Arya Dröttning was an elf who succeeded her mother, Queen Islanzadí, as the queen of the elves as well as the Dragon Rider bonded to the green dragon Fírnen. Arya's father was the late King Evandar, who had died in battle years before. Arya was considered stunningly beautiful by Eragon, with long raven-black hair and slanted green eyes and a petite form. Like most elves, she was a master swordswoman and magic user. Eragon expressed his deep feelings for her on many occasions, but she refused him because she feared it would distract Eragon from more pressing matters and because of the large age difference between them. However, in Brisingr, there were some signs that she had began to develop feelings for him. At the end of Inheritance she and Eragon exchange their true names, an ultimate bond of trust, when they meet up in secret with their dragons just before Arya tells the other leaders that she has become a queen and Rider. They speak their true names to one another again just before Fírnen scooped her off the deck of the ship Talita, transporting Eragon and his convoy east. She expresses that it may be possible for their relationship to become romantic in the future if Eragon's feelings do not change, but circumstances still keep Eragon and Arya apart.
- 1 Biography
- 1.1 Early years
- 1.2 Capture in the forest
- 1.3 Torture and rescue
- 1.4 Rescue
- 1.5 Farthen Dûr
- 1.6 Rider War
- 1.7 The End of an Empire
- 1.8 A new beginning
- 2 Personal information
- 3 Real-Universe connections
- 4 Behind the scenes
- 5 References
Arya was born a year before the Fall of the Dragon Riders, placing her age at 103 years at the end of Inheritance.
Arya removed herself from the elves' presence because she chose to become an ambassador to the Varden: in an effort to hatch Saphira, she spirited her egg between the elven cities hidden deep within the vast forest Du Weldenvarden. Arya was named a friend of the elves (symbolized by her acceptance of the Yawë) and to the cause of the Varden. She had been the elven ambassador to the Varden for seven decades. She was appointed the courier of the dragon egg that Brom and Jeod had managed to recover from Galbatorix's clutches. She spent 20 years conveying the precious egg back and forth from Farthen Dûr to Ellesméra, in the hopes that eventually a new Dragon Rider would be found.
Capture in the forest
The Urgals fire a stream of black, enchanted arrows after the Elves become aware that they are not alone. Durza jumps out behind the tree he is hiding behind, raises his right hand and shouts "Garjzla" (Light). A red bolt of light shoots from his palm towards Arya, illuminating the trees with a bloody light. The bolt seemingly badly injured if not killed her horse. Arya lands lightly after leaping off, checking for Glenwing and Faolin. The Urgals' arrows kill Glenwing and Faolin. The Urgals rush to the slain Elves but Durza screams for them to pursue Arya. The Urgals chase after Arya. Arya cries out as she sees her dead companions. She takes a step towards them, curses her enemies and runs into the forest. From high ground, Durza sets a quarter-mile section of the forest ablaze. He forms a ring of fire, a half-league across, around the ambush site. Note: This possibly burns three Urgals to death. Arya flees from the remaining Urgals. As Arya runs towards Durza's perch, he jumps, landing nimbly in front of her. Arya runs back to the trail, having possibly slain Urgals. More Urgals surround her. She tries to find a way out. Seeing none, she takes up a defensive stance. As he approaches with his hand raised, Durza orders the remaining Urgals to seize her. Arya takes out Saphira's egg. She raises it over her head and magically teleports it the egg to Brom, but due to the interference of the Eldunari, it landed in the wilds of the Spine. Durza sends a red fireball at Arya but too late to stop her teleporting the egg. He does succeed in knocking her unconscious.
Torture and rescue
Eragon found the egg and Arya was imprisoned in Gil'ead. There, she suffered horrendous treatment at Durza's hands, being tortured to the edge of insanity and death several times, but she refused to reveal any information about the Varden, the Elves, the Ancient Language, or the egg's location. Each day, she was given a dose of a deadly poison, called Skilna Bragh, then given the antidote, Tunivor's Nectar (devised by the Elven inventor), to ensure she wouldn't die while in their clutches, but would if she escaped. This may have been how her captors got Arya to take a magic suppressing drug so she couldn't contact anyone magically. On the verge of going mad on account of her suffering, furthered by her despair and the lack of compassion among her captors, Arya began hallucinating and seeing scenes from her past. It was revealed in Brisingr that a soldier gave her a white rose, which was the only kindness shown her in Gil'ead. Ultimately, Galbatorix, dissatisfied with Durza's inability to extract information from her, ordered Arya to be brought to Urû'baen, where he would interrogate her personally. Fortunately, events would prevent this, thereby saving Arya from being forced to yield to Galbatorix and the slow, torturous death she would likely have suffered when she was of no further use.
