Inheritance Cycle Essay Comments 41 through 50

Artanis: I agree wholeheartedly with you, swankivy! But I must also agree with a previous reviewer who suggested that you clean up your essay and make it more presentable. Of course, the ideas are great, but the language (and you're an editor!!!) is atrocious. Please make this an essay rather than a multi-paragraph tantrum. Aside from the obvious flaws, I'm glad that some intelligent and careful readers are sensitive enough to sense garbage when they read it. Eragon is an insult to fantasy, especially for those who hold Professor Tolkien and his works sacred. And some people think that a starry-eyed fifteen year old with convenient parents and (laudably) the mental soundness to go on with such a dull task can compare! Watch out everyone... CP has a thesaurus, and he's not afraid to use it!

swankivy: I love when people say "make it more presentable" and "the language is atrocious" without using any examples. C'mon guys. If you have a problem with something I've written, be specific. My essay is INFORMAL, not particularly scholarly, and if that's your problem with it, bite me. (How you like them apples?) Seriously. If you want to make a suggestion or criticize, do it, but BACK IT UP or I won't know what you think I should change. Telling me it needs to be more "presentable" and is at present "atrocious" doesn't amount to a hill of beans.

B.W.: I was randomly typing stuff into Wikipedia and found your link. I even decided to comment. (I'm avoiding doing my homework, can't you tell?)

I'm a shameless reader of high fantasy. I mean, I like my classics, and I'm fond of good books from any genre, but if we want to speak strictly about fiction of dubious value, I'd rather have crap fantasy than, say, crap murder mysteries. As a result, I've read the whole pantheon of random quest stories. That's why I smiled after reading your review of Eragon.

You see, after reading Eragon, I promptly predicted everything that was going to happen in Eldest. I was so accurate that Eldest was kind of pathetic for me. However, reading this series gives me a pretty good example for an essay I'm writing for school about Tolkien's influence on fantasy writers, so I can't complain.

Also, I just wanted to say that I like flowery names. They're fun.

Kitty: I was looking at the Wikipedia article on Eragon and I found the link to your essay. Finally, someone else who is bugged by the relentless avoidance of the word "said."

Moving right along, the "Eragon" essay was articulate, well-written, and got right to the point. No beating around the bush for you. If only Chris P. read this. He doesn't seem to listen to critisism, and if he does, he sure doesn't follow up on it and improve his freakin' writing.

By the way, does anyone else think that "Eragon" was devoid of the passion that usually comes packaged neatly with destined writers? It sounds robotic, almost. When I read it aloud I read it in monotone. There's no feeling.

Anyhoo, great job. High-five, Ms. Ivy.

Kate: Oh. My. God. So beautiful. You summed up all my feelings of fiery hate and scorn and now I think I may just cry from sheer love for you.

Well, kidding. But seriously, as an aspiring author myself, I could only cringe and cringe again while reading Eragon at all of the same things you spoke of, and more. I did, in fact, buy the sequel--it was even more horrible than the first. What's worse, it's only in hardcover. Waste of twenty bucks, anyone? ;)

Obviously I won't re-go over all the points you named. But all I can do is thank you so much for writing this!

You're my hero. :D


Yoza: Hi,
I do agree with you - I read the German version of the book and I am convinced the translator did his very best, but of course he could not make a good book out of a bad one.
I am waiting for the movie and I think this movie has the chance to be the first one to be much better than the book it is based upon. Because movies - at least good movies don't tell with words but with pictures and I think the storyline of Paolini's novels are not that bad. A good screen writer can create a fine script out of it, I am sure.


April: If you don't like the a lot of the fantasy writing and writers then maybe you should find a new subject to read about.

swankivy: Her e-mail didn't work, so here's what I have to say to that:

I'm not sure what it means exactly since I never said I don't like fantasy writing and writers. I like *good* writing, and it just so happens that fantasy is the genre I actually read most. Unfortunately there are people who mess it up a lot, like the illustrious Christopher Paolini (in my opinion). I don't like the style he uses (and others like him use).

Believe me, my disgust over Christopher Paolini's book is not because I just don't like fantasy. It's because it is not, in my opinion, a good book. That's all.

Kitsua Takeshi: You know, it's funny how you mention that Eragon copies the great Lord of the Rings and other such fantasy novels. If you ask me, every single novel that has ever been written copies from another. Take Harry Potter for example. Give it a couple of years or so when someone finally gets the nerve to write a story involving a magic school and wizards. Watch as the many Harry potter fans start ranting and writing an essay such as this one.

I won't say I agree with you and I won't say I disagree with you. I've only read one book in the Eragon series and I rather liked it. However, it wasn't a favorite(due to the fact that I can't remeber much of it).

Now, if you were to ask which books I approve to be worhty of recognition, I'd probably say Lords of the White Castle (and/or any of Anne Rice's novels(with the exception of a few).

swankivy: Uh-oh, no e-mail address. You know what happens when they don't leave an e-mail address. I respond publicly!

I don't believe that "every single" novel is copied from another. I would say that some share elements, but that only a few are similar enough that it seems like a copy. Lots of fantasy novels use elements that are similar. I know that. But there's a difference between, say, having a book that's about magic school that is otherwise different . . . and doing what CP did. It doesn't just have some similar elements. It's practically fanfiction. There's a difference.

