In the story Eragon by Christopher Paolini, many different aspects are put together to make it a wonderful experience for readers. The setting is well established before the plot effectively advances and the main character is described fully to emphasis the change that he goes through. The plot weaves a fascinating story about how a young boy becomes something of legend and the theme leaves a hidden message for readers to think about. Setting and protagonist is the most important in the story, followed by the lesser aspects of plot and theme.
The setting is extremely important as it plays a major role in introducing and telling the story of Alagaesia. The events of the book take place in a mystical, medieval time of magic, dragons, elves, dwarves, kingdoms and evil creatures, creating a shroud of fantasy around the world. The tale begins in the Springtime of Carvahall, a quiet, peaceful village in the mountains, with a cheery and happy mood as Eragon lives a normal life until he finds a dragon egg in the Spine. The mood then changes and becomes darker as Eragon’s home is destroyed and his uncle killed when people who seek the dragon come by his village. Vowing revenge, Eragon leaves on a journey with Brom around Alagaesia to track down the murderers and fulfill his destiny as a Dragon Rider, which eventually leads him to the mountain regions of Surda where he finds and assists the Varden against the tyranny of the Emperor Galbatorix, giving an impression of the duty and how it can bind people’s lives on the one road. By the end of the novel, a few years have passed since Eragon left his village. Without this setting, the story would have never took place as there would be no such thing as Dragon Riders and no elves and dwarves to help Eragon in his battle against the Tyrant of Alagaesia and his followers.
Eragon, who is an ordinary 15 year old farm boy is the protagonist of the story and plays an effective role in advancing the plot. Living in the village of Carvahall, Eragon was left in the care of his uncle Garrow by his mother who left soon after she gave birth. Growing up without knowing anything about his mother and father, he calls his uncle father and Roran, Garrow’s son, brother. Friendly and cheerful, he gets along with everyone in the village, except for Sloan the butcher who seems to hate everyone except his daughter. Also, Eragon is the only one brave enough to travel in to the Spine to hunt, as it is considered cursed by the village since many accidents happen in the mountainous region. Little is known about Eragon’s appearance except that he has brown eyes, dark brown hair, and thick eyebrows. He probably has a well built bother as he works in a farm and through Brom’s training and his journey across Alagaesia develops more muscle and a more masculine form. Mentally, he starts off as a naïve boy, unaware of anything outside his village and felt betrayed at Roran’s departure to work outside his village. Eragon is also very impatient, curious and sometimes over confident, as during Brom’s training, he hastens to learn difficult skills before mastering the basics, asks many questions and underestimates Brom during their first training session due to his old age. He learns quickly however, and soon bests Brom at sword fights and develops patience, though he never stops his questioning about everything he does not know.After the destruction of his home and the death of uncle Garrow at the hands of the Raz’zac, Eragon’s main motivation was to avenge Garrow out of pure anger and hatred towards the Raz’zac. Later, he realizes that as a Dragon Rider, it is his destiny to take down the Emperor Galbatorix who betrayed the old order of Dragon Riders and destroyed them to become the tyrant of Alagaesia. This doubly motivates Eragon as Emperor Galbatorix was the one who sent the Raz’zac to capture him and his dragon to ensure that he does not impose him, which resulted in the Raz’zac killing his uncle. Beginning as a care free and naïve farm boy, Eragon grows mature by Brom’s training and the harsh consequences of his actions. Strengthening his body and mind, he acquires many skills during his journey to fight the Empire and fulfill his destiny as a Rider and his revenge on the Raz’zac. Without Eragon, the plot would be dull and unable to advance.
Plot, though important to the story, is not as important. The story starts off with Eragon finding a blue sapphire-colored rock in the Spine, a mountain region near his village. When he brings it home, he realizes that the stone is a dragon egg, and a bond is formed between Eragon and the little dragon. After asking Brom, the storyteller of Carvahall, about dragons, Eragon names the dragon Saphira. Soon after Saphira matures and learns the language used by Eragon, Raz’zac sent by the Empire come to the village to kill or capture Saphira, but Saphira drags Eragon to safety, whilst his home is destroyed and his uncle murdered. This starts his journey of revenge against the Raz’zac accompanied by Brom, who teaches him many things about being a Dragon Rider. Throughout the course of the journey, Brom tragically dies from a poisoned knife thrown by the Raz’zac and Murtagh, a man after the Raz’zac as well, saves Eragon from a similar fate. Joining together, they rescue a female elf named Arya of which Eragon dreamt of and through her instructions reach the Varden, a band of rebels against the Emperor Galbatorix. During his stay, the Empire sends Kulls to assault the Boer Mountains which the Varden are stationed in lead by Durza, the Shade that imprisoned Arya and prosecuted Eragon across the lands of Alagaesia. A furious battle takes place and ends with the death of the Shade Durza by the hands of Eragon, but not before Durza gives a crushing blow to Eragon’s back. As Eragon begins to slip out of consciousness, he hears a message from the “Cripple that is Whole” asking him to seek him after he awakes, Eragon agrees and shortly after, blacks out. Ending on an odd note, the plot is still interesting and productive.
Theme plays a lesser part in the story, but is evident throughout the story. The main theme is where good exists; evil will exist as well to balance its effects. This theme is shown through the battle between the tyrannical Empire and the Varden which was created by people who have had enough of Galbatorix. Galbatorix, along with a few other riders he had convinced, had betrayed and killed every one of the Dragon Riders in the old order who had kept the peace in Alagaesia and then proceeded to enslave all the humans and killed any who had opposed them. Dragon Riders themselves, they had a lengthened life and super human strength and speed, as well as a Dragon which followed their every command. Abusing these powers, Galbatorix became Emperor due to fear, and no one had the strength to defeat him. Even when everything was peaceful and no one was treated unfairly, evil arose to oppose the good. After evil took over, the Varden was created and fought back against the evil, recruiting everyone they could for their cause of ridding Alagaesia of the tyrant and sheltering all who wanted to get away from the Empire. Since they could not pose a threat to the emperor Galbatorix himself however, he did nothing to root them out. That is however, until a dragon egg was stolen from Galbatorix by the Varden, and another dragon beside the one that the emperor had was born. The rider Eragon, believed in good and even though tempted and baited, did not go to the side of evil and joined the Varden to fight for the freedom of Alagaesia. Even though good always opposes evil, evil never ceases to exist no matter how perfect the world is.
Setting, character, plot and theme all play a part in making a good story. Eragon effectively balances all these aspects and puts it together to create a unique reading experience. Though balanced, setting is still the most important part of the story, followed closely by character with theme and plot playing a more minor position. Paolini nicely puts together Eragon to be a enjoyable read for all.