Eragon is the first book in the Inheritance cycle, by Christopher Paolini. It was first self-published by the Paolini family in the summer of 2002, but was re-released by Alfred A. Knopf on August 26, 2003 and went on to become a New York Times bestseller for 151 weeks.
Cover flap summary Edit
A World of Adventure.
When Eragon finds a polished blue stone in the forest, he thinks it is the lucky discovery of a poor farm boy; perhaps it will buy his family meat for the winter. But when the stone brings a dragon hatchling, Eragon realizes he has stumbled upon a legacy nearly as old as the Empire itself. Overnight his simple life is shattered, and he is thrust into a perilous new world of destiny, magic, and power. With only an ancient sword and the advice of an old storyteller for guidance, Eragon and the fledgling dragon must navigate the dangerous terrain and dark enemies of an Empire ruled by a king whose evil knows no bounds. Can Eragon take up the mantle of the legendary Dragon Riders? The fate of the Empire may rest in his hands …
Plot summary Edit
Eragon takes place in a land called Alagaësia, over which rules the evil, twisted king, Galbatorix. Galbatorix was once one of the legendary Dragon Riders - the long-gone peacekeepers of Alagaësia. After his first dragon was killed by Urgals, Galbatorix fell into madness, stole a new dragon, Shruikan, twisting the dragon's mind with dark magic, and betrayed and destroyed the Riders and their dragons with the help of thirteen other Riders called the Forsworn.
The book begins with a fifteen-year-old boy, Eragon, finding a mysterious blue stone in The Spine, an untamed range of mountains near the small village he calls home, Carvahall. He brings it to the butcher shop in Carvahall to sell in exchange for some meat. The butcher, Sloan, at first accepts the stone but refuses when he mentions the Spine. At that moment, the blacksmith, Horst, pays for the meat, and Eragon offers to work for him in exchange. Eragon arrives at his home, a small farm, where his uncle, Garrow, awaits him. Garrow's sister, Selena, left the day her son, Eragon, was born; Eragon's father is unknown. Garrow has a son named Roran, who is about seventeen and also lives on the farm. Roran and Eragon are cousins, but see themselves more as brothers.
Several weeks later, after a trip to the Spine, Eragon witnesses a baby dragon hatch from inside the "stone". Dragons are a species thought to be extinct, with the exception of Galbatorix's second dragon. He raises the dragon in secret, and names her Saphira. Then, Roran leaves for a neighboring village for a job, so he can afford to marry Sloan's daughter, Katrina. Two hooded figures, the evil Ra'zac, enter the town looking for Eragon's mysterious blue stone. Eragon and Saphira manage to escape danger due to Saphira kidnapping Eragon and hiding in the Spine, but Garrow is not as fortunate. The Ra'zac burned the farm and injured Garrow, and Saphira carried him and Eragon into the village. While unconscious, Eragon has a dream, possibly him going away like foretold in Angela's prophecy, The passage says:
- "He watched as a group of people on proud horses approached a lonely river. Many had silver hair and carried tall lances. A strange, fair ship waited for them, shining under a bright moon. The figures slowly boarded the vessel; two of them, taller than the rest, walked arm in arm,. Their faces obscured by cowls, but he could tell that one was a woman. They stood on the deck of the ship and faced the shore. A man stood alone on the pebble beach, the only one who had not boarded the ship. He threw back his head and let out a long aching cry. As it faded, the ship glided down the river, without a breeze or oars, out into the flat, empty land. The vision clouded, but just before it disappeared, Eragon glimpsed two dragons in the sky."
Garrow, Eragon's uncle dies in Horst's house.
A Journey Begins Edit
Eragon, enraged by his uncle's death, takes it upon himself to track down and destroy the evil Ra'zac. He is accompanied by Brom, a mysterious old story teller from his village who knows too much about the Dragon Riders, swordfighting, and magic. Brom also gives Eragon a red sword called Zar'roc before the trio reach the village of Yazuac. All the villagers have been slaughtered by the fierce Urgals, of whom Eragon accidentally kills one using his first spell through the use of the Ancient Language. He destroys the Urgal using the true name for fire: Brisingr.
Brom teaches Eragon how to control magic. Eragon learns the ways of the Dragon Riders as they hunt down the elusive Ra'zac. Throughout the journey, he and Saphira develop closer relationships and bond with each other. To find the Ra'zac, they go to a port city called Teirm, where they meet Brom's old friend, Jeod. A herbalist named Angela tells Eragon's fortune, and her companion, the werecat Solembum, gives unusual advice. Much researching in Teirm leads Brom to the conclusion that the Ra'zac reside in Helgrind, a mysterious mountain with four peaks outside the city of Dras-Leona.
