Murtagh as you’ve never seen him before: this beautiful piece of art helps us understand and explore the polarizing character

murtagh and thorn headerMurtagh is perhaps the most conflicted and polarizing character in the Inheritance Cycle. For many, Murtagh represents oppression, struggle, and even a little bit of evil. He has always been a fan favorite, and his disappearance at the end of Eragon was devastating for the Inheritance community. His reappearance at the Battle of the Burning Plains was shocking, both because he was alive and because he was now a Rider… on Galbatorix’s side. His shy and innocent demeanor in Eragon was replaced by antihero qualities in the future books, representing a changed and, perhaps, broken Murtagh.

Murtagh’s inner struggle is apparent throughout Eldest, Brisingr, and throughout most of Inheritance. It isn’t until his encounter with Nasuada, resulting in his affection toward her continuing to grow, that we truly began to see Galbatorix’s hold over Murtagh crack. During the final battle and the last pages of Inheritance, Murtagh shows that he and Thorn are in the process of redeeming themselves and rediscovering who they are after they broke free from Galbatorix’s grasp.

It isn’t hard to imagine that we will see Murtagh and Thorn in future Alagaesia books. It will take time for the pair to heal just as it will take time for the people of Alagaesia to forgive them for what they did under Galbatorix, both against their will and by choice, but they will hopefully one day return to their home.

One fan artist – AnnaHollinrake on DeviantArt  – beautifully captured her interpretation of Murtagh and Thorn as they appeared prior to the Battle of the Burning Plains. The illustration shows a mature, confident Murtagh and a young Thorn. Although the artist took some liberties with his armor, it isn’t hard to imagine that this is how Murtagh would have appeared in the books.
murtagh and thorn

“I’m not the person I once was. I have Thorn now, and . . .” Murtagh hesitated; then his shoulders rose and fell in a tiny shrug. “I’m not fighting for myself anymore. . . . It makes a difference.” He took a shallow breath and winced. “I used to think you were a fool to keep risking your life as you have. . . . I know better now. I understand . . . why. I understand. . . .” His eyes widened and his grimace relaxed, as if his pain was forgotten, and an inner light seemed to illuminate his features. “I understand— we understand,” he whispered, and Thorn uttered a strange sound that was half whimper and half growl.

We aren’t sure what the future holds for Murtagh and Thorn, but we hope that they are able to find themselves as they far from the home they’ve known since both were born.

Now we ask: As a reader, are you willing to forgive Murtagh? What do you think is in store for Murtagh and Thorn as they leave the known parts of Alagaesia? Do you think the pair will return in Book 5 or other future Alagaesia books? Let us know in the comments!


  • DisqusWeasel

    The average ping time of is 191 ms with 4 packages, 32 bytes of data

  • Brandon Lemmon

    Murtagh is a character most people can relate to, and one I personally truly enjoyed following through the series, and I hope that they return in later books, along with a bit more explanation of the relationship between Arya and Eragon.

  • Adam Aase

    Murtagh helped Nasuada despite the pain it could have caused him. He looked past his own suffering and anger to help someone else in need and pain.

  • Bladeofwar

    The guy was enslaved against his will to fight for a cause he would have gladly opposed. I would gladly forgive him! I hope he has a place in any possible sequels in the future!

  • Tom Martini

    i saw the preview for the new movie and it really sucks they did the same movie over and format as the last one ….

  • Tia

    yup hes had a hard path to follow … for surviving his hardship with a good heart still intact he deserves mercy and forgiveness

  • Henry

    I can’t forgive him, but I can forget him. Live peacefully Murtagh!

  • John Ortiz

    How could you not forgive Murtagh? He was a kid. Who would not have been broken by probably the strongest being on Alagaësia??? He has been forgiven through and through. I just hope Murtagh and Thorn can heal and find some peace with what they’ve been through.

  • Sarah McQuade

    I like Murtagh, have from his first scene. I think it would be better for Murtagh and Thorn if they never showed up in another book, but better for us if they did.

  • Emily Pettingill

    I know that I will definitely forgive him.

  • Varol Zeiv is not a Drakian

    I actually like him better since he became a villain. Gives a lot more personality depth. I thought he seemed really shallow until he showed up on the Burning Plains. I don’t see what everyone’s problem is.

    Its so simple. Don’t hate on Murtagh, he is awesome.

  • jay

    there really is nothing to forgive. he was (IS) my fav character.

  • Jose

    i think that he wll return… he made a mistakes when him was of galbatorix control..Though he had a troubled past and beacuse of this, some feelings never will goes away. i hope murtagh, one day, can return to his older friends and fixes what did he do

  • Piet van Tiggelen

    He made some mistakes, but he actually reminds me of a guy I know. Sometimes a true asshole, because of his position, but forgive him and see how great he can be in a different situation!

  • mandpandt

    Murtagh is my husband. i married him shortly before book 4 came out. sorry guys….
    seriously though, He’s like my favorite book character of all time.

