I'm doing an assignment for class about Eragon. I'm wondering about the setting. Is Alagaesia an island?

"Do you remember what I told you about how the elves came over the sea?"
- page. 169

I know that this implies that Alagaesia was an unexplored continent, but it could also imply that it was an unexplored island. Then what about the map? It only shows part of the... setting. You don't know if it's a continent/big hunk of land or only an island. I guess that it makes more sense for it to be a continent, but I'm not sure. However, if there are any extremely careful readers, they might know. Thanks for the support!

Extra note: If it was a continent, there would be other people on it, even if unmapped. If the Empire doesn't explore the island/continent, then won't the other population/country explore and (might) invade the Empire?

  • 3
    All continents are basically islands, because at some point, they are surrounded by an ocean. The sheer size of them (like Australia, for instance), becomes so large that 'island' simply doesn't fit in common English usage, and continent has to be used instead. Dec 8, 2015 at 22:43
  • @Singular1ty I guess, but as long as you (and other readers) understand the question, I don't get why that matters. Dec 8, 2015 at 22:45
  • 1
    @HengyuanZhang - You do it. I'm off to bed.
    – Valorum
    Dec 8, 2015 at 23:23
  • 4
    Richard has so much rep he's just handing it out now :D
    – Mac Cooper
    Dec 8, 2015 at 23:39

6 Answers 6


It's a continent, bounded by ocean on the west and more land on the east, much like Europe.

Here's a map of Alagaesia:


North and south, and more importantly east and west, of this continent are all unknown territory. To the west is (as usual in fantasy novels) an unexplored ocean, possibly with other land on the far side. To the east is wasteland, beyond the Hadarac Desert, and finally inhabitable country. We know that this doesn't count as Alagaesia, and that it's inhabitable, because in the final book

Eragon and Saphira fulfil the prophecy made by Angela in the first book and "leave Alagaesia for ever" to settle down in these unexplored lands far to the east.

In fact, Europe is a fitting analogy. In writing his novels, Paolini took a great many ideas from established fantasy authors such as Tolkien. Admittedly the geography of Alagaesia doesn't look that much like that of Middle-Earth, but it still has ocean to the west, wasteland to the east, elves in the forests, and dwarves in the mountains. A great many fantasy novels employ these tropes, and it all goes back to Tolkien ... who based his continent of Middle-Earth on that of Europe, as described in this excellent answer.


Answering my own question: Alagaesia was most likely a continent (using logic). Here's why:

1 - Alagaesia = a continent. 2 = It stretches well beyond the border of the existing map eastwards. 3 = The author hasn't drawn anything beyond the wastelands.


Site: http://www.paolini.net/stuff/articles/article-series-christophers-art/map-alagaesia/

Using Richard's logic, Alagaesia should be a continent. I also agree with Richard.


As @Richard pointed out,

Author Christopher Paolini offers this information on the map of Alagaësia.

Key points:

  1. Alagaesia is a continent

  2. Alagaesia continues eastwards beyond the border of the map

  3. The author hasn't drawn anything beyond the wastelands

enter image description here

  • To add to this, Paolini recently said that The continent extends some bit farther north, but it's not considered part of Alagaësia proper. (Reddit AMA)
    – ibid
    May 26, 2016 at 7:01

I would think that the Inheritance cycle took place in northeastern Africa. I say this because the southwest slope of Africa and Alagaesia look very similar in this manner. There is also a similarity in the different types of habitats, like the deserts, grasslands, and forests. Those different habitats are also similarly placed.

The author, Christopher Paolini, also may have derived some of the names from the countries and cities, like the name of the continent, Alagaesia, and the name of of one of the countries, Algeria. Another similarity in names is Sierra Leona and Dras-leona, along with Leona Lake. As for the mountain ranges, he may have moved the Atlas mountains farther south for the Spine, and moved the Ahaggar mountains south for the Beor mountains.

  • Alagaesia is situated in a fantastic universe. Also, there are no mild or cold climate forests in North Africa. Oct 31, 2021 at 19:19

I would venture to say that Alagaesia is an island like Australia. I would also venture to say that Alagaesia and Middle Earth exist in the same world. Much like LOTR, the elves traveled across the sea to the west. I want to believe that Alagaesia is south of middle earth, separated by an ocean above Du Wendelvarden. In my version of Elven history, two groups of elves traveled across Belegaer- The Great Sea (LOTR), and one group went south while the other continued forward. From there, the two groups evolved separately. Most of this is purely speculation.Alagaesia

  • 8
    I'm afraid pure speculation is not what we are looking for here.
    – Blackwood
    May 1, 2017 at 3:15

I am convinced that Alalia is somewhere south of Alagaesia with an ocean between them. In addition, beyond the Handarak dessert it may by other civilazations with humans, dwarfs or even, forgotten dragons. Now to the north, somewhere the Du Weldenvarden forest must end, and I imagine over there a volcanic place with lava mountains or a huge grassland like the land that Eragon and Brom crossed after the Udgarnd mountain. I can't imagine whats beyond the sea west of Alagaesia but it might be some islands like the Canarians somewhere over there.

  • 3
    But what is your support for this? Jul 27, 2017 at 21:06

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