This series by Christopher Paolini has held me spellbound since the time I read one of his books (which ironically enough was the last in the series). I was gripped by his unique and detailed writing style which has been my favourite. Paolini has a deep knowledge of whatever he covers in his books, illustrated by his personal notes at the end of the book.
Eragon is an ordinary farm boy (or so he thinks), who lives with his uncle Garrow and brother Roran in a house a short while off the edge of Carvahall. Carvahall itself is a cosy little village in the Spine, a series of high peaks that border one edge of Alagaesia.
One day, while hunting for game in the forests that circle his village, Eragon is startled by a momentary and loud blast some distance ahead of him. Regaining his senses, Eragon goes to investigate. At the site, he finds blackened markings of soot and smoke, at the centre of which is a superbly polished stone, of a deep blue colour. Little does he know, it is a dragon egg. Though, later in the night, it hatches for him, and brands him with the gedwey ignasia, which is the mark of a dragon rider.
He raises it in secret, and asks many things of dragons from the village storyteller, Brom, who gets suspicious of his activities. Once Brom catches Eragon with his dragon, whom he names Saphira, they escape with their lives as dark creatures known as the Ra’zac nearly find that there is a new dragon. The Ra’zac are the most feared servants of the evil king, Galbatorix.
The Dragon Riders were created earlier in the devastating aftermath of a war between the dragons and elves, in order to prevent such occurrences again. The riders became peacekeepers, healers, scholars, teachers, philosophers, powerful warriors and adept magicians. Under their guidance, there was a Golden Era.
With the arrival of humans, they too were added to the pact and could become riders. After many years of relative peace, warlike Urgals killed Jarnunvösk, Galbatorix’s first dragon. As a result, he was driven mad. Denied his request of a new dragon by his elders, Galbatorix was driven into furious rage, and set out to destroy the Riders.
To go about his insane desire, Galbatorix acquired a new dragon, Shruikan, and forced it to serve him by certain dark magic. He also gathered thirteen followers, named the Forsworn. With the help of his terror-inspiring followers, Galbatorix threw down the riders, murdered their leader, Vrael, and declared himself ruler of Alagaesia.
These atrocious actions of his forced the elves to retreat into their forest, Du Weldenvarden and the dwarves into their mountainous homes. Neither race ventures from its bounds and it is into this stalemate of a hundred years into which Eragon is thrust.
Brom, who apart from being a bard, is also a skilled magician and sword fighter, teaches Eragon much of what he knows. Magic is cast through the use of the ancient language, which when imbibed with energy, does what is said. Another quirk of the ancient language is that one cannot lie while speaking it.
On their travels through the desert, the trio chance upon a city where an elf, the most ancient and powerful of races, is held hostage by the Shade, Durza. A shade is a human being who is artificially imbibed with powerful spirits, granting huge power, and extreme madness accompanied by blood-lust. They rescue the elf, and are helped by Murtagh, another human traveller. Sadly, Brom dies in the process.He takes a poisoned arrow meant for Eragon.
In his last moments, Brom confides in the trio that he himself was a dragon rider, his dragon, Saphira’s namesake, was slain by Galbatorix in his rise to power. he also gives Eragon his sword, an indestructible Rider’s sword named Zar’roc which Brom gained by killing Morzan and his dragon, one pair of the Forsworn. Brom is lain to rest on top of a beautiful hill, and encased in a coffin of sandstone by Eragon. In a rare phenomenon, Saphira, now well grown, is inspired to pay her respects to Brom, and magically transforms his coffin to diamond.
The three friends then continue their journey to the Varden in the Beor Mountains, a range of mountains over ten miles high. The Varden they learn of from the elf, named Arya, who is poisoned and has only one cure. She is in such a bad state that she can only converse with Eragon through her mind, and even then only weakly. By probing in her mind,another capability of riders, elves, dragons and some gifted people, Eragon is shown the location of the Varden by Arya.
To talk of the Varden, it is an army of soldiers and visionaries who aim to topple Galbatorix from his seat of power. it is led, currently, by the human, Ajihad. They are presently stationed in the Beor mountains which are the home of the dwarves, a short yet determined race of adept tunnellers and stone sculptors who have a mental and physical inclination towards stone.
On their way, they spot an army of Urgals, a vicious race of man like creatures of immense proportions, and who grow horns. They have destroyed many villages and towns. This large contingent is controlled by the Shade Durza, who is fortunately not present there.
Murtagh, Eragon and an immobile and hurt Arya are forced to ride on the back of Saphira, whose put under great strain, to escape. They narrowly save their lives and are rescued by the Varden. After being questioned by Ajihad, who they meet for a first time, they are given a room to stay and all are assured of their trustworthiness. All except Murtagh, that is, Ajihad recognized him as the son of Morzan and he is sentenced to solitary confinement.
Arya was given over to the help of trained healers as soon as they reached there. There, Eragon also blesses an infant. Arya restored to full health, she thanks Eragon for his help. They become good friends and help one another through their sufferings.
Some days after their arrival, the Varden are forced to war with the Urgals, aided by Durza. Just before the battle, Saphira is gifted a set of Dragon armour by the dwarves. Eragon and Durza, in the end, have a face off the like of which had not been seen for centuries. Eragon displayed his excellent swordsmanship.
Sadly, Durza, far stronger than any human, defeats Eragon and slashes open his back from shoulder to hip. At that moment, Arya breaks through the ceiling of the room with Saphira, who was being helped by Arya to remove her armour. They are forced to break the Isidar Mithrim or star sapphire which the dwarves prize as their greatest treasure to provide a distraction to Durza. This allows Eragon to kill him in the only manner possible, by stabbing the Shade through the heart. As the Shade who controlled them was killed, the Urgals regained their senses and were finally driven away by the Varden.
Post battle, Eragon faints and his wound pains him more than ever. In his unconscious state, and on the path to recovery, Eragon is contacted mentally by someone who identifies himself as the Togira Ikonoka, Mourning Sage or The Cripple Who Is Whole, and is asked to come to him for tutorship in Magic, swordsmanship and what can be referred to as the 101 on how to be a Dragon Rider.
As Eragon wakes, he realises that he desperately needs more training and decides, in the end, decides that he will find this Cripple Who Is Whole.
Thus ends the first book of the Inheritance cycle.
Eragon (the book) has a remarkable story, made even more so by Paolini’s engaging and realistic style of writing. I found the book very addicting. Paolini’s style of writing creates detail in the story, without going into what seems to be slow motion. This, apart from his well-formed storyline, makes sure that there is never a dull moment in the story, and maintains a what-will-happen-next attitude in the reader.
Paolini writes in a style that can appeal to the medium reader and uses a wide vocabulary of English words, in addition to which he forms a couple of new languages for the purpose of the story. Overall, Eragon was an unparalleled start of any series that I have read, and it has inspired me to get the book and read it again and again.
For more information and fun activities relating to the series, please visit www.alagaesia.com or www.shurtugal.com. (Note:- I haven’t created the sites and nor am I advertising them. They are just for your reference.)