Joshua WillardMrs. ByrdCP English 121-23-2018Paolini’s Gothic Dragon RiderWhat makes a gothic novel? Is it simply the medieval setting, or does it involve magic, mystery, and chivalry? According to the Oxford Pocket English Dictionary, a gothic novel is defined as “an English genre of fiction popular in the 18th to early 19th centuries, characterized by an atmosphere of mystery and horror and having a pseudomedieval setting” (Oxford). Could it be defined simply as a medieval fantasy? The Inheritance Cycle by Christopher Paolini is a fantasy set in the fictional land of Alagaësia during medieval times.Christopher Paolini is a famous author who grew up in Paradise Valley, Montana. He lived with his parents and his sister. Paolini was homeschooled. After graduating high school, he wrote the Inheritance Cycle. This series includes Eragon, Eldest, Brisingr, and Inheritance. He also wrote Eragon’s Guide to Alagaësia and The Official Eragon Coloring Book – with Ciruelo Cabral (Wikipedia).The Inheritance Cycle is a four novel series by Christopher Paolini about a world called Alagaësia. In this world, a boy named Eragon becomes a Dragon Rider with his dragon Saphira traveling the continent for Eragon to improve his magic with the intent of being able to defeat the tyrant Galbatorix.Magic is defined as “the power of apparently influencing the course of events by using mysterious or supernatural forces” (Oxford), or simply doing what can’t be done using unnatural abilities. Mystery is defined as “something that is difficult or impossible to understand or explain” (Oxford). Chivalry is simply courage, honor, courtesy, justice, and the readiness to help the weak. The Inheritance Cycle has all the qualities necessary for a gothic novel. It has a medieval atmosphere, with magic, mystery, chivalry, and a small amount of horror, if you ask Eragon himself.The first book is titled Eragon. In this book, Eragon discovers a round blue stone while hunting in The Spine, a mountain range close to his hometown Carvahall. After failing to sell the stone, he finds out it is actually a dragon egg when Saphira hatches out of it. Soon after, a group of hooded figures, called the Ra’zac, search around town to find the egg. After finding out, Eragon and Saphira flee town, and the Ra’zac kill Eragon’s uncle Garrow. After discovering he was a Dragon Rider, he vowed to destroy the Ra’zac, and left Carvahall with a storyteller, Brom, in search of the Ra’zac. Eragon, Saphira, and Brom are ambushed on the way, and are rescued by Murtagh. Despite this, Brom dies after revealing he was also a Dragon Rider who was betrayed by Galbatorix, a former Dragon Rider, and joined a rebel group called the Varden. Eragon, Saphira, and Murtagh search for the Varden, and on their way rescue an elf named Arya from a Shade (summoner) named Durza. The four finally reach the Varden and are attacked by Urgals. The Varden help defeat these Urgals, escort the four in and treat Arya’s condition. Soon after, the city they’re in was attacked by Urgals and Durza. After barely defeating the attack, Eragon and Saphira set out to complete much needed training.The second book, Eldest, continues where Eragon left off. Eragon and Saphira are about to head to Du Weldenvarden, an elven forest in the North, when the Varden city is attacked again, with the leader of the Varden dying and Murtagh and a set of twin mages missing. After finishing the battle and nominating the leader’s daughter to replace him, Eragon, Saphira, Arya, and the dwarf Orik set off for the forest. The story then goes to Eragon’s cousin Roran, who is hoping to marry a girl named Katrina when Carvahall is attacked. The Ra’zac capture Katrina and Roran goes to join the Varden in order to save her. Returning to Eragon and the others, they discover someone called The Cripple Who Is Whole, an old Dragon Rider named Oromis, who teaches Eragon and Saphira many things they need to know to be a Dragon Rider. Eragon and Saphira discover Galbatorix is about to attack the Varden head on and the two go to defend them. Roran arrives to join the battle on a stolen boat, and Murtagh, kidnapped by the twins and forced under Galbatorix, fights against the Varden and Eragon, Dragon Rider versus Dragon Rider.The third book is Brisingr, which is “fire” in the magic language, and “brisingr” comes up several times throughout. Eragon, Saphira, and Roran go to finish of what each left for, that being killing the Ra’Zac. After rescuing Katrina and her have-my-daughter-instead father Sloan, Eragon