Eragon, For the Love of God

Several things self needs to get off her chest right now:


  • Eragon’s thighs are flayed to the bone. Yup, that’s right. His first dragon ride is excruciating hell.
  • Second, he allows his dragon to take him far away from his uncle, who last we see of him is calmly tending to his horses, completely unaware of the drama that is about to turn his life into chaos. So Eragon and this dragon (It bothers self that Eragon and the dragon have very fraught conversations that almost sound like something from Mills & Boon. Hello, dragons don’t have to be so girl-y, yeah? Even if they ARE female dragons named Saphira?). Then, because Eragon’s thighs are flayed, he can’t get on the dragon to go back and warn his uncle. Yes, that does sound like a plausible reason for hiding out in a forest for a while. Absolutely. If self’s thighs were flayed like that, she would never get on a dragon’s back again. Ever. Uncle or no uncle.

But then Eragon is a brave boy so he does get back on the dragon. And during this second dragon ride, his old wounds open, and fresh blood goes trickling down his calves, and UGH UGH UGH. But yeah, Paolini sure can write gruesome dragon rides. She’ll grant him that. She’ll never forget the writing here, that’s for sure.

Further gore: The Uncle. Is lying under the floor boards. He’s badly burned. A clear liquid oozes from him. Ugh. Ugh. Ugh. It is necessary to take yet another dragon ride. By now, Eragon’s thighs must be thoroughly shredded. Self, that’s disgusting. Stop making this worse than it has to be. Obviously, with that dragon on the cover of this book, the dragon will continue to be a player. Perhaps Eragon can devise pillows for under his thighs. Whatever.

But, back to the dragon. This dragon is so creature-ly that she gets tired. When she gets tired, she froths at the mouth. Self must say, she loves Paolini’s dragon writing (except when Eragon has to get on his dragon’s back with the bloody thighs). The dragon is a beast. An animal. A creature. Needs to be fed. Poops. Froths at the mouth. Etc

Self can hardly wait: Eragon has a dream or a vision or a hallucination or a premonition of two dragons! Obviously, one of the two is Saphira. The other, given how girl-y Saphira is (at least, in conversation) has to be her OTP.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Today Was a Good Day: On the Narnia Trail in Rostrevor

Self has never read C. S. Lewis’s The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.

She has visited Rostrevor, in Northern Ireland. Which, according to Csilla Toldy, a Hungarian poet who lives in Rostrevor, was a place particularly close to C. S. Lewis, a place Lewis has said was the source of much of his inspiration.

The day self arrived in Rostrevor, Csilla took her to The Narnia Trail. This is the first time self had even known there was such a thing.

First, Csilla and self walked through a dark wood.

Then, a great expanse of meadow:

Walking to The Narnia Trail, Rostrevor, Northern Ireland

Walking to The Narnia Trail, Rostrevor, Northern Ireland

Then, the door of a wardrobe suddenly popped up out of nowhere:

Start of The Narnia Trail, Rostrevor, Northern Ireland

Start of The Narnia Trail, Rostrevor, Northern Ireland

And a number of trees with tiny doors:

The Land of Narnia

The Land of Narnia

And — voila! — Narnia!

Beautiful trail.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

What It’s Really Like To Raise a Dragon: ERAGON, pp. 44 – 45

And also, don’t forget, the mind-reading. And self won’t bother typing SPOILERS because Duh, it’s mostly description.

Mind-Reading, p. 44:

. . .  the dragon, in turn, would lightly brush against his mind. These mute conversations filled his working hours. There was always a small part of him connected to the dragon, ignored at times, but never forgotten. When he talked with people, the contact was distracting, like a fly buzzing in his ear.

Creaturely Aspects, p. 45:

If there’s any type of writing at which Paolini particularly excels, it’s when he has to describe the dragon. This dragon is no airy-fairy being, it is hard, and it has sinews and corded muscles, and its teeth are like daggers.

It also produces “giant dung heaps.”

