Christopher reveals the original ending of Inheritance vs. the published ending (details)

Christopher-End-of-Inheritance

The Inheritance Cycle came to an end in 2011, finalizing storylines we’d adventured alongside as readers for nearly a decade. But some of the events found at the end of Inheritance weren’t always intended. Christopher recently revealed his original ending for the series, including some pretty shocking character deaths. We decided to take a side-by-side look at the original/unpublished ending vs. what was published in the final book to see how they compare!

Because of the dream Eragon had at the start of the series, Christopher had some tricky work ahead to ensure the vision came true without Arya also leaving Alagaësia:

“Originally, Eragon and Arya were going to leave together, so figuring out how to still have them on the ship, as in Eragon’s dream, took a bit of fancy footwork. It all worked out in the end, though. Literally.”

As we dive into how the ending could have played out, it’s important to note that any content in quotes is directly from Christopher! The rest is general knowledge from the books or, where marked, speculation (thoughts and opinions of the staff of Shur’tugal).


ON ERAGON AND ARYA PARTING

Unpublished ending: “Eragon and Arya were going to leave together.” Christopher’s reasoning for this change was that he felt it “would have broken Arya’s character,” ultimately deciding to separate the pair “because [he] listened to the characters”.

Official ending: It would seem that Eragon and Arya acknowledged their mutual feelings a bit too late. Although Eragon extended an invitation for Arya and Firnen to travel with them to train the new dragons and Riders, she explained that her duty to the elves would keep her behind. This is where the two parted ways.

We still saw Eragon’s dream from the start of the series realized. Arya did accompany Eragon on the boat, while Roran watched from the shore and Saphira and Firnen flew above the ship. However, before the end, Arya and Firnen flew off, finally parting ways with Eragon and Saphira.

Our thoughts and speculation: If the original ending played out, we would have seen Arya leave with Eragon to train the new Riders… but would Arya have still been a Rider herself? We know that Christopher originally considered Elva, among others, as an alternative Green Rider, so the possibility did exist.

It’s tough for us to imagine Arya choosing herself and a potential relationship with Eragon over her perceived duty to her people, especially in a time requiring strong leadership. Arya’s adult life was largely a sacrifice for the greater good of the elves (her time escorting Saphira’s egg and acting as a defacto-ambassador to the dwarves and Varden). We can’t see Arya turning her back on her people in such a way because of a crush.

Plus, if Eragon, Saphira, and the elves can travel to their new Rider training capital, is it really out of the question for Arya and Firnen to be able to fly there and visit? We don’t think so! We’re sure that we’ll be seeing more of the two of them together in Book 5.


QUEEN ISLANZADÍ’S FATE

Unpublished ending: The queen of the elves and Arya’s mother was going to survive the battle for Urû’baen and live to fight another day!

Official ending: After capturing Gil’ead, Islanzadí and her elven army joined the attack on Urû’baen, where she encountered Lord Barst, one of Galbatorix’s lieutenants imbued with the power of an Eldunarí. Though she fought valiantly, the queen was eventually overcome and killed by Barst. Shortly thereafter, the elves chose Arya, Islanzadí’s sole heir, as her successor.

Our thoughts and speculation: Sadly, Islanzadí had to die in order for Christopher’s final ending to come together (Arya becoming queen and remaining behind). Her death played an important symbolic role: a piece in the puzzle of the last generation passing the baton to its successors. The Broddring Kingdom has Nasuada, a young new ruler; the dwarves have Orik, a young new ruler; the Riders have Eragon, the first Rider in decades; Palancar Valley has Roran; and now, the elves have Arya (young in elven years).

The unpublished ending would have significantly altered Arya’s role among the elves. She wouldn’t have been forced to take over as the queen, but it may have been time for a power change regardless, given that Islanzadí had been reigning queen for a substantial amount of time. Maybe Islanzadí would have voluntarily stepped down over time?

What we can conclude is that if Islanzadí survived, Arya would have likely left with Eragon.


