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Christopher - I homeschool my children, and we all
love your books. My son especially is interested
in writing his own stories, too. He is 11, and has
some wonderful ideas. What would you recommend for
helping him on his way? What helped you the most?
to hear that you and your children enjoy my books.
Looking back at my own homeschooling
experience, I realize my parents are responsible
for igniting, maintaining, and encouraging my deep
love of reading and writing. Without their support,
I never would have been able to finish Eragon
and Eldest. I owe my family everything.
The best advice I can give is
to encourage your son to read, read, read! And discuss
with him how authors craft their plots and dialogue.
In addition, he should continue to study grammar
and expand his vocabulary.
He should write as often as possible.
It doesnít matter what the subject is, as long as
it interests him. Fiction, non-fiction, poetry,
plays, stories, song lyrics, letters, reports—so
long as he practices the art of organizing his thoughts
and transferring them to paper in a clear, focused,
and vivid manner.
Do you ever find it difficult to recall exactly
what youíve had each character go through?
I sometimes have trouble keeping
all the details straight in my head. So, every time
I get an idea for the trilogy, I write it down.
Since I began Eragon, I have compiled hundreds
of pages of notes concerning the story, names, places,
history of Alagaësia, and languages.
How could Thorn have grown so fast when it took
Saphira so much longer?
That is one of the mysteries that
will be resolved in Book IV. Trust me,
there is a reason!
Dear Mr. Paolini - First off I would like to say
that we all enjoy your two books here! Thank you
for the wonderful tale youíve written and for the
countless hours of enjoyment it has provided for
My question is this: If
the Elves & Dragons according to Oromis and
Glaedr believe that the soul (spirit) dies with
the body, how then do they acknowledge the existence
of a shade? Also, did not the magic users speak
of summoning spirits? Sorry, that is two questions.
I appreciate your kind words of
support! Please give my best to your family.
You ask a very interesting question.
In the first draft of both Eragon and Eldest,
I included a few paragraphs that addressed this
very issueóthat is, the true nature of the spirits
that magicians summon. However, these explanations
were cut during the editing process for reasons
of pacing, and also because I realized the best
place for this information was in Book III.
What I can say is that spirits such as
those that controlled Durza are not the souls of
sentient creatures returned from the afterlife,
but something else entirely.
How did you come up with the magic system for the
book? Why did you decide to make it physically drain
I put a lot of thought into creating
my system of magic, of finding a balance between
magical powers and their limitations. Unconstrained,
a magician would be all-powerful and unstoppable.
I decided that linking magic use with a person's
physical strength was a good way to limit power.
In general, the Riders' abilities evolved as I wrote
the story and thought about what they would need
to do their jobs and survive in Alagaësia.
Is the Dragon whose name cannot be spoken in any
language Eragon the Firstís Dragon? Or a different
I ask this because Brom
tells Eragon Shadeslayer the name of Eragon the
Firstís dragon, BidíDaum, when answering all the
questions about dragon history in the first book.
However, later no one says the dragonís name and
it is implied (at least in my mind) that the Dragon
who sealed the deal (whoís name cannot be said)
and BidíDaum are one and the same. As you can see
I am a bit confused over this and would love for
my question to be answered.
P.S. I love Angela and
Solembumís characters, conversations with them are
some of the highlights of the book for me.
I too am fond of the characters
Angela and Solembum. They add a bit of spice and
mystery to the story. Iím glad you like them!
To clarify, BidíDaum and the original
Eragon convinced their respective races to make
peace during the great dragon war. Then the acknowledged
leaders of those races, Queen Tarmunora and the
unnamed dragon, formalized the peace treaty. The
fact that BidíDaum was also white is merely coincidental.
I hope that helps!
If you could be any race and have any ability from
your books what would they be?
I would definitely be a dwarf.
They have such an interesting language and culture.
And Iíd like to be a spellcaster, so I could heal
any injury or health problem.
Which character in the series do you identify with
most and why?
The character of Eragon began
as me. However, over the course of the first book,
he did many things that I havenítósuch as ride a
dragon, fight monsters, and use magicóand these
experiences have made him a different person than
me. Eragon is now his own person, similar to me
in some respects, but possessing a unique history,
likes, dislikes, friends, and family. I find it
interesting to delve inside his mind, but his mind
is no longer my own.
Why did you name the second book Eldest?
The title Eldest has
several layers of meaning, some of which will not
become apparent until Book III. It refers
to Murtagh being Eragonís older brother. But it
also refers to Roran, Nasuada, Katrina, Orik, and
all the other characters who are either older than
Eragon or who are dealing with their own inheritances
and assuming the tasks and responsiblities of the
Hali, New Mexico
In the Eragon movie, why does Arya have blonde hair?
In the book she had black hair.
The movie is an adaptation of
my book by the folks at Fox. How they depict the
characters is their interpretation of my work.
