Encyclopedia Alagaësia: Glaedr

Glaedr's Eye

Glaedr’s Eye by Christopher Paolini

Glaedr hatched for Oromis when the elf was twenty. The two trained extensively and traveled around the land for nearly a century doing tasks assigned by Vrael.

Glaedr, in his youth, did not have a good grasp on staying calm during trying times. He said, “I used to growl and bite and knock down trees and tear up the ground. Once, I broke the top off of a mountain in the Spine; the other dragons were rather upset with me for that. But I have had many years to learn that losing my temper rarely helps.” (Deluxe edition Inheritance, page 536)

Despite the golden dragon’s initial tendencies, Glaedr and Oromis were eventually asked to teach the next generation of Riders, and so they settled in Ilirea, where they passed their knowledge on to one or two students at a time.

But challenging years were ahead. A young Rider, Galbatorix, unwisely camped with his friends in the Urgals’ territory in the Spine. His dragon and companions were killed as a result. When he finally made his way back to Ilirea, he petitioned the elders for another dragon. Oromis, a member of this council, denied his request because of the mental instability and poor choices that had led to the tragedy. Galbatorix convinced another Rider to join his cause and the two killed an elder. Then Galbatorix murdered his ally and fled into the night, hiding in evil places for seven years.

Time seemed to lessen concern about the whereabouts of the mad Rider. During Glaedr and Oromis’s tenure in Ilirea, they mentored not only Morzan, but Brom as well. The two pupils formed a close bond, one that became unhealthy in nature. Morzan sought only to belittle and manipulate his friend, while Brom idolized him in return. Oromis was close to separating the two when Morzan allowed Galbatorix into the city to steal a dragon hatchling. The two thieves escaped to unknown places together.

Life appeared to return to normal for a period of three years, but then rumors of Riders’ disappearances began to surface. Glaedr and Oromis were concerned but could not convince other elders to see the danger, so the golden dragon and Rider set out to investigate, taking with them two younger Riders, Kialandí and Formora, who were also troubled by the disappearances.

When Glaedr and Oromis stopped at Edur Naroch to rest, a magical trap sprang the moment the golden dragon’s claws touched the soil. Kialandí and Formora, new members of the Forsworn, had traveled to the tower earlier and slain the elves stationed there; they then placed a clever enchantment, that Galbatorix had taught them, where they knew Glaedr would land. Glaedr and Oromis would have been too formidable to face in direct combat, so magic was the best tactic to defeat them.

The spell slowed Glaedr and Oromis’s thoughts and movements so they were as thick and slow as molasses. In the meantime, Kialandí and Formora cast many enchantments, none of which hurt the golden dragon and Rider but nonetheless bound and muted them. Then the two Forsworn released their captives from the slowing spell and sought to bend them to their will in an effort to make them help Galbatorix and his cronies enter Ilirea to surprise the Riders and take the resident Eldunarí.

The mental battle began. Kialandí and Formora had the assistance of a captive Eldunarí, Agaravel, which made up for their inexperience. Many hours passed before Oromis knew that he must risk using magic to free himself and Glaedr. He would have only a few chances to do so, because as soon as the two Forsworn realized he was using magic, they would cast spells of their own. And a wizard’s battle is always a risky endeavor.

Because Oromis was familiar with Galbatorix’s twisted reasoning and also knew the Rider who had taught his foes magic, he could make an educated guess on which words had been used to create the holding spells and what loopholes likely existed. Glaedr went on the offensive and Oromis took advantage of the opportunity. In the few seconds Oromis had before Kialandí and Formora sensed his intent and began their own magical offensive—and after two unsuccessful attempts—Oromis finally succeeded in shifting not only his and Glaedr’s position on the ground, but also the atomic structures of their bodies, reorganizing them so they were the same but slightly different. This change was enough to render the binding and muting spells the two Forsworn had already cast useless. Unfortunately, reshuffling Oromis’s atomic structure activated a genetic disease that otherwise might have stayed dormant for many years to come, a consequence he had not anticipated.

