The main protagonist, a poor farmboy who becomes the first new Dragon Rider in over a century. Initially wanting merely to survive and get vengeance on the Ra'zac, he gradually becomes more and more involved with the war between the Empire and the Varden.
Anti-Magic: In Inheritance. One of only three practitioners. After using it extensively to break curses, he's probably the most prolific user by the end of the book.
Eragon's world view regarding religion is touched upon. At first he's drawn in by rather simplistic Hollywood Atheism, but decides not to rule anything out when he meets something that seemed to qualify as a "god". At the end, he falls firmly on the side of agnosticism, of the "If he's out there, he'd better have a good excuse" type.
He grows more obviously bloodthirsty and vicious in battle as the series goes on, either due to Saphira's influence, or becoming desensitized due to war. Notably, he doesn't actually seem to realize it happening.
Cool Sword: Zar'roc. Later he forges his own blue sword, Brisingr (see below for details).
Did Not Get the Girl: He and Arya decide that they can't be together at the end of Inheritance mostly due to their ages and responsibilites. Prior to that, though, Arya had admitted to being open to the idea (when he's older). Eragon shoots that down by revealing that he'll be leaving Alagaesia "forever", and Arya couldn't reasonably join him.
Fatal Flaw: Arrogance, according to him. While it shows upin spots throughout the stories, Eragon fears its corrupting influence in the future and lets that inform his decisions later in the series.
Flaming Sword: Brisingr bursts into flames whenever he says its name. Comes back to bite him in the butt, as he can't use his favorite magic while holding it.
Full Potential Upgrade: An inversion of sorts. Because Eragon learned to fight with an unbreakable weapon, he has a bad habit of blocking attacks with the edge of the blade rather than the flat, which leads to him quickly ruining any normal weapon.
Genre Savvy: While not especially savvy in general, in Inheritance, he's very much aware of Pride Before a Fall regarding his own flaws, and takes some impressive steps to avert it.
Heart Is an Awesome Power: In the final battle, he turns the tide against Galbatorix when he makes the king feel the agony of everyone he's ever caused pain.
Nonverbal magic is so ridiculously dangerous that even the most powerful magicians only use it for the smallest of spells, since those are low risk. It's a party trick, for those who know it. Galbatorix doesn't know that it exists, so Eragon is able to incapacitate him with it. He then uses it to instantaneously shield himself and his friends from Galbatorix's atomic Rage Quit, where normal spellwork would have been far too slow.
Humble Hero: He tries to play the part, even making plans to return and rebuild his hometown as per The Hero's Journey. Eventually he decides that humility isn't in his character, and after all he'd seen and done, he'd never be satisfied with something so mundane as settling down again.
Idiot Hero: He gets better about it, but traits remain all through the series, as he's struggling to learn everything he needs to know to be a Dragon Rider. Their training usually takes DECADES.
Living Forever Is Awesome: This becomes a vague plot point in Brisingr, when Eragon realizes he has become immortal. Instead of angsting about it, he decides to look for a wife among the elves because they are all immortal. Good thing he's already head over heels for Arya.
Moral Dissonance: He's very brutal in battle, and has moments of untoward viciousness. Other moments, such as his judgment of Sloan, remain Base Breakers among much of the fandom.
Necessarily Evil: In his mind, all of his lapses and killings are justified because he's fighting an immortal Evil Overlord, and no amount of slaughter or mayhem that he causes could be worse than what Galbatorix would cause. He still angsts over this. This becomes a major plot point early on in Brisingr.
Nightmare Fetishist: At one point fantasizes without much irony about having an apple tree planted over his grave, so that his family would partake of his corpse every time they ate from it. Yum. Similar examples abound throughout the books.
Not So Different: Elva points out to Eragon that some of his actions aren't so different from the kind Galbatorix would take. “That way lies the depraved pleasure of controlling others for your own pleasure. Galbatorix would approve.”
Notably, Eragon specifically avoids (or at least tries to) any positions of power in the new government because he's afraid he would end up like Galbatorix.
