- Inheritance Cycle
The covers of the four books.
Author Christopher Paolini Cover artist John Jude Palencar Country United States Language English Genre Young-adult fiction,
Publisher Paolini LLC (early edition of Eragon)
Alfred A. Knopf
Published 2002–2011 Media type Print (Hardcover, paperback) and Audio (Compact Disc)
The Inheritance Cycle is a series of fantasy novels by Christopher Paolini. It was previously titled the Inheritance Trilogy until Paolini's announcement on October 30, 2007 that there would be a fourth book. Set in the fictional world of Alagaësia ( //), the novels focus on a teenage boy named Eragon and his dragon Saphira. The first book in the series, Eragon, was self-published by Paolini's family in 2002 and re-published in 2003 by Knopf; it was followed by Eldest in 2005. Both were New York Times bestsellers and together have sold more than 20 million copies worldwide. The third book in the series, Brisingr, was published on September 20, 2008, and the fourth book, Inheritance, was released on November 8, 2011. The series was intended to be a trilogy, but this changed as Paolini decided, while working on the third book, that the story was too complex to conclude in one book.
In June 2011, Paolini wrote the last few words in the series, after more than ten years of work.
Homeschooled by his parents, Christopher Paolini graduated from high school at the age of fifteen, but felt he was not yet mature enough for college, so he wrote Eragon in his spare time. After writing the first draft for a year, he spent a second year rewriting it and fleshing out the story and characters, and then presented it to his parents. They had it self-published by the family publishing company, Paolini International, and Paolini then traveled around to various schools advertising his novel. By chance, the book was discovered by Alfred A. Knopf and was republished under Knopf in 2003.
Eldest was released as a hardcover edition in August 2005. A limited edition, featuring extras such as a brief history of Alagaesia, a double-sided poster featuring Brom's ring and Glaedr, and a sneak peek of Brisingr was released in September 2006. A paperback edition was released in March 2007. The deluxe edition of Eldest had an excerpt from the third chapter of the third book.
Brisingr (also known as The Seven Promises of Eragon Shadeslayer and Saphira Bjartskular)—a word meaning "fire" in the fictional Ancient Language—was published on September 20, 2008. Paolini's announcement of the book's publishing date included the revelation that the Inheritance Trilogy would now contain four books instead of three, thus resulting in the renaming of the series to the Inheritance Cycle. Paolini also announced that he would end the third book with the death of a major character.
At the end of Inheritance, Paolini confirmed that he would return to Alagaesia as he has put in years of work to create the world, but it may not happen for years or may even happened in the next month.
In the fictional land of Alagaesia, there was an order who oversaw the countries and brought peace to the world. This group was known as the Dragon Riders, for they rode Dragons, which they were bonded with at the birth of their dragon, in accordance with a pact made between elves and dragon millennia earlier. One Dragon Rider named Galbatorix had his dragon slain by a group of Urgals (somewhat similar to Orcs from other fantasy) which drove him mad. Denied another Dragon by the Council of Elder Riders, Galbatorix blamed the Council for the death of his dragon and sought to destroy the order. He made an alliance with a young rider, named Morzan, and with his help slew an elder rider. Then, with the help of Morzan, the first of the thirteen Forsworn, he stole a black dragon, named Shruikan. He forced Shruikan to bind with him, and later destroyed the Riders and their dragons, except the thirteen Forsworn. Since then, he ruled parts of Alagaesia as a tyrannical King. However, he ruled neither the elves nor the dwarves.
While an accurate time-line of various events is as yet unavailable, Paolini has hinted on an interview that based on character Elain's pregnancy, we may infer the events of the first three books to have happened within a span of months.
