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A Cycle of Awesome
I have read all three of the current books in the Inheritance Cycle. I went to a book-signing for the second book when Paolini came to my hometown and got my books signed. I have re-read the first book so much that the cover is worn out and even ripped in places. Yes, I admit I am an Inheritance Cycle fangirl and damn proud of it. After reading all three books I was flat out blown away by the sheer scope and breadth of the series. It takes us from peaceful Palancar Valley and drop kicks us into the turmoil of Tronjheim, the mountain city of the dwarfs and then catapults us to Surda and beyond.

The series has many parallels with various fictions such as Lord of the Rings (what fantasy doesn't?) and Star Wars (young boy becomes great warrior) but it still manages to stand on its own as a credible and downright incredible world of fiction. I love the dragons the most in this series as they seem so intelligent and real that I almost expected Saphira to come flying out of the pages.

Paolini is almost a young Tolkien in the way that he has meticulously contstructed his own entire world, complete with various races and even languages for each of them. I especially love the Ancient Language and think it is actually better than some of the other made up languages of literature.

What I truly, deeply love about this series is the characters themselves. All of them are undeniably awesome from Eragon the protagonist to Galbatorix the twisted villain (who I cannot wait to see in the fourth book). Each character is unique and different, no two are alike. The most amusing characters have to be Angela the herbalist and Brom, the wise Rider of old who turns out to be closer to Eragon than meets the eye. I was truly surprised to find out that tidbit. Arya also stands out as the aloof elven princess who Eragon falls for (it is foretold by Angela when she threw the knucklebones for him), yet it turns out for the worse as she spurns his affections. However a certain dream that Eragon had may actually dispell this notion by the fourth book's release.

All in all, this is hands down the best fantasy series to date and I am eagerly, hungrily waiting for the fourth book. Here's hoping it is just as amazing and breathtaking as the first three.
I assure you this is not a parody review. That is my gods-honest opinion on the series. While I respect your opinion, I have to say I am quite surprised, maybe even a little sad that this series has nothing but negative or lukewarm reviews by other tropers. I just thought I would bring a nice review in for a change of pace. And yes, the plots do share many parallels with other fantasy films and novels but come on...what book doesn't take a bit from other things these days? That's no reason to call his writing laughable. I found the writing itself to be very fluid and engaging.
comment #2844 Dragonessa 12th Jun 10
I agree that the series is a Cliche Storm that rips off Star Wars, but the "Eragon is a sociopath" meme has little basis in the actual works; it's just an excuse to bash.
comment #2849 silver2195 12th Jun 10
I agree that The Inheritance Cycle doesn't deserve all the hate it gets - the first book was quite fun, I thought... but how can you honestly say it is hands down the best fantasy series to date? That's hyperbole, right? You can't mean that literally, surely?
comment #2851 Sarcophilus 13th Jun 10
I'm not much of a Tolkien fan—I found Lord Of The Rings too dry, to be honest—but before you go and start comparing Paolini's made-up languages with Tolkien's, please familiarize yourself with Tolkien's work in linguistics. Because he was a master of language theory in general and of several language systems in particular. His fictional languages have solid, underlying systems of phonology, morphology, lexicology, syntax, and even discourse. They're not random strings of letters put together with an author-provided translation; they function on their own as their own language systems.
comment #4311 tikkihikki 4th Sep 10
it's alright kid; this place has its favourites and its heresies, same as everywhere else. I know its frustrating, just roll with it. Many things are important to argue over, the merit of a particular fantasy novel is not among them.

Realize also that there's a good number of former anti-shurtugalites here, and having spoken with many of them for a long time, I can assure you they are every bit as irrationally angry over this as they come across
comment #4383 99.224.211.54 11th Sep 10
to Dragonessa: I just want to let you know that there is at least one person on the Internet who agrees with you.

and to Nolan J Burke: I read and reread the page and I have yet to find ONE (and I quote) "perfectly legitimate point", perhaps I am being dense, but would you mind explaining what those points are? and please try to reply somewhat intelligently
comment #4405 dontcallmewave 12th Sep 10
<Mod Hat ON>

Let me make one thing abundantly clear, for those of you who may have missed the memo:

Personal Attacks On Other Posters Are Not Acceptable.

"Other Posters" includes people who post reviews.

Reviews are, by definition, personal opinions.

Accusations of trolling and name-calling because you disagree with the reviewer's opinion are Not Acceptable. discuss the points made in the review, if you wish and can do so civilly. Do Not Discuss The Reviewer.

<Mod Hat OFF>
comment #4449 Madrugada 16th Sep 10
^ Dude, it's very easy to criticise a review without criticising the reviewer.
comment #4994 Sarcophilus 1st Nov 10
I read the title and thought, "parody". Then I read the first comment. I'm not quite convinced, but if it's true at least the author is brave enough to post forth a contrary opinion.

