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Murtagh Morzansson
Biographical information
Born 7982 AC (Three years older than Eragon)
Physical description
Species Human
Gender Male
Height Average/Tall (An inch or so taller than Eragon)
Hair Color Dark Brown
Eye Color Gray
Chronological and political information
Dragon Thorn
Affiliation Empire (formerly), Galbatorix (formerly), Galbatorix's Dragon Riders (formerly), Dragon Riders
Family Morzan (Father)
Selena (Mother)
Eragon (Maternal Half-Brother)
Garrow (Maternal Uncle)
Marian (Maternal Aunt-in-law)
Roran (Maternal Cousin)
Katrina (Maternal Cousin-in-law)
Ismira (Maternal Cousin once-removed)
Cadoc (Maternal Grandfather)
Known teachers Tornac, Galbatorix
Other
Film Portrayer Garrett Hedlund
"My mind is the only sanctuary that has not been stolen from me. Men have tried to breach it before, but I've learned to defend it vigorously, for I am only safe with my innermost thoughts."
— Murtagh

Murtagh Morzansson was a male human who was at one point Eragon's ally, but was enslaved by magic and forced to fight for the Empire. He was the son of Morzan, the man who betrayed the Dragon Riders to Galbatorix and helped destroy them, and Selena, Morzan's Black Hand and the most feared of all the Empire's spies and assassins. He was the eldest of Selena's two children, the other of which is Eragon Shadeslayer; consequently being Eragon's half-brother and Roran Stronghammer's first cousin. He was a fiercely loyal companion and an accomplished swordsman. He wielded a hand-and-a-half sword, and later, Zar'roc, which he took from Eragon, a yew bow, a dagger, and a white horn with silver fittings. He rode a warhorse named Tornac, which was named after his old swordsmanship tutor. During Eldest, one of King Galbatorix's Dragon eggs hatched for Murtagh and he named the red dragon Thorn. He was also the primary antagonist in Eldest.

In addition to being a Dragon Rider he was also the Empire's strongest magician after Galbatorix, the Empire's general and champion (involuntarily), the only known child of a member of the Forsworn, and one of the three principal characters in the Inheritance cycle. Murtagh was also a Kingkiller.

History Edit

Early period Edit

Origins Edit

Selena, a young woman from Carvahall, fell in love with Morzan. After almost three years of traveling with him, she became pregnant with his child. Morzan spirited her off to his castle and hid the pregnancy from everyone but Galbatorix. Murtagh was born in his father's castle nine months later.

Early life Edit

"He was a victim of fate, and had been since the day he was born."
— Eragon Bromsson, thinking about Murtagh

Murtagh explained parts of his past to Eragon and Saphira in Eragon, and he explained more to Nasuada in Inheritance, but little was known about his early years. He was taken from his mother Selena at birth and given to a wet nurse. Selena was only allowed to see him for brief visits every few months. As the son of the violent and twisted Dragon Rider Morzan, Murtagh experienced an unpleasant childhood. At the age of three, Murtagh's back was laid open from shoulder to hip when Morzan threw his sword, Zar'roc, at the boy in a drunken rage. Even after his father died at the hands of Brom, Murtagh continued to avoid the courts and its intrigues as much as was possible while living in King Galbatorix's castle at Urû'baen. Selena disappeared early in his life, to secure a better life for her second, unborn child. Upon her return, she fell grievously ill and died. Selena's illegitimate second son, Murtagh's younger brother, was revealed later to be Eragon.

Escape from Urû'baen Edit

"His tone was so different from what I had encountered before; it made me realize he didn't possess the mercy or foresight to gain the people's loyalty, and he ruled only through brute force guided by his own passions. It was at that moment I determined to escape him and Urû'baen forever."
— Murtagh

On his 18th birthday, Murtagh was summoned into Galbatorix's presence for a private meal. The king, in a seemingly rare good mood, readily offered his "friendship" to the son of his former ally, and Murtagh accepted it. Later, however, he realized that he had made a mistake in doing so when Galbatorix commanded Murtagh to take a company of soldiers and destroy the village of Cantos, which was known to harbor rebels, and slaughter its population without even attempting to see if all of them were guilty or not. That night, Murtagh fled Urû'baen with his faithful teacher, Tornac, who was an expert swordsman. Galbatorix, however, anticipated Murtagh's flight and posted men to guard the gates. Tornac was killed by a knife in the back as they fought their way out of the city, and Murtagh continued on alone.

