Study Guide

Eragon Chapter 50

By Christopher Paolini

Chapter 50

Hunting for Answers

  • The bald fellow with the knife ushers everyone down a corridor and into a large room that's covered in marble from floor to ceiling.
  • Eragon is worried about Arya, but the bald guy forbids anyone to speak until they've been "tested."
  • In this case, "tested" = getting your mind probed by the bald guy to see if you're an agent of Galbatorix. He says that, if they try to hide anything, he'll drive them mad with his mental powers.
  • The dwarf who saved Eragon (his name is Orik) steps in and starts to argue with the bald dude. Can't he see that there's an unconscious elf on that dragon's back? He says that Ajihad will be very upset if they let her die.
  • This seems to get through to crazy bald dude. He orders the elf to be taken off Saphira's back. The men who do this recognize her.
  • The bald guy says that Eragon and his buddies have some serious 'splainin to do, so Eragon tells him about the Tunivor's Nectar antidote. 
  • The bald guy orders Arya to be taken to healers and then gets back to his probing.
  • Eragon is first. The bald man enters his consciousness with a burst of pain, then goes rifling aggressively through his mind. Eragon tries to throw up barriers to prevent this, but Saphira tells him not to do that. Instead, she'll join mental forces with him and hide a few select things (like his knowledge of magic and Murtagh's origin) from the bald guy's search.
  • The probe lasts a while longer, as the bald man takes his time, but eventually it's over. He declares that Eragon is not an enemy of the Varden.
  • Eragon is wiped out from the experience, but now it's Murtagh's turn.
  • Oh no it's not, he says. 
  • Oh yes it is, counters the bald man. He presses his hand to Murtagh's head, but Murtagh resists him. Orik pulls the bald fellow off him.
  • Now he's done it. Bald guy says that Orik is going to be in deep, deep trouble. But Orik counters that, since Murtagh can't use magic, what threat can he possibly pose to the Varden?
  • The bald guy is not pleased. He orders Murtagh and Eragon to stay in the room that night. Since he didn't finish his probe, they'll be killed if they try to leave. 
  • Murtagh and Eragon are too tired to go anywhere anyway. 
  • Eragon thanks Orik as he leaves, and Orik promises to send some food over.
  • Eragon and Murtagh settle down for some sleep against Saphira. But, hey, what's that hot liquid falling on Eragon?
  • Oh, right. It's dragon blood. Remember when the Urgals were treating Saphira like a giant pincushion? 
  • Eragon heals her with his magic, then settles back down to rest. 
  • He presses Murtagh for more details about his past.
  • This is what Murtagh tells him:
  • He (Murtagh) is the only child of one of the Forsworn. Morzan met Murtagh's mother in a small village. She fell in love and he basically liked having someone around who did what he asked. Things were hunky-dory back in Galbatorix's court, until she became pregnant with Murtagh. Morzan sent her way to have the baby, hiding the pregnancy from his boss, Galbatorix. 
  • After Murtagh was born, his mother could only see him on rare occasions. Morzan was meanwhile cruel to Murtagh. 
  • Then, when Morzan was sent off by Galbatorix to find Saphira's egg, Murtagh's mother vanished. Before Brom killed Morzan, though, she returned. She was very sick, and died shortly after her return.
  • So, King Galbatorix arranged for Murtagh's caretaking. On Murtagh's eighteenth birthday, the king invited him to dinner. How thoughtful.
  • After dinner, Galbatorix asked Murtagh to help him in his quest to bring peace and prosperity to the Empire. Murtagh was convinced, so he pledged his help.
  • Some months later, Galbatorix ordered Murtagh to a town called Cantos, where some rebels were known to hang out. When Murtagh asked how he'd be able to figure out who's guilty and who's innocent, the king told him, "They're all traitors! Burn them at the stake and bury their ashes with dung!" (50.108). 
  • Aside from the logistical problems this order posed (where are they gonna find that much dung?), this order also posed some moral problems for Murtagh. That's when he decided to escape the king's castle. 
  • With the help of his servant Tornac, he got away. But not Tornac. Tornac totally got killed.
  • After his escape, Murtagh decided to follow the Ra'zac, in the hopes they might lead him to the new Rider. Guess what? His plan worked.
  • Murtagh finishes his story and says that he has no more secrets.
  • So Eragon wants to know why Murtagh doesn't just up and join the Varden.
  • Murtagh says that doing so would definitely get him noticed by Galbatorix, which he's trying very hard to avoid. Also, the Varden want to destroy the Empire. Murtagh thinks the system of the Empire is fine. It's just that it's run by a big jerk.
  • Their convo is interrupted by someone opening the door and hurling some food inside the room. No tip for them.
  • Still, everyone chows down hungrily, then they hit the hay, or marble in this case.