inquisitions to destroy his enemies
Good Ruler hunts down and destroys the forces of evil

Evil Ruler Binds his servants to his will
Good ruler has a group of loyal friends who rely on him totally

Evil Ruler listens to nobody but himself
Good ruler gets rid of those who hinder his righteous crusade
form
EE

The_JJ
2008-06-26, 07:59 PM
To answer the opening question, neither.

To answer the whole evil empire bit, Eragon ADMITS that the empire isn't all that bad, but that he should fight the empire for the dragons' sake (although, again, it isn't specified why the 'good guys' would be any better. So ha, snark deflation!)

Plus, evil guy did kind of kill his uncle Owen. And Darth his real father fought Obi Wan Brom. (Hey look, it might be a cliche storm, but at he avoided good is dumb syndrome. This time.)

And Rowling wrote the FIRST SENTENCE of the Philosipher Stone on a napkin. Because she was at a cafe, not because she was poor. She may or may not have been poor, but this did not affect napkining.

Helanna
2008-06-26, 08:03 PM
This good/evil stuff keeps reminding me of the Kingpriest of Istar, from Dragonlance. He was good! So good, in fact, that he went on a crusade against evil! Then he upset the balance of the universe, became totally intolerant, almost started a would-be catastrophic war with the mages, angered the entire pantheon of Krynn by demanding that he become a god, and ended up causing the Cataclysm.

Now why on earth do I get the feeling that Paolini could write a character exactly like that, except that he'd miss the entire point that ultra-good is the same thing as ultra-evil?

Innis Cabal
2008-06-26, 08:04 PM
What is....because he is a hack?

Killersquid
2008-06-26, 08:10 PM
The Empire is evil because in Star-err I mean, Paolini's reference material had it that way.

Hyozo
2008-06-26, 08:12 PM
My opinion summarized easily:
- The similarities to Star Wars, while undeniably present, are incredibly inflated by the anti-fans.
- The similarities to Lord of the Rings, while also present, are also present in nearly all fantasy written since Tolkien.
- Tropes are not bad (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/TropesAreNotBad).

Killersquid
2008-06-26, 08:23 PM
My opinion summarized easily:
- The similarities to Star Wars, while undeniably present, are incredibly inflated by the anti-fans.
- The similarities to Lord of the Rings, while also present, are also present in nearly all fantasy written since Tolkien.
- Tropes are not bad (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/TropesAreNotBad).

However, it's still a Cliche Storm. (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/ClicheStorm)

The_JJ
2008-06-26, 08:27 PM
Oh I totally agree. I just like to snark at uncle Owen and the whole "I am your brother because Obi Wan actually killed our father, but we still need this so... yeah." But still, there is a yoda figure in the forest, calling out into the seriously injured Luke's dreams. a presise hit location that climaxes the first section, a downer ending to the second book, obi wan, etc. etc. Admitedly, SOME things are different, but still the plot at the charactors are still a little to close for comfort. The books are readable, but not good.

Oh, and not all fantasy is a Tolkien rip, just most. Try George R.R. Martin for the win.

Revanmal
2008-06-26, 08:27 PM
Under the oppresive rule of the Dragon Riders, the people of Alagaesia lived quietly, but throughout history, the underlying tension between the races always simmers. Racism and bigotry are the norm, especially against the Urgals. In this time, the young Galbatorix flies North with some fellow Riders, no doubt on some mission. But sadly, his friends and even his dragon are lost to an Urgal attack; wracked with pain as he is, Galbatorix still finds mercy in his heart for the poor Urgals, knowing that they were only doing what they needed to survive, hounded as they are by the Riders.

However, when he returned to the Dragonriders' base, the arrogant and condescending elders told him he can not have another dragon, and cast him out like a worthless rag, not caring one iota for the once-promising Galbatorix, laid low as he was. In his grief and shame and righteous anger, Galbatorix realized what he must do. The corrupt Dragon Riders must be slain, and cast down from their pedestal. He gathered 13 brave souls much like his own, and together, despite the impossible odds, they destroyed the evil Dragon Riders, and made a new nation, one which saught to unify all of the peoples of the land.

