OATHS SWORN . . . loyalties tested . . . forces collide. Following the colossal battle against the Empire's warriors on the Burning Plains, Eragon and his dragon, Saphira, have narrowly escaped with their lives. Still there is more at hand for the Rider and his dragon, as Eragon finds himself bound by a tangle of promises he may not be able to keep. First is Eragon's oath to his cousin Roran: to help rescue Roran's beloved, Katrina, from King Galbatorix's clutches. But Eragon owes his loyalty to others, too. The Varden are in desperate need of his talents and strengthas are the elves and dwarves. When unrest claims the rebels and danger strikes from every corner, Eragon must make choices choices that take him across the Empire and beyond, choices that may lead to unimagined sacrifice. Eragon is the greatest hope to rid the land of tyranny. Can this once-simple farm boy unite the rebel forces and defeat the king? From the Hardcover edition.
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Synopsis of Eragon and Eldest
Eragon's relationship with Brom is important. Eragon grows fond of Brom during their time together and comes to regard Brom as a mentor and even a father figure.
Galbatorix discovered Murtagh's true name and used this knowledge to control him. A true name represents a person's essence. Knowing the name gives the knower power over that person.
Which individuals or groups is Eragon in alliance with by the opening of Brisingr?
The Gates of Death
Published in 2008, "Brisingr" is the third book in the four-book series referred to as "The Inheritance Cycle.” The series was originally supposed to be a trilogy, but, while writing “Brisingr,” author Christopher Paolini determined that the remaining story was too long for a single book. The end of the series was extended to include “Inheritance” as a fourth book in the series. (This annotation contains an image)
By opening the chapter with the bloody description of a gruesome ritual, Paolini makes the city of Helgrind seem like
Who is this second person? By dropping hints about him or her, but keeping the name a secret, the author creates more suspense for the reader.
Why do Roran and Eragon seek revenge upon the Ra'zac?
Around the Campfire
A fan of fantasy stories, author Christopher Paolini began writing his own fantasy series at the age of fifteen. By nineteen, he had become a New York Times bestselling author, and by twenty-eight he had been entered into the Guinness Book of World Records as the “youngest author of a bestselling book series.” He continues to write today and encourages other young writers to pursue their dreams. To find out more about Paolini and his tips for writing, visit his website at the link below. (This annotation contains a link)
Lying is impossible in the ancient language. Any secret told must be the truth, and any promise made must be kept.
Why does Eragon feel sympathy for Murtagh despite the fact that Murtagh works for Galbatorix?
It has been less than a year since the Ra'zac killed Eragon's Uncle Garrow, changing Eragon's and Roran's lives forever. Since then, the two cousins have lived in a near-constant state of stress and fear.
The highlighted passage is all one sentence. What does the unusual structure of the sentence indicate?
What does Eragon successfully teach Roran?
Here is one fan depiction of Eragon's pointy ears as compared to the elf, Arya's. (This annotation contains an image)
Magic in "The Inheritance Cycle" is described as a manipulation of energy. Where does Eragon get the energy to perform the complex healing spell?
Since Eragon acquired many of the features and abilities of the elves during the Agaetí Blödhren in "Eldest," he has not needed to sleep as a normal human. Like the elves, he rests in a dream-like state without fully losing consciousness at night.
Assault on Helgrind
The diagram below shows metal plate armor instead of mail armor, but the labels will help you understand Eragon's descriptions of his protective gear. Eragon's "bracers" are labeled as "vambrace" in the diagram. (This annotation contains an image)
To what does the narrator compare Helgrind in the highlighted sentence?
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 help you understand the highlighted sentence.
The name Lethrblaka refers to the creatures' wings. According to Christopher Paolini, "lethr" means "leather, and "blaka" means "flapper" so they are literally the "leather-flappers." The picture of the Lethrblaka below was drawn by Paolini. (This annotation contains an image)
This fight scene is especially intense because of the vivid imagery used to describe the sights and sounds of the battle. Watch the video below to review the meaning of imagery. (This annotation contains a video)
What technique does the author use to paint a vivid battle scene in the highlighted passage?
What is the effect of the detailed descriptions of the tunnel noises?
Both Eragon and Roran fit many heroic archetypes, or typical characteristics of a hero. Which heroic actions do they have in common with Prince Philip in the "Sleeping Beauty" clip?
Is there anything about Eragon and Roran's attack on Helgrind that seems familiar? Watch the clip below from the Disney movie "Sleeping Beauty" in which Prince Philip tries to save Princess Aurora. Begin at the 1:42 mark and look for similarities between this well-known fairy tale and Eragon and Roran's story. (This annotation contains a video)
In a battle situation, a soldier must kill or be killed; it is a matter of self-defense. How is killing someone in battle different from killing Sloan now?
What character quality does Eragon show by sparing Sloan's life?
Roran and Katrina have a happiness that Eragon cannot have. Why can't Eragon be with the woman he loves?
