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The Rider War was the name given to the war in which Eragon fought. The war was fought between the Broddring Empire, the established government of Alagaësia, and a rebel organization called the Varden.

After Eragon, a Dragon Rider, entered the conflict on the side of the Varden, the war took a dramatic turn. Both sides attempted to control the remnants of the dragon race, which had been all but exterminated during the Dragon War. Galbatorix, ruler of the Broddring Empire, sought to revive the Dragon Riders and conscript them into his own service, and the war became a personal affair for Eragon after his half-brother, Murtagh, became a Rider on the side of the Broddring Empire.


King Galbatorix had taken over a vast swathe of western Alagaësia after he destroyed the Dragon Riders during the Dragon War. A former Dragon Rider by the name of Brom formed a resistance force called the Varden, who allied themselves with the elves, dwarves, as well as later the Urgals. Galbatorix, however, was supported by a Shade named Durza, who cast a binding spell over the Urgal race.

Pre-war violence[]

Though the war officially started with the Battle under Farthen Dûr, there was a great deal of violence and death long before the two sides truly declared war. Galbatorix was desperately trying to get his remaining dragon eggs to hatch, while the Varden was trying to kill his candidates or steal the eggs.

The Fall of the Forsworn[]

The Varden assassinated many of the Forsworn, former Dragon Riders who supported Galbatorix. Brom knew that the Forsworn had to be eliminated before the Broddring Empire could be overthrown. Thanks to his efforts and those of the Varden, all of the Forsworn were dead by the beginning of the war, but the unofficial battles were in Morzan's lifetime.

The Mission to Urû'baen[]

With the help of a Varden agent named Jeod, Brom planned a surprise raid on Urû'baen in order to capture the three dragon eggs in Galbatorix's possession. For an unknown reason, the rebel contact (named Hefring) was not able to complete the mission and stole only one of the three eggs.

The Race[]

Hefring, the man sent to steal the eggs, ran from both the Varden and Galbatorix to try to keep the egg. Brom raced Hefring across the country to try to get the egg back. Morzan got there before Brom, killed Hefring and got the egg.

Morzan's downfall[]

Brom met Morzan at Gil'ead, slaying the Forsworn Rider in a duel and recovering both the egg and Zar'roc. He passed on the egg to the Varden, keeping Zar'roc for himself, as well as retired to Carvahall.

The Great Ambush[]

Main article: Great Ambush

A couple months before the war, the Varden launched a small-scale offensive against the Imperial forces. The result was the loss of three of Galbatorix's brigades. Galbatorix sent Murtagh to destroy a village where the Varden were said to be hiding as a retaliation.

The Broddring Empire captures an Elf[]

As war neared, Galbatorix wanted to make sure he remained the only faction to control the remaining dragons. He assigned his most trusted general, Durza, to capture Arya, the carrier of the stolen dragon egg. Durza took a company of Urgals and ambushed Arya and her guards as they traveled through the outer reaches of a forest in northern Alagaësia: otherwise known as Du Weldenvarden. The Urgals killed the two elf guards and captured Arya. She was able to teleport the egg accidentally to Eragon due to the Eldunarí, thus preventing it from being captured.

The Northern Massacres[]

The farming communities in the northern part of the Broddring Empire had become angry with the Imperial government for raising the taxes to a nearly unpayable level. Galbatorix saw the northern farmers as a threat and Urgals under his command slaughtered an entire village for supposedly aiding the Varden. This plan backfired on Galbatorix, however, as it only served to strengthen anti-Imperial feelings.


Battle of Ithrö Zhâda[]

The Urgal army under Durza the Shade launched a surprise attack on the abandoned dwarven city of Orthíad, later renamed Ithrö Zhâda by Galbatorix. All but one of the dwarves were killed in the attack. Durza then used secret tunnels found in the city to attack Farthen Dûr.

The Skirmish outside Farthen Dûr[]

When Murtagh, Saphira, Eragon and Arya fled to Farthen Dûr, they were followed by a legion of Kull. The party was rescued by Varden warriors and after the short battle, were taken inside for questioning. Eragon was inspected by the Twins only after insisting Arya be taken cared of (from poisoning due to Shade Durza's torture in Gil'ead). Murtagh refuses to be inspected and is benevolently imprisoned (The term 'benevolently' is used because he was not only an ambiguous threat to the Varden and inhabitants of Farthen Dur, but knowledge of his father as Morzan would have enraged the public and harm Murtagh. This is explained by Ajihad to Eragon in the first novel).

