Eragon is a Well-Coiled Dog Turd

You Fucking Know it's True

    So the Eragon movie recently made its way to DVD. Once again, warm dollops of the sour cream called attention are being plopped generously onto one  Chris Paolini. If you're a young fantasy writer, you've likely been compared to him in one way or another. This may or may not please you, depending on how much is rattling about in your brain pan.

    As the title suggests, I do not care for this book, or the resulting film. I hate this book. It insults me as a reader, as a writer, and as a lover of original fantasy fiction and roleplay. It insults me on so many levels, in fact, that I have a difficult time not comparing its creation to a man taking a sloppy shit between the center pages of a hardcover and slamming it shut, producing a spectacular one hundred and eighty degree blast of feces at anyone standing in his way. He then sets it lovingly, tenderly on a bookshelf, and hangs a price tag on it. Now, the utter shittiness of the book is not enough to drive me to this sort of disgust. Millions of shitty books exist in our world today, many of them well-loved by thousands. The thing is this, though: I never have to face those shitty books on a day-to-day basis, because it's pretty well-known and accepted how utterly terrible they are.

    Not so Eragon. No, Eragon rose to fame, and rubbed its filthy, grimacing face all over our car windows just to piss us off. Let me tell you, younglings, the story of Eragon, and how it came to oppress our land.

    Eragon began as the time-killing exercise of a bored fifteen year old boy, who dearly loved fantasy and scifi. This boy's name was Christopher Paolini, and he was no ordinary boy. No, Christopher had on his side a power that few young writers could even dream to possess. That power was Paolini International, his parents' publishing company. After Paolini finished work on Eragon, Mummy and Daddy published it for him, and it was soon discovered by Mr. Alfred Knopf, who must have one Hell of a business sense. In 2002, Knopf republished Eragon, and set to work promoting it. Suddenly, Paolini was a baby genius to someone other than Mummy and Daddy, and all was well. In a sense.

    Now that the history lesson is through, let's go through my grievances with this literary atrocity. In fact, the history is enough to make me sick. Even if it had been a good book, the way it was popularized would leave me revolted. But enough bitterness; we're moving along, kiddies. Below are my most mentionable reasons for hating this book.

    First of all, the title is just 'dragon' with a single letter changed. This would probably look exceptionally witty to a fifteen year old who, being homeschooled, has probably been told just how witty and special he is since birth. Presented to anyone older or less effectively brainwashed with self-assured ignorance, however, it falls flat as soon as you realize what you're looking at. Even worse, he only moved down one letter of the alphabet, making his high-larious wordplay even more obvious. Of course, there's a simple reason to do this, though it may not be as immediately obvious to some as it was to me. This bring us to our next item.

    Aragorn. Eragon. Paolini loves Tolkien and his land of Elves and awesome scruffy dudes. In fact, Paolini lifts (yes, I'm not even going to BOTHER insinuating that he didn't mean it) several elements from the LotR storyline. The damages include, but are not limited to Nazgul (Ra'zacs in Eragon) and a fake language with plenty of apostrophes. It's also highly derivative of Star Wars (which used the monomyth model, blahblahblah, easy to be similar to, blahblahblah) right down the the freaking Darth Vader 'I am your father - but through proxy because your old man friend Be... Brom killed me, so my scarred up son has to tell you' moment. In the second book. The second motherfucking book. It's a chronological thing, too! In sum, Eragon is very much a ripoff of Star Wars. In terms of the timing of events and even some of the dialogue itself, Eragon might as well be alternate universe Star Wars fanfiction in which Paonlini's Gary Stu character gets to marry Arwen from LotR. Plenty of ripoffs exist, but few are so blatant and, dare I say, complete. It's likely that many of these books are intercepted by shrewd editors fearing a Big Fat Lawsuit, or exercising their right to refuse tripe. As such, it's stunning to see something so obviously ripped off.

    With that said, I'd like to mention that even the most derivative trash can be made interesting by a skill author who doesn't not set out to plagiarize. Unfortunately, Paolini is (or was, at the time of publishing) not a skilled writer. Not in the least, as far as I'm concerned. His characters are flat, and he admits that they exist only as plot devices, or in the rare instance of Eragon, as his avatar in his fantasy.