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YMMV / Inheritance Cycle

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General YMMV

  • Acceptable Targets: Humans are this for elves.
  • Accidental Innuendo: Paolini's accidental erotica is infamous.
    Murtagh: Death will take me before I'll expose myself to their probing!
    Narration: When they finished, Eragon flopped on his blankets and groaned. He hurt everywhere – Brom had not been gentle with his stick.
  • Angst? What Angst?
    • Eragon in Eldest. It is revealed to him that his father was The Dragon to the Big Bad, and to put it lightly, not a nice person. He gets over this in three paragraphs (although, in fairness, he does revisit it later). He does, however, angst when his uncle dies (for a few chapters, after which he gets over it), when he is told that his father was really his mentor, Brom, and when Murtagh joins the enemy.
    • There's also Arya in Eragon: in spite of having been, by her own admission, beaten, tortured, and very nearly raped for weeks on end, the biggest reaction we get out of her thereafter is a paragraph of her clenching her jaw a bit as she recounts the events... and after that everything's just peachy. Although that may be a racial thing for her, considering one of the things about elves is their iron-control over themselves. Arya is also more withdrawn and closed than most of them, and for her even a clenched jaw might equal something stronger from others.
    • To be fair, Arya is unconscious and dying during the entire journey to the Varden, and still likely needed a short time to recover after receiving medication. Nasuada, on the other hand, comes back from horrific torture in Galbatorix's lair and seems completely fine at first. Even though she later admits Galbatorix nearly broke her, she doesn't even need to so much as lie down. Sure, her imprisonment was much shorter, but considering she's a human, she should have been in just as bad of shape as Arya.
  • Ass Pull: The series features a big 'un in the shape of magical elf twins, never previously mentioned who cure Eragon's achy back scar, allowing him to fight properly again - the only implication is that it's one of the dragon's 'inexplicable' pieces of magic, specifically a physical manifestation of the Rider-Dragon arrangement, but also later revealed that the specifics of the event that healed Eragon were done by the hidden Dragon Eldanari, when otherwise nothing might have happened at all. They turn up once more in the fourth book so Eragon can make it so Dwarfs and Urgals can become Riders as well, thus solving all racism forever.
  • Author's Saving Throw: For readers who complained about the constant Character Shilling and lack of criticism the elves got despite their flaws, in The Fork, the Witch and the Worm, Eragon remarks that he's finding the elves rather tedious to deal with due to their stubbornness and superiority complex, and that he's starting to agree with Orik's opinion that they're "best admired from a distance".
  • Broken Base: To this day, the Cycle fanbase is polarized into two parts: one part that thinks that the series is an unoriginal ripoff of much better series, and one part that thinks that it's a good story despite these influences.
  • Captain Obvious Reveal:
    • It's extremely obvious that Brom is a former Dragon Rider and that his dead dragon's name was also Saphira. The movie adaptation actually has Eragon figure this out himself relatively early on, rather than Brom revealing it later on his deathbed.
    • Arya is the noblewoman whom Eragon is destined to have an "epic romance" with. Especially considering he never pays attention to any other woman in the series (save maybe Trianna, though that's sunk very quickly).
    • The evil dragonrider in Eldest is the Not Quite Dead Murtagh, who has been missing since the start.
    • For some people, The Reveal that Brom is Eragon's real father, not Morzan.
    • The Reveal that the green dragon egg would hatch for Arya for many readers, especially considering Paolini stated the green rider would be someone we’d already met. It would probably have been a great deal more unexpected if it wasn't Arya.
  • Cliché Storm: One of its most common criticisms. The first book in particular is often derided for being very predictable and derivative, such as the main protagonist being a farm boy-turned-hero who is secretly The Chosen One and has Mysterious Parents, the villain being a one-dimensional, bog-standard take-over-the-world guy with thinly etched motivation, the hero having a wise Old Master for a mentor who dies saving the hero about halfway through, the hero turning out to be the son of one of the villains and the brother of another and features stock fantasy races such as elves, dwarves and orcs...I mean, urgals, which are pretty much ripped straight off Tolkien. Critics have also pointed out that the plot of Eragon is so similar to the plot of the first Star Wars movie, it's practically A New Hope recycled in Middle-Earth. The cliches do actually die down more in the sequels, though, with the characters and whatnot becoming more fleshed out.
  • Critical Research Failure: Oromis' explanation of the Ancient Language gets basic points about language wrong: "The suffix o forms the past tense of verbs ending with r and i. Sköliro means shielded, but skölir means shield. What you said was ‘May luck and happiness follow you and may you be a shield from misfortune.’" Unfortunately, Eragon wasn't using the active past tense, but the passive future imperative ("may you be shielded" is an imperative pertaining to something that is to happen, not something that has happened).
  • Dancing Bear: The first book was sold on the basis of having been written by a 15-year-old.
  • Death of the Author: The Inheritance Cycle was presumably intended to be a classic high fantasy good-vs-evil tale, inspired by The Lord of the Rings and Star Wars. However, as you may well have seen elsewhere on this page, there are many readers who instead interpret it as a darker tale of two flawed political factions duking it out for control of the land.
