Ivey's Reviews > Inheritance

Inheritance by Christopher Paolini
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Apr 09, 2012

really liked it
Read from March 29 to April 06, 2012

** spoiler alert ** I have been waiting for this book for such a long time and I have just finished it. Now that I have, I have some musings about the book and series as a whole.

I have always loved reading about this world and I was really interested in how the confrontation between Eragon and Galbatorix was going to play out. For how much page space Paolini uses to develop even the smallest of characters, the main villain remains without a face or much characterization until the last book. We know that he was a charismatic Rider who went mad and has been ruling the empire for a hundred years (Btw, did anyone else notice he is a King in an Empire, not an Emperor?)" His atrocities against the races of Alagaësia seem to have happened at the overthrow of the riders. Since then, there are very few mentions of bad acts. In the first book we get some mention of drafting for soldiers but there aren't many signs of suffering people. Eragon travels the land by foot, horseback and by dragon but I don't remember him stumbling across shanty towns, or people who were starving or desperate. In fact, the places he visits seem to be thriving.

The series was a love letter to an imagined world. The depth of description for the wonders and horrors of Alagaësia gave it realness, a real contemplation of a different world. Eragon allowed us to travel with him across this world allowing us a peek into the world before we must go. And as we have known since the first book, he had to go as well. After the final confrontation with Galbatorix, Eragon’s goal for much of the series, he drifts. He rebels against the idea of controlling the magical people of Alagaesia to instead raise the new brood of dragons. Like other characters in literature who overthrow the existing structure of the world, he does not quite fit in it afterward. His ending is not happy, but hopeful. Eragon still has a goal but it takes him from his family and those he loves. Even the romance we have read Eragon contemplate for four books does not come about. Like most endings in real life, they are bittersweet. Roran survives as a decorated war hero and will live his life with his wife and daughter, but loses his cousin. Nasuada gains the throne, but Murtagh has left to discover who he is without Galbatorix. Aria becomes a dragon rider and becomes the leader of the elves, but Eragon leaves to parts unknown. Saphira is no longer the final dragon but leaves her dragon mate behind.

My first impression of this ending was astonishment. Why couldn’t he give Eragon a happy ending!? Why couldn’t we have one kiss between Aria and Eragon? But I reconsidered. Eragon’s ending is hopeful. Instead of retiring him to live in a hole somewhere, he will be rebuilding the dragon race. His life is long and we have gotten such a small part of it. This isn’t his ending. He has another goal to accomplish.

The romance between Aria and Eragon is another I complained about. Four books of reading the nuances of their relationship and they end up resigning themselves to their duties. However, we did get their story. We read their relationship as allies, friends and warbounded warriors. They acknowledged their attachment to the other. We don’t need the physical, we had their mental and intellectual connection. In the absence of them being together, that is enough. Besides, they are immortal. Who knows what will happen in 100 years?

The final confrontation wasn't as action filled as I excepted. Truly, there was a lot of "monologue-ing" which turns out to be a character trait of Galbatorix but I also think a result of the need to give the reader time to dislike Galbatorix. We have followed various characters and their expressions of hatred for the man who has caused much of their sadness, but as a reader I didn’t dislike him fully until he described his future for the world. His utopian world where he controlled all gave flashes of 20th century atrocities. Just the hint of what could be put me right on board with Eragon. He must be stopped. He had to understand (how creative!).

After Galbatorix’s defeat, Eragon convinces Nasuada that if he stayed in Alagaësia, he would always be used to overthrow the existing government or be tempted to change how things ran. A ruler should not live significantly longer than those who they rule. Living in the immediacy of one’s life is what gives the small things importance. An immortal ruler in a mortal society will ultimately think of the overall picture and try to change the pieces to match their picture.
I loved this series. The more I think of the plot intricacies, the more I admire a story arc that continues over four books and grows with the characters and the audience. This will perhaps be a series I repeat in various stages of my life. Bouncing who I am off of the story and remembering who I was when I read it the first time. Paolini has given us thousands of pages and at the end, I still want just a few more.
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Reading Progress

04/01/2012
75.0% "I'm on the fourth part. Still with 8 hours of audio..."

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