Read a full summary of Eragon, book #1 in Christopher Paolini’s The Inheritance Cycle series, right here! This page is full of spoilers, so beware. If you are wondering what happened in Eragon, then you are in the right place!
Special thanks to Lindsey Stirling, a new BSR contributor, who wrote this great recap! Visit her website to check out the books she’s written and to keep up with news about her new releases. See the end of the recap for links to her Goodreads, Instagram, and Facebook accounts as well as links to the books she’s published.
***** Everything below is a SPOILER *****
What happened in Eragon?
The book begins in a nighttime forest, where a Shade and twelve Urgals ambush three elves on white horses. Two of the elves are killed instantly, but one, a raven-haired lady, runs to escape. The Shade traps her with fire, but before she is captured, she uses magic to make a large sapphire stone vanish in a flash of emerald light. Meanwhile, Eragon, a fifteen-year-old boy, is hunting deer in the Spine (a range of dangerous mountains near his home in Palancar Valley) when he witnesses a strange explosion. At the center of the explosion, he finds a polished blue stone and decides to keep it to help pay for food.
Eragon travels home, making a stop in Carvahall, the main village in Palancar Valley. He attempts to buy meat from the butcher, Sloan, using the stone to trade. When Sloan finds out the stone was found in the Spine, he refuses to sell to Eragon. Horst (the local blacksmith) and Katrina (Sloan’s daughter) eventually intervene. Horst pays for Eragon’s meat, and in return, Eragon promises to work at Horst’s forge in the spring. Eragon returns home to his uncle, Garrow, and shows him the stone.
On his sixteenth birthday, Eragon remembers his mother, Selena, who had disappeared soon after he was born. He wishes he knew who his father was. He helps his uncle and his cousin, Roran, prepare their farm for winter. Soon after the first snows, a caravan of traders arrives in Carvahall. Eragon and his family visit the village to sell produce. They attempt to sell the blue stone, but the traders don’t know what it is or its value. All they discover is that it’s hollow and almost unbreakable.
In the evening, Eragon listens to a tale from the old storyteller, Brom. Long ago, the Dragon Riders were formed to keep the peace. At the height of their power, a young Rider called Galbatorix made a reckless trip into Urgal territory and was the sole survivor of a brutal attack. The loss of his dragon drove him half mad, and he spent many years in the wilds, plotting how to regain a dragon. With the help of another Rider, Morzan, Galbatorix stole the dragon Shruikan. Together with the Thirteen Forsworn, Galbatorix then killed all the other Riders and crowned himself King over all Alagaësia.
The evening after the trip to Carvahall, Eragon is woken at night by the stone squeaking and moving. It hatches a dragon. When Eragon first touches the dragon, he is knocked out by a blast of energy that leaves a white scar on the palm of his hand. He discovers that he can reach out with his mind and touch the thoughts of the dragon. Eragon keeps the dragon hidden near his house and looks after it. The dragon grows quickly, and they learn to communicate with their minds.
Eragon visits Brom to ask questions about dragons. He learns much about dragons, including that the Dragon Riders were formed after a war between elves and dragons and that he was named after the first Rider. He also learns that while dragons die when their Rider dies, being a Rider makes humans live much longer lives. When Eragon next speaks to his dragon, he learns that she is female, and he names her Saphira.
Later, Roran tells Eragon he is going away so he can earn money to marry Katrina. When Eragon goes to see Roran off in Carvahall, he hears rumors of strange men looking for the blue stone. Eragon is almost caught by the strangers but is saved by Brom, who sees the white scar on Eragon’s hand.
When Eragon tells Saphira about the strangers, she reacts in fear and flies them both deep into the Spine. During their first flight, Eragon’s legs are badly injured by Saphira’s scales. Eragon persuades her to take them back to the Valley, but on their return, they find Eragon’s farm has been burned down, and his uncle is gravely injured. Although they manage to get him to Horst’s house, Garrow dies a few days later.
Eragon and Saphira decide to leave and track down the strangers who killed Garrow. Brom catches them but surprisingly offers to help them seek revenge. He reveals that he knows of Saphira’s existence and helps Eragon make a saddle for her. He gives Eragon a sword named Zar’roc, which has a red blade, and he explains that the strangers are servants of Galbatorix, creatures called Ra’zac. Brom and Eragon buy the horses Snowfire and Cadoc in Therinsford, then begin their journey. As they travel, Brom teaches Eragon about dragons and trains him in sword fighting.
