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On the Inheritance series (Eragon)
Eldest Does Not Equal Wisest
By Susan Vaught
Older and wiser. Why do these words slide together like an unchangeable equation that always adds up? Where is it written in permanent, glittering magical letters that more years of age must equal more wisdom? Not in the dictionary, that’s for sure.
In the Oxford English Dictionary wisdom is defined as “Capacity of judging rightly in matters relating to life and conduct.”
American Heritage notes that wisdom is “The ability to discern or judge what is true, right, or lasting; insight.”
Despite the fact that age does not factor into the proper definition of the concept of wisdom, everyone in this world seems to believe that it does. So do the inhabitants of Christopher Paolini’s Alagaësia. It’s up to a young Rider named Eragon and his even younger dragon Saphira to disrupt this math and save the land of Alagaësia from the evil of King Galbatorix.
This isn’t easy, since most of the beings around them treat them like they’re nothing but ignorant children.
Despite being manipulated, disregarded, and even abused and attacked, both Eragon and Saphira demonstrate deep emotions and an instinctive understanding of the needs of the world and living creatures around them—an understanding that is often far greater than their companions’ or teachers’. It’s as if Alagaësia itself speaks to dragon and Rider, but this reality often goes unnoticed or gets mentioned only in passing as their elders continue to assume age alone makes them wiser. Some of the very decisions and actions that Eragon and Saphira’s elders dismiss or criticize as …
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