Darkness falls...despair abounds...evil reigns... Eragon and his dragon, Saphira, have just saved the rebel state from destruction by the mighty forces of King Galbatorix, cruel ruler of the Empire. Now Eragon must travel to Ellesmera, land of the elves, for further training in the skills of the Dragon Rider: magic and swordsmanship. Soon he is on the journey of a lifetime, his eyes open to awe-inspring new places and people, his days filled with fresh adventure. But chaos and betrayal plague him at every turn, and nothing is what it seems. Before long, Eragon doesn't know whom he can trust. Meanwhile, his cousin Roran must fight a new battleone that might put Eragon in even graver danger. Will the king's dark hand strangle all resistance? Eragon may not escape with even his life. . . . Praise for Eragon: "Unusual, powerful . . . fresh and fluid. An impressive start to a writing career that's sure to flourish." Booklist, Starred "Christopher Paolini make[s] literary magic with his precocious debut." People "The new 'It' book of children's lit." U.S. News & World Report "An auspicious beginning to both career and series." Publishers Weekly A #1 New York Times Bestseller A #1 Publishers Weekly Bestseller A USA Today Bestseller A Wall Street Journal Bestseller A Book Sense Book of the Year A #1 Book Sense Selection
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Synopsis of Eragon
When Eldest begins, Eragon is still living with the Varden. Who are the Varden?
A Twin Disaster
"Eldest" is the second book in the series of four books referred to as the Inheritance Cycle. The author, Christopher Paolini, became something of a sensation in the early 2000s when he published the first book, "Eragon." A fan of fantasy novels, Paolini began writing "Eragon" at the age of 15. He traveled across the country promoting his book for a year before the publishing house Alfred A. Knopf agreed to publish it in 2003. (This annotation contains an image)
What is the recovery effort that Eragon wants to assist with?
Jormundur has newfound respect for Eragon since Eragon slew Durza.
The twins are magicians who provide assistance to Ajihad. They are powerful, but Eragon does not trust them. During the battle against the Urgals that immediately preceded this book, the Twins stopped communications for a time - a breach in their duties that caused Eragon to grow suspicious of them.
The Star Sapphire, or Isidar Mithrim, was a gigantic red gem sixty feet in diameter and carved in the shape of a rose in bloom. It formed the floor of Saphira's dragonhold and the ceiling of the great hall beneath the hold. During the Battle of Farthen Dûr, Arya shattered the sapphire floor to allow Saphira and herself to quickly enter the chamber below and help Eragon fight Durza. (This annotation contains an image)
Although a story's theme generally takes time to develop, a major theme of "Eldest" - good versus evil - becomes clear from the very beginning of the book. This theme is a continuation of the main theme in "Eragon." Watch the video below for a review of theme. (This annotation contains a video)
The Council of Elders
Tronjheim is the dwarf city inside the mountain Farthen Dur. Though now inhabited by humans as well as dwarves, Tronjheim reflects dwarf ways of living. It is entirely underground and consists of tunnels and chambers miles below the earth's surface. The dragonhold had been at the very top of the city and and could be entered from the air. Without it, Saphira will have to live deeper underground.
Italics are used for several purposes in this book. Sometimes they emphasize a very important idea. Sometimes they indicate a particularly strong emotion. Most commonly, however, they are used to capture dialogue that happens inside the characters' heads. Certain magical characters, including Eragon, Saphira, Arya, and the Twins, are able to communicate mentally without speaking aloud.
Why does Eragon fall to the ground in pain?
Eragon uses a metaphor here. What does it mean if Nasuada is a "puppet"?
Did you know that you can look up any word in the text of the book or the text of the questions and answers? Just click (or press on mobile devices) the word you want to define and hold until the blue text selector pops up. When you release, a define option will appear. Use this feature to find out what it means to "swear fealty."
Truth Among Friends
For the most part, "Eldest" is narrated in a third person limited point of view, attached to Eragon so that we (the readers) know what Eragon is thinking and feeling. Watch the video below for an explanation of different points of view. (This annotation contains a video)
What character qualities does Eragon reveal in the highlighted passage?
How does Eragon feel about Arya?
The three diamond shapes that end this chapter generally indicate that the next chapter will bring a change in time, place, or point of view.