Travels with Eragon Edit

To Gil'ead Edit

"I do not belong to either the Varden or the Empire. Nor do I owe allegiance to any man but myself."
— Murtagh

Murtagh fled to the estate of an old friend who sheltered him for a time while he mused on his next course of action, as he was unwilling to side with either the Empire or the Varden. However, he heard news of a new Dragon Rider and decided to follow the trail of the Ra'zac in the hopes of meeting him. He tracked the vile creatures to a point outside Dras-Leona. Fortuitously, he was able to help rescue Eragon and Saphira from the Ra'zac, although Brom received a mortal wound in the process.

Murtagh accompanied Eragon and Saphira to Gil'ead where Eragon was captured; Murtagh and Saphira successfully rescued him and Arya from captivity in Gil'ead, despite the appearance of the Shade Durza. Murtagh was able to temporarily disembody the Shade by shooting him between the eyes.

Flight to the Varden Edit

"I always did like races."
— Murtagh
Battleunder

Murtagh in the Battle under Farthen Dûr

Murtagh agreed to accompany Eragon and Saphira in their search for the Varden, which was made more urgent because of Arya's desperate condition. She had been poisoned in Gil'ead by Durza, and the Varden was the closest source of the antidote. The unlikely company crossed the Hadarac Desert without ado, aside from an encounter with slavers. Murtagh killed the bandits' leader, Torkenbrand, by beheading him while he was incapacitated.This caused Eragon much grief, and started a conflict between them.

They eventually reached the Varden, pursued by a band of Kull. Faced with confronting the Kull on his own or entering the Varden, Murtagh continued by Eragon's side.

Varden's prisoner Edit

"You must be willing to protect yourself and what you cherish, no matter what the cost."
— Murtagh

Once inside, Murtagh refused to allow the Twins, the Varden's strongest magicians, to probe his mind, as was customary for newcomers to the Varden. When Ajihad recognized him as the son of Morzan, he was imprisoned within Tronjheim. He met Nasuada during this time, and entertained himself by reading things that members of the Varden brought to him from the library of Tronjheim.

Later, he was given the chance to prove himself by fighting alongside the Varden during the Battle under Farthen Dûr. He proved himself sufficiently, in Ajihad's eyes, and personally accompanied the Varden leader as the last of the Urgals were rooted out of Farthen Dur's tunnels and destroyed. However, Murtagh repeatedly stated that he did not wish to join the Varden, as he did not share their desire to destroy the Empire.

Capture Edit

"He knows our true names, Eragon… We are his slaves forever."
— Murtagh

Murtagh was targeted by the Twins and a group of Kull while exiting one of the tunnels, and subsequently ensorcelled and taken back to Urû'baen. He was then tortured by Galbatorix for his rebellion. When Thorn hatched for him, they were forced to swear their allegiance to Galbatorix in the Ancient Language.

Rider War Edit

Battle of the Burning Plains Edit

Swedish-eldest

Murtagh on his dragon, Thorn

"Thorn is my dragon, and a thorn he shall be to all our enemies."
— Murtagh

Murtagh learned dark secrets of magic from Galbatorix and was given several of the Eldunarí that Galbatorix had in his possession. He was then dispatched to The Burning Plains, where an army of Imperial warriors were massed against those of Surda and the Varden, with orders to try to capture Eragon and Saphira. Galbatorix hid the true size of his army from the Varden with a powerful spell that took three days to pierce.

During the battle Murtagh struck down the dwarf king Hrothgar. He also bested the weary Eragon near the end of the battle. After defeating him, Murtagh took Eragon's blade, Zar'roc, claiming that the sword was rightfully his. He then revealed, using the Ancient Language, that Morzan was Eragon's father. He decided at last to exploit a loophole in his orders, which were to try to capture Eragon, and spare his friend, at risk of severe punishment brought by Galbatorix for not completing the deed.

