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May the wind and the sun always be at your back.— Thorn to Eragon

Thorn was a red male dragon, bonded to Murtagh. He was trained to fight by Shruikan and by the time of the Battle of The Burning Plains he could breathe fire. Thorn was skilled at aerial combat, being able to compete with Saphira, even when he was severely injured. However, he never got the time to adjust to his body, since Galbatorix sped his growth with the help of Eldunarí, or the heart of hearts of other slain dragons.


As an egg[]

Thorn was one of the three dragon eggs in Galbatorix's treasury, along with Saphira and Fírnen, the final dragon egg to be captured. He most likely came into Galbatorix's possession when the king salvaged the last dragon eggs from (or during) the Fall of the Dragon Riders.

For decades, Galbatorix laboured to find Thorn's rider and have him hatch, but to no avail.

Early life[]

Finally, after a hundred years in Galbatorix's treasury, Thorn came into contact with Murtagh and hatched for him. Murtagh became a Dragon Rider in the service of the tyrant king, just like his father, Morzan. Galbatorix forced the two into his service, using their true names. It was revealed that Galbatorix tortured, or manipulated, Thorn to get Murtagh to swear fealty to him. Galbatorix and Shruikan trained them to become a formidable match to Saphira and Eragon. The dark king used his magic to speed Thorn's growth and augment his speed, in order for him to hold his own against Saphira in battle.

Training for the Rider War[]

To prepare him to take to the sky against the Varden, Galbatorix gave Murtagh and Thorn several Eldunarí, or dragons' Heart of Hearts. This caused their reserve of power to greatly increase. However, it's still unclear as to the negative effects of this. Shruikan instructed Thorn in aerial combat. Thorn subsequently became a formidable dragon, though it is likely he was confused and disoriented with his new body for a time.

Rider War[]

Battle of the Burning Plains[]

Once the first stage of their training was complete, Galbatorix sent them to confront the Varden and to capture Saphira in the process. Thorn flew to the Burning Plains and battled with Eragon and Saphira. Thorn matched Saphira blow for blow, even though he was younger and unarmored. Even after taking a crippling injury from Eragon's berserker attack, Thorn fought on and managed to carry Saphira towards the ground. After a spectacular battle, Eragon and Saphira were soundly defeated. Murtagh then decided to show mercy to Eragon and Saphira, perhaps because Eragon was Murtagh's brother.

Return to Urû'baen[]

Thorn and Murtagh returned to Galbatorix empty-handed (unless counting that Zar'roc was retrieved- Zar'roc being the Rider's sword of his father). Galbatorix was furious with Thorn and Murtagh for letting Eragon and Saphira escape. He punished them severely. Afterward, they were forced to swear more oaths in the Ancient Language that would ensure their absolute obedience in the future.

After hearing of their account and prying the information from their minds, Galbatorix learned that Eragon now had the physical appearance and abilities of an Elf. Fearing Eragon had gained elvish strength and rightly so, Galbatorix bestowed additional powers on Thorn and Murtagh: making Thorn longer and deeper in the chest and Murtagh faster and stronger than any Human.

Hunt for Eragon[]

Murtagh and Thorn were ordered to capture Eragon, who had stayed behind at Helgrind to finish off the Ra'zac. Thorn flew over the southern Empire, searching for Eragon. Without his dragon, Eragon was no match for Thorn and Murtagh's combined power, but he managed to hide from them until they passed onwards, searching elsewhere. The hunt for Eragon proved fruitless for the Broddring Empire.

Thorn flew Murtagh to Surda, leading a company of painless soldiers to attack the Varden. Eragon and Saphira, in the hopes of avoiding a battle with the heretofore superior pair, offered to reveal a means of escaping Galbatorix's bondage. Murtagh and Thorn discussed the possibility as well as decided to listen (possibly because Thorn wanted him to), though Murtagh was extremely annoyed at being tempted with what he viewed as a futile hope. After hearing of the possibility of changing their true names, they took note of the possibility, but still attacked Eragon and Saphira, as Murtagh asserted that he and Thorn could not change themselves in an instant and that Galbatorix had probably planned for this eventually.

