Part two of our exclusive interview with Christopher Paolini from Comic-Con International has finally arrived! We sat down with Christopher and threw nearly every good question we received in an over-thirty-five-minute interview. The interview has been broken into three parts and we are excited to share part two with you now. Part one created quite the level of buzz with Christopher Paolini’s revelation that Eragon is currently being held captive, restrained by manacles, by an unknown enemy in the Book 4 manscript. The interview continues to not disappoint in a very revealing part two! This portion of our interview touches on a number of interesting subjects: the deaths of Oromis and Glaedr, the presumed deaths of the original Eragon and his dragon, confirmation Arya’s training from Oromis, Du Weldenvarden’s anti-scrying wards, dragon eggs and their destined Riders, details on a could-have-been bond between Murtagh and Saphira, green egg shell fragments, Alagaesia’s physical size, heart of hearts hive minds and email, phantoms, the dragon thief, lifespan of an Urgal, dragon shades, and more!List of questions asked in part two:
Had Oromis not had a seizure, could he have captured or killed Murtagh?
Will you ever go into greater detail on the presumed deaths of the first Eragon and his own dragon?
When Oromis taught Eragon how to draw energy from the surroundings to make spells, he said that this “was a secret for the Riders”. However, the boat made of grass by Arya draws energy from the surroundings to fly. How did she know a spell reserved for Riders?
Now can you say how much training she would have received from Oromis?
In Eldest, Eragon, Saphira, Arya and the rest of the gang were traveling to Ellesmera when Eragon’s necklace, which was imbued with a spell to ward off scrying went off while they were in Du Weldenvarden. How is this possible when the wards the elves erected prevent all magical items, thoughts, and spells from entering its boundaries?
The spell on a dragon egg means that a dragon egg would only hatch for its destined Rider. What happens if that destined Rider is killed before he is able to bond with the dragon hatchling?
Do you believe that there is anyone else that is currently living in Alagaësia alongside Eragon, not necessarily whom he knows, that Saphira would have hatched for?
In Eldest, Eragon steps past or on a green egg fragment. Is this a hint?
What is the physical size of Alagaesia is in comparison to a land mass on Earth?
Can multiple dragon hearts of hearts communicate with each other?
Do they have to be in the same area?
If you were a fan, what would you ask Christopher?
You said that strange phantoms lived in Doru Areba; can you describe those phantoms and do any speaking races that we haven’t encountered thus far live there?
Will we ever learn why the thief was only able to steal one dragon egg from Urû’baen?
What is the average lifespan of an Urgal?
What happens when a Dragon Rider becomes a Shade, or is that impossible? I think that last time you may have said that that was impossible.
Comic-Con Interview Part 2 – Audio:
Favorite quote from the interview: “It’s just a green egg fragment. Why would you think that was a hint? Oh, because there’s a green dragon on the front of the book? Oh, that… No comment.”
Transcript of Part 2 Remember, you can listen to the actual audio from the interview in the audio player above!
Mike Macauley: Phoenix asked, “Had Oromis not had a seizure, could he have captured or killed Murtagh?”
Christopher Paolini: There’s no doubt in my mind that Oromis and Glaedr vastly, vastly out-class Murtagh and Thorn in terms in sheer size when it comes to the dragons, and sheer skill when it comes to magic and sword fighting. Of course, Murtagh had the advantage of a great number of dragons’ Eldunari – the heart of hearts – feeding his strength, so assuming Galbatorix had not interfered, Oromis would – I think – have at least held his own, and I think there was at least a good chance that he might have beaten and captured or killed Murtagh and Thorn.
M: Will you ever go into greater detail on the presumed deaths of the first Eragon and his own dragon?
C: No comment.
M: Well that was easy. When Oromis taught Eragon how to draw energy from the surroundings to make spells, he said that this “was a secret for the Riders”. However, the boat made of grass by Arya draws energy from the surroundings to fly. How did she know a spell reserved for Riders?
C: Arya is a special case; she was given guardianship over Saphira’s egg for almost twenty years and I think she would have been—I think Oromis would have taught her this to help her protect Saphira’s egg. I mean, there was no playing around here; this was do-or-die with Saphira protecting her egg and everything and that’s something he would have taught her.