There are a number of places in "Brisingr" where characters use words from other languages - the ancient language or elf, dwarf, and Urgal languages. Although these words are not always explained in the story, you can find their translations at the back of the book. To locate them, click on the "C" in the upper lefthand corner. Find the Table of Contents, then scroll down past the chapter titles and click on the Pronunciation Guide and Glossary.
Rider and Ra'zac
"Gramarye" is the word for "magic" in the ancient language.
If the Ra'zac is not magical, do you think he truly has the power to curse Eragon and change his fate? Or will Eragon's own choices determine his future?
To whom is Eragon referring when he says "our father"?
Eragon is still only sixteen years old at this point. He is still growing up and maturing. Part of becoming more mature is considering how your actions will affect others. Do you think Eragon is being mature or immature when he chooses to remain behind alone with Sloan?
Eragon shows maturity by
To Walk the Land Alone
While Eragon's life is filled with external conflicts (like fighting the Ra'zac or facing extreme hunger), his internal conflicts become more and more important throughout the course of "Brisingr." Watch the video below for an overview of internal and external conflicts. (This annotation contains a video)
What internal conflict does Eragon face at this point?
Sloan is a butcher by profession.
Although Eragon no longer has a sword, he performed mighty deeds while he possessed Zar'roc, Morzan's red sword. The name Firesword refers to the color of Zar'roc as well as the flames that burst from Zar'roc when Eragon killed the shade Durza. (This annotation contains an image)
The idea that knowing someone's true name gave the knower power is a very old idea. Paolini is continuing a long-established fantasy archetype, also used in stories like "The Odyssey," "Rumpelstiltskin," "Lord of the Rings," and even the TV show "Doctor Who." Watch the video below and be on the lookout for other archetypes that appear throughout this book. (This annotation contains a video)
Däthedr warns Eragon in the form of a metaphor. What does the highlighted metaphor mean?
The elves' close relationship with the forest is a common characteristics of elves in many stories. Elves are frequently depicted as loving nature and living in trees like the elves in "The Inheritance Cycle." Do you recognize the elf and treehouse below? (This annotation contains an image)
How does Eragon's view of right and wrong seem to differ from the elves' view?
Notice how the narrator reveals Eragon's thoughts and feelings as he describes the scenes. This is known as third person limited point of view. In other words, the perspective is limited to Eragon's point of view. The video below discusses other common points of view. (This annotation contains a video)
What do you think of Eragon's punishment? Is he showing mercy to Sloan by punishing him this way? Did he abuse his power by forcing Sloan to swear against his will?
The Trial of the Long Knives
The fact that the narrator reveals what Nasuada is thinking and feeling indicates that
Remember that Ajihad was killed in a surprise Urgal attack on Farthen Dûr at the beginning of "Eldest." King Hrothgar was killed by Murtagh in the Battle of the Burning Plains at the end of "Eldest."
The Urgals, who fought for Galbatorix in the battle at Farthen Dûr, requested to switch sides and fight for the Varden just before the battle of the Burning Plains at the end of "Eldest," the previous book. Nasuada agreed for strategic reasons, but distrust between Urgals and the other races is still quite strong. (This annotation contains an image)
Why did Nasuada choose to have dwarves, humans, and Urgals as her guards?
Are you curious what the Trial of the Long Knives is? By not explaining the trial, the author keeps us in suspense and increases the dramatic tension of the chapter.
What is the Trial of the Long Knives?
What character qualities does Nasuada reveal by competing in and winning the Trial of the Long Knives?
What does Elva's lie to Nasuada suggest about the art of foretelling the future?
Elva does everything she can to help and protect others, but because she does not do so freely, she cannot be considered kindhearted. Her personality is bitter and angry rather than compassionate.
Angela often plays the role of the humorous eccentric. Her strange ways and unusual comments help create a lighter mood during serious scenes. Angela's wisdom and magical abilities prove that she should not be underestimated, however.
Although Eragon has spoken of Arya, this is the first moment that she is introduced to the reader. What important facts about Arya does the highlighted description establish?
Eragon's world is set in a pre-industrial society. This means that his society lacks modern technology and education, closely resembling life during the Medieval time period. Without TV, newspapers, or social media, pre-industrial cultures spread news and stories through song and poetry.
The three diamonds at the end of this chapter are used to indicate a passage of time, a change in setting, or a change in point of view. Look for one or more of these changes as you begin reading the next chapter.
Escape and Evasion
What change has occurred between this chapter and the previous one?
Eragon's transformation from an ordinary farm boy to a powerful Dragon Rider is similar to the transformation many heroes undergo. In fact, Eragon's story throughout The Inheritance Cycle follows a well-known story pattern known as the hero's journey. In these stories, the hero's adventure brings change not only to the world around the hero, but also to the hero's inner self. The video below sums up this heroic pattern. (This annotation contains a video)
What inner conflict does Eragon struggle with as a result of his role as Rider?
Tenga's search for an answer is his own kind of quest. Eragon's main quest, of course, is to destroy Galbatorix. What questions must he answer in order to do so? Consider the questions Eragon must ask about Galbatorix as well as the questions he must ask about himself.
Eragon gains a new experience from visiting Tenga's hut, yet he leaves without understanding who Tenga is, what he is searching for, or who made the animal statues. What is one piece of wisdom Eragon's visit to Tenga reveals?