There already ARE lots of books out there that have child wizards. Take Diane Duane's fantastic books for one. There are books with magical schools. Look at Charlie Bone. People might notice the similarities, but in some cases (like Ms. Duane) they were writing way before HP got started, and besides the fact that they both involve magical kids they aren't much alike at all. How many books out there have all the good guys fighting the all-encompassing bad guy? Lots. Is the way that Ms. Duane does it unique? YES. Is the way that Mr. Paolini does it unique? Hell no. It's all been done before, and sometimes he even uses the same words to do it.

That's all I have to say about that.

Koneko-chan: Your essay made a lot of sense to me as a reader. I had always rather wondered exactly why that book was so bad. I mean, I knew it was bad, I just didn't know why. And I think I'll actually be a better writer for reading some of the things you wrote. So thank you for that as well.

Crawling Spiders: I find this essay slightly excitable (or, as in Eldest, fermented) as to writing, but perfectly well done as to the flaws in Eragon. Will you be doing one on Eldest too? On Anti-shurtugal, there is a listing of timing inconsistencies during Eldest. I would like to finish that, if you do not like Tolkien, I am absolutely positive that you are SOMEONE'S evil twin.

S. A. Petrich: Cool essay. Congratulations, Ivy.

I read Eragon last year, on the bus, while travelling back from the seaside where I spent the summer. I kind of liked the book – I mean, I didn’t think it was special, or good for that matter, but it was better than looking out of the window. Slightly.

Anyway, you summed up pretty nicely all that is wrong with this book. I’d just like to add one more thing, the main reason why it didn’t quite click for me: When I am reading a fantasy novel, especially such a popular high-fantasy one, I expect a certain feeling. The feeling you have while reading, for example, Fellowship of the Ring – a feeling which reminds you of old folk tales and legends such as Kalevala, a feeling of sitting around a fireplace, while an old, bearded poet retells you the stories of Lemminkäinen or Kullervo, and you are eagerly listening, awed by those tales. Or, alternatively, the feeling of reading a good novel while comfortably sitting on a sofa facing the fireplace (or at least, a radiator), slippers on your feet, a loved one (Boyfriend/girlfriend, a pet, a parent if you’re younger) snuggling with you, entranced in a mystical world within the pages of the book. Do you know what feeling I’m describing? It’s kinda hard to explain.

In essence, it brings you closer to the characters – in a cold and dark world, they are your friends, the light and the flame which guides you, and you want them to succeed. You want the forces of evil to fail. Some writers, however, don’t go for that feeling – Frank Herbert with his spectacular character study, Dune, being the best example – which doesn’t stop them from being excellent pieces of literature. However, Paolini does.

And that is the problem.

Most writers usually lose that feeling midway through the series, however - even Tolkien does, about halfway through The Two Towers, but hopefully regains it during the final chapters of Return of the King. However, what’s going on is simply too damn interesting, so you don’t really care. Actually, the only fantasy series I read so far which retains that feeling throughout are the Harry Potter books. However, Paolini lacks it from page one. I never felt any connection to the characters. Any. If Eragon died after fifty pages, and the rest of the novel was about plumbing, I wouldn’t care less. Even though it tries to, Eragon isn’t anything special – it simply is. Eragon goes on a quest. OK, move on. Major character dies! OK, whatever. OMG BIG PLOT REVELATION-THING! *Yawn* Been there, done that. Can see how it ends, please?

Paolini thinks all you need for contact with the reader are flowery words and mysterious stuff. No, Chris, it takes much, much more. It takes love, love for your story and characters. If you don’t feel for your characters, how can you expect your readers to care about them? When I finished the book I didn’t slowly close it, left it in my lap gazing at the cover and pondered what is to happen next. I hurled it across the bus, thus breaking the windshield and causing a major traffic accident (No, not really).

Frankly, by the time I got home and unpacked, I forgot what the book was about. I only remembered after I read your essay. In contrast, I read Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix only once, about a year ago, and I still vividly remember not only the main plot, but also the majority of details – which is the result of J. K. Rowling’s competent writing. The flaws in Eragon you pointed out are true – but they could be excused. What I believe Eragon’s biggest sins to be, are its lack of emotion, its complete and utter failure to connect with the reader, and the fact it’s completely forgettable.

Sorry for the rather longish response, but I had all this brewing somewhere in the back of my head for a while now.

P. S. – I think I may have solved the mystery behind the “ë” in Agalaësia. It’s not from German but rather from Latin. In Latin, there are three diphthongs: AE (pronounced as “ay” in the word “bay”), OE (pronounced as “Oi”), and AU. Now, some words, although spelled with a diphthong, are pronounced differently. For example, the word “poëta” (meaning “poet”) isn’t pronounced “poita” but rather po-eh-ta. To point this out in written language, the umlaut is introduced. This type of umlaut made its way even into English, in the word “naïve” - without the umlaut, the word “naïve” would be pronounced the same as the word “knave”*. Because of all that, Agalaësia would be pronounced Agala-eh-sia. Still, this leaves us with two points:

#1: How in the name of all that is holy does a feature exclusive to roman languages get into whatever language do the Palini people speak;

#2: As proven, it is still damn confusing to everybody who doesn’t have eight years of studying Latin behind them (Like I do ;-)).

*Not as if the English language actually has any rules concerning those things.

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