I wouldn't say I was blown away by the awesomeness of the books... I remember considering it a generic fantasy page-turner. Something you would read to get some plot, and then probably forget as you read other books.
comment #5562 99.57.138.239 29th Dec 10
Honest question: How do you know you like Galbatorix if he hasn't even shown up yet?
comment #6352 64.91.106.47 10th Feb 11
I just found this series totally average - a slightly entertaining but generally uninteresting fantasy book. It was average to me when I was ten, before I'd even started tackling proper fantasy like Lord of the Rings and A Song Of Ice And Fire. I'll still probably get the last book just to see how it all wraps up, because it can be rather interesting at parts and it's competently written, enough to keep you reading. But it's not going to last long in my memory, and it is by far not the best fantasy series ever. And sorry, but the reveal of Brom's identity was so obvious, handled so badly and overall so predictable that it's impossible to be surprised at it.

I wouldn't say that Paolini meticulously constructed his own entire world - something like Dune is what I'd call a meticulously-constructed world, and Paolini's work is not up to that standard. Tolkien was a noted master of linguistics, and Paolini's a teenager who could make up some funny words. And it's not the fact that the plots share parallels with other works - yes, everything is inspired by something - but it's the fact that Eragon *is* Star Wars. They're the same story, only one looks a lot better, while the other's being told by a mediocre writer.

And a fantasy which doesn't steal from Tolkien? To my immediate recollection, the Witcher series. Also the Shadows Of the Apt series. And countless more. Saying that "others do it too" is not a valid excuse when defending derivative works.
comment #6365 HereticGamer 11th Feb 11
Even Tolkien took plot points form other sources...most of his mythology seems based on biblical names and characterizations (Nimrodel is remarkably similar to Nimrod, in name at least, for example) and the idea for the rings seems similar to "Der Ring des Nibelungen" by Wagner. Star Wars was also a rip of Akira Kurasawa films. A lot of great work is derivative. If I can add one more source of inspiration, the sword of truth books seem relevant to these stories.

The problems that I have with Paolini's writing is the shallow characters who seem to be either solid simple archetypes or are completely over-powered; Eragon fits into a God Mode Sue role most of the time, contrived dialogues: they just don't feel natural; they are awkward and don't flow, contrived recaps disguised as internal monologues: Eragon seems to go through these ever so often to simulate an internal struggle, and forced sesquipedalia: sometimes it feels like he looked for every opportunity to push a $10 word in there when a $0.05 one would've done fine. Other issues: you could see his reveals coming about 100 pages away. He seems to have some anthropomorphic fetishes also.

Agree with above commenter that this is a generic fantasy, at times hard to get through and with little payoff but good to waste your time with.
comment #7912 snowburnt 3rd Jun 11
I'm glad to see that there are at least a few people here who are willing to say up front that they enjoy the series, even though hating it has become something of a trend and a popular opinion. Even though I wouldn't necessarily agree that this is the best fantasy series ever or that Eragon is an awesome character, I salute Dragonessa for having her own opinion, admitting it even if it is contrary to others, and sticking by it.
comment #8336 Temporary13 28th Jun 11
^Agreed with the above.

I read it when I was 14/15. I liked it but it wasn't something I OMG LURVEEEEEEED. I read the first one, but couldn't get through the second one. I noticed some SW similarities, but the similarities that jumped out at me were the "Dragonriders of Pern" and especially "Lord of the Rings."

The thing that annoys me the most is that he made the elves into an insufferable Sue Species. That and the prose can get rather boring at times, which is why I only got 1/3 of the way through "Eldest."

I'm kind of a hypocrite. I enjoy making fun of it but at the same time I may go back to it someday for a mindless, easy read. Reading Kippur's recaps of it makes me interested in it in a "So Bad Its Good" kind of way.
comment #16155 seven7star 16th Sep 12
Had to come back to my first T Vtropes review... Lord, I caused a bit of a storm didn't I? I still stand by my words there as the books are a wonderful series and I still highly enjoy them. I posted this way back when I was a bit naive I suppose. I still think Paolini is quite brilliant for making his own full-fledged world at the tender age of 15 when the first book was published, so "young Tolkien" isn't quite that far off - albeit a bit exaggerated. The series gets remarkable improvement though in the later books and I hope Paolini continues to write more of this fantasy world.
comment #21207 Dragonessa 20th Sep 13
Honestly, I don't think it's a masterpiece, but it's still a pretty decent and entertaining fantasy series. And I still don't get why so many people consider Eragon a Mary Sue, or even a God-Mode Sue: there are TONS of characters who overpowers him, he actually loses a lot of his fights and his mistakes are aknowledged as, you know, mistakes. To me, this is just one more case where people randomly call Mary Sue a character they don't like without actually knowing what a Mary Sue is.