"Brisingr," the title of this book, means "fire" in the ancient language. It was the first word of magic Eragon ever used and it plays an important role in this book. Pay attention to this word as it appears throughout the story.
One of the most common hero stories is the epic. You may have heard of some of the ancient epic poems like “Beowulf” or “The Odyssey.” Modern epics can take the form of books like “Harry Potter” or movies like “Star Wars.” All epics tell stories of impressive heroes who set out on adventures to fight some form of evil. Click on the link below and read the details about epic stories and heroes. (This annotation contains a link)
Is Eragon's refusal to kill Sloan the kind of decision an epic hero would make? Base your answer on the website from the previous annotation.
In "Eldest," Eragon revealed his romantic feelings to Arya several times, causing her to distance herself from him and damaging their friendship. Now, Eragon has learned to keep his feelings to himself, so he does not harm the friendship they have rebuilt. This relates to an important theme of "Brisingr." Consider what this theme might be as you watch the video below. (This annotation contains a video)
Eragon's struggle to handle his relationship with Arya maturely helps develop the theme of
Another theme in "Brisingr" is the tug of war between luck and skill, fate and choice. When Arya uses the word "fortune," she means "luck." Nasuada and Arya's conversation reminds us that there is an important difference between luck and skill. Luck is outside our control; skill is not.
Why does Eragon need Nasuada to tell him what Saphira is saying?
A Delicate Matter
By hefting those giant rocks, Roran is simply weight lifting ... medieval style. (This annotation contains an image)
Albriech and Baldor are the sons of Horst and friends of Roran. Roran lived with Horst and his family in Carvahall after the destruction of his father's home.
Which line below indicates that Katrina's secret is a personal, sensitive matter?
The word diplomacy refers to the art of making negotiations between different political groups. Diplomacy requires tact, or deliberate politeness, to help create solutions that all groups can agree on. In “Eldest,” Eragon spent much of his time training with Oromis and developing his magical abilities and fighting skills. Force is not enough to win a war and maintain peace, however. In “Brisingr,” Eragon, Nasuada, and other leaders must develop the art of diplomacy. (This annotation contains an image)
What is an example of diplomacy in this chapter?
What distinction does Nasuada make between Eragon and Roran?
Notice the emphasis that the characters in Eragon's world place on honor. Honor is one of the most important values in the human, elf, and dwarf cultures alike.
A literary genre refers to the category a book fits into. Since Brisingr includes a furry blue elf, Brisingr is an example of a(n)
In elf culture, the order in which individuals speak to each other is significant. Usually the elf with the greater social status speaks last. By speaking first, the lead elf (the one with the blue fur) is showing respect to Nasuada.
Nasuada describes the elves as capricious. Which word below is the best synonym for capricious? Use the dictionary feature to help you if need be.
Mercy, Dragon Rider
One component of a traditional epic story is a long journey. Few characters have taken journeys longer than Odysseus, the hero of "The Odyssey." Odysseus travels for ten years and faces numerous beasts and challenges before he finally arrives home. Odysseus' journey is so famous that the word "odyssey" is now used to refer to any long journey or adventure. You might say that Eragon is living out his own odyssey at this point as he struggles to return home to Saphira. (This annotation contains an image)
Which quality of an epic hero does Eragon demonstrate in the highlighted line?
A sword is an example of an archetype; it is a weapon that has appeared in many hero stories across the centuries. Just as surely as a cowboy has a pistol in his holster, the Medieval hero has a sword in his scabbard. Can you think of any heroes from books or movies who carry a sword? (The character below is Peter Pevensie from "The Chronicles of Narnia.") (This annotation contains an image)
Shadows of the Past
Paolini uses many examples of figurative language in his writing. Watch the video below for an overview of figurative language. Then, see if you can find two examples of figurative language in the highlighted passage. (This annotation contains a video)
Eragon uses a metaphor when he discusses the "wolves" in his head. What is the literal meaning of this metaphor?
In a figurative sense, Eragon's discussion about how to deal with killing in war is a part of his hero's journey. How can this discussion be considered a "journey" if Eragon is not traveling during the discussion?
Arya and Eragon's paths first crossed when Eragon rescued Arya from the shade Durza. Three elves - Arya, Fäolin, and Glenwing - had been protecting Saphira's egg when they were attacked by Durza. The shade killed Fäolin and Glenwing immediately, but Arya survived his attack and was taken captive.
The fact that Arya shares some of her personal feelings and memories with Eragon indicates that she
The Dance of Snake and Crane was the name Oromis gave to a series of exercises Eragon performed in order to stay in shape and prepare for battle.
Which line below uses personification to describe nature?
Spirits in "The Inheritance Cycle" are their own species. They are not the souls of other creatures; they are simply a different type of creature.
How does the journey back to the Varden's camp affect Eragon and Arya's relationship?
Amid the Restless Crowd
What aspect of Eragon and Saphira's relationship does the highlighted passage capture?