Later when Eragon rescued her, he saw the horrifying traces of torture that Durza inflicted on her,
- "The elf's arm was mottled with a layer of bruises and cuts; some half healed, others fresh and oozing. Eragon shook his head in anger and pulled the sleeve up higher. The injuries continued to her shoulder. With trembling fingers, he unlaced the back of her shirt, dreading what might be under it. As the leather slipped off, Murtagh cursed. The elf's back was strong and muscled, but it was covered in a layer of scabs that made her skin look like dry, cracked mud. She had been whipped mercilessly and branded with hot irons in the shape of claws. Where her skin was still intact, it was purple and black from numerous beatings."
While traveling with Brom, and later Murtagh, Eragon had visions of Arya in her cell while he was sleeping. Arya believed that, during the time she was imprisoned, her spirit searched for familiar presences so that she could be saved by them. Due to Saphira's connection with Eragon, she believed she reached out to him because she had grown accustomed to Saphira's presence while traveling with the dragon's egg but we later find out that the image was sent by the Eldunarí in the Vault of Souls. Eragon was heavily impacted by his visions of this mysterious lady. When he was captured by Durza and imprisoned in the same prison as the Elf, he met her face-to-face for the first time.
When Murtagh and Saphira staged a daring rescue mission, Eragon insisted that Arya come along with them, despite the difficulties this might incur upon their travels. When Eragon and Murtagh attempted to move her to a bed one night during their travels, her sleeve tore on a branch and revealed numerous cuts and bruises. After further investigation, they found her entire body beaten, branded, and scarred from long periods of torture. Arya remained in a self-induced comatose state, which slowed the effects of the deadly poison within her. Mentally communicating with Eragon, however, she informed him that unless they could reach the Varden, who had the antidote - Tunivor's Nectar - she would die within three or four days.
The trio (Murtagh, Eragon and Saphira), managed to deliver Arya to the Varden in Farthen Dûr in time for her to be saved. She was treated back to health and was the one who tested Eragon in his trial for swordsmanship. Arya also fought in the battle between the Varden and the Kull. Before the battle, she explained to Eragon that elven women were unlike human women, who would flee when danger arrived. Arya went up to the dragonhold with Eragon and Saphira. When Eragon went down the slide beside Vol Turin to confront Durza, Arya helped take off Saphira's damaged armor. Once the armor was off, Arya broke Isidar Mithrim with magic and distracted Durza long enough for Eragon to kill him.
Ellesméra and The Burning Plains
After the battle and the havoc wreaked by the death of Ajihad, Arya accompanied Eragon to Ellesméra, where she reconciled with her estranged mother. Her feelings towards Eragon, however, began to grow cool as he approached her with unwanted admiration. Following the Blood-Oath Celebration, she returned to the Varden and aided them in preparing for attack by Galbatorix's forces. She fought at the Battle of The Burning Plains and was, along with Nasuada, the first one to hear Murtagh's claim, from Eragon, that Eragon was the son of Morzan.
Assistance in the Broddring Empire
Following Eragon and Roran's rescue of Katrina in Helgrind, Arya set out to find Eragon, who had stayed behind to kill the last Ra'zac. She found him and traveled back with him, encountering some soldiers and fighting them. Eragon's hand was injured in the fight and Arya healed it, even though he was perfectly capable of doing it himself and told him she was glad he had fought by her side. After they had made camp, they discussed what it is like to kill and what suffering is. Eragon and Arya also held hands for a short while after Arya reveals her former closeness with Fäolin. During this conversation, Eragon also decided to use magic and song to transform a seed into a lily, which he presented to Arya, who was very pleased by the gift. Arya and Eragon also encountered strange, glowing spirits in the same night, which showed their gratitude to Eragon (for "freeing" the spirits trapped within Durza) by transforming the lily Eragon had given to Arya into living gold.
Battle of Feinster
During the Battle of Feinster, Arya and Blödhgarm infiltrated the city to open the magically locked gates from the inside, thus letting the Varden into the city. On infiltration, the two of them ran into three spellcasters who contacted soldiers then distracted the two of them while the soldiers arrived. The soldiers surrounded Blödhgarm and Arya, as well as would have killed them by sheer weight of numbers had Eragon and Saphira not arrived and scared away the soldiers.
During this siege, Eragon quickly revealed to Roran and Arya that his father was Brom. This put their minds at ease of Eragon's heritage.