While hunting, Eragon, a 15-year-old farm boy, finds a blue, polished stone in a dangerous mountain range known only as "The Spine." He takes the "stone" to his native village Carvahall, but fails to trade it for food to the village butcher, Sloan. Eragon then elects to bring the stone back to his family's farm (where he lives with his uncle Garrow and cousin Roran) and leaves it aside as a valuable trinket he may help finance his family with. Traders come through Carvahall as they do every year, though Eragon notices that they appear much more ragged and weary than last year. Eragon and Garrow take the stone to a trader specializing in jewels. The trader explains that urgals (tribes of war-loving man-like creatures) have been migrating and have been causing trouble for people on the road. The jeweler also tells them that the stone is unlike any he has ever seen: it is hollow, harder than diamond, and essentially unique. It is very valuable to some, but not to him, so Eragon keeps the stone as a bauble, with no purpose other than appearance. Near the end of the traders' stay, Brom (the village storyteller) recounts a tale of how Galbatorix, the evil king, rose to power by slaughtering all of the old order of Dragon Riders. Soon afterward, Eragon realizes that the "stone" is actually a dragon egg, as it hatches into a dragon he names Saphira. Two mysterious strangers soon appear in Carvahall, inquiring about the egg. His newly-hatched dragon, Saphira, is afraid because her instincts tell her the strangers mean harm, and flees Eragon's hometown with him for a night, only to return to find his uncle Garrow killed and his farm destroyed. Brom confronts Eragon about the stone and reveals that he is already aware of the entirety of Eragon's situation, including Saphira and the strangers, revealed to be called the Ra'zac. Brom offers to flee Carvahall with Eragon, to help him track down and kill the Ra'zac. Over some weeks of traveling, Brom teaches Eragon many things about magic, dragons, and swordplay, all in order to defeat Alagaesia's evil king, Galbatorix, and help him in pursuing his uncle's killers. During their travels, Eragon has dreams of an exceptionally beautiful woman being held in a prison. As they painstakingly track down the Ra'zac, Brom dies protecting Eragon in an ambush by them. Murtagh, a mysterious stranger, appears and drives away the Ra'zac. Eragon continues his journey with Murtagh, determined to find the Varden (rebels who oppose Galbatorix). Then Eragon, with the help of Murtagh, rescues an elven woman, Arya (coincidentally the woman of his dreams), who is being tortured by a shade known as Durza. Arya remains in a comatose state, and upon speaking with her telepathically, Eragon discovers that they need to get her to the Varden to receive an antidote for a poison she was given in prison. She gives them directions and they flee to the Varden, who they discover under the Beor mountain range. In the tunnels of Farthen Dûr - the base of the Varden and capital of the dwarves- Durza leads an army of Urgals through the underground tunnels in an attempt to capture Eragon and Saphira. Eragon kills Durza when Arya and Saphira distract him, but gets a horrible scar down his back in the process which leads to frequent debilitating seizures for Eragon in the next book.
Eragon is the only one of the four books so far to have a movie adaptation.
Following the battle of Farthen Dûr, Ajihad, leader of the Varden, is killed in a sudden surprise attack by Urgals. Murtagh and the Twins (the Varden's chief magicians before the arrival of Eragon) disappear during the attack. After swearing fealty to Nasuada, Ajihad's daughter and the new leader of the Varden, Eragon travels to Ellesméra, accompanied by the dwarf Orik, nephew and heir of the dwarf king Hrothgar and Eragon's friend, along with Arya. Before leaving, the dwarf king Hrothgar offers Eragon a place in his clan, Durgrimst Ingeitum, giving him full citizenship rights in dwarvish society. In their stop at a dwarf city, a hostile clan declares a feud against Eragon because he became a member of Ingeitum.
Much of the book's remainder is devoted to Eragon's and Saphira's training with the ancient Dragon Rider Oromis and his dragon Glaedr, and his unsuccessful attempts at wooing Arya, newly discovered to be of elvish royalty, who is dedicated to her mission, and believes that their age difference is too great. She is also suspected to still be mourning her love Faolin, who was killed at the start of Eragon (the book). It is later revealed that, as a result of a misworded blessing Eragon placed on an orphaned baby before the Battle of Farthen Dur, the child Elva, is cursed to become a martyr of others' pain, and is forced to put herself in the place of others who are about to be hurt.
The spirits of the dragons heal Eragon's scar in a centennial ceremony called the Agaetí Blödhren. The Shur'tugal (A word in the Ancient Language, meaning Dragon Rider,) wakes up the next day with elven qualities that make him much stronger and more agile, able to defeat Vanir, his elven sparring partner who had humiliated him, with ease. It is after the transformations that Eragon pursues Arya once more, but is again refused, and she returns to Surda, a country that has seceded from Galbatorix' Empire centuries ago, the next day, leaving Eragon heartbroken.
Meanwhile, Roran (Eragon's cousin and son of Garrow) returns to Carvahall after learning of his father's death, and discovers that he is wanted by Galbatorix. His presence is endangering the entire village, which has come under attack by the Ra'zac causing the death of many villagers. After a major siege, Sloan (father of Katrina, Roran's fiancee) betrays the village to the Ra'zac, resulting in the kidnapping of Katrina (Sloan's daughter) and the near death of Roran. The next day, Roran convinces most of the villagers to follow him in an attempt to reach sanctuary in Surda. Roran and company cross the treacherous Spine Mountains, sail commandeered barges down Alagaesia's western coast and join up with Jeod (an old friend of Brom's) in the city of Teirm. They set sail in a pirated ship for the southern coast, evading the Ra'zac and Empire.