Overall, I enjoyed this series and wouldn't call it mediocre either. And I am actually glad to see there are other people beside me who enjoyed it.
comment #26285 Theokal3 22nd Sep 14
@Theokal: Eragon is the textbook example of a canon Sue. He masters complex skills virtually overnight; he has new powers, equipment, and solutions to problems drop into his lap without any effort or even looking for them; his mistakes are minimized, instantly forgiven, and never have meaningful negative consequences, while his successes are brought up over and over again; and his (very few) defeats are meaningless because nothing bad ever comes of them, he's only beaten because the enemy has some clearly established advantage having nothing to do with their relatives skill levels, and they're only there to heighten the drama for the rematch that always follows and which he always wins.

Granted, I haven't finished the last book. Maybe Paolini completely turned it around by the end, there. But for the first three books of the series, all of the above is true, and what I have read of the last book gives me no indication that it changes.
comment #26289 Wryte 22nd Sep 14
Wryte: O, really now? Allow me to illustrate why I disagree:

"He masters complex skills virtually overnight."

So does Goku. Or Ichigo. Or tons of other characters in fiction who STILL aren't considered Mary-Sues. And compared to a lot of characters I have seen, Eragon doesn't really master his skills THAT fast. He gets completely owned by Durza twice in the first book, even though at this point he has been training several times with Brom, and only wins by surprise. He learns magic by instinct for ONE spell, then it takes him entire days to learn how just raise a stone, and fails to do a blessing. His training with the elves take most of the books, which is at the very least month, and even with everything he learns he still isn't a match for Galbatorix by the end. Frankly I don't find the progression of his skills that extreme.

"he has new powers, equipment, and solutions to problems drop into his lap without any effort or even looking for them"

Again, so do many fictif protagonists who still aren't considered Mary-Sues. And really, no effort? Yeah, he totally didn't have to travel on the other side of a continent to get the Dragon Heart to match Galbatorix.

"is mistakes are minimized, instantly forgiven, and never have meaningful negative consequences, while his successes are brought up over and over again"

Yes, he was totally forgiven by Elva for completely screwing her up. She totally wasn't mad at him and he totally didn't fear he had created a monster with what he did to her.

"and his (very few) defeats are meaningless because nothing bad ever comes of them, he's only beaten because the enemy has some clearly established advantage having nothing to do with their relatives skill levels, and they're only there to heighten the drama for the rematch that always follows and which he always wins."

Okay.... one: his "very few" defeats? Did you actually read the books? He loses twice to Durza (his Heroic Second Win in book 1 only works because Durza was distracted), the Ra'zac outsmart him the first time he confronts them, he gets his ass kicked by an elf during training and Murtagh defeats him. That doesn't really sounds like "very few" to me, especially since most of the victories he gets are either thanks to luck or outside help, and the only times where be actually curb-stomp his ennemies are when they are random mooks (which happens all the time in any fictional story ever). Also, Durza defeating him the second time left him crippled; granted, that was solved by something of a Deus ex Machina, but it still had bad consequence during the first half of the second book.

Two: Yes, most of his opponent defeat him because of a clearly established advantage.... so? How does that make it any less of a defeat? He still makes the mistake of trying to fight the Ra'zac head on. And in Murtagh's case, he wins because he ends up using the same kind of outside help rather than just because he is that strong. Again, I have seen plenty of non-Mary-Sue protagonists with this.

As far as I am concerned, a Mary-Sue's definition boils down to "a character so perfect that they are never challenged by the events of the narrative", as explained in this video. Eragon IS challenged by the events of his narrative, he often ends up in situations where he really is in danger and needs help to get out (the way his opponents overcome him is irrelevant). So as far as I am concerned, no, he isn't a Mary-Sue. He does have some Common Mary Sue Traits, I will give you that, but as the page thanksfully explain: "Even if a character has quite a number of the traits described below, Mary-Sueness can still be averted by a good enough explanation for why they're there." He is not an incredibly written character, but calling him a Mary-Sue really is going overboard.
comment #26300 Theokal3 23rd Sep 14
So does Goku. Or Ichigo. Or tons of other characters in fiction who STILL aren't considered Mary-Sues. And compared to a lot of characters I have seen, Eragon doesn't really master his skills THAT fast. He gets completely owned by Durza twice in the first book, even though at this point he has been training several times with Brom, and only wins by surprise. He learns magic by instinct for ONE spell, then it takes him entire days to learn how just raise a stone, and fails to do a blessing. His training with the elves take most of the books, which is at the very least month, and even with everything he learns he still isn't a match for Galbatorix by the end. Frankly I don't find the progression of his skills that extreme.

