Selena, also known as the Black Hand, was a female Human Spy and assistant of Morzan, as well as his wife and the mother of future Dragon Riders Murtagh and Eragon. She was also the aunt of Roran, the younger sister to Garrow and the daughter of Cadoc.
Selena was born in Carvahall about forty years before the Rider War to Cadoc and an unnamed woman. As her brother, Garrow, was older than her, they probably had a semi-close relationship, though it was broken from years of no contact after Selena left Carvahall with Morzan. Selena grew up as an everyday farm girl, helping out with the farm and expecting to marry a farmer, tanner, Blacksmith, or butcher some day. At some point she met and had her fortune told by Angela using her Dragon Knuckle bones after her werecat companion, Solembum spoke to her and was horrified by what the prophecy included.
Dark romance and the Black Hand
One day Morzan visited the tavern in Carvahall while traveling on King Galbatorix's business and there Selena met him. He was very handsome and charismatic: Selena responded well to him. She ended up leaving with him: the pair traveled together for a time and she soon fell deeply in love with the Rider, eventually becoming his consort.
Selena loved Morzan and was fiercely loyal to him: he in turn took advantage of her love and used it to ensure her loyalty. In order to demonstrate her love and loyalty to Morzan, Selena entered his service and became his "Black Hand", his most trusted spy and assassin. She earned a reputation as Morzan's greatest weapon and most dangerous servant in the fight against his enemies. Selena was also the most enigmatic of Morzan's operatives, as little factual information was known about her during this period. Despite this, her reputation for cruelty and malice, as well as her position as Morzan's favored agent, preceded her to such an extent that the Varden considered her especially dangerous.
During her tenure as the Black Hand, Selena became pregnant with Morzan's son and later gave birth to her eldest child Murtagh. Morzan forced Selena to give custody of Murtagh to a nurse and she was only allowed to see him on rare occasions. Oromis speculated that Morzan viewed Murtagh as merely a tool and as an effective way to control Selena: he also didn't want any of the Forsworn to learn of Murtagh, for fear of them using the child against him: he succeeded in hiding any knowledge of Selena's pregnancy and birth from all except Galbatorix (who, for his own reasons, never spoke of it). Over time, Selena and Murtagh's cruel treatment at Morzan's hands slowly began the process of transforming the love Selena felt for him into hatred.
Affair and second child
Brom, after losing his dragon Saphira, came to hate Morzan with a vengeance. He eventually discovered a flaw in the wards protecting Morzan's castle and infiltrated the castle in the guise of a gardener. At first, he had the intention of seducing and assassinating Selena in revenge for Saphira's death, but some unexpected events occurred that changed the lives of both Selena and Brom.
Selena encountered Brom in his guise as a gardener and the pair were drawn to each other. Becoming a mother and meeting Brom altered Selena so much that her True name in the Ancient Language changed, making her a different person. Brom and the new Selena eventually fell in love. Morzan did not notice this change (as in his arrogance, he still believed she was infatuated with him and had not cast spells designed to protect him in case her loyalty to him ended) and continued to believe she was still dependable. Then Brom revealed his true identity to Selena, who instead of betraying him to Morzan, decided to renounce her allegiance to Morzan and began supplying the Varden with crucial information on Morzan, Galbatorix and the Broddring Empire in general.
Brom continued his activities within Morzan's estate, since he wanted to be close to Selena, until word reached him regarding Jeod and his discovery of the passage into Urû'baen. The last meeting between Selena and Brom occurred a month earlier, shortly prior to Selena's departure on her last mission. During this clandestine meeting between Selena and Brom, Selena became pregnant with Brom's son, Eragon. After discovering she was four months pregnant, she traveled secretly to Carvahall and stayed with her brother, Garrow, as well as his wife Marian, for five months until she gave birth to Eragon.
