Eragon and Star Wars: A Study in Plagiarism

I am going to do a little thought experiment. I am going to describe a plotline. You are then going to tell me if I am talking about the classic sci-fi Star Wars or the fantasy book Eragon:

In the old days all the known world/galaxy was held in balance by an order of knights with special powers and cool swords. They kept the peace until a bad guy came and corrupted their best and brightest and turned him to the dark side. This young guy then turned on his fellow knights and killed all of them, except his old master and one other guy who was really old. Him and the bad guy established an evil Empire that ruled the world, with nothing apparently “evil” to its name except high taxes.

Many years later, the princess of the rebel alliance is trying to get a certain blue object  to the old wizard who used to be the master of the traitor guy. She is apprehended by agents of the Empire, so she jettisons the blue object in a desperate attempt to get it to the old wizard. Instead it lands in the hands of a young farm boy who lives with his uncle on a farm. He takes care of the blue object until he finds the old wizard. The old wizard gives him his father’s old sword and teaches him in the ways of the force/magic. Then the agents of the Empire come and kill the young hero’s uncle and blow up the farm, forcing him to leave on an adventure.

They then go off to rescue the rebel princess from the lair of the bad guy, but not before enlisting the aid of an unlikely swashbuckling ally. They travel across the world/universe to bring the blue object to the rebels, and then have an epic battle with the bad guys in which they are outnumbered three thousand seven hundred and twenty to one, but they somehow win after a little dogfight in the skies.

In the next installment of this gripping story, the young hero goes off to train with the old wizard who has somehow stayed secret for a very long time. There he begins to learn the ways of the force/magic, but he suddenly leaves his training to help his friends. He then has a fight with a bad guy that turns out to be his close relative, and finds out that the traitor knight is really his father. He also loses his sword/lightsaber.

The end.

Well, which one is it? If you’ve read either book, you’ll realize that I am talking about both of them.

Point? Eragon is a plagiarism of Star Wars. This has been known for a while, but I wanted to put it down in this thought-experiment form.

Here’s a key for those who are slow on the pick-up:

order of knights = dragon riders = Jedi

special powers = magic = the force

cool swords = rider swords = lightsabers

bad guy = Galbatorix = Emperor Palpatine

traitor knight = Morzan = Anakin

old wizard = Brom = Obi-Wan

ancient, hidden wizard = Oromis = Yoda

rebel princess = Arya = Leia

blue object = dragon egg = R2-D2

agent of the Empire = Durza, Vader

young farm boy = Eragon = Luke

swashbuckler = Murtagh = Han Solo

bad guy who turns out to be a relative = Murtagh = Darth Vader

Now many people will object that both Star Wars and Eragon follow the classic “hero’s journey” storyline, so it’s no wonder that they seem so similar. While this is true, Star Wars (and The Matrix, and many other great stories) used the old archetypes of storytelling as a foundation, and from that foundation weave a great and compelling story that had something unique to say. Eragon is not doing this. Eragon isn’t appealing to the age-old archetypes and breathing new life into them; it is deliberately stealing the particular form of those archetypes as envisioned by Lucas and using them to tell a half-baked sword-and-sorcery soap opera.

I have said enough. Needless to say, I hope people can understand why I hate Eragon so much.


2 thoughts on “Eragon and Star Wars: A Study in Plagiarism

  1. Not to mention Eragon’s plot holes, shoddy writing, awful battle scenes, and the fact that the writer only got it published because his parents owned a publishing company.
    And then it only got famous because oprah talked about it, apparently not realizing that it doesn’t take much writing talent to get your parents’ company to publish your book.

  2. Pingback: Nine Thoughts and Tips for Fantasy Writing |

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