Eragon returns to the Varden to help them in the approaching battle against Galbatorix's army. Arya forgives him, and their friendship is renewed. Soon after, the Battle of the Burning Plains commences. During the battle, a new Rider, revealed to be Murtagh, appears riding a red dragon named Thorn. After Murtagh kills Hrothgar, he reveals that he has now become Galbatorix's slave and is oath-bound to capture Eragon, bring him and Saphira back to Galbatorix. He also reveals that Saphira is the last female dragon in existence and that this is the reason Eragon and Saphira are still alive. Murtagh and Eragon begin to fight and Eragon is surprised by how much strength a relatively young dragon and inexperienced Rider possess; Eragon is defeated, but he convinces Murtagh to twist the meaning of his oath and allow their freedom. Murtagh does so, but first steals his Elvish sword, Zar'roc (Misery in the Ancient Language) and explains that they are brothers and that Eragon's father is Morzan (the first of the Thirteen forsworn) - a revelation that deeply shocks and sickens Eragon.
Also in the battle, the Twins reappear on the Empire's side and massacre many of their former comrades amongst the Varden. They turn out to have been traitors who had planned the ambush to capture Murtagh and kill Ajihad. The villagers of Carvahall arrive, and Roran manages to kill the Twins.
After the battle, Eragon explains in full the story of Saphira to Roran, attempting to apologize for Garrow's death. The book ends with Eragon promising to accompany Roran and free Katrina in Helgrind, the place where the Ra'zac and their Lethrblaka parents stay.
Eragon, Roran, and Saphira travel towards Helgrind, the shadowy mountain dwelling of the Ra'zac where Katrina is being held. They infiltrate the mountain, rescuing Katrina and killing one Ra'zac and both of their flying parents; but Eragon secretly finds Sloan, who was tortured and blinded for information, but finds that he cannot bring himself to kill him. Telling Roran and Katrina that Sloan is dead, he sends them back to the Varden on Saphira, and remains in Helgrind to kill the remaining Ra'zac and rescue Sloan. The last Ra'zac attempts to strike a deal with Eragon, informing him that Galbatorix has almost found "the name", in exchange for him keeping alive the memory of the Ra'zac as the monsters of humanity's nightmares. Eragon refuses the deal and kills it. Later, while deliberating his course of action regarding Sloan, he discovers Sloan's true name and, thus, gains great power over him. Instead of killing Sloan for his betrayal, Eragon, after consulting with the elvish Queen Islanzadi, decides to place enchantments on the butcher that will allow him to reach sanctuary with the elves, on the punishment that he never see Katrina again and attempts to rectify his ways. If he does, the elves agree to restore his sight.
Arya, who went searching for Eragon after he fails to return with the others, meets Eragon in the town of Eastcroft and return south, where Roran and the villagers of Carvahall who had not settled in Surda have joined the war.
Roran informs Eragon that he and Katrina wish to marry, and that Katrina is pregnant. The day of the wedding, a small unit of 300 soldiers from the Empire, including Murtagh and Thorn, attack the Varden. Again, Murtagh is difficult to beat with an apparent source of supernatural energy aiding him, but Eragon, Arya and twelve elven spellcasters are able to combine their powers and best him: he retreats, but vows to return stronger than ever. Orrin, King of Surda, and his cavalry, meanwhile manage to destroy the enemy army, but discover that its soldiers are immune to pain, and can suffer the most grievous wounds without dying: only decapitation or severe organ damage stops them. Roran and Katrina's marriage is then completed.
Nasuada orders Eragon to attend the election of the new dwarf king as a member of Durgrimst Ingeitum, Saphira remaining behind in case Murtagh attempts to attack. Eragon is reunited with Orik, the new clan-chief of Durgrimst Ingeitum. An attempt is made on Eragon's life by Dûrgrimst Az Sweldn rak Anhûin (The Tears of Anhûin in Dwarvish,) a clan who declared hostility towards Eragon and Saphira. Orik has the clan's leader who orchestrated the attack banished, and thanks to the attempt on Eragon's life, he is elected the new king. Saphira then comes to Tronjheim, where she and Eragon are reunited.
