Once upon a time that was true... but no more. When I was young... younger than you are now... I was chosen... chosen by the Riders to join their ranks. While they trained me, I became friends with another apprentice... Morzan, before he was a Forsworn. But then he betrayed us to Galbatorix... and in the fighting at Doru Araeba - Vroengard's City - my young dragon was killed. Her name... was Saphira.— Brom
Keep in mind that many people have died for their beliefs; it's actually quite common. The real courage is in living and suffering for what you believe in.— Brom
Brom Holcombsson was a male human, a former Dragon Rider, and the founder of the Varden. In the third book, it is revealed by Oromis that he is Eragon Shadeslayer (kingslayer)'s father, a secret that he and Saphira II had been keeping upon Brom's insistence.
There's a reason why we're born with brains in our heads, not rocks.— Brom
Brom came from a family of illuminators in Kuasta, a remote city near the Sea, far south of Carvahall. His mother was named Nelda and his father Holcomb. When Brom was a child, presumably at the age of ten, a female aquamarine Dragon hatched for him and he named her Saphira. Brom then went to the city of Ilirea to be trained as a dragon rider. Kuasta was so isolated by the Spine, that it became a peculiar place, full of strange customs and superstitions. When he was new to Ilirea (Urû'baen), for instance, Brom would knock on a door frame three times before entering or exiting a room. The other students laughed at these habits, so Brom eventually abandoned them.
Friendship with Morzan
During his tutelage under Oromis and Glaedr, Brom befriended a fellow student three years his elder named Morzan. Brom idolized Morzan, tagged after him, allowed Morzan to boss him around and always considered himself weaker than Morzan. Morzan often took advantage of Brom's unflagging admiration, making him "blind as a bat". Blagden said the phrase "blind as a bat" to Eragon during his first visit to Ellesméra. Oromis considered separating them, but never did, despite Morzan's cruelty.
During Galbatorix's rebellion and the subsequent Fall of the Dragon Riders, Brom and Saphira initially joined their teachers in seeking refuge in Du Weldenvarden, but the young pair brazenly left for the defense of Vroengard, against their masters' wishes. In the fighting, Morzan murdered Saphira in Doru Araeba. Brom also lost his sword, Undbitr, during this time. Devastated by grief and loss of identity (due to the deep bond between dragon and Rider), Brom swore to take revenge on Morzan for his dragon's death and the destruction of his world. He began to pursue and persecute his former idol even more intensely than he had idolized him in the first place. As Oromis once said "Brom's love for Morzan was given way to hate, like a candle before an inferno". He joined the elves at the Battle of the Plains of Ilirea, only for them to lose to Galbatorix and The Forsworn.
Recovery of the egg
Brom used the turmoil following the creation of the independent country of Surda to his advantage. He helped found the rebel group known as the Varden, gathering and merging various groups opposed to Galbatorix and the Broddring Empire, rallying the former allies of the Riders who had been forced into hiding and gathering them together under a signal banner. Brom also reached out to the Dwarves and Elves and convinced Queen Islanzadí and King Hrothgar to support the Varden, assisting in persuading the Dwarves at house the Varden in Farthen Dûr. Islanzadí, furthermore, developed a great respect from Brom, bestowing him with the honorific title of Elf Friend. He led the Varden for a few years and then surrendered the position to Weldon in order to pursue his true passion: Morzan's downfall.
To help accomplish this objective, Brom found a weakness in Morzan's castle's wards. He disguised himself as a gardener and worked within the castle undetected, entering into a romantic relationship with Selena, Morzan's agent and wife (otherwise known as The Black Hand). During his time in the castle, he conceived a child with Selena, who travelled home to Carvahall to give birth to the child, Eragon.
