Paolini’s Worthless Inheritance

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"Copy one source and it's plagiarism; copy a bunch of sources and it's research . . . or The Inheritance Cycle.

One of my beloved Budge’s greatest strengths to me as a wife is her ability to hold up her end of the conversation in most of our realms of discussion. She’s as smart as she is pretty, which means she has quite the formidable intellect. It’s also safe to say we agree on many more things than we disagree on. One thing we don’t see the same way — AT ALL — is Christopher Paolini’s “Inheritance” Trilogy +1.

Budge just finished the fourth book of the series and pronounced it quite a good read. I read Eragon and Eldest and stopped because, not to put to fine a point on it, I’ve come to realize Christopher Paolini is a no-talent hack at best and an unrepentant plagiarist at worst. His talentlessness exceeds even Stephanie Meyer, which is something I never thought I’d say. At least Ms. Meyer was “original” (read: moronic) enough to take on vampires in a new and idiotic way because . . . wait for it . . . VAMPIRES DON’T FREAKING SPARKLE!

Paolini, however, is as unoriginal as a peanut butter and jelly sandwich . . . and has about as much taste. Now here’s the thing — I’m not the only one who recognizes what a horrible writer / copyist he is. In fact, ever since the publication of Eragon by Knopf back in ’06-ish, scores of scathing blog entries have eviscerated his childishly vapid and overwrought prose as well as his shameless appropriation of at least one major trait of every decent fantasy series since Tolkien.

Want ten reasons why Paolini is overrated? Check out Blair Mathis’ list.

Doubt the plagiarism? Read this Amazon.com review and see how, point for point, Eragon is Luke Skywalker with a dragon instead of an X-Wing and a sword instead of a light saber.

Finally, you can go to the Anti-Inheritance Wiki and see VOLUMES complete with page numbers, etc. showing just how horribly written and fraught with errors this drivel is.

However, I want to be frank and quote a REAL author, in this case Margaret Mitchell, by saying  “my dear, I don’t give a damn” about any of the errors in the book or the prose or the magic system or the plagiarisms. No. What pisses me off to no earthly end is all the press and fame Paolini has gotten making it look like he’s actually DONE SOMETHING! Make no mistake, this guy is not, as we Waffle House devotees like to say, “all THAT and a bowl of grits.”

What has he done? Well, he’s written a book. Correct. He was fifteen years old when he wrote Eragon and Eragon reads like a book a fifteen year old Tolkien / Star Wars fanboy would write. Nothing more. You can actually do a web search for Tolkien fan-fiction and find BETTER works by YOUNGER writers. I taught high school English for ten years and I can say with some expertise nothing about a 15 year old kid writing a book as bad as Eragon is exceptional. I had plenty of girl and guy freshmen fantasy addicted emogoths write novellas approaching or exceeding Paolini’s quality in ONE CLASS PERIOD (on the 90 minute block system just to clarify.)

No, Paolini is not exceptional. Exceptional is S.E. Hinton writing The Outsiders while still in public high school. If Eragon is still selling 500,000 copies a year in 2056, maybe I’ll reconsider my opinion. Personally, I doubt it will still be in print (physically or electronically) in 20 years, let alone 45.

Speaking of Hinton and public high school brings to mind another problem I have with Paolini — he was homeschooled. Now don’t get me wrong; I’ve got nothing against homeschooling per se. I don’t believe all the hype that would make every homeschooler out to be a genius, but that’s another post for another time. What I’m saying is how many novels could one of my emogoths have churned out if he or she’d had all day to work on such a passion at leisure?

"Why YES, yes I am quite the smug little prat! Thank you for noticing!"

My bottom line where Christopher Paolini and his lack of talent is concerned is simple — Eragon would NEVER HAVE SEEN THE LIGHT OF DAY if Paolini’s parents were not somewhat wealthy. They had enough money to get his pet novel published by a vanity press and last time I checked, that ain’t cheap.  They had enough money to send him on “book tours” to libraries and schools to do “readings” of his “work” to captive audiences and Carl Hiaason’s kid happened to be in one of those audiences and the rest is history . . . and hype, good lord, don’t forget HYPE. After all, if you don’t have talent, you’d better have marketing!

How many teens have the beginnings of a much better novel than Eragon sitting in a composition book or on a computer hard drive? We’ll never know most of them because those teens have to go to school and a great many of them have to work and not rely on Mommy and Daddy to fly them to the next “reading event.” If Mama had been rich enough to vanity press some of my work, I’d have had a few books out before college, too. As it is, Mama kept a roof over my head and food in my fat belly and I’ve got a box of rejection slips instead of bank notes.

But I’m not bitter.

If it seems like I’m being harsh . . . well, I am. Paolini represents a lot of the things I despise in the world. To me, he’s an arrogant “HAVE” thumbing his nose, very undeservedly, at all the “HAVE-NOTS.” He’s proof — like Paris Hilton and the Kardashian clan — that money can buy fame, but it can’t buy talent.

Love y’all, keep those feet clean, and remember —  Friends don’t let Friends read crappy fantasy books!

Frodo lives!