While the forces of the Broddring Empire and the Varden clashed, Thorn and Murtagh battled Eragon and Saphira once more. Thorn was beaten on every turn by Saphira during this specific conflict. Both sustained injuries, yet with the help of the Elves, Eragon and Saphira beat Thorn and Murtagh. Upon leaving, Murtagh called out to his enemy that he and Thorn would return, more powerful then ever, to defeat Eragon and Saphira once and for all.

Heading north to fight ancient foes[]

Murtagh and Thorn flew back to the capital to be chastised in person. After Galbatorix was done with them, he sent them north, to hold off the forces of the elven army. Thorn was briefly seen by Saphira while flying across the land, but made no attempt to fight her. His sighting sent the Varden into temporary alarm.

At Gil'ead, they found the city under attack by the elves. Thorn roared his challenge for all to hear and was confronted by Glaedr and Oromis. The two dragons and their Riders dueled in the sky, both of them receiving numerous wounds. During the battle, Thorn used the very tactic Saphira had used against him in their last fight: he hid using the cover of the clouds, then darted out and struck his opponent. Even with this tactic, Glaedr was a formidable opponent and the fight continued.

Finally, in one of Oromis' seizures, Galbatorix took total control of Murtagh and fought Oromis, knocking the sword Naegling from his hand and cutting him open from shoulder to hip. Glaedr used a blast of magic to push Thorn away, but the red dragon returned moments later, though he was injured (the last three feet of his tail was bitten off by Glaedr, it is unclear how this affected his flying abilities). Thorn outmaneuvered his foe and bit the base of his skull, as well as watched as Glaedr plummeted to the earth. With this act, the Dragon Riders of old were destroyed, again by the hands of Galbatorix.

Fight over Dras-Leona[]

When the city Dras-Leona was attacked, Thorn and Murtagh appeared to defend the city. They did not attack the Varden, but watched them instead. After Eragon, Ayra, Angela and Solumbum emerged from the secret tunnel found by Jeod and were headed for the city gates, Saphira distracted Thorn and Murtagh by burning walls and buildings. Soon after, Thorn fought Saphira on the city cathedral, thus destroying it. Before its destruction, Thorn was crushed with debris from one of Saphira's attacks, but managed to dig free and continue the battle. It is said that Thorn is bigger than two houses as opposed to Saphira merely being as big as one house, which suggests that Thorn has continued his incredible growth and was twice as big as Saphira. Later, during their abduction of Nasuada, Thorn finally bested Saphira in a battle, as she didn't want to risk injuring Nasuada. While through aerial acrobatics and the use of his tail defeated Arya, who wounded him with Niernen.

Final Showdown[]

Back in Urû'baen, Thorn must have borne witness to Murtagh slowly falling in love with Nasuada who was Galbatorix's prisoner. This largely contributed to Murtagh and Thorn being able to escape most of the oaths that they had sworn to Galbatorix. Also, Galbatorix made the mistake of teaching Murtagh the Name of Names, the name of the ancient language, which allowed one to completely control any magic done with use of the ancient language.

When the Varden arrived at the city, Thorn and Murtagh attacked Saphira and Eragon but they had been fooled by an illusion and by the time they realized the deception, the true Eragon and Saphira had entered Urû'baen's citadel. Along with Arya and Elva, they confronted Galbatorix and Murtagh later joined them. There, Galbatorix forced Murtagh and Eragon to fight, believing that it would be fitting to have both the son of Morzan and the son of Brom fight each other. Thorn and Saphira remained on the sidelines, snarling at each other as their Riders fought a battle where Murtagh seemed to be gaining the upper hand. However, Eragon was able to trick Murtagh and therefore won the fight.

However, instead of returning to Galbatorix, Murtagh used the Name of Names to break off his wards and the oaths that they had sworn. Free from Galbatorix, Thorn attacked Shruikan although the black dragon was a lot bigger and a lot more powerful than him. Although they were all immobilized by Galbatorix once again, Eragon, Saphira and the Eldunarí pulled off one of the most powerful pieces of magic in history: they forced Galbatorix to feel all the feelings, good and bad, of all those who suffered because of him since the day he was born. Unable to hold on anymore, Galbatorix released them from the bondages. Thorn was thrown off Shruikan's back and broke his wing. He then joined forces with Saphira and they managed to bring the massive dragon down although they weren't strong enough to cause lethal damage to him. This allowed Arya however, to stab Shruikan in the eye with the Dauthdaert, killing him.

