by Christopher Paolini
Symbolism, Imagery, Allegory
The Varden are an interesting group. They are first and foremost rebels, outlaws, bandits for justice. They aim to kick the evil King Galbatorix off the throne and tear down the Empire that he's built. Sounds pretty sweet to us.
But when Eragon and Saphira finally visit the Varden in their mountain hideout of Farthen Dûr, the reality is much more complicated. As the Varden leader Ajihad explains:
the Varden are in an extremely delicate position. On the one hand, we have to comply with the elves' wishes if we want to keep them as allies. At the same time, we cannot anger the dwarves if we wish to lodge in Tronjheim. (52.64)
Hmm. Special interest groups, political maneuvers… sound familiar?
The politics that Ajihad must negotiate are really no different from the competing interests at work in any robust democracy. People who share a common country nonetheless strive for radically different things.
In this case, the Varden share a hatred of the Empire with the dwarves and elves, but the elves want the next Rider to be one of them, and the dwarves want the dragons booted out of Farthen Dûr for good. It's up to Ajihad to manage these competing interests in a role that's symbolic of any democratic leader, or president. We bet that King Galbatorix doesn't have this problem, but then again, tyrants tend to streamline government. That's because it's his way, or the off-with-your-head way.