Recall that Roran is Eragon's cousin. His childhood home was destroyed when the Ra’zac (pictured below) attacked Carvahall in search of the dragon egg. This attack resulted in the death of Garrow, Roran’s father. (This annotation contains a link)
The red oval in the bottom right marks Farthen Dûr, where Eragon currently is. Carvahall is located in the upper left of the map. (This annotation contains an image)
What is the point of view of this chapter?
Since this book opened, Eragon's life has been filled with conflicts. Now Roran is encountering conflicts as well. Watch the video below for a discussion of internal and external conflicts. (This annotation contains a video)
The Hunted Hunters
Which problem below is an example of an internal conflict?
Roran and Eragon are only two years apart in age, making Roran about 18 at this point.
Why might Galbatorix want Roran? How do you predict Roran's story will overlap with Eragon's in this book?
Based on the three diamonds at the bottom of this page, what can we expect in the next chapter?
"Oei" means "yes" in the dwarfish language.
Although Christopher Paolini created a new and unique world for the Inheritance Cycle, many of the characters, objects, and settings borrow from common elements of legend and fantasy tradition. Watch the clip below of the seven dwarves from the Disney movie "Snow White." Can you see a common thread between these cartoon dwarves and the dwarves in "Eldest"? (This annotation contains a video)
Both Christopher Paolini and Walt Disney borrowed some characteristics of their dwarves from old Norse mythology. What shared element is present in both the Disney video clip and Eragon's conversation with Hrothgar?
The tone and mood change abruptly in this chapter, moving from comical to mournful as the focus changes from a drunk dragon to a serious funeral. Watch the video below for a reminder of the distinction between tone and mood. (This annotation contains a video)
Which description of Eragon's actions most contributes to the sorrowful mood of the scene?
Eragon anticipates angering the Council of Elders.
Which word below is the best synonym for fealty?
A Sorceress, a Snake, and a Scroll
Du Vrangr Gata is a group of magicians who support the Varden. The Twins, who are presumed dead along with Murtagh, were the leaders of the group. In "Eragon," Eragon is asked to join the Du Vrangr Gata, but he refuses due to his distrust of the Twins.
What aspect of Saphira and Eragon's relationship does Saphira emphasize in her warning to Eragon?
Eragon and Saphira often think and act as one entity, yet it is important to remember that they are two distinct individuals. This means that their different strengths, weaknesses, personalities, and backgrounds may both enhance and test their relationship.
Based on Nasuada's refusal to act as a puppet for the Council of Elders and her radical plan to oppose Galbatorix, how can her character best be described?
Urû'baen is the capital of the Broddring Empire, Galbatorix's kingdom.
Are you confused by the strange words that appear from time to time in "Eldest"? To learn their origins and their translations, go to the Table of Contents by clicking on the C in the upper left of the screen. Then scroll down and click on the chapter called Pronunciation Guide and Glossary. To find the translation for the highlighted passage, page through until you see translations for the dwarfish language.
Do you think Eragon is wise to attach himself so firmly to all three races? What consequences might this decision result in?
The various settings of "Eldest" are carefully described. What do you know so far about the setting of Eragon's world? How might the tunnel setting Eragon has just entered affect his upcoming voyage? Watch the video below for suggestions about the way setting influences a story. (This annotation contains a video)
Hammer and Tongs
What is the function of the italics in the highlighted passage?
Quimby was the brewer in Carvahall. Morn is the tavern keeper.
What possible theme does the Ra'zac invasion of Carvahall help to develop?
How does the setting increase the suspense of Roran's return to the village?
Birgit's and Roran's words seem to convince most of the villagers that fighting the king's soldiers is the right thing to do. What does this reflect about the culture of the villagers?
Which common thread connects Roran's and Eragon's stories and may eventually cause the two stories to overlap?
Eragon and Roran's separate story lines are called parallel plots. Watch the video below for an explanation of this structural device. (This annotation contains a video)
Az Sweldn rak Anhûin
The title means "The Tears of Anhui" in Dwarfish.
Remember to use the dictionary feature when you come across an unknown English word. Use it now to determine the best paraphrase of the highlighted line.
What is the effect of including so much of the dwarf language without even a hint of explanation or partial translation?
Durgrimst means "clan." The differing reactions Eragon receives from the various dwarves is a result of the different clan traditions and prejudices.
This scene is filled with imagery as Eragon takes in the sights, smells, and sounds of the dwarf city. The video below explains the importance of imagery. (This annotation contains a video)
Which line below does not contain imagery?