Eragon isn't so different from Murtagh either. Eragon denies this when Murtagh mentions it at the end of Eldest, but in Brisingr, Eragon coldly terminates the life of a young, conscripted soldier who was begging for mercy with the same emotionless justification that Murtagh used after killing the slaver Torkenbrand in the first book. "He was a threat."
Parental Abandonment: Well, his mom died soon after giving birth to him, and Brom dared not reveal his identity...
Simple Staff: Uses one in Brisingr for awhile, but soon becomes frustrated with it.
Thou Shalt Not Kill: In the first book, he goes out of his way to avoid killing humans, limiting his violence to urgals. In Eldest, however, he drops the policy and starts killing any human associated with the Empire without mercy.
Took a Level in Badass: Considering he plans to take out old man Galbatorix himself only a few years after becoming a Rider himself...
He takes quite a few after he discovers the hidden Eldunari cache under Vroengard, gaining enormous magical power. What's more important is that he's learned how to use it..
Walking the Earth: He leaves Alagaesia at the end of Inheritance, due to needing a more suitable place to raise the cache of dragon eggs found on Vroengard and to remove the temptation for him (now the most powerful being alive on the continent) to become another Galbatorix. He has no plans to return and doesn't expect to be able to see his loved ones in person.
Eragon's cousin, initially a farmboy. Later, after his betrothed, Katrina, is kidnapped by the Empire and his village condemned, he becomes determined to lead his people to safety and fight Galbatorix.
Asskicking Equals Authority: A combination of asskicking and charisma turns him into the unofficial leader of Carvahall, and later gains him a position in the Varden. He commands an entire battalion by the story's end, and gets to be earl of Palancar Valley.
Charles Atlas Super Power: Seems to be the physically strongest un-enchanted human in the story. Strong and fast enough that he can duel with a fencer with a warhammer and wards. And in fact faster than that, since his general strategy is to outdraw his opponent and break his arm or wrist.
Despair Event Horizon: Crosses it when he watches Eragon leave the continent, for what is probably forever.
The specifics of the feat are pretty relevant. Roran and his men retreat into an alley when Roran goes into a berserk rage. Since Roran's other soldiers couldn't get Roran to move away, they just sit on the roofs as the enemy soldiers follow them into the alley in ones and twos and are met with Roran just continuously bashing away with his hammer. Roran's friends pick off any soldiers who might sneak around or kill Roran by luck with bow and arrows, and make Roran getting angry into their entire strategy.
Cranked Up to Eleven when he kills Barst, Galbatorix's greatest general after everyone else had tried and failed.
Drop the Hammer: Becomes his favored weapon in Eldest, based on inspiration he took from one of Brom's stories, that of a reluctant warrior who was forced to take up arms, and went into battle armed only with a hammer. He also appreciates its simplicity. No complex parrying, just bash their faces in!
Farm Boy: Initially, but like Eragon, he moves away from it.
Genius Bruiser: He shows cunning, intelligence, leadership abilities, and charisma as well as skill in battle. Eragon praises Roran over himself for his ability to lead the villagers of Carvahall over the ominous Spine.
The Unfettered: He'll do anything to save Katrina, and, to a lesser extent, defeat Galbatorix.
Wartime Wedding: To Katrina, although they were already engaged beforehand.
What the Hell, Hero?: He doesn't particularly approve of Eragon's actions in the first book, and partially blames him for the death of his father, Garrow. This is particularly apparent when they finally meet back up in Eldest.
An old storyteller in Carvahall and a friend of Eragon's, who finds out about Saphira and asks to accompany them on their journeys. Later revealed to be a Dragon Rider whose dragon was killed during the Fall. He founded the Varden in the years following Galbatorix's rise to power and is determined to bring Galbatorix down.
Came Back Wrong: Averted. Eragon wants to use the Eldunari to resurrect him at the end of Inheritance but they warn him that they will probably never be able to restore his mind. He decides that it's not meant to be and just carves a new epitaph for him.
They also make the very good point that they aren't neurologists and would probably fry his brain in the process.
Tragic Hero: Destiny made sure that he failed in nearly everything important in his life, except for killing Morzan.