Raid on the Varden Edit

Galbatorix was furious with Murtagh for allowing Eragon and Saphira to escape. After Eragon and Saphira killed the Ra'zac, the king "turned his anger" upon Thorn and Murtagh. He then made Murtagh swear additional oaths that would ensure his complete obedience. Murtagh then returned to attack the Varden with a troop of painless soldiers. He and Eragon battled once more. Eragon was able to draw on the strength of Arya and the twelve elven spellweavers sent by Queen Islanzadí to aid him. Murtagh surprised Eragon by a display of elf-quick speed and strength during the contest.[1]

During the confrontation, Murtagh revealed that both he and Thorn suffered greatly for the mercy they showed Eragon. Eragon reasoned that Murtagh and Thorn could escape Galbatorix if they changed their True names, an idea that Murtagh said was intriguing and that he might try after careful study. However, Murtagh realized that he and Thorn could not change themselves in an instant, and then attacked Eragon. Murtagh pierced Eragon in the hip with Zar'roc. Eragon joined strength with the elves, and decided to test Murtagh in a battle of strength in magic. Eragon managed to outlast Murtagh in the brutal contest, but he and several of the elves fainted during the battle. This allowed Murtagh and Thorn to escape unharmed. Before leaving, Murtagh swore that he and Thorn would return, more powerful than ever, and defeat Eragon and Saphira once and for all.

Return to Gil'ead Edit

Murtagh then returned once more to Urû'baen, and from there went to Gil'ead, where he fought with Oromis. Murtagh was recognized to have fear in his eyes, but he and Thorn battled the elder pair fiercely nonetheless. Using the vast amount of energy contained within Naegling, Oromis fought Murtagh while Glaedr battled Thorn. Thorn proved faster and stronger than Glaedr anticipated, and the battle went on. Oromis seemed confident that Murtagh's concentration would fail, but Murtagh held on. During the battle, Murtagh seemed to become angry at Oromis for not revealing himself sooner so that Oromis could have helped him. Galbatorix then assumed full control over Murtagh, first speaking to Oromis and Glaedr through Murtagh, attempting to persuade the two ancient warriors to ally themselves with Galbatorix. Oromis suffered a seizure which then made him drop Naegling, thus separating him from his power source that would protect him from harm. Galbatorix then dealt Oromis a fatal blow using Murtagh's arm. Glaedr attempted to carry Oromis back to the elves, but was killed by Thorn. According to Christopher Paolini, Oromis would have stood "a good chance" of winning the battle against Murtagh and Thorn if Galbatorix had not interfered, and if Oromis had not had a seizure.

It is unknown what happened to Murtagh after Galbatorix used him to kill Oromis and Glaedr. He may have used his remaining power to wreak havoc among the elves, or he may have simply returned to the capital. But it is likely that they were forced to return due to Thorn's grave injury; Glaedr had bitten off several feet of his tail during the battle.

Capture of Nasuada Edit

Later Murtagh played a crucial role in defending Dras-Leona, but the Varden were still able to take the city. He then raided the Varden camp, capturing Nasuada and bringing her back to Urû'baen, where Galbatorix tortured her. Murtagh in turn tried to comfort her as much as possible. He often talked to her the way he would have if he had grown up like a normal child, thus keeping her sane. Murtagh also taught Nasuada what to expect from Galbatorix and how best to protect herself from against his attacks.

Murtagh worked on a plan to free Nasuada, but Eragon's invasion of the city prevented him from carrying it out. When Eragon finally confronted Galbatorix, the king refused to duel Eragon personally, instead having him fight Murtagh. Murtagh quickly bested Eragon and nearly struck a fatal blow in his anger, but was stopped by Galbatorix, and the duel continued. Using the Way of Knowing, Eragon realized that Murtagh was the better swordsman, and possessed too much determination for Eragon to defeat in a fair duel. He then deliberately gave Murtagh an opening in order to land a blow, injuring both of them and ending the duel, with Galbatorix announcing Eragon as the winner.

Injured, Murtagh mused that the primary difference between Eragon and himself was that Murtagh had never been willing to sacrifice himself, and he found that his true name had changed. He aided his half-brother by using the Name of All Names to strip Galbatorix of his wards: an important act, as with wards, Eragon would not have been able to kill the king.

After Galbatorix died, Murtagh decided to wander Alagaësia until his anger subsided. Before he left, Murtagh and Eragon said goodbye, acknowledging each other as brothers. The most recently recorded sighting of Murtagh and Thorn was near Du Weldenvarden.