At the same time, Formora’s next spell bounced harmlessly off Glaedr and Oromis’s wards, but Kialandí’s found its target. It bound permanently to Oromis’ mind and likely worked by affecting the energy around him or limiting his ability to access it. The only mitigating factor was that the spell’s potency was lessened because Oromis had “shifted” Glaedr and himself simultaneously when Kialandí cast it. (Kialandí had learned this spell from Galbatorix, who had learned it from the spirits possessing Durza.) It’s full effect would not be clear until later.

As all this was happening, Oromis was incapacitated with a fit—the first manifestation of his malady—and Glaedr leaped to fight the two Forsworn, their dragons, and Agaravel.

Glaedr was able to incapacitate Kialandí, and Oromis soon recovered enough to shout for retreat. Glaedr escaped with Oromis clutched in his right claw.

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Formora and her dragon gave chase as she swung her sword at Oromis. Glaedr rolled to escape the blow, and so she cut off his left leg instead. Without the extra weight of his limb however, he outpaced the pursuers. Oromis was able to stop Glaedr’s bleeding but was too weak to warn the other Riders until he and the golden dragon reached Ilirea.

When they arrived, they were dismayed to find that most of the order had left to search for Galbatorix or to consult with Vrael on Vroengard. With some convincing, Vrael and the elders saw the danger. Those who remained or were nearby readied themselves for battle. The city’s resident Eldunarí were sent to Vroengard for safekeeping. Oromis and Glaedr, in no condition to fight, took themselves and Brom and his dragon, Saphira, to Du Weldenvarden, where they hoped to heal both Oromis’s genetic malady and his difficulty using magic. Unfortunately, neither ailment could be fixed. Oromis and Glaedr advised Brom and Saphira not to join the Riders in Vroengard in their fight against Galbatorix but were ignored.

While Glaedr could not contribute to the war efforts with might, he did participate in perhaps one of the most important ways: the Vault of Souls. Glaedr, Oromis, Vrael, Umaroth, and a number of others devised a failsafe plan, should the Riders fall to Galbatorix and the Forsworn. A mile under Mount Erolas, they hid one hundred thirty-six Eldunarí and two hundred forty-three eggs in a cavern with a glowing pit of lava at its center that provided heat and light. The vault residents were put into a deep trance, which they would be roused from once several months passed, assuming they weren’t woken sooner by the Riders. There were several layers of defense built in: the depth of the vault would mask enemies from sensing the secret hidden within the mountain; the trance would further increase the difficulty of detecting the eggs and Eldunarí’s existence; Cuoroc, one of the Eldunarí, was fashioned a metal body so he could physically defend the cavern’s precious contents; entry into the mountain was barred by the Rock of Kuthian, which could only be accessed by those who knew their true names; all memory of the existence of the Vault of Souls, its occupants, or its location was magically stripped from those involved and replaced with a false memory; and finally, should Doru Araeba fall, the Rider Thuviel agreed to commit suicide by converting energy in his body into an atomic reaction nearby the usual location where the eggs were kept, which would render the island unsuitable for resettlement by Galbatorix and provide an explanation for the missing eggs. It was a well thought-out plan and ultimately fully necessary.

The golden dragon and Rider healed as much as possible from their injuries, though they would never wield the power of their former selves. Glaedr would forever be without a limb, while Oromis could only control the smallest of spells and would continue experiencing debilitating episodes. Though it was tempting to fly to assist the Riders, they knew that their disabilities would only hinder, and perhaps further weaken, their cause.

When Doru Araeba, Vroengard, and Ilirea were lost to Galbatorix, Oromis and Glaedr knew the most prudent choice was to remain hidden in Ellesméra and wait for the day when another Rider was chosen. Only three dragon eggs remained in existence (to their recollection), and all of them were in Galbatorix’s possession. Nonetheless, Oromis and Glaedr hoped to one day train a novice in the old ways of the Riders and their secrets. Only with a rise of a new generation would there be any hope of the tyrant king’s defeat.