Galbatorix was bested by Eragon in their duel, due to the incredible mental pain he was feeling at the hands of Eragon's spell, and then committed suicide in a monumental explosion which brought his entire palace crumbling down.

With their bond to Galbatorix broken, Murtagh and Thorn went into self-imposed exile in the north of Alagaesia so that they could find time to heal from what Galbatorix did to them. Before they left however, they made peace with Eragon and Saphira, the two Riders acknowledging each other as brothers. Thorn also finally spoke to Eragon and Saphira for the first time, wishing them well. The most recently recorded sighting of Murtagh and Thorn was near Du Weldenvarden.

Personal information[]

Physical description[]

Thorn is a stocky, compact dragon with exceptionally powerful muscles and limbs for his size. Initially, he was smaller than Saphira, most likely because he was younger, but sturdier in build, with thicker legs. He has since grown larger than Saphira and is described as being bigger than two houses, whereas Saphira is merely as big as one. Thorn's scales are described to be the red of wine held up to a light, and his eyes a sparkling ruby color, while his talons, teeth, and neck spikes are snow-white. He has two cheek spikes, fewer than either Saphira or Glaedr, as well as wide, crescent-shaped horns. His red eyes are split by black, vertical pupils. Thorn was missing three feet of his tail, as it was bitten off by Glaedr during Oromis's and Glaedr's final battle, but it was confirmed to have been reattached with magic, considering his use of it in Inheritance. While Saphira was built for flying, Thorn's bulky shape seems to favor physical combat over speed. Thorn's size is due to Galbatorix's magic. The adverse effects of this magic is unknown. In Inheritance, Eragon describes Thorn's voice as being quite musical. In battles against Saphira and Gladear, he lost about six feet of tail as a result of having them bitten off.


Both Thorn and Murtagh were unwilling servants of Galbatorix and as such were forced to act against their better judgement as directed by the king. As a result, little of Thorn's true personality was revealed until he was released from Galbatorix's enslavement. His mental voice was described as "surprisingly musical" by Eragon. Like many dragons he shares the feelings of his rider suggesting he may have resented Saphira similarly to how Murtagh resented Eragon. While Murtagh was controlled by Galbatorix when he killed Oromis, it appears Thorn was in control when he killed Glaedr. Unless Galbatorix had Shruikan take control of Thorn or Thorn was forced to act: either by the compulsions of the oaths he had been forced to swear or by the threat of harm to his rider if he did not follow Galbatorix's wishes. In Inheritance Murtagh reveals that Thorn was more determined than him and wanted to keep resisting Galbatorix during his early life in Urû'baen but Murtagh couldn't stand watching him suffer. In battle Thorn could be ruthless, shown when he attacked Glaedr seconds after his Rider's death and the tactics used during the Abduction of Nasuada: setting tents on fire and striking Arya with his tail. He only ever seemed angry at Saphira once when she tried to bury him and Murtagh alive.

Thorn was also brave as he battled much larger and wisers dragons such as Glaedr and Shruikan without hesitation, though he lost many battles to Saphira because, like his Rider, he was forbidden from using lethal force.

After Murtagh's fight with Eragon to discover the better warrior, Murtagh announced that he understood and that he was not who he once was, meaning his and Thorn's true name changed, allowing them to attack Galbatorix and Shruikan, thus freeing Eragon to use a spell to show Galbatorix his wrongs, which the Eldunarí then contributed to, torturing Galbatorix and made him destroy his body with a spell.

Thorn's thoughts were suggested to be darker and more contorted than Saphira's, but still possessed a strength and nobility. When Thorn apologized to Glaedr for his part in Oromis's death, Thorn spoke in a respectful manner, suggesting Thorn was either simply knowledgeable of proper decorum or truly was an honorable and humble dragon.

Book covers[]

See also[]

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