June 12, 2005

Eragon [5 Themes of Geography]

This report was for my world geography class about the fantasy book, "Eragon" in relation to the five themes of geography.

Eragon, written by Christopher Paolini, is a story about a fifteen year old boy who finds a unique stone in the forest while hunting. When the alleged stone breaks open revealing a dragon, Eragon realizes the danger of the situation. In a furry to keep the dragon, hidden from the townspeople he is discovered resulting in the murder of his uncle and destruction of his farm home, leaving him alone to tame his recently discovered skills.
Despite the fact that the story was based in a fictional land there was a lot of description of how people acted in their homes, the geography of the land and even how the characters interacted with animals. All of these descriptions can be separated into five different categories. These categories, called the five themes of geography, are location, place, human and environmental interaction, movement, and region.
The story is based in a mythical land called Alagaësia. Alagaësia is located on the ocean, bordered to the south by the Beor Mountains, and to the north by the dense Du Weldenvarden forest. Along the coat, to the west, runs the greatly despised, woodland mountains of the Spine. To the east lies the gigantic Hadarac Desert, void of all life, as the heat is treacherous and water greatly lacking.
In Alagaësia there are many cities each one differing from the last in many ways. Eragon’s hometown of Carvahall, located near the Spine, for instance, is very different from the coastal city of Teirm. In Carvahall the people are very social with one another as well as very open. They are generally a smaller and less affluent city, in which many farmers, blacksmiths, and leatherworkers reside. As the general conflict of the story rises, a good deal of danger begins to plague the whole land of Alagaësia. Being a small town they lack what is necessary to protect themselves against attacks from monsters and evil beings. In Teirm, however, things are very different. Teirm is a trading port. Many wealthy men and women live within the safe walls of the city conducting their merchant business while browsing and talking with acquaintances. The citizens of Teirm are a little more wary of the rising dangers in Alagaësia, due to many of their trade routs having recently been destroyed or damaged. Overall the city of Teirm is far better suited to protect itself then Carvahall due to its unique plan intended to keep it safe from enemy capture. Teirm also has many other things that Carvahall does not. Where in Carvahall the only magical creature was Eragon’s dragon, for a short time, in Teirm there are many creatures including werecats, which have the ability to telepathically communicate with humans, and witches. Throughout Alagaësia there are also many other creatures and races, including elves, Urgals, Shades, dragon riders, whom of which Eragon is the only one, and dwarves. The normal humans, who inhabit the cities, as well as witches and the creatures who only communicate telepathically, speak a common language. The elves speak the “Ancient Language”, but it is also the language of magic. Dwarfs and Urgals both have their own sets of languages but can also speak as any of the humans do.
While Eragon and his friend Brom are on their travels they ordinarily follow rivers. Often along the rivers are several small villages and towns, very similar to Carvahall, where farming is popular and water would be a necessity. There are also many costal ports mentioned. These ports are used to ship goods by boat to many areas in Alagaësia. As Jeod mentioned to Brom during their meeting, it is far faster and easier to send supplies using boats then on the land, thus being good for business.
Cities like Carvahall depend heavily of the goods that the traveling merchants bring to their town every year. These merchants supply them with all of the supplies they need for farming that they, or others in the city, can not always make themselves. After trading things such as food for farming necessities the families become prepared for winter, and the next year and the merchants acquire what they need to trade in the larger cities where there may not be as many farms.
The regions in Alagaësia are based around what king Galbatorix has conquered for his empire. All business, save it for a few smuggling groups, do business within the empires boarders, creating a functional region within the uniform region.
The story of Eragon is a very detailed book that has many facts pertaining to the five themes of geography. When analyzed it can be determined what type of a place the people of Alagaësia live.

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