“Big Twenty” – One King Falls, Another Shall Rise: Future of the Throne of Alagaësia

The Big Twenty is Shur’tugal’s twenty week long series of in depth discussion and theorizing, all centered around twenty core questions, loose ends, and theories in the Inheritance universe. The Big Twenty is the ultimate fan guide to happenings in Book 4 — and we hope you’ll join us for the adventure! To learn more about the Big Twenty, view our announcement article.

Alagaësia has faced harsh oppression since the Fall of the Riders. The tyrant “king” Galbatorix has sat upon his stolen throne for far too long. Armies from all sides meet for battle on a constant basis, and Galbatorix’s downfall seems imminent. Alagaësia is in need of a new leader, but Alagaësians cannot allow themselves to repeat past mistakes: this leader must be worthy, noble, and selfless. He or she must embody the ideals and principals that Alagaesia and its citizens stand for.

There are many deserving contenders for King and Queen. When exploring possibilities for Alagaësia’s future leader, we must consider all angles and all possibilities. It’s certainly likely that Alagaësia’s new leader will be someone already familiar in the plot… but what if it isn’t? There are thousands of humans in Alagaësia, many of which could be suitable choices, as well as multiple “curveball” possibilities which must be considered. We know that Christopher enjoys catching us off guard, so we must think outside of the box.

Candidates for King, Queen or Future Leader of Alagaesia:

Roran Garrowsson: Roran has risen through the ranks to become an unlikely hero in the war against Galbatorix. Like Eragon, Roran was raised as a poor farm boy with typical aspirations: find a job, buy land and construct a farm, marry his long-time love Katrina, and settle down to start a family. These hopes were shattered when the Empire stole everything that Roran held dear: his father, Garrow; Katrina and her father, Sloan; his childhood home and nearby village, Carvahall. These attacks inspired Roran, drawing out the natural leader within him.

Roran learned to hone his leadership skills as he rallied the villagers of Carvahall against their attackers, successfully leading a defense which repelled the Ra’zac and their soldiers, allowing the villagers precious time to escape into the Spine. Roran became the de facto leader of the Palencar Pirates. He successfully lead and protected the villagers, helping to commandeer Empire ships, raid towns for supplies, and eventually see them to the Varden in Surda.

But it wasn’t until Roran officially joined the fight against Galbatorix by joining the Varden’s army that his leadership abilities – those which qualify Roran as a future king of Alagaësia – truly began to surface. His ferocity in battle was nearly unmatched; his determination and ability to fight for and defend those he loves make him a terrifying enemy. Roran was willing to sacrifice his own well-being by directly defying a superior’s orders in order to save countless lives of fellow soldiers. He is both wise and just, qualities defined by his equal treatment of an Urgal who challenged his authority. Rather than demanding the Kull’s head, he challenged the Kull to a duel of equals, of which Roran was the victor – and chose to spare the Urgal’s life.

These are the qualities that define Roran. Few in Alagaësia command such strength and determination, and few can say that their care for others, desire for equality and justness, rights and protection, match that level of strength. Roran has shown time and time again that he is a ready, able, and capable leader. He has shown that he treats those below him as equals, regardless of their position, attitude, or entitlements. He would make a great King.

Nasuada, Leader of the Varden: Nasuada lived for years under the shadow of her powerful father, Ajihad. His early and untimely death catapulted the young female into a position of power, placing her at the head of the largest rebel group in Alagaësia: the Varden. From day one, Nasuada weathered political attacks and manipulation attempts, choosing to hold the well-being of her people over bribes and political maneuvering.

Nasuada has survived assassination attempts, failed coups and countless battles in an ongoing war. She has lead her people across the continent in search of a new home, allied herself with her neighbors and politically positioned herself in a way that commands respect and allegiance from her peers. Despite her young age, Nasuada has proven herself as a true leader, ensuring that the well-being of her subjects remains at the forefront of every decision. She is willing to make unfavorable or unpopular decisions when it means the best for the Varden and repeatedly demonstrates that survival of her people and the Varden as a whole is paramount.

Nasuada’s successful leadership at the helm of Alagaësia’s rebel group has unofficially secured her a top position as contender for Alagaësia’s future leader. It is impossible to deny the young warrior’s exceptional political skill and overwhelming compassion required to successfully lead a free and just nation. Her experience as a leader of the people is nearly unmatched, and her efforts throughout the war show that she will not crack or waver under pressure. Alagaësia needs a leader who cares for its people more than said leader cares for him or herself; this leader could very well be Nasuada, ruler of the Varden.

Eragon Shadeslayer: Eragon is a powerful Rider and awe-inspiring warrior. He is an unlikely hero, born and raised as a farm boy before destiny called: he was to be Alagaësia’s first free Rider since the Fall. Perhaps most important is Eragon’s unlikely parentage; his father was one of Alagaësia’s most important rebels and free-thinkers, Brom the Rider; his mother was once the right-hand to Morzan the Rider and a powerful and feared assassin in her own right, known as the Black Hand. He has shown his ability to lead in battle numerous times over the course of both books, almost always the victor. He has grown to understand (though not enjoy) politics as a diplomat to Alagaësia’s various races. He is both trusted and respected by Alagaësia’s most powerful leaders.