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Decades passed during which the Empire’s holdings and power solidified. Anticipating a time when their services in battle would be needed, Oromis and Glaedr prepared for over one hundred years by filling Oromis’s pommel gemstone with as much energy as they could spare; several elves came twice a week to give as much of their life force as possible without killing themselves. Naegling would be a formidable resource for its wielder. Additional wards were placed on the diamond to protect Oromis, should he be incapacitated while fighting.

Glaedr’s pupil, Brom, survived the war, albeit suffering the death of his dragon, Saphira. Contrary to Oromis’s advice, Brom had dedicated his efforts to revenge and the destruction of the Forsworn. In the process, he had a son, Eragon, with Morzan’s consort, Selena. Oromis and Glaedr were informed of the truth but were made to swear that they would never tell the boy about his lineage unless he discovered some aspect of the truth himself.

Fifteen years later, Eragon was the one who found a dragon egg stolen from the king. And it was for the boy that the second Saphira hatched. Oromis scried the land during this time. He discovered the existence of a Rider and that that Rider had rescued Arya, who had been presumed dead. Eragon had been gravely injured while defeating Durza during the Battle of Farthen Dûr, and his mind was plagued with the Shade’s insidious thoughts and memories. Oromis mentally pierced the shroud of Durza’s influence and instructed Eragon to come to Ellesméra for further training. The elder introduced himself as Togira Ikonoka, the Cripple Who Is Whole, and Osthato Chetowä, the Mouring Sage, charging the young Rider to tell no one. Oromis gave very little information besides. It was enough to entice the boy to come.

The first time Glaedr and Oromis met Eragon and Saphira was a joyful moment for all of them. The younger Rider and dragon began their studies immediately. Oromis’s primary goal was to teach his students the principles to guide their decisions. Knowledge of magic and fighting techniques were tools to be guided by critical thinking, logic, and morals based on respect for life in its myriad forms. Other subjects for Eragon included Rimgar, swordsmanship, history, magic, meditation, and debate, along with reading and writing—both in his native tongue and the ancient language. Glaedr instructed Saphira in the way and history of the dragons and Riders, and spent many hours reviewing flight maneuvers. Both Eragon and Saphira were expected to share the things they learned separately with one another.

From the outset, Saphira was infatuated with Glaedr, preening, flirting, and playing, often much to his annoyance. She continued this behavior despite several reprimands. Training was further complicated not only by Oromis’ infirmity but also by Eragon’s permanent back injury from his battle with Durza. It was unclear how the young Rider could ever hope to defeat Galbatorix while afflicted with debilitating nerve damage. But Oromis, Glaedr, Saphira, and Eragon persisted.

On the days Oromis was too ill to teach, Glaedr would instruct both pupils. As was his responsibility as an elder dragon, he took Eragon and Saphira to Fionula peak to explain the “true importance of the station” they had: the creation of the Riders meant that not only were the partnered individuals’ souls welded together, but so were the fortunes of the affected races—if one did poorly, so did the others.

Saphira’s pestering escalated to an unacceptable level when the two dragons visited the Stone of the Broken Eggs alone. Glaedr clearly rebuffed her attentions, and she scratched him in retaliation. In a rage, he injured her in return and flew back to Oromis, who helped the golden dragon heal the gash in his leg. Saphira eventually apologized for her behavior and training continued without any lingering rancor.

Teachers and students attended the Blood-oath Celebration together. (Glaedr’s contribution to the event was a slab of red oak carved to resemble an aerial view of Ellesméra.) During each Agaetí Blödhren, the bond between the elves, humans, and dragons was reaffirmed with magic, but this time was like no other. The dragons and their race memory (the Eldunarí hidden within the Vault of Souls) imbued Eragon with new skills and healing; the changes to his form gave him a real chance to save the winged race from extinction and defeat the king. Glaedr, Oromis, Saphira, and Eragon returned to training with renewed hope.

Soon it became clear that the Varden were under terrible threat from Galbatorix’s army. Although it was nearing the time to send Eragon back to fight with the resistance, Oromis, Glaedr, and Queen Islanzadí refrained from telling him for as long as was prudent so that he could continue honing his skills. In the meantime, the elves gathered their numbers to join the fight against the Empire. When Eragon and Saphira finally discovered that they needed to leave, they promised to return to complete their training as soon as they were able.

