There were only five known dragons left in Alagaësia during the Rider War: Shruikan, Saphira, Thorn, Firnen, (though Saphira, Firnen, and Thorn were still eggs) and Glaedr. Glaedr was the only dragon (other than Shruikan) alive at the start of the Rider War, however, he was killed by Galbatorix (through Murtagh and Thorn), and henceforth resided in his Eldunarí, which was in Eragon's possession. However, unbeknownst to everyone, there were still eggs in existence, hidden on Vroengard, the ancient home of the Riders.
The dragons of Alagaësia were reptilian, with scales, sharp teeth, bat-like membraned wings. and a tongue that was covered with hooked barbs.They developed the ability to breathe fire as they matured. Their color varied from dragon to dragon. According to Brom, dragons could grow to be "larger than most houses" and some older dragons could be confused with large hills. They were connected to the land in strange ways, ways that sometimes even they could not control. This was shown when Saphira touched Zar'roc with her muzzle, causing it to ripple, and when she turned Brom's grave from stone to diamond. Dragons can't really control when they do magic. Saphira also repaired Isidar Mithrim for the dwarves.
Dragon eggs tended to be the same color as the dragon's scales, as did the color of their Rider's magic. Their scales were very strong, capable of deflecting arrows, even on the underbelly. The wings were the weakest part of their body, composed of only a thin membrane of flesh (Saphira often had holes punched in them once her wards failed). Females tended to be more aggressive, vain, and stronger than males; Saphira often called herself the "most beautiful creature in all of Alagaësia", as well as attacking Glaedr when he decided not to mate with her. Glaedr himself said that in the wild, the "females were so formidable, it was considered among the bonded dragons a great achievement to mate with one". For most dragons, the color of their eyes and hide matched (with the exception of Fírnen and Shruikan). They also possessed long, barbed tongues. All dragons ate meat, especially deer and other ungulates. The dragons were similar to other creatures, namely the Nïdhwal and the Fanghur who were said by Glaedr to be "cousins of the dragons". The Lethrblaka were also said to resemble the dragons somewhat in their appearance.
In Brisingr, it is implied that dragons interact with each other using their tails: Glaedr states, "Even after so long bonded to Oromis, he still had difficulty discerning the emotions of the two legs, what with their soft, flat faces and their lack of tails." From this, it can be inferred that dragons express their feelings with their tails.
Life cycle Edit
Dragons hatched from eggs. It is unclear if all dragons were the same size at birth as the size of their eggs varied. When dragons reached about six months old, they gained the ability to breathe fire. Predators by nature, they hunted large animals, with an occasional fish or fowl and some plants, such as Fireweed, which eased bad breath and indigestion. Dragons are particularly fond of the giant snail, Snalglí.
Dragons started to mate when they were young. They were unfading and did not die, unless by wounds in battle or by sickness. There was no limit to a dragon's size, as they grew continuously. Brom said that the most ancient dragons could be confused for hills or small mountains because of this; a dragon's size directly correlated to the size of the Eldunarí. The largest known dragon was Belgabad. Once dragons grew very old, they spent most of their time asleep, dreaming.
When the Unbound Dragons delivered one of their eggs to the Riders, certain words were said over it. These ensured that the dragon would only hatch for the one destined to be its Rider.
If a dragon's Rider was ever killed, they would go on rampage to avenge their death. Afterwards, they often died from grief. If they so chose to they could retain their conscious mind in their Eldunarí, or their jewel-like "heart of hearts". This allowed anyone with the Eldunarí - if it was given to someone - to speak to the dragon and draw energy from them. It was revealed by the elf Oromis that Galbatorix, during his rebellion, acquired all the Eldunarí he could from the dragons he killed, which was the source of his amplified power. He also gave some of them to Murtagh, which explains his increased power.
However, though Galbatorix did collect all the avalible eggs and Eldunarí, there were many hidden in the Vault of Souls underneath the Rock of Kuthian on Vroengard. Galbatorix was oblivious of this due to Thuviel immolating himself in the egg house on Vroengard during the Slaughter at Doru Araeba. Also, the amount of Eldunarí stored within the Vault of Souls was small enough (compared to the amount in the vault the riders created for Eldunarí on Vroengard) that their absence would not arouse Galbatorix's suspicion.
Early years Edit
Along with the dwarves and the Grey Folk, dragons were one of the three races native to Alagäesia. The dwarves and the dragons constantly had skirmishes, and neither ever found any liking for the other race. Additionally, there were never any dwarf Dragon Riders because the dwarves were not included in the Blood Oath (The magical pact that created the Riders).
Du Fyrn Skulblaka Edit
After a dragon was killed by a rash elf, the long and bitter Fyrn Skulblaka started between the two races. Each side did things they would regret; at one point, elves ambushed dragon mothers in a forested nesting-place (Stone of Broken Eggs), killing them and breaking their eggs. Eventually, however, an elf named Eragon I (namesake of the current Eragon) discovered an abandoned dragon egg and raised the dragon as his own. Together, the pair acted as mediators for the dragons and elves, and were able to eventually resolve the conflict. Afterward, they established a pact and created the order of the Dragon Riders, binding the Dragons and the Elves together with magic, as it was determined that a simple peace accord would not suffice. The dragons and their Riders were tasked with maintaining the peace in Alagäesia. Humans were later added to the blood oath when they arrived.
The Dragon Rider Era Edit
The dragons agreed to give some of their eggs to the Riders every year so that the order could continue. With the protection and assistance of the Riders, the dragons experienced an age of peace. Though they still had contentions with the dwarves, a full-scale war never again erupted between races.
