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The Ra'zac
Biographical information
Age 15 - 20
Physical description
Species Ra'zac
Gender At least one was female
Hair Color Bald
Eye Color Black, lidless
Chronological and political information
Affiliation The Empire
Family Lethrblaka
Other
Film Portrayer Spencer Wildling,
Gábor Hortobágyi
"They are the monsters in the dark, the dripping nightmares that haunt your race. ... All areas where humans are weak, the Ra'zac are strong."
Oromis

The Ra'zac (or Lethrblaka when full-grown) were one of the several ancient races that were thought to have followed the humans across the sea to Alagaësia. They were a race that fed on humans and likely came from the same homelands. Ra'zacs' breath have the power to paralyze humans in a dream-like state, however, it barely clouds the minds of dwarves and is ineffective against elves altogether.

The last two Ra'zac to live before the extinction of their race in Alagaësia (as well as the remaining two Lethrblaka) were servants of Galbatorix, living in their black towers at Helgrind. They were used by King Galbatorix to investigate any rumors of dragons who might have escaped the downfall of the Dragon Riders. They were called by some the king's personal "dragon hunters." They were especially effective against Dragon Riders because their minds were shielded from mental powers.

Unbeknownst to the main characters, Galbatorix hid several Ra'zac eggs throughout Alagaësia, though the only ones found were beneath Dras-Leona. These two were destroyed and killed shortly after hatching by Solembum.

The Ra'zac commonly used Seithr Oil, and with it killed Garrow, Parr and countless others. The Ra'zac used bows and arrows usually coated in Seithr Oil. They also used ancient leaf-bladed swords. They had probably been using the swords against their enemies for years without them breaking, in which case the blades would have to be either stolen from elves or heavily enchanted. This enchanting would need to be done so by a very skilled enchanter, since ordinary blades augmented with magic for durability require a magician to renew the spells protecting them, and the Ra'zac cannot use magic. There was a taller and smaller Ra'zac (this could correspond with age or gender). The last of the Ra'zac hid in Helgrind, and were warded by Galbatorix's spells. They kept both Seithr Oil and torture devices inside their lair. The Ra'zac are known to be mortally afraid of water and the sun, as they cannot swim and sunlight burns their skin and eyes.

Life-cycle

When a Ra'zac is hatched, it is referred to as a pupa. It develops a roughly human exoskeleton, allowing it to remain somewhat inconspicuous in the company of its favorite prey, humans. During the pupae stage, they wear black cloaks to help hide their true form. In this stage, Ra'zac feed exclusively on human beings, but upon maturing will kill and eat anything that moves.

When the pupae reaches the first full moon of its twentieth year, it sheds its exoskeleton,spread its wings that have developed from a bulge on its back, emerging as a fully grown Lethrblaka, said to resemble a type of "monstrous dark dragon". The flying mounts used by the Ra'zac were actually their parents, the Lethrblaka. Lethrblaka had the intelligence of a dragon, albeit a cruel and twisted one, but they are much more intelligent than the younger Ra'zac and could give out ear-splitting shrieks that most are not able to stand. Magic users, however, could counter it by casting a spell to "empty their ears". The Lethrblaka then reproduce oviparously, renewing their cycle of life.

It is unknown where the Ra'zac originated, but they are not native to Alagaësia. It is most likely they came from whatever place humans abandoned, and they may be the reason that the humans abandoned this place.

For many years the creatures roamed wild, killing and devouring humans before the Dragon Riders agreed to put an end to it. During the bloody Ra'zac War, nearly the entire Ra'zac race was exterminated, except for two Lethrblaka, who survived. After his victory over the Riders, Galbatorix sought out the Lethrblaka and their newborn Ra'zac and bartered for their services in exchange for his protection and a limitless supply of their favorite food: human flesh. They then continued their savage eating habits as they did before, finding human flesh a plenty. He also granted them a new home in Helgrind.