The Eragon Series falls into the fantasy genre. As such, it includes mythical creatures and magic. It also makes use of old legends and mythology as inspiration for characters and their histories. These stories of the dwarf gods are similar to those contained in Norse mythology. Read the list below for other characteristics of fantasy literature. (This annotation contains an image)
According to Norse mythology, dwarves created the famous hammer of the god Thor. Where in Eldest can we see a connection to this myth?
How does Arya's personality affect the other characters?
Here is a clear example of Eragon and Saphira having different points of view. Although they share many emotions and thoughts, Saphira often seems to understand things that Eragon does not.
Diamonds in the Night
How are decisions made in Carvahall society?
Was Roran justified in killing the soldiers or do his actions blur the line between good and evil?
How does Roran seem to feel about Sloan?
The simple food and primitive weapons described in the highlighted passage are important indications of the historical setting of the book. Although "Eldest" is not set in our world, the technology, social organizations, clothing, and food most closely resemble those of the Medieval time period. This Medievalism is one of the common characteristics of fantasy literature.
Under a Darkling Sky
Did you know that Christopher Paolini named Palancar Valley after one of his favorite artists, John Jude Palencar? In a complete coincidence, Palencar was later chosen to paint the cover art for the Inheritance Cycle books. Palencar is pictured below with Paolini and the cover of "Eldest." (This annotation contains an image)
This discussion reveals something about the form of government practiced in Carvahall society. When a person feels that another has wronged him, he turns to a group of arbitrators. Arbitrators are citizens who act as judges in cases of dispute. Like in many villages during the Medieval period, the Carvahall community relies on its own citizens to police themselves.
There is something strange and inhuman about the Ra'zac. This use of fictional beasts is one characteristic of
Down the Rushing Mere-Wash
As you may have noticed, certain objects in Eragon's world hold enormous power. This power may derive from their symbolic meaning, their complicated history, or their magical powers. Pay attention to other objects that, like Zar'roc, seem to have special significance.
What literary device does the highlighted description contain?
This fantasy novel makes use of many common archetypes, such as a dragon that can breathe fire is an archetype. Watch the video below, then see if you can name any other archetypes in the story. (This annotation contains a video)
Little does Eragon know life at Carvahall is not so peaceful anymore. Do you think he would change his plans to train at Ellesmere if he knew that his friends and family in Carvahall were in danger?
Which word is most nearly an opposite of fate? Use the dictionary feature to verify the meaning of fate if you need to.
Arya's role is most nearly that of a(n) ____ in this scene.
Long trips with people can affect relationships. This journey is strengthening the friendship between Eragon and Orik. It is also causing Eragon to view Arya in a new light.
It might be helpful to take another look at the map of Alagaësia. The Az Ragni and Edda Rivers are on the right side of the map. This map, which was drawn by Paolini, is also located at the beginning of the book and can be found in the Table of Contents. (This annotation contains an image)
When Arya says elves are not fecund, she means that
The gedwëy ignasia is the mark left by a Rider's first touch of his or her dragon. It is a spiral-shaped oval that shines silver whenever a Rider uses magic. The picture below is the gedwëy ignasia as portrayed in the movie "Eragon." (This annotation contains an image)
What archetypal quality do the elves in this chapter share with the elves in the painting?
Paolini gives his elves some archetypal characteristics, meaning he includes many traditional elf characteristics in his descriptions. Study the painting below. Do you see any similarities between the elves in the painting and the elves in this chapter? (This annotation contains an image)
The elves admire Saphira and seem comfortable around her, unlike the dwarves in Tarnag who feared her and thought of her as more animal than friends. What is another sign that the elves have a stronger bond with Saphira than the dwarves do?
Wounds of the Past
What role is Roran gradually taking on in Carvahall?
Rowan's whole motivation in convincing the men to move the women and children was to protect Katrina. It is ironic that Roran's success resulted in failure. The town has agreed to enact Roran's plan, but Katrina is still in danger.
To what does this chapter's title "Wound of the Past" most likely refer?
Wounds of the Present
This chapter is entitled "Wounds of the Present." Can you guess what wounds this refers to?
Roran's argument with Sloan is an example of
His Enemy's Face
Marrying for love is certainly romantic, but in a primitive society like this, it is not always practical. Even in our own world, marrying for love is a relatively new custom - one of the last two centuries.
Do you think Roran has handled the Ra'zac threat the right way? Is any of the tragedy that has befallen Carvahall his fault?
