The Inheritance Cycle is one of those series that is just filled to the brim with bad idea after bad idea. While that was rather apparent when reading the first three books, it didn’t occur to me just how much the author had no idea what he was doing until the last book. Like other fantasy narratives, the mechanics in The Inheritance Cycle are based on numerous myths, fairytales, and folklores. But one of the many problems with The Inheritance Cycle, however, is that it has no restraint. It doesn’t know which myths to use and which ones not to. It also doesn’t help that, once again, the story relies on telling and not showing.
We can see this in numerous instances, from the morality between the good and bad guys to how magic works to the roles dragons play in the narrative. The Inheritance Cycle has many common fantasy tropes, but it doesn’t utilize those tropes to the best of its ability, or at all. Instead, they become pointless instances in the story that rise up out of nowhere and have no impact on anything. A perfect example of this is when the series introduced changelings in the fourth book, Inheritance.
As 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 agood long whileharping onThe Inheritance Cyclein 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.
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.
I 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.
I’ve decided to get this one over and done with early on because, quite frankly, outside fanfiction, I really want nothing more to do with Inheritance Cycle. It will only lead to disappointment. Now, I know some of you may be wondering why we’ve included Eragon on this list, since he’s very obviously in love with Arya and seems like someone who’s more or less heterosexual. Or at least I know many fans will be wondering why, before proceeding to get angry at all the following paragraphs. And I also know many of you haters probably knew exactly where this post was going the moment you read the title, but I should also remind everyone that Sexualized Saturdays is meant to explore people of all sexualities. That includes heterosexuality.
However, regardless of the relationship with Arya, many people came out of these books under the not-entirely-unfounded impression that Eragon represses his homosexuality. And again, this is something I disagree with and support. This all comes back to how to rate a story, and this problem wouldn’t be here if the author could show what he wanted, as opposed to telling and showing the opposite. If we go with how Paolini wanted Eragon to be, he’s straight. If we look at how he presents Eragon in the books, however, his sexuality becomes less clear.
The idea that there’s someone out there with telepathic abilities certainly has an element of horror to it, and that’s an element pop culture likes to latch onto. Villains with this kind of ability strike a chilling terror in their victims, and even in us, the audience. It goes without saying that the invasion of someone’s mind against his or her will often has long-lasting, damaging effects that leave us with little to no question on the morality, or lack thereof, of the perpetrator. These acts come in different forms, whether mind controlling, binding someone against his or her will, the implantation or removal of memories, or just plain mind reading. The best way to describe such a thing is “rape of the mind”, or “mind rape”. Unfortunately, mind rape is not always committed by the bad guys. Often in fantasy and sci-fi, the good guys will do this as well. And even more unfortunately, when our heroes commit such a heinous act, the narrative will either excuse or refuse to acknowledge the rape in question.
Yeah, I’ve recently come to conclusion that Inheritance Cycle sucks about as much as the title of this post. So quite a lot.
The last book of the series recently came out this month—and about time too, as we’ve only been waiting three years for the damn thing—and I have been planning to do a review of the series for a while now. So now that it’s out, I might as well get started.
Spoilers and a trigger warning for rape after the jump.