Personal information Edit

Physical appearance Edit

Murtagh was a stoic, eighteen-year-old. His regular, serious face and fierce gray eyes were framed by the locks of his long dark brown hair. He was clean-shaven, well tanned, fit, muscular, slightly taller (by about one to two inches) than his half-brother, Eragon, very strong and said to be extremely handsome. Across Murtagh's back was a long, twisting scar, reaching from his right shoulder to his left hip, caused when Murtagh's father, Morzan hurled Zar'oc at him when he was a child during a drunken rage, which was likely removed with magic as Galbatorix demanded physical perfection in his servants. Oddly, when Murtagh reappeared in Brisingr, he had black hair instead of brown. In an interview, Christopher Paolini acknowledged this as a small oversight.

Murtagh originally wore battered and travel-worn clothes, but eschewed them by the end of Eldest in favor of a suit of gleaming steel armor. Murtagh carried a yew bow and a white horn with silver fittings. His primary weapon was a hand-and-a-half sword, which was later replaced by Zar'roc.

Powers Edit

"You cannot hope to compete with me. No one can, except for Galbatorix."
— Murtagh

Before becoming a Rider, Murtagh was a powerful warrior in his own right. A lifetime of practice and study in swordplay made him a formidable fighter, surpassing Vanir and matching even Eragon in technical skill. Eragon acknowledged Murtagh as a "deadly swordsman". Murtagh was a master swordsman able to fight on par with Oromis. His experience in archery and wilderness survival allowed him to survive by hunting and foraging when on the run from the Empire. He could talk about hunting and archery for hours, debating their finer points with Eragon for long periods during their journey. His mind was also thoroughly shielded from mental attacks to such an extent that powerful magicians such as Eragon, the Twins, and many others have all failed to breach his mind. The only one known to have broken Murtagh's defenses was King Galbatorix, which proves how powerful his mental defenses were. In the final book, Murtagh implied that Galbatorix only managed to penetrate his defenses by threatening Thorn, which echoed his previous statement to the Twins that they couldn't make him open his mind if they couldn't threaten Eragon's life.

After Thorn hatched for him, Murtagh became even more powerful. Murtagh's mind, well-defended as it was, was augmented by the Eldunarí given to him to control. When Eragon touched his mind in Eldest, he felt a "multitude" of consciences trying to get out. Bregan, the blind man who saw lights and energies in Brisingr ,described Murtagh's light, saying that the light shone through him as if his power came from another source. After the Battle of the Burning Plains, Murtagh gained increased strength and speed that was equal to most elves and combined with his impressive sword skills, these powers further made Murtagh into an extremely dangerous and powerful Rider, more powerful than many previous Riders before him.

Overall, Murtagh's greatest strength was perhaps his formidable magical prowess, which was due to both his heritage as the son of the most powerful Forsworn and his use of multiple Eldunarí. This made him the Empire's strongest magician after Galbatorix. He could immobilize fully grown dragons with a single word, heal even the most severe injuries in seconds, and when coerced to use deadly force, he could unleash blasts of ruby energy strong enough to wipe out an entire group of spellcasters. His reserves of magic were vast, due to the Eldunarí he possessed, though he was still subjected to the rules of magic whenever he used his powers. He was also quite inventive as he placed spells in objects so he could use them quickly.

In terms of swordsmanship, Murtagh was initially equal to Eragon in every aspect even in terms of their stamina and tiring rate. Their sparring sessions were always intense and neither could gain the upper hand on the other, and they always kept each other on their toes. However, during their last battle in Inheritance, Murtagh proved to possess superior combat ability to Eragon. Angry at Eragon, Murtagh quickly bested him and nearly dealt a fatal blow before being stopped by Galbatorix. Using the Way of Knowing, Eragon realized that Murtagh was the better swordsman by a margin that prevented him from gaining the upper hand in their fight, and that he was too determined for Eragon to defeat in a fair duel. To win the duel, Eragon had to deliberately leave an opening for Murtagh to land a blow before retaliating at the right moment, injuring them both and ending the duel. Eragon admitted that Murtagh would win in a fight to the death.