  • Ending Aversion: Some fans of this series hated how the fourth book ended, due to it leaving too much hanging. (Paolini plans to tie everything up in a forthcoming "Book Five".)
  • Fandom Rivalry:
    • Downplayed. There was a bit of a rivalry with Harry Potter, but that died out when people noticed that it was entirely manufactured by the marketers. These days, Inheritance Cycle fans and Harry Potter fans seem pretty amicable or neutral about each other (not quite Friendly Fandoms but not noticeably hostile either). Some Harry Potter fans have even mentioned picking up the Inheritance Cycle while waiting for the next Potter book to come out, or moving onto it after finishing Potter, and enjoying both.
    • Some fans of Dragonriders of Pern think this series is a rip-off of their favorite series, while others actually don't mind it or even enjoy both. Creator/AnneMcCaffrey herself seemed to have favorable views towards the Cycle, being quoted on the original hardback edition of the first book.
  • Fridge Logic:
    • Galbatorix is, for some reason, the king of the Broddring Empire, rather than 'emperor'. Admittedly, part of his backstory is that he was driven mad by the loss of his first dragon, but this point is still unaddressed in the book. Then again, The British Empire also had kings and queens, but the monarch went by "Emperor/Empress of India" too.
  • Follow the Leader: A rare positive example - alongside Harry Potter, it was one of those books that helped tell publishers that yes, young adults do in fact have the attention span to read long books, especially ones that span multiple installments.
  • Gateway Series; A number of fans cite the Inheritance Cycle as being their introduction to fantasy fiction when they were young, in particular High Fantasy.
  • Growing the Beard: Brisingr is considered by some readers to be an improvement over the first two books. Inheritance took the changes further, although the third book is the most seen as the series's peak.
    • Surprisingly Improved Sequel: A lot of people say that Eldest was the point where the Cycle actually got its first bit of decent ground to stand on, distancing itself from the Cliché Storm that plagued Eragon and actually creating an engrossing story of its own with actually interesting characters.
  • Ho Yay: The series has plenty of it, even though the hero's obsession with an unattainable elf girl supposedly indicates that he's straight. Despite this, he travels and becomes EXTREMELY close to his half-brother Murtagh, and starts getting vengeful and sulky when Murtagh turns out to think he's an annoying little twerp. Additionally he never notices the sexual characteristics (read: breasts) of the she-elf, but he spends a LOT of time ogling his master's muscles, "port-red lips" and long flowy hair, and starts staring intently at the guy's "hairless groin" during a naked bath scene. He also ogles the "hard and lean" muscles of his crippled ex-nemesis, and even drops his underwear in front of his cousin to show a very intimately-placed bruise. Oh yeah, and he spends a lot of time fondling, rubbing and stroking wooden staffs, swords, and other fun phallic weapons.
  • Hype Backlash: Before Twilight got famous, the Inheritance Cycle was one of the biggest examples of this in young adult literature. Round about when the first two or three books were published, it got hyped up quite a bit, with comparisons to Harry Potter, people pointing out how Paolini wrote it when he was only 15 and so forth. The books were bestsellers and it got a movie adaptation. However, a lot of people who read the books didn't really get what all the fuss was about, particularly criticizing the series' derivative nature, writing and characterization.
  • It Was His Sled:
    • From Eragon, Brom dies, Murtagh is the son of Morzan.
    • From Eldest, Murtagh is the red dragon rider and is Eragon's brother.
    • From Brisingr, Brom is Eragon's real dad (combined with I Knew It! for many readers), Oromis and Glaedr bite it.
  • Memetic Mutation: "Sorry", - apologized Brom".
  • Narm: Has one of the largest entries on that trope's page. Highlights include:
    • The very first line of the entire series: "Wind howled through the night, carrying a scent that would change the world."
    • The first line of Eldest, currently among the page quotes for Meaningless Meaningful Words: "The songs of the dead are the lamentations of the living." Yes, Eragon, that's pretty much exactly what the songs of the dead are.
    • The description of Eragon post his transformation at the Agaeti Bloedhren as "more beautiful than any man, more rugged than any elf" is somewhat overdone.
    • The High Priest of Helgrind, who has no arms or legs, reminded some readers of the Black Knight from Monty Python and the Holy Grail.
    • Durza, Galbatorix's dragon (his henchman, not his literal dragon) in Book 1, is described as having pale white skin and red hair. Like a certain fast food mascot.
    • Galbatorix's name. It's a name you'd expect to find in Astérix, and as a result, a number of people find it hard to take the character seriously. Moreover, if you are a bit into history, you will probably see it as Roman emperor Galba's name mixed with a Gallic one.
    • The Film of the Book gives us Galbatorix's infamous line:
    Galbatorix: I suffer without my stone. Do not. Prolong. My suffering.
  • Never Live It Down:
    • For many antis, some of Eragon's actions in Brisingr - namely his treatment of Sloan and killing of a teen soldier - pushed him over the Moral Event Horizon and/or cemented him as a Designated Hero in their eyes.
    • Many readers (fans and antis alike) can't forget the part where Nasuada had Roran publicly whipped half a hundred times for insubordination...then promoted him because his actions actually won them the battle.