Goku started training in the martial arts from the time he could walk, and never stopped, even after he died. Heck, all dying did was clear up his schedule to train even more. Entire arcs of Dragonball were devoted exclusively to Goku's training. I gave up on Bleach by the end of the Soul Society arc, but even then Ichigo went through Training from Hell one two different occasions to master his powers, and displayed a base level of martial ability before he ever became a shinigami.

Eragon, with no background whatsoever in any kind of fighting but archery, sparred with sticks for a few hours a night for about a month before Brom declared him a swordmaster. He became literate in one week. He learned so much magic with Brom that the Varden's dedicated spellcasters wanted to learn from him at the beginning of Eldest. And he mastered all of these skills in the same time frame. Yes, a sizable chunk of Eldest is dedicated to his time with the elves, but most of that time is spent on exploring elven society and philosophy. Actual training in his abilities is a minority of his time with the elves, and even then more about learning philosophy than practical application. Eragon didn't need days of training to lift a stone with magic; he was able to do that from the start. He needed days to lift the stone in a special bullshit way Oromix told him to lift the stone because that makes it sound like he's learning something deep. The entire training plot is only there because Paolini was still following Star Wars plot point for plot point back then, and the total non-importance of the training is highlighted when the only relevant thing he gets out of it are the six words of death that Oromis just straight-up tells him right before he leaves. Everything he got out of his "training" he could have gotten by reading a brochure. He doesn't take half the book to train because anything he's learning takes that long, he does it because he needs to be kept out of the story while Roran's subplot happens.

Again, so do many fictif protagonists who still aren't considered Mary-Sues. And really, no effort? Yeah, he totally didn't have to travel on the other side of a continent to get the Dragon Heart to match Galbatorix.

Again, I haven't finished the last book, so I can't comment on that, but what about everything else he ever got?

  • Saphira's egg is dropped into his lap by Arya's teleport spell erroneously delivering it to him instead of Brom.
  • Saphira chooses him as her rider because fate or whatever, not because of anything he's actually done.
  • Being picked as Saphira's rider gives him magic, along with a bunch of other powers.
  • The weird old storyteller he asks about dragons just happens to be one of only three dragonriders left in the world to mentor him.
  • Brom just gives him Zar'roc, one of the most powerful swords in the world.
  • The Varden just provides him with his armor and armor for Saphira.
  • The last remaining good dragonrider in the world reaches out to him before Eragon ever knew he existed.
  • Attending an elven festival magically cures his debilitating scar, and makes him stronger, and makes him immortal, and makes him prettier, just because he showed up to the party.
  • The ring he kept as a keepsake from Brom just happens to be a massive repository of magical power, already fully charged, even, and Oromis just gives him another one in belt form.
  • He spends a whole lot of time whining about needing a new sword after Murtagh takes Zar'roc, but in terms of actual effort all he does is ask around Elf Land for a day or two, turn down another supermagic sword that's offered to him, and then promise a tree an unknown favor in exchange for the material to make the most supermagic sword ever with the help of the master swordsmith who, just for him, breaks her oath to never make another sword.
  • Glaedr just gives him his dragonheart, because apparently he's read ahead in the book and knows he's about to die.
  • The uber dragonkiller spear that's never even been hinted at existing just happens to be in the treasure room of some random castle the Varden conquer on their way to fight Galby.

That's as far as I've gotten, and I have trouble believing that having to cross the continent to find more dragonhearts was that big a challenge for him, considering that he casually criss-crossed that same continent several times over the course of Brisingr. Everything Eragon gets comes to him either by virtue of pure chance/fate, or is just given to him because he's that special.

Yes, he was totally forgiven by Elva for completely screwing her up. She totally wasn't mad at him and he totally didn't fear he had created a monster with what he did to her.

And Eragon's mistake turned out to be a good thing, because Elva is Cursed with Awesome, and used her powers on multiple occasions to save Nasuada's life. Elva is the one non-villainous character who doesn't immediately forgive Eragon, and even then she does forgive him later when he removes the compulsive part of her curse. By contrast, think of the villagers of Carvahall. In Eldest, many of them blame Roran for bringing the Empire's wrath down on them, and fight his leadership. So what are their reactions when they reunite with Eragon, and find out that the real reason the empire was coming after them was because he was hiding a dragon on the outskirts of town? To quote Birgit, the villager so angry at Roran for bringing the Ra'zac that killed her husband to town that's she's sworn an oath to kill him: "My hearth is yours, now and forever." Of course, she extends the same forgiveness to Ro-oh, wait, no, she still swears to murder him for revenge.

