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Eragon

From Academic Kids

Missing image
Eragon.jpg
The cover of the book, depicting Saphira.

Eragon, the first book of the Inheritance trilogy is a novel written by Christopher Paolini and published by Alfred A. Knopf. It is a New York Times Best Seller, placing second on the Children's Chapter list (as of April 22, 2004).

The story is set in the land of the book follows the travels of a young boy named Eragon. It is thought that the author, Christopher Paolini, got the name from the Viking King Erragon, (the two "r"s are intentional) since many themes in the book are derived from Norse language.

Here is the summary of the book from the cover's flap:

When Eragon finds a polished blue stone in the forest, he thinks it is the lucky discovery of a poor farm boy; perhaps it will buy his family meat for the winter. But when the stone brings a dragon hatchling, Eragon soon realizes he has stumbled upon a legacy nearly as old as the Empire itself.
Overnight his simple life is shattered, and he is thrust into a perilous new world of destiny, magic, and power. With only an ancient sword and the advice of an old storyteller for guidance, Eragon and the fledgling dragon must navigate the dangerous terrain and dark enemies of an Empire ruled by a king whose evil knows no bounds.
Can Eragon take up the mantle of the legendary Dragon Riders? The fate of the Empire may rest in his hands....
Contents

Plot summary

Eragon begins with a 15 year old boy, Eragon, finding a mysterious blue stone in The Spine, an untamed range of mountains near the small village he calls home, Carvahall. After being unable to sell the stone, Eragon soon finds it hatches into a baby dragon, a species thought to be extinct, with the exception of Galbatorix's dragon. He raises the dragon in secret until two hooded figures, the evil Ra'zac, enter the town looking for his mysterious blue stone. Eragon and Saphira, as he names his dragon, manage to hide in the forest, but his uncle is not so lucky. The Ra'zac kill his uncle and ravage the house. Eragon, remembering tales of the past, takes it upon himself to become one of the dragon riders, the ancient warriors who fought for good but died out with the dragons. Accompanied by Brom, a mysterious old story teller from his village, who from his hidden past knows much about the dragon riders, is a surprisingly good swordsman, and learned magician, he learns the ways of the dragon riders as they hunt down the elusive Ra'zac.

After being ambushed by the Ra'zac, Eragon finds himself separated from his mentor and with a new mysterious friend, Murtagh, who helps him to escape the Ra'zac. The new company of three (Eragon, Murtagh and Saphira) travel in search of the hidden Varden, a strong rebel faction which Brom had mentioned on their journey. The new dragon rider faces many perils on his way to this hidden group and many more perils once he finds himself within their fortress. As the story ends at the close of a battle between the King's forces and those of the rebel faction, we learn of the elves that Eragon will be sure to encounter for future tutelage in the sequel, Eldest.

Characters

By Order of appearance (Beginning after the prelude)

  • Eragon- Main Character
  • Sloan- Butcher of Carvahall
  • Horst- Smith of Carvahall
  • Katrina- Daughter of Sloan; girlfriend of Roran
  • Roran- Eragon's cousin, although they're like brothers
  • Garrow- Farmer of Carvahall, Eragon's uncle, raised him from birth
  • Saphira- Eragon's Dragon and best friend, raised by Eragon
  • Brom- Storyteller of Carvahall, Eragon's mentor
  • Jeod- Merchant of Teirm, Brom's good friend
  • Angela- Powerful witch who supports Varden, tells Eragon his future
  • Solembum- Werecat who lives with Angela, gives Eragon a prophecy and much advice
  • Murtagh- Son of Morzan, who was a Forsworn (betrayer of the Dragon Riders); Becomes good friends with Eragon and travels with him to the Varden's hideout
  • Arya- Gaurdian elf of the dragon's egg which Saphira hatched from; is saved by Eragon from the clutches of the King and Durza
  • Durza- Once a disciple of a great sorceror, he becomes a powerful Shade that ravages the land and controls the Urgal before being put to rest by Eragon
  • Orik- Dwarf; nephew of Dwarf King; befriends Eragon
  • The Bald Twins- Twin magicians with strong magical abilities; powerful men within the Varden; cruel and strange with Eragon
  • Ajihad- Ruler of the Varden, a kind and just man
  • Hrothgar- King of the Dwarfs, befriends Eragon

Release information

Knopf released a "deluxe edition" of Eragon in August 2004. That version includes a larger map of AlagaŽsia than the standard edition, and can be removed from the book. It also contains longer appendices concerning the three constructed languages in the novel (Ancient, Dwarf, and Urgal) and exclusive art of Zar'roc, Eragon's sword. The deluxe edition also includes the first chapter of Eldest, the sequel to Eragon. Recently a paperback edition was released, which includes a bookmark, and some information on Eldest.

Movie

A movie based on the novel is scheduled to be released on June 16 2006 by 20th Century Fox.

Criticism

Eragon has been criticized for being overly derivative of other works, and for clumsy mistakes concerning the (supposedly plausible) fixtures of AlagaŽsia. One critic called it "basically Star Wars meets The Lord of the Rings, with elements of Anne McCaffery's Dragonriders of Pern thrown in". Indeed, the setting resembles J. R. R. Tolkien's Middle-earth, the conflict (an attempt by a hero allied with a resistance to overthrow an evil empire and bring back an ancient order of peacebringing superbeings) is close to that of George Lucas's original film trilogy, and the concept of humans telepathically linked to their dragon mounts is the basis of McCaffery's gargantuan Pern series. One passage, on page 472, is extremely similar to another in Tolkien's The Hobbit. It describes the arms and armor of a dwarf fighting force, consisting of hauberks that hang to their knees, mattocks and short swords and iron caps, among a handful of other items; all these items are also present in Dain's dwarf army's gear at the Battle of Five Armies. The phrasing of the two passages is also similar.

The second complaint is represented by a number of statements; including the proclamation that Tronjheim is a "city-mountain of purest marble". Asides from the term "city-mountain", the purity of marble is rarely considered by architects or masons, as deft cutting can hide any impurities in the stone.

Another often pointed out criticism of the story is that in the beginning Eragon starts out as a simple farmer, before finishing up as the best swordmaster in the whole of AlagaŽsia. This could be accepted by the readers if the book's plot didn't take place over the course of a few months.

People have also mentioned how the 'Ancient Language' which Paolini used in his book is similar to Tolkien's created Languages. This same language also has remarkably similar uses as the 'Ancient Language' found in the Earthsea Cycle by Ursula K. Le Guin. The speech of the Dwarves is also strikingly close to Tolkien's own.

Christopher Paolini has stated that he wrote a story that he felt that he would enjoy reading; indeed, Eragon's strengths lie in its fast-paced storytelling and with its sense of earnest wonder. These criticisms could apply to numerous fantasy novels of the seventies and eighties, and Eragon may serve to introduce readers to the works which it has been accused of copying.

Awards

  • 2004-2005 Colorado Blue Spruce Young Adult Book Award [1] (http://cal-webs.org/bluespruce/)
  • 2004-2005 Soaring Eagle Book Award sponsored by the Wyoming Library Association [2] (http://www.ccpls.org/html/soaringeagle.html)

ISBNs

External links

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