  • Romantic Plot Tumor: Some people consider Roran and Katrina's romance as this, particularly in Brisingr, as it takes up a large chunk of Roran's story arc but doesn't really have any significant effect upon the wider story. It doesn't help that Roran's chapters in Brisingr are already considered Trapped by Mountain Lions as it is.
  • Rooting for the Empire: Ultimately, the case seems to be more about an Anti-Hero being treated as The Hero, and about the setting's apparent Grey and Gray Morality being treated as Black and White Morality. For every morally questionable deed which the Evil Overlord commits, The Hero commits one in return. The Empire slaughters villages? Well, so does La Résistance, around Feinster. The Big Bad uses conscription? Well, La Résistance whips their own soldiers for doing the right thing, to such an extent that Badass Normal Roran seriously thought that a weaker man would die. The Empire tortures people and uses "true names" to force its soldiers to be loyal to it? Well, La Résistance wields chemical weaponsunless Angela was carrying enough ordinary poison to kill hundreds or perhaps thousands of Mooks in a few hours in Book 2.
  • Snark Bait: This is one of the biggest examples, primarily due to accusations of being unoriginal and use of Purple Prose.
  • Strawman Has a Point: Galbatorix can be seen as this. While later books established him as being thoroughly evil and tyrannical, his depiction in early books left him looking pretty good for many readers. His rise to power (in which he won humanity's superiority over the elves and killed the all-powerful dragon riders) is portrayed as a Moral Event Horizon, and he wants to stomp out the urgals, a warlike species whose rite of passage is to find something, anything, and kill it. He's done plenty of unsavory things and isn't to be praised, but he's made humanity safe and superior, and even his enemies acknowledge that his batshit insanity doesn't touch most of his subjects. Interestingly, at the end of the fourth book, even Eragon seems to come to this opinion at seeing Nasuada adopting some of the Galbatorix directives about magic and people. And, especially according to anti-fans, he is the established power, with a clear-cut law, as opposed to the Varden, who will gladly accept you into their group provided you A.) follow your flawed and suicidal orders to the letter, and B.) be sure to always shower praise on Eragon, the elves, and your visionary leader, Nasuada. In the end it isn't so much that the Strawman Has A Point, but that the other side is so self-righteous and annoying the reader finds it hard to root for them.
  • They Copied It, So It Sucks!: A common criticism is that the series, though especially the first book, is very similar in terms of plot, characters and setting to other fantasy or speculative fiction series, in particular The Lord of the Rings, Star Wars and Dragonriders of Pern, while doing little to add original ideas to these elements. The later books arguably get better about this, but some people still see the Cycle as a blatant rip-off of other series.
  • Trapped by Mountain Lions:
    • Nasuada's chapters in the second book, Eldest, which are primarily centered around solving disputes and economic problems within the Varden while Roran and Eragon follow much more meaningful plots (Roran has to deal with the Ra'zac threatening to invade Carvahall and Eragon is furthering his Rider training in Du Weldenvarden).
    • In Brisingr, Roran's chapters can be considered this, as his role and importance are reduced and he spends most of his chapters fighting inconsequential battles against small numbers of Imperial forces, wrestling down a troublemaking urgal, and spending time and dealing with the matters surrounding his newly-wed and pregnant wife, while Eragon is, as usual, doing more important things.
    • Saphira's chapters are also generally negatively considered by some readers, as they feel they only serve to show how arrogant she is, the fact that she misses Eragon, and that her inner-monologue has a bizarre use of adjectives that never turns up in her telepathic speech.
  • What an Idiot!: Eragon. "Huh. That perfectly smooth, round rock seems to be squeaking. Do rocks usually do that? Weird. Oh well, it's probably nothing. It's definitely just a regular rock. I'll just leave it on the shelf and go to bed, and not tell anybody."
  • What Do You Mean, It's for Kids? / What Do You Mean, It's Not for Kids?: The series is considered young adult literature, which most people interpret as 'teenagers'. However, many younger children are fans of the series and it can be found in the children's section of libraries and stores, and in primary/elementary school libraries. This is a series where, in the first book alone, there are one or two references to sex (nothing too explicit but still present), rather graphic descriptions of injuries and the after-effects of torture (Arya being a standout example, with at least a paragraph dedicated to detailing her extensive wounds) and the aftermath of a village massacre, including a baby impaled on a spear.

     Assorted character YMMVs 

Assorted character YMMVs

  • Alternative Character Interpretation: Anti-fans of the series love to find new interpretations that subvert the good/evil conflict. So far, sites such as have concluded that Eragon is a sociopath, the Varden are terrorists and the original Dragon Riders were a racist military junta.
    • Eragon: An Ideal Hero or an anti-heroic sociopath?
    • Murtagh: A Jerkass reveling in his new power, or someone making the best out of his situation?
    • Arya: Badass Lady of War, or arrogant Jerkass?
    • Galbatorix: Evil tyrant, but to some, a Draco in Leather Pants, trying to run his kingdom in the face of constant terrorist attacks.
    • The Varden: Idealistic freedom fighters or ruthless terrorists?