Slaying of Varaug
After meeting back up with Eragon and Saphira, the trio found the three escaped spellcasters in the top of the castle trying to summon a Shade. The trio killed the spellcasters but failed to stop the Shade from being summoned. The Shade immediately named himself Varaug and mentally struck at Eragon, Saphira and Arya all at the same time. During their mental struggle, Eragon and Saphira had a vision of Glaedr and Oromis dying allowing the Shade to choke Arya. Eragon then came out of his vision to see Arya on the verge of death and struck at the Shade mentally. While Varaug was occupied with Eragon, Arya stabbed him through the heart, killing him. Her victory celebration was short-lived when Eragon informed her of Oromis and Glaedr's deaths. She fell into Eragon's arms with grief. When Eragon showed her Glaedr's Eldunarí, Arya spoke to it in the Ancient Language and the burning glow of the heart, containing Glaedr's spirit, seemed to calm down a little.
The End of an Empire
Battle of Belatona
Arya was later a part of the force that attacked Belatona as part of the Varden's campaign to seize the remaining lands loyal to Galbatorix. The campaign was hardened due to the loyalty still given to the king by his soldiers, either by fear, or by belief and the oaths that he forced his aristocrats and commanders to swear. Due to this, very few allies joined the Varden's armies and this forced Nasuada to either leave troops behind to protect against possible uprisings or to take the prisoners with them, which would slow the army down considerably.
Eragon, Arya and Saphira led the assault on Belatona whose resistance proved no match for the combined might of a Dragon Rider, a dragon and an elf. However, Lord Bradburn, the ruler of Belatona, became scared and sent one of his soldiers to kill Saphira with a weapon that could kill dragons by circumventing the wards around her: a Dauthdaert. Although Saphira was wounded by the attempt, she was not killed and Eragon and Arya took the Dauthdaert, called Niernen, realizing that it could be a valuable weapon against either Thorn or Shruikan as it was made by elves long ago in the war with the dragons with ancient and even forgotten spells.
It was stated that Galbatorix would have been furious with Bradburn for trying to kill Saphira as firstly, she was the last known female dragon in existence and secondly, he wanted Eragon and Saphira under his control.
Belatona fell, proving a great victory with the seizing of the Dauthdaert. It also marked the arrival of the dwarf armies, under King Orik, which greatly improved the Varden's chances.
Another part that Arya took on in the campaign was the completion of Eragon's training in swordplay so that he would be able to adequately face his enemies. Arya proved a better fighter than Eragon due to her use of his feelings for her to undermine his tactics. It was at this time that Glaedr came out of his grieving period and took on Eragon's training again.
He taught him to fight using the Way of Knowing, a strategy that consisted of defeating an adversary in swordplay by coupling what you knew of them with their body language. This allowed Eragon to fight Arya on an equal footing, as he used original tactics to take her by surprise, although neither was able to beat the other.
During this time, Arya's relationship with Eragon evolved from one of allies and friends into that of comrades-in-arms.
Siege at Dras-Leona
The Varden eventually arrived at Dras-Leona, one of the last cities loyal to Galbatorix and the seat of authority of the Helgrind Church. However, Murtagh and Thorn had been sent to Dras-Leona to protect the town from the Varden. Due to this, a stalemate ensued in which neither the Varden nor the Imperial Army attacked.
However, Jeod, one of the Varden's scholars, found a secret tunnel into Dras-Leona and a plan was formulated to seize the city. While Eragon, accompanied by Arya, the healer Angela, the werecat Solembum and the elf spellcaster Wyrden entered the tunnels to find their way to the gates and open them for the Varden's troops, Saphira would carry Blödhgarm on her back (who would be disguised as Eragon) so as to lead Murtagh and Thorn away from the troops and provide a distraction.
The plan went awry when the team in the tunnels were discovered by the Helgrind priests who sent Laughing Dead against them. Wyrden died from a trap and Angela and Solembum were also apparently murdered when they were taken into a hidden door in the wall. Eragon and Arya were captured. The priests revealed that they did not in fact worship Helgrind but the Ra'zac, who Eragon had killed. They wanted revenge by feeding him to the newly birthing Ra'zac, which were due to hatch from the eggs that they had kept secret from Galbatorix. Murtagh was not informed of their capture and the two were left to be fed to the hatchlings.
However, Arya broke her thumb to free herself but suffered severe injuries to her wrist due to this, including nerve damage and was about to pass out when Angela and Solembum arrived to save them. Freed and healed to some extent by Eragon, the four killed the Ra'zac hatchlings and then proceeded to attack the priests, who were all slain. During this time, Saphira was holding her own against Thorn and Murtagh while the Varden, reinforced by Roran's troops from Aroughs, awaited the opening of the gates. Eragon and Arya opened the gates just as Murtagh and Thorn realized the deception.
Dras-Leona fell after a mighty struggle but this was a clear victory for the Varden. Thorn and Murtagh left Dras-Leona wounded and defeated. Arya's arm was healed as best it could be by the elven spellcasters but she still mourned Wyrden's death along with Eragon, which led them to get drunk together.
