Study Guide

Eragon Chapter 57

By Christopher Paolini

Chapter 57

The Shadows Lengthen

  • Eragon is awoken by Saphira, jabbing him with her snout.
  • It's the middle of the night, but an agitated dwarf is there. Ajihad has sent him to fetch Eragon. There's been some trouble. Uh oh.
  • He hops on Saphira and they swoop down to meet up with Orik, who leads them to Ajihad's study.
  • Ajihad says: Here's the deal. A crazed, bloody dwarf just showed up with the news that an army of Urgals is only a day's march away. Gulp.
  • What's worse, they're marching through the tunnels. They plan to attack from under the city. We repeat: gulp.
  • They wonder if it's just the Urgals, or if Galbatorix's army has joined them. If they have, that would spell curtains for the Varden. We're talking c-u-r-t-a-i-n-s!
  • Ajihad has sent runners to Surda and the elves, but he doesn't expect reinforcements to arrive in time.
  • But they have a plan: collapse all but three of the tunnels leading to Farthen Dûr, the actual mountain inside which Tronjheim sits. Eragon and Arya are going to help with that.
  • That way, they can control where the Urgals will attack from and mount a coordinated defense. 
  • All the women and children will be evacuated to nearby valleys. 
  • That's the plan. They all run off to set it in action. Go team!
  • Eragon and Saphira track down the dwarfs they're meant to help with collapsing the tunnels. Eragon uses his magic and Saphira uses her strength to help seal them off.
  • Meanwhile, in the flats of Farthen Dûr, outside the gates of Tronjheim, the Varden are coordinating their army into three main groups.
  • Everyone is decked out for a fight, in armor and weapons, with standards flying.
  • Eragon and Saphira join the army. After a pre-fight snack, Orik gives them a gift from King Hrothgar: dragon armor.
  • They struggle to fit her into it, but after they do, Saphira is ten times more kick-butt than usual.
  • Eragon is also given some armor, and they march off the army.
  • Each of the three sections sets up in front of an open tunnel. They begin to arrange defensive barriers—like sharpened stakes and "Urgals, Go Home" signs.
  • Suddenly, Eragon sees Murtagh come riding up. 
  • It's cool, he says, Ajihad let me out of my cushy cell to come and help. He sees the coming battle as a test of his trustworthiness.
  • Ajihad rolls up, too, decked out for some serious Urgal-whoopin'. He tells Eragon to link up with one of the Twins if he spots anything unusual during the battle. The Twins will then mentally relay the message to Ajihad. Eragon's not too cool with that, but it's not like they have cell phones or anything.
  • Ajihad asks Eragon what his battle plan with Saphira is, but they don't really have one. They're just gonna "wing it." Yeah, wing it.
  • Eragon notices Arya in the army. She's prepared to fight like everyone else. (Considering she's, like, the most amazing fighter, we see this as a sound strategy.)
  • Eragon tells her to be safe.
  • Everything is in place. Now it's just a matter of time. And more time. And still more time. 
  • Apparently the Urgals didn't set their battle alarms. They don't show.
  • Eventually, Eragon settles into uneasy sleep.
  • Then he wakes with a start.