    • The elven Lord Dathedr gets a few of these - despite being nothing more than an adviser to Queen Islanzadi in the series, some fanfics have portrayed him as an elf behind the she-elf, Magnificent Bastard type who is manipulating events for his own ends. On the basis of a somewhat over-flowery compliment he pays Eragon (which some have argued is sarcastic), some anti-fanfics have portrayed him as an Only Sane Man, Surrounded by Idiots. Bizarre, given he has perhaps ten lines of dialogue across the whole series (although he does pierce Galbatorix's anti-scrying spells, which is a Moment of Awesome in itself).
    • Is Nasuada a courageous, charismatic and visionary leader who keeps her position on her own merits, or a short-sighted, egotistical and inexperienced leader who only has the position due to being friends with Eragon?
    • Is Galbatorix really just a power-hungry Evil Overlord, or is he more of a Well-Intentioned Extremist Anti-Villain, who genuinely wants to create a strong, peaceful and orderly empire that will benefit his subjects, and resorts to rather ruthless methods of achieving this? The Broddring Empire seems like a pretty decent place to live overall (there are mentions of things like poverty and slavery, but we see little to no evidence of this and the people who mention this are the Varden). The majority of citizens seem uninterested in joining or supporting the Varden (they gain most of their financial support and housing from factions outside the Empire, such as the independent state of Surda and the dwarves and elves), which could indicate that the majority of people don't feel they're suffering all that much under Galby. This, in conjunction with Galby's plans to restore the Dragon Riders to defend the Empire, could support the interpretation that at least part of him wants his realm to be successful.
    • Selena, Eragon's mysterious mother, is subject to a lot of this even in-universe; she's been dead for over a decade at the start of the series and many details about her life are shrouded in mystery, so we can only rely on accounts by other characters, some of which are quite contradictory in nature. In particular, Brom and Jeod both present very different versions of her as a person.
      • Brom depicts her as being a very kind and giving person, who would go out of her way to help others and risked her life to spy on Morzan and the Empire. Of course, Brom only met her after she gave birth to Murtagh and her relationship with Morzan went south, and he also fell in love with her, potentially prompting her True Name to change, so he could be seen as biased.
      • Jeod describes her being utterly cold and ruthless, scaring him more than Morzan and willingly committing or being party to various atrocities out of love for her demented husband, whom she served as a spy and assassin. Like Brom, Jeod may be biased, though in a different way; he admits he never met Selena in person and only knew of her by reputation.
      • Oromis suggests that Selena was blinded by love for Morzan and didn't fully realize his true nature until they were already married; he further suggests that becoming a mother for the first time changed her as a person, but that she was unable to leave Morzan's service, as he kept Murtagh away from her and used him to keep her obedient. Oromis also points out that regardless of what she did as Morzan's Black Hand, in the end she chose to serve the Varden and risked everything to ensure Eragon was safe and cared for. This still leaves a fair bit of room for different interpretations of her, such as whether she switched allegiance to the Varden out of genuine support for the cause or because she saw it as an opportunity to get herself and Murtagh away from Morzan's abuse, and so forth.
  • Base-Breaking Character:
    • Nasuada, following her decision to have Roran whipped for insubordination in Brisingr - by her own admission, his deeds are to be praised, and yet precedent/tradition give her little choice, and to break with this could have larger consequences. The question is: is this justified, or not?
    • Eragon himself is rather divisive. Some view him as a decent and relatable protagonist, others find him okay but rather bland compared to other characters, and then there are readers who interpret him as a complete Jerkass and Designated Hero. One moment that proved to be particularly contested amongst readers occurs in Brisingr, where Eragon rather coldly kills a young enemy conscript, who is actively begging for mercy and trying to flee, and justifies it as being 'necessary' as the soldier could potentially pose a threat later. Readers get into quite a few debates on whether this was really justified and what it means for Eragon's character.
  • Designated Hero / Designated Villain: As you may have seen elsewhere on this page, a number of fans actually perceive Eragon as a villain and Galbatorix as an antihero.
    • Murtagh in particular is seen as a Designated Villain from Eldest onwards. A lot of readers have criticised the fact everyone treats him as an evil traitor, despite the fact he wants nothing to do with Galbatorix and has been kidnapped and Mind Raped into serving him, meaning he had no choice in the matter and is actually arguably a victim.
    • Some readers feel that Nasuada and Galbatorix are really Not So Different. Between Nasuada's arguably questionable leadership skills and the issues people have with the Varden's methods, as well as the fact they both seize power by being backed up by dragon riders and both plan to put restrictions on magic, the only real difference between them is that Nasuada isn't criminally insane (that we're aware of at any rate) and disapproves of slavery (though beating your volunteer soldiers within an inch of their life is apparently fine). Nasuada also apparently has no issue potentially persecuting magic users for "the good of the many" (unless, of course, they're using enchantments to protect and benefit her), to the point where even Eragon is disturbed by her plans, calls her out on being no different from Galbatorix and it seemingly being one of the reasons he chooses to leave Alagaesia in the end to re-build the Riders in a remote place.