Capture of Nasuada
However, in the middle of the night Murtagh and Thorn attacked the camp and captured Nasuada. Eragon, Saphira and Arya, helped by Glaedr (whose spirit was bent on revenge for Oromis's death) pursued them and tried to stop Thorn with the Dauthdaert but they failed while at the same time informing Galbatorix that they possessed the Dauthdaert.
Nasuada's capture was a bad hit on Varden morale. Questions arose as to who was to lead the Varden as both the Council of Elders and King Orrin were likely to make a claim on the title. Eventually, Nasuada's will was respected and Eragon became leader of the Varden albeit until Nasuada was released. He was supported in this by both Arya and Jörmundur.
However, the chances of the Varden winning were slim, even with the path to Urû'baen clear and the elven armies almost in contact with the capital. Eragon, remembering Solembum's prophecy, decided to find help and the Rock of Kuthian which was revealed to be on the island of Vroengard. After consulting with the leaders of the Varden and Arya in her capacity of ambassador of the elves, they agreed to cover up his departure until he returned by creating a fake Saphira and Eragon illusion.
A New Hope
The Varden eventually made contact with the elven armies at Urû'baen where Arya was reunited with her mother, Queen Islanzadí. Information from within the city was that the army here was led by Lord Barst, one of the most ruthless and effective of Galbatorix's commanders, who was known to be both cunning and strong in battle.
Eventually, Eragon and Saphira returned with a new weapon that would prove indispensable in the upcoming battle: the Eldunarí of several dragons who had escaped Galbatorix by hiding them in the secret Vault of Souls beneath the Rock of Kuthian, a plan masterminded by Vrael and Oromis when they realized the true nature of the threat posed by Galbatorix. With their help, an assault was arranged on the city. While the Varden, elves, dwarves and Urgals attacked Urû'baen, Eragon, Saphira, Arya, Elva and the spellcasters would break into Galbatorix's forteress and end the threat of the king.
Before leaving, Arya shared a moment with her mother as she promised to her that she would be alright. They also shared a hug that would prove to be their last.
Arya also learned that Eragon and Saphira had discovered their true names while on Vroengard and had therefore a better understanding of themselves. However, she refused to hear Eragon's name even though she was touched that he had offered.
The assault on Uru'baen begun and the team infiltrated Galbatorix's castle while Murtagh and Thorn were distracted by the illusion of Eragon and Saphira. The traps in the fortress were overcome thanks to Elva although a spell captured the spellcasters forcing Eragon, Saphira, Arya, Elva and the Eldunari to confront the king alone.
Galbatorix was not as surprised by the attack as he should have been and was glad to have the chance to submit the last of the Eldunari to his will. He also revealed that he had found out the biggest secret of magic: the name of the ancient language, which gave him the ability to control all forms of vocal magic and break any types of oaths sworn in the binding language. With their magic neutralized, they attempted to stop Galbatorix by breaching his defenses but his horde of Eldunari were so strong that all they could do was hold their own. He eventually forced them to stop when he threatened a young boy and a young girl he had kidnapped.
When Murtagh joined them, Eragon challenged Galbatorix to a fair fight which the king refused. Instead, he forced brother to fight brother, which they did. Eragon eventually won and Galbatorix proceeded to inform them that they would all serve him. However, Murtagh then turned on Galbatorix once he realized that his true name had changed and used the Name of Names to strip him of his wards. Thorn and Saphira attacked Shruikan while Arya prepared to use the Dauthdaert on the massive dragon. However, Galbatorix used the name to immobilize them once again and tried to force Eragon to submit to him.
Eragon, overcome by desperation, tried something that would be Galbatorix's undoing: to make him understand what he had done. Using his powers and those of the Eldunari, he created the Empathy Spell which forced Galbatorix to hear the voices of every person who had suffered since he had been born and feel all of their feelings. The power of the spell was such that Galbatorix lost his concentration and freed all.
While Eragon engaged Galbatorix in sword fight, Arya helped the dragons defeat Shruikan. While Saphira and Thorn had Shruikan's head pinned down, she stabbed him in the eye with the Dauthdaert, killing him. Eragon defeated Galbatorix but used a spell to make Galbatorix realize all the harm he had done, which led the king to detonate himself into a nuclear-like explosion by converting all of his flesh into energy. The citadel was destroyed but none were killed and Arya managed to find and save the last of the dragon eggs and the Eldunari while also saving the elven spellcasters. The Battle of Uru'baen was now officially over and the Varden were victorious.
A new beginning
Queen and Rider
After the battle, Arya was informed of her mother's death. It grieved her terribly, but she remained strong to the elves.
