ON THE ORIGIN OF NAMES:
To the casual observer, the various names an intrepid traveler will encounter throughout Alagaësia might seem but a random collection of labels with no inherent integrity, culture, or history. However, as with any land that different cultures—and in this case, different species—have repeatedly colonized, Alagaësia acquired names from a wide array of unique sources, among them the languages of the dwarves, elves, humans, and even Urgals. Thus, we can have Palancar Valley (a human name), the Anora River and Ristvak’baen (elven names), and Utgard Mountain (a dwarf name) all within a few square miles of each other.
While this is of great historical interest, practically it often leads to confusion as to the correct pronunciation. Unfortunately, there are no set rules for the neophyte. You must learn each name upon its own terms, unless you can immediately place its language of origin. The matter grows even more confusing when you realize that in many places the resident population altered the spelling and pronunciation of foreign words to conform to their own language. The Anora River is a prime example. Originally anora was spelled äenora, which means broad in the ancient language. In their writings, the humans simplified the word to anora, and this, combined with a vowel shift wherein äe (ay-eh) was said as the easier a (uh), created the name as it appears in Eragon’s time.
To spare readers as much difficulty as possible, I have compiled the following list, with the understanding that these are only rough guidelines to the actual pronunciation. The enthusiast is encouraged to study the source languages in order to master their true intricacies.
Du Weldenvarden—doo WELL-den-VAR-den
Farthen Dûr—FAR-then DURE (dure rhymes with lure)
Jeod—JODE (rhymes with load)
Murtagh—MUR-tag (mur rhymes with purr)
Nolfavrell—NOLL-fah-vrel (noll rhymes with toll)
Sílthrim—SEAL-thrim (síl is a hard sound to transcribe; it’s made
by flicking the tip of the tongue off the roof of the mouth) Skgahgrezh—skuh-GAH-grezh Teirm—TEERM Trianna—TREE-ah-nuh Tronjheim—TRONJ-heem Urû’baen—OO-roo-bane Vrael—VRAIL Yazuac—YAA-zoo-ack Zar’roc—ZAR-rock
THE ANCIENT LANGUAGE:
Adurna rïsa.—Water, rise.
Agaetí Blödhren—Blood-oath Celebration (held once a century to honor the original pact between elves and dragons)
Äthalvard—an organization of elves dedicated to the preservation of their songs and poems
Atra du evarínya ono varda, Däthedr-vodhr.—May the stars watch over you, honored Däthedr.
Atra esterní ono thelduin, Eragon Shur’tugal.—May good fortune rule over you, Eragon Dragon Rider. Atra guliä un ilian tauthr ono un atra ono waíse sköliro fra rauthr.—May luck and happiness follow you and may you be shielded from misfortune.
Brisingr, iet tauthr.—Fire, follow me.
Brisingr raudhr!—Red fire!
draumr kópa—dream stare
Du deloi lunaea.—Smooth the earth/dirt.
Du Namar Aurboda—The Banishing of the Names
Du Vrangr Gata—The Wandering Path
edur—a tor or prominence
Eka eddyr aí Shur’tugal … Shur’tugal … Argetlam.—I am a Dragon Rider … Dragon Rider … Silver Hand.
Eka elrun ono.—I thank you.
elda—a gender-neutral honorific suffix of great praise, attached with a hyphen
Eldhrimner O Loivissa nuanen, dautr abr deloi/Eldhrimner nen ono weohnataí medh solus un thringa/Eldhrimner un fortha onr fëon vara/Wiol allr sjon.—Grow, O beautiful Loivissa, daughter of the earth/Grow as you would with sun and rain/Grow and put forth your flower of spring/For all to see.
Eldunarí—the heart of hearts
Erisdar—the flameless lanterns both the elves and the dwarves use (named after the elf who invented them)
fairth—a picture taken by magical means on a shingle of slate
finiarel—an honorific suffix for a young man of great promise, attached with a hyphen
Fricai onr eka eddyr.—I am your friend.
Garjzla, letta!—Light, stop!
gedwëy ignasia—shining palm
Helgrind—The Gates of Death
Indlvarn—a certain type of pairing between a Rider and dragon
Kuldr, rïsa lam iet un malthinae unin böllr.—Gold, rise to my hand and bind into an orb.
lámarae—a fabric made by cross-weaving wool and nettle threads (similar in construction to linsey-woolsey, but of higher quality)
Liduen Kvaedhí—Poetic Script
loivissa—a blue, deep-throated lily that grows in the Empire
nalgask—a mixture of beeswax and hazelnut oil used to moisten the skin
Nen ono weohnata, Arya Dröttningu.—As you will, Princess Arya.
