Random Buzzers Q&A with Christopher Paolini – Part 1

Christopher Paolini recently sat down to answer hundreds of fan-submitted questions in a forum style interview with Random Buzzers. The questions varied from the obvious “when does Book 4 come out?” to the not-so-obvious, netting us dozens of fresh and exciting answers from our favorite author. We spent hours collecting and sorting the hundreds of questions and answers from this interview and will be offering them for viewing in a series of posts here on Shur’tugal!

Part one of our compilation includes questions specific to the individual books, including our “Eragon and Eldest questions” section, “Brisingr questions” section, “Book 4 questions” section, and a small section dedicated to questions regarding the Inheritance movies. Christopher took time to answer a wide range of telling questions (and also took time to “No comment” many of the more revealing questions), including the revelation that we should expect to see more of Murtagh and Galbatorix in Book 4, more “awesome” scenes with Angela, new creatures, new characters, character deaths that made Christopher shed tears, and much more. Christopher also answered the standard “how close are you on Book 4?” questions, revealing that he is very close to the end. Keep reading for part one for many exciting answers from Christopher!

Eragon and Eldest Questions

I am very curious, where did you draw the inspiration to have the silver palm?
Not a clue. It just popped into my head when I was writing the scene where Eragon first touches Saphira.

Why did you originally write Eragon?
Eragon started as a story I wanted to tell just to entertain myself. When I first set pen to paper, I never thought that it would be published.

How did you come up with the whole idea? Was it a simple idea that you expanded upon?
The idea for Eragon was very simple originally: what would happen if a young man my own age found a dragon egg while hunting in the mountains? I’ve spent eleven years trying to answer that question.

I was wondering why Sophira’s egg did not hatch for Eragon for more than a week?
Usually it didn’t take so long for a dragon egg to hatch. However, (and I believe I said this in one of the books) Saphira had been Galbatorix’s captive for so long, she was afraid that Eragon’s presence might have been just another trick. So, she waited just to make sure. Also, I think that, after a century of waiting, Saphira decided to take charge of the situation herself. She wasn’t about to leave her fate solely in the hands of this young farmboy who had found her.

In Eragon, Angela tries to prove that toads don’t exist, is it true? Are there only frogs?
Well, as I believe she said, all toads are frogs, but not all frogs are toads. (This is true by the way.)

In Eragon, Murtagh called Nasuada a Princess. Did he have some feelings for her? And if so does he still?
See Book Four. 🙂

Brisingr Questions

In Brisingr, there were two theories behind why the sword Brisingr sets on fire when its name is called by Eragon; that he imbued a part of himself into the sword when he helped make it or that he uncovered the sword’s true name. But if it was the latter, wouldn’t anyone be able to set the sword on fire by calling out its true name, or are there special circumstances to consider, like maybe Eragon’s intentions of the word Brisingr when he was naming the sword?
Book Four will shed some light on this.

Will we ever find out what it was that Murtagh said? (From the bit where Eragon is invisible and he hears the two Empire soldiers talking)
You’ll have to read Book Four to find out. 🙂

Is the “God” summoned at Orik’s Coronation in Brisingr actually a god, or just an illusion created by magic?
That’s something many of the dwarves would like to know as well.

In Brisingr, you show that spells can be put on a objects to activate when certain stimuli are present (for instance the anti-scrying spell on Eragon’s necklace).  If this is the case, isn’t it at least theoretically possible that Tenga had set up a spell that would automatically start the fire when he reached out with his mind, thus avoiding the dangers of not saying the spell out loud?  How did Eragon know that this wasn’t what was happening?
That’s entirely possible . . . and maybe Tenga was just trying to impress Eragon. Either way, he just succeeded in scaring Eragon off.

Before the announcement of the title of Brisingr, you said that there were two names you and the publisher had been discussing… Any chance you could reveal the alternate choice?
I’d rather not say. The other title we were considering wasn’t as good as Brisingr. Perhaps I’ll discuss this once the series is finished.

I was wondering, in book three when Eragon makes his rounds to visit the villagers and Joed, he pays the tanner Geddrick for the hides he took. He didn’t pay his family’s debt to Horst the smith for the meat bought from Sloan at this time when he visits him. Was this omission intentional or accidental?
Heh. I actually meant to have Eragon give Horst an orb of gold. However, I was writing by hand in that section (and very fast to boot) and . . . well . . . I forgot. Eventually I remembered, but by then, the book was already published.


So, you can either assume that Eragon *has* repaid Horst in some way (as you said, Eragon wouldn’t forget the debt), or, we can say that Roran’s time working in Horst’s forge after Garrow’s death was suitable repayment. I actually lean toward the latter explanation.