And “had rubbed against trees, stripping off the bark, and had sharpened its claws on dead logs, leaving gashes inches deep.”

(One thing Paolini doesn’t describe, though, is how a dragon smells. Because this dragon is such a creature, self is certain it must have a particular odor. As all earthly creatures do. And despite the mystery of its origin, this dragon is most definitely an earthly creature. But anyhoo.)

Eragon goes to the forest and is able to summon the dragon with his mind. First it appears as “a fast-moving speck in the dusky sky.” Then, it dives, pulls up sharply, and levels off above the trees.

The dragon is no mere symbol or plot device, it’s a real thing. This is how the dragon lands: It banks slowly and spirals “gently down to the ground.” And then it backflaps, and lands “with a deep, muffled thwump.”

Ooh, self likes!

Stay tuned.

Karin Fossum’s Latest: THE DROWNED BOY

From the Review by Tom Nolan in The Wall Street Journal, Aug. 22-23, 2015:

“One has to be careful when judging another person’s grief,” cautions Norwegian police inspector Konrad Sejer, the “wily old fox” in award-winning Norse author Karin Fossum’s latest somber, intelligent, empathetic procedural novel, The Drowned Boy (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt). “Everyone grieves in his or her own way. Some people want to move on quickly whereas others want to hold on to it, wrap it round them.” Nonetheless, in the face of the weepy but defensive behavior of a 19-year-old mother whose 16-month-old son was found dead in the pond in back of the family house, the inspector concludes: “She has an odd manner, and I don’t believe her.”

The dead child’s father vows never to stop grieving, even as his brisk wife insists that they get on with life.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Quote of the Day: Because, You Know, There Always Has To Be a Quote of the Day


Got a little behind on this since self had such a busy weekend and moreover last night did not sleep a wink due to usual stuff: list of annoyances; hating on self’s doctor; slights, both real and imagined; and the universe.

“Last year’s security has deserted us; new dangers have appeared, and nothing is safe.”

Self does love these types of quotes, these almost-Biblical-sounding ones.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

ERAGON, p. 8

  • BUT WHAT SHOULD I DO WITH THE STONE? Eragon asks himself.

Whatever you do, boy, do not leave it in the forest.

It’s like that moment in The Matrix when Morpheus holds out the pills to Neo.

Well, Neo, which one do you pick? Which? (Of course we know what he is going to pick. Otherwise, END OF STORY)

Still, self fusses at Eragon like he wouldn’t know any better: Do not leave that stone on the ground, Eragon, do you hear me? DO NOT!

Of course Eragon is going to keep the stone. He’s fifteen, for crying out loud. Teen-agers never stop to consider consequences.

It’s simply ridiculous the way self gets into these books. Her reading material this year has veered widely from history (The Third Reich at War) to Mark Twain (Journey to the Equator) to The Infernal Devices to The 100 to Harold Jacobson’s The Act of Love to Eragon.

She also finds it amazing that every single teen-ager whose home she has had the privilege to share in the past year has shown her shelf after shelf of actual books.

Hey, weren’t we told in some distant past that the internet would destroy the printed book forevermore? Render printed matter (like newspapers) obsolete?

The people self sees with Kindles are all middle-aged. She hasn’t seen a single teen-ager with a Kindle. And neither has she met a single teen-ager who reads novels on their cell phones.

It is only self who madly scrutinizes her cell when there are at least three people ahead of her in line. What is she reading? Fan fiction of course, lol.

And then the reluctance of these teen-agers when she asks to bring one of their books to her room. Promise you won’t read them while you’re eating! They’re hardcover and, you know, PRICELESS.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Beginning ERAGON, by Christopher Paolini

Friend insists the cover of ERAGON shows a female dragon. Why is that a female dragon? Self has no idea. Beautiful artwork, though!

Friend insists the cover of ERAGON shows a female dragon. Why is that a female dragon? Self has no idea. Beautiful artwork, though!

