Post Reply Series Discussion: Inheritance Cycle (Eragon, etc.)
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Posted 8/6/09 , edited 8/6/09
Seeing as how we only have had 1 thread so far to discuss a series, I think its about time we opened another one, and since this is another popular series (which I happen to love) I found the Inheritance Trilogy to be fitting as the next one.

This IS a discussion thread so beware of spoilers. If you haven't read past the first book, you definitely shouldn't read any of this discussion. Procede with caution if you haven't read the newest book. Since its fairly new though, I think its fair that we give warning before talking about it extensively.

The Inheritance Cycle brings together some of my favorite elements and literature, and this is partly why I love it so much. It deals with magic, dragons, weapons like swords and a bow and arrow instead of today's guns, and an action/adventure genre with splashes of romance.

The books are rather lengthy which I happen to like. You can tell that the books have been influenced by Tolkien (author of Lord of the Rings), the descriptions are rich and detailed, and many of the creatures in the books are similar to Tolkien's creations. (Elves, orcs/urgals, dwarves, humans that live longer than regular humans (Rangers/Riders))

The story seems to have a plot that seems like Harry Potter's in a way that there is some corrupt man who somehow gains a lot of power that needs to be killed, the story is executed very differently and the plot is much more complicated. The story doesn't revolve around killing Galbatorix, often times he lingers in the background, playing an important role, but has not actually showed up yet, which in my opinion is more like a true villain.

Though the story has elements of magic, its portrayed in a much more realistic way in my opinion. Often in other books magic is rather easy to do, all you do is say the words or just call it from within you and it is pretty easy to do. In the Eragon books however, magic has many rules and limitations. Your magic is also just as strong as you are, if you are physically weak, your magic will also be weak, and so forth.

I can also appreciate the fact that this IS an action/adventure novel, and that means the characters will get bloodied up and they do. War is violent, people get severely injured, it's bloody. So if you write about war, you have to write it that way.

Personally I think the series' weakest points are that at some parts the story gets rather confusing and some things aren't explained as well as they could be. Some parts of the book don't really flow, and sometimes a character might change due to no reason at all. One of the thing that annoys me personally is the timeline. There is really not much way to tell how long its been since the beginning of book 1. Some parts of the books are rather predictable and some are boring because of how stretched out they become.

But the thing that annoys me the most, is all the "Luke, I am your father!" shocking family revelations. There is just waaaaay too many, that was really, really overdone. I'll list them, I bet that list will be loooong.

We find out that:

1 - Murtagh is the son of Morzan, one of the Forsworn
2 - Arya is the daughter of Queen Islanzadi (elven queen)
3 - Orikk is the son of King Hrothgar (dwarven king)
4 - Murtagh is Eragon's brother which means Morzan is Eragon's father
5 -


Concerning Arya and Orikk, it wasn't extremely shocking but for the other 3, those were pretty big. One for each book! That is honestly way too many. One shocking family revelation is enough for a whole series and even then, Star Wars may come to mind anyway.

Because there are so many "Luke, I am your father!" revelations, it has spawned crazy speculation. XD

Such as Arya being Eragon's sister. Even though it is impossible. (Eragon is a human, Arya is a full-blooded elf.)

I hope you guys will reply so we can discuss the pros/cons of the books and perhaps possible theories for book 4, I know I have a lot of them.
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Posted 8/6/09
In the interest of contributing to the discussion I'm going to say I think Paolini has taken various cliched aspects of the fantasy genre and gleaned others from influential novels stylised by the same coventions, thrown them in a blender and created a giant fantasy word smoothie. Other than that I think it was executed rather well. Good read but we've seen it all before.
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Posted 8/6/09

fleetingthoughts wrote:

In the interest of contributing to the discussion I'm going to say I think Paolini has taken various cliched aspects of the fantasy genre and gleaned others from influential novels stylised by the same coventions, thrown them in a blender and created a giant fantasy word smoothie. Other than that I think it was executed rather well. Good read but we've seen it all before.


Oh about the Tolkien thing that I said earlier. I don't mind it that it has a lot of Tolkien influence, within the context of the story, it doesn't matter so much. Oh and I think in Eragon vs. LotR, a major difference is the good/evil boundary. The way Tolkien writes LotR, the good/evil boundary is clearly defined. There are certain species where they are evil and others that are good. There's not really much exception to this, except the Men which go both ways.

The Elves, Hobbits, and such are 'good' creatures, whereas things like Orcs are 'evil' creatures. I think thats kinda unrealistic and racist in a way. Though the Urgals are similar to Orcs, we've seen a lot of them convert over to the Varden's side, instead of being blood-thirsty monsters, they've worked to help the Varden.

As for the "we've seen it all before", I don't think something has to be completely original to be good. Most things now are very similar anyway, and all books will be a bunch of different ideas mixed to make something new because there just isn't much left, and you are influenced by everything you read. A cliche with a spin on it can turn out to be a very good book, but a book with a lesser-written about idea can be poorly executed and be really bad.

Ugh and I feel like I'm the only person who actually likes this series now... Maybe its because I type a lot.
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Ah yes, but Paolini was just conforming to the multicultural nature of contemporary society. When Tolkien wrote The Lord of the Rings sixty odd years ago I doubt the world was as racially tolerant as today. If Paolini made the poor little murderous Urgals inherently bad then they'd have no chance for some sort of redemptive upheaval or to assimilate themselves within the less err violent creatures of Alegaesia.
And yes, I agree a good spin on an overused literary formula can result in something quite phenomenal but in this case I don't think it was quite a spin so much as a slight prod. But indeed 'you are not the first to think everything has been thought before', it's hard to believe something truly original will emerge from today's society that seems already flooded with preexisting sets of values or ideologies.
This being said, I did really quite enjoy reading Eragon but found The Lord of the Rings impossible to read. Ironic how one of the biggest names in my favourite genre produces books I literally struggle to read.
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Posted 8/6/09
I find writing about this series difficult, because it gives me conflicting feelings. It is nightmarishly derivitive, but that's also what makes the series fun. It has all of the classic cliches that the fantasy genre we know is founded on, and employs them more competently than many of its competitors. Its blatant unoriginality makes it wonderfully nostalgic. Ultimately, however, this series could never be a great series. It simply isn't good enough to qualify.

Of course, I still haven't read the third book in the series so I may be wrong.

The thing I noticed from reading the first two books of the series was that it was all downhill from Brom's death. I can't say I remember a single scene I enjoyed in the second book at all. That is not to say that I was suffering in reading it, but it was just an uninteresting read. The first book had a wonderful air of a starting adventure, whereas the second book lost that feeling, and along with it, a lot of the charm that set the first book apart from its competition.
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Posted 8/12/09 , edited 8/12/09


You're not alone there, the biggest downfall of LotR the book for me, is something many books lack/are praised for.....the detail.

When you're reading a 1000 page book (I read a copy that put all 3 books together) with size 8 font. It really intimidates the crap out of you.

I think his minute details are partly why the movie is so good, because with that much detail, images become very clear in your head. Even so, its reaaally hard to read through. I did read the Fellowship of the Ring and the Return of the King almost all the way through, I had skipped over some of the purely descriptive paragraphs. I only read about half of The Two Towers.

Then again, this was a few years ago, maybe I'll make another attempt at it...
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