Based on Sloan's actions in this scene, what is the most logical reason for his betrayal?
Arrow to the Heart
The elves' love of storytelling songs follows an ancient tradition of bards. A bard in ancient and Medieval culture was a society's poet and history book. Because few people could read, a culture's literature and history was preserved in the memory of a poet who would recite the great stories of the culture at feasts and ceremonies. The bard standing in the picture below is accompanied by a harpist. (This annotation contains an image)
How does Saphira help Eragon in this scene?
Why does Eragon find the elves intimidating?
The Dagshelgr Invocation
As Eragon journeys toward his training, his story is following an ancient story-telling pattern. In fact, the entire Inheritance Cycle is an archetypal story, following the pattern of the hero's journey. Watch the video below to learn about this story pattern. (This annotation contains a video)
Eragon is currently in the Trials stage of the hero's journey, facing many small challenges in preparation for his confrontation with Galbatorix. He has crossed the threshold from his ordinary world to the unknown world. Which place below represents Eragon's ordinary world?
Listen to a few minutes of the playlist below, created by Christopher Paolini and posted on his family website. According to the website, the three songs on the playlist remind him of the elves of Alagaësia. Perhaps the elf music in this scene resembles one of these songs! (This annotation contains a video)
What does Eragon learn about the elves' interaction with the natural world?
The Pinewood City
Because of the elves' close relationship with nature, certain aspects of nature are personified, or given human-like characteristics. In the highlighted passage, for example, the tree root is personified when Arya treats it as "a friend or lover."
Which line below contains personification?
"Wyrda" means "fate." The raven's strange croak gives an ominous sense of foreshadowing.
The old-fashioned meaning of "would" here means "wish to be."
What does the fact that the ring has a name (Aren) suggest?
It is important to note that the being who reached into Eragon's mind in the first book gave two names. The voice said, "I am Osthato Chetowa, the Mourning Sage. And Togira Ikonoka, the Cripple Who Is Whole. Come to me, Eragon, for I have answers to all you ask. You will not be safe until you find me."
What quality does Eragon show when he realizes he should not seek so much attention?
It is worth considering this line since "Eldest" belongs to a series called the "Inheritance Cycle." Which of the characters find themselves inheriting an important legacy, object, or position? Which characters are stripped of their inheritances or deliberately reject them?
Eragon feels unprepared and inadequate to follow in the footsteps of the great Riders like Vrael. What detail in this scene makes Eragon seem particularly young and childlike?
Out of the Past
The image below is fan art depicting Queen Islanzadi with her mantle of swan feathers. (This annotation contains an image)
The characters in "Eldest" have had to make many promises. The power of a spoken vow is highly valued in Eragon's world. Staying true to one's word is an important measure of a person's honor.
Note the black diamonds below. What is the effect of switching to the parallel plot after such a surprising revelation?
Roran has tended to let his emotions drive his actions. This has caused a number of the conflicts he has encountered. Learning to control his emotions is an important step in his character growth. Watch the video below for a discussion of character development. (This annotation contains a video)
What makes the highlighted line important not simply to Roran's speech but to the book as a whole?
An inheritance is important because it creates a link between generations, connecting father to son, mother to daughter, the dead to the living. What does it mean for a family member to lose their inheritance and start with nothing? Can a family legacy live on?
How is Roran's character development beginning to parallel Eragon's? That is, how is Roran becoming like Eragon?
Paolini often uses figurative language to bring his descriptions to life. The highlighted simile compares the taste of bread to sawdust, which helps reveal Roran's lack of appetite and bitter feelings. The video below lists other forms of figurative language to look for as you continue reading. (This annotation contains a video)
Which line below does not contain figurative language?
Do you think Roran's quest to save Katrina is worth making so many enemies? Will the journey to Surda really save the villagers, or will it only endanger them further?
Roran, like Eragon, is on his own hero's journey. Study the image below to determine what point in the journey Roran has reached. (This annotation contains an image)
What stage in the hero's journey is Roran beginning as he leads the villagers out of Carvhall?
On the Crags of Tel'naeír
Shur'tugal means "Dragon Rider" in the ancient language.
What makes Oromis suitable to train others but not to fight?
Below is an image of Saphira and Glaedr flying. It gives you a sense of Glaedr's enormous size next to the much younger dragon. (This annotation contains an image)
According to Oromis, not only do our choices matter, but the reasons behind our choices matter just as much. He plans to teach morality, the study of right and wrong, to Eragon.