Saphira soars through the clouds in the illustration below. (This annotation contains an image)
How does Eragon's point of view differ from Nasuada's in his description of the blue elf?
Eragon has many titles in a variety of languages. Argetlam means "silver hand" in the ancient language and refers to the gedwëy ignasia that marks his hand as a Dragon Rider. (This annotation contains an image)
By saying Roran has a "silver tongue," Eragon means that Roran can be very persuasive with his words. What literary device does Eragon use in his description of Roran?
To Answer a King
Eragon's friendly greeting of the local leaders is important for maintaining allies and securing support. What political skill is Eragon employing here?
Do you think King Orrin is justified in his anger? Does Nasuada seem to treat him as an inferior?
What is Orrin saying?
Nasuada's strained smile reflects her anxiety about Roran and the influence he has over his followers.
A Feast with Friends
Despite his insistence that Garrow and Roran are his only true family, Eragon is unable to forget the connection he has with his biological parents and brother. How does he seem to feel about this connection?
How does Eragon view Nasuada?
The villagers will gossip if Katrina is pregnant but unmarried. A marriage would save Katrina's reputation in the community and provide the child with an honorable name and a sense of identity. A person's full name in this society is based on his or her parents. Roran's last name is Garrowson because he is the son of Garrow. Eragon is often referred to as Eragon Son of None because most people do not know who his father was.
What aspects of Eragon's encounter with the two women create a sense of unease and mystery?
Dragons cannot control their magic the way humans and elves can. Although they have powerful abilities, they cannot summon them at will.
Get it? NOTHING doesn't exist. (This annotation contains an image)
Which of these is not a mystery introduced in this chapter?
As explained in "Eldest," Elva's curse is a result of Eragon's improper grammar in the ancient language. Eragon meant to say "may you be shielded from misfortune," but instead his blessing was "May luck and happiness follow you and may you be a shield from misfortune."
Because Elva cannot freely control her actions and emotions, Eragon's curse acts as a form of
Eragon worries about keeping his promise. Angela worries about Elva's pain. Nasuada worries about winning the war. Nasuada's desire to keep Elva's curse is a result of her ____ personality.
What theme do Elva's attempts to escape the control of Eragon's curse emphasize?
To which character does Elva show the most appreciation?
Gifts of Gold
Eragon certainly did not come across as the world's most successful hero in his attempts to cure Elva ... But was he heroic just for trying? Being a hero can take many forms. The video below reviews what it means to be an epic hero and discusses other types of literary heroes as well. (This annotation contains a video)
How is Eragon both like and unlike an epic hero?
Like a true hero, Eragon sets out to right his wrongs.
What virtue does Eragon demonstrate by settling his debts?
A waterskin, like a wine bladder, was the Medieval equivalent of the modern canteen. It was usually made of a cow or sheep's bladder. This meant that it was waterproof and could hold drinking water. (This annotation contains an image)
How does Jeod hope to aid the Varden in the war against the Empire?
As Eragon and Jeod share their knowledge of Brom, we get a sense of foreshadowing. Watch the video below to review how to identify foreshadowing. (This annotation contains a video)
Which of Jeod's comments about Brom contains foreshadowing?
Do you believe history is dominated by fate? Or do all individuals have the freedom to change the course of history?
Eragon's reaction to receiving a history book suggests that he
I Need a Sword!
Two-handed sword is a term used to describe a long, heavy sword. A sword's length could be described by the number of hands needed to wield the sword. The longer the sword, the heavier it was, and thus the more hands a person needed to swing it around. The terms one-handed, hand-and-a-half, and two-handed indicate sword sizes from smallest to largest. (This annotation contains an image)
The archetypal hero's sword does usually have a name. Perhaps you've heard of King Arthur's sword, Excaliber? The famous hero Beowulf also uses a sword named Hrunting. (This annotation contains an image)
What does the proper sword represent for Eragon?
There are many different types of falchions, but they all follow the general shape of the sword pictured below. (This annotation contains an image)
Which words below help create a feeling of peacefulness and calm as Eragon and Saphira fly together?
Does it seem strange for the great Dragon Rider to be kneading dough with the village women? Eragon's willingness to perform this menial task demonstrates his ______ . (Remember you can use the dictionary feature to help you choose the right character trait.)
What is the effect of the warning alarm coming immediately after the line "This is how life ought to be"?
Murtagh holds Zar'roc and rides a heavily-armored Thorn in the picture below. (This annotation contains an image)
Fire in the Sky
Why does Nasuada allow Eragon to confront Murtagh in the air?
How does Arya feel about Eragon? Is she simply showing friendly concern or something more?
An epic hero usually leads the fight of good versus evil. If Murtagh is being forced to fight Eragon against his will, is he truly evil? If not, is this still a fight of good versus evil?
Which line below best echoes the theme that our choices are more powerful than fate?
Did you notice anything strange about Murtagh's reply? It could hint at something important.
If Eragon does not intend to kill Murtagh, what is his goal in fighting him?
Have you and your friends ever competed to see who could hold their breath longer? Eragon and Murtagh are basically having the same competition using magical energy instead of breath. Who do you think will give in first?