However, one resistor to the grand crusade, Brom was able to survive and fight on. Brom's dragon, Saphira, was killed by Galbatorix's trusted lieutenant Morzan. Brom's intense hatred of Morzan culminated in their final battle where the enraged Brom struck down Galbatorix's champion, but Morzan's death wass not enough, so the manipulative Brom founded the Varden to avenge Saphira. The Varden waged war on the Empire, spurred on by deceitful words from Brom, painting the King an insane, evil ruler, using his benevolent outreach to the Urgals as evidence of his wickedness.

Now Galbatorix must defend his Empire from the fanatical and misguided Varden, as well as their incompetent, but stupidly lucky champion, before they tear all of Alagaesia apart.

EvilElitest
2008-06-26, 08:30 PM
ok, we need to rewrite teh series from teh Empire's point of view now
from
EE

DraPrime
2008-06-26, 08:42 PM
The only thing actually evil about Galbatorix is that he slaughtered all the riders, and that was it. Yet, after that he has managed to successfully rule the empire, and it hasn't really fallen or anything. It doesn't seem to have any trouble other than the Varden. I think Murtagh pointed out that Galbatorix isn't a particularly unjust ruler, and that he's actually quite strong (ie, he's able to actually keep control). If anything is bad about Galbatorix, it's that he did a bloody coup, but that's about it.

Now what I really disliked is that Paolini made the Varden as PC as possible, while the Empire isn't PC at all. I know I risk some political talk here, but I have a point here. The Varden is all tolerant and multicultural. Their leader is a black woman. They have many races. They have many women. The Empire on the other hand is clearly not very PC. Their leader is a white male. Almost everyone in power is a white male. There's only one race, humans. It just seems that Paolini used this as some cheap way of making the Empire seem more evil, but honestly it just makes me dislike the author even more.

Revanmal
2008-06-26, 08:48 PM
As I posted above, were the Riders even all that good? All we know about them we heard from Brom, and even then it was only that they were strong and had control. They kept the peace, but the bigotry still existed and not everything was freakin sunshine and flowers. And even then, they weren't elected leaders. They sound like a military dictatorship to me, keeping control through force.

EDIT: And WHEN the Varden wins (because you just KNOW they will) they'll be no better. Except taxes will be lower because THEY don't have to fight a war against a terrorist group.

EvilElitest
2008-06-26, 08:49 PM
The only thing actually evil about Galbatorix is that he slaughtered all the riders, and that was it. Yet, after that he has managed to successfully rule the empire, and it hasn't really fallen or anything. It doesn't seem to have any trouble other than the Varden. I think Murtagh pointed out that Galbatorix isn't a particularly unjust ruler, and that he's actually quite strong (ie, he's able to actually keep control). If anything is bad about Galbatorix, it's that he did a bloody coup, but that's about it.

Now what I really disliked is that Paolini made the Varden as PC as possible, while the Empire isn't PC at all. I know I risk some political talk here, but I have a point here. The Varden is all tolerant and multicultural. Their leader is a black woman. They have many races. They have many women. The Empire on the other hand is clearly not very PC. Their leader is a white male. Almost everyone in power is a white male. There's only one race, humans. It just seems that Paolini used this as some cheap way of making the Empire seem more evil, but honestly it just makes me dislike the author even more.

yeah, two points
1) Maybe he was going for an Evil Empire star wars feel
2) Well, about the black ruler, did i miss something, but is Suden, or what ever that little nation is called home to people of dark skin. I thought it took place in a Europe styled land, (with a desert, but lets ignore that) but it never explains how two dark characters are the only guys with a different shade among mostly white people. Did i miss a detail there, and i hope not to tread onto real world topics too much
from
EE

DraPrime
2008-06-26, 08:51 PM
yeah, two points
1) Maybe he was going for an Evil Empire star wars feel
2) Well, about the black ruler, did i miss something, but is Suden, or what ever that little nation is called home to people of dark skin. I thought it took place in a Europe styled land, (with a desert, but lets ignore that) but it never explains how two dark characters are the only guys with a different shade among mostly white people. Did i miss a detail there, and i hope not to tread onto real world topics too much
from
EE

They never really explain it. Ajihad (or whatever his name was) just sort of showed up with his dark skinned daughter and that was it.

Revanmal
2008-06-26, 08:53 PM
They handwave it by saying they're from some "other" part of the world without going into any detail.

EvilElitest
2008-06-26, 09:01 PM
They never really explain it. Ajihad (or whatever his name was) just sort of showed up with his dark skinned daughter and that was it.