Okay.... one: his "very few" defeats? Did you actually read the books? He loses twice to Durza (his Heroic Second Win in book 1 only works because Durza was distracted), the Ra'zac outsmart him the first time he confronts them, he gets his ass kicked by an elf during training and Murtagh defeats him. That doesn't really sounds like "very few" to me, especially since most of the victories he gets are either thanks to luck or outside help, and the only times where be actually curb-stomp his ennemies are when they are random mooks (which happens all the time in any fictional story ever). Also, Durza defeating him the second time left him crippled; granted, that was solved by something of a Deus ex Machina, but it still had bad consequence during the first half of the second book.

Eragon only encounters Durza in combat twice. The first time is during his prison escape, when he successfully escapes from him. The second time is in the climactic battle, where he kills him. Yes, he had help and almost lost, but he still gets the shiny new title "Shadeslayer" that people refer to him as all the time from then on, with only token mention of Arya and Saphira, if any acknowledgement of them at all (in fact, again, Saphira gets hated on by the dwarves for breaking their big fancy crystal to save him, while at the same time lauding Eragon for his accomplishment in killing Durza). This is highlighted in the forward to Inheritance, where Arya and Saphira are completely unmentioned in Eragon's defeat of Durza, but when it recaps killing Varaug, Eragon gets top billing, for the assist, over Arya, who actually made the kill.

The scar he gave Eragon doesn't matter, either, because it never affects anything that matters. He loses his training matches with Vanir, which, being training matches, are completely meaningless in the grand scheme of the narrative, and exist only for a revenge fantasy against a bully, because as soon as his scar is healed he curbstomps Vanir and the elf starts kissing his ass. The scar's sole narrative effect is to provide Eragon a source of angst. It never interferes with his abilities when it actually matters.

The Ra'zac snuck up on him and Brom in camp, poisoned Brom, and ran away. That doesn't constitute a fight. The only time they actually fight is when Eragon kills them in Brisingr.

Murtagh beats him at the Battle of the Burning Planes in what appears to be a fair fight, but is revealed/retconned in Brisingr that Murtagh had a whole bunch of dragonhearts he was drawing power from at the time. Their sparring matches in Eragon went roughly 50/50, but as with Vanir, none of them mattered. Their sole purpose was to establish Murtagh as a credible ally, and they were never shown, anyway; we were simply told that they happened.

The advantage thing matters because it robs Eragon's losses of legitimacy and removes any need to grow as a character. Vanir is the prime example of this. Vanir kicks Eragon's ass over and over, but only because Eragon is effectively a cripple at the time. As soon as he isn't crippled anymore, the tables at totally reversed, which implies that Eragon would have been beating him all along if an outside force wasn't holding him back. Eragon didn't have to grow as a fighter to overcome the difference in their skill or strength, or even his handicap. He just stopped being handicapped, and he won. He never lost to Vanir; he was losing to his scar, and then the scar magically went away. He never grows from the experience, because he never has to; nothing about any of his losses is ever his fault, so all he has to do is wait for something to come along negate his opponent's advantage, which always comes from an outside source.

Eragon never loses when a loss would affect the plot, and he never loses in a way that forces him to grow as a character. His only losses are meaningless practice matches. He is never challenged by the narrative, because the narrative never presents him with an enemy he can't beat unless a defeat would be meaningless, and even then it gives him excuses for losing those meaningless battles. Oh, the narrative throws lots of threats at him, but none of them actually accomplish anything. Win or lose, he never sacrifices anything of substance. He lost Zar'roc to Murtagh, but has a new, even better sword before he ever faces an enemy he can't kill with a stick or his bare hands. He gets the scar from Durza, but it gets healed before he's ever in a situation where it's anything but an inconvenience. Brom died, but he was immediately replaced by Murtagh, who was then replaced by Arya and to a lesser extent Roran.
comment #26309 Wryte 23rd Sep 14
@Wryte That sounds a heck of a lot like a Mary Sue to me. I have read all of the last book and though I can't remember all of it, it's been a while,...the Mary Suedom gets worse.
comment #26311 HeaG 23rd Sep 14
One thing I really hated in Eldest was the dragon tattoo dance.

I mean, Eragon is scarred and practically crippled after the fight with Durza. There's this really nice scene in Eldest when he breaks down in the middle of training because of the intense pain it causes him. And that's actually really good, character-wise, 'cause he has a severe vulnerability. It helps to make him easier to empathize with.

And then he's just magically cured and has superpowers. Thbbbbt.
comment #26312 Pannic 23rd Sep 14
@Heag: I just love it when I bother posting long detailed explanation of why I don't think those qualify to make a character a Mary-Sue, only for people to ignore it—'

@Pannic: As much as I liked the part about him getting elven-like superpowers, I will admit this did ruin the part you just described. They should have made the injury less bad and have it heal of its own, or something.
comment #26313 Theokal3 23rd Sep 14
They should have made the injury less bad and have it heal of its own, or something.