Stenr rïsa!—Stone, rise!
svit-kona—a formal honorific for an elf woman of great wisdom
talos—a cactus found near Helgrind
Thorta du ilumëo!—Speak the truth!
vodhr—a male honorific suffix of middling praise, attached with a hyphen
Waíse heill!—Be healed!
yawë—a bond of trust
THE DWARF LANGUAGE:
Ascûdgamln—fists of steel
Az Knurldrâthn—The Trees of Stone
Az Ragni—The River
Az Sartosvrenht rak Balmung, Grimstnzborith rak Kvisagûr—The Saga of King Balmung of Kvisagûr
Az Sindriznarrvel—The Gem of Sindri
barzûl—curse someone with ill fate
delva—a term of endearment among the dwarves; also a form of gold nodule indigenous to the Beor Mountains that the dwarves greatly prize
dûrgrimst—clan (literally, “our hall,” or “our home”)
Eta! Narho Ûdim etal os isû vond! Narho ûdim etal os formvn mendûnost brakn, az Varden, hrestvog dûr grimstnzhadn! Az Jurgenvren qathrid né dômar oen etal—No! I will not let that happen! I will not let these beardless fools, the Varden, destroy our country. The Dragon War left us weak and not—
Fanghur—dragon-like creatures that are smaller and less intelligent than their cousins (native to the Beor Mountains)
Farthen Dûr—Our Father
Feldûnost—frostbeard (a species of goat native to the Beor Mountains)
Ghastgar—spear-throwing contest akin to jousting and fought on the backs of Feld
grimstborith—clan chief (literally, “hall chief”; plural is grimstborithn)
grimstcarvlorss—arranger of the house
grimstnzborith—ruler of the dwarves, whether king or queen (literally, “halls’ chief”)
hûthvír—double-bladed staff weapon used by Dûrgrimst Quan
Hwatum il skilfz gerdûmn!—Listen to mine words!
Ingeitum—fire workers; smiths
Isidar Mithrim—Star Rose (the star sapphire)
knurla—dwarf (literally, “one of stone”; plural is knurlan)
Ledwonnû—Kílf’s necklace; also used as a general term for necklace menknurlan—unstone ones/those who are not, or are without, stone (the worst insult in Dwarvish; cannot be directly translated into English)
Nagra—giant boar, native to the Beor Mountains
Nal, Grimstnzborith Orik!—Hail, King Orik!
Ragni Darmn—River of Small Red Fish
Ragni Hefthyn—River Guard
Shrrg—giant wolf, native to the Beor Mountains
Skilfz Delva—Mine Delva (see delva for translation) thriknzdal—the temper line on the blade of a differentially tempered weapon
Tronjheim—Helm of Giants
Ûn qroth Gûntera!—Thus spoke Gûntera!
Urzhad—giant cave bear, native to the Beor Mountains
werg—the dwarves’ equivalent of ugh (used humorously in the place name Werghadn; Werghadn translates as either “the land of ugh” or, more liberally, “the ugly land”)
THE NOMAD LANGUAGE:
no—an honorific suffix attached with a hyphen to the main name of someone you respect
THE URGAL LANGUAGE:
Herndall—Urgal dams who rule their tribes
namna—woven strips containing Urgal family narratives that are placed by the entrances to their huts
nar—a title of great respect
Urgralgra—Urgals’ name for themselves (literally, “those with horns”)
Kvetha Fricaya. Greetings, Friends.
Brisingr was a fun, intense, and sometimes difficult book to write. When I started, I felt as if the story were a vast, three-dimensional puzzle that I had to solve without hints or instructions. I found the experience to be immensely satisfying, despite the challenges it occasionally posed.
Because of its complexity, Brisingr ended up much larger than I anticipated—so much larger, in fact, that I had to expand the series from three books to four. Thus, the Inheritance trilogy became the Inheritance cycle. I’m pleased with the change too. Having another volume in the series has allowed me to explore and develop the characters’ personalities and relationships at a more natural pace.
As with Eragon and Eldest, I never would have been able to complete this book without the support of a whole host of talented people, to whom I am ever grateful. They are:
At home: Mom, for her food, tea, advice, sympathy, endless patience, and optimism; Dad, for his unique perspective, razor-sharp observations on story and prose, helping me to name the book, and for coming up with the idea of having Eragon’s sword burst into flame every time he says its name (very cool); and my one and only sister, Angela, for once again consenting to reprise her character and for numerous pieces of information on names, plants, and all things wool.
At Writers House: Simon Lipskar, my agent, for his friendship, his hard work, and for giving me a much-needed kick in the pants early on in Brisingr (without which I might have taken another two years to finish the book); and his assistant Josh Getzler for all he does on behalf of Simon and the Inheritance cycle.
