Eragon is a 2003 fantasy novel written by Christopher Paolini, and the first book in the Inheritance Cycle, set in the mythical world of Alagaësia. Eragon tells the story of a young farm boy named Eragon and his dragon, Saphira. In the beginning, Eragon finds a polished blue stone in the spine, a mountain chain near his home. A few days later, Eragon discovers that his stone is really a dragon egg when it hatches suddenly in the night. Eragon names his dragon Saphira, a name he learns from Brom, the village storyteller. After Saphira hatches for Eragon in the opening chapters, King Galbatorix sends his servants (including the Ra'zac, Urgals, and the shade Durza) after Eragon and Saphira, in an effort to capture or kill them. Eragon and Saphira flee their hometown of Carvahall, and embark on a number of adventures.
Eragon was the third-best-selling children's hardback book of 2003, the second-best-selling paperback of 2005, and has placed on the New York Times Best Seller List for 121 weeks. It was adapted into a feature film of the same name, released on December 15, 2006.
Eragon lives with his uncle Garrow and cousin Roran on a farm on the outskirts of a small village called Carvahall. While hunting in the Spine, a large range of mountains, Eragon is surprised to see a polished blue stone appear in front of him. A few days later, Eragon witnesses a baby dragon hatch from the "stone", and realizes that it is in actuality, a dragon egg. Eragon names the dragon Saphira. He raises the dragon in secret until two of King Galbatorix's servants, the Ra'zac, come to Carvahall looking for the egg. Eragon and Saphira manage to escape by hiding in the forest, but Garrow is fatally wounded and the house and farm are burned down. Once Garrow dies, Eragon is left with no reason to stay in Carvahall, so he goes after the Ra'zac, seeking vengeance for the destruction of his home and his uncle's death. He is accompanied by Brom, an elderly story-teller, who insists on helping him and Saphira.
Eragon becomes a Dragon Rider through his bond with Saphira. On the journey, Eragon learns sword fighting, magic, and the Ancient Language, and the ways of the Dragon Riders from Brom. Their travels bring them to Teirm, from where they are able to track the Ra'zac to the southern city of Dras-Leona. Before leaving Teirm, however, Eragon has his fortune told by the witch Angela, who warns him of the many dangers he will face. Once in Dras-Leona, they manage to infiltrate the city, but Eragon later encounters the Ra'zac in a cathedral in the city, and is forced to flee. Though Brom and Eragon manage to escape, their camp is ambushed later that night. Although a stranger, Murtagh, rescues them, Brom is gravely injured and dies shortly after — but not before finally revealing to Eragon that he was a Dragon Rider, whose dragon was also named Saphira.
Murtagh becomes Eragon's new companion. They then travel to Gil'ead, a city where they should be able to find information on how to find the Varden, a group of rebels who want to see the downfall of Galbatorix. While stopping near Gil'ead, Eragon is captured, drugged, and imprisoned in the same jail that holds a woman he has been receiving dreams about. When he breaks out of his cell, he discovers that she is an elf. Murtagh and Saphira stage a rescue and Eragon escapes with the unconscious elf. During the escape Eragon and Murtagh battle with a Shade - a sorcerer possessed by evil spirits - named Durza. Murtagh shoots Durza between the eyes with an arrow, and the shade disappears in a cloud of mist.
After escaping, Eragon contacts the unconscious elf telepathically, and discovers that her name is Arya, She also tells them that she was poisoned while in captivity, and that only a potion in possession of the Varden can cure her. Arya is also able to give directions to the exact location of the Varden; a city called Tronjhiem, which sits in the mountain Farthen Dûr, hidden deep in the Beor Mountains. Eragon, Saphira, and Murtagh go in search of the Varden, both to save the Arya's life, and to escape Galbatorix's wrath. When they arrive in Farthen Dûr, Eragon is led to the leader of the Varden, Ajihad. In this meeting, he learns that Saphira's egg was under the care of Arya, until she was ambushed while transporting it. He is then told that the Shade Durza was not destroyed by Murtagh's well placed arrow, because the only way to kill a shade is with a stab to the heart.