So he is a

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/TokenMinority

Sign, i actually like that trope normally, but it needs explanation.
from
EE

DraPrime
2008-06-26, 09:04 PM
So he is a

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/TokenMinority

Sign, i actually like that trope normally, but it needs explanation.
from
EE

It's to make the Varden seem like good multi-cultural people. It's about the only thing they got going for them, but it's not really the Empire's fault that the only 2 non-white people in the nation aren't on their side.

Don Julio Anejo
2008-06-26, 09:29 PM
Did I miss something, but doesn't the empire have government-sanctioned slavery?

BRC
2008-06-26, 10:28 PM
Did I miss something, but doesn't the empire have government-sanctioned slavery?

Yes, but the GOOD empire uses economically viable alternitives to standard labor and gives criminals a chance to redeem themselves to society.

Also
A Bad Guy stains his sword with the blood of a thousand rightous warriors in a single battle.
A Good Guy valiently slays a thousand soliders of darkness in a single battle.

An evil army wears black armor so they give the appearance of a massive shadow covering the land.
A Good Army wears dark colored armour to act as nightime camoflauge.

An Evil Ruler gives harsh punishments for the most petty crimes.
A Good Ruler is tough on crime.

An Evil Ruler has no tolerance for failures.
A Good Ruler knows that important tasks must be carried out succsessfuly.

A Bad Guy's very presence is terrifying.
A Good Guy uses psychological warfare.

A Bad Guy uses cheap tactics like ambushes and attacking at night.
A Good Guy uses clever tactics like ambushes and attacking at night.

Artemician
2008-06-26, 10:32 PM
Yes, but the GOOD empire uses economically viable alternitives to standard labor and gives criminals a chance to redeem themselves to society.

Also
A Bad Guy stains his sword with the blood of a thousand rightous warriors in a single battle.
A Good Guy valiently slays a thousand soliders of darkness in a single battle.

An evil army wears black armor so they give the appearance of a massive shadow covering the land.
A Good Army wears dark colored armour to act as nightime camoflauge.

An Evil Ruler gives harsh punishments for the most petty crimes.
A Good Ruler is tough on crime.

An Evil Ruler has no tolerance for failures.
A Good Ruler knows that important tasks must be carried out succsessfuly.

Also, Elves employ intelligent hit-and-run tactics, appearing but for the fleetest moment to destroy forces of evil at the tip and of an arrow, then disappearing into the trees to fight another day.

Goblins are bloody cowards who refuse to fight honorably.

See how much of a difference presentation makes?

BRC
2008-06-26, 10:34 PM
Also, Elves employ intelligent hit-and-run tactics, appearing but for the fleetest moment to destroy forces of evil at the tip and of an arrow, then disappearing into the trees to fight another day.

Goblins are bloody cowards who refuse to fight honorably.

See how much of a difference presentation makes?

I just did an edit saying somthing along those lines, then I clicked the button and you said it much better than I could of.

I have an urge to make a TVtropes account and make a Guide to Adjective Based Morality on there.

EvilElitest
2008-06-26, 10:54 PM
Also, Elves employ intelligent hit-and-run tactics, appearing but for the fleetest moment to destroy forces of evil at the tip and of an arrow, then disappearing into the trees to fight another day.

Goblins are bloody cowards who refuse to fight honorably.

See how much of a difference presentation makes?

an another reader of the pro goblin league i see. Nicely done
from
EE

The_JJ
2008-06-26, 11:20 PM
Then again he kind of rapes the dog by sending canabalistic monsters to kill uncle Owen. And you, make deals with torturer/soceror possed by evil demon things that magically enslave the noble but misunderstood warrior race culture. And has anger issues. And enslaves the loyalty of the (heavly abused) son of his second in comand via magical means.

Just putting that out there.

Don't kill me?

Jayngfet
2008-06-26, 11:20 PM
an another reader of the pro goblin league i see. Nicely done
from
EE

Hobgoblins

These creatures have a strong grasp of strategy and tactics and are capable of carrying out sophisticated battle plans. Under the leadership of a skilled strategist or tactician, their discipline can prove a deciding factor. Hobgoblins hate elves and attack them first, in preference to other opponents.