The war[]

The Battle under Farthen Dûr[]

The Urgal attack on Farthen Dûr in the video game

The war officially began when Galbatorix ordered his Urgal armies to attack the Varden headquarters at Farthen Dûr, which also served as the dwarves' capital. This battle triggered sympathy for the Varden and support when they emerged victorious, thanks to Durza's death at the hands of Eragon who was aided by Arya and Saphira.

Aftermath of the battle[]

Ajihad, third leader of the Varden

Days after the Varden victory, there were still enemy Urgals scattered throughout the many tunnels around Farthen Dûr. Ajihad, Murtagh, as well as the Twins were chosen to hunt down the remaining Urgals. Their search party was unexpectedly attacked by Urgal warriors, however, thus Ajihad was killed. Murtagh and the Twins were captured and presumed dead.

Later, it was revealed that the Twins had been working undercover for the Broddring Empire and took the opportunity to capture Morzan's son. While he was being held captive, the dragon, Thorn, hatched for Murtagh. King Galbatorix then forced Murtagh to swear allegiance to him in the Ancient Language.

The Varden move to Surda[]

Although the battle was a success for the Varden, the loss of Ajihad and the depletion in the dwarves' supplies forced the new Varden leader, Nasuada, to lead the Varden to Surda and their ally, King Orrin. Their presence in Surda was not readily accepted by all. Most notably, the Silk Guild openly expressed hostility towards the rebel group because of the Varden's production of extrodinarily cheap lace to earn money for the campaign and food.

Spies in Aberon[]

Main article: Raid in Aberon

While the Varden were in Aberon, the Surdan capital, Nasuada was attacked by an Imperial magician associated with a group of spies and magicians known as the Black Hand. Thanks to Elva, the Varden were able to kill two members of the Hand, though the organization would remain a threat to the Varden throughout the course of the war.

The siege of Carvahall[]

In order to gain information about the location of Eragon, Galbatorix sent agents to Eragon's hometown of Carvahall to interrogate Eragon's cousin, Roran. When the people of Carvahall refused to give Roran up to the Broddring Empire, fighting erupted. Roran led the small militia army against the Imperial forces, among whom were the Ra'zac.

The people of Carvahall were able to hold out for many days, but following the arrival of more Imperial troops, Roran managed to convince much of the population of Carvahall to leave the town and cross through The Spine to a port city called Narda. They then sailed to Teirm using barges, where Roran and the villagers pirated an Imperial ship called the Dragon Wing and set sail for Surda.

The Elves enter the war[]

Shortly before the Second Battle of The Burning Plains, the elves chose to enter the war on the side of the Varden. Previously, they were hesitant to enter the war because when Arya was kidnapped by Durza, Queen Islanzadi refused any outside communication until she was sure that Arya was alive and there was a new Rider willing to fight against the Broddring Empire.

The Second Battle of The Burning Plains[]

The Imperial Army

The Broddring Empire again tried to stomp out the rebellion, this time at The Burning Plains, also known as Du Völlar Eldrvarya by the elves. An army of conscripted humans, under the command of Murtagh, was sent to attack the Varden and their Surdan allies.

Just prior to the battle, the Varden allied themselves with a group of their former enemies, the Urgals, who desired vengeance for the wrongs perpetrated against them by the Broddring Empire. The witch Angela also poisoned a large amount of the Broddring Empire's food and drink, to further weaken their forces.

Thanks to the timely arrival of men from Carvahall and a dwarf army under King Hrothgar, the battle resulted in another victory for the resistance, though great losses were sustained by both sides. Hrothgar himself died at the hands of Murtagh.

The First Battle of the Burning Plains was a skirmish between the Riders and the Forsworn. During the battle, the dragon's fire set alight deposits of peat under the soil, hence the name "The Burning Plains".

Siege of Ceunon[]

The elves, now an active combatant in the war, headed to Ceunon. Their spellcasters destroyed the gates of the city and the elves poured in, killing countless humans and destroying many lands and homes. Lord Tarrant of Ceunon resisted fiercely, but in the end the elves were victorious.