After Nasuada's coronation as queen of Alagaësia, Arya departed for Ellesméra to help her people in the choosing of a new monarch. She took the green dragon egg with her in hopes that the dragon inside would hatch for an elf, thus balancing the power of the Riders. However, as Arya neared Ellesméra, the egg hatched for her, revealing a male dragon she named Fírnen. Arya raised Fírnen near the Crags of Tel'naeír until he was fit to take care of himself and carry her around. Arya also received the sword Támerlein - reworked to fit her fighting style - from Rhunön. Around the time she raised Fírnen, Arya was elected to replace her mother as queen of the elves, not because she was Islanzadí's heir, but because the elves felt she had the right qualities to be their leader.
She received a letter from Eragon, who was hoping to see her. After many months, when Fírnen had grown enough, she flew out to meet Eragon and Saphira. She enjoyed her time with Eragon, informing each other of all that had transpired since they departed, while Fírnen and Saphira bonded. Eragon then revealed his plan to leave Alagaësia so as to raise the new order of Dragon Riders. Arya longed to go with him, but could not due to her duties as queen, but she swore she would help him when the order started to grow. However, she chose to reveal her feelings for Eragon by revealing her true name, who revealed his in turn.
Arya remained with Eragon while he prepared to leave, thus allowing Fírnen to remain with Saphira a bit longer. Before Eragon departed, Arya invited him to bring Roran, Katrina and their daughter Ismira to Ellesméra for a visit. She then accompanied all of them to Orik's realm. Soon, Eragon needed to leave and Arya accompanied Eragon on his boat towards the east for a bit of time. After a short time of silence and strong feelings Fírnen took her away.
A Year After
In the months after Eragon's departure, Arya spent most of her time attending to her duties in Du Weldenvarden. According to Eragon, Arya was very busy with her duties as the queen of the elves, but had spoken to him several times via scrying mirror.
However, she and Fírnen flew to the Broddring Kingdom twice to help Nasuada: once in order to subdue a rebellious earl, and again to investigate the disappearance of four Nasuada’s spellcasters who were sent to Tenga's watchtower. Arya and Fírnen discovered all four spellcasters dead outside Tenga’s home but found no trace of Tenga.
Arya confirmed she valued Fäolin, a male elf, but never admitted more than that; however, Christopher Paolini confirmed that they had a romantic relationship. Fäolin died protecting her from Durza and the Urgals in the prologue in Eragon. In Brisingr, Arya's relationship with Eragon became very friendly and very close. There are also several places in Brisingr and Eldest where hints suggest that Arya actually does have feelings for Eragon. Some include suddenly running to Helgrind when Eragon didn't come back, healing Eragon's hand after battling the soldiers when he was perfectly capable of healing his own hand and looking away embarrassed and saying, "I am glad you were by my side today, Eragon." To which Eragon replied, "And you by mine." Other instances include: transferring energy to him in the battle with the men who feel no pain and almost saying something strong to him, greeting him when he joined the Varden in Feinster but not Saphira and hugging him in the end for so long in her grief at Oromis's death, especially when she never allowed such contact between them. One especially suggestive encounter between Eragon and Arya would be in The Way of Knowing in Inheritance, where Eragon and Arya lock blades, neither giving nor gaining ground, when Eragon says, "I . . . see . . . you." and Arya lets her emotions slip briefly when "A bright spark appeared in Arya's eyes, then vanished just as quickly", showing that Arya does in fact have feelings for Eragon, at least to some extent. Also in Eldest, in the chapter Image of Perfection, after Arya shattered Eragon's first fairth and left with Orik, Oromis mentioned to Eragon that he had no doubt that Arya is fond of him and just a moment later he also said that she would give up her own happiness for the greater good. Hinting even further and bigger that Arya had strong feelings for Eragon, Arya also shared a lot of personal information with Eragon when they were around the campfire, describing how she believed she was going insane, seeing all sorts of mirages and visions. Saphira also uses the same tone of voice she uses with Eragon when speaking with Arya, which suggests Saphira would like her and Eragon to become mates.
Speaking for Arya and Eragon is what Christopher Paolini himself has said: "And one of the nice things about their (Roran and Katrina's) relationship is when the series begins and when we first start seeing scenes from Roran's point of view in Eldest, he's already courted Katrina, he's already won Katrina and we don't need to see them going through that. They already have a relationship. Of course when he rescues her then in this book (Brisingr), it's just sort of a confirmation of what they both already knew. So I get to show a kind of different relationship with them than exists between say, Eragon and Arya, who are just sort of dancing around each other."
