The Dwarven King Election is a complex event with traditional rules kept through centuries.
If a Dwarven king dies, his Clan first elects a new Grimstborith. After this election, all the Grimstborithn meet at Tronjheim for to elect the successor of the deceased king. First, every clan leader gets an earlier determined amount of time to present himself to the others and to show them why he - or she - is the adequate new king. After this, every leader is allocated to another stone chamber. The dwarf chosen to chair the elections now meets every clan leader to vow to them in the Ancient Language not to manipulate the election results. Almost every time this dwarf is member of the clan, most frequently also a confidant of the deceased ruler. After this, he revisits every leader, but only after a decent time for them to chose which candidate convinced them most. Previous arrangements are strictly forbidden. Two rules are limiting the possibility of choice: No grimstborith is allowed to vote for himself, and the ruling clan has to change - when, for example, a king from Dûrgrimst Knurlcarathn passed, his successor shall not be the newly elected Knurlcarathn Grimstborith. The chairdwarf now recalls the Grimstborith together beneath Isidar Mithrim, the legendary Star Saphire of the dwarves, and announces there the results calling on Gûntera and Helzvog. The grimstborith with most votes wins. If two or more clan leaders draw, it comes to a run-off, for which everyone who didn't vote for one of those candidates is questioned anew and has to vote for one of the remaining candidates. If more than two candidates go into run-off and two of them draw again, they face each other in a second run-off. Because there are 13 clans, a draw between two candidates is impossible.
Recent changes Edit
The most important change concerns the run-off: It doesn't take place in public anymore, but the dwarves are locked into their stone chambers again. Besides, all of them are questioned again, even those who yet voted for a run-off candidate and aren't allowed to withdraw their choice. So it's impossible that the candidates know who voted for them; even more, it's strictly forbidden to tell his choice to anyone. This change was urgent, because for those reasons clan wars took part every now and then.
Breakings with the tradition Edit
Before Galbatorix' reign, sometimes they broke with the tradition, which never lasted for long. The most famous tradition breaking event was the rebellion of Tûkan, a legendary king of the Ebardac, who lost the run-off against Malek of the Nagra, but was crowned anyway because of an intrigue. In more recent times, after Galbatorix, there were two huge breakings with the tradition:
1. The hereditary monarchy of the Quan The hereditary monarchy of the Quan was installed by Gannel. Gannel overthrew his rival Ûndin and usurped the throne. Gannel declared the elections disbanded and his adopted son Lotar his successor. Lotar's son Erl was eventually overthrown by the dwarves, but it was not before the retirement of Sûmqir that there was a legitimated election again, won by Doqin.
2. The proclamation of Akar
After the criminal dwarven king Eflaim was executed, the number of dwarves seeking for revenge for the deaths of Eflaim and Zûk was high. Akar, a friend of Zûk who was killed by Oroim proclamated himself the new king unter the thunderous applause of the dwarves. That alone was not necessarily a breaking with the traditions - under certain circumstances the tradition of the dwarves allowes a king's election by acclamation. The problem of this case: Akar was not a grimstborith. It was only the third case in the known dwarven history that a king was elected without leading the clan first. After Akar's death the situation of the dwarves returned to normal, since then all the king's elections proceed as determined.
Note: This article contains informations from the original Eragon books and contradicts them partially.