The really funny thing about getting rid of the scar that way? The book was already about 75% of the way to a perfectly workable solution to the scar that would have actually resulted in really good character growth for Eragon. It's quickly apparent that the scar only flares up when Eragon is having feelings of intense aggression; at all other times, it's dormant. Combine this with a mentor who preaches peace, oneness, and empathy, and it's blindingly obvious that what should have happened was that Eragon should have learned to master his emotions and fight without aggression in his heart. The scar would have stayed: an eternal anchor that he not only learned to be strong in spite of, but because of. Eragon would have worked to overcome a legitimate weakness that would remain hanging over his head, adding to the tension of future battles. In every battle there would be the question, could he stay centered, could he fight without letting fear, anger, or hatred overtake him? Could he fight against the friend who betrayed him or the inhuman monsters who murdered his uncle with peace in his heart?

Instead, we get it magicked away and Eragon gradually turning into a psychopath who revels in the slaughter of his enemies.
comment #26314 Wryte 23rd Sep 14
Yeah, that bothered me.

"I'm totally empathic with everything. I can't eat meat anymore and I break down crying after accidentally killing some ants and a mouse."

"Now I wantonly massacre legions of soldiers."

And yeah, the scar should have stayed.
comment #26315 Pannic 23rd Sep 14
Also, he totally abandons the not eating meat thing like a week later.
comment #26316 Wryte 23rd Sep 14
@Theokal3. As Dean from Supernatural said, "Dude, chill." Some people are going to disagree with you wherever and whatever you do. Wryte, myself and, undoubtably, some others, just happen to think Eragon fits the Mary Sue trope and you don't like it, so what ? It's a regular book.

You know that means you read it and eventually stop obessesing when someone says something you don't like about your favourite series or characters, then find something else you like.

I read Eragon when it first came out, and all the others when I could after they came out, I thought the Cycle was great then. Now, I realize that as Wryte and Pannic just said that over the course of the books Eragon turned into a psychopath.

Once again, I agree with Wryte and Pannic, Eragon was a better progtagonist with the scar. How can someone cry over killing a bunch of ants, then just kill a bunch of soldiers, actual people who had off-page lives without feeling, or at least, not much remorse over it and not be a psychopath ?

Plus, yeah, Eragon does abandon, "I don't eat meat." really early on. All because it's too hard and he misses the taste of meat or something like that.
comment #26317 HeaG 23rd Sep 14
^ It took him longer than that! It was at least two weeks! :P

Seriously, though, I liked this series. Yes, it's derivative, but so are many, many other stories. Heck, people accuse it of ripping off Star Wars when George Lucas himself admitted that he based a lot of it off of another work. The characters did need some work though.

But if anyone was a Canon Sue, it was Roran, not Eragon. Seriously, did he ever fail at anything?
comment #26318 JamesPicard 23rd Sep 14
I don't like the term Mary Sue. It's very vague and doesn't tend to mean a lot. My personal definition would be a character that exists for the creator to go "look at how cool this character is! Notice them! Notice them!" I don't think Eragon fits that. I do think, however, that he's a very dull character who's hard to empathize with because he doesn't feel like an actual human being.
comment #26319 Pannic 23rd Sep 14
Heag: I am not bothered by you and Wryte disareeing with me; you are in the right to disagree. I am bothered by the two of you completely ignoring my arguments to explain my point of view and standing on your position without even bothering explaining why you don't think my arguments work. In other words, I am annoyed about being ignored. That's a bit different from "obssessing", as you say: I am annoyed because I took time to explain my point of view, explain how I didn't think the whole Mary Sue thing didn't work, only for you guys to ignore and and just say "yeah he is a Mary Sue" without actually explaining why you stick to this position.

Also, seriously, what with people saying he turned into a psychopath? If I remember correct, he was rather unconfortable with killing humans at first. And later one why he does take pleasure in fight, this is not portrayed as "normal".

Frankly, a Canon Sue would rather be Arya in my opinion. I really didn't like her character much. But Eragon? Meh, he is a pretty average fantasy hero.

@Pannic: My point exactly: Mary Sue doesn't even have a clear definition. I still feel people put it on whatever they dislike without actually bothering with a good definition. Heck, I used to do it myself at a point before I learnt better. Again, I chose to go with the definition in the video I shew above because I feel this one is clear and sums up rather nicely what really is annoying about a Mary Sue.
comment #26320 Theokal3 24th Sep 14
I am bothered by the two of you completely ignoring my arguments to explain my point of view and standing on your position without even bothering explaining why you don't think my arguments work.