    • Many readers feel Galbatorix suffers from a case of this in the first three books, as he doesn't even show up in person until the fourth book. It's lessened there as it's made pretty clear he's an evil psycho, but before that we only had vague second-hand or even third-hand accounts of his character and all his evil acts were committed off-page, or were even carried out by his lackeys rather than him personally, with it merely being presumed he had a hand in them. As a result, we really only have the Varden's word that he's an oppressive tyrant and they're pretty biased, seeing how they're rebelling against him. We see very little evidence that the Broddring Empire is suffering or failing under his reign and it's even acknowledged in-universe that Galby's apparent Ax-Craziness rarely touches his subjects. Most settlements seem quite peaceful and prosperous; in Carvahall the only real reason people seem to hate him is because he taxes them. It's mentioned that Galby restarted the slave trade, but aside from two random encounters with slavers in Eragon and Brisingr, we never see any presence of people suffering under slavery. Almost all of Galby's most despicable actions revolve around him fighting back against the Varden, which can arguably be justified as him taking harsh but necessary measures to protect his kingdom from terrorists (who started the fight in the first place). Wiping out the Dragon Riders is treated as being a huge atrocity, especially as it led to the near-extinction of the dragons, but again we only have the Varden's word that the Dragon Riders were good (most of them had never even met a Dragon Rider as they were destroyed around a century ago) and once again this is a case of Offstage Villainy. Galby also expresses regret over this and aspires to rebuild the Riders, albeit under his control to police his empire. Up until Inheritance, the only things we really know about him is that he can be a Jerkass and is occasionally ruthless, but is otherwise a reasonably competent monarch and not really any more tyrannical or brutal than the average medieval European ruler, or say, the Varden themselves. As a result, it's not hard to see why some readers think Galby ain't so bad or outright root for him.
  • Draco in Leather Pants:
    • Amongst antis, Galbatorix tends to be quite popular, to the point where some readers actually think he should be seen as the real hero / antihero of the story. Some people overlook the fact he's clearly not a very mentally stable dude, destroys innocent villages, uses magic to enslave people and brings back regular slavery too, while others acknowledge this but feel the other side aren't much better.
    • Murtagh. He's described as being very handsome, has a Cool Sword and a dragon, and generally has the whole 'bad boy with a tragic past' thing going for him. It also helps that many readers have argued he's actually not that evil in the first place.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse:
    • Murtagh is a Badass Normal Anti-Hero (at first) who calls out Eragon on his more What the Hell, Hero? moments, is good-looking and pragmatic, and comes complete with a Woobie backstory and discrimination from the anti-Empire forces who think he's just another stooge for the Big Bad like his father. Even after his Face–Heel Turn many readers still preferred him to Eragon. The latter part may be because some fans left the series at his Face–Heel Turn, since he was the Ensemble Dark Horse of the first book and it seemed like an attempt to get more fans behind Eragon. He's generally thought of as a considerably more interesting character than Eragon, to the point that even some of the anti-Eragon fans like him.
    • Roran holds this position, too, largely due to many people finding his parts in Book 2 to be more enjoyable than Eragon's parts. The fact that his Badass Normal status was ramped Up to Eleven to in-universe Memetic Badass levels certainly helps.
    • Carn from Brisingr and Inheritance is fairly popular too, due to his nature as a Deadpan Snarker with extremely creative spells.
  • Escapist Character: Eragon could certainly qualify. He starts out as a simple Farm Boy living in a small, insignificant village. Then, within a few years, he becomes an incredibly powerful mage, master swordsman and Dragon Rider, gets a Cool Sword that magically bursts into flame, is a prominent member of the Varden who is looked up to by thousands, kills a Shade and earns himself the moniker Shadeslayer, becomes an elf-hybrid that makes him more attractive, removes his scars and gives him superior strength, speed and agility as well as immortality, becomes an honorary member of a dwarf clan, becomes one of the few people to discover the true name of magic which makes him even more powerful, gets offered the throne (but turns it down because he thinks he is ill-suited to the position) and is set to rebuild the Dragon Riders. All before the age of 18. In fact, pretty much the only thing missing is that he actually doesn't get to hook up with the hot elven warrior princess he's in love with, though they do leave open the possibility they will get together in the future. That and rebuilding the Riders involves him having to leave his home and family probably forever and live in relative isolation for a long time, but it doesn't exactly undermine all the awesome stuff that came with it.
  • Fan-Preferred Couple: Nasuada with Murtagh, since she seems to like him. Seeing as Inheritance deals with their relationship directly, don't be surprised if it becomes even more Fan-Preferred.
  • Jerkass Woobie:
    • Sloan, especially in Brisingr, to the point where some readers see him as Unintentionally Sympathetic. His beloved wife died in a tragic accident in the Spine (and it's implied he was there to witness it), leaving him to raise their daughter, Katrina, all alone. Sloan has never gotten over his wife's death, causing him to detest the Spine (which is admittedly a very dangerous place) and to be overprotective of Katrina out of fear he will lose her too. His village is threatened by the Ra'zac, putting Katrina in mortal danger. Sloan is opposed to Roran's plan to flee into the Spine because of the great risk involved and also learns that Katrina and Roran have gotten engaged behind his back – in Carvahall, it is considered proper for a man to ask his bride's father for permission to marry her first, which Roran didn't do, instead springing the news on him while the village is under siege. Sloan also doesn't approve of Roran as a husband, arguing that he has no job, money or other means to provide for Katrina (which is actually a case of Jerkass Has a Point).