Murtagh's raid[]

Murtagh Morzansson, most powerful of all the Broddring Empire's magicians and warriors, as well as his dragon Thorn led a raid to destroy the Varden. They battled Eragon and Saphira, while 300 of Murtagh's soldiers fought the Varden. Murtagh and Thorn were far beyond Eragon's ability to defeat because of the Eldunari Galbatorix had given him, but with the aid of Arya and twelve other elf spellcasters, Eragon and Saphira managed to drive Murtagh and Thorn off. Murtagh swore that he would return, more powerful then ever, as well as defeat Eragon and Saphira then. The battle may have ended differently because Eragon forgot the ring Aren, which had more power than Murtagh stored in it.

During and shortly after this, his soldiers were all killed. However, because they had been manipulated biologically to resist pain, they inflicted grave casualties on the Varden before being defeated and even wounded King Orrin. Nasuada considered the skirmish a painful defeat, even though the enemy force was wiped out.

Siege of Feinster[]

Main article: Siege of Feinster

In order to advance further into the Broddring Empire, Nasuada sent warriors south to captured Aroughs, while she attacked Feinster with King Orrin's force. They Varden attacked for three days, but could not break Feinster. Finally, when Eragon and Saphira arrived, the gates were opened from within, though it nearly cost the Varden several elves, including Arya and Blödhgarm.

Once the gates were open, the Varden ransacked the city, burning houses, stealing and pilaging anything they could find and killing anyone in their path. The soldiers of Feinster were steadily beaten back.

A group of Imperial magicians sworn to serve Murtagh and Galbatorix hatched a plan to throw the Varden back. In order to destroy the Varden, no matter the cost, they created a Shade known as Varaug and sent him upon the Varden. He proved to be more than a match for Eragon, but was slain by the combined efforts of Eragon and Arya. Because she struck the final blow, Arya became a Shadeslayer.

After the Shade and most of the soldiers had been defeated, Lady Lorana of Feinster surrendered and Feinster was captured by the Varden.

Battle of Gil'ead[]

After capturing Ceunon, the elves targeted Gil'ead. They battled and seemed to overwhelm the Imperial forces at Gil'ead, but Murtagh and Thorn arrived on the scene, a beacon of hope to the people of Gil'ead and a shadow of doom for the elves. But even with the young Eldunarí (which Galbatorix has seen fit to trust Murtagh with) Murtagh and Thorn were unable to match the combined strength and knowledge of Glaedr and Oromis. Even though the smaller Thorn was faster they were still losing the battle. When it seemed that shortly Oromis and Glaedr would overwhelm Murtagh and Thorn, Galbatorix himself assisted with the battle and with the strength of the Eldunarí that he had captured, he immobilized Glaedr and Oromis and using Murtagh's hands, struck down Oromis and Glaedr, simultaneously dealing a titanic blow to the morale of the elves. Despite the deaths of Oromis and Glaedr the elves successfully captured Gil'ead as mentioned in the last chapter of Brisingr. What happened to Murtagh and Thorn after the deaths of Oromis and Glaedr is unknown, but it is most likely that Murtagh and Thorn either returned to the capital or withdrew from Gil'ead to avoid being captured.

Battle of Belatona[]

After moving north from Feinster, the Varden arrived in Belatona. During the battle, Roran's life was briefly endangered by a falling wall and Saphira was attacked with the ancient Dauthdaert Niernen. The battle ended when Eragon and Arya subdued the Imperial lord Bradburn.

Battle of Aroughs[]

While the main body of the Varden moved north from Surda to attack Feinster and Belatona, Nasuada sent a smaller force south to capture Aroughs. When the Varden failed to capture the city in a timely manner, she sent Roran with some reinforcements, including Carn, his spellcaster companion, as well as orders to capture the city. Even with Roran and his companions, the Varden attackers remained well outnumbered.

While camped outside the city, a small company of horsemen from Aroughs led by Tharos the Quick attempted to attack the Varden. Roran, with help in the form of magical illusions from Carn, talked his attackers into returning to the city. He acted carefree and unworried, even offering Tharos a drink, in the face of the battalion, talking of his many victories and, with Carn's help, appearing to be an extremely strong sorcerer. Tharos the Quick, the heir to the throne at Aroughs, foolishly believed him and rode back to the city. However, an assassin was sent to kill Roran while he slept. The assassin managed to create a gash on Roran's chest but ultimately failed in his mission. Roran stabbed him in the heart and had Carn heal his wound.