It wasn’t until after the dwarves elected a new monarch, following the death of Hrothgar, that Eragon and Saphira could come back to Ellesméra. By then, Eragon thought he had discovered the identity of his father: Morzan. When he confronted his mentors, berating them for not telling him the truth, they explained that Brom was in fact his father and they had been sworn to the strictest secrecy.

Freestock-GlaedrScalesThis wasn’t the only secret Oromis and Glaedr discussed with Eragon and Saphira. They revealed the true reason behind Galbatorix’s success: captive Eldunarí. To Oromis’s knowledge (the memories of the Vault of Souls having been erased), all the remaining Eldunarí in the land were in the hands of the king, and no amount of magically scouring Alagaësia suggested differently. Even when Eragon mentioned Solembum’s hint about the Vault of Souls and the Rock of Kuthian, no memory surfaced in Oromis or Glaedr.

The golden dragon and Rider had taught their pupils everything they could in the months prior to the confrontation with Galbatorix. Training complete, all four traveled to Du Weldenvarden’s border. It was time for Eragon and Saphira to again rejoin the Varden. Oromis and Glaedr flew to aid the elves’ assault on Gil’ead, knowing they would now be of the most use fighting with their brethren on the battlefields. The last gift they gave Eragon and Saphira before they parted ways was most precious indeed: Glaedr’s Eldunarí.

Oromis and Glaedr faced Murtagh and Thorn in the Battle of Gil’ead. Initially, the younger pair appeared to be weakening in combat, but then Galbatorix assumed control of Murtagh’s body. The king suspended the Riders and dragons high in the air and offered Oromis and Glaedr the opportunity to join his cause. When they declined, swords crossed once more, but Oromis suffered a debilitating attack of his illness and dropped his weapon. Murtagh/Galbatorix fatally smote the elf from hip to shoulder. Thorn killed Glaedr’s body by nipping at the base of the golden dragon’s skull.

The next thing Glaedr knew, he was contained in his Eldunarí, far away from Gil’ead, hidden in Eragon’s tent among the Varden camp just outside of Feinster. The grief and loneliness of losing his bonded partner nearly drove him to madness, and he refused to communicate for a span of time.

Eragon, Saphira, and Arya had resolved themselves to the idea that Glaedr might never recover from his Rider’s death when one day he unexpectedly broke his silence with a single sentence advising Eragon on his swordfighting skill. All further attempts to rouse the golden dragon were for naught; he refused to respond further.

It was some time later that Glaedr chose to speak again. Eragon’s swordfighting still lacked the skill necessary to defeat Galbatorix, as did the young Rider’s mental discipline. When the dragon critiqued Eragon’s choice of studies, Blödhgarm challenged Glaedr for shirking his duties in his grief. Saphira diffused the situation with flattery, but Blödhgarm’s tactic of rousing anger was successful. Glaedr did not retreat into his misery anymore and began to train Eragon once again.

First they concentrated on swordsmanship. Over and over again, Eragon and Arya crossed swords until finally Eragon grasped the concepts that Glaedr presented and acquitted himself well while dueling. Next Glaedr trained Eragon and Saphira’s minds, against and with them, Arya sometimes joining in as well. They made good progress. Mornings and evenings were spent expanding Eragon and Saphira’s knowledge. Glaedr even taught Eragon how to summon the true form of objects, a fatal spell when used by someone not skilled enough.

The Varden eventually made their way to Dras-Leona, and the battle to capture the city was relatively swift. The resistance forces thought they were safe to relax for an evening following the victory, but Galbatorix had other plans. A group of the Empire’s soldiers, Murtagh, and Thorn infiltrated the camp and kidnapped Nasuada, despite resistance from Glaedr, Eragon, Saphira, Blödhgarm, and the elven spellcasters. During the skirmish, Glaedr’s abilities in his Eldunarí form may have surpassed those he had while he was still in his body: he simultaneously held a telepathic conversation while scanning the camp for Murtagh, listened to the thoughts of allies, and aided those allies against mental battles with enemy magicians. Eragon eventually chased after Murtagh and Thorn by flying through the air via a spell powered by Glaedr. The young Rider chose not to attempt to kill his foes, so they escaped, much to Glaedr’s displeasure. Eragon was hesitant to destroy one of the few remaining dragons and thought that Glaedr was willing to because his mind was clouded by his anger and grief at the death of Oromis.

