Why Eragon and Arya didn’t end up together, and why there’s still hope for their relationship, according to Christopher

One of the most controversial parts of the Inheritance Cycle was the seemingly-unresolved relationship between Eragon and Arya. The will they/won’t they relationship was core to many of Eragon’s decisions and motivators, starting with his first dream of the imprisoned woman in Eragon and ending with their heart-wrenching parting of the ways in Inheritance.

Naturally, many Eragon/Arya “shippers” were devastated that the pair didn’t end up together. Questions began to fly: why would Arya choose to remain behind as queen of the elves? Why didn’t Eragon fight harder to win her over? Why didn’t it happen?!

Never one to shy away from fan questions, Christopher Paolini has shared a wealth of new information while addressing his intentions with the ending, other possible outcomes, and the duo’s future. It’s important for us all to remember that there will be future books set within Alagaësia taking place after the events in the Inheritance Cycle, including Book 5, which will feature our favorite characters and, presumably, continue to develop their relationships:

“The thing to keep in mind is that though the series is over, Eragon and Arya’s story will continue. They’re going to live for a very long time, and their relationship is far from over.”

“I have a number of other stories set within Alagaësia that I hope to write. Some of them feature main characters from the Inheritance cycle, others do not. However, I don’t think it’s giving away too much to say that we will see Eragon and Arya again at some point.” [source]

Okay, so we’ll see their potential relationship in future books… but why did Christopher decide to end Inheritance the way he did? As the universe’s creator, he didn’t feel it was a natural fit as he wove the final story together. Had he followed his initial path, the pair would have ended up together, but the consequences may have been dire; Arya could have abandoned her principals and joined Eragon for the wrong reasons:

“I realized that the characters weren’t the people I thought they were back when I was fifteen, and that if I forced Eragon and Arya together (and it would be forcing them) I would end up breaking Arya’s character. … The [deleted] scenes between them, scenes where they were rather openly flirting, just did not work. Essentially, I was writing Arya the way that Eragon *wanted* her to be, not the way that she actually was. So, I cut back on the flirting. When I did that, I realized that it made no sense for Arya to suddenly turn on a dime at the end and leap into Eragon’s arms. If she did, it would seem as if she was only doing it for the sake of the dragons, not for Eragon, and Eragon himself would have noticed this.” [source]

One fan remarked that Eragon’s interest in Arya seemed to, at one point, be more about her beauty than her personality. Christopher confirmed that was accurate to a degree, but points out that Eragon came to love her beyond her appearance during the fairth scene in the later half of the series:

[That observation is] absolutely right, which is why Eragon and Arya don’t end up together at the conclusion of the series. Eragon still has some maturation ahead of him, and Arya has her duties as queen. That said, I think Eragon does learn to see Arya as a person and not just as a pretty face. That’s pretty much the point of the whole fairth storyline. [source]

Altogether, the reasoning for their currently unresolved relationship is solid. Arya’s immediate obligation is to leading her people the death of her mother, Queen Islanzadí, and Eragon’s focus must be rebuilding the Riders. Time away from each other will enable them to grow and mature individually and, hopefully, recognize the power of their connection.

Christopher “No Comment” Paolini leaves us with a few parting gifts regarding their future being resolved, or at least addressed, in Book 5:

@Laurel_Deer: Will the tension concerning the possible romance between Eragon and Arya by the end of Inheritance ever be fully resolved?
Christopher: No comment. 🙂

@Baker2Justin: Did Eragon ever find love?
Christopher: You’ll have to read the next book to find out!

@LunePotter: Will there be Eragon/Arya moments in Book 5?
Christopher: I can’t spoil it, but I think you’ll enjoy Book V. 😀

It seems like we have our cake (good reasons for them not ending up together in Inheritance) and get to eat it too (hope for their future in Book 5)! Eragon likely won’t be single forever!

Were you happy with Eragon and Arya’s ending in Inheritance? Do you understand Christopher’s reasoning? What do you think is in store for the pair in Book 5? Let us know in the comments!

  • Chris Matney

    One thing you’re all missing…imagine a Kull dragon rider LOL now that’s a scary sight. Back to the discussion. I was heart broken as well. But after I thought about it I understand. And Christopher’s reasons do make sense (dang it)

  • Chipp_Warrior

    does anyone know at all for sure when book 5 is coming out?

