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Gil'ead was a city in the northern part of Alagaësia, under the control of the Broddring Empire. It was a major staging point for Galbatorix's Imperial Army with barracks, a fort, as well as some of the Broddring Empire's best security prisons. Both Arya and Eragon were imprisoned by the Shade Durza in Gil'ead. They later escaped with the help of Murtagh and Saphira. Brom and Morzan also had their final battle in the city, when Brom killed Morzan.
Gil'ead was a fishing and trapping center, where hunters could replenish supplies and sell their pelts and meat before returning to the wild.
The city was both a first line of defense and a starting point for offensives against the elves had they openly allied themselves with the Varden. An army, under the command of Murtagh, son of Morzan, marched from Gil'ead to battle on The Burning Plains.
During the Rider War, Gil'ead was besieged by an army of elves under Queen Islanzadí, following their capture of Ceunon. It was at this battle that Oromis and Glaedr were killed by Murtagh and Thorn while Murtagh was possessed by Galbatorix. After his defeat, Glaedr's consciousness retreated into his Eldunari.
After Galbatorix's defeat and the downfall of the Broddring Empire, an aristocrat named Hamlin led an Imperial rebellion to take Gil'ead, though the new queen, Nasuada, as well as the new kingdom easily crushed it.
In the PC game, three levels consist around Gil'ead. The first level portrays a disgusting city with frightened people and war-torn soldiers. The second level shows the keep, with no civilians, just more hardened soldiers. The third and last level shows even more soldiers, but at the end comes a desperate fight with Durza. That level is also where the player first meets Murtagh. Gil'ead was almost entirely omitted in the movie.
The name Gil'ead is similar to Gilead, the name of a mountainous region in the Kingdom of Jordan, as well as to Roland of Gilead, the protagonist of Stephen King's Dark Tower series.