Teaching Students About Eragon
Eragon is a fantasy novel written by Christopher Paolini, which was first published in 2002. It is the first book in the Inheritance Cycle series and introduces readers to the world of Alagaësia, where dragons, elves, humans, and other mythical creatures coexist. The novel follows the journey of a young farm boy named Eragon and his dragon Saphira as they uncover their destinies and battle against evil. Teaching students about Eragon can be an engaging way to foster creativity, develop critical thinking skills, and explore themes such as heroism, friendship, and self-discovery.
Eragon’s story begins when he finds a mysterious blue stone in the Spine, a range of untamed mountains near his home village. The stone later hatches to reveal a dragon hatchling named Saphira. With the help of Brom, an old story-teller with hidden secrets of his own, Eragon learns that he is a Dragon Rider – a rare bond between a human and dragon that brings immense power but also great responsibility.
As Eragon uncovers the history of Dragon Riders and their role in keeping peace throughout Alagaësia, he comes into conflict with the evil King Galbatorix. The king has enslaved countless dragons and seeks ultimate power at any cost. Driven by vengeance for the deaths of his family members at the hands of Galbatorix’s minions, Eragon embarks on a quest to overthrow him.
How to Teach Students About Eragon
1. Contextualize the Novel’s Setting: Begin by introducing students to Alagaësia’s history and its various races. Familiarize them with key concepts such as Dragon Riders, the collaboration between different magical beings, political conflicts within kingdoms, and overarching themes like power struggles, loyalty, and the morality of war.
2. Character Analysis: Explore the development of Eragon and other major characters throughout the story. Discuss Eragon’s transformation from a simple farm boy to a Dragon Rider, and delve into his relationships with various characters, particularly with Saphira and Brom. Encourage students to critically analyze character motivations and decisions.
3. Themes and Motifs: Guide students to identify and discuss themes present in the story, such as heroism, good versus evil, coming-of-age, friendship, love, sacrifice, destiny, and self-discovery. Use relevant passages from the text as examples to support their arguments.
4. Symbolism: Analyze symbols within the novel like the dragon egg, Saphira’s eye color changes, or Zar’roc (the sword). Encourage students to think about what these symbols represent within the context of the story.
5. Comparing Eragon with other Fantasy Literature: Engage students in discussions comparing Eragon with other popular fantasy novels/series such as The Lord of the Rings or Harry Potter. Compare characteristics such as protagonists’ perilous journeys, magical elements/entities, Morality complexities within characters or societies/worlds.