Random Buzzers Q&A with Christopher Paolini – Part 3

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 three of our compilation includes all questions surrounding the Inheritance cycle that were not geared toward specific books. Part three has provided us with arguably the most interesting answers of this Q&A series, including Christopher’s comments on more books set in Alagaesia (one which he refers to as “Book 5”), his favorite theory, lots of focus on Murtagh and his role in the future, fan fiction, hidden changes and deleted scenes, and more! Keep reading for part three for over thirteen pages of exciting answers from Christopher!

General Inheritance Cycle Questions

How did you pick the color of the dragons? Did you set out with a certain color in mind?
I made Saphira blue because blue is my favorite color. In fact, I’m partially color-blind, and I see more shades of blue than most people. As for Thorn and Glaedr . . . If you’re going to have dragons in your story, it seems almost mandatory that you have a red and a gold dragon *somewhere*, don’t you think?

Regarding the possibility of future movies and Christopher’s involvement.
Thanks for the words of encouragement. You may rest assured, if ever there is another movie adaptation of my work, I’ll be as involved as possible in the process.

Will you come to my city on your next book tour?
Ultimately it’s up to Random House as to where I go on book tour.

Did Angela in her past meet Galbatorix?
Probably. You never know with Angela.

Are there any revisions you would make to your past novels?
Of course there are things I would change about my previous books. I think every author feels that way. It’s part of the process. Hopefully you learn and improve and your future works are better than your beginning works.

Are there ever some characters or scenes you never meant to put in your books, like you just put them in there without thinking about?
Lots of scenes have been unplanned. Pretty much everything with Angela the herbalist, for example.

I was wondering what languages inspired your Ancient Language. I noticed in some places words are similar to Icelandic words, such as: Lethrblaka which sounds exactly the same as leðurblaka which means bat, thrysta sounds like þrýsta and translate to the same thing.
Good eye. I based a good part of the ancient language on Old Norse, which I thought had a great sound and feel. All the rest of my languages (Dwarvish, Urgalish, and the nomad language) I invented from scratch.

When you started writing the books, did you have a clear idea of how it would end?
Every author works differently. Some work out the story as they’re writing. Others, like me, plot out the story before jumping into it. Personally, I write better if I know where I’m going.

By several of the comments Nasuada made during book 3, she is disliking magic.  Is she going to outlaw magic?  Will this be the reason Eragon has to leave his homeland?  Will the Elves have to leave as well?
I think Nasuada is entirely reasonable to dislike/distrust magic. If I lived in a place where people could manipulate me and the world around me with a spell, I wouldn’t like magicians either.

What can you tell about the circumstances around Galbatorix killing Shruikan’s original rider and taking the black dragon for himself? Or do you plan to keep that a secret just in case you feel like writing a prequel to the Inheritance cycle?

Who gave Shruikan his name, his original rider or Galbatorix? I ask because I do not know how long the original rider was with their dragon before they (I say “they”, meaning the person because I do not think it was made clear what gender the rider was) were killed and because Eragon took a while to name Saphira. On a side note, how long after they hatch before they are named normally? Right after hatching? When the dragon is old enough to say no or yes?
Galbatorix named Shruikan. Normally, though, a dragon would choose his or her name once they were old enough to understand the concept. And it wasn’t unheard of for a dragon to change their name over the centuries.

Any particular reason you named Murtagh’s dragon Thorn? Seems odd that it’s already a rather common word, where as if I googled Saphira, Shruikan, or Glaedr they would instantly show inheritance links.
Both Murtagh and Thorn are angry at the world, so it seemed only right that they would pick an angry name. Also, all of the other dragons in the Inheritance cycle have elvish/esoteric names, and that didn’t feel appropriate for Murtagh. Murtagh didn’t grow up speaking or hearing the ancient language. Thus, he wasn’t likely to choose a name from it.

Around how many riders were there before The Fall? It got me thinking because if there were a plentiful amount, and some dragons grew to be extremely large, why wouldn’t there be more bones lying around? All I’ve heard of are Angela’s knuckle bones and Glaedr’s corpse (although I have no idea what happened to the corpse). Were all the bones stolen and traded amongst various thieves all over Alagaesia? Did Galbatorix and/or the Forsworn collect them all for some unspecified reason or merely out of disrespect?
I actually wrote a scene in the first draft of Eldest where Eragon and Saphira stopped in the mountains in the middle of the Hadarac Desert on their way back to the Varden from Ellesméra. There they saw many of the bones of the dragons Galbatorix killed. However, because of issues of pacing, I ended up cutting that scene. Be assured, however, there are lots of dragon bones laying around in certain places of Alagaësia.

You say that riders of various races and genders joined the Forsworn on their own or manipulated by Galbatorix, But was it always the rider who decided? Did their dragons just follow along? I would imagine it would have been quite difficult for a human to convince dragons to kill their own kind. What would the dragons have gained out of all of this? On a side note: Did you ever come up with names for all thirteen members of the Forsworn?
I have named all of the Forsworn, but I may or may not end up putting all of their names in Book Four. As for whether it was the Rider or the dragon who decided to join the Forsworn . . . I think it was a combination. The Forsworn were twisted/evil/power-hungry/what-have-you. Because Rider and dragon are linked, if one starts to go bad, the other most likely will as well. What happens to one affects the other.

