In Defense of The Inheritance Cycle

inheritance_cycle_by_manuelo108-d3cuskrAs I pointed out to Lady Geek Girl the other day, more than a month has passed again since I last addressed this topic, so it’s time to revisit my favorite series. I’ve spent a good long while harping on The Inheritance Cycle in the past, and while it does have plenty more problems that I could go into, Paolini did do a decent job every once in a while. This series has a good number of avid fans and followers, and I highly doubt that would be the case if the books had no redeeming qualities whatsoever. We could argue all day about whether or not they’re good books (they’re not), but even if you don’t like the series, it’s hard to deny that there is an appeal to it.

So today, I’m going to talk about some of the things that I genuinely enjoyed, or at least appreciated, about the series.

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Magical Mondays: The Dragons of Inheritance Cycle and Deus ex Machinae

inheritance_cycle_by_manuelo108-d3cuskrThere really are just too many things to talk about in these books, and hey, it’s been over a month since I’ve visited the series, so it’s time to talk about it again.

Throughout literature and mythology, dragons have been interpreted and portrayed many different ways. The word “dragon” can be quite broad in its definition, and depending on where you go in the world, people will always have different images and ideas that they associate with dragons. The dragons that we’re most concerned about today are European Dragons, who are typically portrayed as evil and greedy, with a few exceptions, especially in modern literature. Here in America, European Dragons are what we tend to be most used to. They are big scaly lizards with large wings. They breathe fire, kidnap virgins, steal gold, and live in caves. With the exception of being innately evil and kidnapping virgins, this is the kind of dragon that Inheritance Cycle uses.

Although I obviously knew about dragons before Inheritance Cycle, Paolini’s books were my first real foray into their mythology, and so I’m more familiar with his interpretation than I am with others. Additionally, despite my love for dragons, they tend to bore me, because they’re often portrayed exactly the same over and over again. Paolini’s dragons were new and unique to me at the time, so naturally I fell in love with them (though I do hear that they are ripoffs from The Dragonriders of Pern). But because I’m so under-read in this matter, it is hard to compare them to other dragons and actually say what Paolini did that makes his dragons unique and worth your time. Like all things in his books, he occasionally hints at creativity with his dragons, but ultimately their magic tends to only happen for plot purposes.

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Oh, My Pop Culture Pantheon: The Dwarf Gods from Inheritance Cycle

inheritance_cycle_by_manuelo108-d3cuskrLast month, I did a post on religion and culture in Inheritance Cycle, specifically for the people of Carvahall and Eragon himself. That, however, led to someone asking how I felt about a holy vision, I suppose you could say, that Eragon has in Brisingr. This post furthers my response to that question.

In Brisingr, during Orik’s coronation to become the new Dwarf king, Eragon sees a vision of the Dwarven god Gûntera. The vision—or rather, the manifestation—of the holy being is brought about by a Dwarven priest saying a prayer in the Ancient Language, the language of magic. This has led me to believe that this wasn’t a vision or something otherworldly. This particular scene undermined the Dwarven faith, instead of enhancing it, since it potentially provides proof to something I thought they believed simply through faith. Additionally, it could also go to show that their faith isn’t real and only the result of magic. I really disliked this scene, because I actually thought the Dwarven faith was really well done.

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Galbatorix and the Forsworn: So You Think You Can Evil?

inheritance_cycle_by_manuelo108-d3cuskrI’ve harped on Inheritance Cycle quite a lot, and that’s mostly because, despite it being my favorite series, it could have done so much better. Most of its flaws could have actually been strengths had the author been aware of them. For example, had Paolini been aware that he made Eragon a sociopath, the books would certainly have been more interesting.

The Varden would have needed to recognize having Eragon around as a necessary evil with which to overthrow a bigger evil. Eragon wouldn’t have been a beloved hero, but a terrifying anti-hero on whom people were forced to rely. Additionally, had the books been self-conscious about both the Varden’s and Eragon’s unethical practices and ideals, the Varden would have had to work harder at justifying their actions. Instead, the books assume that we’ll automatically agree with Eragon and the Varden, while simultaneously hating Galbatorix and the Empire.

That right there is a sure sign of terrible writing, especially because our main villain, Galbatorix, and his followers, the Forsworn, don’t seem anywhere as evil as the books make them out to be.

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Oh, My Pop Culture Religion: Religion and Culture in Inheritance Cycle

inheritance_cycle_by_manuelo108-d3cuskrIt has been at least four months since the last time I got on Inheritance Cycle’s case, which is entirely too long. So it’s time to rectify that now. A longstanding complaint of the series is the lack of culture within the world of Alagaësia, specifically among the humans of Carvahall. One of the ways Paolini could have fixed this would have been by adding more religion, which is surprisingly absent for a good portion of the first book, despite the fact that there is no logical reason for religion to not play a larger role in the narrative.

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In Brightest Day: Eragon (Again)

inheritance_cycle_by_manuelo108-d3cuskrTwo weeks ago, I wrote a post about Eragon’s disability during the events of the second book, Eldest, in the Inheritance Cycle series. Originally, I had been torn between writing about that, or writing about whether or not Eragon is a sociopath or a psychopath. While I do believe that Eragon displays many sociopathic and psychopathic tendencies, at the same time, he was also written to be a hero, and so his character becomes confused due to the fact that Paolini tends to tell one thing and show the opposite. As such, Eragon is left with many conflicting personality quirks that make it hard to understand his character.

For example, Eragon seems to have no trouble killing other human beings, to the extent that he rarely has any kind of emotional response to the people’s he’s killed, but as of Eldest, he becomes a vegetarian, because killing animals for food is wrong.