      He gets desperate enough to protect Katrina, he strikes a bargain with the Ra'zac to let them in the village (possibly murdering a sentry to do so). However, the Ra'zac double-cross Sloan, locking his daughter up before torturing him, pecking his eyes out and leaving him to rot in a cell, not knowing where Katrina is or if she's safe. Sometime later, he's found by Eragon who releases him, but Eragon chooses to tell Katrina and Roran he is dead for the sake of their relationship, then forcibly reads his mind him and puts a spell on him that forces him to walk all the way to Du Weldenvarden to live with the elves and to never see his daughter again. Sloan may have been a Jerkass and some of his actions were indefensible, but at the end of the day his main motivation is trying to protect his daughter, who he is never able to make amends, with and his life is pretty much one trauma and humiliation after another. Considering this, it's hard not to pity the guy.
    • Galbatorix in his backstory. Three of his fellow Dragon Riders, their dragons and his own dragon were killed by Urgals in the Spine right in front of him, whilst he was trying desperately to protect them. The breaking of a bond between dragon and rider in this way is established to be extremely traumatic and psychologically scarring for whoever survives, and this was exactly the case for Galby, who was left utterly distraught by his dragon's death, on top of the trauma of everything else that occurred. He spent weeks wandering around the wilderness in a delirium, badly wounded, starving and coming close to death before finally making his way back to civilisation. Desperate to alleviate his grief, he went before his superiors and begged to be given another dragon egg, but the senior Riders refused due to his instability...then apparently just left it at that without offering him further help. The combination of grief over his dragon's death and the apparent lack of sympathy and support from the Riders drove Galby mad, and he eventually became the tyrant he is by the events of the Cycle.
  • Ron the Death Eater:
    • Some anti-fans of the series have a habit of painting Eragon as sociopathic war-monger and the Varden as a power-hungry terrorist organisation, who are actually the real villains of the series, despite the fact that, in theory at the very least, their motivation is to overthrow Galbatorix and restore justice and freedom to the land.
    • The original Dragon Riders get hit with this even more, with some antis claiming they were an oppressive and racist military junta, even though Alagaesia was apparently much better under their rule. To be fair, the Dragon Riders reigned around a century ago and all the information we have on them comes from secondary sources (most of whom weren't even alive before they were wiped out) so we know precious little about the Dragon Riders – good or bad – besides the fact they were a bunch of magic people with dragons, who were turned on and destroyed by Galby and the Forsworn.
  • The Scrappy: A lot of readers (mostly antis but also some fans) don't much care for the elves, due to the extreme amount of Can't Argue with Elves present in the story. Besides borrowing very heavily from Tolkien, elves are constantly shilled, especially by the main character himself, as being superior in every way to humans and other races, being faster, stronger, hotter, more enlightened, more intelligent, better at magic etc. while also looking down on and being very critical of other races. They tend to come across as rather arrogant, self-righteous and occasionally hypocritical know-it-alls, who never get called out on some of their more questionable traits or beliefs, or if they are, the person doing said calling out is usually depicted as being wrong and ignorant. For example: Arya criticises human women for 'running and hiding' when faced with danger, saying elf women such as herself would stand and fight...but seems to forget that unlike most human women, she-elves have greatly enhanced speed and strength and magic at their disposal. It's not a very fair comparison and kind of smacks of Real Women Don't Wear Dresses. Elves are also so assured that there are no gods that Arya straight up picks a fight with a dwarf priest over his 'primitive and unenlightened' beliefs...but then on one occasion, Eragon witnesses firsthand what does indeed appear to be one of the dwarven deities, making elves seem like Flat Earth Atheists. And this is only scratching the surface. Overall, a lot of readers just dislike having to read on and on about how awesome the elves are compared to everyone else, when they have a tendency to come across as pretentious and unlikable jerks.
  • Strangled by the Red String:
    • Some people felt this way about Arya and Eragon's relationship, especially in Inheritance. Eragon is attracted to her right away and isn't subtle about his feelings in Eldest, only for Arya to completely and brutally dismiss them. Some readers felt she had a point; she and Eragon barely know each other, Arya is revealed to be still be grieving for her lover of around twenty years (who was killed protecting the dragon egg at the start of Eragon) and Arya is decades older than Eragon, who is still just a naive teenager at this point. Not only would they be quite incompatible, but Eragon's feelings for her come across as a childish crush more than true love, considering he's only fifteen when they meet, she's the first and only woman he ever expresses serious interest in, as well as his tendencies to put her up on a pedestal and/or focus on her physical attractiveness (in fact, one of the first things he mentions about her is how attractive he finds her...even when she's unconscious and covered in scars, cuts and bruises from extended torture). He also stubbornly refuses to accept her rejection and logical arguments for why they wouldn't work out. However, starting in Brisingr, for some reason, Arya suddenly decides she finds Eragon attractive after all, despite everything she said in Eldest and it seeming rather Out of Character (and only after he's gone through a magic ritual that removes all his scars and makes him into a super sexy half elf-hybrid, who is explicitly stated to look "more elf than human").