MURTAGH AND THORN’S FATE

Unpublished ending: “Murtagh and Thorn were going to die in the final battle.” Christopher explained that he decided against this because “[it would have] been unfair to Murtagh and Thorn.”

Official ending: After Nasuada was kidnapped by Galbatorix, Murtagh had multiple opportunities to spend time with the Varden leader, revealing a kinder side that Eragon and Nasuada thought was lost. He was unable to free Nasuada before Eragon and the Varden reached the capital, where Galbatorix forced Murtagh to fight Eragon. During the conflict, Murtagh realized that his true name had changed and as a result, was free from Galbatorix’s control. Together with Eragon, they defeated Galbatorix, both surviving along with their dragons.

After the battle, Murtagh and Thorn decided that it would be best to travel north alone to cope with what had happened to them and learn to overcome those experiences. Murtagh and Thorn were spotted near Du Weldenvarden in post-Inheritance writings released by Christopher in the book’s deluxe edition.

Our thoughts and speculation: Murtagh and Thorn already suffered enough! Sure, their actions, even when under the control and command of Galbatorix, were often questionable at best… but we think the Murtagh we saw in the first book wasn’t capable of committing the atrocities seen later in the series. It was clear that Galbatorix had a very negative affect on Murtagh’s mind during his time in captivity. Likewise, Thorn never stood a chance at a normal life, having been directly influenced and controled by Galbatorix from birth.

The fairest ending for the Rider and his dragon is to take time to repent, rediscover themselves, and recover as best they can. There’s still purpose for them in the world.


RULER OF THE BRODDRING KINGDOM (FORMERLY THE EMPIRE)

Unpublished ending: “Roran was to end up king” after Galbatorix’s fall and the reclamation of Urû’baen. Christopher believed this ending would have “made Roran terribly unhappy (all he wanted was to go home), [and would have] been incredibly unfair to Nasuada.”

Official ending: Following her rescue after the defeat of Galbatorix, Nasuada was named ruler of the Broddring Kingdom. Her just and fair leadership of the Varden throughout the war demonstrated her ability to lead, love, and respect those in her charge. As part of her first acts as ruler, she renamed Urû’baen to Ilirea, transferred several southern cities to Surda, and created a taskforce to understand and police the use of magic.

Meanwhile, Roran headed back to Carvahall in Palancar Valley — his home and all that he had known prior to the war. Eventually, Roran would help to rebuild Carvahall and becomes the Lord of Palancar Valley. (This information was provided by Christopher in an interview with Shur’tugal.)

Our thoughts and speculation: This is the only one we’re torn on. We think Nasuada is deserving, capable, and ultimately a fair ruler, but we’re still a bit hung up on her having Roran flogged and a tad bit concerned with the potential for negative results as she cracks down on magic users.

It would have been nice to see Roran as ruler, but did he earn it? Sure, he was an incredibly capable leader, strategist, and fighter with a level head and a respect for those under him… but no political experience or leadership experience over thousands of people. Plus, as Christopher said, we agree that Roran would have been miserable. Palancar Valley is where he belongs, and we’re sure that if he ever does get involved in the kingdom’s conflicts, he’ll still be quite the ally and leader at Nasuada’s side.


The information Christopher provided for this article was originally released during his recent Reddit AMA/Q&A. Both answers can be found in full in this recap article on Shur’tugal. Additionally, if you’d like to see Christopher’s full sketch (partially shown above), you can see that here!


We’d love to hear your thoughts on the unpublished ending of Inheritance vs. what is now official! Which do you prefer? Are there parts of each that you’d have liked to see? Let us know in the comments!



  • Tom Martini

    if you do it right . i for see 5 to 6 more books out of the whole

    Inheritance and much more . by the way do not do anymore so called movies at all . the first one failed and the so called remake failed ….. they did not follow the book at all ..the person who did them should be kick in the ass with a huge boot till the bleed from it and when it gets stuck from all the kicking ……………….. if you do make a movie follow the book and use the people from JR HOBBIT , LORD OF THE RING ….

  • Christian

    I want to know more about the urgal riders, or even a kull rider. That would be amazing! imo

  • Neilandio

    “Roran was to end up king”
    I knew it!