Eragon, Saphira, and Brom cross the plains and arrive at Yazuac to discover all the town’s residents are dead. Before they can leave, they too are ambushed by Urgals. During the battle, Eragon shouts the word ‘Brisingr’ and creates blue fire on his arrow. It kills the Urgals but leaves him very weak.
Later, Brom tells Eragon that the blue fire was magic. Reluctantly, Brom explains that magic works through using words of the ancient language. It is limited by one’s knowledge of the language and also one’s strength. Trying to do something with magic that is beyond one’s strength can be deadly. Despite this, Brom agrees to teach Eragon more words of the ancient language and how to use magic. As the journey continues, Eragon starts to fly with Saphira more often, and he discovers they can join minds, allowing him to see the world through her eyes.
The trail of the Ra’zac goes dead, but Eragon finds a flask of Seithr oil left behind, leading them to search for another clue in the port town of Teirm. They seek out an old friend of Brom’s called Jeod, a merchant whose trading ships are being destroyed by the Empire because he is helping the Varden (a group of rebels working against Galbatorix). Eragon hopes to learn more of Brom’s past, but the storyteller reveals only vague details that he and Jeod had once undertaken a mission to find an important object. Brom had found the object and then disappeared, leaving everyone to think he was dead.
Eragon visits the herbalist’s shop next door to Jeod’s, meeting a werecat called Solembum who speaks to Eragon in his mind. He also meets the herbalist, Angela, who offers to read his fortune using dragon knucklebones. Angela mentions that woman called Selena once had her fortune read, and Eragon wonders if it was his mother.
Eragon’s fortune tells of long life, of great powers fighting over his will and destiny, and of an impending death as well as that he will one day leave the land forever. It also tells of an epic romance with a woman of noble birth, and of a betrayal from within his family. Before he leaves the shop, the werecat also tells him two important things: “When the time comes and you need a weapon, look under the roots of the Menoa tree. Then, when all seems lost and your power is insufficient, go to the rock of Kuthien and speak your name to open the Vault of Souls.”
Eragon quickly learns to read as he, Brom, and Jeod search the shipping records for Seithr oil. Brom also teaches Eragon about scrying, a means of using magic to view people who are far away. Amongst this, Eragon starts having dreams of a young woman chained in a prison cell. Later, Eragon, Brom, and Jeod sneak into the castle records room, searching for more clues. Solembum, appearing as a scruffy boy instead of a cat, warns them of the soldiers approach, allowing them to escape with the records they need. They figure out that the Ra’zac are in Dras-Leona.
On the journey to Dras-Leona, Eragon confronts Brom about his past. Brom reveals that he and Jeod were once members of the Varden. It was they who stole Saphira’s egg from Galbatorix. During the mission Brom slew Morzan, last of the Forsworn, before leaving to hide in Carvahall. Brom warns Eragon that the Empire and the Varden are both fighting to control the next generation of Riders, of which Eragon is the first.
While traveling, Urgals catch their trail, forcing them to flee. To give Brom a chance at escape, Eragon and Saphira confront the Urgals. Instead of attacking, the Urgals announce that their master wishes to speak with Eragon. Eragon uses magic to blast the Urgals, but it drops him unconscious. He wakes to find himself safe but alone. While he waits, he tries to scry the woman from his dream and is surprised to find he can see her, which means she is real and not simply a dream.
Shortly before they arrive at Dras-Leona, Eragon manages to defeat Brom in a sparring match. Brom declares that Eragon’s sword training is now complete, but he warns him about fighting with magic in a wizard’s duel. Winning a wizard’s duel relies on being able to control another’s mind and is one reason why King Galbatorix is so powerful.
They arrive at Dras-Leona and see the spired mountain of Helgrind with its cathedral in the city below. The Seithr Oil is given as sacrifice to the mountain, which is actually the Ra’zac’s lair. Eragon visits the cathedral but is caught unawares by the Ra’zac. He, Brom, and Saphira flee the city, however the Ra’zac catch them in the countryside. They are about to be killed when a mysterious stranger attacks the Ra’zac. The Ra’zac flee, but not before throwing a dagger at Eragon. Brom jumps in front of Eragon and takes the dagger through his ribs. The stranger, Murtagh, a man only a little older than Eragon, agrees to stay and help them.