What does Oromis reveal about elves' lifespans?
The timeline of life in Alagaesia begins with the creation of dwarves in the year 0. The Dragon Riders were established in the year 5305 A.C. (After Creation) At the current point in "Eldest," the year is 8000 A.C.
When Eragon compares Saphira to a kitten, he suggests that
The Secret Lives of Ants
As a Rider's connection with his dragon grows, he becomes more elf-life in appearance, ability, and lifespan.
What does Eragon's scraggly beard reflect?
What does Eragon fear about practicing the Rimgar?
The training of a young hero by his mentor is another archetype in stories and movies. It is also a stage in the hero's journey. Can you think of any other stories that use this archetype? (Hint: the scene below shows Yoda and Luke Skywalker from the Star Wars movies.) (This annotation contains an image)
What ability must a person have in order to be truly good? Base your answer on the highlighted sentence.
Can you guess what Orimis gives Eragon? (This annotation contains an image)
Under the Menoa Tree
Arya's motivations are hard to read. Is she spending time with Eragon out of a princess's dutiful politeness to a guest, or does she enjoy spending time with him?
What is the meaning of the highlighted sentence?
Which piece of wisdom below is closest in meaning to Rhunön's lesson for Eragon?
What warning might Arya be giving Eragon by telling the story of the Menoa tree?
Remember that "wyrda" is the ancient word for "fate," which means a destiny that is unavoidable. This idea contrasts sharply with Oromis's emphasis on the importance of Eragon's choices. What do you think? Does Eragon have a choice in his destiny? Does the child?
A Maze of Opposition
Below is a picture of Eragon and Nasuada as they appeared in the 2006 film "Eragon." Do they look the way you picture them? (This annotation contains an image)
How has the story's point of view changed in this chapter?
What aspect of Orrin's character does this first encounter with him reveal?
As Eragon has discovered, power is easy to manipulate. Those who have power cannot always use that power they way they would like to. Nasuada, too, is learning this lesson.
Hanging by a Thread
Nasuada dismisses Farica's comment, but Farica's words might have some truth to them. Would money solve her problems? Pay attention to the role of money and of poverty as you continue reading.
How does Nasuada plan to make money to support the Varden?
Part of what makes Elva so horrifying is the unnatural juxtaposition of youth and age that she represents. "Juxtaposition" means putting two opposite things next to each other in order to emphasize their differences.
Which of Elva's powers does Nasuada think could be useful?
This is sort of like a cloth window shade that, when pulled down, blocks all weather from the outside.
What is the significance of this brief chapter?
Why Do You Fight?
Oromis does not baby Eragon when he is in pain. How might Eragon's pain be a useful part of his training?
Eragon is identifying the magicians as the key players in the war against Galbatorix. As we saw a few chapters ago, Nasuada is beginning to accept this fact as well. She will need to make use of the magic within the Varden if she hopes to defeat Galbatorix's army.
Oromis's statement here is age-old wisdom shared by many philosophers and leaders throughout the centuries. In fact, it forms the main reason for public education in democratic countries. Citizens must be educated in order to make logical voting decisions without being tricked by dishonest politicians. Eragon, too, will have to make many political decisions. (This annotation contains an image)
What theme does Oromis's question "Why do you fight" most closely relate to?
Black Morning Glory
Have you heard of ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics like those pictured below? The term "glyphs" is the root word meaning "a carved symbol." The glyphs that Eragon studies are symbols that make up the ancient language. (This annotation contains an image)
Why was Eragon able to escape Oromis's trap so quickly?
What do Saphira's actions around Glaedr reveal about her character?
The black morning glory is actually a deep purple shade although it appears black under certain lighting. (This annotation contains an image)
How does Orik's drunken behavior change the mood following Eragon's embarrassing encounter with Arya?
The Nature of Evil
Remember Oromis's belief that Eragon might fight better against another young opponent? Vanir has gotten under his skin and Eragon's competitive, teenage side is showing.
Eragon's central quest throughout the Eragon series is to destroy Galbatroix - a quest he begins after his own family was attacked. Clearly the theme of revenge is central to the Inheritance Cycle. Oromis is calling this in to question, however, by asking Eragon to distinguish between revenge and justice. Read the article at the link below to learn the differences between revenge and justice. (This annotation contains a link)
Why is Eragon's desire to destroy all Urgals an example of revenge rather than justice?
