Shruikan is the secondary antagonist within the Inheritance series. He is the personal steed of King Galbatorix, the series main antagonist.
Stolen shortly after birth, Shruikan was both raised and tortured by Galbatorix, turning him into a creature of hatred. Alongside Durza, Morzan and the Forsworn, Shurikan helped his new master to defeat the Order of the Dragon Riders and to drive back Galbatorix's enemies. This allowed his evil master/rider to conquer the Empire, which he subsequently ruled over with an iron fist. Their dominion has only recently been challenged, by the theft of one of the few remaining dragon eggs and the subsequent emergence of a new, free rider, Eragon.
Outside of the books, Shruikan made an appearance in the 2006 live-action Eragon film.
As a fully grown male dragon, Shruikan, like the rest of his kind, dwarfs his rider. He is a giant four legged reptile, with giant wings that allow him to fly. His body is covered from head to toe in large jet black scales, which are harder than most metals, making it very difficult to wound him. Grey spikes line Shruikan's face and run along his back. A pair of curved horns stick out of Shruikan's brow, right above his pale blue eyes.
Even by dragon standards, Shruikan is massive. Although exact dimensions are not given, it is implied that even if the other dragons featured in the series (Saphira, Thorn, Glaedr and Firnen) stood together they would still not match the size of Shruikan. Indeed, the dragon was so massive that the ground trembled at his approach and he struck fear into the hearts and minds of everyone that saw him. Unfortunately for Shruikan, his great size, is also his greatest weakness, as there are very few places in the world capable of accommodating his gargantuan size.
Shruikan's life is dominated by hatred and madness. The years of torture inflicted upon him by Galbatorix (and possibly Durza and Morzan) in his youth, broke the dragons mind completely. The evil King himself notes that his dragon hates absolutely every living thing and that he can/will kill anything he pleases. Galbatorix is the only one that has any degree of control over Shruikan and for that reason, is the only person that dares to enter his personal space.
Despite his twisted nature, several of the protagonists pitied Shruikan. They understand that this life was not of the dragons choosing. It was forced upon him by Galbatorix. At the same time though, they understand that redemption is not an option for the giant beast. Shruikan's mind is simply too badly damaged for them to risk keeping him alive and free.
Birth and Abduction
For countless generations the lands of Alagaësia where protected by the Order of the Dragon Rider's. As part of an ancient pact between their kind and the elves, the dragons of Alagaësia, both wild and tamed, entrusted some of their eggs over to the order. Left within the riders care, the inhabitants of these eggs were destined to become guardians of peace and protectors of the land. When the chick within these eggs, sensed the presence of the elf and later human best suited to serve alongside them, they hatched, at which point a life long bond was established.
Unfortunately for the realm, this age of prosperity would be undone by the actions of one man and few accomplices. That man was a young and arrogant dragon rider named Galbatorix. Having lost his original dragon Jarnunvösk (and his close acquaintances) as a result of a foolish venture into the far north, Galbatorix, who had endured weeks of hardship, returned to the order, hoping that he could regain a replacement dragon. However, the Rider's Council could sense that the loss of his companion and the subsequent turmoil had taken its toll upon the young humans mind and sanity. For this reason, they refused him.
Galbatorix then proved that the Council was right in its assumption, blaming them for what had happened. Unfortunately, before anybody could restrain or imprison him, the young man escaped into the wilderness. There, Galbatorix began training under the shade Durza, who taught him foul magics. At the same time, Galbatorix began plotting the fall of the riders and even managed to win another member of the order over to his cause, Morzan. However, Galbatorix was no fool. Even with Morzan, his dragon, Durza and the knowledge that the shade had imparted, he was still no match for the order and their dragons. If Galbatorix was going to succeed, he needed a dragon of his own!
Nobody knows for certain when the egg that one day become Shruikan was laid or entrusted to the riders. It is also not known whether his kin where wild or tamed dragons. Unfortunately though, the moment that his egg was entrusted to the riders, the hatchling within was doomed.
With Morzan acting as a mole within the order, Galbatorix waited for the right opportunity. Then on the fateful night that would mark the beginning of the end for the Rider's, Morzan helped Galbatorix to sneak into the city of Ilirea, where the dragon eggs were kept. The timing could not have been better the villains, for around that time a baby dragon hatched from a black dragons egg for an unnamed rider. Through means unspecified, Galbatorix and Morzan killed the pair, killed the rider and abducted the dragon. They then fled the city to start their rebellion.
It is not known what Galbatorix and his allies did to the young dragon out in the wilderness, but they eventually managed to bind him to Galbatorix's will. The rider and his new mount were eventually able to establish a bond with one another, reminiscent of the one used by the rest of their kind. However, since the dragon did not chose Galbatorix as his partner, this link was a perversion of the traditional relationship, being more akin to master and servant, rather than life long friends.
As a further of demonstration of this Galbatorix was the one to chose a name for his new mount, rather than letting the latter choose one of his own. The future King, chose a name that would one day become as infamous as his own; Shruikan!
The Fall of the Rider's
To be added
Taking over the Empire
To be added
The Inheritance Cycle
To be added
- Shruikan never utters a single word in either the book or film.
- In the movie, Shruikan's eyes are yellow instead of blue.
- He was also the last character to appear within the films live action sequence. Although he was heard growling frequently throughout the motion picture, Shruikan only appeared at the very end of the film, when Galbatorix cut down a giant tapestry map of Alagaësia. Breaking the fourth wall, Shruikan then released a torrent of fire from his mouth, ending the film.
- As explained above, Shruikan was the only one of Galbatorix and his conspirators dragons that retained his name.
- The only dragon within the series of comparable size to Shruikan was Saphira's distant ancestor Belgabad. Although it is not known which of the two was bigger, when he first saw Shruikan, Eragon noted that the former was probably as large, if not slightly larger than Belgabad.
- Belgabad himself is noted to be a distant relative of Saphira and is confirmed to have perished during in the Fall of the Riders. As such, Saphira helped to avenge her ancestors murder by helping the others to slay Shruikan.
- It is never explained what Shruikan's relationship with Galbatorix was like, nor how the King kept him under control. Whatever methods were employed, Galbatorix ensured that Shruikan remained in his service and that the great dragon never even contemplated rebelling against him.