  • Theodosia


  • Olivia Sounders

    Murtagh has always been one of my favorite characters and I never lost faith in the good heart he carried. He better be in the next books or I will thoroughly be disappointed. 😛

  • Janet

    I forgave him since the first time he explained his actions.
    I just love his personality of independence.
    I really hope we can see him in book 5… I’m dying for the waiting to see where he’ll go next, with Eragon or Nausada.

  • chetan

    but wasnt zar roc red

    • Mike

      This could have been him during the battle of the burning plains, that was before he took it from Eragon

    • Rukus

      It says the pictures is just before the battle of the burning plains

  • Kira Bond

    I forgave him, because I remembered that he was being held under othes with his true name. From the minute I saw him, I loved him. He’s like me, likes to keep to himself, is ruled by no one and thinks his life is worth more than anyone elses (except Thorn’s).

  • Avanko

    I’ve already forgiven him. I forgave what he was when he arrived at the Bar den and I forgave him after his encounter with Nasu add. I’m sure that I’ll enjoy discovering what adventures and trails Murtagh’s future holds.

  • Lauren Heaslip

    I want to say that he’s done nothing wrong, nothing that requires forgiveness, but I’d be lying.
    We all know that he was under Galbatorix’s control and that he had very little to no choice in much of what he has done from Eldest to the end of Inheritance. But he has done something’s that he didn’t have to that have caused pain to many, such as killing Hrothgar.
    I personally like to think that he killed Hrothgar to gain favour from Galbatorix, to perhaps save himself and Thorn future pain but we can only speculate.
    But even while saying this, Murtagh has helped the people of Alagaësia vastly by not capturing Eragon and Saphira, by helping Nasuada during her torture in Urû’baen, and even by disturbing the morale of the Empires troops–remember in Brisingr when Eragon overhears some soldiers “Unless we be searching for Murtagh, you heard what Morzan’s spawn said well as I did.”
    To quote ASOIAF “A good act does not wash out the bad, nor the bad act the good.”
    I believe Murtagh will find punishment for what he has done, but he shall also be rewarded for all the good too. And over time, perhaps, the folk of Alagaësia will forgive him.
    As a reader, I definitely forgive him. Not just because he’s my favourite character, but because he has done what he thinks he has to protect himself and the ones he loves, and I find that loyalty admirable.
    Hopefully the pair will find peace wherever they’re going, and they can heal. I think they deserve it.
    As for returning in book five, I think I would be devastated if they didn’t. I want to know what happens to these two.

    • Avanko

      He definitely deserves to find peace after all that he’s been through.

  • liatris

    hes kind hot..
    i like him hes not a goody too shoes like eargon and he seems passionaite

    • Diana

      I totally agree with that.
      I kind of like him when he was on Galvatorix’s team…. don’t know why

  • Alexis

    Beautiful picture. I want him to come back, and I hope that his story with Nasuada is addressed as well

  • Alexis

    Forgive? He did nothing wrong in my opinion. He was my favorite character and someone I related to on a personal level.

  • Maddie Jay

    I was never mad at Murtagh. I loved him through the entire cycle, no matter what he did.

  • Shane Latondress

    Murtgagh is product of his enviornment and has strived his whole life to be the best person he can be. I could forgive him because even when he was forced to serve Galbatorix he found ways to fight back. From when he fought on the burning plains hinting to Eragon about the ‘heart-of-hearts’, releasing Eragon when he deafeated him, healing Nasuada, and stripping the wards from Galbatorix so Eragon could defeat the king has well earned him forgivness.
    I would like to see him in book 5 but I would be happy to see that he visits the Monistary in the Spine and tell his story to the order that documents the History of Alagaesia. Maybe then the reset of the races, espcially the Dwarves, can also forgive him.

  • Derek_anny

    I’ve already forgiven Murtagh. During one of the earlier battles, probably on the Burning Plain itself.

  • Hannah Niphredil

    Murtagh has been one of my favourites right from the beginning. It wasn’t his fault that he was born the older brother. The hate and violence he faced as a child made him what he was, and I even think he got out of the abusive environment in Urû’baen pretty well. I doubt that Eragon could have coped with all the hate. Eragon always had love, support and reassurance, whereas Murtagh almost never did. Murtagh was a victim, but he had to wrestle his inner demons, Galbatorix, Eragon and his being torn apart internally all at the same time, and meanwhile present the picture of a strong, unscrupulous leader for Galbatorix’s forces. Given all that, and given his genuine feeling of regret about what he’d done, I am more than willing to forgive him.
    As for Thorn, there is nothing to forgive. From the moment he hatched, he was used as a tool, the love and caring of Murtagh his only comfort. If anyone deserves forgiveness, Thorn does.
    I hope we’ll get to see lots more of both of them and I hope that they both find peace and happiness at last.

  • Sarah Gael

    I am willing to forgive Murtagh, I think that he regrets what he has done and would like to make up for it. I think they may be in for a little bit of trouble in the unknown parts of Alegaesia but I think it will be a ‘growing’ time for them and that they will use it to try and make things right. And I hope that they return in future books!

    • zerio29

      when asked about what happened to murtagh, Christopher responded that he could not say for it would spoil book 5. so murtagh will be back. also, what is there to forgive murtagh for? he did nothing wrong, only acted against his will, be it against Eragon, well… it is what it is