Essentially, Oromis is saying that a clever magician can create a spell that will penetrate another magician's defenses without being detected.
What are the Ra'zac's weaknesses?
A Ra'zac rides on the back of its parent. (This annotation contains an image)
Image of Perfection
Which of Eragon's enemies did Oromis seem most sympathetic toward?
As creatures that originated from stone and work with stones, the dwarves commonly use stones in their metaphors. What does Orik mean by the highlighted metaphor?
What do you think? Does Arya have feelings for Eragon? Is she against a relationship for the good of Alagaësia or because she does not return Eragon's feelings?
How does reading help Eragon become a dynamic character?
Christopher Paolini has described "Eldest" as a coming-of-age novel, referring to the process of growing up and maturing that Eragon goes through. Eragon's mental and emotional changes make him a dynamic character. Watch the video below for an overview of dynamic and static characters. (This annotation contains a video)
Who were Iormúngr and Vervada?
Aside from Eragon's back pain, his setbacks in training have resulted more from a lack of emotional maturity than from any failures in ability.
Which incident below is not an example of Eragon's immature command of his emotions?
Narda is the coastal city marked in red on the map. From Narda, Roran hopes to sail south to Surda. (This annotation contains an image)
To be given the rank of an earl was a high position. It usually meant a title of nobility complete with a castle, land, and control over the local peasants. (This annotation contains an image)
How does the highlighted line contain dramatic irony?
Roran's thoughts here are an example of dramatic irony. Watch the video explanation of this literary device. (This annotation contains a video)
Remember Farica's words: "Seems most matters in this world have their root in gold." How is a lack of money affecting Roran and his companions?
The Hammer Falls
As Oromis explained, Roran's inability to move is a result of the toxic effects of the Ra'zac's scent.
What effect does the Ra'zac's nighttime appearance have on the villagers?
What is your reaction to Roran's attack on the guards? Does it change your opinion of him?
Roran’s change from a simple country boy to a strong and ruthless leader makes him a(n)
How does Clovis feel about Roran?
The Beginning of Wisdom
Foreshadowing is when a line in a story hints at an event to come. What might the highlighted line foreshadow?
Why did elves cast a spell to forge a bond between elves and dragons (and later humans)?
One of the characteristics of fantasy is the presence of intelligent and mythical animals. Like in the myths of the ancient world, many of these animals are viewed as equal to or even greater than the humans, rather than as lesser creatures.
Why don't elves eat meat?
Broken Egg and Scattered Nest
What kind of problem might cause Saphira to block out Eragon?
Which detail of Eragon's journey to the ancient dragon's lair contains personification?
"Eldest" is a coming-of-age story for Saphira as well as Eragon. They two mature together, which strengthens their bond. Saphira's mistakes in her love life parallel Eragon's mistakes.
What makes Eragon so understanding of Saphira's mistake with Glaedr?
The Gift of Dragons
Perhaps Paolini is channeling some of his own love of writing into Eragon!
By defeating but not killing Durza, Eragon shows that he seeks
What do all the offerings represent?
In a Starry Glade
How did the dragons' gift change Eragon?
How does this chapter help make the book a bildungsroman?
Aside from following the pattern of the hero's journey, "Eldest" also acts as another type of story: a bildungsroman. Bildungsroman is the term for a coming-of-age story that focuses on the psychological and moral growth of the main character.
Do you find it interesting that Roran expects Clovis to keep his word, while he (Roran) intends to break his promise to pay Clovis at the end of the journey?
What do Roran and the others need to accomplish in Teirm?
What is Roran's attitude toward the other villagers?
Those who are familiar with the first book in the Inheritance Cycle may remember that Jeod Longshanks appeared in "Eragon" and provided help and advice to Eragon and Brom.
Why does Roran think it is dangerous when Jeod begins talking to Nolfavrell?
An Unexpected Ally
The fact that the audience knows about Eragon, Brom, Saphira, and Jeod, but Roran does not know is an example of
Jeod may will be protecting Eragon here. He wants to determine if Roran can be trusted before revealing Eragon's secrets.
What is the root cause of Jeod's bankruptcy?
Although his father's home and possessions were destroyed, what was Roran able to inherit from his father?
Review this diagram of the hero's journey before answering the next question. (This annotation contains an image)
Which stage of the hero's journey is Roran in as he and his companions befriend Jeod and attempt to pirate the Dragon Wing?