Meanwhile, Roran becomes involved in many Varden attacks on the Empire, all of which he acquits himself well in, showing distinct bravery and skill. However, in his second-last engagement, he is assigned to an incompetent general, Edric, who orders a full-scale charge into a force far bigger than the Varden and one that would have caused mass death and defeat. Roran refuses to let his regiment do this, tactically using archers and killing almost two hundred men himself, which saves most of his men and entirely destroys the opposing force, but to the disgust of the troops he saved, he is later punished for his insubordination with fifty lashes on the whipping post. Later, Nasuada comes to him, apologizing for the necessity of the punishment, informs him that Edric has been decommissioned, and requests that he now take command of an entire force. Urgals, a warlike but not evil race (most of the races of Alagaesia despise), are amongst this group since Nasuada had earlier allowed their assistance before the Battle of the Burning Plains (Eldest), but the alliance is crumbling because of the mutual distrust of both races. Roran has to battle one of the Urgals to assert his authority during his first command, winning against a far stronger opponent; the Urgals under his command do not question his leadership again and, later, fight alongside him at the siege of Feinster.
Eragon and Saphira return to Ellesmera to see if Oromis knows how Galbatorix and Murtagh are so powerful. There, Eragon learns that Brom, his former mentor, was his mother's paramour and Eragon's true father, who fell in love and worked together to undermine and bring down Morzan, Galbatorix's right-hand man and his mother's former lover. The next day, Eragon is told the source of Galbatorix's power: many "heart of hearts", or Eldunari, a gemlike organ which can contain a dragon's consciousness indefinitely if separated from the body and gather energy from an unknown phenomenon. Glaedr explains that Galbatorix controls hundreds of these, taken from dragons he slew during the Fall, and these are the source of his power and presumably that of Murtagh. Eragon finds a deposit of rare celestial iron, Brightsteel, used to make Rider's swords, and makes himself a new sword, under psychic direction from the fabled elven smith Rhunön, who swore not to make weapons after the Fall. Eragon names the sword "Brisingr", with the unexpected result that it emanates fire, its namesake, every time Eragon says its name.
Glaedr gives his Eldunari to Eragon and Saphira, who leave to help the Varden's siege on the Empire city Feinster, while Oromis and Glaedr fly to aid the elves in Gil'ead.
Eragon and Saphira join the siege, where they are reunited with Arya. They find the leader of Feinster, Lady Lorana who is forced to follow Galbatorix but still requests assistance from Eragon and Arya to stop Feinster's magicians from creating a Shade to wreak havoc on the Varden. Arya kills the Shade with some assistance from Eragon, and with the surrender of Lorana, Feinster is taken. During the siege, Glaedr's heart of hearts sends his experiences to Eragon: During a battle against Thorn and Murtagh (who is later possessed by Galbatorix) Oromis and Glaedr are both killed, but Glaedr's grief ravaged consciousness endures within his Eldunari, which Eragon keeps. After the battle, Eragon reveals to Nasuada the existence of the Eldunari as well as the death of Oromis. His liegelord is heartened by the revelation of Galbatorix's dependence on the Eldunari and the weakness it presents, and announces that the Varden plan to march to Belatona, then to Dras-Leona, and finally to Uru'baen to dethrone Galbatorix. The story ends with Eragon relating how he feels lost in the absence of a mentor, but is comforted by the fact that Galbatorix has at least one weakness which they intend to exploit in the upcoming confrontation.