From the Prologue:

Eyes brightened under the Urgals’ thick brows, and the creatures gripped their weapons tighter. Ahead of them, the Shade heard a clink as something hard struck a loose stone. Faint smudges emerged from the darkness and advanced down the trail.

Three white horses with riders cantered toward the ambush, their heads held high and proud, their coats rippling in the moonlight like liquid silver.

On the first horse was an elf with pointed ears and elegantly slanted eyebrows. His build was slim but strong, like a rapier. A powerful bow was slung on his back. A sword pressed against his side opposite a quiver of arrows fletched with swan feathers.

There’s a beautiful elven maid, stalked by a Shade and a band of Urgals, cornered in a burning forest. Who will rescue her?

Chapter 1: A fifteen-year-old hunter named Eragon stalks deer in a forest far, far away . . .

All self can say about this is:


Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Fan Fiction, 2015: Unleash Your Imagination

“Unleash your imagination” is the banner of the grand-daddy of all fanfiction sites, which went up 1998:

In the fan fiction universe, so far 2015, self has made a few interesting discoveries:

  • The 100 (the book) has NO fan fiction. The TV show has plenty, but they’re mostly Bellarke (Bellamy + Clarke). To which pairing, self can only say: MEH!
  • The Infernal Devices has a few hundred fan fiction, but most are JESSA (Jem + Tessa) which self most decidedly does NOT ship. Self also thinks it is particularly hard to write fan fiction for The Infernal Devices universe because the characters just don’t travel well to modern AU. Can you imagine Will Herondale as a modern college student? No, thank you.

In the Everlark field (in which self has been happily gamboling, for about two years now), the list of stories is exploding. OMG, self has so many faves. Here are a few of her favorite authors (not sure where they’re from or if they’re even American. Self only knows for sure when they say things like, “There is a really good Cuban restaurant in Hoboken, New Jersey . . . ” or “I’m hosting a Hunger Games fan fiction writers meet-up at the March Rodeo in Austin, TX . . . ” Sometimes she’ll even read things like: “Can’t upload now, in the middle of a biology test!”)

The aliases (Of course, in this field, everyone is pretending to be someone else) of her favorite writers are:

arollercoasterthatonlygoesup * atetheredmind * dracoisalooker76 * ImBeautifullyHuman * just-a-dram * Mejhiren * passionately curious * Ronja * titania522

This is only the tip of the iceberg. And there are many fan fiction writers who literally disappear when they’re work goes into the 10,000 kudos range and they take everything down so they can turn it into a published book.

Strangely, self never got into the Harry Potter universe. But ‘s okay. With the number of new stories being posted every day for Everlark, she will never run out of stories to read.

Stay tuned.

2nd Quote of the Day: 3rd Wednesday of August 2015

Self is back to reading Howard Jacobson’s novel, The Act of Love.

Oh, the places this book has traveled!

When she really likes a book, she cannot stand to finish it.

She’s on p. 247, when she encounters this fabulous sentence:

All the men in our family my father’s age had themselves whipped as a matter of course.

After self reads that fabulous sentence, she simply can’t stand to read anymore, so many FEELZ to process, so instead she turns to the books she has lined up to read after she finishes The Act of Love:

  • George Eliot’s Middlemarch
  • Leon Werth’s 33 Days, translated from the French by Austin D. Johnston
  • Richard Norton Taylor’s The New Spymasters: Inside Espionage From the Cold War to Global Terror
  • three books by Ruth Rendell (British mystery writer, one of self’s favorites. She passed away May this year): A Judgment in Stone, Tree of Hands, and A Sight for Sore Eyes

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Quote of the Day: 3rd Wednesday of August 2015

I don’t think writers are much smarter than other people. I think they’re more compelling in their stupidity.

— David Foster Wallace, quoted by Anthony Lane in his review of James Ponsoldt’s film about Wallace, in The New Yorker August 10 & 17, 2015

Self has never read David Foster Wallace. She resolves to add Infinite Jest and Brief Interviews with Hideous Men.

Stay tuned.

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