Travel to the Battle of the Burning Plains to witness the epic battle of ‘Thorn versus Saphira’

Fans were devastated at the potential loss of a fan-favorite character, Murtagh, at the end of Eragon. Throughout the start of Eldest, it remained clear that the hero from Eragon was gone for good, joining the likes of Brom.

It wasn’t until later in the book that fans realized the exciting yet equally upsetting news: Murtagh was alive and now a Rider himself, but had been turned against Eragon and the Varden by the very man he despised: Galbatorix. With his own dragon and the true name enslavement by the most powerful villain in Alagaesia, Murtagh felt helpless, broken, and through that, driven to follow the commands given to him by his captor in order to save his, and his dragon’s, life.

We first re-encountered Murtagh on the battlefields of the Burning Plains. Eragon and Saphira met him and Thorn in aerial combat shortly after Morzan’s son struck Hrothgar, king of the dwarves, down, ending the run of another fan favorite character.

This piece of fan art, “Thorn versus Saphira” by artist “Ticcy” on DeviantArt, captures the moment in which Saphira, with Eragon atop her, and Thorn, ridden by Murtagh, meet in battle, clawing, biting, and doing anything they can to injure, without killing, the other.

thorn_versus_saphira_by_ticcy-d791wabFrom the chapter in Eldest:

The siege on Eragon’s mind abated as Saphira and the red dragon crashed together, two incandescent meteors colliding head-on. They grappled, kicking each other’s bellies with their hind legs. Their talons produced hideous screeches as they grated against Saphira’s armor and the red dragon’s flat scales. The red dragon was smaller than Saphira, but thicker in his legs and shoulders. He managed to kick her off for a moment, then they closed again, each struggling to get their jaws around the other’s neck.

It was all Eragon could do to keep hold of Zar’roc as the dragons tumbled toward the ground, battering one another with terrible blows from their feet and tails. No more than fifty yards above the Burning Plains, Saphira and the red dragon disengaged, struggling to regain altitude. Once she halted her descent, Saphira reared her head, like a snake about to strike, and loosed a thick torrent of fire.

Now we ask: Did you see it coming – that Murtagh, son of Morzan, was not only alive but would join Eragon as a Dragon Rider? Did you sympathize with Murtagh or hold him in contempt for what he did both to Hrothgar and Eragon?

  • Tim Silva

    The major problem with this picture to me, basically I can’t look at anything else after seeing it, is that Murtagh is holding Zar’roc. That is incredibly incorrect.

  • Ryan

    This is from the Siege of Dras-Leona. They are fighting over the cathedral. That’s why the spires are in the bottom of the illustration. Also Murtagh has Zar’roc, and Thorn is the same size as Saphira. He is said to be smaller than her at the Burning Plains

  • Emily Pettingill

    The drawing looks like the point in inheritance where murtagh is fleeing the scene after capturing nasuada and saphira and eragon are fighting to save her.

  • Tyler Macintyre

    This isn’t the burning plains. It was said that there was a lack of vegetation and trees as well as the fact that Murtagh already has Zarroc

    • Shane Latondress

      No he took Zar’rok in that fight after telling Eragon that he was his brother and Morzan was his father. Murtag left his knotched sword on the rocks where they dueled. I’d say the drawing is inaccurate but still nicely drawn.
      In my mind when I pictured the burning plains I see a once large river that shrank in size considerably and along the river, where the peat moss would form is where I see the vents billowing out the smoke.

  • Steph

    I did see it coming, that Murtagh would become a Rider. I never cared much for Hrothgar, so I was in more contempt of Murtagh for what he did to Eragon.

    On a different note, the drawing is awesome, but is that Zar’roc Murtagh is holding (the blade looks red)?

  • Ze End

    I didn’t SEE Murtagh, but I felt that Eragon/Saphira were going to be back stabbed by someone.

    I hold Murtagh in contempt. He could have killed himself (I think this was brought up when Eragon/Murtagh had a semi-civil discussion.)

    For a modern example: just say I was a CIA agent visiting west Berlin w/ my family. The KGB kidnapped us and tells me we will kill you and your family if you don’t help out the KGB. I would let them, for I would never turn my back on my principles and help bloddy thugs.

    • Regnvær

      But he had Thorn to think about. Besides, its not as if you can blame him. He wasn’t raised the same way Eragon was. He was never taught morals and self-sacrifice, only hate, anger, and survival.

      • Ze End

        not to start a flame war…
        (before he was brain-washed) He knew Galby was a bit “dick” growing up, along with his semi-abusive father. In the Varden he (I think it was inference ) learned more about how sick of a mother****** Galby was. So when he was captured, and thorn Hatched, he knew that he would be USED by Galby until his dying day, and death would be his only way out.

        IN the end Chris is the one who made Murtagh, and only he could say why Murtagh didn’t kill himself.

        • Regnvær

          Yes, true, but he knew that if he killed himself, then he would pretty much be killing Thorn too. And semi-abusive father? He ripped his back open at 3 years old!

    • Andrew

      He didn’t want to loose the closest thing he had to family… He had to stay alive so Thorn might live… Makes sense.

      • Ze End

        Maybe… Myself, I’m just a man of conviction, (Like from my example) but I would kill myself and all my family before I would work for the USSR. And maybe that is just a character flaw in Murtag, he’s not a man conviction.

        Another example, Andrew Ryan (bioshock). He was a
        true man of conviction. He DIED for his beliefs to try to stop the power-hungry, survivalist Frank (Atlas).

        And that is just me, I am open minded, but I have a STRONG set of morals. I just abhor people who flip-flop their beliefs just to survive and/or gain.

  • Lauren Heaslip

    I had thoroughly enjoyed Eragon and Eldest, but it wasn’t until the reveal that I loved the books. Definitely sympathise with Murtagh, considering the horrors he’s gone through but not giving up.

  • Sammy Phoenix Havok

    This picture must be of their second battle- Murtagh left more or less as soon as he had taken Zar’roc. Murtagh is holding Zar’roc here, not Eragon. This one must be of their second meeting.

  • Martin Nikolov

    It was obvious that Murtagh would become a rides as it was obvious that Brom was Eragon’s father.

  • Inês

    first I found him suspicious, then i was mad at him, then i understood him because Galbatorix was controlling him, and at the end of Inheritance Cycle i loved him, and i still do 🙂

  • Stenr Reisa

    I really liked Murtagh and I felt so horrible for him when Galbatorix seized control of his mind. I didn’t like that he killed Hrothgar, particularly as it wasn’t even on Galbatorix’s orders, but I think there was too much evil in his head. I was so happy when he started helping Nasuada 🙂 Mursuada <3

  • Jeanne Wright Perkin

    not surprised but did feel for him…he was a good soul..but was twisted by Galbatorix…

  • Tinga

    I was not surprised.
    I disliked Murtagh until he helped Nasuada and helped bring down Galbatorix.

  • Anonymous Pharaoh

    Yes, it was pretty predictable. In a sense I suppose I did sympathize with in a way. Considering Eragon’s whining and belittling him traitor for no good reason.