The book opens with the Vardens' attack on Belatona. In the midst of the battle, Saphira is nearly killed by a Dauthdaert, a spear from the Dragon Wars, created to withstand dragon magic. Eragon and Arya find Lord Bradburn and subdue him, taking control of the city. In the aftermath they are offered an alliance by the werecats which they accept. That night Elain's baby, Hope, is born with a cleft lip, which Eragon sings through the night to heal her. The Varden march on to Dras-Leona where Eragon defeats Murtagh and Thorn and takes control of the city. Later on Murtagh and Thorn attack the Varden camp and take Nasuada prisoner. In the absence of Nasuada, Eragon is elected as the leader of the Varden as they march towards Uru'baen. Heeding Solembum's advice, Eragon, Saphira and Glaedr travel to the Rock of Kuthian, a library of old, where Riders stored information. It is located in Vroengard, which they reach after many obstacles. When Eragon and Saphira speak their true names in front of the rock, a pathway to The Vault of Souls opens, which contains Eldunaris and dragon eggs. Glaedr, remembering events of the past, recounts how, along with Vrael's dragon, Umaroth, a secret vault had been created, which contained many hidden Eldunari and dragon eggs. Moreover, Glaedr and Oromis were then made to forget events of the past, in case Galbatorix were to have captured them and obtained information on this secret Vault. Eragon departs from Vroengard with all but a few of the Eldunari, but the eggs are left in their place for the time being. Upon leaving the Vault, all knowledge of the eggs existence is wiped from the minds of Eragon, Saphira's and all of the Eldunari accompanying them, so that Galbatorix cannot make use of that information. After elaborate scheming, and much bloodshed, Galbatorix is slain by Eragon, and Shruikan is ultimately killed by Arya. The downfall of Galbatorix is mainly due to the assistance of Murtagh and Thorn, who are able to break free of their oaths to Galbatorix on account of their identities changing drastically. During Nasuada's captivity at Uru'baen, Murtagh assisted her to the best of his ability in resisting Galbatorix, because of the love he had fostered for her over the many months since he had met her, and it was this love that largely was responsible for his identity switch. Free for the first time since being bonded together, Murtagh and Thorn decide to fly north on their own to let their hate and rage cool down, and to rethink a great many things. After Galbatorix's demise, Nasuada becomes the Queen of Alagaesia, whereas Arya, after the death of her mother, becomes the Queen of the Elves. It is also revealed that the green dragon egg (now rescued, and in the possession of the Varden) hatches for Arya, just shortly after she determines to resume her role as the ferry for the dragon egg. She names him Firnen. Eragon and Saphira are both now able to remember the hidden eggs (with the threat of Galbatorix now removed) and they work together to find a suitable place to house the, now, numerous Eldunari (both from Galbatorix's collection, and the Vault of Souls), and which would accommodate the needs of a new order of Riders. During this process Eragon also solves the problem of binding all the races together, by reworking the magic of the land to include both the dwarves and the Urgals in the bond between riders and dragons, meaning that dragons can now hatch for an Urgal or a dwarf. In the end, Eragon reaches the decision that the safest place (for all races) to train the new order, is in a location outside of Alagaesia. Eragon, with the approval of all the leaders of the various races, elects to transport all the Eldunari to this new location, and he takes all the dragon eggs, save two (one is sent to the dwarves, and one to the Urgals), with him. Arya declines Eragon's offer to accompany him out of Alagaesia as well refusing to let her feelings for Eragon sway her decision, although her help in the task of training the new riders somewhat before they rendezvous with Eragon is implied. This is her duty to her people as their new queen. With heavy hearts, Eragon and Saphira, together, depart Alagaesia.
Eragon's Guide To Alagaësia
Eragon's guide to Alagaesia is a Dragonology-like book with all the detailing information about the series. This book gives a detailed look at a magical land, elves, dwarves, Urgals, humans, and dragons, to the natural landscape and the magic it contains, Eragon himself offers the reader an unsurpassed tour. This full-color book provides 15 spreads full of artwork, novelty elements, and insights into Eragon’s home.
- Ajihad - Leader of the Varden until his death in the first chapter of Eldest, when he is betrayed by his trusted advisors, the Twins. He is the father of Nasuada. He was responsible for giving sanctuary to Eragon when he was on the run from the Empire.
- Angela - a herbalist, fortune-teller, healer, and witch whom Eragon first meets early in the first book; at this time she speaks four prohpecies over Eragon, three of which have come to pass by the end of Brisingr. She later joins up with the Varden, and reveals magical abilities that surpass those of all the local magic-users except for Arya and the Riders, though the full extent of her powers is yet unknown. She is widely both liked and hated for her quirky personality, irreverence, and cryptic comments, and the dwarves have accused her of blasphemy for wielding one of their sacred huthvir in battle. She is accompanied by a werecat named Solembum, who has also dispensed cryptic advice to Eragon.
- Arya Drottning - The elven queen rescued by Eragon early in his career as a Rider, and with whom he falls in love. Until she was ambushed and captured by Durza, she acted as a courier for Saphira's egg, carrying it between the elves and the Varden. She refuses any kind of romantic relationship with Eragon—citing their duties, age and race differences as reasons they can never be together—but seems to warm to him by the end of Brisingr. Often called Arya Dröttningu ("Princess Arya"), and referred to occasionally as Arya-elda, denoting her as worthy of high honor; at the end of Brisingr she kills a Shade, thus becoming the only (known) person besides Eragon and two others who are mentioned briefly to have earned the name "Shadeslayer. After Islanzadí's death in Inheritance, she takes over her mother's position as queen. At the end of Inheritance, the final dragon egg that Galbatorix held hatches for her, and names the dragon 'Firnen'." She is sad to see Eragon leave and does reveal that she likely has strong feelings for him.
