Blades of the Dragon Riders: An Eragon Sword Deep Dive
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Christopher Paolini’s The Inheritance Cycle is a fantasy book series revolving around the adventures of the first book’s titular hero Eragon who acquires a dragon, Saphira, and a magical sword that gives him the power to eventually overthrow the evil Galbatorix who rules over Alagaesia. Eragon’s Brisingr sword takes a page out of The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit with its magical origins which it shares with the Rider’s swords of the book’s world.
Eragon Swords Are Made With Magic
If sci-fi has superweapons, fantasy has its magical swords. While the movie sword in the live-action adaptation doesn’t get an in-depth background explanation in the Eragon movie, the books go into how Eragon’s sword and the rest of the Rider’s swords are made.
The Rider’s swords of Eragon were created by Rhunon, an elven smith renowned for her weapon making skills and tools. She would use rare materials such as fallen meteors to create her finest weapons, the Rider’s swords. She called these metals meteoric iron. In truth, meteoric iron comes from a dead star, not a meteor.
Eragon swords were forged not with fire but with magic, giving them uncharacteristic strength and durability to the point that they require little to no sharpening. The legendary status of the blades is a parallel to that of Damascus steel and the carbon steel used in katana swords of our world; and for good reason since the Rider’s swords are as much weapons as they are symbols of bonds between dragon riders and their dragons.
The swords’ colors correspond to the colors of the dragons ridden by their wielders. Rhunon also bestowed each sword with a gemstone on the pommel that matched the color of their dragon. These gemstones could contain a reserve of energy that the riders could then use to give their dragons a boost, allowing them to fly and fight for longer.
Despite Rhunon’s cold and sour reputation, she was deeply hurt by Galbatorix’s betrayal of his fellow dragonriders. She had made Galbatorix’s Rider’s sword and saw it misused for evil. This led Rhunon to swear an oath that she would never make a Rider’s sword again. That is until Eragon convinced her to create Brisingr by controlling his body, making it so that she is not technically physically involved in the creation of the sword.
Eragon Swords and the Tradition of Dragon Riding
While the Rider’s swords of Eragon serve a clear purpose, the fact that they’re used on dragon-back make them a less sensible option compared to other melee weapons that could provide more range.
However, fans suspect that this is because riders rely on their dragons to do the fighting for them and did not expect to fight while on dragon-back. Thematically, longswords also suited the dragon riders better as the weapons have a stronger literary tradition in the genre that The Inheritance Cycle is part of. A sword would be more evocative of King Arthur’s Excalibur and Roland’s Durandal sword.
The Rider’s Swords of Eragon That You Can Get Replicas Of
Fantasy swords are some of the hardest fictional weapons to choose a replica for given how ornate they are in descriptions and how hard it can be to match that level of sumptuousness on a limited budget. That said, you can get a reasonably priced Eragon sword replica as long as you keep an eye on metal quality. For swords like these, we typically recommend stainless steel at the minimum and high carbon steel for battle ready replicas.
Here are some Eragon swords that would make for cool collector’s items.
Named after Beowulf’s sword, given by King Hygelac in the epic poem Beowulf, Naegling was the golden sword of Oromis. Both he and his dragon Glaedr, as well as some elves, transferred their life force to the sword in order to store their power. Naegling’s hilt held a yellow diamond.
Brisingr’s unique forging gave it power beyond that of previous Rider’s swords as his personal involvement allowed him to learn the true name of the sword, or so Rhuinon says. The sword has a sapphire hilt to match Sapphira.
Like Brinsingr, Undbitr held a sapphire in its hilt to match the first Saphira who was Brom’s dragon.
Zar’roc was the Rider’s blade of Morzan who betrayed the first Sapphira and killed her. Brom is able to avenge her and take the sword which is how it ends up in Eragon’s hands later in the series.
The gleaming green sword Tamerlein was known for the massive emerald at its hilt. Once wielded by Arva, the sword now belongs to his sister Naudra to whom he bequeathed it before his death. The sword is engraved with glyphs that say “I am Tamerleuin, Bringer of the Final Sleep.”
Vrangr was Vrael’s sword and, later, Galbatorix’s sword. Its original wielder was one of the first victims of Galbatorix’s treachery so when Galbatorix obtained it, he changed its name from “Light-Bringr” to Vrangr, meaning “awry”.
Arvindr is a purple Rider’s sword suspected to have belonged to Thuviel. Its pommel is decorated with a purple gem, possibly an amethyst.
Eragon swords from The Inheritance Cycle lean heavily into magical tropes set by its predecessors in medieval epic poetry and fantasy literature, executing the same tropes with style while keeping the original intent that these swords are supposed to convey ideas of heroism and nobility. A well-crafted Eragon sword replica mounted on your wall can serve as a good reminder of the purer things in life.