    • Chris Matney

      20 years lol considering he does write slow and he’s working on a different novel at the moment. He does have to come up with a map of the new land as well don’t forget.

  • Snininja


  • SalvaJu29ro

    First of all, sorry for my English
    I just finished reading the last book and honestly a bit I was disappointed with Eragon and Arya
    But honestly Paolini has not been able to create a decent love for his protagonist
    He created a great love for Roran and a non-existent love for Eragon
    Arya doesn’t love Eragon, honestly
    Just because in the last pages of the book it seems to change attitude doesn’t change the fact that for 3.5 / 4 of the series for her was just a friend
    I had already guessed it in the earlier books that two of them would have ended up badly because they didn’t develop their relationship
    In the third book, I hoped that Paolini create something with Nasuada, but nothing

  • J.Swenson

    Upon first reading the end of Inheritance, I was disappointed and frustrated at the way that there, of course, had to be something in the way (Arya taking up role as Queen of the Elves) keeping Eragon and Arya apart. But after rereading the series, I am thankful for this occurrence, as in my opinion, it merely indicated that Paolini would be writing another book because I knew he wouldn’t just leave it there, he, not only for the fans but perhaps for himself, has to continue/ finish Eragon and Arya’s story. Although there unfortunately is and will continue to be a long interval between Inheritance and book v, the ending of Inheritance will be enough to keep fans (me included) on the edge of their seats, anxiously waiting for the long awaited book five.

  • Ilres rider of Uvakin

    how come Arya doesn’t want to go with eragon
    😭😭 they were cute

  • Arya

    does eragon and arya ever going to be with each other

  • azaroth the hypersonic milkman

    I personally am grateful for Chris not having them together because eragon would have just left her whilst he left , according to the vault of souls , probably forever . I also prefer them apart because they have such an age and personality difference that it just doesn’t match for me not only that but it leaves more room for a different relationship to grow and for them to bond more before getting together. So in conclusion I do hope they are together eventually but not now.

    • Snininja

      nice name, lol

  • Analiana, Rider of Veridona

    I understand that the Eragon-Arya match was “meant” to happen, but I really appreciate that Christopher Paolini didn’t force it. In my opinion, many stories are ruined by romance when the strong female character melts into a helpless puddle at the male hero’s feet. I really love how this didn’t happen to Arya – it truly would have “broken her character.”

  • Justin

    First things first, the ending of the story was not as good as I expected it to be. I searched it up on the web and found out the ending was something called Deus ex machina. How did Galbatorix die? Eragon randomly found a way of defeating him and suddenly Galbatorix just suicides. I was expecting that there would be something more. Throughout the 2500 page story, everything was so intense. But then Galbatorix died in like less than 10 pages?
    Secondly, I didn’t like the ending events in Inheritance. Angela foresaw that Eragon was to leave Alagaësia and never return. Stupidly, Eragon believed that and think it was best for him to leave. Questions started popping into my mind : he had a family in Alagaësia, what are the benefits of him leaving? Why didnt he keep trying to date Arya. In there first book, I was like oh hell yeah, love story in the end! and when Arya rejected Eragon, I thought this would be more interesting, but no , in the end he just left…. There are other solutions to train new riders, like in Ellesmera, or Eragon could just simply build a new place on for Dragon riders? There are so many solutions but Christopher had to choose the worst one. I think that Christopher should also talk about Eragon’s new life or maybe series two of him saving the world and managed to get Arya to become his girlfriend. That would be brilliant.
    Last but not least, except for the questions above, this overall was a very good series. I hope book 5 will be as interesting as the others and even, better. Looking forward to book 5! Good job Paolini, keep it up!

    • Austin Cole

      What happens when a person steps into a shallow pond? Their movements make ripples, their foot placement creates lasting marks in the muck, their very presence causes a slight change in the environment itself with the various accompanying sights, sounds, smells ann tastes and touch. You’re right he could have stayed and simply built a new stronghold for the new dragon rider order. But as Eragon states the riders need to be neutral, and the dragon need to be free without any major restrictions such as eating flocks. Eragon has become such a powerful being that he even states, ‘The only ones who could stop him were Elva and Murtagh, Murtagh and Thorn had left and he knew how to beat Elva’s ability.’ And yes Arya as well, but how long with Eragon’s connection to the dragons’ Hearts of hearts and his dragon-riding experience do you think that will last? And his most well-reasoned point for leaving was that he even knew that there was a potential for him to become Galbatorix. What’s wrong with helping? The little nudge here and there? ‘That’s the trap, isn’t it? The belief that I know better and that because I have this power at my disposal, I have a responsibility to act.’