      By the end of the series, they're portrayed as Starcrossed Lovers – to the point of exchanging their true names – with little explanation for how and why Arya's feelings changed so rapidly. Arya even says she'd consider waiting for Eragon until he's older, which some readers found kind of Squicky more than anything. Others felt it just didn't live up to Angela's prophecy that Eragon would have an "epic romance", seeing as the end result pretty much amounts to: a teenage boy having a one-sided infatuation with an older woman who expresses little interest in him, and she deciding at the last minute 'Well, we could maybe hook up once you're old enough to buy alcohol and vote'. Paolini has stated that if he writes a fifth book, he will explore their relationship further, but within the published books, the romance falls a bit flat for several readers.
    • Saphira and Firnen have it even worse. Though admittedly, it's unclear how exactly dragon relationships work in comparison to humans and elves, it still comes across as rather weird and out-of-left-field when Saphira hooks up with Firnen in the last few chapters of Inheritance. At this point, Firnen is only a few months old and they've known each other for about as long.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character:
    • Murtagh, arguably the most popular character in the series, is often thought to have a lot of wasted potential. After the first book, he is essentially reduced to the role of 'Galbatorix's minion' and has little characterisation or role outside this until the last book. Some readers have even expressed the view he could've been the main protagonist instead of Eragon, as he's generally seen as being a more interesting, complex and developed character, while Eragon is often criticised for being a bland, one-dimensional stereotype.
    • Saphira, despite being set up as a Deuteragonist alongside Eragon, ultimately ends up being a Satellite Character to Eragon. She has no story arc or real development beyond her relationship with Eragon and some readers even feel she's little more than a glorified war horse/attack dog for Eragon.
    • Selena, Eragon's mother, is one of the most enigmatic characters in the series, especially following the revelation that she was also Murtagh's mother and Morzan's wife and 'Black Hand' - his personal assassin and spy - as well as being a talented mage without being a dragon rider. Just how she went from a simple farm girl to Morzan's devoted love interest and deadliest ally to a Mama Bear and double agent for the Varden is only vaguely explained and isn't even brought up until the third and fourth books; prior to that, she's only sparsely referred to and only in regards to being Eragon's mother and Murtagh's and even the more detailed accounts of her character are sometimes contradictory. Given her reputation as well, one wonders what the Varden would've thought of Eragon had it been made public knowledge he was her son and how this would've affected Eragon's character (especially considering how they treated Murtagh for being Morzan's son).
  • Unintentionally Sympathetic:
    • Sloan was trapped in a village surrounded by the Empire's soldiers and human-eating monsters, who wanted to punish him and the rest of the village for the actions of a kid who wasn't there anymore and who Sloan didn't even like. Sloan then surrendered to the Empire to keep his daughter safe... and the Ra'zac pecked out his eyes, threw him into the dungeons of their evil lair and forgot about him, and trapped his daughter nearby. Then Eragon came by, and added insult to injury by cursing Sloan to never see his daughter again, even putting a geas on Sloan to force him to walk halfway across the continent to go and meditate with some arrogant elves until he "reformed". Harsh punishment for a man whose biggest crimes seem to be not liking the hero and wanting to protect his daughter... though admittedly in said surrendering, he sold out the entire village of Carvahall to do so, people he's lived with for years, and is implied to have murdered a sentry.
    • Murtagh. Good grief. We're apparently supposed to see him as a traitor and a villain when he becomes The Dragon to Galbatorix...except he isn't working for Galbatorix willingly. He was kidnapped, Mind Raped and mentally enslaved by Galbatorix and has no choice but to serve him. He hates the guy and actively tries to use loopholes in Galbatorix's orders to spare Eragon, also going out of his way to help Nasuada at the risk of severe punishment when she's captured, even if all he can do is heal her injuries and offer her comfort. Not to mention it's implied he loves her or at least has feelings for her, and is forced to watch her being tortured or even made to torture her himself. Though it's implied he does occasionally get some pleasure out of using his powers to hurt people, the Varden aren't exactly saints either and it could just be him making the best out of a horrific situation. No one ever really tries to rescue him or help him break free of Galbatorix.

      In fact, even before that he was vilified and mistrusted by the Varden simply for a) being Morzan's son (who abused him right up to his death) b) refusing to let them Mind Rape him and c) disagreeing with their methods - even though he helped rescue one of their top agents and delivered Eragon and Saphira to them. They'd already pretty much written him off by the events of Eldest; even Eragon, who's meant to be his friend and who's life Murtagh had saved numerous times in the first book. And after helping to defeat Galbatorix (in fact, he's vital to the plan working) and breaking free from his control, Murtagh is basically an outcast, who leaves to wander the land with Thorn to deal with his trauma alone, because everyone else views him as a war criminal and a monster, rather than a victim who did what he had to survive until he was in a position to help them again. Nasuada herself states she "understands but cannot forgive" Murtagh. For, y'know, daring to get kidnapped and enslaved, but still try to help her. As a result, a good many readers (both fans and antis) view Murtagh as being 'the real hero of the Cycle'.