Oh well, we all make mistakes. 🙂

If possible, could you tell us what it actually was that Tenga was looking/searching for?  Was he still trying to find out if the rocks in the Beor Mountains are affected by the moon stages or whatever it was (can’t remember what it was off the top of my head), or is it something different?
Tenga was searching for something much more important than whether the rocks in the Beor Mountains are affected by the stages of the moon. However, it’s not something I want to go into at the moment. Rest assured, though, I will return to it.

The Ra’zac are amazing characters, they seem to be the perfect minions of an evil king; near the beginning of Brisingr, Eragon kills the two original Ra’zac (I believe, I’m sorry but there’s a lot to remember and it’s been a while ^^;;) I was wondering if we’ll ever see more of them.
No comment. (Glad you like the Ra’zac, though. I do too.)

In Brisingr, in the Trial of the Long Knifes, it says that tradition dictated a maximum of six cuts per arm. What happen if both contestants of the trial managed to get six cuts on both arms?
You’d start on your shins, I suppose.

In Brisingr, Eragon and Saphira have been separated from each other twice. How long were they apart from one another both times?
No longer than two weeks each time. I don’t have the exact chronology in front of me.

In Brisingr, when Eragon and Arya meet the group of spirits, when the one comes over to Eragon and enters his mind, it says it pretty much swept his defenses away like a leaf in the wind or something along those lines.  If spirits are so powerful, how are sorcerers able to control them at all?  Other than a select few, such as Oromis, Galbatorix, etc, nobody is as strong as Eragon, and even he can’t stand up to them, so how are they (sorcerers) able to?
Sorcerers take extreme precautions. Also, they only try to control a few spirits at a time. A whole host of them swept through Eragon — too many for anyone to have any hope of resisting.

In Brisingr, when Blodgharm and the eleven other elves meet Nasuada, she (Nasuada) asks about Blodgharm’s pelt, he said that shape pleased him.  Then he said something like, “Who knows, maybe in another hundred years I shall decide that the fish of the sea embody all that is good, at which time I shall grow a tail and some fins and never again be seen in Alagaesia.”  If he were to do this, and lose his vocal chords, etc, would he be able to change himself back, excluding “wordless” magic?
He would, because the ancient language still works if you sub-vocalize it, or even just think it. If nothing else, Blödhgarm could always find another elf to transform him back.

In the movie version, a dragon will die too if the Rider dies. But in Brisingr, Glaedr doesn’t die immediately after Oromis is killed. So, canonically (your books are canon, the movie is NOT), is it true that a dragon dies if their Rider is killed?
NO. A dragon does not have to die when his or her Rider dies. Brom was speaking in general terms when he said that in Book One. Most dragons do die when their Riders do, or else they go mad. But not all. OR, they choose to live on in their Eldunarí. Brom just didn’t want to say anything about the Eldunarí then. A more nuanced explanation of this was given by Oromis and Glaedr when discussing the heart of hearts with Eragon and Saphira.

I read on a couple of blogs how some readers believe that Nasuada is over-reaching in her power (as far as whipping Roran, etc). Do you think she did the “right thing?”
I think she did the hard thing. She may have overreached a bit, but, then, you don’t hold on to command of a fractious army/alliance by being nothing but sweetness and forgiveness. Keep in mind, if Roran had been in a modern army, he would probably have been court-martialed for what he did.

Book 4 Questions

Do you know approximately when the fourth book is going to be released?
I’m getting pretty close to the end of Book Four. I can’t give you an exact timetable quite yet, but I can tell you it won’t be *too* much longer. It’s pretty exciting for me. . . . After almost eleven years, I’m finally going to be able to finish this story!

The best places to look for updates as to the status of Book Four are alagaesia.com and shurtugal.com

Book Four will be published just as soon as I can finish it . . . and I’m getting pretty close to the end. For up-to-date news about the series, visit alagaesia.com and shurtugal.com.

I’m getting darn close to the end.

Also, In Brisingr on page 253, Intersecting Sagas, it describes a woman and her daughter who came to talk to Angela.  Saphira calls them “Wild Ones” and “Wolf-Eyes”. Angela calls the woman “Bladesinger.” Who are they and will we learn more about them in book 4?
You’ll have to read Book Four to find out!

So are there any secrets can you tell us from the last book?
I can’t tell you much about Book Four, other than it’s going to have a green dragon on the cover and that there are a whole lot of exciting battles throughout.

Sorry, can’t tell you the title for Book Four yet. But I have named it!