In Inheritance, the proof of reciprocated feelings began when Arya and Eragon met after Fírnen hatched for her. This was illustrated when they shared their true names to each other as well as Arya's favorable reaction when she sees Eragon's second fairth of her. Fírnen and Saphira also became mates for a short time before Eragon's departure from Alagaësia, hinting at a possible romantic relationship between Arya and Eragon in the future. Due to the circumstances of Arya committing to serving the elves as their queen and of Eragon committing to leaving Alagaësia to rebuild the Riders and the dragons in a safe and defensible environment, they knew that they could not be together for a long period of time. They separated after a sad farewell on the boat from Eragon's prophetic vision (seen in both Eragon and Inheritance). However, as Christopher Paolini said in a recent interview with Mike Macauley, "The thing to keep in mind is that though the series is over, Eragon and Arya's story will continue. They're going to live for a very long time, and their relationship is far from over", which is proven when Eragon is due to leave Alagaësia, Eragon asks "What will become of us?". Arya replies "I don't know... Once, as you know, I would have said 'nothing', but... Again, you are still young, and humans often change their minds. In ten years, or even five, you may no longer feel as you now do." Eragon declares his feelings will never cease, so Arya says "If they don't, then... perhaps in time..." They also share their true names with each other, causing them both to see their feelings for one another.
Powers & Abilities
Arya was very highly trained in magic and swordplay during her first thirty years, until she was strong enough to guard Saphira's egg. She was a master of the sword and as an elf, possessed strength and speed beyond that of any human, save Galbatorix and later, Eragon, Murtagh and Barst. She also possessed a very advanced knowledge of magic: she was able to summon the essence of silver, (demonstrating complete mastery of the object) something even the Twins couldn't do. She also had the power to smash the Isidar Mithrim, a 200-foot gem, with her sword and hold the fragments in the air after a freefall of nearly a mile to prevent them from crushing Eragon (though she fainted from the overuse of magic afterward). She stated near the end of Eragon that she believed she was powerful enough to defeat a Shade, which she eventually did when she killed Varaug with some help from Eragon, becoming one of four to have killed a Shade and survive. This was due to her training, her skills honed to the extent that she is more fluent with magic than Eragon. Her magic is green in color, which is shown when she broke the Star Sapphire while preventing the pieces from hitting Eragon.
Arya was also very skilled in the use of mental powers. She was able to defend her mind and strike out with it even when unconscious and poisoned, as well as could even contact someone on the other side of Alagaësia.
When Murtagh attacked the Varden, Arya was one of the thirteen elven spellcasters to join forces with Eragon against Murtagh (the others being Blödhgarm and eleven other elf spellweavers). With their enormous combined power, they managed to drive Murtagh away, but could not capture him. Arya was severely fatigued after contributing so much energy to the effort.
As an elf, Arya's senses were also very developed, perhaps even better than Eragon's.
When Fírnen hatched for Arya she could draw upon his strength for added power. Also there was an emerald in the pommel of her new sword Támerlein in which she could store energy for later use.
Additionally, Arya was one of the four living individuals who had knowledge of the true name of the ancient language. This would mean that she could and did indeed become one of the most powerful magicians who ever existed, rivalled by Murtagh and seconded to Eragon due to his ownership over the 136 Eldunarí.
Arya was usually stoic, impassive and reserved, partially as a result of her torture by Durza, and gave no hint as to what her emotions might be. When she did show them they tended to be very strong. She refused most questions about her past to people who did not know her identity already, treating most of them coldly and indifferently, including Eragon and her own mother, along with a very serious attitude. Her span of tolerance was short and she frequently became annoyed or impatient with Eragon. She also tended to be opinionated and outspoken, often arguing with and insulting the dwarves because of their difference in beliefs. Before Arya was captured and tortured by the Shade Durza, she was a light-hearted and happy elf woman. After Eragon saved her, she gained seriousness and wisdom.
Arya appeared to hold traditional human gender roles in distaste and reminded Eragon on more than one occasion that she was not a "helpless female". She also mentioned during Brisingr that even after seventy years among them, she still didn't understand why humans believe men and women should wear different things.
Perhaps because of her seventy-year separation from her people and the death of her companions at the hands of Durza, Arya became solitary, aloof, and withdrawn. She said herself that she had always been of a "solitary disposition". When among the Varden, or even the elves, she preferred not to have company and on occasion, appeared uncomfortable among other elves. Most of the time she kept to herself and out of other peoples' company. After the hatching of Fírnen in Inheritance, she seemed much happier, presumably because she now has a constant companion.
After returning to the elves, she opened up more to Eragon and became happier. In Brisingr they talked all night, as well as talked more openly about their feelings and past experiences with each other.
