I’m the type of person who, for the most part, can take a movie or TV show based on a novel and appreciate it for what it is (we’re totally not going to count The Shining in the above statement). But one movie I’ll never, ever, in a million years be able to appreciate for its value as an adaptation is Christopher Paolini’s Eragon, the first novel in The Inheritance Cycle series. It’s a tale that has to be read, not seen, to full appreciate.
I first picked up Eragon in 2003, when I was 12 years old and obsessed with the idea of magic and dragons and adventure. (I’m still kind of obsessed over them, if I’m completely honest.) And when I finished the fourth and final book, Inheritance, in February 2012, nine years after I’d first joined Eragon and Saphira on their many adventures through Alagaësia, I felt it’s loss like a sharp knife. The Inheritance Cycle, to this day, remains my favorite series of all time, and I found it more satisfying than even Harry Potter.
And maybe that powerful connection I had with the series is why the 2006 film version seemed to fall flat, even with such huge names attached to the project like Jeremy Irons, Robert Carlyle, John Malkovich, and Garrett Hedlund. It lacked a certain magic and specific color that only my imagination could create, and seeing it on screen was like having someone tell me I’d been pronouncing my own name wrong for years. Eragon was no longer my adventure, but rather the adventure of people who were too pretty and too out of place.
None of the acting (except for maybe Joss Stone, who played the herbalist Angela) was bad, don’t misunderstand me. There was really nothing wrong with the movie adaptation, as far as movie adaptations go. I think Eragon and the rest of The Inheritance Cycle was just too big to be crammed into a two-hour movie. But I am begging you all to give Paolini’s novels a chance, because I swear that at any age, you’ll find your adventure within their pages.