by Christopher Paolini
The Bad Guys
Boo liberally. These are the evil-doers in Eragon. And they're really, really good at being bad.
Durza is a Shade, a creature who "practice[s] the most unholy magic, after necromancy" (54.29), according to Eragon's friend Angela. He has red hair and red eyes—so that's creepy. In his spare time, he kills Urgals with magic blasts to alleviate stress.
He chases Eragon and company all over Alagaësia and beyond in an effort to either bring Eragon over to his master, King Galbatorix's, side, or, you know, to kill him. Unclear. He also makes an effort (though, we admit, not a really good effort) to learn Eragon's true name and so gain total mastery of him.
Still, is Durza totally bad? Just before Eragon drives a sword through his heart, he enters Durza's mind and learns of his terrible childhood. Do you feel sorry for Durza? Should Eragon?
We hear a lot about this guy in Eragon, but we never get to see or hear from him directly. We do know that he came to power after a decidedly low blow (i.e., crotch-shot) on the Dragon Rider Vrael. We also know that he is driven by a violent lust for power. As Murtagh, who actually had dinner with the guy, says, "he ruled only by brute force guided by his own passions" (50.109). That's not exactly a ringing endorsement for King of the Year. Still, for the book's purposes, Galbatorix is important in that he's responsible for creating the terrible conditions against which our heroes struggle. Without him, they might just sit around and play tiddlywinks. Or, more likely, Risk.
They aren't human […] They are stronger than any man and can jump incredible heights, but they cannot use magic. Be thankful for that, because if they could, you would already be in their grasp. (14.114).
Yikes. Thanks for the warning, Brom. The evil, cloaked henchmen do the bidding of King Galbatorix, mainly in the investigation of dragon sightings. They're infamous for their use of a certain kind of rare acid, which they use to torture their victims for information. Or for fun—we wouldn't put it past 'em.
More than anything, though, these evil villains are alternatively pursued by, and in pursuit of, Eragon and Saphira. Initially, Eragon starts off on their trail to avenge their murder of his Uncle Garrow. Soon, though, the tables turn, and the Ra'zac chase Eragon and company from the grim city of Dras-Leona.
The Twins (?)
We put a question mark here because, well, we're just not sure about these guys. On the surface, they help the Varden by lending them their considerable magical powers. Still, there's a lot to be disturbed by when it comes to these bald dudes with no names.
When we first meet one, for example, he demands to screen Eragon's mind to see if he's a friend or foe: "Eragon winced as the probe dug in farther […] like a nail being driven through his skull. The bald man roughly seized his childhood memories and began sifting through them" (50.31). This whole experience is a violation, plain and simple, but the bald guy seems to enjoy it.
To top it off, there's that odd moment in the Battle of Farthen Dûr when the Twins summon Eragon back inside the city of Tronjheim, only to not be there when Eragon gets there. Who's there instead? A bunch of angry Urgals and a Shade. Now, we're not saying this is the Twins' fault, but these two guys, with no names and a creepy manner about them, kind of remind us of another pair of nameless creeps that harass our hero. What do you think?