Before he was aware of Eragon, Brom's fervor led him to a scholar named Jeod, who had come into contact with a Varden spy and claimed to have discovered a hitherto unknown passage into Urû'baen. Brom and Jeod organized the successful theft of one of the three remaining Dragon eggs, all of which were in Galbatorix's possession. However, the thief, Hefring of Furnost, fled with the egg instead of bringing it to the Varden. Brom and Morzan raced to hunt Hefring down, and in the end, the two found themselves face-to-face in a final duel for the egg. After a long and desperate battle, Brom defeated Morzan and his Dragon, taking Saphira II's egg and the sword, Zar'roc, from Morzan's dead body.
Spurred on by fear for Selena's safety after Morzan's inquiry about the disappearance of his Black Hand, Brom rushed back to Morzan's castle. He feared that Galbatorix would keep her as his own Black Hand, or worse, but he was wrong. By the time he arrived, Selena had already died from sickness.
From what he learned from the healers, he guessed that Selena had been pregnant with his child. So, he headed to her hometown of Carvahall and saw his son, named Eragon, in the care of his uncle and aunt, Garrow and Marian.
Brom was also responsible for the deaths of seven other Forsworn, two of whom he killed directly, the other five who's deaths he arranged. His name eventually became a nightmare and source of widespread terror to the Forsworn and a beacon of hope for those who resisted. He made sure that people thought he was dead, for Galbatorix would hunt him to the ends of Alagaësia if he thought Brom was still alive. He secretly returned to Farthen Dûr, meeting with Weldon's successor Deynor and later negotiated exchanging the egg between the Varden and elves. He accompanied Arya to Ellesméra, where he met his former teachers Oromis and Glaedr for the last time, informing them of Eragon's existence and entrusted them with a fairth of Selena. It is possible that he was given the ring Aren from Islanzadí at this time, which he stored with every bit of energy he could muster over the decades. He then came to Carvahall on the guise of a storyteller to watch over Eragon.
A new Rider
I'm not going to stay behind while some stripling gets to run around with a dragon.— Brom
After seeing the egg safely delivered to the Varden, Brom went into hiding in the village of Carvahall, living in disguise as a storyteller, partly because he wished to watch over his son that Selena had given birth to at Carvahall, her hometown. Years afterward, when Eragon discovered a dragon egg that later hatched for him, Eragon asked Brom for suggestions of good names for dragons. The hatchling and Eragon later agreed on the name "Saphira", without understanding its significance.
Saphira II's existence put Eragon and his family in great danger from Galbatorix, who wished to reestablish the order of the Riders and bring them under his control. When Eragon's uncle Garrow was murdered by creatures called Ra'zac , Eragon and his dragon were forced to flee Carvahall and the Palancar Valley. Brom accompanied them on their quest to find and destroy the Ra'zac. Along the way, he educated Eragon in the use of the magical powers bestowed upon a Dragon Rider and the art of swordsmanship: he gave Eragon the sword Zar'roc, but refrained from telling him its history of bloodshed. In the town of Therinsford, Brom purchased two horses, Snowfire and Cadoc.
In Yazuac, Brom was wounded in an encounter with Urgals and Eragon insisted that Brom ride his dragon, as she could protect him better than Snowfire could. Though Brom protested, insisting that no one should mount a dragon except its Rider, Saphira and Eragon persuaded him to accept the favor. A little afterward, Saphira put events together and discovered Brom had used magic earlier on, past Utgard, as well as told Eragon she thought he was a magician, not revealing that she knew he was a Rider.
In the port city of Teirm, Eragon shamefully revealed that he was illiterate, or unable to read. Brom consequently took it upon himself to teach Eragon to read. Though Eragon learned remarkably quickly, their plans were still delayed by a week.
Later, when they discovered Urgals close to where they were camped, they fled, Eragon on Saphira and Brom with Snowfire and Cadoc. When the Urgals nearly overtook Brom, Eragon had Saphira landed in front of the Urgals and after a brief confrontation with them, Eragon used a magical spell to blast them back. Eragon fainted from the effort and while he was unconscious, Saphira protected him. Saphira and Brom then went to destroy the remaining Urgals. Around this time, Brom also revealed the fact that he was Eragon's father to Saphira, though he made her swear not to tell Eragon unless certain circumstances were met.