Since "Brisingr" is only book three in a four-book series, we know Eragon won't defeat Galbatorix until book four. In the meantime, Eragon faces many smaller challenges, such as this battle with Murtagh. These challenges help prepare him for his central ordeal against Galbatorix. (This annotation contains an image)
According to the chart, what stage of the hero's journey is Eragon in currently?
At which point in his hero's journey do you think Eragon will use Aren? (This annotation contains an image)
Juxtaposition means to put two contrasting things next to each other in order to emphasize their differences. Which juxtaposition below most contributes to the unsettling and disturbing mood of this scene?
What does the ellipsis (the three dots) in front of Eragon's "No" indicate?
Man and Wife
Many of the traditions displayed at Roran and Katrina's wedding are similar to traditions practiced in early Germanic cultures. Although the world of Alagaësia has its own timeline ("Brisingr takes place in the year 8000), Paolini borrows from the Old Norse and Anglo-Saxon cultures of our world ranging from the 5th to the 14th centuries. The blue areas on the map below show that the Germanic tribes lived in modern-day England and Scandinavia. (This annotation contains an image)
What do the wedding vows suggest about Roran and Katrina's culture?
Have you ever heard it said that two people "tied the knot"? The expression means "to get married." The metaphor of marriage as a knot is a very old one that appears in writing dating back hundreds of years. Even today, many couples still place symbolic knots over their hands as Roran and Katrina do in this scene. (This annotation contains an image)
Although wedding rings are not a custom in Alagaësia, Christopher Paolini has suggested that they might become one, since the wedding guests will be eager to imitate the style of the Rider's family.
The man's strange tale most likely foreshadows the answer to
Whispers in the Night
Which line below indicates that the narrative point of view is now attached to Roran?
In the pre-industrial society of Alagaësia, doctors do not exist. Magicians, herbalists, and healers might be called upon to tend to the sick, while midwives used their experiences with childbirth to help deliver babies.
It may be helpful to study the map of Alagaësia as Nasuada discusses her battle plans. The red dot in the bottom left marks Aroughs. The Jiet River flows down from Lake Leona and along the western border of Surda. (This annotation contains an image)
The dwarves' reluctance to support the war most likely stems from their history as outsiders in the saga of the Dragon Riders. The blood-oath pact between humans, elves, and dragons did not include dwarves. Nevertheless, the last dwarf king, Hrothgar, supported the Varden and allowed them to seek refuge in Farthen Dûr. Nasuada wants to make sure that the new dwarf king will continue his support.
What role does Nasuada want Eragon to play during his visit to Tronjheim?
A military cannot function without obedience. If every soldier had the freedom to disobey their commander without consequence, armies could not be counted on to achieve their goals. Even though Eragon is powerful, he took an oath to obey Nasuada as his commander.
What is Saphira asking here?
Remember that Nasuada grew up in Farthen Dûr, the dwarves' mountain home, so she is well versed in their customs.
Footprints of Shadow
What emotion does the chapter title convey?
What is the purpose behind Eragon and Saphira's visit to the cook tent?
Eragon and Saphira always demonstrate a very selfless love for each other. Each of them routinely puts the needs of the other before their own. Do you think their relationship is healthy, or are they too dependent on each other?
Faelnirv is an elven drink that supplies the drinker with considerable energy, but can also cause intoxication. Nalgask is a type of skin ointment made from beeswax and hazelnut oil.
Why must Eragon sneak away for his trip to Farthen Dûr?
Over Hill and Mountain
Garzhvog means his slingshot. (This annotation contains an image)
Why does Eragon ask Garzhvog to tell him a story?
Eragon's tone changes as he questions Garzhvog about human slaves. Watch the video below for an overview of tone and mood. (This annotation contains a video)
What is Eragon's tone as he describes the Urgal attack?
What emotions does Eragon seem to express through his parting words to Garzhvog?
For My Love
Use the dictionary feature to help you determine what Roran means when he says he is woolgathering.
A hauberk was a form of armor like that worn by the soldier below. A hauberk is made of mail, or metal links like the gold ones depicted below on the right. This makes the armor somewhat flexible. (This annotation contains an image)
Roman shows a warrior's courage in his fighting. He is fearless and tireless in battle, and he faces death bravely.
What is the most important element in casting effective magical wards?
A Forest of Stone
Orik first mentioned Hvedra in "Eldest" while he and Eragon were staying in Ellesméra. Under the influence of faelnirv, Orik tells Eragon that Hvedra is "the granddaughter of mine aunt Vardrûn, Hrothgar's cousin twice removed, with white, round calves as smooth as satin, cheeks as red as apples, and the prettiesht dwarf maid who ever did exist."
Fun fact: "Grimstcarvlorss" is Christopher Paolini's favorite dwarf word. Watch the video below to hear him pronounce this word. (This annotation contains a video)
What seems to be the purpose of the three diamonds before the paragraph that starts, "The following morning ..."?