The confrontation with Galbatorix in Urû’baen loomed closer and closer, and still Eragon had no real way to defeat the king, only a cryptic hint delivered by the mysterious Solembum to look for clues leading to the Rock of Kuthian and the Vault of Souls in Domia abr Wyrda. Eragon was a slow reader and beset with other pressing concerns, such as the fight to stay alive, so he was no closer to finding the solution. Then the werecat unknowingly provided the remainder of the key to the puzzle when the Eldunarí hidden in the Vault of Souls briefly assumed control of Solembum to convey specifically which section of the book would reveal where to find these mysterious places. The text revealed that the Rock of Kuthian was on Vroengard. When Eragon and Saphira tried to tell Glaedr and Arya the news, neither the elf nor the elder dragon could retain the location names, much less what the discussion was about. It soon became clear that some kind of deep magic had erased their memories thoroughly and made it impossible to regain the information. Suspicious, Glaedr roughly searched Solembum’s mind for deception and then gave a nonsense phrase for Arya to repeat should the forgetfulness occur again. Which it did. Eragon, Glaedr, and Saphira set off for Vroengard to investigate.

En route, Eragon theorized that perhaps some Eldunarí were hidden on the island, but Glaedr flatly refuted the idea, saying that he or Oromis had wards in place to prevent just a thing. The forgetfulness spell was truly effective.

The group had to decide whether or not to attempt a strenuous but shorter flight straight from the coastline of Alagaësia to Vroengard or to travel up the shore and cross where the two landmasses were at their closest, which would take more time. Sapira decided to fly directly to the island, even with a storm threatening. Before the weather hit, she landed on the water to rest for a short time. Glaedr suddenly shouted for her to take off again; he had sensed the threat of a Nïdhwal approaching quickly from below. They narrowly escaped its jaws. The next obstacle was the sheer size of the storm. There were times when that none of them were sure that they would survive the power and intensity of the gusts and lighting. Only with the aid of Glaedr, Eragon, and magic did Saphira successfully carry them to Vroengard.

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For Glaedr, visiting the island held a bittersweet note, calling to memory all the times shared with others of the order long gone. While the adventurers rested and acclimated to the area, the golden dragon instructed his students in Vroengard’s history prior to its destruction—though there were many new, unheard of creatures that had mutated from the nuclear explosion during the Battle of Doru Araeba.

Eragon, Saphira, and Glaedr soon found that in order to open the Rock of Kuthian, each would have to state their true name, a difficult task because neither the blue dragon or her Rider knew theirs. But they persisted until they discovered the essence of who they were.

Glaedr gave his to the stone first:

“Then Glaedr spoke his name, and it boomed forth in Eragon’s mind like a fanfare of trumpets, regal and yet discordant, colored throughout by Glaedr’s grief and anger at Oromis’s death. His name was longer than either Eragon’s or Saphira’s; it went on for several sentences—a record of a life that had stretched over centuries and which had contained joys and sorrows and accomplishments too numerous to count. His wisdom was evident in his name, but also contradictions: complexities that made it difficult to fully grasp his identity.

Saphira felt the same sense of awe upon hearing Glaedr’s name as did Eragon; the sound of it made them both realize how young they still were and how far they had to go before they could hope to match Glaedr’s knowledge and experience.” (Deluxe edition Inheritance, page 549)

Saphira and Eragon followed sequentially with theirs. The Rock opened before the trio, revealing a tunnel deep into the heart of Mount Erolas . . . and at its end they found the Vault of Souls with the hundreds of eggs and Eldunarí hidden within.