The Fall Edit
During and after Galbatorix's rebellion, most of the dragons, along with their Riders, were killed. The Forsworn began a mass genocide of the dragons, leaving them on the brink of extinction. Galbatorix's dragon was thought to be the only surviving dragon. However, Galbatorix still held three dragon eggs, and there was another surviving dragon, Glaedr, living in Du Weldenvarden. By Eragon's time, there were only five known dragons in existence:
- Saphira: Eragon's dragon, a blue female
- Shruikan: Galbatorix's dragon, a black male (died in the battle of Urû'baen by the hand of Arya)
- Thorn: Murtagh's dragon, a red male
- Fírnen: Arya's dragon, a green male
- Glaedr: Oromis's dragon, a gold male (experienced bodily death during the elven invasion of Gil'ead in Brisingr, and from then on resided in his Eldunarí)
New Hope Edit
When Eragon discovered the blue dragon egg in the Spine and eventually became Saphira's Rider, some hope was restored for the dragons. Galbatorix also wanted to reestablish the dragon race and the Riders to serve him.
Saphira was the last known female dragon in existence. As revealed by Murtagh, it was Galbatorix's desire to reestablish the order of the Dragon Riders. Therefore, it was likely that Saphira would have become the "mother" of their race.
However, in the Vault of Souls, Eragon found that Vrael, Oromis, and a few other elders had realized that Galbatorix was too powerful, and decided to hide away 136 Eldunarí and 243 dragon eggs, 26 of which were saved for the new generation of Dragon Riders, and then the Eldunarí cast a spell like that of the Banishing of Names, that erased the memory of the Rock of Kuthian from everone's minds, including that of the Riders, and the mothers of the dragon eggs. This spell would also prevent anyone who entered and left the vault from remembering the dragon eggs in the vault until the demise of Galbatorix. Eragon took these eggs with him at the end of Inheritance.
However, the dragons continued to play a role in the working of Alagäesia, in the form of the tamperings worked by the Eldunarí within the Vault of Souls. They did many things to help bring about Galbatorix's downfall, such as reaching out to the Werecats and giving them the message they would later pass on to Eragon, which would lead him to find both the Brightsteel for his sword, Brisingr, but also to find the Vault of Souls.
In response to a fan question, Christopher Paolini stated that dragons would normally choose their own names once they were old enough to understand the concept. Additionally, it wasn't unheard of for a dragon to change his or her name over the centuries. In a perversion of the normal custom, Galbatorix gave Shruikan his name.
In the first book, when Eragon asked Brom about dragons and the Dragon Riders, he asked him about the names of the former dragons before the fall of the order. Amongst them was Saphira, the name of Brom's former dragon. Later, Eragon shares the list of names with her, and she chooses Saphira. Also, when Murtagh explains why his dragon is named Thorn, it is unclear whether Thorn chose his name or Murtagh. Christopher Paolini has stated in an interview that Thorn did indeed choose his own name.
Dragons mentioned within the series Edit
- Agaravel, a female dragon in her Eldunarí whose rider was killed by Kialandi and Formora
- Belgabad, wild, the largest dragon at the time of the fall
- Bid'Daum, dragon of Eragon I, a white male
- Cuaroc, Purple male
- Ënurfala, mythological, mentioned only in a deleted scene
- Eridor, a green male
- Fundor, the dragon that fought a Sea Serpent
- Glaedr, Oromis's dragon, a gold male
- Fírnen, Arya's dragon, a green male
- Formora's dragon, a brown dragon
- Iormúngr, Saphira II's sire (father)
- Jarnunvösk, Galbatorix's first dragon, a female
- Kialandi's dragon, a purple dragon
- Miremel, a brown female
- Morzan's dragon, a red dragon
- Saphira I, Brom's dragon, a blue female
- Saphira II, Eragon's dragon, a blue female
- Shruikan, Galbatorix's dragon, a black male
- Spectral Dragon
- Thorn, Murtagh's dragon, a red male
- Umaroth, Vrael's dragon, a white male
- Unnamed White Dragon
- Valdr, one of the elder Dragons hidden within the Vault of Souls
- Vanilor, king of the Dragons
- Vervada, Saphira II's dam (mother), a "crimson" red female
- Glaerun's Dragon, unknown color
In an October 2011 interview conducted by Shurtugal.com, Christopher Paolini stated, when asked whether any wild dragons survived:
Mike (Shurtugal): Brom says of Vrael in Eragon, “Ancient and wise, [Vrael] struggled to save what he could and keep the remaining dragons from falling to his enemies.” Is this insinuating that Vrael managed to save some wild dragons, or are we reading too far into this?
Christopher Paolini: Vrael was trying to save some wild dragons, but he didn’t succeed.
Mike (Shurtugal): This may be a path you’re unwilling to head down, but I’ll ask anyway. We debated this on the last podcast… dragons can fly incredible distances, so it wouldn’t be much of a stretch to assume there are some beyond what we see of Alagaësia — or would it?
Christopher Paolini: It would. Dragons have certainly lived pretty much everywhere in the world where Alagaësia exists. However, if any still lived, Galbatorix would have tracked them down and killed or enslaved them. Remember, Galbatorix has the strength of all of the Eldunarí at his disposal. He has enough energy to reach out to any distance with his mind. It would be extremely difficult for wild dragons (who can only rarely use magic) to hide from him. The only reason that Glaedr escaped was because he was under the protection of the elves