The group is at last able to rest, although a new invasion is imminent. When the battle begins, the Varden and dwarves are pitted against an enormous army of Urgals, deployed by Durza and Galbatorix. During the battle, Eragon faces Durza again. Eragon receives a serious disfiguring wound on his back during the fight. Durza is about to capture Eragon, so as to take him to Galbatorix, when Saphira and Arya create a distraction, diverting the Shade's attention long enough for Eragon to stab him in the heart. After Durza's death, the Urgals are released from a spell which had been placed on them, and begin to fight among themselves. The Varden take advantage of this opportunity to make a counter-attack. During Eragon's unconsciousness a stranger contacts him through his mind and wants Eragon to come to him for training in the land of the elves.
About the Author Christopher Paolini
Christopher Paolini (born November 17, 1983 in Southern California) is an American writer. He is best known as the author of the Inheritance Cycle, which consists of the books Eragon, Eldest, Brisingr, and an as yet untitled fourth book. He lives in Paradise Valley, Montana, where he wrote his first book.
Christopher Paolini was raised in the Paradise Valley, Montana area. His family members include his parents, Kenneth Paolini and Talita Hodgkinson, and his sister, Angela Paolini. Home schooled for the duration of his education, Paolini graduated from high school at the age of 15 through a set of accredited correspondence courses from American School of Correspondence in Lansing, Illinois. Following graduation, he started his work on what would become the novel Eragon the first of a series, set in the mythical land of Alagaësia. In 2002, Eragon was published by Paolini International LLC, Paolini's parents' company. To promote the book, Paolini toured over 135 schools and libraries, discussing reading and writing, all the while dressed in "a medieval costume of red shirt, billowy black pants, lace-up boots, and a jaunty black cap." Paolini created the cover art for the first edition of Eragon, which featured Saphira's eye. He also drew the maps on the inside covers of his books.
In Summer 2002, the stepson of author Carl Hiaasen found Eragon in a bookstore and loved it, and Hiaasen brought it to the attention of his publisher, Alfred A. Knopf. Knopf subsequently made an offer to publish Eragon and the rest of the Inheritance cycle. The second edition of Eragon was published by Knopf in August 2003. At the age of nineteen, Paolini became a New York Times bestselling author. Eragon has since been adapted into a film of the same name. Paolini's essay "It All Began with Books" was included in the April 2005 anthology Guys Write for Guys Read.
After an extensive United States and United Kingdom tour for Eragon that lasted into 2004, Christopher began writing his second book, Eldest, which continues the adventures of Eragon and the dragon Saphira. Upon publication of Eldest in August 2005, Christopher toured extensively throughout the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Spain, Germany, France, and Italy
Eldest, the sequel to Eragon, was released August 23, 2005. The third book in the cycle, Brisingr, was released on September 20, 2008. Although the Inheritance Cycle was planned as a trilogy, the details for Brisingr had to be expanded to include a fourth book which has yet to be titled. Paolini's literary inspirations include the works of J.R.R. Tolkien, E. R. Eddison and the epic poem Beowulf. Paolini said that Eragon was "specifically inspired" by the work of Bruce Coville. Other literary influences include David Eddings, Andre Norton, Brian Jacques, Anne McCaffrey, Raymond E. Feist, Mervyn Peake, Ursula K. Le Guin, and Frank Herbert. Other favorite authors include Jane Yolen, Philip Pullman, and Garth Nix.
Nature influences much of Paolini's writing. In a three-way interview with Philip Pullman and Tamora Pierce, Paolini said that Paradise Valley, Montana is "one of the main sources" of his inspiration. In the book Eldest, Paolini described his Elves as vegetarians. When asked about his own diet, Paolini answered, "No, I am not vegetarian, although I lean in that direction." In the acknowledgments of Brisingr, Paolini acknowledged the influence of Leon and Hiroko Kapp's The Craft of the Japanese Sword for his description of the forging of Eragon's sword. Additionally, Paolini admitted he is a Doctor Who fan, which inspired his reference to the "lonely god" (the epithet given to the Doctor by the Face of Boe in season 2, episode 1, "New Earth").
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