Did you not see that massive post I made? The one with bullet points?
comment #26321 Wryte 24th Sep 14
No, I didn't. My bad. I apologize for somehow missing it (No sarcasm here, I am honestly puzzled by the fact I didn't notice it). Now let's see...

Okay, for the training part, you do have a point. But I stand by my point he doesn't appear to learn it incredibly easy; it's still portrayed as hard for him. I wont deny this is still bad writing, but it doesn't feel like Paolini intended to portray him as some form of prodigy; I think he just had a bad graps of the time needed to learn all those things in real life (minus magic, of course). And The Varden's mages wanted to learn from him because he was a Rider having learnt from another Rider, when, as we saw in Eldest, their understanding of magic is rather poor and superstitious: OF COURSE they would want to learn more from a Rider, regardless of his experience. This has nothing to do with him being incredibly good. He was only good with magic by comparison of them.

"Saphira's egg is dropped into his lap by Arya's teleport spell erroneously delivering it to him instead of Brom."

Just like the Omnitrix ends up accidentally reaching Ben instead of Max in Ben10; or Luke and his uncle end up buying just the two droids who have Leila's message by total coincidence in Star Wars. Or, you know, any friggin story where the hero ends up getting his powers/his adventure by complete coincidence.

"Saphira chooses him as her rider because fate or whatever, not because of anything he's actually done."

Well, yeah, that's how Dragon Riders work as a whole; in-universe that's nothing exceptional, they ALL chose their Rider that way. Not that I like the idea, mind you (never liked the concept of destiny much), but the context doesn't exactly make Eragon exceptional in that area. Though I admit the coincidence she happens to chose JUST the guy who finds her is a bit flimsy.

"Being picked as Saphira's rider gives him magic, along with a bunch of other powers."

Again: completely normal amongst Dragon Riders! Not to mention there are tons of stories where the protagonists gets his powers like this. Are you gonna scream Mary Sue on every superhero story ever?

"The weird old storyteller he asks about dragons just happens to be one of only three dragonriders left in the world to mentor him."

.... yeah, no excuse for this one.

"Brom just gives him Zar'roc, one of the most powerful swords in the world."

And yet nobody screams Mary Sue when Obi-Wan gave Luke one of the last lightsabers in existance.

"The Varden just provides him with his armor and armor for Saphira."

What, you expected them to send him in the fight unprotected when he was fighting by their side? Especially when he is one of their potentially most powerful recruits?

"The last remaining good dragonrider in the world reaches out to him before Eragon ever knew he existed."

Again: how is that convenient/illogical? At this point, Eragon's existance had most likely reached the Elves, how is it illogical for an older Dragon Rider to call him when he can? Do you think Yoda would have ignored Luke's existance and not bothered calling him if he had known about a new Jedi?

"Attending an elven festival magically cures his debilitating scar, and makes him stronger, and makes him immortal, and makes him prettier, just because he showed up to the party."

Or, you know, because he is the last Dragon Rider they have and their best hope to defeat Galbatorix! Why I won't deny the Deus ex Machina aspect and the deception about his scar healing, assuming this dragon spirit (or whatever it was) was being logical, it was just helping by giving him more chance against Galbatorix. Nothing illogical here either.

"The ring he kept as a keepsake from Brom just happens to be a massive repository of magical power, already fully charged, even, and Oromis just gives him another one in belt form."

Yes, because truly it is illogical to give your best hope for victory massive ressources just in case... O wait! No it's not!

"He spends a whole lot of time whining about needing a new sword after Murtagh takes Zar'roc, but in terms of actual effort all he does is ask around Elf Land for a day or two, turn down another supermagic sword that's offered to him, and then promise a tree an unknown favor in exchange for the material to make the most supermagic sword ever with the help of the master swordsmith who, just for him, breaks her oath to never make another sword."

True, except for two points:
  • The favor asked by the tree clearly was him to leave Alagaesia. I don't know how you missed it (no offense), because Paolini wasn't exactly subtle about it.
  • Technically she doesn't break her oath: she uses a Loophole Abuse by having him build the sword for her. The problem was precisely that she could NOT break said oath because she made it in the Ancient Language, otherwise she would have probably broken it with Brom.

"Glaedr just gives him his dragonheart, because apparently he's read ahead in the book and knows he's about to die."

Wait, you mean it's impossible to anticipate your own death in battle when you are a cripple going to war against a way more powerful guy than you and his almost as powerful Dragon? Especially after learning said guy has the habit to collect the Dragonheart and will most likely take yours if he gets the chance? Somehow I don't find this anticipation that surprising...

"The uber dragonkiller spear that's never even been hinted at existing just happens to be in the treasure room of some random castle the Varden conquer on their way to fight Galby."

True, but here is a thing... How does this have anything to do with Eragon? I mean (spoilers) he isn't even the one using the spear at the end. This is about weither or not Eragon is a Mary Sue, not if the book has asspulls to it.

