Reviews Comments: The Cycle is an excellent deconstruction
The Cycle is an excellent deconstruction
The cycle is obviously all about Eragon, so it's no surprise that it's told from the eyes of a teenager. The cycle succeedes in feeling like it is from a teenagers view. The flaws in Eragon's actions don't make me hate the character, they make me cheer him on more when he still aspires to be a good person regardless. Yes, the books are juvenile - that's the point of the perspective. A teenager trying to put right 100+ year old problems. Eragon is, importantly, trying to do the right thing - and often trying to work out what the right thing is. Not knowing what is right in any situation doesn't make him a sociopath or evil, it prevents him from being a Gary Stu who does nothing wrong and makes no mistakes. Maybe deconstruction is too harsh a term, but accidentally or on purpose (I think on purpose) the series repeatedly shows that no matter how much magical power or fighting prowess or desire to do right Eragon might have, it can't prevent him from being manipulated or help him resolve a moral dilemma. He just has to struggle about those like the rest of us.
But Eragon's actions are never presented as wrong or moral dilemmas, unless Paolini is trying to play up drama. The majority of his decisions are shown as right and wise and perfect. (For instance, his wince-worthy treatment of Sloan in Brisingr, which was congratulated by the elf queen.) A deconstruction of the normal Heroic Fantasy would be interesting, yes, but that is not what The Inheritance Cycle is.
comment #2773 Thebazilly 5th Jun 10
I disagree with the above post; for every one thing Eragon does which Paolini praises, there are two things which Paolini clearly paints as retarded decisions. Eragon is just a noob at this whole dragon rider and saving-the-world thing, with a lot to learn, especially in the first two books, who happens to do something really right maybe once or twice per book. I would say this is much less of the case once the third book kicks in and he's turned into a magical elf kid who's trained and practiced magic a bit, but before that, Paolini makes no question of the fact that he's a bumbling idiot who doesn't know what the hell he's doing. Falling for several blatant traps, casting retarded magic spells, trying to woo a princess he has no place being next to (although they'll undoubtedly end up together at the end), making promises to anyone and everyone which he won't ever be able to keep, being socially awkward with every single new race he meets... the list goes on and on. And that's not to mention that the Follow Your Heart Aesop is sometimes followed up with "But the heart is sometimes in error". I'm not saying it's executed in the best way, especially with the rampant favoritism Paolini shows him, and the frequent Author Filibuster drawing parallels to his own beliefs and opinions, but that's clearly the intended effect of the character, which I was easily able to pick up on.
comment #2774 CAD 5th Jun 10
Falling for traps, making tactical mistakes and being socially awkward are not moral decisions in the first place. How often does Eragon meet a realistic moral dilemma, debate it in a reasonable manner and come to a conclusion that helps the reader empathise more with his character? To be honest, not often.
comment #5147 Vilui 16th Nov 10
Eragon is not a deconstruction of Heroic Fantasy if nobody knows for sure if Eragon's screwing up was intentional by the author or not. Now a REAL deconstruction of Heroic Fantasy would be Berserk.
comment #5154 shiro_okami 17th Nov 10
Unintentional deconstruction? Heh.
comment #6117 iheartmountains 26th Jan 11 (edited by: iheartmountains)
So, because Christopher Paolini's not assuming Viewers Are Morons, and letting the story tell itself without blatantly imposing his own morality on the story (Letting viewers draw their own conclusions), it's a bad story? Each Author Tract is undermined by the deliverer, causing the characters to have the most naturally displayed flaws. He has [[Hypocrite hypocrites]] that avoid falling into the Straw Hypocrite trope (Such as... everyone. But notably the Elves). Everyone sees the world in their own way, and generally try doing what they think is right. The author averts And Thats Terrible by avoiding moral judgement outside the scope of one character judging another, or a character judging themselves by their own sense of right and wrong. Due to the nature of the series' Canon, Eragon is a justified Mary Sue, as the fate of the Constructed World does revolve around him. It's actually be quietly deconstructed in the later books, with Paolini's unique writing style averting hanging a lampshade on it. Has the power corrupted Eragon? Maybe, but he's averted Jumping Off The Slippery Slope. Also, Paolini's confirmed that Eragon, while initially being an Author Avatar in the first book, has become someone else entirely: Someone he's not afraid to show doing questionable deeds, and being called out on them (Or at least having characters discuss the morality). For the most part, though, when he's asked "What The Hell Hero", his rebutal justifying his deeds isn't hailed as being correct as much as "True to his principals." They'd rather have a steadfast, slightly misguided hero than an unpredictable Well Intentioned Extremist.
comment #6341 Scow2 10th Feb 11
"So, because Christopher Paolini's not assuming Viewers Are Morons, and letting the story tell itself without blatantly imposing his own morality on the story (Letting viewers draw their own conclusions), it's a bad story?" I would disagree with your underlying premise here. Paolini does indeed blatantly impose his own morality on the story. I haven't read Brisingr, but in the first two books, it's clear that the oh-so-perfect Elves are the mouthpiece for his beliefs, espousing in a high-handed way his vegetarianism (which leads to some Fridge Logic when Arya goes around in leather, among other things) and disdain for religion. This is very clear in the conversation Arya has with the Dwarf priest, where she calmly and rationally explains how wrongheaded religious belief and practice is, while he's presented as a wild-eyed fanatic.
comment #6982 Gitman 23rd Mar 11 (edited by: Gitman)
[quote]This is very clear in the conversation Arya has with the Dwarf priest, where she calmly and rationally explains how wrongheaded religious belief and practice is, while he's presented as a wild-eyed fanatic.[/quote] Him being extremely and obviously offended doesn't make him an unintelligent buffoon, nor does being smug and rude make Arya any less a hypocrite. He's just thoroughly avoiding hanging lampshades on each of these, and it is hurting his work. He's letting the characters speak for themselves without acknowledging any of their flaws in the narrative. It's cool that he's trying that, but he really ought to consider a lampshade. Maybe getting three.
comment #7678 Fulcon 13th May 11
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