Perhaps this forest is similar to the Petrified Forest of the American Southwest. In the Petrified Forest, trees that grew millions of years ago were covered with volcanic ash and gradually turned into stone (see the image of tree stumps below). The Stone Forest may have a similar natural cause, or it may have a fantastical origin since the book is a fantasy, after all. What do you think? (This annotation contains an image)
Eragon's position as a diplomat is difficult due to the number of perspectives he must consider. Which item below is not a concern in Eragon's decision-making process?
The Laughing Dead
What is the mood of this passage as the men wait to attack?
Paolini generally uses the word "soldiers" to refer to Galbatorix's men. He uses the word "warriors" to refer to the Varden.
What advantages do the enemy soldiers have over the Varden?
One of the reasons this attack scene is so gruesome is its vivid imagery. Which images did you think were most powerful?
Blood on the Rocks
What is one effect of the narrative switching back and forth between Roran's and Eragon's points of view so frequently?
The clan structure of the dwarves is very similar to the clans in early Anglo-Saxon society. Before modern societies created individual nations and leaders, Germanic tribes organized themselves in clans consisting mostly of groups of relatives led by a clan king. Loyalty was primary in clans. Disputes between individuals were disputes between entire clans, and blood-feud customs meant the murder or insult of one clan member resulted in revenge from the rest of the clan.
Which dwarf candidate is most hostile to the interests of the Varden?
Below is Christopher Paolini's illustration of a dwarven flameless lantern. (This annotation contains an image)
Although Galbatorix is Eragon's main antagonist, Eragon faces other antagonists wherever he goes. Watch the video below and consider who his antagonists are in Farthen Dûr. (This annotation contains a video)
Which clan is most antagonistic toward Eragon?
This is the first time Eragon has used magic without employing words. Such a practice is dangerous because it can result in errors if the spellcaster's concentration breaks.
The description of the dwarves' "blood-hungry daggers" increases the fearful mood of this scene. What form of figurative language does this phrase contain?
What theme does this surprise attack emphasize?
Eragon is invoking the same blood-feud traditions that the Anglo-Saxons followed.
A Matter of Perspective
Watch the video below up until the 3:00 mark to hear Christopher Paolini read the beginning of this chapter at a book signing. (This annotation contains a video)
What aspect of Saphira's character does Paolini emphasize in his reading?
Small words of judgment like "silly" reflect Saphira's perspective on the world. Have you noticed any other words that indicate that this chapter is limited to Saphira's point of view?
Which choice of words below reflects Saphira's dragon understanding of the world?
Kiss Me Sweet
You might have begun to think Roran was just a lean, mean fighting machine. Well, this chapter is here to remind you that he's human.
Why is it important to show that Roran struggles with the fact that he has killed?
"Knurlan" is the dwarfish word for "dwarves."
What do Glûmra's comments reveal about dwarf culture?
The hero's journey is often a coming-of-age story. Eragon longs to be told what to believe, but his beliefs must come from within. As he matures, he must learn to make difficult decisions for himself and accept that life is often confusing.
What piece of information is Orik referring to?
One of the characteristics of ancient epics is that they were told in a formal, elevated style. This means that the words used are fancy and the structure of the sentences is often inverted in poetic form. This line from the Odyssey is an example of elevated style. In it, Odysseus speaks to the princess Nausikaa: "But if thou art one of mortals who dwell upon the earth, thrice-blessed then are thy father and thy honored mother, and thrice-blessed thy brethren.” Look for elevated style in the conversations in this chapter.
What underlying emotion did Eragon's dream reveal?
Why does Orik spend so much time praising Eragon?
Avenging Hrothgar's death may prove to be a difficult issue for Eragon. If Murtagh is able to change his true name and free himself from Galbatorix, it is unlikely Eragon will want to kill Murtagh.
"Vargrimstn" literally means "no halls," and is the word used to refer to a dwarf who has been banished.
Since Roran is a farmer by trade, it makes sense that he would use a farming metaphor to describe his actions. What does he mean by the highlighted phrase?
Remember that the word "soldiers" refers to Galbatorix's men.
What is Roran's relationship with Carn?
The narrator has made a point to note Roran's frustration with Edric's leadership. Can you make any predictions based on this frustration and the chapter title?
The men's trust in Roran suggests that he is better at ___ than at ____.
Silver-tongued Roran is at it again - persuading the masses with his eloquence and heart!
Why does Roran try to anger the opposing soldiers?
During the French Revolution, the French used furniture to reinforce the wagon barricades and protect themselves. Roran uses bodies. (This annotation contains an image)
What is the purpose of the barricade?
After returning home from his last battle, Roran expressed sorrow and discomfort with the idea of killing other men and risking his own life in battle. Yet, here Roran taunts death as he boldy invites his enemies to attack him. Which other line below suggests that Roran gets a thrill out of the heat and violence of battle?
What do you think? Is Roran a hero or a brute?
The fact that Edric is hiding in a house when Roran finds him emphasizes
How does Roran's battle prove that the line between right and wrong has become blurred?
Message in a Mirror
Have you ever wondered what dragons daydream about? Apparently, it's their next meal!
What is Saphira saying about society?
