AskDefine | Define forsworn

Dictionary Definition

forsworn (See forswear)
v : formally reject or disavow a formerly held belief, usually under pressure; "He retracted his earlier statements about his religion"; "She abjured her beliefs" [syn: abjure, recant, retract, resile] [also: forsworn, forswore]

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Alternative spellings


  1. Having lied under oath; perjured.


  1. past participle of forswear

Extensive Definition

Dragon Riders are group of magician-warriors in Christopher Paolini's Inheritance cycle. Dragon Riders, called Shur'tugal in the ancient language, are Humans or Elves who help maintain peace with the help of their Dragons. In the novels, Dragons are an intelligent and magical race that inhabit Alagaësia, a fictional fantasy world created by Paolini. During the timeframe of the novels, Dragons are nearly extinct. There are only four males (Shruikan, Thorn, Glaedr and the unhatched emerald egg) and one female (Saphira) left in existence. All wild dragons are believed dead. Dragons have been known to be green, blue, red, gold, black, white, brown, and purple.

Riders and their Dragons

As described in the novels, a Dragon Rider is a Human or Elf who has been 'bonded' to a Dragon. There has never been a dwarf Rider in history. They are marked with the Gedwëy Ignasia, or "shining palm", which was given to them by being the first to touch their dragon hatchling. The identities between the dragon and the Rider can merge so that they become one. Through the bond between Dragon and Dragon Rider, all Riders become stronger of body, keener of mind, and truer of senses, and Human Riders gain unnaturally long life. Both human and elf Dragon Riders experience other physical changes over decades and centuries, the Humans eventually resembling the Elves. It's said in Eragon that Dragon Riders are immortal to anything other than a blade or poison. Also, all Dragon Riders become magicians, and, as their Dragon grows, their magical potential surpasses that of any non-rider magician.
The Dragon Riders also have the ability to telepathically communicate with their dragons, as well as any other creatures, which the novels indicate is useful in battle. All magicians can gain this ability gradually through practice, but a very strong bond between dragon and Rider is formed with their first physical contact.
According to the novel, Bonded dragons differ from those found in the wild. Their nature is more tempered. They are also endowed with the gift of telepathic speech.


In the history Paolini creates, while Dragon Riders were first assigned to keep the peace between the Elves and Dragons, their duty soon expanded to keeping peace and order among all the races and governments throughout Alagaësia. As time went on, the Dragon Riders' deeds became well-known, and the Dragon Rider's Council came to control the land. While the Dragon Riders held sway, the land prospered and great cities were built. The Dragon Riders helped establish peace treaties between nations and even quell small skirmishes and conflicts. As an ex-Dragon Rider, Brom, said, "How many men would draw their swords if they knew a great fire-breathing lizard—one with more natural cunning and wisdom than even a king could hope for—would soon be there to stop the violence?"
Although the Dragon Riders first lived in the then-Elvish city of Ilirea (now the King's capital, Uru'baen), a disagreement with the Elvish Queen, Dellanir, led to the leader Anurin to moving the Riders to the island of Vroengard, from which the Dragon Riders worked as independent peacemakers and virtually controlled all the lands, indirectly through the different rulers. This, however, brought the Riders above any scrutiny, and contributed to their downfall.

The Bond

Just as in Anne McCaffrey's Dragonriders of Pern series, dragons in the Inheiritence cycle form a telepathic bond with their Rider, occasionally before the dragon has hatched from its egg.
According to the descriptions in the novels, a spell was cast over the dragon eggs to ensure that the baby dragons inside would only hatch when the egg was touched by the human or elf whom they believed was best suited for them, or "destined". Upon hatching, the young dragon would make contact with its Rider for the first time, leaving a mark, the gedwëy ignasia, or "shining palm", on the Dragon Rider’s hand. The novels state that a bond forms between the dragon and the Rider that melds their minds on a basic level, binding them for life in the most enduring friendship that can possibly exist, and endowing the Dragon Rider with magic.
The novel states that originally, only the dragons and the elves participated in the bonding creating a mutually beneficial relationship that granted the elves immortality and gave the dragons the gift of speech through telepathy. Humans were the third race to enter the bond, and at the time of the events in Eragon, the spell has not affected them as strongly. The novel states that dwarves were never added to the spell, and there has never been a dwarf Rider. In Eldest, Oromis states that because the dwarfs were not part of the Blood-Oath ritual forged by the elves, humans and dragons, there cannot be a dwarf rider.