      Excerpt From: Paolini, Christopher. “Inheritance.” Alfred A. Knopf, 2011-11-01. iBooks.
      This material may be protected by copyright.

      Eragon can see that, as a flawed human, one of the easiest paths to Hell, is on the path of good intentions. The last point is about the neutrality of the riders. The only real possible neutral locations he had in mind were either Vroengard, but it was already occupied by a new group of occupants, or the mountains in the desert, but from there the young dragons could eat the animals from flock from any of the three major races. Any other location could have been construed as having the riders’ support. So as you can see, as powerful as Eragon was, unless he left Alagaësia and began in a new land, his ties to the various races and his potential to do darkness in the name of the light, would have left him either restrained to the point of isolation so as to not attack those whom he cared for and/or so that he wouldn’t become that which he dedicated himself to defeating before Nasuada became High Queen of the rememants of Galbatorix’s grand empire.

      • Cheng Justin

        Pro analyze, that is very true. But from the book we can see that Eragon although might be afraid of being Galbatorix, the chances of that happening is pretty slim since eragon has a very pure heart. You can say that people change while they get older but I don’t think he will change while staying with the elves.

        • Diego

          The chances are pretty slim, yeah. But would you take a chance of doing something selfish and risk the end of the world? Even if there was one in a billion chance of things happening like that, I would never take it. And as Eragon states, that is precisely the trap. He wouldn’t notice if he goes beyond what a good person should do, the moral charge of power and good is treated in the books. Once the line is crossed everything becomes blurry. The moral help from the Eldunaries the dragons and the elves held in high steem is what can keep Eragon from doing bad choices that crosses lines.

  • Glenn Wychryst

    The relationship seems awkward. In terms of age, its like a kid dating a grandmother. Inappropriate. Eragon was FIFTEEN, while Arya sounded as though she may have been approaching her eighties, maybe?

    • kayli_the_werecat44

      kvetha fricai, in the book at some point she tells eragon she is 100 years old or more because she stopped counting.

      • Richard Teng

        remember, one of the elves that escorted them to ellesmera told eragon arya was born a year before the Fall…

        • kayli_the_werecat44

          True yes, so would that not be 100 years or more?

  • Jessica Woodall

    As close as they got as friends and as much as they went through together makes you ache for their relationship but I don’t think that Eragon would ever be happy with Arya because elves and humans see marriage and family differently. I’d like to see Eragon with a strong woman who’s very witty and can make him laugh.

  • Martín Duarte

    First of all, sorry for my English (English isn’t my mother language)
    As I’d readed the Cycle a couple of times (no less than once a year, and this year I already did it xD lol), I think that even when we ship the relationship, it makes sense that they’re not together.
    The whole point of the Cycle was to watch the Riders renewal, the fall of Galbatorix and the maturity of Eragon/Saphira as individuals and also as a Dragon Rider’s couple, right? Everything else was “a plus” in the story.
    That being said, the Cycle left us a whole “new Alagaësia”, with new rules and changes all over the world (like the new relationships between the races, the new Rider types, the problem with the magicians, etc) and Christopher also left a couple of hints of main and side stories available for the next sagas…
    It makes sense that the main characters need a lot of development by themselves to challenge the next problems that may arise. And with that maturity, Eragon and Arya could see each other finally like fully equals, not like two “teenagers longing for love”, but as two adults, being really sure of their own feelings and of what a mature relationship could be.
    In that point, as Alagaësia’s history grows bigger and no reader knows how many years could pass in it till we finally read it (I mean inside the story), I think that we can expect a relationship with a stronger bond and not just “a little bit of romance”

  • Chris Talbott

    Who will be the main character in the next book? I see (even though I don’t like how Inheritance ended) the reasoning why Eragon and Arya didn’t end up together.

  • Rehan Khan

    My Question is who will be the next villain character after Galbatorix in BOOK 5? Now this will suck, some GOD, or one of the Grey People who were using Ancient Languages after coming out of hiding, ANGELA because no one knows her history?

