- The hero of the story was a heartless, arrogant brat. I'm rather surprised no-one physically hurt him for saying things like "I'm the rider! I say where we go!" This would be fine if he were talking to a horse, but he was not talking to a horse. He was talking to Saphira, a dragon with an intelligence level far beyond any human being. A woman, if you will. Put a human female in Saphira's place. "I'm your master! I say where we go!" Would you stand for the hero of a story doing that? It's nauseating.
- —Syera on SH.net, discussing the problems with Eragon.
The Inheritance Cycle is an amazingly bad fantasy series written by Christopher Paolini. It is noted among PPCers for its urple prose, bad characterization, nonsensical background, obvious theft of other storylines, poor grasp of the laws of physics, and of course, its Gary Stu, Eragon.
The Inheritance Cycle is also notable for the incredible rate at which it was marketed, the first book having been turned into a movie and a game with alarming speed. And while the books can be tolerated (if barely at times), it is notable that both the movie and the game are absolutely unbearable in their terribleness.
In the interests of fairness, however, The Inheritance Cycle is in fact a published work and therefore has a Word World and canon of its own, and technically comes under the jurisdiction of the PPC as a thing to be protected. (Granted, it was only published because his parents owned their own publishing company, but the fact of the matter is that it was still published.) The only problem with this so far has been finding agents willing to go into the damn thing and with the self-discipline not to kill Eragon himself as well as any fan characters, etc. No doubt, however, given the Laws of Narrative Comedy, the amount Eragon has been ranted about means that an agent or agents will sometime soon volunteer for duty in this continuum. It's only a matter of time.
List of Plot Elements Paolini has Stolen by Continuum
Continua are listed in order of the prominence of stolen material rather than alphabetically.
Much of the plot of The Inheritance Cycle seems to be taken directly from Star Wars. In Paolini's defense, the plot of Star Wars is pretty much the Hero's Journey—In Space!, so it isn't as though it hasn't been done elsewhere, but the devil is in the details.
In a nutshell: a simple farm boy raised by his uncle accidentally gains an item. People destroy his farm and kill his uncle in search of that item. He meets an old man (an exile from—and seemingly the last of—an ancient organization of peacekeeping warriors) who travels with him and becomes his mentor. The old man is eventually killed by evil people and the farm boy swears to avenge him. He meets a rebellion (an alliance of many different races) and helps them win a massive battle against overwhelming odds (of course, he's a major part of the battle). Then he goes off to a mysterious place for training by an ancient leader of aforementioned ancient organization of peacekeeping warriors. During the climactic battle of the second installation, he finds out that the physically imposing second-in-command of the main antagonist is his father, differing mainly in that this assumption turns out to be wrong, it is actually the old man (his mentor) who was his father. Also, unlike the Emperor, Galbatorix has actual reasons for rebellion (insane as they may be - after all, he is insane).
The Lord of the Rings
Little has been obviously stolen, though as with much fantasy written post-LotR, many themes and elements can be spotted that are closely inspired by or parallel to J.R.R. Tolkien's works. Some that have been noted include:
- A triple-peaked mountain with some sort of evil setup inside, details unclear. This resembles the concept of Thangorodrim, the mountain that concealed Morgoth's stronghold of Angband as seen in The Silmarillion, though it is unlikely that this idea was directly stolen due to its relative obscurity.
- The Dwarven city in the mountain could be paralleled to a number of locations in Tolkien, Moria being the most well-known but by no means the only one. Of course, the idea of dwarves living in cities carved from living stone has become a well-enough known trope that a connection here is only thinly tangible.
- The fact that many people have mispronounced the name "Aragorn" to sound like "Eragon," although Paolini apparently got the name by switching the d in "dragon" to an e.
- Eragon's relationship with an elf princess named Arya parallels the tale of Aragorn and Arwen.
- The elves in Alagaesia arrived by boats, similar to how the Eldar came to Arda.
- Elves in Alagaesia live in a big forest similar to Mirkwood.
- Shades and Urgals are servants to the antagonist, similar to how Ringwraiths and Orcs serve Sauron.
Dragonriders of Pern
Telepathic bonding with dragons or related species. Oddly enough, Anne McCaffrey is quoted as liking the series. Pern fans wring their hands, gnaw their bottom lips, and wonder what the world has come to.
Belgariad and Malloreon
A silver mark on one's hand that comes from touching a magic object.
The Inheritance Cycle and the PPC
As noted above, The Inheritance Cycle is its own canon and therefore falls under the protection of the PPC. The agents are not allowed to assassinate Eragon, no matter how much of a Gary Stu he is. However, while Alec Troven and Marc-C spent some time as the Eragon Division, there's not likely to be a spin-off devoted to the series anytime soon, either.
Missions in this Continuum
- Agent Alec Troven (DI)
- The Aviator and Zeb
- "Completely Mistaken" (Crossover with Lord of the Rings), with Rina and Zeb (DMS), and the Reader and Kozar (DIC)
- "Of Guilty Pleasures and Utter Tripe," (crossover with Twilight), Agents Dawn McKenna (DMS), Kozar (DIC), Valon Vance and Kala Jeng (DF)
A new sporking is ongoing here at Das Sporking.