Study Guide

Eragon Friendship

By Christopher Paolini

Friendship

It was […] as if an unbreakable pact were being sealed. He started at the dragon and a cold tingle ran down his arm. (5.40)

Eragon and Saphira's friendship isn't just something casual; it's described as an "unbreakable pact." That's not something to mess with. We bet they've got themselves a pair of these.

Tomorrow you will ride me […] or else I will carry you in my claws. Are you a Dragon Rider or not? Don't you care for me? (21.59)

Like every friendship, Eragon and Saphira's relationship has its ups and downs. Eragon is afraid to ride Saphira, but Saphira takes his aversion personally. Her sensitivity, though, just shows how much she values his friendship. She wants them to ride together, as a team, so that she can keep him safe.

[Saphira:] If anything happens, I'm going to pin you to my back and never let you off.

[Eragon:] I love you too.

[Saphira:] Then I will bind you all the tighter. (24.7-9)

Here's another glimpse of Saphira's protective concern for Eragon. She's always having to be sent off to the woods to hide while Eragon goes into the town to deal with some danger or other. Like a true friend, she worries for the poor guy's safety. For his part, Eragon seems to recognize her concern as a sign of love. He's intuitive like that.

As her mind joined his, new strength infused his body. Eragon drew upon their combined power […].

Saphira nodded. Together we can cast spells that are beyond either of us. (36.23, 25)

You know how two heads are better than one? Well, if that head belongs to a dragon, you're in even better shape. Eragon and Saphira make a great team, enhancing each other's abilities. Eragon's magic gains strength from having Saphira near. Even without magic, that makes sense. Don't your buddies help you accomplish things you might not be able to without them? Ours do.

HERE LIES BROM
Who was a Dragon Rider
And like a father
To me.
May his name live on in glory. (37.37)

The runes that Eragon inscribes on Brom's tomb are all-the-more touching because Eragon never knew his real father. After his uncle Garrow dies, Brom comes along to fill the space left by that father figure. Of course, Brom mainly berates Eragon for being a big dummy, and he pummels him every night with a wooden stick, but Eragon comes to appreciate Brom's instruction and friendship. Their bond becomes so intense that, after Brom's death, Eragon wants the world to know that Brom was a friend and so much more.

Crying out with relief, Eragon threw his arms around her. She hummed contentedly.

I missed you, little one. (41.68)

Whenever they are apart for any length of time, Saphira and Eragon are overjoyed when they get back together. "Little one" is Saphira's pet name for Eragon, and speaks to the care she feels for him. Don't your friends have nicknames, too? Our buddies like to call us "Whiskers McGee." … We don't really want to get into that, though.

"You risked your life to rescue me; I owe you for that." […] There was a bond between them now, welded in the brotherhood of battle and tempered by the loyalty Murtagh had shown. (42.37)

Friendship is also something earned, not just given. At first, Eragon's not so sure about Murtagh. Can he trust this stranger? After Murtagh helps them fight off the Urgals, though, he proves his friendship through actions.

[…] he was unsure if he wanted Murtagh to stay. I like him, Eragon confessed to himself, but I'm no longer certain if that's a good thing. (48.21)

It can't be all good times and high fives. When Murtagh lops off the slaver's head, Eragon has a hard time processing it. Although the guy may have deserved it, his friend killed a defenseless man. Eragon is forced to reconsider his allegiance. How much does your friends' character matter to you? Would you still hang out with someone whose actions opposed your own morals or beliefs?

The best thing we can do is identify those in power and befriend them. And quickly, too. (53.101)

Here we get an idea of friendship in a strategic sense. The Varden are an interesting group of people, all fighting against the Empire, yet split by competing factions. Saphira recognizes the importance of making friends with the most powerful among them as a way of protecting their own interests. Is that really friendship, though?

Her face does have more character than that of most humans, she sniffed. But it's long, like a horse's, and overall she's rather shapeless. Eragon looked at Saphira with amazement. You're jealous, aren't you! (56.65)

Oh, Saphira. So possessive, you are. For a blue dragon, she sure has a severe case of the green-eyed monster. We understand, though. It can be hard when your friend's attentions are drawn to other people. Still, do you have to call them horse-faced? That's just how jealous dragons roll, we guess…