Will Brom's history ever be fully revealed? Maybe
you should write a separate series explaining Galbatorix's
rise to power!
is one of several I have considered writing in the
world of Alagaësia. But for the time being,
Book Three is the focus of my attention. Once the
Inheritance trilogy is finished, I will decide which
of my numerous story ideas I will write next. While
I may revisit Alagaësia in future books, I
look forward to exploring other realms first.
How come a Shade can only be killed by being pierced
through the heart? And if Galbatorix gains power
each year, how can Eragon ever beat him?
can only be killed in that manner because the spirits
that control the sorcererís body use a certain technique
to bind themselves to his or her flesh. This will
be explained in greater detail in Book Three. As
for Galbatorix, youíll have to read the rest of
the trilogy to find out the answer to that!
Do the elves' views on the value of life reflect
your own ideas? In other words, are you vegetarian
No, I am not vegetarian. One of my goals as an
author is to explore various aspects of human nature.
Itís my job, then, to attempt to understand why
people act, even if it differs from my own point
of view or practice, and to present those reasons
to the best of my ability. The actions and beliefs
of my characters are not necessarily my own.
Larissa, British Columbia
In the chapter titled "Broken Egg and Scattered
Nest" Eragon rides Folkvir out to the Place
of Broken Eggs to find Saphira. He says to Folkvir
"Stay here, graze if you want but stay here."
Then he rides Saphira back, what happens to Folkvir?
If you read the chapter carefully,
youíll see it ends before Eragon and Saphira actually
leave the Stone of Broken Eggs, where they were
talking. Therefore, one can assume that when they
do leave, Eragon would remember Folkvir and have
him return to Ellesméra. For pacing reasons,
I felt it was unnecessary to show Eragon and Saphira
flying back to Oromis and the Crags of Telínaeír,
as well as dealing with Folkvir. All that mattered
in that scene was whether or not Eragon and Saphira
would mend their differences.
Ann Marie, Ohio
How do you feel about your book becoming a movie?
I very much look forward to seeing
the Eragon movie, which will be an interpretation
of my work by the folks at the Fox 2000 studio.
The process of adapting a novel to the big screen
is difficult. Time and budget constrain what can
be shown. I recently had the opportunity to view
a few short film clips of Brom and Eragon. It was
a surreal and thrilling experience to see the actors
portraying my characters on-screen.
Sarah, New Jersey
Christopher, How did you come up with the names
in your books? They are so different than ours.
Did you just jumble up letters or what? P.S. I love
I use several techniques for inventing
the names of characters and places. Sometimes I
write lists of interesting sounding names, switching
syllables and letters until I find ones that I like.
Names such as Eragon and Saphira incorporate a bit
of wordplay: Eragon is dragon with one letter changed
(it also means era-gone, as in a time gone by) and
Saphira was inspired by sapphire. When naming places,
such as Isidar Mithrim, I often draw from my invented
languages. Other times I mine real languages, such
as Old Norse, German, Old English, Latin, and Russian
Picking the right name is a process.
If I have difficulty choosing the correct name,
I use a placeholder until I figure it out.
Was it hard for you to kill Brom so early in the
story? He was my favorite character in the book
and to have him die was saddening, but at least
Eragon gave him a proper burial.
It was very hard for me to write
Bromís death. I hated it. After finishing that scene,
I left the computer and didnít return until the
following day. Still, it had to be done. I realized
that if Brom stayed, he would continue doing things
for Eragon, things that Eragon had to learn to handle
on his own. After all, this story is about Eragonóand
the other younger charactersógrowing up and assuming
the responsibilities of the previous generation.
Were there any female Riders? How many?
There were as many female Riders
as males when their order flourished. They were
probably just a bit smarter, faster, fiercer, and
kinder than their male counterparts.
I've always been curious about how fast
Murtagh I guess "learned" to be a rider
. . . is that one of Gallbatorix's powers or is
Murtagh just really, really powerful?
Ahh, that is an interesting question.
I understand your curiosity, but ask your patience
until all is revealed in Book IV. Galbatorixís
presence in Eragon and Eldest
has been little more than a menacing shadow. In
the final book, we shall finally step into his realm
and discover . . . Well, I canít give you any hints,
but I think (and hope) you will find the conclusion
How has the writing and publishing of the Inheritance
trilogy affected you?
When I first did public events
to promote Eragon, I visited bookstores,
libraries, and schools dressed in medieval costume.
People were not familiar with the story, so my presentation
focused on explaining the world of Alagaësia.
Now, hundreds of people attend my book signings
and presentations, and many have read my books.
It amazes me how carefully some readers follow the
plot and ferret out the most obscure clues.
Seven years ago, when I began
Eragon, I was simply writing for my own
pleasure, trying to capture an adventure that sparked
my imagination. I had no idea that I would one day
receive letters from fans around the world sharing
how the story touched their lives in a personal
way. I am deeply moved by many of their stories.
While I am still writing the story
that I outlined many years ago, I now feel the presence
of my millions of readers. Likewise, I feel responsible
to my family, publisher, and to all those who supported
Throughout this experience, I
have tried to retain a balanced perspective about
all that has occurred. I am still me. My family
and my work helps me stay grounded.
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