Could you please tell us loads of information about Book 4 but keep it all as cliffhangers so it drives us insane?
Beware of red-eyed rabbits.

When do you think you’ll be able to release the title of the fourth book (and any idea when it will be published)?
Hopefully, it won’t be too much longer before Random House announces the title of Book Four.

For up-to-date news about the series, go to alagaesia.com and shurtugal.com

How will Brom’s seven words to Eragon show up in the fourth book, also I think Solumbum’s riddle will come in again, right?
You’ll have to read Book Four in order to find out what happens with Brom’s seven words and Solembum’s riddle.

Will Brom’s sword come into play at all in the next book? What did it look like?
Undbitr, like Brisingr, was blue, just as Brom’s Saphira was blue. Other than that, I don’t want to say more.

Given that we have yet to see one die in the series, do elves have any special ceremonies for death. If so, what are they?
Read Book Four.

Have we finally learned all of Brom’s secrets?
Never. 🙂

Will we learn more about Angela and the two women in the 4th book?
Yup, we’ll see them again, but I can’t say more than that.

Will Solembum’s riddle come into play during Book 4?
No comment. 🙂

Will we learn anything new about what happened between Eragon’s mother and father?

Is it possible that there might be some wild dragons hiding somewhere?
No comment.

Is it possible that there might be more riders hidden in the world that Eragon could run into?
Only Galbatorix.

Will Murtagh be saved?
No comment. I know that many of you are very fond of Murtagh, but you’ll have to read the book to learn what happens to him.

The man Tenga, will we be seeing more of him?
No comment.

The man that lost his sight during the battle and started seeing weird things; like Murtagh’s Eldunari that he had with him, will he be used possibly to help Eragon find the Vault of Souls (which I believe just holds some Eldunari)?
No comment.

On the length of Book 4:
Book Four will be done just as fast as I can finish it. And (fingers crossed) I don’t think it’ll be quite as long as Brisingr.

Longer than Eragon. Probably longer than Eldest. I hope to high heaven not longer than Brisingr.

Will the topic of the true name of the ancient language play a part in book 4 even if it is just a passing by sentence?
Great question. Can’t answer it. I know, it’s irritating — me not answering the really interesting questions.

Can you tell us the name of the green dragon?
Nope. Haven’t named it yet. Dragons are *hard* to name.

Can you please give me a small hint as to the fate of Murtagh and Thorn, I’ve always liked them and would love to see them change their true names and join the Varden.
Hmm . . . Afraid I can’t say much of anything on this point. They are going to have a lot more screen time (so to speak) in Book Four.

What color is the stolen rider’s sword Galbatorix is using?
And I’ve been waiting eleven years to show you guys, but, again, you’ll have to wait until the next book to see.

Will you be introducing lots of new characters to the book, or just the old ones?
Lots of old ones, some new ones.

Will there be any new races or animals in book 4 or is it a surprise?
There’ll be some new creatures, but it’s a surprise.

I heard somewhere that you were going to do a couple of chapters of Murtagh’s POV! Is that true?
No comment about Murtagh’s POV. I actually had some chapters like that in the original version of Eragon.

Will we see more of Galbatorix in Book 4?
I don’t want to say too much, but, yes, Galbatorix is going to have a *much* bigger presence in Book Four.

After you finish with the manuscript, about how long does the publishing normally take for that size book?
It doesn’t matter about the size of the manuscript; publishing houses have a schedule that they like to adhere to with every book, regardless of size. Usually about six months to a year, but it can be faster in special circumstances.

PLEASE elaborate on the whole Eragon hanging bloodied from manacles thing!! That is, if you can, of course. I’m going insane thinking about this.
Nope. Can’t. But please don’t go insane.

You hinted that there will be another death in the fourth book (I’m assuming other than King Galbatorix). Did you shed any tears? 😉
More than one. And yes, a few tears.

Does the piece of green dragon egg shell that Eragon found at the Stone of Broken Eggs in book 2 have anything to do with the green dragon that will be on the cover of book 4?
Nope. It was just a coincidence.

Movie Questions

How did you feel about the movie version of your book? Did you feel it did Eragon or did it fall short?
The movie reflected the film-makers’ vision of the story, even as the books reflect mine. Few books are ever adapted into movies, so I’m pleased that Eragon was one of them. Also, the movie introduced many new readers to the series, which is great! Ultimately, an adaptation is always going to be different than the source material. That’s just the nature of the process, and you have to make peace with that when signing on the dotted line.

When if ever will we see an Eragon movie reboot?
I hope Eragon gets remade at some point, but I’m not exactly sure what’s happening on the movie front at the moment.