The men are using ballistas, like the one pictured, to shoot flaming javelins ashore. (This annotation contains an image)
Which line from the text suggests that Roran may feel doubt about the morality of setting the wharf on fire?
Remember that the Ra'zac fear bright light and water.
What makes the tone of the highlighted line so disturbing?
Why do you think Elva is always hungry?
Premonition of War
What is one indication of Elva's confidence and political power?
This book is part of a series, so we should not expect the overarching conflicts to be resolved until the last book in the series. Nevertheless, there should be a sense of climax to the plot as there is in any novel. The news of Galbatorix's troops suggests that we are nearing the climax, or turning point, of "Eldest." (This annotation contains an image)
What will most likely be the climax of Eldest?
Red Blade, White Blade
Eragon requires more than physical strength to defeat Galbatorix. What important role did his weakness and back pain play in his training?
What do you think? Do you like the change in Eragon? Does it make him more heroic or less heroic in your eyes?
What new abilities has Eragon received from the dragons' magic at the Agaetí Blödhren?
Visions Near and Far
Part of the cycle of inheritance involves the passing of the old order and the creation of the new, just like the cycle of life. As Eragon (the new order) gains strength, Oromis (the old order) weakens. His wisdom is Eragon's inheritance.
What new magical power does Eragon learn in this scene?
What are Eragon's religious beliefs?
What do you think these portents (warnings) foreshadow?
What most likely caused the destruction of Carvahall?
What is Eragon's goal in the upcoming battle?
Collecting gems and storing power in them to use during a fight... This is a common element in the modern adaptation of the hero's quest: the video game. (This annotation contains an image)
Evidently, Glaedr has forgiven Saphira for flirting with him.
The Maw of the Ocean
What previous action caused Galbatorix's ships to pursue the Dragon Wing?
Whirlpools are a deadly natural phenomenon. (This annotation contains an image)
Running the Boar's Eye
The crow's nest, where Roran is perched, is a basket or platform affixed to the top of one of the ship's masts. It is used as a lookout point. (This annotation contains an image)
What do you think? Is Roran pushing his luck, or was traveling past the Boar's Eye his only option to save the ship and its passengers?
Why do the passengers of the Dragon Wing need to take up oars?
What is the main external conflict in this section?
This riddle is based on the saying "time heals all wounds."
Eragon is not really the son of no one; he just does not know who his father is.
The Burning Plains
Do you think the picture below matches the description of the Burning Plains? (This annotation contains an image)
What moral quality does Eragon develop due to his ability to read others' thoughts?
Does Elva's selfless desire to help in the battle make her heroic, or is it simply a symptom of her curse?
Which of Arya's questions reveals that, although she may not love Eragon romantically, she truly cares about him?
The Clouds of War
This is a silly question since everyone knows Eragon went to train with the elves. Trianna is allowing her jealousy to impair her reasoning.
Why does Trianna change her attitude so quickly?
What warning message does Saphira imply in the highlighted sentence?
Pictured below is an Urgal. (This annotation contains an image)
By making a pact with the Urgals without consulting King Orrin, Nasuada
Eragon is forgetting his training with Oromis. Do you find it surprising that Eragon can find sympathy for ants, trees, and even Durza, but not for the Urgals?
The Storm Breaks
As the characters prepare to fight the battle that will determine their fates, what point in the plot diagram have we reached?
"Engines" refers to the catapults, trebuchets, and ballistae - all machines designed to fling dangerous objects into the enemy's troops. (This annotation contains an image)
The clip below is actually from the film adaptation of "Eragon," the first book in the Inheritance Cycle. It depicts Saphira and Eragon before preparing to fight the invaders of Farthen Dur. Do you see any similarities between this scene in the film and the highlighted passage in the book? (This annotation contains a video)
What does the film clip have in common with the highlighted passage?
Convergence means "coming together." At this point in the story, Roran's and Eragon's plots converge.
What does Roran's observation reveal?
Do you think Roran is right to be angry with Eragon? Or is he holding an unfair grudge?
What race is the unknown Rider?
What hint earlier in the story suggested Murtagh might be alive?
Zar'roc gleams red with power in the illustration below. (This annotation contains an image)
Which character below is a static character?
What does Arya's highlighted metaphor mean?
How was Roran instrumental in ending the battle?
Although Eragon has spent the majority of his quest separated from his family, the theme of family still plays an important role in the story and will continue to be important in the next book
Do you agree? Are Eragon and Roran equally guilty?