Murtagh was the second person to know the True Name of the Ancient Language which he used at one time to disable close to a hundred wards. With this knowledge, he became one of the most powerful magicians who ever lived, currently matched only by Arya, and the Eldunarí from Vroengard (the others who also know the name) and seconded to Eragon due to his ownership over the 136 Eldunari. However, this was only because Murtagh chose to reveal it to Eragon before he left.

Personality Edit

"No stranger's life is more important than Thorn's or my own."
— Murtagh

Murtagh always exuded a calm, assured air, and his voice "was low and controlled, but curiously emotional." Murtagh was very passionate in all that he engaged himself in. He was also compassionate, as shown when he found a loophole in his oath that allowed him to let Eragon go after their first conflict as Riders and by his refusing to join Galbatorix when first asked. He was very proud that he survived as well as he did under all the difficult circumstances that he was in during his hard life. Indeed, Paolini has stated that, aside from Eragon himself due to the circumstances of her finding, Saphira was most likely to have hatched for Murtagh.

Because of his unpleasant upbringing, a constant sense of danger, and multiple attempts on his life, Murtagh became solitary, suspicious, and practical. He was always wary of everyone, from strangers to his closest friends, and his suspicion made him dislike taking chances, especially for the sake of others. He would not hesitate to defend himself or whatever he held dear, no matter the cost to others. He was practical to the point of ruthlessness in this regard, killing anyone he deemed a threat with minimal hesitation or remorse, and an attitude that was almost casual. Murtagh was very different in this regard from Eragon and Roran, both of whom could not kill without being haunted by thoughts of the lives they had ended.

Murtagh was also very intelligent and strong-willed. He protected his mind behind nearly impenetrable barriers at all times, shielding the last sanctuary that has not been stolen from him. When he was imprisoned by the Varden, he refused to allow the Twins to enter his mind, no matter what they did. He was prepared to be imprisoned, tortured, and confined at all times, but did not give in. When they began bringing him whatever he wanted from the library of Tronjheim, he quickly became addicted to the scholarly environment.

Perhaps because of his indomitable will, Murtagh was also quite stubborn on occasion. Whenever he made a decision, nothing could change his mind. He absolutely refused to "repent" for killing Torkenbrand, or to allow the Twins into his mind. The only one who seemed to be able to sway Murtagh's decision one way or another was Thorn whom he claims to love like Eragon loves Saphira, who would always speak to him with his mind before either of them made an important decision. This level of cooperation and consideration for each other indicates that while Murtagh is stubborn and sometimes uncooperative, he and Thorn work very well together.

When Murtagh became an unwilling servant of Galbatorix, he abhorred the atrocities he had to perform and disliked carrying them out. However, he loved his new powers and reveled in the destruction he could wreak with them. Because of his cruel lot in life and a past filled with agony, Murtagh delighted in striking back at the world that had shown him little kindness, the result of a suppressed desire for revenge all his life.

Though Murtagh relished his power, he also wanted to be away from Galbatorix, proven when a look of desperate longing appeared in his eyes when Eragon proposed a way to escape, and his willingness to listen to Eragon's suggestion. Also, Murtagh said something in the company of soldiers of the Empire that made them wonder if they were hunting down Murtagh himself.

Murtagh was also introverted. He stated repeatedly that he values his own life, and Thorn's, more than any number of others' lives, and refused to sacrifice himself no matter how many innocents it would save, citing his enjoyment of life even as a slave to Galbatorix. In his hard life, he has had few friends, except for Eragon, Saphira, Tornac, Nasuada, and Thorn.

Morals Edit

"I am not evil! I've done the best I could under the circumstances. I doubt you would have survived as well as I did …"
— Murtagh

Because Murtagh considered his life to be more important than others, he often disregarded the feelings and suffering of others for his own sake. For example, when Torkenbrand tried to capture him, Murtagh beheaded the slaver without hesitation, remorse, or emotion.

However, despite his ruthlessness, and his love of power, Murtagh was not sadistic or parasitic at all. He shied away from acts of excessive bloodshed and cruelty, such as the destruction of Cantos, and was willing to help others, such as Eragon, at certain times. He was also empathetic as he often empathized with the subjects of the Empire and Nasauda during her capture and did not judge others, unlike Eragon.

