Welcome to this week’s article of The Good, Bad, and What The?, where we took a good, long look at characters in movies, video games, anime, and books and put them on the judgement table to see if they are worthy to be in their respective stories. I strongly believe that well developed characters are more important than anything else in a good story, so I always judge them hard. At the end of every character’s evaluation I will give them one of four ratings: Good for those characters that are developed and deserve their place in the story, Bad for those characters that have no place being made or interacting with anyone else in the story, What The for the characters I just can’t figure out, and then the characters who are dull as dishwasher will get the rating of Sack of Potatoes. Today on the judgement table: Eragon, the main character of “The Inheritance Cycle” by Christopher Paolini.
Now for those of you who don’t know, “The Inheritance Cycle” is the official name of the Eragon books. Many people don’t know this, only the first one got made into a terrible movie so people assume it’s titled the “Eragon” series. I’m going to be honest right from the start on this one, this is my absolute favorite book ever so there’s definitely going to be some bias. Sorry, I just can’t help myself.
Alright, let’s talk about the story of the mighty dragon rider Eragon.
(Spoiler Heavy Article)
Eragon was a young boy whose parents were killed very early in his life. As such, he lived with his uncle and cousin on a farm. He never expected any of the craziness of the outside world to find him, but of course, he isn’t that lucky. When out hunting for some food, an explosion randomly happens in front of Eragon. After he gets up and walks to the site of the explosion, there is a blue smooth rock sitting there in the crater. Eragon brings the rock home and finds out it isn’t a rock at all. The object is a dragon egg that soon hatches and brands Eragon with a gedwey ignasia, marking him as an official dragon rider.
When this dragon hatches and Eragon is done freaking out, he starts think what to do. The dragon is clearly attached to him for reasons he doesn’t yet understand, so he decides to hide it from his uncle and cousin Roran and take care of it. He then gives it a name, Saphira. Eragon is very naive when it comes to anything from the magical world. He has heard of it but has not seen any of it. He doesn’t know that the ignasia on his hand means, and he doesn’t know that Saphira’s entire life is now attached to his. Many people I have talked to said they couldn’t get through the first book in this series because it was boring. I agree and disagree with this. The first book is much slower than the others because Eragon is learning about what his life will become. Through a crazy chain of events, Eragon ends up travelling with a man named Brom who knows all about magic and dragons. Much of the first book is Eragon learning about this world. As a dragon rider, he needs to understand Saphira and the magic he can now wield. He also learns that if he dies, Saphira dies with him. This is what people called “boring”; the action is slow and it is more about Eragon learning. He went from being a regular farm boy to a man who can be a mighty warrior and the savior of all. Eragon also learns that his dragon is one of the last four dragons in existence. More importantly, he is the one of the only two dragon riders left. The other is the main villain of the story, Galbatorix. After some adventures, Eragon also meets up with a man named Murtagh and an elf women named Arya. Brom, however, is now dead and Eragon learns that Brom was his father and a former dragon rider. This was the real motivator that made Eragon decide he was going to become a great dragon rider and defeat Galbatorix.
By the second book, the slower pace of the first book is done with. Eragon is a fighter now and there is a lot of battles in this series. Eragon is now a member of the Varden, a rebel army fighting against the rule of Galbatorix. As being part of the Varden, Eragon is now an important man and symbol. He gives the Varden hope for victory and now he and Saphira fight together as one, although with still much to learn. The second book has Eragon honing his skills and learning how to handle of politics of war. Eragon is still a naive farm boy and is learning a lot from the Varden. Saphira and Eragon have grown together and now are becoming figure heads. After winning a huge battle for the Varden, Eragon is looked up to as a great hero that he doesn’t believe he is. At the same time, Eragon is getting mixed feelings about his elf companion Arya. Eragon is still young and as such foolhardy to a degree. The major effect on Eragon in the second book is when Murtagh, who he now knows is his half brother, betrays him and joins Galbatorix. Eragon is learning about who is real family is and is getting pretty messed up, for a lack of a better word. He went from a simple life to one filled with stress and turmoil and it greatly affects him.
By book three the war is going well and the Varden are marching forth, getting closer and closer to Galbatorix. The third book starts off almost immediately with battle and doesn’t really slow down a lot. The war is in full bloom now and the Varden are doing pretty well with Eragon at the head of every fight. The Varden also got the Urgals to betray Galbatorix and help them. Eragon at this point is a great fighter, a powerful caster, a diplomat, and a military leader. This is a huge jump from his calm simple beginnings. Eragon also exacts his revenge on the Ra’zac, the creatures who killed his uncle. The most important event happens when Eragon goes to the elven capital of Ellesméra to be taught by an elven teacher. It turns out this teacher, Oromis, is also a dragon rider who is living in secret. Eragon spends a lot of time with the elves and becomes very strong. He’s straight up awesome now. At first he wasn’t even sure if he wanted to help save the world, now he is basically one of the strongest people on the planet. His skills and prowess in battle are now totally unmatched by anyone, with the exception of Murtagh and Galbatorix. Throughout the war, Eragon still struggles with having to kill so many people that chose to work with Galbatorix. His major flaw is that he doesn’t want to fight, no matter how good he is. Later in this book, another life changing event also happens to Eragon. During a elven festival, Eragon is filled with magical energy from a great tree the elves worship. This magic turns Eragon into a half-elf, making him that much stronger. This was probably my favorite part in the entire series, it causes Eragon to be filled with magical energy and as well as elven strength and wisdom. He becomes the definition of cool by now. After winning more foot hold and pushing forward, Eragon has now lead the Varden to Galbatorix’s front door.
The fourth book is filled to the brim with non stop awesome. Eragon, Arya, and now Eragon’s cousin, Roran, are the leaders in a great war to defeat a tyrant. Eragon is now a leader and full dragon rider but he isn’t sure he can actually win, even with all the good luck and strength the Varden have. Much of the fourth book is a mental struggle for Eragon to figure out how he is going to win this long war. There is a lot of emotional turmoil for Eragon and Saphira because of all the events that led up to this time.
Okay, this was a pretty long winded article and I kept at as many spoilers as I could. There is a lot to this series, and Eragon himself is a character who changes a lot because of other people. So now I shall give the verdict. Eragon gets the verdict of Good. Purely looking at Eragon’s growth and sweeping development in this series is enough to consider him a very good character. I could not put everything I want into this article because if I did, you could be reading this for hours. So with that said I highly highly recommend “The Inheritance Cycle” to anyone who is a fan of the fantasy genre. You can see yourself what a great cast of characters this book has overall. I do not, however, recommend the movie as it does not do justice to the first book in any way as far as I am concerned.
Be sure to check out “Eragon“, book one in the series on Amazon here.