    • Morgoth of Thardszvul

      He was – note

  • Timmy

    Is it bad that I mostly just skipped most of Roran’s part because I was so eager to see what was going on when they got in Galbatorixs lair? IS THERE GOING TO BE ANOTHER BOOK……sorry cap locks lol (:

    • Morgoth of Thardszvul

      Yeah, Christopher has been telling us for a while that book 5
      is coming out after the book that he is working on presently.
      Morgoth son of Barzhul of Thardszvul

    • Morgoth of Thardszvul

      Don’t skip parts because a lot of important things happen a round Roran.

    • Morgoth of Thardszvul

      There will be another book hopefully this year but most likely next year

      • Timmy

        Ok thanks

        • Timmy

          But it was a little to late on the skipping lol

    • Morgoth of Thardszvul

      You shouldn’t skip anything!

  • Morgoth of Thardszvul

    Cant wait till book 5 comes out!

    • Timmy

      There’s going to be a book 5?

      • Morgoth of Thardszvul

        Yes

  • Gypsy Patti

    please don’t wait so long to publish

    • Jacob Korver

      I agree but I do think he will have a lot to do to keep up his high skill in writing

  • Froggygirl

    I hope Christopher will eventually write the backstory for Angela. There’s LOTS unexplained about her in the books. And she seems to have a very interesting history.

    • Ebrithil

      Well paolini said that the next book would tell us more about Angela

  • the09jackjack

    The Name of Names.
    Pro: They’re all powerful (kindof) and that will make any worthy adversary that much more dangerous. Imagine the next series of books where an enemy flicks aside the name of names and comes a hairs breadth away from murdering Eragon at the beginning of Book 5. That’s intense.
    Con: I don’t think that they should have the name of names, not yet anyways. What (normal) magical enemy or any horde of hostiles can stand up to that? Kindof boring. He’s elevated them to the level of lesser gods and he’s only just learned that there are other realms beyond the seas and the borders of Alagaesia.

    tl;dr They’re Godlike!! …but that could be boring

    P.S.
    1. Huge fan.
    2. C.P. better hurry the hell up.
    3. It better not be written for children this time or i will break the nearest possession in reach. Probably the alarm clock

    • Amardil Deo

      I don’t think having the name of names will be a huge issue in any upcoming books. As there are other realms beyond Alagaesia, it is possible that there are other types of magic out there that aren’t linked to the ancient language, that are controlled either by another language or some other means. The name of names would have no control over such magic. Or perhaps there is a nation with tech advanced enough to combat magic users.

  • Cameron Scott George

    What about what the Menoa tree wanted from Eragon? D:
    That whole part really seems like it was meant to be something big but then got cancelled and rewritten into something else.

    • — A Wanderer

      With that cryptic passage Christopher has laid the foundation for a whole story line. Think, ‘Child of Linea’ (aka the Menoa tree). As slow as the Menoa tree lives, she could produce a child or perhaps twin children, years later, born of Linea and by Eragon’s “seed.” Which she slyly snatched from him.
      Imagine Arya’s surprise if one day the elves start to catch glimpses of mysterious little unclothed toddlers running around the Menoa tree, yet always seem to disappear among the trees roots… Finally at the next Blood Oath celebration, Linea speaks and introduces her, and Eragon’s children…
      — A Wanderer Along the Spine

      • Manuel Valdivia

        you just blew my mind

    • Ebrithil

      REMEMBER THIS: when Eragon met Menoa first time Menoa captured Eragon and when Menoa released him, Eragon felt pain in his lower stomach

  • ultrontrain

    I think the original endings with Arya and Eragon together, and no Lord Barst killing the Elven Queen should’ve been kept. However, the other two were better as they were in the book.

  • /|/|ichael

    Looks like duty > love this time around.

  • Morgoth of Thardszvul

    As much as I wanted Eragon to marry Arya I think that he should marry the teenage girl he blessed in book3

    • Minhal Haider Kazmi

      I want to know who the girl was too. I know she saves Roran in inheritance but who is she?

