Page to Screen: Eragon (2006)

Eragon
based on the novel by Christoper Paolini

Eragon, which came out in 2005, feels like a little time capsule of my adolescence. (It was a time when I declared Christopher Paolini my archnemesis, so let’s not dwell upon me.) Reaction to Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings? Check! Aimed at young adults? Check! Avril Lavigne song over the credits? Check! While movies like this persist to this day, there’s a sensibility here that just brings me right back to middle school and high school. Perhaps because it’s a novel written by a high school kid adapted by a team of writers that… well… let’s just say that they’re not very good at their jobs.

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Reading by Ear: Eragon

Eragon by Christopher Paolini
read by Gerard Doyle

Welcome to Reading by Ear and the first of my audiobook reviews. I’ve made this a separate feature from my regular reviews because I absorb a text best visually, not aurally; this is also why I’ve decided to make the audiobooks I listen to rereads. Otherwise, I feel I wouldn’t be able to provide a proper review, although these will be less in-depth than a review of a book. So, what better way to inaugurate this feature than with Eragon, the legendarily bad 2003 fantasy novel?

Let’s start with some personal context. When I was twelve, I hated Christopher Paolini. (“HOW DARE HE GET PUBLISHED BEFORE ME!” went the old logic. I never said I was a particularly bright or rational child.) To this day, I’ve got an article about his success taped to my wall in my childhood bedroom, just so I could glower at it and be inspired to best him. It took me two years to actually read Eragon, however—and I hated it. I hated it so much that my first essay on the SATs was a rant about Paolini’s unoriginality. (It got a better score than my second essay on The Great Gatsby. Go figure.) So why return to it? Well, I wanted to see Jeremy Irons and John Malkovich hamming it up in the film adaptation, so I thought it was time to revisit my childhood nemesis.

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