Saphira and other characters in Eragon's world often make use of kenning. Kenning is the use of multiple words to figuratively represent a single concept. Kenning was commonly used in Old Norse and Anglo-Saxon poetry. In Beowulf, for example, blood is referred to as "battle sweat" and death is called the "sleep of the sword." Be on the lookout for other examples of kenning as you read.
Four Strokes upon the Drum
The pacing in "Brisingr" varies. Some episodes move quickly, while others read more slowly and build tension. Watch the video below for a discussion of the way authors using pacing in their novels. (This annotation contains a video)
What is the effect of the slow pacing and drawn out description of this election scene?
The characters in The Inheritance Cycle swear many oaths. Oaths were another important part of Anglo-Saxon culture and of illiterate societies in general. Societies in which most people cannot read are called oral cultures, and the spoken word is highly valued in these cultures. The picture below shows a Medieval vassal swearing fealty to his king. (This annotation contains an image)
Where is Eragon dashing off to?
Saphira certainly is confident about her abilities. Do you think this confidence is justified? Has Eragon ever encountered trouble when Saphira was around?
Why is Eragon biting his tongue?
Orik's coronation is filled with pomp and circumstance. Elaborate and formal rituals are followed in keeping with ancient dwarf traditions.
Which line indicates that Eragon is unsure whether to believe in the dwarves' gods?
The once-red star sapphire is now streaked with gold. (This annotation contains an image)
Why is Saphira's gift more diplomatic than Eragon's?
Words of Wisdom
Nasuada is considering all the possible problems in the near future, but she is not considering the long-term problems that may arise if Eragon does not visit his mentors.
How does Eragon convince Nasuada to let him travel to Du Weldenvarden?
The Whipping Post
Why is Roran's whipping necessary?
Whipping is an ancient form of punishment that is still used in some countries today, although the United Nations has labeled it a form of torture. UN doctors say that 50 lashes will usually not kill a person, but may leave mental and physical scars.
What does the increasing frequency of Roran's missions suggest?
Among the Clouds
Saphira is a hero in her own right. What heroic quality does she demonstrate by refusing to use the energy from Aren's ring?
Why does Eragon scry Oromis as soon as he and Saphira reach the forest of Du Weldevarden?
Eragon's quest for the perfect sword is symbolic. A sword represents power, so Eragon searches for a sword even as he continues to search for a way to find power over Galbatorix.
Roran and Eragon have proven to be very different sorts of heroes. What contrast between the two have the events of Brisingr emphasized?
The Urgal's word "danced" is really just another word for
A paradox is a statement that seems to contradict itself but somehow states a truth. It is a paradox that Yarbog's greatest strength may also be his greatest weakness.
In many ways Roran is as much an epic hero as Eragon. Compare his fight to fights of the Greek hero Hercules in the clip below. (This annotation contains a video)
What quality does Roran share with Hercules?
Eragon has now traveled from the Varden's camp, to the dwarves, to the elves. Why is it important that the story include him visiting each of these communities?
Glaedr is the golden dragon featured on the cover of "Brisingr." (This annotation contains an image)
Eragon's outburst shows that he feels
Can you think of any hints from earlier in this book or previous books that may have pointed towards Eragon's true father?
Two Lovers Doomed
We have finally discovered the answer to Jeod's speculation earlier in the story: "it seems to me that Brom must have discovered something in Gil'ead ... something so momentous, it moved Brom to abandon everything." Evidently, Selena was that something.
How did Morzan exercise control over Selena?
How did Brom's presence in Carvahall lead to Eragon becoming a Rider?
Remember that this book is part of a series called The Inheritance Cycle. This title alone suggests that Eragon's parents are very important to his identity. What has Eragon inherited from his father, Brom?
Fate does seem to have had a hand in Eragon's story. His birth and parentage is certainly one aspect of his life that he has no control over.
Selena's success in escaping Morzan's control gives us proof that such an escape may be possible for Murtagh.
The word wyrd was the Anglo-Saxon term for fate. According to Oromis, what effect does a person's wyrd have on their future?
In what way does the imagery of the falling pebble support the mood of this scene?
Christopher Paolini has said that Saphira's limited spectrum of color is based on his own color blindness.
According to Brom, how can Eragon defeat Galbatorix?
What is Eragon's inheritance from Brom?
Souls of Stone
A fairth is an image produced by a form of magical concentration. The spellcaster projects an image on slate after picturing it intensely in his or her mind.
Who are the four dragons Eragon refers to?
As you learn more about the dragons in Eragon, take the time to watch other fantasy authors as they talk about the characteristics of dragons. (This annotation contains a video)
What archetypal aspect(s) of dragons do the Eldunarí demonstrate?
The word "mad" in this sense means "insane." The whole reason Alagaësia is at war is because Galbatorix is partially insane as a result of the death of his dragon, Jarnunvösk.
Hands of a Warrior
Now that you have learned about the Eldunarí, can you make a prediction about the Vault of Souls Solembum mentioned?
According to Oromis, what is an essential part of Eragon's journey to adulthood?
The Tree of Life
Eragon's dream indicates
While elves are not immortal, they can live for centuries if not killed by violence.