History

Role in Eragon

The Ra'zac were sent to search for the dragon egg that had been teleported by Arya into the Spine. They tortured Garrow with Seithr Oil and burned his farm in their quest for the egg. They were then tracked by Eragon, Brom, and Saphira to Dras-Leona. The trio was ambushed and captured. However, when the shorter Ra'zac tried to kill Brom, arrows fired by a hiding Murtagh saved them. As they left, the shorter Ra'zac kicked Eragon, wounding him, and the taller one threw a dagger. Brom jumped in the way and was left with a fatal injury.

Role in Eldest

The Ra'zac returned to Carvahall, attempting this time to kidnap Roran, who was wanted by The Empire. They threatened the villagers with slavery, most of whom rallied behind Roran and escaped to Surda. Unfortunately, the Ra'zac were able to kidnap Katrina and Sloan, who they took to Helgrind. Eragon learned about the strengths and weaknesses of the Ra'zac from Oromis and felt that he would be more than a match for them the next time that they met.

Role in Brisingr

Eragon, Roran, and Saphira traveled to Helgrind, where the Ra'zac's secret lair was located.

Roran killed one of the Ra'zac, which was revealed to be female, before freeing Katrina, while Saphira slew both of the Lethrblaka. After Roran, Katrina, and Saphira departed, Eragon confronted the last Ra'zac. It spoke with him before fighting, saying that Galbatorix would defeat Eragon even if they should fall, because, "He has more heartsss than you do", probably referring to the Eldunarí in Galbatorix's possession.

The last Ra'zac then requested that Eragon ensure that they were remembered by the human race with the image they had always represented: fear, the monsters in the dark. In return, it offered to tell Eragon a secret; Galbatorix was close to finding "the true name." Eragon refused to parley with the Ra'zac, saying the information was not definite enough to warrant a favor. The Ra'zac cursed Eragon in anger, saying "Curssse you, Rider! I curssse you! May you find no roossst nor den nor peace of mind in thisss land of yours. May you leave Alagaësia and never return!". The Ra'zac attacked Eragon, who won the ensuing fight by killing the Ra'zac.

Role in Inheritance

While Eragon, Roran, and Saphira were successful in defeating the Ra'zac, they did not manage to exterminate them completely: a pair of Ra'zac eggs were kept in secret by the clergy of Dras-Leona, who worshiped the Ra'zac as gods. These eggs were hatched in a ceremony, during which Eragon and Arya were nearly killed by the infant Ra'zac, but the timely arrival of the herbalist Angela resulted in the destruction of the hatchlings, with one being killed by Solembum and the other by Eragon. Galbatorix mentioned there were more eggs that he had hidden elsewhere. After Galbatorix's downfall, Eragon tried to find more information on these eggs, yet found only old accounts from other Riders.

Surviving Ra'zac

Although this Ra'zac was the last of its kind to have crossed the Silver Sea, others may yet survive beyond the ocean. It was never confirmed that the entirety of the Ra'zac race crossed, and as other humans would still be present in their homeland crossing would make little sense for the Ra'zac as much of their prey would still be available in their homeland. It is possible that there are eggs kept and hidden by the clergy of Dras-Leona or Galbatorix.

Powers

The Ra'zac had no access to magic, but they were very effective against magicians because their minds could not be observed or possibly their minds were so alien to magicians that they could not sense them at all. The Ra'zac had a human ally in Galbatorix, who would cast protective wards over them.

The Ra'zac possessed superhuman strength, speed, agility, and stamina, equal to an elf. However, they also possessed an ability no elf, Shade, or even Dragon Rider had; an evil breath that fogs the minds of humans (most likely a poisonous gas) and make most people incapable of doing anything. A Dragon Rider is almost completely immune due to their bond with their dragons, who are not affected at all. The Ra'zac also had strong exoskeletons which was as hard and strong as armor, and protected the Ra'zac from weak blows without slowing them down with bulky excess weight.