According to the novel, the bond with the dragons gave Riders a strong ability to use magic, as well as enhanced physical abilities. Extensive training can develop the abilities to make Riders some of most powerful mages and swordsmen of the land.
The novel further states that newly bonded pairs of dragon and Rider were taken to the elvish capital of Ilirea (now the capital Uru'baen) where Riders trained one or two students. The training could consist of the senior dragon training the younger in aerial maneuvers (especially those used in battle), building stamina for long distance flights, increasing speed, dragonlore, and the ancient language. The novels state that as a mandatory requirement, the Rider and dragon would share their lessons - by keeping their minds connected they could listen in on each others lessons and learn. For example, if a young dragon was being taught how to spot updrafts, and his Rider was being taught art, the two were required to maintain their mental connection so that the Rider would learn about updrafts and the dragon would learn about art. After class, the senior Rider would test the young dragon on art and the senior dragon would test the young Rider on updrafts to make sure each had been following the other's lesson. Both the senior dragon and the senior Rider were addressed by their students as 'Master' or 'Ebrithil'.
The novels state that young Riders and dragons were put through strict regimens of physical and mental exercises until their masters thought them to be responsible enough to handle the magic. No Rider knew about their magic until then. If they did accidentally "find" it, they were whisked away for private tutoring. All riders happened to be able to use magic, though some did not realize their powers for their entire life.
The formal training of a Rider and dragon traditionally took many years (Galbatorix is known to have begun training at 10 and finished by 19), and the Dragon Riders continued to hone their skills throughout their lives.


The Beginning

According to the novels, before the formation of the Dragon Riders, about three millennia before the time of Eragon, a young elf hunted and killed a dragon like it was a common animal. The Dragons banded together and furiously attacked the Elves, leading into war.
The novel states that five years into the war, an Elf called Eragon found a white Dragon egg, let it hatch and raised the hatchling within, naming him Bid'Daum. Together, they stopped the war, allowing peace to follow. In order to prevent another war, the Dragons connected their souls with the Elves, changing both races. Dragons gained the use of language and other trappings of civilization, as well as becoming less fierce. Since Humans came afterwards, the Human Riders were never affected by the Dragons as greatly as the Elves were. But the humans did develop slightly tapered ears and gained some of the elves strengths.

The Fall

According to the novels, one hundred years before the events of the Inheritance Cycle, Galbatorix - a Dragon Rider who was driven to insanity by the killing of his dragon by Urgals and the refusal of the riders to grant him a new dragon- led a rebellion that crushed the Riders and brought an end to the order. Along with another Rider, Morzan, whom he persuaded to follow him, he captured a small black Dragon named Shruikan and forced the young Dragon to obey him through powerful dark magic. Galbatorix used his power to become the King of Alagaësia.

Role in the Inheritance cycle

In the events of the Inheritance cycle, there are Dragons on each side of the war - Galbatorix houses one unhatched Dragon egg and his own Dragon, Shruikan; under Galbatorix's control is Murtagh and his Dragon Thorn. Fighting against Galbatorix for the Varden is Eragon and his Dragon Saphira, the last female dragon. Another Dragon is Glaedr, who is the Dragon of Oromis, the oldest remaining Rider, who is an Elf.