To reave means "to take away or rob." By describing the sword as a "soul-reaver," what type of literary device is Rhunön using?
How does personification make the mood of this passage more threatening?
Does the Menoa tree seem like the Tree of Life (as it is called) or more like the Tree of Death?
By nature of being a dragon, Saphira often displays more wisdom that Eragon. Her attack on the Menoa tree seems uncharacteristically foolish. What aspect of her personality causes her to recklessly attack the Menoa tree?
Mind over Metal
Most ores contain other elements besides metal. The smelting process uses heat and chemical reactions to refine the ore until only the pure metal remains.
The guard is the piece that crosses the sword at the top of the hilt, giving the sword its T-like shape. The guard was designed to protect the fighter's hand if an opponent should try to slide his sword down the length of the blade. (This annotation contains an image)
Why must Eragon make the sword instead of Rhunön?
For a sense of how to forge a sword, watch the video below. Although the smith in this video uses a pre-shaped strip of metal, he still uses old-fashioned techniques to heat and shape the sword. (This annotation contains a video)
The "she" here refers to Rhunön's mind, but Eragon's body.
What is one difference between Rhunön's sword making and the sword making in the modern video?
Tempering is a way of heating a metal to increase its flexibility, thereby strengthening it. If a sword is not flexible enough, it will snap easily.
The image of the forge acts as a common metaphor in poetry. Read the lines below from the last stanza of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's poem "The Village Blacksmith." As you read think about the way shaping metal can be compared to life. (This annotation contains an image)
What is the symbolic meaning to this chapter in which Eragon forges his new sword? Use the verse from Longfellow's poem to inform your answer.
A Rider in Full
This image shows Eragon's sword with its scabbard below it. (This annotation contains an image)
Fire has many symbolic meanings and associations in Eragon's world. What does the name Brisingr represent for Eragon?
Greaves and Bracers
It is important to recognize that the siege of Feinster begins while Eragon is still in Ellesméra. His absence will leave the Varden in danger.
Why does Eragon visit Sloan?
The passing of responsibility from the old to the young is part of the natural cycle of life; the young inherit the wisdom and wealth of their elders. (This annotation contains an image)
Oromis's choice of the word "fate" here is interesting. Fate usually implies a lack of choice, but Oromis and Glaedr are clearly choosing to give away Glaedr's heart of their own free wills. Which word below could be a substitute for the word "fate" as it is used in the highlighted sentence?
Does the fan-made image below look like your impression of Glaedr's Eldunarí? (This annotation contains an image)
Why will Oromis and Eragon be flying together?
Oromis and Glaedr are heading to Gil'ead, which is marked on the map by the red circle. Eragon and Saphira are headed to Feinster, located in the southwest corner of the map. (This annotation contains an image)
Over the course of Brisingr, Eragon has traveled from Dras-Leona to the Varden in Surda, to the dwarves in Farthen Dûr to the elves in Ellesméra, and back to the Varden in Feinster. What could Eragon's long journey across Alagaësia be called?
A battering ram was a large, heavy beam used to break down doors and walls. (This annotation contains an image)
Why does Eragon give the enemy soldiers the chance to save their lives?
The keep was a fortified tower used as a last line of defense in a castle or walled city. (This annotation contains an image)
Eragon's eagerness to tell Arya and Roran his father's identity reveals his
Although many armies loot the cities they conquer, looting is really a form of robbery and is considered unethical.
What makes Saphira's response to Eragon humorous?
Brisingr is capable of all the feats listed below except
Sometimes a little joke here and there helps to lighten the mood!
Shadow of Doom
What do the hyphenated words in the highlighted sentence indicate?
What happens to Eragon and Saphira when Glaedr communicates through his Eldunari?
Eragon, Arya, and Saphira manage to wear down the wards enough to get at the spellcaster. In a way, the wards are like a physical shield or a brick wall that can be destroyed with enough attacks.
Do you remember when similar spirits invaded Eragon and Arya during their journey together earlier in the book? Although the spirits were friendly then, they will become dark and angry when imprisoned within a body.
Why does Murtagh curse Oromis and Glaedr?
What do you think of Galbatorix's argument? Is he truly evil?
What evidence is there that Galbatorix is truly evil?
Where is Glaedr now? Reread the highlighted passage for clues.
"Clay" is a poetic way of referring to the human body.
The clip below shows the shade Durza from the movie "Eragon." Does he seem similar to Varaug? (This annotation contains a video)
How is the film portrayal of Durza similar to this scene with Varaug?
While the word keen is normally used as an adjective, it has a rarer meaning when used as a verb. Which word below provides the best synonym for keen as it is used in the highlighted sentence?
The elves' words mean, "As you will, Princess Arya."
Bloödhgarm is suggesting that he and the rest of the elves should have broken down the castle door instead of waiting for Eragon to do it.
Nasuada must be glad she let Eragon travel to Ellesméra! Eragon's discoveries will be crucial to destroying Galbatorix.
While the army marches north, what is Eragon's task in the quest to destroy Galbatorix?
How does Oromis's death affect Eragon's character growth?