You Killed My Father: He is motivated to kill Galbatorix because he is responsible for the death of Brom's dragon. Brom himself later becomes this sort of motivation to Eragon.
He also killed Morzan, Murtagh's father. Despite this, Murtagh bore no ill will towards Brom for the action, given that his father was a very abusive one (having received a large scar from his sword) and acknowledged that Morzan fully deserved to die.
A solitary, traveling young man that does not give his loyalty to either the Empire or the Varden, disdaining both. He meets Eragon on the road and becomes a traveling companion. Later revealed to be the son of Morzan, first and last of the Forsworn, and the destined partner of the red dragon egg still in Galbatorix's possession.
Badass Normal: He's Eragon's equal in swordfighting (and later becomes his superior), an excellent archer, and he even manages to temporarily destroy Durza. He turns into a Empowered Badass Normal later on.
Dating Catwoman: As he and Nasuada are trapped on opposite sides of the war and he later becomes an outlaw, they never actually get to the 'dating' part.
Determinator: During their final sword fight, Eragon tries to figure him out, and realizes that he can't possibly defeat Murtagh in a fair fight, because Murtagh not only outclasses him in swordsmanship, but is so driven and determined that winning the fight could never mean as much to Eragon as to Murtagh, even if his life is on the line.
Genius Bruiser: When traveling with Eragon, he often suggests plans and maneuvers that even Saphira admits are smarter than Eragon's, spends his leisure time reading in Tronjheim, and all in all is a very intelligent character in addition to his deadly combat skills.
Hero Killer: He's able to defeat Eragon once, kill the king of the dwarves (even when he was protected by a whole cadre of magicians), fight Oromis on an even footing even when the latter had saved up enough energy to move an entire mountain, and come within an inch of actually killing Eragon in Inheritance, only stopped by Galbatorix's intervention.
Powered by a Forsaken Child: The Eldunari are the only thing that allows him to physically match Eragon, and his were taken from rather young dragons.
Punch Clock Villain: Even after having clashed with Eragon, resented Eragon for having things easier, and at times genuinely wanted to kill Eragon, when free of his bonds one of the first things he does is to teach Eragon the very valuable and dangerous Name Of Magic and take his leave as a brother.
Screw This, I'm Outta Here: At the end of Inheritance, he effectively says this to the Empire, the Varden, and the whole continent. Considering what he's been through, the loner probably deserves the time to himself.
Walking the Earth: His ultimate fate. He and Thorn leave for an unknown destination, resolving that they might return when the world is a less hateful place.
A former Dragon Rider who rose up against the others and overthrew them, now the King of the former Broddring Kingdom, and the Empire he formed from it.
0% Approval Rating: Averted, he has some very loyal subjects who do like him because he made humans, rather than elves, the dominant race in Alagaesia. His general corruption means most people do hate him.
Affably Evil: He speaks to Oromis through Murtagh in Brisingr, and seems quite polite and sane. At least until Oromis tells him where to shove his talk. Then he loses the Affable part. In Inheritance, he's back to being affable again.
Beard of Evil: This is one of his few distinguishing physical characteristics.
Fantastic Nuke: Literally. He tries to pull a Taking You with Me after Arya kills Shruikan and Eragon forces him to feel each of his subjects' agony from his rule, so he pulls the same trick that was used on Vroengard. It's powerful enough to render the entire underground section of Uru'baen uninhabitable for a long period of time.
Genre Savvy: We learn in Inheritance that he took loyalty oaths in the Ancient Language not just from his officials and soldiers but from a random swath of peasants as well, making any occupation of Imperial territory a very problematic affair tying up a large number of troops.
The Ghost: Despite being the Big Bad, he doesn't appear in person until Inheritance.
Groin Attack: How he killed Vrael, the last leader of the Dragon Riders.
Kick the Dog: Torturing Nasuada by having Murtagh use hot irons, tormenting her with illusions (that could cause pain), and allowing his miniature Eldritch Abominations to feed on her.
Light Is Not Good: He uses Vrael's Rider sword, and Umaroth, Vrael's dragon, was white. The sword's original name fits Light is Good, but Galbatorix gives it a new, more sinister name. Eragon thinks the new name fits it better.