- Brom - Former Dragon Rider and Eragon's first mentor (revealed in Brisingr to be Eragon's father as well); he taught Eragon to read, use a sword, and basic magic. He defeated three of the Forsworn personally, including Morzan, and was responsible for the death of five others. He was Oromis's pupil as a Dragon Rider—later pronounced "elf-friend"— and was also the founder of the Varden. He was slain by the Ra'zac in Eragon.
- Durza - A Shade—a sorcerer subject to demonic possession as a result of having summoned spirits too powerful for him to control. He captured and tortured Arya on Galbatorix's behalf in Eragon, and was later slain when Eragon ran Zar'roc through his heart (the only way to kill a Shade).
- Elva - a girl who was magically compelled to save anyone from harm by a misworded "blessing" from Eragon; this spell caused her to age about five years in a matter of weeks from her infancy. As a result, she is very bitter and cynical, even after Eragon removed the curse so she can only sense people's troubles, but is not physically compelled to protect them. She serves Nasuada, as she is able to sense any imminent danger from assassins, but is not liked and little trusted.
- Eragon - The main protagonist. His quest begins when he finds a mysterious stone, which turned out to be a dragon egg, during a hunting trip. He gradually learns how to fight, use magic, and read. He was named by his mother after the first Dragon Rider. He is deeply in love with Arya, has sworn fealty to Nasuada and is a member of the Ingeitum clan of dwarves. He has become widely known by various titles such as "Shadeslayer", "Argetlam" ("silver hand"), "Firesword", and "Bane of the Ra'zac." His main goal is to eventually defeat Galbatorix in battle and free Alagaesia, which he accomplishes in Inheritance. Following this, however, he leaves Alagaesia forever to be able to train the next Dragon Riders.
- Galbatorix - Primary antagonist of the story. Initiator of the rebellion responsible for the Fall of the Riders. Now the king of the Empire, he has amassed unparalleled (and unnatural) power because of the enslavement of hundreds of dragon Eldunarí; no one has been able to dethrone him for more than a century. He is described as cruel and merciless, with little regard for any kind of life. He rides a black dragon named Shruikan, whom he stole from another Rider (whom he killed) and forced to bond with him. As of the end of Brisingr, he has only been mentioned, not appearing in person at all. He is killed at the end of Inheritance by Eragon.
- Garrow - The uncle of Eragon, father of Roran, and brother of Selena. He was killed by Ra'zac near the beginning of the first book; this sparked Eragon's career as a Rider as he left the village to hunt down the Ra'zac in revenge. Roran later learns of Eragon's inadvertent role in Garrow's death, and this causes a rift between the formerly brotherly cousins. However, they become close once again at the end of Eldest.
- Glaedr - Oromis's golden dragon. He lost one of his forelegs during the fall of the Riders, and had been hiding with Oromis in Du Weldenvarden. He acted as Saphira's mentor during their stay in Ellesméra. He gave Eragon his Eldunari, but was eventually killed at the end of Brisingr, reducing him to a bodiless existence only as a sightless, grief-stricken consciousness inside his detached Eldunari.
- Hrothgar - The king of the dwarves when Eragon first arrives in Farthen Dûr; Orik's foster father adopted Eragon into his clan, Durgrimst Ingeitum. He was killed with magic by Murtagh on the Burning Plains.
- Queen Islanzadí - Arya's mother and the widowed ruler of the elves. Originally at odds with Eragon and the Varden, as well as estranged from her daughter, she sees in Eldest that Eragon wears Brom's ring and calls him "elf-friend." She is often mistrustful of the Varden and more ruthless than Eragon is comfortable with, but in order to protect the elves' beloved forest of Ellesméra, she has temporarily allied her people with the Varden and Surda until they bring about defeat of Galbatorix. She dies in Inheritance in the battle for Uru'baen which causes much grief to the elves.
- Morzan - The father of Murtagh (also believed to be the father of Eragon until near the end of Brisingr). First and last of the Forsworn, and Galbatorix's most loyal Rider. Slain by Brom before the beginning of the series.
- Murtagh - The son of Morzan, and Eragon's older half-brother. Murtagh originally met Eragon when he rescued Eragon from the Ra'zac in the desert and traveled with him to Farthen Dûr; it was at this point when he reveals himself to be Morzan's son. Later, he was captured and brought to Galbatorix, who discovered Murtagh's true name, making him his slave. He was then presented with the two remaining dragon eggs, one of which hatched. Murtagh thus became a Rider who is forced to fight for Galbatorix and against his former friend, Eragon. His dragon is a red male named Thorn. he fights Eragon on the Burning Plains and takes Zar'roc, the Rider's sword which once belonged to Morzan and which Eragon has been carrying; it is here that he reveals the two share the same mother, Selena.
