| Quote #1
Eragon blinked, trying to understand what had occurred. Something brushed against his consciousness, like a finger trailing over his skin. […] It was as if an invisible wall surrounding his thoughts had fallen away, and he was now free to reach out with his mind. (5.5)
Here we get the first inkling of Saphira and Eragon's very special mental bond, just after he first touches the dragon. They do more than just understand each other; their thoughts and minds are bonded together. Trippy, right? That bond sustains Eragon throughout the trials he faces in the book, and it highlights the power of their shared connection.
| Quote #2
Eragon groped with his mind until he felt the dragon's consciousness. […] A dim acknowledgement came tentatively through the link, but Eragon wondered if it really understood. After all, it's only an animal. (5.19)
Although their mental bond will eventually be key to Eragon's heroic abilities, it's not something that just happens. In the beginning, his connection to Saphira is weak and tentative. It's also telling that Saphira doesn't have a name yet. Heck, she's not even a she yet. As they both mature and better understand one another, their mental link becomes stronger and more sophisticated. As that happens, too, Eragon's understanding of Saphira develops into something far more than just seeing her as "only an animal."
| Quote #3
Eragon showed the dragon what he knew about the forest, not caring if it understood his meaning. It was the simple act of sharing that mattered. He talked to it continuously. The dragon gazed back at him with bright eyes, drinking in his words. (5.23)
Again, their communicative bond is not an automatic given from the get-go. Eragon and Saphira have to work to develop their link. What does that tell us about how we communicate with others? Is the effort to communicate more important than what is exchanged? Can making this effort lead to better, more meaningful communication, as it does in the book? (Our vote: a resounding yes.)