But Eragon has no desire to become King of Alagaësia. Eragon realized immediately that there are far better contenders than him. While Eragon has become the unlikely face of Alagaësia’s rebellion, he wishes for his leadership to end with the war. Eragon realized this as early as Ajihad’s death, when the young Rider was faced with the decision of whether or not to claim the Varden as his own, becoming the rebel group’s leader. He chose not to, recognizing that it would be both unfair and unwise, as there were more eligible contenders for the role. This is a position Eragon has continued to carry, leading us to believe that even if the opportunity presented itself, Eragon would decline a seat upon Alagaësia’s throne, choosing instead to support the new leader from the sidelines.

Besides, Eragon has another role to consider: leader of a new generation of Dragon Riders.

Angela the Herbalist (just humor us!): Okay, we can’t help it – how can you write a piece on future leaders of Alagaësia without considering, just for a moment, what the world would be like with Angela at the helm? Picture it now: King Solembum and Queen Angela, mad and quirky – but just and fair rulers. Wouldn’t want to get on their bad side for fear of curses, poisons, or death by claws. Official decrees ending the age-long debate of frog vs. toad. It would be madness – glorious, insane madness!

Clearly she has it in her; we’ve only but discovered the tip of the iceberg that is her magical and physical abilities; her wisdom and ability to see into the future is broad; she is respected and feared among the races of Alagaësia for reasons still unknown; and most importantly, she’d be the laugh Alagaësia needed after such a long time under that old crab Galbatorix’s wicked rule. Right?

Murtagh Morzansson (a potential curveball): There are a lot of elements at play against Murtagh. He’s currently enslaved by the most powerful and evil being in Alagaësia – Galbatorix. He’s constantly forced to betray those he once fought for and alongside. He’s committed terrible acts all in the name of the man he serves unwillingly. Despite the fact that many of his actions are performed because he is obligated to – controlled by his true name – it’s impossible to forget that Murtagh has an “out”, however gruesome, which could save hundreds from unnecessary suffering: Murtagh could take his own life.

It’s hard to ignore all of the above points… they all work against Murtagh, nearly destroying any hope he would have at redemption, let alone a shot at the throne. But the notion cannot be dismissed; there is an entire book’s worth of events, conflicts, and possible redemption waiting to be read. Murtagh could be the downfall of Galbatorix, could make amends for all of his troubles. Who knows the courts better than the King’s right hand? But we doubt that the people would ever trust him enough to allow him such a position of power. Also in doubt is the people’s desire to see another Rider or immortal being take the throne. That didn’t end well the first time.

Galbatorix may have an heir (curveball): We have no evidence from the books to support this theory, however it’s certainly interesting to consider and explore. Galbatorix has lived for a very long time; it would be preposterous to assume that the tyrant never found interest or love in another woman. Assuming he had over the years, it wouldn’t be much of a reach to state that he has fathered one or two (or many) children. However, Galbatorix does not appear to have an official wife (no mention of a queen in the books), which would mean that any children he did have would have been conceived out of wedlock – a big no-no for potential heirs to the throne. But Galbatorix has never been one to play by the rules, has he?

Even if Galbatorix did have a child with delusions of a claim to the throne, there are a few factors to consider: Galbatorix was not a rightful heir to the throne, so his possible children would not be legally entitled to the throne. Most importantly, the people of Alagaësia would never allow this; Galbatorix was the most wicked ruler Alagaësia has ever seen, and the idea of allowing one his spawn to succeed him sounds like the punch line to a bad joke.

Alagaësia’s proper blood line heir comes out of hiding: Prior to Galbatorix, Alagaësia’s political system was largely a monarchy. Sure, it had its issues – remember the insane King Palencar? However, somewhere in Alagaësia lies a family carrying a very powerful bloodline – one that is in some ways entitled to the throne. This bloodline is rumored to still run through citizens of Palencar valley, which may indicate that some characters we’ve grown close to – Eragon, Roran – may unknowingly be heirs to the Broddring Kingdom.

Should that bloodline not affect Eragon or Roran, it is possible – though less likely – that a challenger may arise, claiming him or herself as heir to the throne. This would certainly throw a wrench into things, but it’s also possible that it wouldn’t cause too many issues. After all, are the people of Alagaësia going to want a farmer with royal blood as their king, or a battle-hardened and loyal war hero?

Proper elections (unlikely): We touched on this above, but here’s a refresher: Alagaësia has always been ruled by a monarchy (or, you know, the evil Rider who killed all of those in power and stole the throne for himself). Human kings have never been elected – instead, they were born into a power they acquired when the previous king would die. However, it’s possible that Alagaësians may be fed up with that political system, instead wishing for a more democratic approach – voting.

Alagaësia’s future leader will be a representative of the people. Why, then, shouldn’t this leader be chosen by the people he or she will represent? It is possible, though unlikely, that the humans of Alagaësia will demand an election to determine the nation’s next leader. If that is the case, the leader will likely carry a title other than “king”. It’s also possible that the lords of Alagaësia’s various human cities and towns will be those who cast the vote for the next leader. Either approach would offer a more democratic approach to choosing Alagaësia’s future leader, but we find the possibility improbable.

Most importantly, remember… before a new leader of the people can be chosen, the old king must fall.

Questions to answer – leave your thoughts in the comments:

  • Who is your personal favorite contender for future leader of Alagaësia – and most importantly, why?
  • Do you feel that our positions were wrong on any of the above candidates?
  • Did we leave anyone off the list that you believe will make the best future King or Queen of Alagaësia?

Be sure to vote in this week’s Big Twenty poll and share your thoughts, theories, and opinions in the comments below!