In addition to these abilities, their senses were very strong; they could track scents like hounds, see on a cloudy night or even in complete darkness. But perhaps the Ra'zac's greatest power was the special shields that protected their minds. Even the best human mindbreakers could not detect a Ra'zac's mind. This made it impossible to breach or control them with mental powers, unless the Ra'zac consented to it. It also made the Ra'zac excellent assassins, for not even magicians would be able to detect them until it was too late.

The Ra'zac spoke in their own language of sharp clicks, clacks, clucks, shrieks, chirps and other bird-like sounds. None of this language was translated and the calls may have been unintelligible and even unpronounceable to all but the Ra'zac.

However, the Ra'zac had weaknesses as well. Because their eyes were so sensitive to brightness, strong light pained them, though it was not fatal and wouldn't stop a Ra'zac if they were determined. Powerful light, such as that conjured by the "kveykva" spell would momentarily stun a Ra'zac. Ra'zac also were unable to swim, possibly because of their exoskeleton, as a result, they had a morbid fear of (deep) water and thus kept away from it.

Gender

One of the inconsistencies in the Inheritance Cycle involved the Ra'zac. During the confrontation outside Dras-Leona, Christopher Paolini described both Ra'zac as 'he'. However, when Eragon is facing down the second Ra'zac before battling it, it describes the late Ra'zac as 'she'. In order to make them reproduce, one of them had to be a female. It is not known for sure which Ra'zac is which, but it is more likely that the shorter one was female. During the first appearance of the Ra'zac, the taller Ra'zac was described as a "man", while no such description was attached to the shorter one. It should be considered, however, that all descriptions of the Ra'zac as a "he" or a "man" come from the point of view of Eragon, who would have no way of knowing the gender of the two. It is possible that both Ra'zac could be female. Another possibility is that they were hermaphrodites, and thus had no gender but mated with any other being of their species.

Personality

Both Ra'zac were cunning and cruel, but rather narrow-minded. They were capable of conscious thought and consideration, but were not as intelligent as humans, dwarves, elves, or dragons.

The shorter Ra'zac has been consistently portrayed as more blunt, cruel, and impulsive than the taller one; both traits could correspond to age. When talking with Sloan, the shorter one was significantly more threatening than their taller counterpart. When they captured Eragon and Brom, the shorter one suggested just killing Brom, rather than drugging him and putting up with the trouble he caused.

Role in film

Ra'zac

A Ra'zac as depicted in the film

In the Eragon movie, the Ra'zac are creatures with their bodies seemingly crawling with or made up of a colony of insects, and seem to have no protruding beak nor wear a cloak, instead being covered with bandage like rags. In spite of this they seem to have a vague human physiology because Eragon is able to kill one by hanging it from a branch with magic and Brom kills the second with a sword stab to the chest. This is different again from the books, where they both stay alive until Brisingr.

The Ra'zac are seemingly magical beings created or summoned by Durza to hunt for Eragon and Saphira. They appear by bursting from the ground before being given orders by Durza. They then appear in Carvahall and seem to torture Sloan into revealing where Eragon lives. Eragon tries to race home but is too late to save his uncle, who is accidentally killed in Eragon's place. Unlike in the books Galbatorix had no intention of bringing Eragon over to his side and wished to have Eragon killed. In the film universe the lives of Dragons are bound with their Riders and to kill a rider would be to kill the dragon.

The director Stephen Fangmer cited in the commentary in the DVD that he wanted to "reduce them to hellish creatures that live underground".

Trivia

  • The Ra’zac bear a strong likeness to the Nazgûl in The Lord of the Rings, owing to their cloaked appearance, their use of winged beasts as steeds, and their soporific breath.
  • While the appearance of the Skeksis from Jim Henson's The Dark Crystal had a more avian influence, it is not unlikely that the Ra'zac's appearance may be similar as well.

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