A New Ally Edit
However, revenge is not what Eragon finds in Dras-Leona. He, Saphira, and Brom are instead lured into the Ra'zac's ambush. They are rescued by a mysterious stranger, Murtagh. Unfortunately, Brom is gravely injured, and he soon dies - but not before revealing his past to Eragon. He was once a Dragon Rider himself, but his dragon, also named Saphira, was destroyed in Galbatorix's reign of terror. He created the Varden, the rebel state, killed a primary member of the forsworn known as Morzan, and rescued one of the three unhatched dragon eggs from Galbatorix—Saphira's egg. Saphira's final gift to Brom was encasing his body in a diamond sandstone tomb.
Imprisoned in Gil'eadEdit
The new company of three (Eragon, Murtagh and Saphira) travel in search of the hidden Varden. On the way Eragon has many dreams about an elf, all of which feature her suffering great pain. Ultimately, Eragon is captured and imprisoned in the same prison where the elf is being held captive. Murtagh and Saphira stage a daring rescue and Eragon escapes with the elf. But this does not happen without incident. Eragon and Murtagh have a face-off with the Shade, Durza, one of the most powerful creatures in the land. The fact that a Shade is walking freely in the land leads Eragon to believe that some monstrous plan is afoot and that Galbatorix, the king of Alagaësia, has allied himself with the foulest creatures in the land.
To the Varden Edit
The new Dragon Rider faces many perils on his way to the Varden, specifically the army of Urgals at their heels. Eragon communicates with the elf through their minds, and finds out that her name is Arya and that she knows the way to the Varden. He also discovers that the Shade, Durza, poisoned Arya during her time in captivity. Only a special plant can save her, and it is located near the Varden's hideout in the mountains. In a matter of days, the elf, Arya, could die. Eragon, Saphira, and Murtagh race against the clock to arrive at the Varden before the poison takes effect and kills Arya. Murtagh is reluctant to go and is forced to reveal that he is the son of Morzan, one of the dreaded Forsworn. Brom killed Morzan while stealing Saphira's egg from Galbatorix, and took his sword, the same sword he gave to Eragon. Murtagh's mother is also dead.
Old and New friends Edit
Then they are rescued by Orik, a dwarf, and a bald man. Once inside the Varden's fortress, a hollow volcano called Farthen Dûr hidden deep within the Beor Mountains, Eragon learns of the pact between the dwarves, the elves and the Varden and how it was that Saphira's egg was magically teleported to the Spine. The group is at last able to rest, but the invasion by the army of Urgals is imminent. An intercepted message from Galbatorix confirms their fears that the king is involved. Murtagh is locked up by Ajihad, the leader of the Varden, because Murtagh would not let the twins look into his mind, as he is Morzan's son. Orik is appointed Eragon and Saphira's guide. Eragon blesses a baby in the elves' magical language. Angela and Solembum come to Farthen Dûr. Arya is healed. The bald man and his twin brother search Eragons mind, for anything that would betray the Varden. Eragon meets many key people, like Hrothgar, king of the dwarves, and Ajihad's daughter, Nasuada.
The Battle of Farthen Dûr Edit
Suddenly Urgals attack. Murtagh is allowed to fight. In a battle that follows, the seemingly endless army of Urgals are poised to take the fortress, before Eragon realizes that the Shade, Durza, who he recently encountered, is leading the army. Eragon engages Durza in an intense sword duel, in which Durza gains the upper hand, only for Eragon to outwit and kill him, but at a price: he suffers a terrible magically cursed wound on his back that leaves him disfigured, and a great Star Sapphire sacred to the dwarves was destroyed by Arya and Saphira to distract the Shade. The Varden's forces oust the remaining Urgals. As the story ends at the close of the battle, Eragon has a vision from an elf called Togira Ikonoka (The Cripple Who is Whole) and will go under his tutoring in the sequel, Eldest.
