Theory Column: The Green Rider

In our first installment of the Shur’tugal Inheritance Theories column, we explore the possibilities for the Rider destined to partner with the final green egg. What could this mean for the future of Alagaesia and the battle currently being waged? Most importantly, who will be the final Rider? Join us as we tackle the most discussed theory in the Inheritance Cycle fandom and take a look at the fan favorite: Arya!

Well, here we are. Brisingr has hit the streets and we’re all ready for Book 4, but what will we find there? The last book left many questions unanswered and fans everywhere continue to answer those questions themselves. But unfortunately, opinions vary so widely on theories that it’s very rare for two fans to fully agree. New theories appear every day, some outlandish, and some almost certainly true. In this column we’re going to try and crack these theories, however hard it may be, and where better to start then the question on all of our minds since Eldest: Who will be the next Rider? There are many possibilities for the last Rider and in our first column, we will explore one of the most popular: Arya.

All the existing dragons are male except for Saphira, and all of their Riders are male, which leads many to believe that the last dragon Rider must be female. Because the fate of the dragons as a race depends on Saphira finding a mate, we can assume that the last (green) dragon will be “the one”. We can also assume that the relationship between the two dragons would effect the relationship between the two Riders – Eragon being the male, and the unknown Rider being the female. There is also the dream Eragon had in Eragon of him holding hands with another Rider while two dragons flew overhead. So, sticking with our overall theory of the last Rider being a female, we’re left with Arya, Katrina, Nasuada, and Elva as candidates.

The most popular theory amongst Inheritance fans is that of Arya becoming the final Rider of the remaining (green) egg. Arya is already an established character; one of the first we met. She’s smart, skilled (both physically and with magic) and nearly perfect to the point where some consider it to be impossible to top her perfection. She can handle swords with power and grace, is hailed as one of the most proficient magic users among the elves, and has an in-depth understanding of politics, lore and history through her position as princess of the elves.

Throughout the books, we have been shown that a Rider’s magic takes on the color (or glow) of its dragon’s scales. Eragon’s magic has always been blue (referenced several times throughout the books) and Murtagh’s magic is red to match Thorn. At the end of Eragon, we are given our first glimpse at the color of Arya’s magic as she smashes Isidar Mithrim:

“A flash of emerald light briefly illuminated the forest, and the stone vanished.” (Eragon, page 4)

“But Arya raised her palm, shouting, and an emerald ball of energy shot from her hand, killing the Urgal.” (Eragon, page 485)

“On her back was Arya: hair billowing wildly, arm uplifted, palm glowing with a nimbus of green magic.” (Eragon, page 490)

Curiously, Arya’s eyes are also emerald green. Christopher Paolini himself has confirmed that the last egg is emerald green (therefore, the last dragon will be emerald green). It could be a mere coincidence that Arya’s magic happens to share the color of the last egg. Perhaps this hint was deliberately laid to mislead fans into believing that Arya would be the Rider of the final egg’s dragon. Or perhaps we’re right!

Many fans also believe that the relationship between Eragon and Arya (or lack thereof) is another sign of a possible future for Arya as a Rider, and subsequently, a future of love between the two. Despite the fact that Eragon has been rejected by Arya, the potential for a reliationship still hangs in the air, hinting at the possibility of more occuring between the two in the future. If Arya was to become the third new Rider, their already close (but not too close!) relationship would only help further their cause as they are already used to working together to accomplish their goals, already have a mutual respect for each other, and have a “premonition dream” from book one in their favor (or so we assume).

Some say that Arya’s past sets her up to be an even stronger candidate for becoming a Rider, while others say this will hinder her. Sleuths are quick to point out that all of Alagaesia is in the middle of what could be the most important war the continent will ever see; it would be no time to spend months or even years training a new Rider. Arya’s proficiency with magic, physical combat, and politics all align in her favor. The time spent training her would be minimal, if at all… mostly centered around bonding with her dragon and the training of her dragon (by Saphira).

We must not forget that the new dragon, assuming it has not already hatched, will be months behind Saphira and Shruikan in terms of development. This fact alone could end up being a major hinderance to the new dragon and Rider but could possibly be remedied by a strong, qualified Rider… a Rider much more able than the average beginner: Arya. It could be Paolini’s intent to couple Arya with the young dragon to make up for what the dragon lacks. Certainly, the dragon within the remaining egg would know all of these things, would see the good within Arya’s heart and soul, and would understand the power their pairing could wield. Could Arya be all that the dragon has been waiting for?

Convinced already? The overwhelming evidence and pros in Arya’s favor makes it hard to even consider other candidates. Arya’s prowess with magic and physical combat is nearly unmatched; she is strong in the mind; young (to the elves), fit and healthy; and she is better suited to play a political role as Rider than any of the existing Riders. However, some fans see her age as her downfall. Some fans believe that compared to Eragon and Murtagh, Arya is too old to fit in. Other fans believe that because dragons choose their Riders when their Riders are at a young age, Arya is automatically disqualified. However, this fan does not see why this would discourage the final dragon to make the most important decision in Alagaesia: who is best suited to be the last Rider? A Rider any younger, any less talented or proficient with magic, could potentially be useless to the Varden and the future of Alagaesia.

But then again, who’s to say that the last Rider will be on the Varden’s side? Only time will tell!

Who do you believe will be the Rider of the final dragon? Do you agree or disagree with our theory of Arya being the Rider? Let us know why! If you don’t think Arya will be the last Rider, who do you think will end up becoming a Rider? And which theories would you like us to explore in the future?

This editorial was written by DD93, Lawrie, and Mike Macauley as part of Shurtugal.com’s Book 4 Theories column. The next unscheduled release of our Inheritance Theories column will discuss other possible candidates for Rider of the green dragon. Be sure to chime in with your thoughts and opinions in the comments for a chance to be featured in the next column! As always, you can join twenty thousand other Inheritance fans over at our official message boards to discuss all of your Book 4 theories in our Book 4 Theories forum.