Christopher Paolini


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Eragon Summary

SuperSummary, a modern alternative to SparkNotes and CliffsNotes, offers high-quality study guides that feature detailed chapter summaries and analysis of major themes, characters, quotes, and essay topics.  This one-page guide includes a plot summary and brief analysis of Eragon by Christopher Paolini.

Eragon is the first book in Christopher Paolini’s Inheritance Cycle series. It tells the story of Eragon, a young boy in a fantasy universe who happens upon a blue stone while traveling through a mountain range near his home. He eventually discovers the stone to be a dragon egg when it hatches and the she-dragon Saphira is born. Dragons are extinct in Alagaesia, and Eragon is forced to keep his new discovery a secret. Eventually, however, monsters known as Ra’zac come to Alagaesia looking for the egg and in the ensuing battle, Eragon’s Uncle Garrow is killed. Garrow had been like a father to Eragon, having raised him from childhood. Distraught over Garrow’s untimely demise, Eragon vows find the Ra’zac and avenge his uncle’s death.

Soon after the egg hatches, Eragon discovers a telepathic link has been formed between himself and Saphira, making him part of the famed Dragon Riders, a legendary group able to communicate with and control dragons. Galbatorix, a former Dragon Rider who now rules over Alagaesia, once betrayed his mandate as peacekeeper of the realm and killed his fellow Dragon Riders. Eragon discovers it was Galbatorix who sent the Ra’zac to raid his town and thus holds him responsible for Garrow’s death. As he sets out on his quest for revenge, he as his companion Brom, a storyteller who possesses knowledge of how to defeat the Ra’zac. During their travels, Brom teaches Eragon how to use a sword, the ancient language of the elves, and the intricacies of being a Dragon Rider.

Eragon and Brom track the Ra’zac to the town of Teirm only to discover they are too late. The Ra’zac have already moved on to the next town. The duo follow them to the city of Dras-Leona, where their camp is ambushed by the Ra’zac. A stranger named Murtagh comes to their aid, but they do not make it far before they discover Brom has been injured. He succumbs to his wounds, though not before revealing that he too was once a Dragon Rider. It was he who left the stone for Eragon to find, thus ensuring the Dragon Riders would not become extinct.

Murtagh becomes Eragon’s new companion and the two travel with Saphira to the city of Gil’ead to seek the help of the Varden, a group who desire Galbatorix’s demise as much as Eragon does. Eragon is captured and imprisoned with an elf who some time before had invaded his dreams. Murtagh and Saphira mount a rescue, and the elf—Arya—becomes the newest addition to the group. In the midst of the escape, however, they encounter Durza, one of Galbatorix’s henchmen, and must fight him in order to flee. Murtagh eventually shoots Durza with an arrow between the eyes and Durza vanishes.

On the outskirts of the Varden city, Eragon, Murtagh and Saphira are attacked by a group of Urgals. The Varden come to their aid, defeating the Urgals and escorting Eragon and his companions to their mountain hideout where they are questioned by the leader, Ajihad. When Murtagh refuses to allow his mind to be read to determine if he is friend or enemy, Ajihad has him imprisoned. It is then that Eragon discovers Durza was not mortally wounded by Murtagh’s arrow. He is a Shade, and only a stab through the heart can kill him. Eragon and Saphira are given a guide and introduced to the various inhabitants of the city. It is in Gil’ead that Eragon receives his first guidance on the path to becoming a Dragon Rider as he is tested by two magicians known as The Twins, as well as Arya, Ajihad’s daughter. Eragon also encounters an herbalist known as Angela who gives him vital information about how to defeat the Shades.

Eragon is then taken to the dwarves, where King Hrothgar admonishes him, saying that he must prove himself by aiding the Varden in defeating Galbatorix and the Shade.  While visiting the king, it is discovered that an army of Urgals are marching toward the Varden stronghold, and the team begins to prepare for battle. Saphira is gifted a suit of armor by the dwarves and the team, march out to wage war on the Urgals. Eragon once again fights the Shade. While they are evenly matched, Eragon is nearly defeated. Not until Saphira distracts the Shade with her fire breathing does Eragon gain the advantage and finally defeat the Shade.

The Varden easily subdue the Urgals and, when he recovers from his battle with the Shade, Eragon discovers he has been wounded. A large, painful scar has developed on his back, and Eragon realizes he does not yet possess the full measure of skills necessary to become a formidable Dragon Rider. As a result, he decides to seek the tutelage of the elves to learn more about magic and finally fulfill his destiny of becoming a Dragon Rider.

Paolini’s tale, while fiction, demonstrates how determination in the face of insurmountable odds can not only define an individual’s life, but also aid him in the realization of his destiny. Although Eragon experiences loss, imprisonment, and personal injury, these experiences help mold him into a fearless warrior while endowing him with the courage to do whatever is necessary to achieve his destiny.