Different editions Edit
- Paperback Paolini International LLC, June 2002
- Hardcover Random House, August 26 2003
- Audio Casette Random House, August 26 2003
- Hardcover Gardeners Books, December 31 2003
- Audio CD Random House, Listening Library, February 24 2005
- Hardcover Turtleback Books Distributed by Demco Media, April 2005
- Paperback Knopf Book, April 26 2005
Publishers in other countries Edit
- Australia: Alfred A. Knopf
- Brazil: ROCCO Jovens Leitores
- Canada: Alfred A. Knopf
- China: Unknown
- Czech Republic: Fragment Publishing House
- Denmark: Sesam
- Finland: Tammi
- France: Bayard Jeunesse
- Germany: Random House/Blanvalet (Bertelsmann)
- Holland: Publisher M
- Indonesia: Gramedia Pustaka Utama
- Italy: Fabbri Editors & Mondolibri
- Japan: Random House Japan
- Korea: Unknown
- Latin America: Roca Editorial
- Lithuania: Alma littera
- New Zealand: Corgi/Random House
- Poland: Mag Publishing Hosue
- Portugal: Gailivro
- Romana: Rao International Publishing Company
- Spain: Roca Editorial
- Sweden: Bonnier Carlsen
- Thailand: Amarin
- United Kingdom: Doubleday
- United States: Paolini Intl, LLC (old) & Alfred A. Knopf (current)
By order of appearance (beginning after the prologue):
- Eragon: main character
- Sloan: butcher of Carvahall
- Horst: smith of Carvahall
- Katrina: daughter of Sloan; girlfriend of Roran
- Garrow: farmer of Carvahall, Eragon's uncle, raised him from birth
- Roran: Eragon's cousin, although they're like brothers
- Brom: storyteller of Carvahall, Eragon's mentor
- Saphira: Eragon's dragon and best friend, raised by Eragon
- Angela: powerful witch who supports Varden, tells Eragon his future
- Jeod: merchant of Teirm, Brom's good friend
- Solembum: werecat who lives with Angela, gives Eragon a prophecy and much advice
- Murtagh: son of Morzan, who was a Forsworn (betrayer of the Dragon Riders); Becomes good friends with Eragon and travels with him to the Varden's hideout
- Arya: guardian elf of the dragon's egg which Saphira hatched from; is saved by Eragon from the clutches of the King and Durza
- Durza: once called Carsaib and disciple of a great sorcerer, he becomes a powerful Shade that ravages the land and controls the Urgals before being put to rest by Eragon
- Orik: dwarf; nephew of dwarf king Hrothgar; befriends Eragon
- The Twins: two magicians with strong magical abilities; powerful men within the Varden; cruel and strange with Eragon
- Ajihad: ruler of the Varden, a kind and just man
- Hrothgar: king of the dwarves, befriends Eragon
List of chapters Edit
Inside the book Edit
There are a few parts of the inside book that may be publicized, including the two pieces of art, the dedication and an excerpt.
This book is dedicated to my mom, for showing me the magic in the world; to my dad, for revealing the man behind the curtain. And also to my sister, Angela, for helping me when I'm "blue".
Excerpt from the publisher Edit
This is a copy of the excerpt. Click [show] to read its contents. The original excerpt may be found here.
|Prologue: Shade of Fear|
| Wind howled through the night, carrying a scent that would change the world. A tall Shade lifted his head and sniffed the air. He looked human except for his crimson hair and maroon eyes. He blinked in surprise. The message had been correct; they were here. Or was it a trap? He weighed the odds, then said icily, "Spread out; hide behind trees and bushes. Stop whoever is coming… or die."
Around him shuffled twelve Urgals with short swords and round iron shields painted with black symbols. They resembled men with bowed legs and thick, brutish arms made for crushing. A pair of twisted horns grew above their small ears. The monsters hurried into the brush, grunting as they hid. Soon the rustling quieted and the forest was silent again.
The Shade peered around a thick tree and looked up the trail. It was too dark for any human to see, but for him the faint moonlight was like sunshine streaming between the trees; every detail was clear and sharp to his searching gaze. He remained unnaturally quiet, a long pale sword in his hand. A wire-thin scratch curved down the blade. The weapon was thin enough to slip between a pair of ribs, yet stout enough to hack through the hardest armor.
The Urgals could not see as well as the Shade; they groped like blind beggars, fumbling with their weapons. An owl screeched, cutting through the silence. No one relaxed until the bird flew past. Then the monsters shivered in the cold night; one snapped a twig with his heavy boot. The Shade hissed in anger, and the Urgals shrank back, motionless. He suppressed his distaste—they smelled like fetid meat—and turned away. They were tools, nothing more.
The Shade forced back his impatience as the minutes became hours. The scent must have wafted far ahead of its owners. He did not let the Urgals get up or warm themselves. He denied himself those luxuries, too, and stayed behind the tree, watching the trail. Another gust of wind rushed through the forest. The smell was stronger this time. Excited, he lifted a thin lip in a snarl.
"Get ready, " he whispered, his whole body vibrating. The tip of his sword moved in small circles. It had taken many plots and much pain to bring himself to this moment. It would not do to lose control now.
Eyes brightened under the Urgals' thick brows, and they gripped their weapons tighter. Ahead of them, the Shade heard a clink as something hard struck a loose stone. Faint smudges emerged from the darkness and came down the trail. Three white horses with riders cantered toward the ambush, their heads held high and proud, their coats rippling in the moonlight like liquid silver.
On the first horse was an elf with pointed ears and elegantly slanted eyebrows. His build was slim but strong, like a rapier. A powerful bow was slung on his back. A sword pressed against his side opposite a quiver of arrows fletched with swan feathers.
The last rider had the same fair face and angled features as the other. He carried a long spear in his right hand and a white dagger at his belt. A helm of extraordinary craftsmanship, wrought with amber and gold, rested on his head.