Roran then devised a plan to capture barges with a portion of the Varden's men and sail them into the city before dawn, thus rendering pointless the city's defenses and preventing excessive casualties. Roran's company fought through the city, eventually capturing it. The most notable casualty of the battle was Carn, who was killed in a duel with another magician. Roran was later on shot in the back by an arrow. His second in command tended to his wounds while Baldor, one of Horst's sons, led the rest of the eight hundred to victory.

This section needs to be expanded.

Battle of Urû'baen[]

The main allied army breaks through the walls of Urû'baen led by Roran and nearly securing the city when Lord Barst enters. Roran at one point notes that Galbatorix wouldn't hire a fat man to lead the defense and realizes that an Eldunarí must be under his bulging breast plate. A pitch battle ensues. The army is pushed back to the walls with Lord Barst's force. Along the way Roran loses his hammer, leaving him without a weapon. Islanzadí attacks him herself and is killed by a swing of his mace to her neck. After this, Roran, with the help of the besiegers, has catapults fire rocks at Lord Barst to make his wards weaker. When hit with the catapults, Lord Barst appears on the ground when the dust settles. Roran, a group of Urgals and a group of werecats charge the vulnerable Lord Barst and start to wear him down even more. An Urgal manages to dent his armor, but Lord Barst blocks Nar Garzhvog's mace from crushing his head. He grabs on to an Urgal and escapes the group when the Urgal steps back in surprise. Lord Barst retrieves his mace and kills all of the werecats and Urgals that assaulted him except for Nar Garzhvog and Roran. Roran charges Lord Barst and they start to wrestle on the cobblestones. Lord Barst elbows Roran, breaking some of his ribs. Roran squeezes Lord Barst as tightly as possible and shatters the Eldunari inside of his breastplate. When the Eldunarí shatters, Lord Barst is killed in a very bright flash of light.

Meanwhile, Eragon, the Eldunarí, Arya, Elva, Saphira, Blödhgarm and a team of elves enter Galbatorix's citadel. Inside, they encounter several traps that, with Elva's help, the team overcomes. Arya knocks on the large, golden doors to Galbatorix's throne room, setting a trap that encases the team of elves including Blödhgarm and are led to another room by an unknown force. The throne room opens and Galbatorix is sitting on the far side of the room, with Vrangr, formerly Islingr, on his lap, as well as Shruikan behind him. Eragon, Arya, as well as Elva attempt to attack Galbatorix but are stopped when he shouts the Name of Names. Galbatorix brings two children and threatens to kill them if they do not stop their attempts to attack. Later, Eragon negotiates with Galbatorix to battle Murtagh without any magic or assistance. During their duel, Galbatorix brings out Nasuada, whom Murtagh has fallen in love with. This changes Murtagh's name and after Eragon defeats him, Murtagh uses the Name of Names to strip Galbatorix of his wards and allows Eragon, Saphira, Arya, Elva, as well as the dragons a chance to attack. Although they fail, Galbatorix is gravely wounded and attacks Eragon's mind. Eragon seizes the opportunity and casts an Empathy Spell that allows Galbatorix to feel all of the emotions that people have felt because of him, good and bad. With this, Arya and Saphira attack Shruikan and Arya kills him when she stabs the Dauthdaert through his eye. Galbatorix uses a suicidal spell, hoping to wipe out Eragon and the others. The resulting explosion is stopped by Eragon's spell that protects Saphira, Thorn, Murtagh, Elva, Arya and Nasuada but destroys Galbatorix's castle.

This section needs to be expanded.


In the aftermath of the Battle of Uru'baen, Nasuada was elected by the Varden leaders as the new High Queen of Alagaesia. Although King Orrin of Surda attempted to contest her claim, he agreed to concede when she offered new lands to Surda namely Aroughs, Feinster, Eoam Furnost and Melian. All rulers of the human lands of Alagaesia were to swear fealty to Nasuada to create a sense of unity. She was then crowned Queen by Eragon in the capital which was renamed Ilirea.

However, unrest still plagued the land. Many had sworn oaths of fealty to Galbatorix in the ancient language and although Eragon had unbound them, many remained devoted to the cause of the deceased king. The troubles also came from the magicians and spies that Galbatorix had set up around the Broddring Empire which attempted to assassinate Nasuada although Murtagh had warned Eragon to protect her from such attempts.

