So I recently made a post about Chosen Ones as a concept, and how they might be done well. Now I’d like to bring up how this relates to the Inheritance Cycle in order to justify the previous post. Eragon is a chosen one of a sort. Oh true enough, there are no gods he worships who have specifically designated him as the hero, beyond Paolini in a very meta sense, but there is a godlike entity in Sapphira who did choose him.
Throughout the story, dragon riders and the dragons they ride are as close to a god the Varden and the Elves worship as we get, in the sense that their destruction has resulted in an irrational crusade which has no real logical reason to happen.
Anyway, the point I’m coming to is that Eragon is a chosen one, except instead of being chosen by destiny, he is chosen by Sapphira.
Which brings up the question: Why?
[Spoiler (click to open)]Why would Sapphira choose Eragon of all people, when she has been in the presence of many other people who were both infinitely more qualified, or who, even if they weren’t qualified, would have easier access to training. If Sapphira had chosen a kid in Ellesmera or in Farthen Dur, then she wouldn’t have to trek across the length and breadth of the Empire just to get the kid trained.
Eragon has no special characteristics which would make him specially suited to the task. Far from it, one could make the argument that without Sapphira he is nothing, being only an entitled and dimwitted hunter. By all accounts he is a terrible choice.
You know who isn’t a terrible choice? Who would in fact be ideally suited to taking on the Empire? Brom. After all, Brom is already a trained dragon rider. That would mean that he’d only have to brush up on existing skills, and then could have done everything Eragon did with greater ease.
So why Eragon? Well, the obvious answer is that Eragon is Paolini’s self insert, and so naturally Sapphira must hatch for him. It’s his story after all. However I’d like to point out a reason which would have made perfect sense in a better novel.
Eragon lives in a village which is far away from both the Empire’s influence and the Elves influence. Brom would just tow the line if he became a dragon rider, but as a teacher for Eragon, Eragon will learn his skills from someone who has lived in the world of men. He would be able to make his own choices and decisions.
The reason Sapphira never hatched for Arya is because Arya would only act in the interests of the elves. The reason Sapphira never hatched for the Empire is because Galbatorix would at once enslave the rider in question. By hatching for Eragon Sapphira would effectively be making the first new dragon rider totally independent from both factions. Able to see both with a clear head and be able to see their flaws. Thus actually giving her supposedly contemplative nature an outlet to influence the story.
Of course that didn’t happen. Sapphira’s reasons for choosing Eragon are never explained, and Eragon demonstrates himself to be utterly without will of his own. He behaves as a spoiled and entitled fool, easily manipulated by the elves into their personal killing machine. And in a better written book series this could have had an affect on the plot.
But, alas, this is the Inheritance Cycle.
Anyway, those are my thoughts. Make of them what you will.