- Nar Garzhvog - an Urgal chieftain and Kull who joins the Varden to fight against Galbatorix (in revenge for tricking them into fighting in the Battle of Farthen Dur). He escorts Eragon to the Dwarves before the election (in which Orik is made king). Nar Garzhvog is one of the chief urgals in the spine and is the reason of Eragon's adding of the urgals into the riders pact.
- Nasuada - Daughter of Ajihad and leader of the Varden after Ajihad dies. Although she is Eragon's liegelord and she has several sorcerers in her service, she dislikes magic in any form. Sometimes called "Lady Nightstalker" by the urgals because of her dark skin and that she is the daughter of Ajihad who Nar Garzhvog said fought them in tunnels. She is tortured by Galbatorix and eventually becomes 'Queen of the Empire' at the end of Inheritance.
- Oromis - He was the last of the Dragon Riders of old. He was an elf, hiding in Du Weldenvarden, and Eragon's second teacher, after Brom. He taught Eragon the Ancient Language, philosophy, and more complex magic. He had a handicap which rendered him physically frail and separated him from all but the smallest forms of magic, caused when he was captured and tortured at the hands of Kialandi and Formora of the Forsworn. He was killed by Murtagh and Thorn in Brisingr. Oromis had a golden dragon named Glaedr, who was also killed, but his presence remains inside an Eldunari that currently remains in Eragon's possession. Sometimes called "The Cripple Who Is Whole" or the Morning Sage. Prior to his mentorship of Eragon in Eldest, his existence had continued unknown to the rest of the world since the defeat of the Riders by the Forsworn.
- Orik - A dwarf of the Dûrgrimst Ingeitum and the heir of King Hrothgar. When Eragon arrives in Farthen Dur, Orik becomes Eragon's guide and befriends him over time. In Eldest, he accompanies Eragon to Ellesméra to witness the young Rider's training (because Eragon is an adopted member of his dwarven clan). In Brisingr, Orik campaigns and becomes king of the dwarves.
- Ra'zac - Bizarre, insectlike creatures completely subservient to Galbatorix because he provides them with human flesh. In Eragon, the Ra'zac kill Eragon's uncle Garrow using the acidic Seithr oil. This event sets in motion Eragon's adventures, when he tries to hunt down the Ra'zac to avenge his uncle and is followed by Brom, who discovers he is a Dragon Rider. In Eldest, the Ra'zac are sent to capture Roran; he and the rest of Carvahall barely escape with their lives, and Roran's fiancée Katrina is captured. In Brisingr, Eragon and Roran finally kill the Ra'zac, and their parents, massive, winged, reptilian creatures, and rescue Katrina.
- Roran - Eragon's and Murtagh's cousin, and (now) revolutionary leader of the villagers of he and Eragon's home village of Carvahall. He meets Eragon again in Surda, after Eragon is established as a Rider. He blames Eragon for his father Garrow's death. Also known as Stronghammer for his bravery in fighting the Ra'zac and Galbatorix's soldiers with his trusted warhammer (which is nothing more than an ordinary hammer used for smithing). He marries Katrina in the third book (in a ceremony officiated by Eragon), and she is pregnant with his child.
- Saphira - Eragon's blue dragon. Sharing the name of Brom's former dragon, she is the last female and the only dragon free from Galbatorix's control (other than Glaedr). Also known as "Bjartskular" ("Brightscales"), "Irontooth", and "Flametongue".
- Selena - Mother of Eragon and Murtagh; Morzan's consort; Brom's lover. Sister of Garrow and Roran's aunt. Was trained by Morzan in magic and was a gifted fighter. Believed to be dead before the beginning of the series. Known also as Morzan's Black Hand.
- Solembum - The pet werecat of Angela, who gives Eragon the advice that he needed to defeat Galbatorix. If not for solembum, then eragon would never have had a sword to kill Galbatorix with, & he would never have found the Dragon eggs with which Eragon will rebuild the riders.
- Thorn - Murtagh's red dragon. Though only a few months old, Thorn is physically the same size as Saphira as a result of Galbatorix's magic. He, along with Murtagh, is a name-slave to Galbatorix, and thus fights for the mad king. He and Murtagh, remotely controlled by Galbatorix's presence, killed Oromis and Glaedr at the end of the third book. It is hinted that Thorn is saddened by the fact that he hatched just to be made a slave. Galbatorix wishes to capture Eragon and Saphira alive and force Saphira to mate with Thorn.
