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Literature / Eragon

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Eragon is the first novel Christopher Paolini's Inheritance Cycle.

The book is about a farmboy named Eragon who finds a dragon egg while hunting. He bonds with the dragon hatchling, whom he names Saphira, and becomes a Dragon Rider. Following the death of Eragon's uncle and the destruction of their farm, Eragon and Saphira set out on a quest for vengeance against the Empire and its Dragon Rider king, Galbatorix.


A film adaptation was released in 2006, and it was hated to the point that no sequels were ever made. A video game adaptation was released as a tie-in to the movie.

This book provides examples of:

  • Aborted Arc: Eragon and Brom prepare a plan to infiltrate the cathedral which houses their enemies disguised as slaves – only for the plan to crumble apart when Eragon randomly bumps into the enemies and has to flee.
  • Adult Fear: The scene with the pile of the bodies of the villagers of Yazuac, all murdered by the Urgals, describes the event as refusing to spare neither young nor old. The scene is also topped off with the delightful image of a baby impaled by a spike at the very peak of the pile.–
  • Alas, Poor Villain: Durza's memory dumps onto Eragon in his dying moments and reveals his tragic past that led him to become a Shade in the first place.
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  • BFS: The teenaged protagonist hilariously wields a five-foot blade in earlier publications of the book. This was later retconned to three and a half feet.
  • Crossing the Desert: Eragon, Murtagh, and Saphira have to cross the Hadarac Desert to escape the Empire. Fortunately, Eragon is able to provide a source of water via magic.
  • Deathbed Confession: Before he dies, Brom reveals that he is a former Dragon Rider.
  • Dude, She's Like, in a Coma!: Done in the first first book as Eragon observes Arya's overall hotness... after she'd been tortured... and poisoned... and is still very much in danger. Overlaps nicely with Beauty Is Never Tarnished. A month in torture, poisoning and living in a dank cell in the basement, without a wash... still hot.
  • Egg McGuffin: The one from which Saphira eventually hatches in the first book.
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  • Hastily Hidden MacGuffin: The story begins with Arya teleporting a dragon egg to the Spine when Galbatorix's agents find her. Eragon finds the egg, kicking off his Hero's Journey.
  • In the End, You Are on Your Own: Subverted. Eragon is forced to leave Saphira and Arya behind when confronting Durza, but they come to Eragon's aid at the critical moment.
  • Kick Them While They Are Down: Murtagh does this to a slaver named Torkenbrand, killing him.
  • Never Learned to Read: Eragon never learned to read, a fact that surprises Brom because Eragon's uncle Garrow was literate. Of course, it only takes a month of instruction for Eragon to be literate enough to gather information from government records, and only a few months after that for him to read philosophical discourse and write epic poetry (in a different language).
  • Power-Strain Blackout: Eragon's first attempt at casting combat magic causes him to lose consciousness because it takes a large amount of energy out of him at once.
  • Put on a Bus: Roran gets this early on. He returns in Eldest.
  • Rage Against the Mentor: Eragon constantly complains about Brom keeping secrets from him.
  • Screening the Call: Eragon's uncle Garrow tries to sell Saphira's egg before it can hatch and make Eragon a Rider.
  • Supernaturally Marked Grave: Saphira magically transmutes Brom's sandstone tomb into diamond.
  • A Taste of Power: Eragon casts his first spell instinctively from desperation (he uses a fire spell to kill a pair of attacking urgals), then has to be trained on how to use magic in a controlled fashion. Brom explains that the Dragon Riders of old raised this to an art form by forcing their apprentices to perform impossible tasks until they ended up casting a spell to complete it out of frustration.
  • Tetris Effect: Happens to Eragon when he's learning to read — he keeps seeing letters in his head even when he closes his eyes.
  • To the Pain: Eragon's threat to a soldier early in the first book.
  • We Have Reserves: Galbatorix uses the Urgals in the first book to weaken the Varden and the dwarves.
  • Xanatos Gambit: Galbatorix's magnificent plan at the end of Eragon. He recruits his longtime enemies, the Urgals, and offers them free land if they attack the Beor Mountains and stamp out the dwarves and the Varden. This was a particularly ingenious move, because if the Urgals are victorious, that means that two of Galbatorix's principal enemies have been taken off the map, and the Urgals will be too weakened to challenge Galbatorix or fight back if he wants to get rid of them later, all without a single imperial warrior having to die. If the Urgals lose, then Galbatorix has effectively gotten rid of a race he hated anyway (they killed his original dragon in his backstory) before they have a chance to cause trouble for him. The Varden and dwarves manage to stave off the Urgals, leaving both sides significantly weakened but alive. Durza, who was controlling the Urgals, gets killed, causing the much smaller forces of Urgals still alive to turn against Galbatorix shortly afterwards.


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