At Knopf: my editor, Michelle Frey, who did an awesome job of helping me to clean up and tighten the manuscript (the first draft was much longer); associate editor Michele Burke, who also labored over the editing and who helped pull together the synopsis of Eragon and Eldest; head of communications and marketing Judith Haut, who from the beginning spread word of the series throughout the land; publicity director Christine Labov; art director Isabel Warren-Lynch and her team for again putting together such a classy-looking book; John Jude Palencar for a majestic cover painting (I don’t know how he can top it with the fourth book!); executive copy editor Artie Bennett for checking every word, real or invented, in Brisingr with such consummate care; Chip Gibson, head of the children’s division at Random House; Knopf publishing director Nancy Hinkel for her unwavering support; Joan DeMayo, director of sales and her team (huzzah and many thanks!); head of marketing John Adamo, whose team designed such impressive materials; Linda Leonard, new media, for all her efforts with online marketing; Linda Palladino, Milton Wackerow, and Carol Naughton, production; Pam White, Jocelyn Lange, and the rest of the subsidiary rights team, who have done a truly extraordinary job of selling the Inheritance cycle in countries and languages throughout the world; Janet Renard, copyediting; and everyone else at Knopf who has supported me.
At Listening Library: Gerard Doyle, who brings the world of Alagaësia to life with his voice; Taro Meyer for getting the pronunciation of my languages just right; Orli Moscowitz for pulling all the threads together; and Amanda D’Acierno, publisher of Listening Library.
Thank you all.
The Craft of the Japanese Sword by Leon and Hiroko Kapp and Yoshindo Yoshihara provided me with much of the information I needed to accurately describe the smelting and forging process in the chapter “Mind over Metal.” I highly recommend the book to anyone who is interested in learning more about (specifically Japanese) swordmaking. Did you know that Japanese smiths used to start their fires by hammering on the end of a bar of iron until it was red-hot, then touching it to a cedar shingle that was coated with sulfur?
Also, for those who understood the reference to a “lonely god” when Eragon and Arya are sitting around the campfire, my only excuse is that the Doctor can travel everywhere, even alternate realities.
Hey, I’m a fan too!
Finally, and most importantly, thank you. Thank you for reading Brisingr. And thank you for sticking with the Inheritance cycle through all these years. Without your support, I never would have been able to write this series, and I can’t imagine anything else I would rather be doing.
Once again Eragon and Saphira’s adventures are over, and once again we have arrived at the end of this wandering path … but only for the time being. Many more miles still lie before us. Book Four will be published just as soon as I can finish it, and I can promise you, it’s going to be the most exciting installment in the series. I can’t wait for you to read it!
Sé onr sverdar sitja hvass!
September 20, 2008
ENJOY AN EXCLUSIVE LOOK AT TWO DELETED SCENES FROM BRISINGR.
This scene takes place the morning after Eragon returns to the Varden from Helgrind, in the chapter “Intersecting Sagas.” It offers a unique look at Eragons healing abilities, as well as his responsibilities as the only free Rider in Alagaësia.
It was just after dawn, and Eragon was sitting on his cot, oiling his mail hauberk, when he sensed the turbulent thoughts of a man fast approaching his tent. Eragon paused and listened, alert for trouble. A moment later, the rhythmic thud of boots striking the ground became audible. Then loud, angry shouts shattered the morning as the elves intercepted the runner. Eragon frowned when the shouts did not subside and were occasionally drowned out by the elves calling to each other in the ancient language.
Eragon, I think you should be here, said Saphira.
r /> Grabbing his hunting knife, he stuck it through his belt and hurried out of the tent. I need a sword.
Then get one.
Two elves were holding the arms of a thrashing man, while a third elf, Blödhgarm, stalked back and forth, remonstrating with the man to calm himself. The man was neither young nor old; Eragon judged him to be about thirty. His clothes were rough, his brigandine scarred from battle, and he had a stained bandage wrapped round the upper part of his left arm. His russet beard was cropped close, and his hair was tied in a long ponytail such as Eragon had seen was common among the archers from Petrovya. And when he shouted, his voice carried the accent of one born and raised in the south of Alagaësia.
“I have to speak with Eragon Shadeslayer!” he bellowed, cords bulging in his neck. “Let me go, you fiends! Curse you! Let me go! I have to talk with him! If I don’t, she will die! Let … me … go!” Despite his titanic struggles, he failed to budge either the silver-haired elf maid to his left or the black-haired male elf to his right.
“Compose yourself. I am here,” said Eragon as he walked forward. “What would you have of me?”
The man ceased fighting the elves and, with a stricken look, bowed as low as he could within their grip. “Please, My Lord—”
“I am no lord,” Eragon said.
For a moment, the man faltered, but then he said, “Please, Shadeslayer. I am Gull, son of Ware. I called to you yesterday, when you walked through the camp, but you did not hear my plea.”
“Perhaps I did not. What of it?”
Anguish contorted Gull’s face. “My wife, sir, Signa, she has a growth in her belly that is killing her. I have come to ask you, to beg you, to do what you can for her. We are poor, but everything we have is yours if you can but help her.”
Eragon considered, then said, “Have you taken her to see the healers of the Varden? They can cure most ailments.”
“Yes, yes! We had to wait over two months before they would examine her. They are so busy tending to the wounded, they have little time for those whose complaints are less urgent. But this growth is killing her just as surely as an arrow to the stomach.”