Upon returning, Brom scolded Eragon for using such an energy-wasting attack on the Urgals when sending rocks through their heads would have been much easier.
And now for the greatest adventure of all.— Brom's last words
Brom and Eragon eventually found the Ra'zac, but were ambushed and forced to escape. Their escape attempt was unsuccessful and they were captured: however, a stranger named Murtagh rescued them. While fleeing one of the Ra'zac threw a dagger at Eragon, but Brom bravely threw himself into its path, thus saving Eragon but mortally wounding himself. In passing, the other fleeing Ra'zac kicked Eragon in the ribs, breaking some of them.
Despite Eragon and Murtagh's attempts to help him, Brom died from the wound soon after. But before dying, Brom revealed to Eragon that he was once a Dragon Rider himself, that he was a one-time friend of Morzan before he was corrupted by Galbatorix and that his own dragon, also named Saphira, was killed in the Battle at Doru Araeba. After revealing seven words in the Ancient Language, he died shortly afterward. He also hinted that he was Eragon's father, as right before he died he gave Eragon a blessing, something a father gives his son, though Eragon did not yet understand their significance.
Eragon created a tomb out of sandstone, which Saphira turned to diamond using her magic. Eragon carved these words on the side of the tomb with magic:
Here lies Brom
Who was a Dragon Rider
And like a father
May his name live on in glory.
After Brom's death, Saphira said that Brom told her some secrets, including the location of Dormand and the knowledge of Eragon's parentage (though the latter wasn't revealed until Oromis revealed Eragon's parentage first). During Eragon, Saphira and Roran's Raid on Helgrind, which was caused partly out of Eragon and Saphira's inflamed passion to avenge the death of their first mentor, and when Eragon killed the last Ra'zac, he murmered "For my Father", "For our home", "For Carvahall" before murmuring quietly, "For Brom". Much later in the series, Eragon revisited Brom's tomb in the days before he left to travel to a new land. He thought that reviving Brom could be possible since the diamond in his tomb had protected his body. However, Umaroth said that while doing so may be possible, they didn't know if Brom's mind could be fully restored. Valdr then said "Leave the dead to the earth, they are not for us." Eragon changed the words on his tomb to:
Here lies Brom
A Rider bonded to the dragon Saphira
Son of Holcomb and Nelda
Beloved of Selena
Father of Eragon Shadeslayer
Founder of the Varden
And Bane of the Forsworn.
May his name live on in glory.
Stydja unin mor'ranr.
Eragon then protected the diamond of his tomb from thieves by placing wards around it.
Brom had a white beard and silver hair. He always carried a staff, covered with runes carved from the Ancient Language. He had the gedwey ignasia on his palm, but kept it covered with brown paint and mud, to conceal his identity as a Rider.
He was rarely happy throughout his life but he was a good Rider and a good man.— Oromis
In his youth, Brom had some unorthodox habits, such as knocking on a door frame three times before entering or exiting a room, which he abandoned as he grew older. As a student of Oromis he always asked questions (a trait he seems to have passed down to Eragon). He idolized Morzan and loved him like a brother. Morzan took advantage of Brom's affection for him by ordering him about and acting as though he was superior to Brom. Brom loved his dragon, Saphira, and her death caused him to go temporarily mad with grief. He grew to hate Morzan for betraying the Dragon Riders and causing the death of his beloved dragon: Brom's grief at the loss of Saphira continued until the end of his life.
Brom was a very intelligent and strong minded man and claimed that only one person had beaten him in a battle of wills and that was before he was fully grown. Brom believed that intelligence was more important than strength and he defeated his opponents not because he was stronger, but because he was smarter. He was very adept at finding flaws in enemies defenses.
Later in his life, Brom fell in love with Eragon's mother Selena. He loved her so much that he left his friends when he believed her life was in danger, leading his friends to think he was dead. He claimed that his fear for Selena's life gave him the strength and fortitude he needed to slay Morzan and his dragon. Oromis believed that losing Selena had been almost as hard for Brom as losing Saphira. Despite the hardships of his life, Brom remained pure of heart and was dedicated to bringing an end to Galbatorix's rule.