Orcus on His Throne: Justified, as he is trying to find the name of the ancient language. It's also noted in Inheritance that he wanted to fight the Varden at their weakest, so letting them pull an All Your Base Are Belong to Us was intentional.
Royals Who Actually Do Something: According to him, he was spending most of his time trying to enchant currency to defeat counterfeiting. Apparently, the counterfeiters were really damn tenacious. He claims that administrative issues like that took up way more time than being evil ever could.
Ultimate Evil: See The Ghost above, except when the he appeared in the movie which proved the presense of this trope in action. The fact that his most trusted servants tend to be the most reviled creatures in universe in their own right, and seem to have chosen for precisely that reason, doesn't hurt either.
Villainous Valor: As he points out, it is the Varden who are attacking him, and he is merely defending his domain.
Well-Intentioned Extremist: He can be argued as such. He believes that magicians need to be restricted by law, as otherwise they have any normal person at their mercy. A good intention to start from, but...
Weak Sauce Weakness: Had no idea that non-verbal magic was possible. Eragon just so happens to be competent at it. To his credit, however, the sheer amount of power and wards he had set up were making it really difficult to exploit.
With Great Power Comes Great Insanity: He also claims that the Riders were holding back Alagaesia by suppressing all technological and magical discoveries in order to preserve their own power base.
Please Don't Leave Me: To Eragon, one of her closest friends and lieutenants. She's absolutely desperate to get him to stay, but ultimately fails. Also to Murtagh when she's imprisoned by Galbatorix. He doesn't.
Post Modern Magic: She is trying to find ways to make magic work within civilized society. For instance, using magic to make lace, which normally takes massive amounts of work and thus fetches a high price. Instant war funds. (Also instant economic collapse, but desperate times...)
Reasonable Authority Figure: Notably, she never abuses the oaths of absolute loyalty Eragon has sword to her, on the several occasions she could benefit from doing so - although Saphira was likely more than enough reason not to even if she wanted to.
Ship Tease: With both Eragon and Murtagh. The latter is very overt later in the series, while the former more subtle. Notably, she's very protective of her friendship with Eragon, nominating him as her Number Two. When he tells her he's leaving Alagaesia she attempts to bribe him with just about everything under the sun to stay, finally breaking down when she realizes there's nothing she can do.
Star-Crossed Lovers: With Murtagh. Unfortunately, she's a queen (by the end), and Murtagh has way too many people hating him for it to ever work.
A herbalist, fortune teller, and witch who always seems to know what is happening, and where things are going to be happening.
Absurdly Sharp Blade: In Inheritance, Angela's sword Tinkledeath, a blade which embodies the essence of sharpness, literally allowing it to cut through anything non-magical without even creating friction or resistance, it just slides through. It is never specified whether it's simply a blade made from Unobtainium or enchanted. Angela isn't talking.
Alchemy: Her type of magic relies mostly on herbs and potions.
Ambiguously Human: There's more textual evidence suggesting she isn't human than is otherwise.
The Dreaded: When the Twins see her coming and cower, you know Angela is one of these. Made even more obvious when she absolutely terrifies the high priest of Helgrind when she tells him who she is. The reader mostly doesn't find out why.
Improbable Weapon User: When the Varden were ambushed at night, she fought off soldiers in her nightwear with a pair of giant wool combs.
Inexplicably Awesome: Apparently she needs to keep some secrets for herself, but damn it woman can't you at least reveal SOMETHING about why you're so damn awesome at everything!?
In the afterwords of Inheritance Christopher Paolini admits that no matter what he revealed about Angela, it would only detract from her awesomeness, but if you're curious you can always ask his sister, Angela, if she can reveal something about the herbalist.
One fan theory is that Angela is none other than the Soothsayer. If this is true then she is neither Elf nor Dwarf. This means that she very well could be human, or descended from the Grey Folk.
The most popular one seems to be that she's a descendant of the Grey Folk (according to Paolini, pure-blooded Grey Folk do not exist anymore, while it was said that some took mates among other races). This would explain her affinity for nonverbal magic and long life span.