kills the rest of the Ra’zac while Roran and Katrina return to the Varden. Eragon discovers Sloan’s true name, the name that the magic language sees him as, and punishes Sloan with a curse to never meet his daughter again. Murtagh returns to interrupt Roran’s wedding with an army enchanted to not feel pain, which is surprisingly effective. Eventually, Eragon causes them to retreat to win the battle. Later on, It is revealed that the source of Galbatorix’s power is Eldunari, essentially dragon hearts. As preparation, Eragon went to get a Rider’s sword forged, being inherently stronger than other swords, and named this sword Brisingr, resulting in the sword bursting into flames even if he mentions the name. Eragon is soon given the Eldunari of Glaedr, Oromis’ dragon, and sent to help the Varden lay siege to a city in the Empire where, through Glaedr’s Eldunari, he witnesses Murtagh kill Oromis and Glaedr. After that, another Shade, Varaug, is created. Eragon and Arya kill the Shade and are then both known as Shadeslayers.The fourth and currently last book, Inheritance, finishes the story with the victory of the Varden and inferred death of Galbatorix. Starting with the capturing of Belatona, the story quickly shifts to Roran capturing another and returning to the rest of the Varden to attempt to capture a third. This city is protected by Murtagh, so it can’t be attacked directly. Eragon is sent with Arya, a witch, a werecat, and an elf to open the gates from the inside. Eragon and Arya are captured by worshippers of the Ra’zac after they killed the tagging elf. After being rescued by the witch and werecat, they open the gate and capture the city. Overnight, Nasuada, the leader of the Varden, is kidnapped and Eragon is appointed leader. Remembering some advice from the werecat, and given advice from the werecat’s possessor, Eragon learns about the Vault of Souls on Vroengard Island, which magic causes everyone to forget at the mention of it. After traveling to the island, they learn that their true names are the key to the vault. In the vault, they find many Eldunari and eggs. One of the Eldunari says they will assist in defeating Galbatorix. Eragon leaves with almost all of the Eldunari and return to the siege of the capital Urû’baen. Eragon, Saphira, and Arya invade the citadel. There, Galbatorix mentions he has learned the true name of the magic language and calls it The Word. He then forces Murtagh and Eragon to battle without magic. Eragon defeats Murtagh, and Murtagh uses The Word against Galbatorix, breaking his defenses against magic. Eragon curses Galbatorix to feel every bit of pain and suffering he has caused while Arya kills Galbatorix’s enslaved dragon. Galbatorix then uses magic to “undo” himself and explodes the majority of the city. Nasuada is made queen of humans, Arya becomes queen of elves and a Dragon Rider herself, and Eragon and Saphira leave Alagaësia forever to train new Riders and protect all dragon eggs until it’s time to give them a Rider.The Inheritance Cycle has plenty magic, a bit of mystery, and strong chivalry. Almost every single page is half magic shenanigans half story, with an entire language being made solely for magic, and many magical creatures like the Ra’zac, elves, dragons, and dwarves. Though most of the mystery is simply what happens next, there’s still some cases like how Saphira’s egg came to Eragon and not Brom, how Eragon pulled tons of diamond out of the ground as a grave for Brom, how missing one letter managed to turn Eragon’s blessing on a baby into a curse, and several other cases. There’s plenty of Chivalry on many sides of the story. Eragon fought for what was right and took on Galbatorix, Roran saved his fiancé from the Ra’zac, Eragon and Arya being given the honor of the title Shadeslayer, and Galbatorix exploding. With many aspects matching the definition of a gothic novel, the Inheritance Cycle is no doubt a gothic novel.Works Cited”Christopher Paolini.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 22 Jan. 2018. Web.”Chivalry | Definition of Chivalry in English by Oxford Dictionaries.” Oxford Dictionaries | English. Oxford Dictionaries, n.d. Web.”Mystery | Definition of Mystery in English by Oxford Dictionaries.” Oxford Dictionaries | English. Oxford Dictionaries, n.d. Web.Paolini, Christopher. Eragon. N.p.: Alfred A. Knopf, 2003. Print.Paolini, Christopher. Eldest. N.p.: Laurel-Leaf, 2008. Print.Paolini, Christopher. Brisingr. N.p.: Carlsen, 2009. Print.Paolini, Christopher. Inheritance. N.p.: Knopf, 2012. Print.