In the novels, the jeweled sword of a Dragon Rider is eternally sharp, never dulls, never scratches or stains, and is heavy to all but the Riders, who have magically-augmented strength due to their bond. The sword is supposed to complement the color of the dragon. An example of this is Glaedr, whose Rider bears a golden sword, Naegling. The jewel inlaid in the pommel served a dual purpose: apart from complementing the dragon, they could serve as reserves of power to be used in time of great need. Paolini writes that only the most perfect jewels were chosen, because they could hold the largest stores of powerful magical energy. The sword's blade and sheath would also have the Rider's personal crest inscribed on them.
When a young Rider finished his tutelage from the elves and "graduated" from apprenticeship, he or she is presented with a sword with a jewel in the pommel, a matching sheath, and the name of the sword on both.
In the novels, Rhunon, one of the oldest elves in Ellesmera, is a master blacksmith and for millennia she was known as the undisputed expert in her field. Rhunon forged all of the Riders' swords and was responsible for the jewels and spells as well. After The Fall, Rhunon took an oath never to create such powerful weapons of destruction, and never forged another sword again. She was embittered by the way Galbatorix destroyed her swords as he killed the Riders, swords that she had taken great time, energy, and care to create. Of her masterpiece swords, only five are still in existence: Oromis's gold sword Naegling, Galbatorix's sword (presumably the color of Galbatorix's first dragon and not the black Shruikan), Murtagh's Zar'roc (a ruby blade that once belonged to Morzan, is taken by Brom, given to Eragon, and finally taken by Murtagh), and two other Riders' swords that have been hidden by two elf families that saved them from Galbatorix.

Notable Dragon Riders

The novels mention the existence of previous Dragon Riders including:
  • Anurin - an Elf who was a leader of the Riders millennia before the events in Eragon. Although only mentioned once in the Inheritance books, Anurin played a highly significant role in the history of the Riders, by convincing the elvish queen to allow humans into the Dragon Rider bond - which previously had only included elves and dragons. He was also responsible for moving the Riders to the island of Vroengard.
  • Brom - an ex-Dragon Rider; his dragon was the original Saphira after whom Eragon's Saphira is named. Saphira was killed in the fighting at Doru Araeba, which nearly drove Brom insane. Vowing vengeance, he orchestrated the deaths of many of the Forsworn, personally killing three, most notably Morzan. He was later killed when trying to protect Eragon.
  • Eragon I - an Elf who became the first Dragon Rider. Along with his white Dragon, Bid'daum, Eragon ended the war between the elves and dragons, and then established the Dragon Riders.
  • Eragon - Named after the first Dragon Rider. He and his dragon, whose name is Saphira, are the first of the new order of Dragon Riders since Vrael's death over a century ago. He is also known as "Shadeslayer", "Firesword", and "Argetlam" ("silver hand" in the ancient language).
  • Galbatorix - a highly gifted Dragon Rider who was rendered mentally unstable after his dragon was killed. He stole another dragon, killed the Riders who refused to serve him as well as the human king Angrenost, and has ruled for a century ever since. His new dragon, Shruikan, was stolen as a hatchling from a Rider in Ilirea.
  • Morzan - first of the thirteen Dragon Riders (called the 'Thirteen Forsworn') who allied with Galbatorix and killed the other Dragon Riders. He, as well as Brom, were once students of Oromis.
  • Murtagh - Morzan's eldest son and Eragon's older brother. He was forced into Galbatorix's service against his will and bound by unbreakable magical oaths. He was given Thorn, a red dragon. Under the king, he and his dragon learned enough about the Riders to fight on a par with Eragon and Saphira.
  • Oromis - the last of the old order still alive, except for Galbatorix. Oromis and his gold dragon Glaedr are disabled in different ways, and so cannot fight. Oromis was Morzan's and Brom's tutor, and hid himself during The Fall. Later, he and Glaedr became Eragon and Saphira's tutors.
  • Vrael - the last leader of the old order of Dragon Riders. He was the only one to have overpowered Galbatorix. He hesitated on the killing blow, and Galbatorix, taking the chance, struck him in the groin and in the side, causing Vrael to flee to Utgard Mountain. Later, upon discovering his hiding place, Galbatorix decapitated Vrael.


External links

forsworn in Spanish: Jinete de Dragón
forsworn in French: Dragonnier (personnage)
forsworn in Italian: Drago (trilogia dell'eredità)
forsworn in Polish: Smoczy Jeźdźcy
forsworn in Portuguese: Cavaleiro de Dragões

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

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