While Brom was living in Carvahall, he disguised himself as a storyteller in order to hide from the Broddring Empire. He loved his son Eragon, but it wasn't until after he died that Eragon discovered the truth about his parentage. Brom was very secretive, keeping many things to himself, including his existence from his old friend Jeod for the better part of twenty years. Jeod and Eragon also noted that he could be irritable at times.
Powers & Abilities
While the full extent of Brom's powers were never depicted, as he had already out-grown his prime and was without his Dragon at the start of the series, it can be assumed that at his height Brom was incredibly powerful. He bested many of the Forsworn in combat, most notably Morzan. Even in his old age, he was a master swordsman who could easily best an inexperienced Eragon without a second thought. Even while outnumbered by Urgals, he stood his ground and managed to gain the upper-hand. It was stated that Brom did not rely on might so much as he did on ingenuity and creativity. His defeat of Morzan is even more impressive when realizing that he killed both the most powerful member of the Forsworn and his dragon, without the aid of his own dragon. Brom was stated to be one of the Varden's strongest magicians by Ajihad and indeed, Galbatorix considered Brom to be his most hated and dangerous foe. Brom also had some skill in hand-to-hand combat as he would occasionally spar with Eragon with his fists, although it was never stated what the outcome of the fights were or how skillful Brom or Eragon fought during these unarmed combat spars. Brom was clearly rather charismatic individual, given the fact that he became a rallying point for resistance against Galbatorix, gathering many under his command to found the Varden and being crucial in convincing the elves and dwarves to support the cause.
- Eragon, who was shaken to hear that Murtagh was Morzan's son, later suspected that Brom came to Carvahall after Morzan's death in order to keep an eye on Eragon, so as to prevent the boy from becoming like his "father" (Murtagh's existence was kept secret from everyone except Galbatorix). This opinion changed after Eragon found out Brom was his father, not Morzan, although he was right to assume Brom was in Carvahall to keep an eye on him.
- When Eragon, Saphira and Brom fled Carvahall, Brom expressed his gratitude that he lived to see the legend of the Dragon Riders reborn.
- Saphira was forced to keep Eragon's real parents a secret from him because of the oaths that Brom made her swear in the Ancient Language. Saphira was bound by her oaths until Eragon found out more about his parentage on his own.
- Brom's exact age at death has not been calculated by Christopher Paolini, but is estimated to be 110 to 130 years.
- Inheritance will bring some discussion of the three people who could defeat Brom, although according to Paolini: " It’s only after the fall of the Riders that he became as formidable as he was.".
- In interviews, Christopher Paolini has often expressed interest in telling the story of Brom and Jeod in a fifth, prequel, book of the Inheritance Cycle.
- Brom was played by Academy Award-winning actor Jeremy Irons in the film version of Eragon. Though the film was heavily criticized and Irons' looks were not completely book-accurate of Brom's, his portrayal was praised by critics and fans alike.
Saphira was Brom's dragon, who hatched for him when he was ten. As many other riders and their dragons, they shared a deep connection. Her death drove Brom nearly mad and made him dedicate himself to avenge Saphira.
Holcomb and Nelda
Holcomb and Nelda were Brom's parents. He lived with them in Kuasta until he was ten, and he left them to train to be a dragon rider. He never saw them again.
Selena first met Brom when he infiltrated Morzan's castle as a gardener. Brom's first intention was to kill her, because she was Morzan's Black Hand. Morzan was dependent on her to fullfill his will in the empire. But during this time, Brom and Selena fell in love. Selena ended her loyalty to Morzan due to his cruel treatment of her and their son Murtagh, which had killed her love for him. Thus, her name in the ancient language changed and she was no longer bound to her oaths to Morzan. Instead, she fed Brom and the Varden information about Morzan and Galbatorix. Brom loved her and wanted to help her escape her servitude to the empire. When he learned that Selena disappeared, he rushed back to Morzan's castle fearing that she might end up as Galbatorix' servant. However, she died before he arrived. Brom was consumed with grief and wanted to learn the cause of her death and punish the one responsible, if possible. He learned from Morzan's healers and the castle's servants that Selena had died from birth complications and that Selena had given birth to their child.