And he crosses the continent as well as the sea, meeting a few dangers on the way, and find the Dragonheart in a place that was essentially magically nuked and where radiations are still present. Sorry for not being specific.

Elva doesn't technically fully forgive Eragon, and she pretty much suggests she intends to use her powers to her own end, making Eragon worrying about what he has done with her. Somehow I am not convinced this counts as an easy fix; if anything, it almost made things worse. The Vardens are lucky Elva sticked to their side anyway. And yes, the villagers of Cavarhall did forgive Eragon rather quickly, no arguing on this.

Okay, true for the Shadeslayer part, but the fact Eragon DOESN'T deserve such praise actually is pointed out in-story. Several times; he even gets mocked by someone about it at in Eldest, and when Varaug is defeated Eragon actually says Ayra deserves the title better than he does. Also, the dwarves didn't hate Saphira, they seem more like shocked by the loss, and Saphira ends up repairing it anyway.

O, is that how you saw Vanir's part? A fantasy revenge against a bully? Vanir clearly explains why he is so aggressive toward Eragon (because he and many other elves are disappointed about the new Rider being a human and a cripple); when Eragon gets turned during the festival, this problem disappears, so Vanir's attitude toward him pretty much makes sense: he no longer has reasons to disrespect or dislike him. Could have been handled better I admit, but there is more to this part than you give it credit.

He briefly fought them in Uru'baen, only to run away after missing their attacks before the part where they snuck. Though I will admit the final fight with them was rather anticlimatic.

Nothing to say about the fights with Murtagh.

Yeah, he stopped being handicapped, and he gained super-strenghts from that dragon spirit. Somehow I doubt he would have won from the start without this upgrade.

Again, I am not convinced by your arguments here. I still know a lot of stories where protagonists get a similar succession of upgrades and nobody call them Mary Sue anyway. I know a lot of characters who never sacrifice anything to substance and never get called Mary Sue anyway. I think you are oversimplifying things a bit.

Of course, this is just my opinion. You are free to have your own. But I thank you for explaining your point of view, and apologize again for failing to notice your answer sooner.
comment #26322 Theokal3 24th Sep 14
Yeah, the Vanir thing was pretty lousy. Dude mocks Eragon 'cause he's a racist douchebag. Then Eragon conforms to Vanir's racism and then he's cool with him.
comment #26325 Pannic 24th Sep 14
I didn't noticed that back when I first read it, but now that I look back, yes, it does have some problem about this. Problem is, the only alternative would have been to have Eragon prove his value without the half-elven transformation, which would have been a new variant of Humans Are Special- a trope that I personally loathe. Soooo I don't really know how this could have worked either way.
comment #26326 Theokal3 24th Sep 14
I'd rather have Humans Are Special than Can't Argue with Elves. I don't think Eragon is a Mary Sue character himself, but I do think that the elves as presented in the book came off as a massive Mary Sue race.

Eragon should have proven his value without getting a massive Deus Ex Machina transformation. The book substituted genuine character development for just having superpowers handed to him.
comment #26328 Pannic 24th Sep 14
Do not get me wrong: I do not think Can't Argue with Elves is better. And yes, I actually do agree that elves in this version are essentially a Mary Sue race. It's just that I have a particular hate for Humans Are Special personally. So from my point of view none of the two options really was good.

I am not denying this either. This is especially pointless in that it was confirmed sooner in the story (book 1) that Eragon was going to naturally change that way anyway, so why have it happen that way?
comment #26332 Theokal3 24th Sep 14
Mmhmm.

Actually, the thing with Vanir isn't a problem with Eragon's character development. It's a problem with Vanir's character development. He doesn't change at all. Eragon beating him in a fight doesn't teach him any lessons, it just confirms what he already believes.

And that's why the entire subplot about Vanir in the second book don't work.
comment #26335 Pannic 24th Sep 14
Either because Paolini forgot about that (he's notoriously inconsistent with his work. My personal favorite instance comes from the forward of Inheritance, where it's revealed that Eragon's mother died ten years before he was born), or because Eragon is just so special that he needs a big fancy event to do what happened normally for everyone else.

I haven't gotten around to reading your last megapost yet, but I'll try to get to it later. Right now I'm supposed to be working on the next chapter of my own YA fantasy novel for my peer review group tonight.
comment #26336 Wryte 24th Sep 14
it's revealed that Eragon's mother died ten years before he was born

I'm sorry, what?
comment #26337 Pannic 24th Sep 14
Pannic: Okay, seeing things like that, yes, I actually agree.

Wryte: It's alright. Good luck for your fantasy novel.
comment #26338 Theokal3 24th Sep 14
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