Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Part 1, Chapter 7 - Pig Battle

Jonnie has a close call with a boar. That's about it.

Oh very well. Jonnie's two days out from the Village of the Idiots and is having a grand old time on the plains, and wonders "why, in all reverence to the gods, did anybody ever stay cooped up in the mountains?" Which again reminds us how inconsistent and slapdash his tribe's theology is. Do they have to beg God's forgiveness after accidentally swearing by lesser, imaginary gods?

"And monsters--what monsters? Phagh! Crazy tales!"

Okay, L. Ron? We're back to humans now. You don't have to make up curse words for these guys.

The narrator notes that Jonnie is becoming dangerously overconfident, and is on a collision course with wackiness in the form of a herd of pigs.

After long minutes of research on Wikipedia, I'm still not sure if pigs are naturally herd animals. There are swineherds, so maybe the pigs Jonnie encounters are descendants of domesticated piggies that are just sticking together out of tradition? Or maybe he's found two families of pigs that are roaming together like the Wikipedia article mentions pigs doing, and he can't tell the difference? But L. Ron describes dozens of pigs. I know swine are intelligent, social animals, but they don't usually run in such large groups, do they? Would they start fighting over food and water, or whoa, have they become more intelligent after a thousand years? Aided by radiation, the pigs might have formed their own society!

Or not.

The pigs are rooting in a marsh, which makes Jonnie suspect that there might be roots there. Wow. Next week, see the amazing Jonnie observe grazing cattle and suspect that there might be grass nearby!

Our hero is hungry, so he throws his "kill-club" and cracks a pig in the head, killing it instantly. Which lives up to the "kill" part of the weapon's name, but, with the exception of the East African rungu, you don't throw clubs you idiot! You whack things with them! How about a bow and arrow for a projectile weapon? Or a javelin? Or an atlatl? Or a sling and a rock? Or just a rock?

I bet Jonnie would throw a sword if he had one. And suddenly I miss Eragon.

Anyway, the pig's dying squeal disturbs a five-hundred pound boar sleeping in the bushes next to Jonnie, and the next thing he knows he feels like "he had been struck by a mountain avalanche," as opposed to a coastal avalanche or plains avalanche. In the stampede, Jonnie ends up riding the boar, but he's able to strangle it enough to stun it so he can dismount. And I'd object to this feat more if I didn't know the stunts he'll be pulling off later.

Well, Jonnie gets his piglet, but in the confusion he's lost his horses. And I had to go back to Chapter 5 to learn that he took more horses than Windsplitter. "More ashamed than scared" he goes off to look for them, and just before darkness falls Windsplitter returns with a "Where-have-you-been?" look on his face and a "mischievous grin."

I don't trust this horse.

Ten minutes later, Jonnie finds the lead horse, which I guess was the only other one he brought. He makes camp, puts together a belt and pouch, and dreams of "Chrissie being strangled by pigs, Chrissie mauled by bears, Chrissie crushed to a pulp under stampeding hoofs, while he stood helpless in the sky where the spirits go, unable to do a damned thing."

Aww, he's thinking about you, Chrissie. He does care!

And that's it. A chapter that serves no real purpose. No great insights are learned about Jonnie, other than the fact that he's strong enough to wrassle a pig and doesn't know what a club is for and dreams of his girlfriend being killed by wild animals. He doesn't learn anything about the world around him. One gets the feeling this is nothing more than a pointless action sequence, in which Jonnie has a close call with a boar.

We end on the middle of page 26. Next chapter, Jonnie gets bitten by a window.

Back to Chapter Six

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