    • — A Wanderer

      I’d wager that the girl is Eragon’s half sister. The dark-skinned woman with scars on her wrist is his Mother… the Black Hand, Brom’s lost love. Knowing that she was putting Brom in danger, and after giving up Eragon, she ‘arranged’ for her death before Brom’s return. Somehow, she ends up as a slave, perhaps to cover her tracks and to get away from Morzan. While a slave she has the girl child described in the book. Also, when she saves Roran, her mother has a young boy in tow… Eragon’s (other) half brother.

      • Morgoth of Thardszvul

        That very well might be.

      • Eargon

        I would rather it not plz

        • Timmy

          Same

      • Timmy

        I would rather not too…plz……

    • Timmy

      Do u mean the people that the herbalist cast there Fortune

      • Morgoth of Thardszvul

        The herbalist casts fortunes although as someone said they don’t always come true but some do.

  • Neurilax

    Loophole: the prediction of Eragon leaving and never returning could easily be fulfilled if Eragon left, came back a bunch of times, and ultimately died off the coast. He would eventually leave and never return. All the prediction means is that Eragon’s mortality is confirmed.

  • Twist

    I don’t understand, if Eragon want to stay with Arya so badly, then why did not use the “name” to change Angela’s prediction?

    • Rwingcannon

      That could destroy the universe, casting a spell so big.

      • Twist

        I don’t think it would be bigger than the one which beat Galbatorix.

        • the09jackjack

          The torrent of energy released was (apparently) much greater than that of Aren. He felt like a hollow vessel that could easily be split asunder, or something like that

      • Morgoth of Thardszvul

        It would kill you before you killed the universe

    • Jay

      The name merely alters spells structured by words of the ancient language. It is not meant to affect all magics, hence Eragon being able to cast a spell without words when needed to defeat Galbatorix. Angela merely used words to discover his fate, his fate was not devised by use of the ancient language.

    • Rio Griffiths

      fate stuff

    • Morgoth of Thardszvul

      What if he will come back?
      Since he changed his name he might come back.

      • Ebrithil

        He can come back. He just doesn’t think it’s the right choice.

        • Morgoth of Thardszvul

          He might in book 5

    • Ebrithil

      He didn’t leave becose angela said it would happen. There isn’t a single spell to make him stay. Eragon left becose he thought it would be best both him and whole alagaesia

  • Chelsea McKinzie

    I have a question for christopher: what happened to the original Eragon? Nothing was ever mentioned about anything after they started the Riders and I’m quite interested to find out since elves don’t die unless by poison, illness, or blade.

  • Minhal Haider Kazmi

    Even though I was the official ending saddened me greatly, I accepted it. It seemed the only sensible choice. That being said, I’d love to see Eragon return to Alagaisia in book 5 regardless of Angela’s prediction that he’d leave forever.

    • Tyler Wallace

      Angela says ‘you will never again stand in Alagaësia’ and seeing as people can change their names through changes in themselves, might it not also be possible that the war, or some future event, will cause the land to change its name, thus no longer being ‘Alagaësia’ and allowing Eragon to return?
      Here’s to hoping.

      • Minhal Haider Kazmi

        Yeah that’s what I’ve been hoping happens in book five. Either ‘Alagaeshia’ changes or Eragon changes.

  • Rwingcannon

    I am 100% hostile to Eragon X Arya.

    • Carl

      Prepare yourself, because everything CP has said (plus, Angela’s vision) indicates that they will get together eventually.

      • Jay

        Angela said he would fall for one of noble blood, not end up in a relationship with one.

  • bobby indahouse

    im thinking if murtagh and thorn died in that war it would be more dramatic. and more realistic. you are againts THE most powerfull wizard in the history and you could survive without suffering one lost?

    the idea nice and sound but reality not that sweet. i don’t care if its fair for them or not its a fucking character in a fucking novel. if he is gotta die, he is gotta die. that fuckers life is not more important than my entertainment. Christopher should learn something from George R. R. Martin

    • bobby indahouse

      i know i sounded like an a.hole but these are my thoughts.and don’t tell me this is fantasy novel and everything is permitted.