M: Now can you say how much training she would have received from Oromis?
C: I think Arya has a level of training far exceeding Eragon’s quite honestly, mainly because she has had far more time to learn and just the fact that she grew up with the ancient language means that she is always going to be more facile and fluent with it than Eragon and more adept at thinking up interesting ways of using the ancient language and thus spells.
I would not want to be on her bad side, let’s put it that way.
M: Yeah, I think she’s shown that at a few points now. She does not seem like she is a good person to mess with. JD[bunchofnumbers] – there’s a lot of numbers there – asked, “In Eldest, Eragon, Saphira, Arya and the rest of the gang were traveling to Ellesmera when Eragon’s necklace, which was imbued with a spell to ward off scrying went off while they were in Du Weldenvarden. How is this possible when the wards the elves erected prevent all magical items, thoughts, and spells from entering its boundaries?”
C: That’s a really good question. That is a great question! And I did think of it… it’s… my thought on that was a little complicated so bear with me. I think that scrying isn’t necessarily an intrusive process, although I’m sure that the elves’ wards would have been set up to prevent it. The like their secrecy. But I also thought that even if—let’s say that Galbatorix was trying to scry on Eragon—no, no it was Murtagh I believe. If Murtagh is trying to scry on Eragon, the spell is directed at Eragon and the spell is going to expend a certain amount of energy. That energy would have to be blocked or dissipated from some source otherwise Murtagh would have been able to see Eragon. I figured that both the wards surrounding Du Weldenvarden and Eragon’s necklace activated at the same time; they were both doing the same purpose. So if Eragon didn’t have the necklace, he still would have been protected as long as he was in the forest, but since that process was happening at that point he felt the draining of the energy as his necklace performed its allotted task.
M: Good answer!
C: It’s a little complicated. I did think of it though!
M: Another question from Sal: The spell on a dragon egg means that a dragon egg would only hatch for its destined Rider. What happens if that destined Rider is killed before he is able to bond with the dragon hatchling?
C: Actually, one second – before I answer that, let me go back to the previous question. It isn’t impossible to scry into Du Weldenvarden because if you remember, in the beginning of Brisingr, Eragon did scry with Queen Islanzadí.
M: I thought that was just a scrying dish only made for that?
C: Yes, that’s because there are loopholes set up that the elves can use that lets them communicate in and out of the forest essentially. But it’s not one-hundred percent impossible. I don’t think any outsider would know the way to get through the wards but it isn’t one-hundred percent impossible.
The question about the dragon eggs and who they hatch for… when I say that there’s people destined to become a Dragon Rider, the person destined is the person that that dragon chooses to be their Rider and the person that that dragon feels is appropriate for them. If Eragon had died, or had not found Saphira’s egg—if someone else had—I think that Saphira might have gone another hundred years in that egg but she would have found someone else to hatch for.
So there’s not only one person in all of eternity, although I think that in all of eternity there is probably a small handful of people that Saphira would ever hatch for, but certainly at that time and everywhere else, Eragon was the one who she felt right for and so she chose him.
M: Do you believe that there is anyone else that is currently living in Alagaësia alongside Eragon, not necessarily whom he knows, that Saphira would have hatched for?
C: That’s a really tricky question. You know, I think she might have hatched for Murtagh honestly, if Murtagh had been of his own free will and—
M: I think that speaks volumes for Murtagh before Galbatorix got his hands on him.
C: Exactly. I think she—well obviously she wouldn’t have hatched for Arya, she had plenty of chance. [Chuckles] But also, I think one of the reasons she did hatch fro Eragon is because she was vaguely aware of what was going on with Arya and the fact that Durza had attacked her and Saphira was now out on her own, in an egg in the middle of the forest, and she was incredibly vulnerable and dangerous. I think quite honestly, Saphira didn’t want to go back to Galbatorix and was at that point, after almost one hundred years in the egg, was willing to give it a shot.
M: It must get boring, you know?
C: Yeah! Well, I always figured that the dragon in the eggs are almost in a state of suspended animation for a bit.
C: Yeah, a little sluggish.
M: Here’s a good dragon egg question – this has been bugging me for quite some time, especially as I was writing the Almanac. We may have asked it, I don’t recall. In Eldest, Eragon steps past or on a green egg fragment. Is this a hint?