Brom had a profound love for his only son, Eragon, remaining in Carvahall to be close to him during his years in exile from the greater affairs of Alagaesia. Despite how painful it was to keep the boy at arm's length, Brom managed to make due, playing the role of village storyteller, and befriending Eragon and always welcoming him to his home. During their travels together, Brom became a beloved mentor to his unknowing son, ultimately sacrificing his life to protect him, and giving Eragon his blessing on his deathbed, proving the love he held for his child and expressing his pride in him.
Oromis served as Brom and Morzan's Dragon Rider instructor during their apprenticeship.
Comparison with "Star Wars"
Brom can be compared to the Star Wars character "Obi-Wan Kenobi". Both of them were one of the last in their respective Orders (Obi-Wan, along with Yoda, being among the last of the Jedi Knights, while Brom, along with Oromis, was the last of the Elder Riders ) and both of them founding a secret resistance movement against those who destroyed their Order before going into hiding near the young protagonist's home in order to oversee their training (Obi-Wan moved to Tatooine, near Luke's uncle's farm and Brom moved to Carvahall, near Garrow's farm, where Eragon spent his youth). He was also killed by one of the enemy (Obi-Wan by Darth Vader, Brom by the Ra'zac in the Book /Durza in the film). In addition, Obi-Wan Kenobi was devastated when his apprentice and friend, Anakin Skywalker, turned to the dark side, as was Brom when Morzan betrayed the Riders. Also Obi-Wan and Brom were killed before their students training was fully complete, so Luke/Eragon had to continue training without their dead masters, with masters Yoda/Oromis. The main difference between the two characters was that Brom was the father of the protagonist, whereas Obi-Wan was not.
Comparison with "The Lord of the Rings"
Brom's description in the book (long white beard, hooked nose, carved staff, smokes a pipe) can also be closely compared to "Gandalf" from The Lord of the Rings. His role was fairly similar to Gandalf as well: Brom left with the hero of the story, was a wise old wizardly character with magic, as well as died saving Eragon's life by jumping in front of a dagger thrown by one of the Ra'zac in the first book, just like Gandalf died the first time by protecting Frodo from the Balrog. He also blows colored smoke rings as Galdalf did as well.
Comparison with "Harry Potter"
Brom can be compared to the Harry Potter character Albus Dumbledore. Both of them had one best friend in their youth whom they dearly loved and worshiped (Morzan and Gellert Grindewald respectively). However, both Morzan and Gellert did not fully return their friends' affections and exploited them in subtle ways, with Morzan frequently ordering Brom around, while Gellert encouraged Albus to take over the Wizarding World and subjugate Muggles. In the end though, after Morzan and Gellert killed someone else close to their friends (Saphira I and Ariana respectively), their strong friendships with Brom and Albus would come to an abrupt end. However, while Gellert's killing of Ariana was accidental and thus manslaughter, Morzan's killing of Saphira was deliberate and unwarranted and thus murder. As a result, both Brom and Albus would make it their goal to defeat their former best friends in an epic duel, with Morzan being killed and Gellert being imprisoned for life in Nurmengard. In the aftermath of these duels, both Brom and Albus gained the weapon of their former friend (Zar'roc and the Elder Wand respectively). These weapons eventually came into the possession of their respective student (Eragon and Harry Potter). However, the greatest difference between the two was that Albus had fallen in love with Gellert, while Brom had fallen in love with Morzan's wife.
|Preceded By||Position||Succeeded By|
|None||Eragon's Travel Partner||Murtagh|
- Though Brom personally killed three of the Forsworn, he only kept Morzan's sword. It is unknown what happened to the other Riders' swords after their deaths.
- It's stated Brom's dragon was blue and it's also stated that their magic is the same as their dragons' scale color yet when Brom was duelling their swords the magic was red which counter acts the origin of his dragon color