An orphaned baby girl who Eragon blessed in Tronjheim. However, due to a mistake in grammar, she ended up being cursed to feel all the pain around her and try to protect others.
Big Eater: Her powers take a toll on her energy. Both before Eragon modified them, when resisting them made her physically ill, and afterward, see Cast from Hit Points. Also, feeling others' pain wears her out, even if she isn't compelled to help them. Being forced to grow up so quickly probably has something to do with it, too.
Creepy Good: She is an infant with violet eyes and an adult's voice in a child's body, which scares the hell out of many adults. She is (ostensibly) on the good side, but she isn't above using her power of knowing what someone's future pain is, someone's fears, or hopes for manipulation of powerful people for her own benefit.
Cursed with Awesome: She can foretell the actions of her enemies, and knows exactly what to do to cause them the most pain. After Eragon makes an alteration to the spell to remove her need to sacrifice herself for others, she finds that knowing exactly what is going to hurt someone can be a handy ability to have.
What the Hell, Hero?: When she meets Eragon, she makes very clear that she isn't too pleased with his actions in turning her into what she is. Does it again to Eragon when he tries to forcibly remove her powers.
Overprotective Dad: Where matters of dating are concerned. Also isn't thrilled about her traveling into the Spine, but that's Justified since her mother died there.
Papa Wolf: Does NOT want anything to hurt his daughter.
"They’ll never get Katrina. Never, even if I must skin the lot of them, or fight a thousand Urgals and the king to boot. I’d tear the sky itself down and let the Empire drown in its own blood before she suffers so much as a scratch."
Two bald and rather nasty magicians who have served the Varden for many years. They are actually spies for the Empire, and later turn on their former comrades.
Mundane Utility: Being able to cast magic without the Ancient Language means he can easily light his cookfires with a twitch of his hand. Tenga also uses an abandoned elven outpost as his hermit cabin, and grows vegetables in the soil around it.
Older than They Look: He looks fairly old, but he would have to be near to immortal to have taught Angela.
Eragon's dragon. After being held in Galbatorix's treasury for many years, she was stolen by the Varden and eventually ended up in Eragon's hands.
The Ace: Is considered naturally talented for a Dragon.
Blasphemous Boast: When flying, she occasionally dares "whatever gods there might be" to challenge her, because she sees herself as just that awesome. Eragon notes that dragons are susceptible to flattery, even wise, ancient ones like Glaedr.
Badass: Is considered as such, even for a dragon. For instance, all her training and experience is in open air combat, but she proves to be just as much, if not more dangerous on the ground.
Sociopathic Hero: She ultimately displays a fondness for killing, and prefers killing live prey over eating plain meat. She claims that if Eragon were more like her then everybody would be scared to death of them, and is probably right.
Soul Jar: Her Eldunari, like that of all dragons, although it was never used.
Eye Scream: Courtesy of Arya wielding the Dauthdert.
Kaiju: Shruikan is ENORMOUS, and the narration shows this surprisingly well. Eragon at first mistakes smaller portions of his body (neck, hind foot, wing fold) for larger parts (main body, shin, entire wing).
Giant Flyer: And easily the biggest one that's appeared in the series.
Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: The dragon has heavily suffered under his enslavement under Galbatorix, with his sanity having been so depleted that, should he be allowed to, he would destroy the entire planet simply because of his pain and anger. In fact, Elva heavily suggests that the only way to "help" Shruikan is to put him out of his misery.
The dragon bonded to Vrael, who was the leader of the dragon riders before they fell. Revealed in the fourth book to be one of the Eldunaris hidden in Vroengard and accompanies Eragon to the final showdown.
Mentor Archetype: Frequently gives advice to Eragon, although he has trouble deciphering it.
The elf ambassador and the guardian of Saphira's egg for fifteen years. Also secretly the daughter of the elven queen, and thus a princess.
Action Girl: She's held up as this incredibly powerful warrior, is shown to take on urgals, and with some help from Eragon and Saphira, kills a shade at the end Brisingr. She's also Eragon's technical superior in swordsmanship.