Dwarves

Dwarves are experts in combat, effectively using their environment and executing well-planned group attacks. They rarely use magic in fights, since they have few wizards or sorcerers (but dwarven clerics throw themselves into battle as heartily as their fellow warriors). If they have time to prepare, they may build deadfalls or other traps involving stone. In addition to the dwarven waraxe and thrown hammer, dwarves also use warhammers, picks, shortbows, heavy crossbows, and maces.

Taken from d20 srd

Amazing how they conveniently forgot Dwarves racial bonus against orcs and goblinoids while goblinoids don't.

But then again who doesn't hate elves, long lived bastards.

Turcano
2008-06-27, 12:45 AM
- The similarities to Star Wars, while undeniably present, are incredibly inflated by the anti-fans.

As I've elaborated in an earlier thread, the similarities are especially close in the beginning:


{table=head]Star Wars Ep. IV: A New Hope|Eragon
Leia Organa, a princess of Alderaan, is captured by Imperial agents, but not before trying to send an item of great importance to the resistance (an astromech droid containing critical weaknesses in the Empire's primary superweapon) to Obi-Wan Kenobi, a trusted acquaintance.|Arya, an elven princess, is captured by imperial agents, but not before trying to send an item of great importance to the resistance (a dragon egg) to Brom, a trusted acquaintance.
Luke Skywalker, an orphaned farmboy living with his uncle and aunt on the backwater world of Tatooine, comes to possess this item by chance and learns of some of its significance.|Eragon, an orphaned farmboy living with his uncle in the backwater village of Carvahall, comes to possess this item by chance and learns of some of its significance.
The droid runs off, forcing Luke to chase after it. He returns to find his home destroyed and his uncle and aunt killed by Imperial agents who where looking for it.|The dragon runs off, carrying Eragon with her. He returns to find his home destroyed and his uncle killed by imperial agents who were looking for her.
Luke joins up with Obi-Wan Kenobi, a recluse with a mysterious past. Obi-Wan reveals his background as a member of a defunct mystical order (the Jedi Order) and his friendship with Luke's father (although he doesn't tell Luke that he became the Emperor's right-hand man). He gives Luke his father's lightsaber, which is peculiar to the order. He also reveals that the order was destroyed by the Emperor's right-hand man.|Eragon joins up with Brom, a recluse with a mysterious past. Brom reveals his background as a member of a defunct mystical order (the Dragon Riders) and his friendship with Eragon's father (although he doesn't tell Eragon that he became Galbatorix's right-hand man). He gives Eragon his father's magic sword, of a type peculiar to the order. He also reveals that the order was destroyed by Galbatorix's right-hand man.
As they travel to the resistance's stronghold, Obi-Wan teaches Luke swordsmanship and the use of the Force; Luke makes an implausible amount of progress during this time.|As they travel to the resistance's stronghold, Brom teaches Eragon swordsmanship and the use of magic; Eragon makes an implausible amount of progress during this time.[/table]

The parallels become somewhat more general in the rest of the stories, but it is strong enough to merit accusations of derivativeness on Paolini's part, at the very least. But the beginning is outright plagiarism.


- The similarities to Lord of the Rings, while also present, are also present in nearly all fantasy written since Tolkien.

What about Steven Brust? Or George Martin? Or any number of fantasy authors who to manage to avoid emulating Tolkien?


- Tropes are not bad (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/TropesAreNotBad).

But not contributing anything of consequence of your own is bad.

Don Julio Anejo
2008-06-27, 02:09 AM
In any case, that's why I prefer Tom Clancy.

The good guys are trying to kill the bad guys in the name of democracy, the bad guys are trying to kill the good guys in the name of fighting imperialism, ex-KGB guys are trying to make some money by double-crossing both sides, Americans get to show off their latest smart cluster bombs and Jack Ryan gets a promotion.

DomaDoma
2008-06-27, 06:26 AM
Also because the Empire makes alliances with orcs Urgals, which are obviously evil, 'cause Paolini said so. Geez, read the book!

Well, they did kill everyone in Yazuac. For no readily apparent reason. But I think they tried to explain this away in the second book during the Urgal-culture barf-fest, so never mind.


Try George R.R. Martin for the win.

Try George R.R. Martin if you're considering suicide, but first need something to get you in the mood. :smallyuk:

Revanmal
2008-06-27, 07:57 AM
Well, they did kill everyone in Yazuac. For no readily apparent reason. But I think they tried to explain this away in the second book during the Urgal-culture barf-fest, so never mind.