  • Unintentionally Unsympathetic: For some people, the Varden. They're intended to be a courageous and morally upright band of freedom fighters, opposing the evil and oppressive Empire (a la the Rebel Alliance)...but some readers take issue with their methods, to the point of believing they're actually not much better than the Empire. As mentioned under Rooting for the Empire, the Varden have no issue using torture on prisoners, beating volunteer soldiers almost to the point of death for insubordination (even if their reasons were justifiable), remorselessly killing conscripted soldiers (including child soldiers), using some very nasty weapons to kill/weaken enemy soldiers to gain an advantage etc. Most of the Empire's soldiers are indicated to be ordinary folk who were conscripted into fighting; in other words, they're not even willingly supporting Galbatorix and are the very people the Varden are supposed to be fighting for in the first place!

    It doesn't help that for all intents and purposes, the Empire actually seems like a peaceful, prosperous and well-run place, and has been for around a century. Sure the king might be a dick, but he's apparently good at his job, so to some readers the Varden come across as self-righteous Windmill Crusaders who just want to seize power for themselves. The Varden's leaders tend to come across as sneaky, manipulative and self-absorbed, engaging in Nepotism and constantly vying for power, as opposed to working together for the common good. Nasuada is actually compared to Galbatorix himself by the end of the series – they have the exact same goals around controlling magic users and making neighbouring countries swear fealty to them; heck, they both came to power in the exact same way too (conquered the land with help from dragon riders, killed/overthrew the previous regime and then declared themselves ruler...without consulting the people about what they wanted and despite having no real claim to the throne beyond 'I have the biggest army and dragons'). The main problem some readers seem to have with all this is that Varden are supposed to unambiguously be the heroes of the story, but their actions make them come across as more morally ambiguous than intended.
  • Unpopular Popular Character: In-universe, Murtagh isn't really liked or trusted by anyone save for Eragon and Nasuada; after Eldest, he's pretty much universally despised. Amongst both fans and antis, he's one of - if not the - most popular characters in the series.
  • Wangst: Nasuada angsting about the scars she got in the Trial of the Long Knives can come off as this. She has a total of nine self-inflicted scars on her forearms. She harps on about how terrible it is that her beauty has been marred this way and men might be put off by it, which really just makes her come off as rather vain. The scarring isn't somewhere more noticeable and disfiguring like her face and scars have also been known to fade with time. If she really felt that self-conscious about it, she could just cover them with gloves or long sleeves – which Orrin actually suggests and she adamantly refuses to do – and this isn't even going into how a guy who would reject her purely for having scars is probably not worth her time anyway. And just minutes later, she shows off the scars as proof to Orrin that she would do anything to help the Varden, so one wonders why she doesn't take pride in the scars as a physical symbol of her devotion and courage. Not to mention, they're in the middle of a war. Hundreds, if not thousands, of people are probably getting maimed and injured in horrible ways every day, and yet Nasuada is bemoaning a few scars on her arms?
  • The Woobie:
    • Murtagh. Also an Iron Woobie and Jerkass Woobie. His father was physically abusive, his mother was distant, by the age of five both of his parents were dead, he grew up in the shadow of his father with Galbatorix possibly expecting him to become Morzan 2.0, and this was all before he was eighteen. When he finally escaped Galbatorix's clutches, his mentor/friend was killed, he was beaten up by Urgals, dragged halfway around Alagaesia with Eragon, imprisoned, captured and misused by the Twins to the point where he was happy to watch them die, tortured by Galbatorix, forced into swearing allegiance, and unwillingly molded into the person Galbatorix wanted him to be. And this is only the first two books.
    • Thorn: Forcibly born and magically enslaved, then subjected to massive amounts of rapid-growth magic. He probably isn't very comfortable in his body, to say the least. .
    • Eragon at the end of the series. At around 16, he's facing complete isolation for years, having to explore a vast new continent that is extremely difficult to reach, and establish a new order of dragon riders there virtually by himself. He does not expect to see any of his loved ones alive again (which a certain prediction makes explicit), and has given up all thoughts of romance or pleasurable company. Kind of harsh for a band of grown men, let alone a single teenager.
    • King Orrin - after years of busting a gut for the Varden (in Eragon Orik flat out says: "The Varden couldn't exist without Orrin,"), living in terror that Galbatorix is going to roll over and crush his kingdom and enslave his people, and sheltering the Varden's noncombatants, he is completely supplanted in La Résistance by Nasuada, insulted by Roran and seems destined to spend the post-war period as a "second-fiddle" nation to the Empire. No wonder he takes to the drink.
    • Durza - Carsaib never wanted to become a Shade.
    • Shruikan has been forcibly enslaved so long that he's gone stark raving mad. When Elva gets a look at him the only thing she can come up with to help him is to Mercy Kill him. By the time of the story he's little more then a being of insane rage and would burn all creation to ash purely out of spite if he could.


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