In one instance, Arya healed a minor wound of Eragon's, though he could have easily healed it himself. This showed Arya might be beginning to feel the same way about Eragon that he does for her. Before Eragon and Murtagh engage in Brisingr, she pauses before telling Eragon something important.
In Inheritance, Arya reacted positively towards a second fairth made of her by Eragon and exchanged true names with him. In the last chapter of the book, she dropped all pretense for a few brief moments, revealing that she does have feelings for him.
Unlike the rest of her people, she was direct and practical in speech, rarely wasting breath with expressions or similes and was not bothered with the idea of using animal products such as leather. Despite her solitary disposition, she was very dedicated to her people and cause, enduring endless tortures to keep the secrets of the elves out of the Broddring Empire's hands and even willing to die for no reason other than to deny Galbatorix. She also seemed to feel a sense of duty in protecting or helping Eragon and Saphira at any opportunity. This was largely due to the yawë that she took upon herself, which was her pledge of unconditional service towards her people.
Arya was described as a stunningly beautiful elf with almond-shaped green eyes, long raven-black hair and tawny skin. She was taller than most men. When outside Ellesméra, her hair was sometimes held back by a leather strap and she dressed in plain black leather. She wore a sword at her hip and carried her bow on her back. When in Ellesméra, she allowed her hair to flow freely and did not carry any weapons. She wore soft elven tunics, felt pants and soft socks (in the book she is mentioned to have worn a green tunic cinched at the waist with a girdle adorned with moonstones). She also had the yawë tattooed on her left shoulder in indigo ink. Like most elves, she had angular features, slanting eyebrows, narrow shoulders and pointed ears. She was said to have small feet and slender hands.
Arya's family was one of the several royal houses in Ellesméra. Arya's family, whose line possibly dated back to Queen Tarmunora, had been in authority for many years. Tarmunora was succeeded by Dellanir, Arya's grandmother, implying that Tarmunora was of the same elven house. However, Tarmunora could have handed the throne to another royal house. Dellanir ruled for centuries before voluntarily abdicating in favor of her son, Evandar. Evandar then became king and mated with an Elf princess, Islanzadí, who gave birth to Arya. Evandar died at the hands of either Galbatorix or one of the Forsworn in the Battle of Illirea, during the Rider War, and Islanzadí ruled after him.
It is unclear how many family members Arya has apart from her mother: however, Arya has stated that she has no brothers or sisters. The only other member of the same House mentioned and that only in passing, was named Niduen. Niduen sent a gift to Eragon when he arrived in Ellesméra, but it is uncertain what relation Niduen was to Arya.
- Dröttning - After the death of Islanzadí, Arya is crowned queen.
- Dröttningu - Daughter of the queen of the elves [note that she is not a princess as the ruler of the elves is not selected by inheritance, as stated in the fourth book].
- Elves' Ambassador to the Varden - for work with the Varden.
- Dragon-egg courier - for time spent ferrying Saphira's egg between Farthen Dur and Ellesméra.
- Shadeslayer - for defeat of the Shade Varaug.
- Shur'tugal - in the end of Inheritance she becomes a Rider.
- Dragonkiller - for killing Shruikan.
- Svit-kona - used by Eragon to show that he believes she's a woman of great wisdom
- Arya itself is a Sanskrit and Avestan/Old Persian word that means "noble".
- The word "arya" is simillar to "aria", a musical piece written for a solo voice with orchestral accompaniment.
- It's possible that Christopher Paolini has chosen the name Arya for his character by analogy with J. R. R. Tolkien's Arwen, an elven lady from The Lord of the Rings, whose name means "noble maiden" in Tolkien's self-invented language, Quenya.
Dröttning and Dröttningu are used as titles in Christopher Paolini's fiction, as opposed to representing a surname or name of the House. "House Dröttning" is a misnomer: Dröttning means 'Queen' in Old Norse (as well as modern Swedish), which Paolini's Ancient Language borrows heavily from. Dröttning in the broader sense may refer to a 'female sovereign', 'the spouse of the ruler' or simply mean 'mistress'.
The word has survived in modern usage in Norwegian, Swedish, Icelandic and Danish where it means 'Queen'. The word drottning in Old Norse shares etymological roots with drottin which means 'lord', 'ruler', 'chief'. (See the link below). Drottin is now out of usage in modern descendants of Old Norse as it was replaced by Konungr, which particularly means 'king'. Dröttning is Islanzadí's title. There is a clear distinction between the two titles "Dröttning" and "Dröttningu": these terms are never used interchangeably and neither is this a case of typographical error.
This can be seen from a number of occasions in the book Eldest: In each case Arya is Dröttningu while Islanzadí is Dröttning. In ancient Norse, the word "Drottningu" means 'princess' while "Drottning" refers to 'queen.' However, according to the books, the Ancient Language translation that "Arya Dröttningu" does not mean Princess Arya.