Between these two rode a raven-haired elven lady, who surveyed her surroundings with poise. Framed by long black locks, her deep eyes shone with a driving force. Her clothes were unadorned, yet her beauty was undiminished. At her side was a sword, and on her back a long bow with a quiver. She carried in her lap a pouch that she frequently looked at, as if to reassure herself that it was still there.
One of the elves spoke quietly, but the Shade could not hear what was said. The lady answered with obvious authority, and her guards switched places. The one wearing the helm took the lead, shifting his spear to a readier grip. They passed the Shade's hiding place and the first few Urgals without suspicion.
The Shade was already savoring his victory when the wind changed direction and swept toward the elves, heavy with the Urgals' stench. The horses snorted with alarm and tossed their heads. The riders stiffened, eyes flashing from side to side, then wheeled their mounts around and galloped away.
The lady's horse surged forward, leaving her guards far behind. Forsaking their hiding, the Urgals stood and released a stream of black arrows. The Shade jumped out from behind the tree, raised his right hand, and shouted, "Garjzla!"
A red bolt flashed from his palm toward the elven lady, illuminating the trees with a bloody light. It struck her steed, and the horse toppled with a high-pitched squeal, plowing into the ground chest-first. She leapt off the animal with inhuman speed, landed lightly, then glanced back for her guards.
The Urgals' deadly arrows quickly brought down the two elves. They fell from the noble horses, blood pooling in the dirt. As the Urgals rushed to the slain elves, the Shade screamed, "After her! She is the one I want!" The monsters grunted and rushed down the trail.
A cry tore from the elf's lips as she saw her dead companions. She took a step toward them, then cursed her enemies and bounded into the forest.
While the Urgals crashed through the trees, the Shade climbed a piece of granite that jutted above them. From his perch he could see all of the surrounding forest. He raised his hand and uttered, "Böetq istalri!" and a quarter-mile section of the forest exploded into flames. Grimly he burned one section after another until there was a ring of fire, a half-league across, around the ambush site. The flames looked like a molten crown resting on the forest. Satisfied, he watched the ring carefully, in case it should falter.
The band of fire thickened, contracting the area the Urgals had to search. Suddenly, the Shade heard shouts and a coarse scream. Through the trees he saw three of his charges fall in a pile, mortally wounded. He caught a glimpse of the elf running from the remaining Urgals.
She fled toward the craggy piece of granite at a tremendous speed. The Shade examined the ground twenty feet below, then jumped and landed nimbly in front of her. She skidded around and sped back to the trail. Black Urgal blood dripped from her sword, staining the pouch in her hand.
The horned monsters came out of the forest and hemmed her in, blocking the only escape routes. Her head whipped around as she tried to find a way out. Seeing none, she drew herself up with regal disdain. The Shade approached her with a raised hand, allowing himself to enjoy her helplessness.
As the Urgals surged forward, the elf pulled open the pouch, reached into it, and then let it drop to the ground. In her hands was a large sapphire stone that reflected the angry light of the fires. She raised it over her head, lips forming frantic words. Desperate, the Shade barked, "Garjzla!"
A ball of red flame sprang from his hand and flew toward the elf, fast as an arrow. But he was too late. A flash of emerald light briefly illuminated the forest, and the stone vanished. Then the red fire smote her and she collapsed.
The Shade howled in rage and stalked forward, flinging his sword at a tree. It passed halfway through the trunk, where it stuck, quivering. He shot nine bolts of energy from his palm—which killed the Urgals instantly—then ripped his sword free and strode to the elf.
Prophecies of revenge, spoken in a wretched language only he knew, rolled from his tongue. He clenched his thin hands and glared at the sky. The cold stars stared back, unwinking, otherworldly watchers. Disgust curled his lip before he turned back to the unconscious elf.
Her beauty, which would have entranced any mortal man, held no charm for him. He confirmed that the stone was gone, then retrieved his horse from its hiding place among the trees. After tying the elf onto the saddle, he mounted the charger and made his way out of the woods.
He quenched the fires in his path but left the rest to burn.
Eragon has been the subject of much criticism, especially from Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, and The Belgariad fans. Many claim that Paolini has copied events, places, people, and other things in his books from Star Wars, Lord of the Rings,The Belgariad, or any combination of the three.
Paolini has also been criticized for his writing style, some saying he explains things in too much (unneeded) detail, while others say he is not a very competent writer. It has also been stated that events in the book are too unrealistic, which leads to the books being not as believable or enjoyable.
For more information on the criticism of Eragon and the rest of the Inheritance cycle, please see the Criticism of the Inheritance Cycle page.
Notably, a number of these complaints stem directly from elements in the first novel, but critical and fan reaction has generally improved in regard to later releases in the Inheritance Cycle.