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!

  • 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.

  • 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.
    Why?
    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:

  • 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

  • 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.

  • 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!
        https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/c50ef7e273a10a3f811b08f07835215b573e6ce996bd9f2ebe960d025fdd8133.jpg

      • zenethis23

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

        • Morgoth of Thardszvul

          yes

  • 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.