Glaedr was overjoyed to rediscover the vault’s precious contents, finally recalling his role in the creation and protection of the hideaway. Together with Umaroth, one of the Eldunarí chosen to speak for the dragons, a plan was hatched. Most of the Eldunarí would secretly accompany Eragon, Glaedr, and Saphira back to the Varden. A few, Cuaroc among them, would remain to guard the eggs. Those that left the vault would promptly forget the eggs, only to remember should Galbatorix be defeated.

The journey back to the Varden was uneventful. When they arrived, only a few trusted individuals were informed of the secret cargo. A plan was formulated and the assault on Urû’baen began. While the seige was underway, Glaedr and the other Eldunarí infiltrated the citadel with Eragon, Arya, Elva, Saphira, Blödhgarm, and the elven spellcasters. All of the elves except Arya were captured while navigating the booby-trapped hall to the throne room. The rest of the adventurers finally faced Galbatorix.

The assistance of the many Eldunarí in Eragon’s retinue, as well as the unexpected aid of Murtagh and Thorn, still wasn’t enough to overcome the king—not when he had discovered the name of names and had the unwilling service of his captive heart-of-hearts. Even Murtagh’s use of the Word to strip many protections from Galbatorix had little effect. As a last, desperate attempt, Eragon, Glaedr, and the other dragons cast a wordless spell to force the king to understand and feel all the emotions he had caused in others throughout his life. The pain was too much and he immolated himself by releasing the nuclear energy in his atoms. Alagaësia was finally free of the tyrant, now the focus was to rebuild.

The first tasks included cleansing the cities of spells, traps, Galbatorix loyalists, etc., and sorting through the many wondrous/forbidden items held in Galbatorix’s treasury. Glaedr and five of the vault Eldunarí accompanied the maddened Eldunarí that had been imprisoned by Galbatorix to a safe location outside the capital. The golden dragon and his assistants felt confident that they could calm and communicate with the former captives. It would certainly take time, even if they were correct.

Immediately following the Battle of Urû’baen, Murtagh and Thorn got their chance to apologize to Glaedr, who could not forgive that they had killed his body and his Rider but could understand that it was not by choice that they had done it. The elder dragon honored them for turning against the king and warned them to stay away from certain areas in their wanderings.

But where could the Riders and the dragons be reestablished? Ultimately, Eragon and Saphira made preparations to leave the known lands of Alagaësia and travel east along the Edda River to find a new location away from the power struggles and machinations to restrict magic that were already beginning under Queen Nasuada’s leadership.

Eragon and Saphira asked Glaedr, Umaroth, and several elder dragons to come with them to collect the now-remembered eggs on Vroengard. Along the way, they stopped to broker a deal with the Urgals: regular games for the rams and dams to test their mettle against each other and contestents from other races. It was hoped that this would reduce conflict between the Ugralgra and Alagaësia’s other inhabitants. Additionally, the Urgals and dwarves agreed to be added to the Dragon Rider pact and each was entrusted with a dragon egg. The original treaty was magically altered to include the two new groups when the adventurers safely returned to Ellesméra and assembled before the Menoa tree.

It was finally time for Eragon, Saphira, Glaedr, Blödhgarm, the other Eldunarí, the unborn dragons, most of the remaining spellcasters, and twenty additional elves to search out their new home. The only Riders who would remain within the land were Arya and Fírnen (hatched from the only egg that had remained in Galbatorix’s treasury), along with Murtagh and Thorn. This, of course, would change if one of the dragons entrusted to the dwarves and Urgals bonded with a new Rider.

Readers don’t discover where Eragon and his companions relocated to in the Inheritance Cycle, but Jeod did write the following to his collegue Ertharis:

Of Eragon and Saphira, little is known. Nasuada had word from them but last week; apparently, work upon the Riders’ stronghold will soon be done. Where that might be, though, remains as much a mystery as before. The only conclusion I think we can draw with certainty is that it lies within sight of the Edda River, somewhere far to the east. (Deluxe edition Inheritance, page 867)

Wherever it was, Glaedr had began a new phase of his life with fresh purpose: mentoring the next generation of dragons and Riders.

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Immanuela Meijer

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