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8 responses »

  1. When non christians killed Jesus on the cross, poor little victimized christians quickly adopted the cross as their symbol, although, mind you, it was not their to damn begin with.
    Sure, christians can sure use the cross and take pride in the fact that they are marketing their oh so beloved Jesus’ sufference and death…but god forbid, when a non christian uses the cross, they go nazi like “how dare you mock my cross, it is mine, not yours, you dirty sinner, go to hell!!”.But do they forget who that cross belonged to before Christ?No, m’am, they suddenly get amnesia.
    Easter, Christmas…all were pagan holidays before christians, unfairly and arrogantly, claimed them as their own.
    Now, exactly this is how all these tolkienites act when it comes to fantasy.Oh my lord, do they think Tolkien is a god, (mind you, gods existed before Christ came and proclaimed himself son of qgod”.Same goes….Fantasy writers, high fantasy, epic fantasy etc existed before Tolkien) that he created fantasy, that only he can use names of people, races, places from folklore and sagas, but if another also uses elves, dwarves, ugly and evil creatures, wizards, magic and stuff, damn, did those bastards stole from Tolkien and they deserve to be stonned to death!
    If Tolkien was able to shamelessly take the dwarves’ names from Edda saga, to use the physical description of Norse’s elves and to use the same detail for dwarves as mythology(dwarves live under mountain), then why are you being hypocrits and bash someone else who uses the same details?It is not like Tolkien himself created all that stuff.
    Dwarves are the ones from folklore and mythology, NOT Tolkien’s.
    Elves are not Tolkien’s(for Tolkien’s elves cannot be healers and fighters at the same time, but Paolini’s elves can heal…plus, his are vegetarian, can change their appearance by magic, can make plants grow by magic, etc).
    Did Tolkien’s elves fight a war with dragons, but after that made peace and became friends?Fuck no.
    All stories depict dragons as evil…But Paolini comes with this idea-let’s give them a positive role this time.
    Brom was not an istari, he was a knight who got his magic powers from his connection to his dragon, Saphira.
    Stop twisting things.
    Fuck it, both Paolini and Tolkien don’t like how Tolkien’s fans are so damn rude to Paolini’s books…and he is not talentless.He has more talent than any of you barking bitches ever hope to have.
    You are just jealous because he was lucky enough to have a beautiful family to support him, talent, and fans who apreciate him.Also, as I said before…stop saying he copied Tolkien.Tolkien stole too.Don’t act like saints when you are more sinners than those you throw stones at.
    Elves, dwarves, magic, do not belong to Tolkien, and everyone can use them if they want to.Get over yourselves.

  2. If I had published anything when I was in high school, I would have ended up churning out Tolkien-lite stuff and a ton of Harry Potter ripoffs. Indeed, I wrote a lot of fanfiction while I was learning my voice. However, once I got the three or so years of finding my voice over with, I was able to come up with my own original ideas and had lived enough life to really have something to say. Paolini has a very plodding prose voice, and he copied from a lot of his favorite books, so I believe he may have become better as he went along, but he suffered from publishing his very first book where he was struggling to figure out his own literary voice and style. I’ve only read the first book, though. I keep trying to read the second one, but I just can’t stick with any single book for more than a week these days. :b Very interesting article, G.S. Feet!

  3. I liked the series. I read a ton of reviews where reviewers were mad at Paolini for even using Tolkien’s elf language. If I were a middle school or junior high student, I would be more adept to reading Paolini’s version as it’s “easier” to read than Tolkien’s version. Albeit that Tolkien is the reigning king in the division of elves, hobbits, humans, wizards, etc…I think the fact that Paolini took to writing (what I consider) a “kids version” is great and hopefully got a few more kids to actually sit down and read something rather than sit in front of a tv. So, I say potato, pahtato…tomato, tahmato.

  4. @Draconian
    Hail good traveler, and well met!

    Okay, here’s the thing, I don’t really care about the conventions of posting and “netiquette” that bar ALL CAPS mainly because I aim to write like I talk and anywhere I use ALL CAPS is a place where, if I were engaged in a conversation, I’d raise my voice or, more properly, inflect the end of the word(s) in question for emphasis. I suppose I could try just capitalizing the last lettER or twO, but it’s already a royal p.i.t.a. to try to get my voice across as it is.

    Second, I am violent in my descriptions. So was Faulkner (not that I’m in the same writing universe with Faulkner). So is Alice Walker (ditto the Faulkner comment). I’m a passionate person and more than passingly strange until you get to know me. Then I’m usually referred to as “really strange.” It’s a byproduct of my ongoing war with B.P.D. Check out the link “Doing Time on the Borderline” and the muddy water will clear somewhat.

    Finally, this post is not a rant. I promise. Click here http://wp.me/pjnhp-u1 and you’ll see me rant. I even have a category for ranting. It’s something I do on a regular basis. Budge tells me I’m practicing to be an irascible old curmudgeon in a run down nursing home. She may be right.

    Anyway, thanks for stopping by and thanks even more for commenting!

  5. You are free to dislike or even hate a book (or series as is the case) but, you have to be so violent in your descriptions? All those capitalised phrases look offensive even if they are fundamented. More than a critique it looks like a wrathful rant.

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