Brom is fatally injured by the attack. Before he dies, Brom gives Eragon his blessing and reveals that he too was once a Dragon Rider. Brom had been friends with Morzan before he became one of the Forsworn, and Zar’roc was Morzan’s sword. Brom’s dragon, also called Saphira, was killed in Galbatorix’s rebellion. Eragon builds a tomb for Brom at the top of a hill, and Saphira’s touch turns it to diamond.
Eragon, Saphira, and Murtagh travel to Gil’ead to make contact with the Varden. They reach Gil’ead but are quickly attacked by Urgals, who take Eragon prisoner. Eragon discovers that both he and the elf woman from his dreams are being held captive by a Shade. The Shade visits Eragon and tries to make him reveal his true name, but Eragon gives him a fake name: Du Sundavar Freohr. Murtagh and Saphira break Eragon and the elf out of the prison. They fight the Shade, and Murtagh shoots him between the eyes, causing him to vaporize, however only a strike to the heart can kill him.
Once away from Gil’ead, Eragon tries to heal the elf. He heals her surface wounds but she still won’t wake. Later, as they travel across the Hadarac Desert, Eragon speaks to the elf through his mind. She gives her name, Arya, and explains she has been poisoned by the Shade and will die soon unless they can get the antidote from the Varden. Arya shows Eragon the route to find the Varden.
Eragon, Saphira, and Murtagh make a desperate journey to find the Varden, encountering bandits and Urgals along the way. Murtagh insists that he must leave before they reach the Varden, but they soon discover there is no other way out of the valley. Murtagh is forced to continue with them and reveals that he is the son of Morzan.
Eragon, Saphira, and Murtagh reach the Varden, only just escaping a band of Urgals. Before they can proceed, Eragon’s mind is searched by a magician, one of the Twins. With Saphira’s help, Eragon hides some of his private memories, including Murtagh’s revelation about being Morzan’s son. Later, Murtagh tells Eragon his life story, explaining that he and his mother were kept hidden away by Morzan and that Morzan gave him a huge scar across his back using Za’roc. After Morzan’s death, Murtagh was encouraged to join Galbatorix, but he escaped the King.
Eragon is taken into the dwarf city of Tronjheim, which is built in tunnels and caverns under the mountain Farthen Dûr. Murtagh is recognized and thrown in prison for refusing to have his mind probed by the Twins. Eragon meets Ajihad (leader of the Varden), Nasuada (Ajihad’s daughter), and Hrothgar (King of the dwarves). Orik (Hrothgar’s nephew) is assigned to Eragon as his guide. From his conversations with the leaders, Eragon learns more about the politics between the elves, who live in the Du Weldenvarden forest, the Varden, and the dwarves, who are currently allowing the Varden to live in Farthen Dûr. Recent intelligence also confirms that the Urgals are servants of Galbatorix.
While walking through Tronjheim, an old woman asks Eragon to bless a baby. He blesses her using words of the ancient language, and when Saphira touches the child, she leaves a star-shaped silver mark on her forehead.
The Twins try to recruit Eragon to join a group of magic users called Du Vrangr Gata, The Wandering Path. Eragon refuses to join, but still must have his magic tested by the Twins. The Twins try to trick him into using difficult magic, but Arya stops them. The elf then tests Eragon in a sword fighting duel. Although Eragon cannot beat her, he proves his skill enough to show that he is ready for the next stage of his training in the elf city of Ellesméra.
How did Eragon end?
A large Urgal army makes a surprise attack on Tronjheim, approaching underground through the tunnels. The Varden and the dwarves prepare for battle, collapsing several tunnels and forcing the Urgals into battle under Farthen Dûr. Eragon fights in the battle with Saphira, who is given dragon armor by the dwarf king. While the Varden and dwarves fight valiantly, the Urgals seem to have endless reinforcements.
During the battle, Eragon encounters the Shade, Durza, in the great cavern under Isidar Mithrim, the star sapphire. They fight with swords, but the Shade also tries to break into Eragon’s mind, giving Eragon a glimpse of Durza’s past. Durza injures Eragon with a huge wound across his back and is on the verge of killing him when Saphira and Arya break through the star sapphire. The distraction allows Eragon to kill Durza by striking him through the heart with Zar’roc.
Eragon is left unconscious at the end of the battle and hears a mysterious person speak to him in his mind. The voice says he is Togira Ikonoka, the Cripple Who Is Whole, and that Eragon should seek him in the elf city of Ellesméra to find answers to his questions. Eragon awakes to discover the battle has been won, although he is suspicious about the disappearance of the Twins during the fighting. The book ends with Eragon deciding to seek Togira Ikonoka in Ellesméra.
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