    • FanFicWriter

      I don’t want the villain to be Angela, but I’m DYING to learn her secrets! D:

    • AnonymousForNow

      There’s actually more than a couple of possibilities. To name one:

      1.) In the books, it’s stated several times that humans originated from the west, and that it was speculated that the Ra’zac simply followed their food source to Alagaësia. In Book 5, it could be that Eragon would have to face down a new human empire, or even a civilization of Ra’zac that chose to stay behind.

      There’s quite a few other possibilities, but I think that one is the most likely because the only thing that COULD be of such importance to unite Arya and Eragon (Paolini stated they would in fact reunite eventually), so as to force Eragon to either return to Alagasësia or Arya to go towards the West in search of help, is a massive invasion of some sort that threatens the newfound peace of Alagasësia.

      * Note: Paolini has said in the past that the plot for Book 5 is something that readers overlooked. *

      I doubt it would be a “god”, as you say, because there isn’t really enough evidence (or anything for that matter) that suggests any malevolence of the gods in Paolini’s universe. I doubt the Grey Folk will play a huge role in Book 5 (except, maybe, Angela).

  • Murtagh is the BEST

    Im still new to this fandom (started and finished Inheritance cycle just last week) but I can tell its super cool B)

    • Andrea Badree

      I loved him. I hoped he and Nasuada would end up together

      • Analiana, Rider of Veridona

        I’ve had a couple of funny thoughts about that relationship: leader of the Varden/new queen of Alagaësia and the sword arm of Galbatorix, torturer (however unwillingly) and victim … what could go wrong? But yeah, I feel like they were meant for each other.

  • Morgoth of Thardszvul

    Eragon can come back read the books again and find out how.

    • zenethis23

      I agree. I always felt like Eragon took the prophesy thing too seriously and his taking it so seriously is what would make it happen. He could come back if he wants, there isn’t anything stopping him.

      • Recommend_#

        Well, you can’t underestimate the power of dragon knuckles; after all, they do give quite a (no pun-intended) punch to the story.

      • Justin

        I completely agree with your point, prophecies are just things that could happen in the future with a high chance and Eragon doesnt need to follow it. I think that Eragon should actually build a new place in Algaesia and train the new dragon riders there.

        • catface

          Don’t bad things happen when one tries to resist prophecies?
          *cough*Greek mythology*cough*

          • Cheng Justin

            Percy Jackson?

      • shoaib anwar

        i thought eragon cant return cause the razacs cursed him, and their curse takes effect

    • Richard Teng

      what do you mean? what’s this loophole im missing…

  • Erin

    The only problem with everything I am reading here is that I felt it was very much implied that they would never see each other again, or that it would be so long until they did that they would completely change, especially since Eragon was told that he would leave Alagaësia and never come back. Also, the more time Arya spends with her people, the less she would be able to leave her people. Also, isn’t she a part of choosing the new riders? If she was to leave Alagaësia, who would they trust with the eggs until they bonded with a person, be he Urgal or human or elf, or dwarf? Sure they have to have some sort of communication with each other, but I don’t think it all adds up. And I may have a few things wrong, as it has been a while since I reread the books, but still…

    • There’s are some really great questions. I think, added together, they make for a great story. Those are a lot of odds to overcome – there’s a lot working against them. It’ll be interesting to see how Christopher deals with each of those very real issues and if Eragon and Arya are able to overcome them as characters.

  • Aloysius Mavrick

    I was always expecting eragon to be with arya, their connection is beyond that of any I seen in other various novels. I’ve actually based my own works on the way their relationship progressed. It was disheartening that they didn’t end up together but also I understood the reasons and conceded with aryas decisions. I was overjoyed to hear there would be a book five. Further more I am looking forward to it with great interest.

  • Hououin Kyouma

    woah! Book 5?? What is the expected release date?

    • No release date yet. He’s hinted (but not confirmed) that he’ll start writing it once he finishes his current scifi novel.

      • Recommend_#

        What is his current sci-fi novel? I would be gladly interested to know.

  • Kathryn Schmitt

    the end was gut-wrenching and I cried for days. I wish it it ended on a more upbeat note. and what was with the menoa tree? i feel if the series is over there should be resolutions. if you’re going to write more books then maybe the series isn’t or shouldn’t be over.

    • I think it’s safe to say the story contained within the Cycle itself is over, but Book 5 (and other books) will explore some of the lingering mysteries (Angela, Menoa tree, Brom’s 7 words, Belt of Beloth the Wise), none of which were core to the plot of the Cycle itself.

      Also, I’ve read some convincing fan theories that the Menoa tree plotline was resolved, though it seems unlikely given some of Christopher’s teasing since then.