Though Murtagh did not love the Empire or the king, he also held the Varden in distaste. He believed that while Galbatorix was corrupt, the system of the Empire was sound, and the Varden's desire to destroy it utterly was fanatical and destructive. Though he supported Galbatorix as the ruler of Alagaësia, he harbored strong resentment against him and actually betrayed him in Inheritance. Murtagh studied the possibility of changing his true name, which allowed him to disobey and even betray Galbatorix. Paolini himself has said that Murtagh and Galbatorix have had many "difficulties".

However, his tenure with Galbatorix and role as Nasuada's imprisoner left a drastic change. He began to value other lives more, as well as gaining increased empathy, telling Eragon to comfort Arya as killing Shruikan might have left her deeply disturbed and later apologized to Glaedr for his part in his Rider's death.

Inner struggle Edit

When faced with the choice of helping Eragon and Saphira escape the Empire by accompanying them to the Varden or fleeing the whole situation on his own, he decided to help Eragon even though he knew he could be punished somehow for being Morzan's son.

At the Battle of the Burning Plains, Eragon appealed to Murtagh's sympathies. Murtagh was only instructed to attempt to capture Eragon and Saphira. Therefore, he was able to find a way around his oath to Galbatorix, and save Eragon and Saphira.

When Eragon was traveling back to the Varden from Helgrind in Brisingr, he overheard a conversation from the soldiers. They said they wouldn't be surprised if the mysterious fugitive that they were hunting on the King's orders was Murtagh himself, because of what they heard him say. Although he was forced to serve Galbatorix, Murtagh did not seem happy about it. Its speculated that he may have said something about either a way to break free, or the destruction of Galbatorix's forces.

In their next encounter, Murtagh delayed his attack on Eragon until he heard what Eragon had to say concerning their true names. Even though he had said that Thorn and him were forever slaves to Galbatorix, he still clung to the hope that they could be freed.

Like Shruikan, Galbatorix attempted to turn Murtagh and to Thorn into remorseless killers, often treating them like a tool or weapon.

Romance Edit

It is speculated that he may have had feelings for Nasuada, though nothing came of it. After Eragon killed Galbatorix, Murtagh and Thorn flew away to the north, as they knew they would never be accepted due to all they had done in Galbatorix's name but were acknowledged by Umaroth and the other Eldunari, and Murtagh still felt guilty for the harm he had caused Nasuada in his being forced to torture her by Galbatorix. As Paolini stated, all aforementioned actions "invalidated any feelings that Nasuada may have had for Murtagh", thus made her to say "I cannot forgive, but I understand".

Titles Edit

Real-world connections Edit

Literary comparisons Edit

Star Wars Edit

Murtagh is similar in several ways to Han Solo of the original Star Wars trilogy. Like Solo, Murtagh was a loner with an ambiguous past, who was pursued by powerful forces that eventually catch him. Some of Murtagh's behavior, such as killing a person who attempts to capture him, and bragging about his ride (Murtagh boasted about his horse, while Solo boasted about his ship), are similar to Han Solo's.

During Eldest, however, Murtagh becomes more similar to Anakin Skywalker (Darth Vader). He has a wavy long-haired appearance, wears armor in battle, wields a red sword, harnesses powerful supernatural forces to his will, is the primary servant of the Emperor, and is related to the main hero. Murtagh's confrontation with Eragon at the end of Eldest is also similar to the confrontation between Luke and Vader at the end of Empire Strikes Back. Murtagh also threatened to cut off Eragon's right hand during Brisingr (Vader succeeds in cutting off Luke's).

Furthermore, he doesn't want to talk about his past, he states in Eragon that he likes races (Anakin loved Podracing), and he is sort of aggressive for a benevolent being. Then later, like Anakin becoming Vader, Murtagh becomes Galbatorix's servant.

Similarly, in Inheritance, Murtagh turns against Galbatorix to save Eragon, redeeming himself in the process, like Anakin redeeming himself by saving Luke and killing Palpatine.

The Lord of the Rings Edit

Murtagh has several similarities to Aragorn from J. R. R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings. He is a wanderer who is of noble birth and heir to a position that he eventually takes, and is very skilled as a swordsman, archer, and woodsman. Murtagh also lends Eragon his assistance and service on his quest to destroy the evil, much as Aragorn did for Frodo. However, there is another character Murtagh is much more similar to, especially after Brisingr: The Witch-king of Angmar.