C: [Long pause.] No. [Tone of sarcasm] It’s just a green egg fragment. Why would you think that was a hint? Oh, because there’s a green dragon on the front of the book? Oh, that… No comment.
M: Works for me! Oh, this is the question—okay, to preface this, we’ve been joking around about this question because it came up as a joke and then I actually read it in this interview. Someone wants to know what you would say the physical size of Alagaesia is in comparison to a land mass on Earth.
C: I’ve actually worked out the distances on the map. The map isn’t one-hundred percent to scale because… well, I drew it way back when and let’s just say that the cartographer miscounted his steps in a few places. But it is pretty close. From Carvahall to Farthen Dur—no no, excuse me—Gilead, where Eragon was captured in Eragon, to Farthen Dur, when he makes that epic journey with Murtagh on foot… I forget how many miles exactly, I don’t have my papers in front of me, but I believe it was verging on close to one thousand miles. Or heading in that direction; the better part of one thousand miles.
It wasn’t a straight line though, they did kind of make an L-shape going down there.
M: We have people who have tracked the actual paths.
C: So have I! [Chuckling] So you have at least that distance, and then if you say that there’s a good chunk of distance from Carvahall to Gilead, and of course the width of Alagaësia… yeah, it’s not as big as the United States mainly because I don’t go all the way to the far eastern coast on my continent, which would be further away than the far coast of the United States. But it’s big.
M: Well that person is going to be excited to have got that answer.
C: Well that’s a good question! No one has asked that before.
M: Nightstar51 asked: Can multiple dragon hearts of hearts communicate with each other?
C: Yeah, just as if a bunch of telepaths are in a room together, they can all join minds and share thoughts. The same principle holds true with dragon eggs.
M: Do they have to be in the same area?
C: No, as long as they are close enough to be in mental contact. And same would hold true with the dragon hearts – they can all link their consciousnesses. I hate saying that word! I hate saying consciousnesses!
M: So like heart of heart email? [Cheesy grin.]
C: Yeah, like email! They essentially form a giant neural network.
M: Here’s a good question. If you were a fan, what would you ask Christopher?
C: When’s the next book coming out?! [Laughter]
M: Oh jeeze! [Chuckling]
C: I know I’m evil. I’m evil to myself. I think I’d probably be interested in the forging of a sword a little bit because I am interested in that stuff.
M: That was a great part of Brisingr, I really enjoyed that.
C: Thank you.
M: This is also from Tulkas. You said that strange phantoms lived in Doru Areba; can you describe those phantoms and do any speaking races that we haven’t encountered thus far live there?
C: No comment.
M: Okay. Same person again—
C: Good question but no comment.
M: Well, you always know it’s a good question when you get a no comment! You’ve hit the right point.
C: That’s right!
M: Will we ever learn why the thief was only able to steal one dragon egg from Urû’baen?
C: If I ever tell Brom and Joed’s—specifically Brom’s story—you will learn, yes. But the thing is that Brom never learned what happened.
M: So some day maybe?
C: Some day maybe.
M: What is the average lifespan of an Urgal?
C: You know, no one has ever asked me that! That’s a really good question.
M: Just to give credit to the asker, that was from DragonGirl.
C: The average lifespan of a male Urgal is not very good.
M: I wonder why!
C: Urgals like anything in this civilization tend to have a pretty high infant mortality and the males tend to do lots of war-like and stupid things, so they don’t tend to live fairly long on average. If you make it past the first twenty to thirty years, I think an Urgal would have a very good chance of living to be eighty years or maybe even a bit upward of that. I’ve always figured that they have a similar lifespan to humans, except for some of the very largest of them – the Kull – which tend to have, on average, a shorter life span, maybe up in to the sixties or so, just because their sheer size tends to wear on them quite a bit.
M: DragonLover—there’s a lot of R’s there, I’m not going to go for all of them—asked: What happens when a Dragon Rider becomes a Shade, or is that impossible? I think that last time you may have said that that was impossible.
C: Did I?
M: Someone said that you did.
C: Well if I did then I take that back! I think it would be absolutely frackin’ terrifying!
M: So could a dragon—could any creature that can actually think—