Durza was the one who had mentally enslaved the Urgals, not Galbatorix. He's an evil bastard too, so it stands to reason he ordered them to do it.

Griffinwarrior
2008-06-27, 09:07 PM
it's awesome, at least fo r me. but get it from the library if you haven't read it already

Turcano
2008-06-27, 09:42 PM
The only thing actually evil about Galbatorix is that he slaughtered all the riders, and that was it. Yet, after that he has managed to successfully rule the empire, and it hasn't really fallen or anything. It doesn't seem to have any trouble other than the Varden. I think Murtagh pointed out that Galbatorix isn't a particularly unjust ruler, and that he's actually quite strong (ie, he's able to actually keep control). If anything is bad about Galbatorix, it's that he did a bloody coup, but that's about it.

Of course. Merit means nothing if your mom was nailed by the wrong guy.

Also, if King of the Fatsos is capable of taking out all of the Dragon Riders apparently at once (as implied by Paolini's backstory that actually manages to increase the number of absurdities), there really isn't any way that a snot-nosed punk is going to take him out, other than the fact that he's a big fat Marty Stu the Chosen One.

DomaDoma
2008-06-27, 09:53 PM
Hm, well, come to think of it, the prison guards at Gil'ead do seem to take rape as a perfectly reasonable order, and you can't get that from a guy on rawr-I'm-a-shade tactics alone. But that's really weird - all the actual atrocities seem to surround Durza rather than Galby. If Roran were the hero and Durza were the villain, we might be talking.

Solo
2008-06-28, 07:12 AM
Great chapter one's up, Edmund!

DraPrime
2008-06-28, 08:42 AM
Come to think of it, if the riders were so weak that one guy who wasn't even bonded to his dragon took them all down, then they probably had it coming. So in my opinion Galbatorix probably did the world a favor.

d'Bwobsling
2008-06-28, 08:57 AM
Come to think of it, if the riders were so weak that one guy who wasn't even bonded to his dragon took them all down, then they probably had it coming. So in my opinion Galbatorix probably did the world a favor.

Yeah, that was kind of a big gaping hole in the story line. Other than that, he doesn't show Galbatorix as evil, besides high taxes

Revanmal
2008-06-28, 10:52 AM
Even the taxes thing doesn't work. I mean think about it: The empire is basically fighting a war.

And what does a country need to fight a war? taxes. If the Varden weren't attacking and plotting, the Empire would have no need for high taxes.

VanBuren
2008-06-30, 05:19 PM
Personally, I wish he'd been more honest about just LOTRizing star wars, but I feel it is nicely done and was a decent read.

So yeah; it was both.

This is the part that always gets me. Why is Star Wars treated like it a boiling pot of original? It's one of the oldest stories in the book. Granted, Lucas knew full well that he was adapting and not creating, which is probably what made the original trilogy work so well.


It's not "And then John was a zombie" bad,

*A-hem*. I believe it was, "No, John. You are the demons"

Oops. My bad. "And then John was a zombie." was the line after that.

I'm still not apologizing.

*raspberry*


Huh. Apparently that website already had the "fairly-detailed-but-vague-enough-to-cover-both" plot description.

Personally, this guy terrifies me. I'm 16 and I'm trying to write a novel. Granted, I don't expect to finish in under a year, and I would not be even slightly surprised if I had to go the way of Frank Herbert and rewrite it to pieces.

Still, I'm terrified of this. I dread the idea of just ending up on the pile with the crappy fanfics, but becoming successful and then hated by all...

*shudder*

Meh, I'm 17 and I know I have stories to write that are and will be complete ****e. But I feel like I kind have to, if only to get it out of my system.


Spoken like someone who has never played Custer's Revenge and has never watched Manos: the Hands of Fate.

EDIT: And has never played Big Rigs: Over the Road Racing. I can't believe I forgot to mention that.

Redeeming Value: They make you appreciate the good things in life again.

Or they make you curse creation in its entirety. It kinda depends.


aren't Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer children books? I read them when I was 10 one of the them has an animated animal adaption.

Well yeah, but Huck Finn has some layers there for adults to comprehe--Oh. Yeah, Twain was pretty good at the whole writing thing.