Like the Witch-king, Murtagh rode a dragonish beast, was the greatest servant of the Dark Lord, wielded a sword as his primary weapon, and possessed powerful magic bestowed to him by his master. Murtagh was recruited into Galbatorix's service in a similar way to how the Witch-king was brought into Sauron's: The Witch-king was given a ring of power, which gave him incredible powers but slowly turned him into a ghostly wraith and servant to the Dark Lord; Murtagh was given a dragon egg by Galbatorix, which hatched for him, granting him a range of new powers, but coming with the price that he had to swear oaths of fealty to Galbatorix, making him his servant forever. Murtagh also battled Oromis and Glaedr at the end of Brisingr, just as the Witch-king confronted Gandalf in The Return of the King. The main difference is that Gandalf survived the encounter with the Witch-king, while Murtagh slew Oromis (with Galbatorix's help).

Sword of Truth Edit

On closer inspection, Murtagh's history and life closely parallels that of Jennsen Rahl of the Sword of Truth series.

  • They were both the offspring of a powerful, cruel, dark lord, who was in the service of an even greater dark power. (Interestingly, their respective fathers, Morzan and Darken Rahl, have many other similarities.)
  • They were conceived in a similar manner; their respective fathers seduced a young, seemingly innocent girl for their own benefit.
  • Their respective fathers did not care much for them. (Morzan threw Zar'roc at Murtagh when he was only three; Darken Rahl considered Jennsen an abomination of nature, and a disappointing disgrace to the House of Rahl, actually wanting her dead though this was true for everyone of his descendant born without magic.)
  • They both fled their home while filled with grief after the death of a person close to them (Tornac/Jennsen's mother).
  • They were both pursued by the established government of their homeland, which tried to capture them. (Murtagh was pursued by the Empire; Jennsen was pursued by the House of Rahl.)
  • Because of the aforementioned item, they both spent a lot of time traveling, moving through the wilderness, and staying alert for any sign of danger. They both developed very good foresting skills as a result.
  • They both met and teamed up with a person who resisted the government that pursued them. (Murtagh joined Eragon Bromsson, who supported the Varden and resisted the Empire; Jennsen joined Sebastion, who supported the Imperial Order and opposed the House of Rahl.)
  • They both eventually betrayed that person and became a principal supporter of their enemy, the very government that had been pursuing them.
  • They were both half siblings of the main hero, sharing one parent with them. They met and teamed up with this half-sibling at one point.
  • At one point, they were the ally of their half-sibling; during another, they were their enemy.

There are, however, several differences between Murtagh and Jennsen, including gender (Jennsen was female), the parent they shared with the main hero (In Murtagh's case, it was his mother; in Jennsen's case, it was her father), and the time periods in which they were allied with their half-sibling. (Murtagh started out as Eragon's ally and later became his enemy (though in the end he became and remained Eragon's ally); Jennsen started out as Richard's enemy and later became his ally.)

Etymology and historical information Edit

Etymology Edit

'Murtagh' is an Irish name, it is a variant of Murchadh, which means 'protector of the sea' in Gaelic.[2][3]

Historical connections Edit

Murtagh was the name of a High King of Ireland. Murtagh mac Erc ruled Ireland as High King from 512 to 534 A.D.[4]

Fictional connections Edit

Murrtagh was the name of a character in the Star Wars Expanded Universe. The Jedi Master Murrtagh successfully assassinated the Sith Lord known only as the Dark Underlord during the battle of Malrev IV approximately 1750 years before the events of the original trilogy. But, in doing so, Murrtagh fell to the dark side. This could be said to parallel Murtagh's fall into Galbatorix's clutches after his heroic actions at the Battle of Farthen Dur.[5]

See also Edit

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Inheriwiki has a category of images related to:
  Murtagh

References Edit

  1. Brisingr, p.325
  2. http://www.babynamesbase.com/meaning_Murtagh.html
  3. http://www.cutebabyname.com/murchadh.html
  4. Muirchertach mac Ercae at Wikipedia
  5. Murrtaggh at Wikipedia
Preceded By Position Succeeded By
Galbatorix as Keeper of Thorn's egg Thorn's Rider n/a
Preceded By Position Succeeded By
Eragon Holder of Zar'roc n/a
Preceded By Position Succeeded By
Durza Galbatorix's Right-Hand Man n/a

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