In addition, the structure of the invented Ancient Language is notable. The grammar dictates that the principal noun precedes the adjective or the helping noun. This is similar to French, Spanish, and Italian (Roman languages). The case is exactly opposite in English, German and Dutch (hence creating the misleading impression that Dröttning is the surname).
- Vinr Alfakyn, not Alfakyn Vinr (Vinr = Friend, Alfakyn = Elves/Elfkind literal transliteration is Friend Elf but actual translation is Elf Friend).
- Du Fells Nangoroth (Fells = Mountains (Old Norse), Nangoroth = Blasted)
- Du Fyrn Skulblaka (Fyrn = War, Skulblaka = Dragon)
- Agaeti Blodhren (Agaeti = Celebration (Old Norse), Blodhren = Blood-Oath (Blodh = blood - Old Norse))
- Du Vollr Eldrvarya (Vollr = Plains/Fields/Grounds (Old Norse), Eldrvarya = Burning (Eldr = fire - Old Norse)).
- Eragon states that the Du Vrangr Gata are ignorant, as correctly they should be named Du Gata Vrangr, where Gata = Path and Vrangr = Wandering. When he pays his tribute to the dead king Hrothgar he says, "Stydja unin mor'ranr Hrothgar Konungr" not Konungr Hrothgar.
- Therefore, the correct usage is Islanzadí Dröttning, not Dröttning Islanzadí; likewise Arya Dröttningu, not Dröttningu Arya.
- It would also seem inappropriate to call Evandar, a male elf, Evandar Dröttning (which is a feminine word). If the situation arises, he would likely be called formally as Evandar Konungr.
The system of giving family or last names is very different in the fictional Alagaësia from the real English-speaking society:
- Dwarves introduce themselves as a person's son. e.g.: Orik, Thrifk's son; Thorv, Brokk's son.
- Elves customarily introduce themselves as hailing from such and such House. e.g.: Lifaen of House Rilvenar, Vanir of House Haldthin, Bellaen of House Miolandra, Oromis of house Thrandurin.
- Some humans and dwarves have been referred to by patronyms/metronyms, adding the suffix sson or sdaughter to their father's or mother's name. e.g.: Roran Garrowsson, Katrina Ismirasdaughter. This practice is followed in present-day in Nordic countries, where the corresponding suffix for a woman is sdottir after her father's name.
Further evidence—Eldest, Bellaen's note to Eragon (pg. 241, 242). He introduces himself as from House Miolandra. However he wrote that Niduen was from Islanzadí's House, as opposed to Niduen of House Dröttning. It would also be incorrect to write Niduen Dröttning or Niduen Dröttningu, as she isn't the sovereign of the elves or the heir incumbent and may not be royalty—therefore the title wouldn't apply in her case.
For further reference please see the Zoega Old Icelandic dictionary and Cleasby Vigfusson Old Icelandic dictionary.
- Arya's name and physical description in books is similar to Arwen in The Lord of the Rings.
- Arya is also comparable to Star Wars' Leia Organa Solo, who was originally intended to be Luke's love interest.
- Arya is similar in many respects to Neytiri from Avatar — both are daughters of royal family of a folk living in forest, both are ones of the most beautiful women among their people which have long raven-black hair and pointed ears, skilled warriors which protect their people from evil human forces, riders of green flying creatures (dragon/ikran) and love interests of a main character.
- Arya is also the name of a prominent character in the George R. R. Martin saga, A Song of Ice and Fire (Arya Stark on Wikipedia)
Behind the scenes
- Arya was portrayed by Sienna Guillory in the film version of Eragon. Her portrayal of Arya has been criticized because she had no pointed ears and her hair color is lighter than stated in the books.
- Arya appears to be more romantically interested in Eragon in the movie than as described in the book.
- With the knowledge that the traitorous Twins had conveyed to him, Galbatorix sent the shade Durza to ambush Arya and recapture the egg. The Shade managed to accomplish the former (while killing two other elves, Glenwing and Fäolin), but as he was closing in on her, Arya teleported the egg to Brom, but due to the interference of the Eldunari, it landed in the wilds of the Spine.
- In the movie, there seemed to be no visible signs of abuse on her, save for the wound that Durza had pierced above her breasts on her sternum. The movie also changed a big part in the plot: when Eragon had rescued Arya and journeyed to the Varden, she was unconscious the whole time in the book, but in the movies, she was conscious and collapsed later in the journey due to Durza's poison.
- Arya is the only one of the riders that Galbatorix's three eggs hatched to who didn't have a dragon riding parent, as Eragon and Murtagh's fathers, Brom and Morzan respectively, were both Dragon Riders.