Training with "Eldest"

"Why are you here Eragon?"
"To complete my training."

Christopher Paolini. Eldest. New York: Alfred A. Knopf for Random House, 2005.

book cover ofEldest(Inheritance, book 2)byChristopher Paolini
book cover ofEldest(Inheritance, book 2)byChristopher Paolini

The characters of Paolini's Inheritance trilogy begin Book II with a close victory over Galbatorix. Eragon defeats Durza the Shade but not without acquiring a long wound across his back that not even Arya can heal. In the midst of the clean-up, a band of Urgals ambushes Ajihad, the king of the Varden, killing him and kidnapping Murtaugh and the Twins. Soon after, Eragon begins his long journey to Ellesmera, home of the elves, to begin his formal training as a Rider. On the other side of Alagaesia, Roran is about to face his own battle with Galbatorix. The Ra'zac are back looking for Eragon. Afraid for Roran's safety, the villagers send him to hide in the woods but the Ra'zac never leave. When an elderly member of the community is killed, the body is stolen and "You know what his wife got back? Bones. Every one of them was nibbled clean." Roran comes out of hiding to lead Carvahall in counter-attacks and, later, out of Palancar Valley on a voyage that will lead to his reunion with Eragon.

This phase of the Inheritance trilogy can be used in the high school classroom as an introduction to more involved reading. The themes are not only easily outlined and relatable to high school experiences but can be further explored by linking to canonical works:

Fight or Flight - Eragon and Roran begin to encounter circumstances that force them to react or be destroyed. They find themselves changing to adapt to a new life they must learn to live.
"It's this or run for it, and I can always run later."

For lesson plans on fight or flight:

Self-Awareness - Though, adapting themselves is ultimately their choice, they experience periods of mental anguish as they begin to recognize their abilities and limitations. Also, their community and leaders force them to seriously evaluate their beliefs and motivations.
"You must learn more about yourself, who you are and what you are capable of doing. That is why you are here."

For lesson plans on self-awareness:

Overcoming Obstacles - Each receives a lasting injury during a fight to defend their world. Even so, they find they are able to withstand disabling physical pain, mental anguish, and even poor academic backgrounds to fight the oppression of their people by an evil ruler.
"Injuring his flesh caused injury to his psyche, as well as the other way around."

For lesson plans on overcoming obstacles:

Risks Worth Taking - In their struggle for freedom, they learn to make allies and use whatever resources are available in order to survive. In making allies, they will find themselves vulnerable to betrayal and learn a lesson in loyalty.
"It's better to be sworn to an honest fool than to a lying scholar, decided Eragon."

For lesson plans on risk-taking:

High School to College Transition - This phase in Eragon and Roran's lives will end in victory and the people will come together, but victory has come at a great price and the future remains unsure.
"Here is our path...he did not fear the dark...neither did he welcome abandoning the few things he had become accustomed to."

For lesson plans on helping students prepare for college:

About The Author:

external image 380481.jpgRaised in Paradise Valley, Montana, Christopher Paolini was home schooled his entire school career. Graduating at the age of 15, Paolini became a New York Times bestselling author at 19. Eragon, the first book in the Inheritance trilogy, was his debut novel. Paolini began writing Eragon after graduating high school. Among his influences are; myths, folk tales, medieval stories, Beowulf, Tolkien and ER Eddison. Paolini decided to write his own novels after being unsatisfied with the quality of the fantasy books he read as a child. Reading any one of Paolini's book would be a good way to help encourage students and show them that anything is possible, at any age!

(photo from google images - Christopher Paolini)

More books by Paolini:
Go to fullsize image
Go to fullsize image

**Review of novel** - the first book in the Inheritance trilogy.
Eragon the movie - official movie site

(photo from yahoo images - Eragon book cover)

This fun piece of media is called a Browse&Search and was taken from Random The class was discussing possible reasons why digital books never became the big hit everyone expected. Among the reasons mentioned were the feel of holding a book and turning the pages, along with the visual effect of moving the eye across a page. Here is a glimpse into the direction books may be taken to solve these issues. Click on it to make it bigger, use the arrows to read the intro and title pages, click on the button with four squares on it next to the arrows, and search for a specific event using the browser. Cool, huh?

Here is an audio synopsis and the complete text, both taken from Legal to print and pass out?

If you liked Eldest, try these books and fansites:
Dragon Rider, Inkheart, or Inkspell by Cornelia Funke
The Lord of the Rings Series by J.R.R. Tolkien
The Charlie Bone Series by Jenny Nimmo
Coraline, or Stardust by Neil Gaiman
Escape from Memory by Margaret Peterson Haddix

Additional Resources:
Paolini as entreprenuer - Interviewed by
Center for Teaching and Learning - This is a lab school in Maine which is "run by teachers." This links to the "About" page so you can read for yourself. Then follow the links through "Kids Recommend" and then "Gr. 7-8 Boys or Girls" and you will find Eragon and Eldest on their list. True, this is technically middle school, but not all high schoolers read at the same level.
Paolini's Advice for Young Writers -'s interview with the author.
More Teen Writers -'s interview with new author, 15-year-old Flavia Bujor.
Alagaesia - The official site for the Inheritance Trilogy gives details about the author, the books, and activities for readers
Reviewed by Stacy Borr, Melissa Ausua, and Ashley Bale
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