Death and Legacy
Brom and Jeod's mission to enter Urû'baen and retrieve the three Dragon eggs held by Galbatorix took the better part of a year and resulted in the final confrontation between Brom and Morzan in Gil'ead. During the duel, Morzan demanded to know of Brom whether he was responsible for the disappearance of his Black Hand. Neither of them was aware of Selena's pregnancy, or that she had returned to Morzan's castle a fortnight earlier. Selena had intended to return to Morzan's castle, having left Eragon in the care of her brother and sister-in-law, but the journey took its toll on her health and she fell deathly ill. Brom, having killed Morzan, recovered and hid Saphira II's egg where he knew the Varden would recover her, then traveled as fast as he could to Morzan's castle, but for all his speed, he was too late: Selena had died only a few hours earlier, despite having been treated by Morzan's healers for the fortnight before her death. Eragon remained in Carvahall to be raised by Garrow while Murtagh (now an orphan) was brought up in the capital under Galbatorix's watchful eye.
When Murtagh found out how he and Eragon were related, he felt very bitter and angry that it was Eragon who she took to freedom and an upbringing full of love and warmth, not him. He even thought that his mother loved Eragon more than him and bitterly resented Eragon for a long time because of this. Eragon himself was horrified by the revelation of his mother's identity and her role as the Black Hand: however, he became more at peace with this knowledge after learning that Selena's True name had changed and that she had assisted the Varden in her final years.
Selena was of a medium height, with a pretty smile and a soft, tender expression on her face. Being very beautiful, it isn't a surprise she managed to convince Morzan to take her with him. Selena also has a certain resemblance to her brother Garrow and her younger son, Eragon. It is also likely that she resembled Murtagh, her elder son, to a degree though his features were little different from his father's.
On Brom's fairth, Selena is wearing clothes of padded leather, with blackened bracers upon her forearms and greaves on her shins. She wore a sword and dagger at her waist, which shows her ability as a warrior. She probably had brown hair, like most people in Carvahall, as well as brown or gray eyes.
Before her True name changed
Morzan only used her for missions that were so repugnant, difficult, or secretive that no one else would agree to undertake them. She was his Black Hand, and her presence always signaled imminent death, torture, betrayal, or some other horror. She was utterly ruthless, devoid of either pity or compassion.— Jeod
Concerning the description Brom gave of Selena, it's questionable as to why she would fall in love with Morzan, as they were very different. Although its mentioned by Oromis that Morzan did her a small kindness. However, given that Brom knew Selena best after she had changed her True name and fallen in love with him, it seems likely that her personality was very different beforehand, especially concerning Jeod's description.
When she was a young woman in Carvahall and when she fell in love with Morzan, Selena probably wasn't at all compassionate or kind. It seems likely that she was ambitious, impulsive, passionate, arrogant and egocentric like her elder son Murtagh, but less so as Murtagh never served the Broddring Empire by choice and while self-centered was also compassionate. This would explain her fascination with Morzan, as well as why she became his deadliest spy and assassin.
If this was so, it would seem that her personality was mirrored in her first child. Murtagh was conceived and born when Selena was still strongly under Morzan's control. The first thing that began to change her—becoming a mother—didn't happen until after Murtagh was conceived/born.
After her True name changed
She was full of pride and dignity, like Garrow. Ultimately it was her downfall, but it was one of her greatest gifts nevertheless. … She always helped the poor and the less fortunate, no matter what the situation.— Brom
Selena's personality changed drastically when she met Brom. Given her actions as well as descriptions of her, it seems that she became kind, compassionate and caring, always willing to help the needy and less fortunate. Brom's fairth shows her with a tender expression, indicating a soft side. Brom wouldn't have made such a fairth of her until after they fell in love and her personality had changed. Selena also deeply loved her coming son, Eragon, travelling great distances despite the pain of pregnancy after realizing she was pregnant in order to keep him safe from his step-father.
If this was so, it would seem again that Selena passed some of her personality onto her child. Eragon was conceived after Brom and Selena had fallen in love, after Selena's personality change. Eragon was a more kind and extroverted person, who did what he had to more for the sake of others than for himself, highlighting his initial difference from Murtagh who later gained empathy for others.
Selena was not especially strong, fast, or imposing in build, but her talents made her as deadly as any spy or assassin in the world. Morzan trained her in magic and telepathy, allowing her to extract information from people and hide herself from others, among other things. Selena's greatest strength was her incredible spell creativity. A true master of manipulating magic and creating spells, Selena could accomplish a myriad of things with the simplest language, sometimes even using words to accomplish the direct opposite of their literal meaning. For example, when she asked to enter Morzan's service, he tested her by pitting her against a dozen of his finest swordsman with only a very limited vocabulary of the Ancient Language. She killed the men using the word for heal, healing them of their anger, hate, loyalty to Morzan, as well as all other things that would drive them to kill her, and as Jeod states, "while they stood grinning at each other like idiot sheep", she approached them and cut their throats. This prompts Eragon to turn "as white as a corpse".