So while Eragon comes across as a horrible murderer sometimes, other times he can come across as a relatively decent guy. Relatively.

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Fanfiction Fridays: Shackled By Blood by purplehairedwonder

inheritance_cycle_by_manuelo108-d3cuskrI cannot get enough of this fandom, and considering that this is Inheritance Cycle, it comes as no surprise that we’d get a fic that is by far much better than the original source material. Of course, that could be said for anything. There will always be Harry Potter fanfiction written by people more skilled than Rowling, and there will always be LotR fanfiction better written than LotR. It happens. There’s always someone better. But these kinds of stories tend to be few and far between, and so I am happy to share this one with you guys.

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Sexualized Saturdays: Gender Bending

So sometime between writing our The Dark Knight Rises review where we briefly talk about making Talia al Ghul a man and discovering a game on Facebook called Dragon City, I’ve been thinking a lot about gender lately. Lady Geek Girl and I used Talia as an example in our post. Someone at one point had mentioned that it was a good thing that her ethnicity and the ethnicities of two other villains had been changed to white to avoid racism. The point we tried to get at was that that wouldn’t solve racist stereotyping any more than changing Talia to a man would have solved sexism.

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Fifty Shades of Grey: Chapter 2—I Mean, Everything That’s Wrong with the Book

I like to write. I don’t think that’s a big secret. I have this blog, my fanfiction, my own original works, consisting of anything between full novels and poems, etc. No, I’m not published. But as I was editing one of my chapters the other day, I was struck by how much time I always end up on a single sentence, making sure I get the exact wording down, to say everything I need to say without wasting an audience’s valuable time. And it’s amazing how easy it is to do that. One wrong word can ruin everything.

Writing a story is an art form, and it can be very complex. Unfortunately, it can fall flat if the author doesn’t seem to be aware of everything that’s going on and breezes over issues. One misplaced sentence or grammatical mistake can completely invalidate a preexisting plot point or contradict something important. And not only is there the plot to consider, there’s the tone, character development, so on and so forth. And let’s not forget the message. A mess up on any one of these can turn what would otherwise be a good story into a terrible story.

And while I obviously didn’t think too highly of the first chapter, despite my like, and wasn’t really planning on picking up the book again anytime soon, a few nights ago found me finally taking a look at the second chapter for whatever reason (my mom told me not to read anymore because the newspaper taught her it’s basically porn and therefore sinful, so I had to continue, because she yelled at me not to. Yes, I’m that childish).
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Web Crush Wednesdays: Sporkings and Completely Random Videos I Found

MadameAce: I think it’s no secret that I’m lazy. Really lazy, as in I will put something off for as long as possible. So lazy, that despite being an administrator, I went out of my way to not look up anything for my Web Crush Wednesdays. But don’t worry, dear readers, I know you were looking forward to me bedazzling you with a series of precious Youtube videos, and I don’t plan to disappoint you. Much.

You see, recently while lurking around Twilight and Eragon sporking pages—though when I Googled for Twilight sporking, I only found another anti-Eragon site somehow—I came across some marvelous videos that in no way go together. Though, I guess I’ll share.

However, before I do that, I suppose it is my job to share with you another website. Here’s the one Eragon-sporking page I just told you about. I already linked to this in my review of Inheritance Cycle, but I’m linking to it again.

Deal with my laziness, Lady Geek Girl!

(Lady Geek Girl is currently buried under a pile of Grad school work, research, working on original writing, promoting the blog, editing posts, writing posts, updating fanfics–that MadameAce and Tsunderin will never find–all while cooking, cleaning, and paying bills.)

Lady Geek Girl: My dear MadameAce, that was strike one. Love, Your Fucking Boss!

MadameAce: Anyway, the sporking page is designed to, you know, spork Inheritance Cycle. However, Kippur, the main writer of the page, has also sporked other things, like The Da Vinci Code, Anita Blake Vampire Hunter: Danse Macabre, and the truly awful and sexist The Fifth Sorceress. That last one may very well be one of the worst books to ever exist.

Worse than Inheritance Cycle.

Worse than Twilight.

Worse than Fifty Shades of Grey.

Well, that last one is pretty much Twilight but with actual sex, so we won’t count it.

On top of that, Kippur has also compiled a bunch of essays regarding Christopher Paolini’s work, as well as other things dealing with literature, and she has even started rewriting Eragon on her Eragon Redux page. Despite the fact that her clear dislike of Eragon shows through in the rewrite, I will admit, I kind of like it better than the original actual story.

Anyway, about those random video’s that have nothing to do with anything that I promised you all…. Many of you have probably already heard of Onion News Network. For those of you who haven’t, it covers some very serious issues.

And then, just because I recently saw it posted from a guest writer on Kippur’s page, and because we were just talking about Legend of Zelda a little while ago, Link most definitely would have this problem:

And because I totally don’t feel guilty about not posting a Star Wars review in forever, I found two awesome music vids for Ahsoka. I have been watching them over and over again. The first one features a song called “Fight” by Icon for Hire.

The song for this second one confuses me, because I am not a Taylor Swift fan. I really don’t like her. My dislike is nowhere near as bad as what I feel toward other artists. I would much rather listen to her than to, say, Justin Bieber or Miley Cyrus; however, I kind of like this song—which is a little embarrassing—and that may be because it doesn’t really sound like a Taylor Swift song, at least not the ones I’m used to. It’s a bit darker, though lyrically it is still her pining after some nameless boy.

Besides that, the song does seem to fit.

Okay, for some reason, I can’t get that last video to work, so you can just find it here.

PS: It is not a good idea to antagonize your boss.