Adaptation Dye-Job: Her movie incarnation had reddish gold hair, while the Arya in the books is dark haired.
Letting Her Hair Down: When she arrives in Ellesmera, she takes the leather band out of her hair, starts wearing dresses, relaxes, and becomes quite a bit less tense and cold. (But still is.) This trend inches along a bit as the series continues.
May-December Romance: With Eragon. The main reason why she doesn't initially want to have a relationship with him is because he hasn't lived to anywhere near her lifespan yet, although his life expentancy is just as high.
It's eventually clear that she is in fact interested in Eragon. But she still considers him a child, and seems to be disgusted (or mildly disturbed) at herself. As such...
Jail Bait Wait: What she imposes on both of them. 10-20 years or so. Unfortunately Eragon doesn't plan on being able to see her then.
Moral Dissonance: She's a vegetarian, because she finds it cruel to kill an animal to eat it, yet she's wearing a leatherSpy Catsuit. And that's just the most poignant example.
Also known as the Mourning Sage and the Cripple-Who-Is-Whole, Oromis is a mysterious and powerful individual who reaches out to Eragon and encourages him to go to the elves for further training. Oromis is the last of the old riders, still alive, but severely crippled and no longer the rider that he once was.
Handicapped Badass: He has somehow been crippled so that he can't use powerful spells. He also has a mysterious illness which causes him sudden and intense bouts of pain, momentarily incapacitating him.
Retired Badass: Before he was crippled (right before, actually), he managed to, within a fraction of a second, deconstruct his and Glaedr's entire physical selves and reform them outside of the magical barriers holding them in place.
The greatest elven smith, who forged the swords that were presented to the Riders. Rhunön is one of the very oldest of all elves, still remembering the time before the Dragon Riders, before elves were even immortal.
Awesome, yet Impractical: She strongly advises against such designs, as a weapon that looks awesome but doesn't fulfill it's purpose is ugly to her eyes.
Brutal Honesty: She is, and seems to approve of this from others. She mentioned that she rather liked Brom when he was a young trainee because "he was a rude one" who "said what he meant and wasted no words."
Bunny-Ears Lawyer: She's very eccentric by elven standards, but as Arya points out, her eccentricities are well tolerated on account of her being the greatest smith who has ever lived.
Elemental Crafting: Brightsteel > all other metals. She won't even consider making a Rider's sword from anything less.
Elves VS Dwarves: Inverted. Rhunön actually seems to really like dwarves; she first learned smithing from them, can speak their language fluently, and remembers a legendary dwarf as her mentor. When she first sees Orik, she immediately greets him in dwarvish and invites him to her house to discuss metal working. In fact, given her disgust with the rest of her race, she can sometimes seem more like you'd expect a dwarf to be portrayed than an elf.
I Gave My Word: To never make a weapon again. It goes to show how she views things when her oath, to her, really meant that her hands would never make another weapon.
Magic Knight: In addition to being a smith and a warrior, she is also powerful in magic. She prefers to use her powers as little as possible, however, as she sees fulfilling tasks with magic makes life meaningless and robs her of the pleasure of it.
Restraining Bolt: She can no longer forge weapons because of her oath. This does not extend to controlling someone else to let them make their own with her expertise and methods.
Screw You, Elves!: A really rare instance where the person calling out the elves is an elf themselves. Rhunön does not approve of what her race has become, and thinks that they were better off before they became ageless and refined.
The Stoic: Defied by her. She criticizes the rest of the elves for acting like they have "no more emotion than a marble statue!"
Time Abyss: One of, if not THE oldest living elf. She even predates the war between the elves and the dragons.
Hoist by His Own Petard: This is the reason why he is a Shade: some bandits killed a sorcerer who was implied to be a foster father to him, and as revenge attempted to summon spirits to destroy the bandits. Unfortunately, he hadn't learned to master the spells to control them yet, and they turned on him.
Averted. The cult of Helgrind uses several of their spawn to attack Eragon and Arya in Inheritance and Galbatorix claims that there were more. They are never found by the end of the book, leaving a possible Sequel Hook.