Selena was also capable of conventional combat. She carried blades at her waist, wore leather and had bracers on her arms. With her skill in magic, she would be a dangerous opponent to anyone, especially if she attacked them stealthily instead of in open combat.
Selena, though she does not make a physical appearance due to her death before the cycle begins, can be compared to Padmé Amidala of Star Wars. This is because she's the mother of the main character (Luke Skywalker for Padmé and Eragon for Selena). She also loved a villain, Morzan, who is believed to be Eragon's father, yet we learned in Brisingr that Eragon is actually Brom's son. There are two main differences between the births:
- Selena gave birth to two sons, whereas Padme gave birth to a son and daughter.
- Selena's children were born at separate times, with Murtagh being a few years old when Eragon was born, whereas Padme's children were twins.
Selena also differs from Padme in the nature of their relationships to the villain: Selena fell in love with Morzan even knowing of his true nature and became something of a villain herself, while Morzan also never truly loved Selena and merely used her. Padme, on the other hand, loved Anakin Skywalker (who later became Darth Vader) before he turned evil and was devastated when she discovered what he had become. Anakin also genuinely loved Padme, even after becoming evil, as well as being heartbroken by her death. It is unknown how Morzan felt about Selena's passing as he never learned of it before his own death. One similarity between them is that they both remained loyal to the villain despite knowing their true nature - even Padme, after learning of her husband's terrible deeds, clung to the hope there was good in him and begged him to come away with her. Both Padme and Selena also ended up serving the rebels of their stories and both were skilled in combat (though in Padme's case, with blasters and more high-tech weapons, rather than melee).
Selena is also comparable to Star Wars Expanded Universe character Mara Jade, as she was one of the Galactic Empire's most loyal servants. (Selena as Morzan's Black Hand and Mara as the Emperor's Hand). They also both are described as beautiful and are both redeemed by a hero whom they later have a son with. (Selena was redeemed by Brom and had Eragon, Mara was redeemed by Luke Skywalker, her future husband, and had Ben).
There are also similarities between Selena and the Harry Potter character Bellatrix Lestrange.
1. Selena's fiercely loyal love for Morzan and his use of it against her is very similar to Bellatrix's love for Voldemort.
2. Selena and Bellatrix both earned a reputation for being one of the most evil, deadly, as well as powerful servants/weapons of their masters, feared throughout their lands, leaving a trail of destruction.
3. In the Harry Potter movies, Bellatrix's costume is very similar to the one described for Selena
4. Before Selena's drastic personality change, she is described as 'ruthless, devoid of pity or compassion.' That is a very similar personality to Bellatrix, especially the lack of compassion, which seems to be a primary trait for both women.
5. Brom says that Selena was "Full of pride and dignity", much like Bellatrix, who was indeed very prideful and dignified, being described so in the pensieve scene, in book four of Harry Potter. Brom says that Selena's pride was her downfall, much as Bellatrix's was, though in different ways.
6. Selena's said skills in telepathy mirror Bellatrix's proficiency in Legilimency.
7. Both were said to be very, very, dangerous, both in combat (Bellatrix's knife) and in magic.
8. And of course, Bellatrix 'Black' and the 'Black' hand, although that is probably coincidental.
But of course, there are huge differences, mainly the fact that Bellatrix never fell in love with another man, or deserted her Lord. In fact, Selena's desertion of Morzan greatly mirrors Severus Snape's betrayal of Voldemort. they both deserted their Lord for the one they loved. But of course that is a commonplace plot device and not a very legitimate connection. Also, Snape left an evil man (Voldemort) for a wise old man (Dumbledore), as did Selena. They both (Selena planned to) spied on the evil side for the good side.
|Preceded By||Position||Succeeded By|
|None||Morzan's Black Hand||None|
- Though it is unconfirmed, it is speculated the Selena may have named Eragon after the first Dragon Rider in honour of his Dragon Rider father