      • Jay

        Nothing is true, Everything is permitted. We work in the dark to serve the light. We are assassins.

        Just a casual reference to something.

        • bobby indahouse

          requiescant in pace

    • Unfortunately I had to edit out your cussing or else the comment would have to go. But in the future, please refrain from cussing in the comments. Lots of young readers here, and we work hard to maintain a family-friendly environment. F-bombs definitely don’t fit in. (Anything you’d hear in a PG-13 movie should be fine.)

      I understand that you feel that more deaths in a story, especially bloody, hard-fought wars, make it feel more realistic, or allow you to really feel that the characters in the story are at constant risk. I know a lot of people enjoy that.

      I’ll even say that I like that in Game of Thrones. Haven’t read the books, but I’m an avid fan of the show and I love (and hate) that at any point in time, a character I really enjoy and connect with can be killed.

      We can’t forget that there were some significant deaths in the series. Brom, Oromis, Ajihad, Hrothgar, Islanzadi all come to mind. Plus we thought Murtagh was dead for over half a book. We saw Nasuada tortured, Roran beaten, and many severely injured in battle. (Not to mention the entire foundation of the series is built on the slaughter of thousands of innocent people, many of them young and helpless.)

      I don’t think Christopher ever really held back inappropriately. Sometimes killing characters for the sake of killing characters is a bit silly. I think there’s still some fascinating stories to tell about Murtagh, and don’t you think he went through enough, given his awful childhood and then all of the things he was forced to do under Galbatorix’s control? I’d much rather read about how that affected him and how he recovers in future stories than to have him thrown away at the end of the series.

      Anyway, just my two cents.

      • bobby indahouse

        fair enough. im not saying he is not killing people what so ever. i was talking about the battle with galbatorix particularly. the only wounds they had was the damage they made each other with the sword fight. he couldn’t kill them they were main characters whats why he scared the kill one of them. battle between oromis/glaedr vs Forsworn was good. they were against two and couldn’t survive unless taking some serious damage. eragon vs durza also more realistic and good.

    • Carl

      Doesn’t matter if you don’t care. CP cares because he loves the characters. He didn’t want them to die. That’s what the artistic process of being a storyteller is all about- loving your characters.

      • bobby indahouse

        i know it doesn’t matter. but like i said its my opinion in the matter. Fantastic genre doesn’t mean you are allowed do anything. so some reality is necessary

      • Byron Frank

        Um excuse me but what about Boromir? I would argue he was more heroic than anyone in Eragon and definitely in ASoIaF. He was also a major character despite dying less than halfway through the series.

    • Rio Griffiths

      he’s not really that powerful he just slaved dead dragons

    • Ander

      You gotta remember that Galbatorix intended to keep them both alive and enslaved, so he put them against each other for his entertainment, not for death. He could of easily won the war, he was just too over-confident in his abilities.

      • bobby indahouse

        no man. thats true he intended to keep them both alive but at the end he tried to kill eragon anyway. in that pitty fight Galb, could have kill murtagh. while he distracted by the magic he still can use some type of magic so just swinging the white sword around was not enough.

  • Dorothy Shea

    Two thoughts: First, Eragon and Arya chose duty over desire – a logical choice, for the moment. They have time for their paths to cross again. Let them make of it what they will. Second, I felt that Murtagh and Thorn needed rehabilitation. They were both victims of Galbatorix. When they are well again, they can join the other Dragon Riders.

  • MasterBrom

    I’m glad he changed it, the original ending would not have felt right. Eragon is too young for Arya and needs time to grow up. Roran would not be happy as king, he probably would be a good one but not at all happy and I’m sure his marriage would not have lasted. I am happy that Murtagh and Thorn survived, I hope there are more stories about them!!

    • Agree with you on all points!

    • Kavya

      Yea I like the official ending better, it fits nicely though I wished murtagh and thorn could have had a happy ending with nasuada

      • Something tells me they’ll get their happy ending in a future book (maybe Book 5?).

