Study Guide

Eragon Fate and Free Will

By Christopher Paolini

Fate and Free Will

The role of Fate, or a person's "wyrd," is on a lot of characters' minds in Eragon. And that means it's on our minds, too. Saphira, the dragon, sees reality as a pre-ordained series of events. As a result, she doesn't stress much—life to her seems to happen as it's meant to. Eragon, on the other hand, has a harder time accepting the role of Fate in his life. Does inheriting heroic status, and a dragon to boot, mean that he's got no free will of his own? If he does have free will, which choices are the right ones to make? Big questions, right? Luckily, Eragon's got a host of friends to help him out with the answers.

Questions About Fate and Free Will

  1. Why do you think Saphira believes in fate so strongly? 
  2. According to his fortune, Eragon is one of the few people in the story with free will. How does that fit with his fate to be a Rider and inherit the original Eragon's legacy? Can one have both free will and, at the same time, be subject to fate? 
  3. Do you think that Brom's fate to fail in everything but one task makes him a nobler or more pathetic character? Why? 
  4. Is simply accepting your "wyrd," or fate, just a way to stop worrying about the consequences of your actions and decisions? 

Chew on This

Eragon shows us that a blind acceptance of destiny is a dangerous thing.

Ironically, it's the intervention of fate that allows Eragon the chance to exercise his free will. (How about that?)