# Title Pages Chapters Audio Earliest Release 1. Eragon 498 60 16h 21m June 2002 2. Eldest 668 73 23h 30m August 2005 3. Brisingr 748 59 29h 39m September 2008 4. Inheritance 849 78 31h 22m November 2011
In an interview before the publication of the third book, Brisingr, Paolini stated that he titled each book for something that has to do with "inheritance". In Eragon, the main character inherits his name from the first rider, who was also named Eragon. In Eldest, he inherits the knowledge of his elder brother's name, Murtagh. In Brisingr, he inherits his own personal Rider's sword, which he names "Brisingr".
The books have been criticized for their derivative nature. The two most commonly discussed sources are Star Wars (because of numerous similarities in the plots) and The Lord of the Rings (because of the setting, elven and dwarven races, the language and character, maps and place names). Even many positive reviews note that the work pulls strongly from the conventions of fantasy, in character, dialogue and concepts.
The reviews of Eldest were similar. Paolini was cited as having developed as a writer from Eragon, but also noted were strong use of The Empire Strikes Back as source material, as well as The Two Towers and Dune. USAToday also cited strong echoes of Star Wars in Eragon's plot, while Entertainment Weekly writes that the plot closely resembles that of The Lord of the Rings.
On December 15, 2006, a film adaptation of Eragon was released. The movie, starring Edward Speleers in the title role of Eragon, as well as Jeremy Irons, John Malkovich, Rachel Weisz, Sienna Guillory, Djimon Hounsou and Robert Carlyle, was produced by 20th Century Fox. Stefen Fangmeier made his directorial debut with Eragon. The screenplay was written by Peter Buchman. Principal photography for the film took place in Hungary and Slovakia. A DVD of the movie was released March 20, 2007. The film performed modestly at the US Box Office, but received mostly negative reviews due to claims of amateur writing, lack of originality and heavy borrowing from Star Wars and Lord of the Rings. Due to the film's extensive criticism, and with the trilogy being unexpectedly extended into a cycle, there have been no plans for any future films.
- Video clip from Amazon.com
- Recorded audio of interview with Christopher Paolini, from "Bill Thompson's Eye On Books"
- Recorded audio of interview with Christopher Paolini, from Homeschool.com
- "Philip Pullman, Tamora Pierce, and Christopher Paolini Talk Fantasy Fiction", from Powell's books
- ^ "Best sellers: September 14, 2003". www.nytimes.com. The New York Times. 2003-09-13. http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9B01EED71038F937A2575AC0A9659C8B63. Retrieved 2008-07-14.
- ^ "Children's best sellers: September 11, 2005". www.nytimes.com. The New York Times. 2005-09-11. http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9905E0DA1731F932A2575AC0A9639C8B63. Retrieved 2008-07-14.
- ^ "Interview with Christopher Paolini". The Author Hour. 2009-01-21. http://www.theauthorhour.com/christopher-paolini.
- ^ "Brisingr by Christopher Paolini". www.randomhouse.com. Random House. http://www.randomhouse.com/catalog/display.pperl?isbn=9780375826726#. Retrieved 2008-07-14.
- ^ "Last book of Christopher Paolini’s ‘Inheritance’ cycle out in November", Washington Post, March 23, 2011
- ^ http://shurtugal.com/2011/06/30/exclusive-video-shows-christopher-writing-end-of-book-4-delivering-it-to-nyc-and-the-official-sub-title/
- ^ "Series will be expanded to include a fourth full-length novel" (PDF). http://alagaesia.com/kvetha/paolini_announcement.pdf. Retrieved 2007-10-31.
- ^ http://www.shurtugal.com/?news=681
- ^ Commonsense Media: Review of Eragon
- ^ a b c d "More of the 'Rings' magic", USA Today 1/20/2004
- ^ Books 2005: The 5 Worst", Entertainment Weekly
- ^ Barnes & Noble Editorial Reviews
- ^ Commonsense Media: Review of Eldest
- ^ 94586 0_0_,00.html Book Review: Eldest, Entertainment Weekly, 08/19/05
- ^ http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/eragon/
- Official Inheritance Cycle website
- Official Australian Brisingr website
- Eragon page, from Random House
- Shurtugal.com, Leading Inheritance Cycle website
- Inheritance Cycle Fan Site
- Inheritance Cycle, an external wiki
The Inheritance Cycle by Christopher Paolini Novels Adaptations Other articles
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