Negotiations also had to be made to prevent local aristocrats from trying to secede. This was shown when Lord Risthart of Teirm demanded that his city become a city-state and have its own laws and leaders. Nasuada agreed but he would have to swear fealty to her as High Queen and abid by her laws on magicians. However, other towns like Narda and Kuasta posed no resistance.

Other aristocrats refused to recognize the new Queen and uprisings occurred in both the North and South, one led by an Earl named Hamlin who gathered his own personal army and attempted to seize Gil'ead and another led by Tharos of Aroughs who caused far more troubles but was quickly repressed by Nasuada. In an effort to keep control also, Nasuada made some of her former commanders aristocrats in parts of the land that had lost theirs or never had any such as Palancar Valley where she made Roran an earl. There were three attempts on Nasuadas life, but she survived all attempts because of Eragon's wards and Elva.

Among the most notable reforms made by Nasuada was her decision to bring all magicians in the land under her control. Believing that they would cause trouble should they remain free, she planned to have a group maintain them in check. Although he disagreed, Eragon accepting its creation as both inevitable and necessary under Nasuada's rule. However, he refused to command the group as the queen intended, nor teach the magician's leader the Name of the Ancient Language.

The biggest post-war decision came when Eragon and Saphira decided to leave Alagaesia with the dragon eggs and the Eldunari, believing there was nowhere to keep them safe in the known lands. With the departure of Eragon and Saphira to the East and Murtagh and Thorn to the North, the only remaining dragon and Rider in Alagaesia were Firnen and Arya. But two eggs remained, one for the Dwarves and one for the Urgals, so as to keep peace and equality between the races and provide tangible hope for the return of the Riders.


The Broddring Empire[]

Durza, hero of the Broddring Empire, bane of the rebellion

In the Broddring Empire, support for Galbatorix wavered during the course of the war, while hatred for the Imperial government grew in the north.

As the Broddring Empire was confident that they would achieve a quick and easy victory, Imperial citizens initially supported the war, but after the Broddring Empire suffered two defeats, support for the war waned. Some, however, still viewed the Broddring Empire and its king as a savior and protector and the Varden as terrorists and crime lords who should be punished. Others merely served to protect their families, as Galbatorix had promised to keep their loved ones safe.

The Varden[]

Fear of reprisals from the Broddring Empire prevented other nations from joining the Varden's alliance: this became one of the rebels' biggest obstacles. In Surda, many of the people feared that they would face destruction if they openly aided the Varden. Moreover, many elves and dwarves did not feel obligated to help with what they considered the humans' own problem.

Those who supported the Varden's war effort sought to rid the world of Galbatorix's evil and tyranny.


Thorn, the red dragon bonded to Murtagh

Before the war, only one healthy dragon with a body remained: Galbatorix's black dragon, Shruikan. After the discovery of Saphira by Eragon, however, a new Dragon Rider entered the war on the side of the Varden.

Later, a crimson dragon named Thorn hatched for Murtagh. Both Thorn and Murtagh were forced to swear allegiance to Galbatorix in the Ancient Language.

Eragon wanted to find a mate for Saphira to restore the once-glorious Dragon Riders. Galbatorix, on the other hand, wanted Saphira, the last female dragon in existence, to mate either with Thorn or the yet-unhatched green dragon and thus establish his own group of Riders.

During the Rider War Eragon was instructed on the ways of the dragon riders by a crippled rider, Oromis, and Saphira was instructed by Oromis's crippled dragon, Glaedr.

Major battles[]

Battles in Inheritance (book)[]

The following are battles that occur in Inheritance.

  • The Battle of Dras-Leona (Broddring Empire versus Varden and dwarves)
  • The Battle of Aroughs (Broddring Empire versus Varden)
  • The Battle of Belatona (Broddring Empire versus Varden, dwarves)
  • The Battle of Urû'baen (Broddring Empire versus Varden, elves, dwarves, urgals and werecats)


  • An actual name for the war in the Inheritance cycle is never given.
  • The Varden and their supporters have never lost a major battle, despite the fact that the Broddring Empire is far superior in numbers.

See also[]

Rider War
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Dragon War Unknown