      • Kathryn Schmitt

        do you mind linking (or telling me :P) about the fan theories about the menoa tree? i’d LOVE to read about them. i mean it’s possible saying “GO” meant ‘gtfo of alagaesia’ but…i don’t have any ideas besides that one!

        and, god, brom’s 7 words, i’ve forgotten about them. it’s really hard for me to read the books now that the 4th book is out b/c the last 50 pages just kind of…feel so separated and cut off from the other 99% of the series; it feels like there is a huge disconnect.

        i feel like around the time nasuada had eragon flying all over alagaesia to make people get in line after he killed galbatorix etc, things started to feel…smaller? sadder? kind of like drawing inward instead of celebrating that frickin galbatorix is GONE? not because of the series ending but i think partially because, all of a sudden, so many things made a sudden turn. orrin (king of surda) becomes nasty, nasuada becomes damn closed-minded about magic, murtagh refusing to barely even reconcile with his half brother, eragon *knowing* he’ll never be back to his homeland (alagaesia), randomly dropping a bunch of gold at roran’s feet as a goodbye present as roran howls his misery, it goes on and on.

        the sudden disconnect, for me, was a slap in the face. it felt rushed and honestly i felt a bit…hmm, like my trust was broken? i felt betrayed. i guess that’s the best way to put it. it wasn’t just eragon not being with arya, it was everything i mentioned above that made me start to feel an increasing sense of dread, even though there were still 50-75 pages left in the book.

        i’m christopher’s age. yet one day, a few days after i finished the series, as i was driving home from work i just burst into tears. i felt so…led on and let down.

        oh, i just remembered the worst part. saphira having to leave behind the only mate she ever had. she always felt so alone, thinking she was one of the last dragons. and we know she knows she won’t be, now, but…connecting so closely with firnen to have such little time with him felt devastating.

        even if eragon and arya HAD ended up together, nothing i listed above changes.

        overall, christopher’s explanation just…for me it doesn’t discuss why the ending had such a different mood setting comparatively. it sucks; i’d semi-like to read the series again (for a 5th time) but knowing what i’ll have to go through at the end, that dread, it’s no fun.

        but hey, chris, way to go about making people care! i mean it. i feel that with any media, if you can truly pull people in, even if they are upset or uncomfortable, you’re not doing a hell of a lot wrong.

        also, i’ll mention that two parts i loved about the ending were (as chris knows fans like) vanir wanting to learn more about humans, and elva deciding to take ownership of her ‘curse’/situation and taking blame, finally and fully, from eragon.

        i apologize this is long, but finding friends who love fantasy books and love to discuss them as much as i do isn’t easy 😛 thanks for reading!

        this picture i took the morning ‘inheritance’ was released; i was so excited!

      • zenethis23

        Do you buy the theory about taking his ability to have children?

        • Morgoth of Thardszvul


  • zenethis23

    This makes me feel a lot better about the ending of Inheritance. I really love Christopher’s reasoning. It really makes sense for the characters and, to me, makes them more real. I can’t wait for his sci-fi series, but let’s be real that’s just to keep me occupied until Book 5. P.S. Mike, I love the site and I loved listening to the book club podcasts. It was so fun going through the cycle with you and throwing theories around.

    • Thanks for your kind words! Always happy to hear from someone who has stuck with us for so long. Shhh, don’t tell anyone, but the podcast may be coming back…

  • cor leonis

    I was really upset at the time, but since then I’ve really learnt to appreciate how Christopher ended things in Inheritance. However, I do really hope that if we see more of them in Book 5, we might get a more satisfying resolution 🙂

    • Christopher’s reasoning definitely made it easier to digest E/A not ending up together – it all makes sense (to me, anyway). It’s also nice hearing that there’s still hope for them together in Book 5.

      • KMP17

        Completely agree; I was so upset with the way it ended and couldn’t re-read for quite a while! However since Christoper announced book 5 and his many hints I feel much better about it. Think it’s better this way, the characters developed so much that they wrote him into a corner that must be tricky to get out from! Can’t wait to see how he does it, he is a genius after all 😆

  • Gabi Paes

    I have that feeling about Eragon and Arya… I totally agree with the author and maybe I could be a little dissapointed if it was a happily ever after ending.

    • I liked how it ended as well, though I am happy to hear there’s a chance for a “happy ever after” still.