Comments: Review- Eldest by Christopher Paolini

I just finished reading “Eldest” and enjoyed the development of an enlightened spiritual state in the characters. The idea of using the living beings in the environment as a source of power to enable change, (i.e. a logic based magic system), the presentation of a situation where the bad beings have a more efficient form of magic because of 100 years more practice than the good beings, & then using this to produce a cliff-hanger, causes me to speculate about how this occurred and about how the contest will be won.

The facts as presented concerning magic:
With the proper awareness, life-force can be used to change creation
The complexity and speed of the change determine the amount of life force needed; i.e. increasing complexity and speed use proportionally more life-force
Language has been used to structure the life-force changes and thereby make controlling them easier
Song is used to make complex changes easier and faster
Life-force can be acquired from living beings other than oneself, the extraction of which may require replenishment if the life form is to survive

Facts that will be presented concerning magic:
Karma exists, all that you be, (think, say, do etc.) comes back to you
o Bad beings devise ways to delay their Karma or get someone else to carry the burden for them, (i.e. selling one’s soul causes you to be a stand in for the evil one’s Karma)
o Good beings devise ways to speed up their Karmic return. The ultimate goal is to have your Karmic return become instant and immediate, (the end result of having instant Karma = whatever an evil one does to you happens to them instantly and immediately / it cannot go anywhere else or be taken by any other being)
This knowledge of Karma causes good beings to adopt a well known Mahayana Buddhist principle as the foundation of their magic or spiritual practice
o From: “For a Brilliant Life” Shinjuku (Tokyo), Japan July, 1991
o No matter what the reason
o One must never kill another person
o One must never kill oneself
o The wisdom of Buddhist teachings begins and ends here
o By: Daisaku Ikeda
To Continue To Be Forgiven Always Remember
o Forgiving a living being,
o oneself or others,
o is a charitable act.
o Virtue is its own reward.
o Virtue is its own punishment.

Methods by which the bad beings could increase the speed and complexity, (i.e. efficiency), of their magic, (ability to change creation or create):
Change the dragon so that it becomes an energy storehouse, much the way a camel stores water
Use the life-force of the amassed armies to enact complex changes quickly, killing large numbers of the soldiers in the process
Use the energy of the souls of the dead to cause the changes, causing these non-corporeal beings extreme suffering, (since they are not mortal and cannot die); access to this type of energy source usually implies extreme evil, such as a “Deal with the Devil”

Methods by which the good beings could increase the speed and complexity, (i.e. efficiency), of their magic, (ability to change creation or create):
Use of the sun as a life-force source, the disadvantage of this is that it is exhaustible, i.e. a finite source
Use the central creative force in creation as a life-force source, the advantage of this source is that it is infinite. This source is better know as, The Incomprehensible Mystic Law of Cause and Effect, Allah, and/or God; depending upon your perspective. This is why good always wins over evil.

The end result of this is good beings who do no harm, defeat all evil (with the warning that, “The judgment you render is your own!”), heal the sick, raise the dead, walk on water, feed the multitudes, and gradually by example, teach all beings The Way.

Posted by JamesJ at September 3, 2005 11:22 PM

Regarding Paolini's ripping off 'Lord of the Rings' and/or 'Star Wars'; pardon me but didn't those author also rip off their basic concepts from others? Isn't all this the classic hero's journey dating back to the beginning of time?

Doesn't the every hero always meet and lose Elder Guides?

Doesn't the hero always have, if not a love interest, at least a female interest?

Doesn't a 'buddy', a second, always appear to assist the hero?

True there are similarities as you have pointed out, but the stories you compare Eldest to are also similar to and borrowed from general myth, legend, and fairtale.

Just a few thoughts.


Posted by Steve at September 22, 2005 04:10 PM