        • Maťka Repova

          I fully agree. I like the official ending too and I also see possible happy ending for Murtagh and Nasuada 🙂

          • Rwingcannon

            Eragon at age 106 marrying Arya, 200+ years old. Yeah, can totally see that happening. Nothing gross or creepy about that.

          • Liebet Joubert

            They are immortal. I’m sure that that is hardly the largest age gap you will find with the elves.

          • Carl

            In Tolkien’s world, Aragorn was about a thousand years younger than Arwen. They married. I guess you’re not too familiar with the fantasy genre. Romances like that happen all the time in fantasy books. You’re letting your hatred of the romance impact your objective judgment. The “epic romance” Eragon is going to have with someone of noble birth and heritage is all but confirmed to be between him and Arya.

          • Timmy

            Wow I agree with them being together but u must really liked those romances books I am not going to even try to ask what books your even talking about…………………..

            What book?

          • Carl

            So you’re saying Tolkien’s Aragorn and Arwen, as well as his Beren and Luthien, two of the most beloved romances in the history of literature, are “gross” and “creepy?” Wow.

          • Rwingcannon

            Arlen never had hostility towards Aragorn’s advances that Arya exhibits towards Eragon’s, so that’s not a good comparison. & on Twitter I once ask CP “Is the concept of Eragon falling permanently in love with someone other than Arya most likely out of the question?” He replied “Heh. No comment.”

          • Carl

            I never said it was an exact copy. It’s inspired by Aragorn/Arwen, as well as Beren and Luthien. My point was the age difference in those stories was much larger, so if Eragon and Arya is creepy and gross because she’s so much older, then that same label applies to those iconic Tolkien romances. So what if he replied that? He’s already said that he planned for them to end up together. He just had to delay that outcome because he killed off Arya’s mother, making her the new queen. Nothing to suggest he changed his plan completely. The entire prophecy about who Eragon will have an epic romance with was designed to be about him and Arya. I’m indifferent about the romance, but the people who hate really pull off some mental gymnastics to explain why it won’t happen.

          • Rwingcannon

            I know, but it’s still relevant.

          • Carl

            Not really. Arya’s hostility towards Eragon goes away in the latter 2 books. She even chooses to share her true name with him in book 4. CP made them both shade-slayers and dragon-riders to bring them even further together. He’s confirmed the last book was supposed to end with them ending up together, thus confirming that the prophecy about an epic romance was about Eragon and Arya. CP had to delay his plans. He hasn’t changed them. It would be one hell of a deus ex machina for him to create another love interest out of the blue that perfect suits the prophecy as well as Arya did- after all, the prophecy even goes as far as saying that Eragon’s love will be of noble birth and heritage, and she will be “beautiful beyond compare.” Eragon confirms multiple times that Arya is easily the most beautiful women he’s ever seen. Perhaps CP will create another love interest, but it’ll be purely to make Arya jealous. Trust me, you can see it coming. Eragon and Arya will end up together whether we like it or not. And the age difference is irrelevant as many couples in fantasy have had larger age differences.

          • Shadeslayer

            no there isn’t not if they are immortal
            and it would be cool if they did get together
            (Eragon+Arya) and (Murghtah+Nasuda)
            CAN’T WAIT FOR BOOK 5!!!!

        • Rwingcannon

          After Eragon is 106 years old? Stop dreaming.

          • Carl

            Huh? Everything CP has said in past and recent interviews (and Angela’s prophecy) indicates Eragon and Arya will get together eventually. That’s the whole point of the “epic romance” not having happened yet.

          • Timmy

            It also said it could be bad or good

  • Iker

    The only thing I can say is this, and its the truth:
    Inheritance is the best STORY EVER I really love
    Inherance Cycle and can’t wait for book five…..
    Thank you Christopher Paolini for this excellent work
    Atra du evarínya ono varda 🙂
    SHUR’TUGAL

    • Rio Griffiths

      tots agree

      • Shadeslayer

        Same, love it and will probably read all the books again
        LOVE THEM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!