If Murtagh were to swear an oath in the Ancient Language not to kill Eragon, but then was imprisoned by Galbatorix and was told to (Considering he knows Murtagh’s true name) which would prevail? Would he be torn apart in the process from the magic?
I believe smoke would come out of his ears and, after a few seconds, his head would explode.

Do they have a place that they call home, or do they just wander around Alagaesia aimlessly? Are they plentiful (Just an idea that if a Sorcerer summoned as many spirits as possible to do his bidding, that hinders other sorcerers from controlling the same spirits)? Do the good, or rather neutral spirits prefer to separate themselves from the more “evil” ones? When a Shade is born and has later settled on referring to themselves as one person, what is their personality based off of? Is it just evil with subtle characteristics of the original person? Or is it a blend of all the spirits personalities within the body?
A Shade’s personality is a blend of the spirits’ possessing him or her and the Shade’s original essence. As for the rest of your questions concerning spirits . . . They’re a mysterious race in Alagaësia, and not much is known about them. It’s possible Eragon may end up discovering more about their nature, but I’d rather not reveal that here.

How many Head Dragon riders have there been?
There have been quite a few leaders of the Dragon Riders, but, since they’re incidental to the story I’m telling, I haven’t spent much time working out their histories.

Did the dragons have a lot of lore, legends, myths, or some other tales? If so, have you thought of any and would you tell us someday?
The dragons didn’t have much in the way of language or culture before they and the elves bound themselves to one another, since the dragons preferred to communicate with pure images and emotions. After the bonding of their two races, however, the dragons did begin to accumulate the sorts of myths, legends, and lore you mentioned.

If someone revived the dead body of a dragon who’s Eldunari exists, could the eldunari reestablish control over the body again or would it be impossible because the link is already broken.
If the body is truly dead, then no, it would be impossible. If the body was only *partially* dead (to quote The Princess Bride), then, well . . . maybe. It would depend on the skill of the magicians involved, as well as the skill of the dragon. Remember, you never know what may happen around a dragon.

The “true name” for bird is Fethrblaka. So if I wanted to bend a specific bird to my will, could I use “fethrblaka” to control it like a true name, or would I have to find that specific bird’s own unique name?
You could use “Fethrblaka” as a generic word to order a bird around, but it wouldn’t have the same hold on them as its true name. Thus, for example, if you order the bird to kill itself (however it might) the bird might refuse the order if given with a generic “Fethrblaka”. Use its true name, however, and the bird would truly have no choice.

Has anyone ever attempted to tame Fanghur, the dragon-like creatures of the Beor Mountains? I suspect at least one person may have made an attempt after being denied a dragon perhaps.
Probably, and I would guess they’re missing more than one limb.

Why hasn’t Galbatorix made an attempt to control Fanghur? If he could break dragons’ minds, he could break Fanghurs’. Would they be too much of a hassle for him, far too costly for not enough profit?
He doesn’t care about the Fanghur. From Galbatorix’s point of view, the Fanghur are pale imitations of actual dragons.

It was stated that Saphira saw blues more vibrantly than other colors. Do all dragons see their corresponding scale color more than other colors? If so, what do black and white dragons see, just monochromatic?
Hmm. . . I never actually thought about that. Although every dragon is somewhat different, and I would never want to categorically say that a dragon *couldn’t* do something, I would guess that all dragons have pretty much the same vision. As I said above, I’m partially color blind, and I see more shades of blue than most people. So, I had Saphira see the same way I do, which means that I can go around bragging that I have dragon sight.

Why does Eragon neglect to mention important events to other characters just because he is confused by them? For example, why doesn’t he mention to anyone that the Ra’zac said Galbatorix had almost found “the name?” Even if he didn’t know what that meant, someone else might have, but he never told anyone! And why does he run away from Tenga?
Eragon ran away from Tenga because . . . well, would you want to hang around a crazy guy who could kill you with a single well-placed (or misplaced) word? Tenga may have been skilled and powerful, but I don’t think Eragon would have learned anything useful from him without spending a lot more time with him, gaining his trust, and Eragon had to get back to the Varden as fast as he could.

I always figured that Eragon *did* mention what the Ra’zac said to Saphira, and perhaps also to Arya.  However, it’s not something the characters can do anything about, nor do they really know what the Ra’zac was talking about, so it seemed like it would end up being a rather pointless conversation. Also, given all the other things happening to and around Eragon, I don’t think he’s spent much time worrying about it.

Could someone create a spell that would kill anyone attempting to manipulate a person by their true name?
I like how you think about magic. You’re right, someone *could* cast a spell that would kill anyone who attempted to meddle with the ancient language. However, what if that person was Eragon himself? What if Eragon discovered the name of the ancient language? Such a spell could very easily end up destroying a friend or ally. Also, if the person you’re trying to kill just happened to be on the other side of Alagaësia, killing them would take so much energy, the effort would end up being fatal for the original magician.

Favorite theory?
For the record, my favorite fan theory so far is that Angela the herbalist is actually Galbatorix. Think about it — makes perfect sense. The problem is, if she’s really the villain, Eragon won’t stand a chance against her!

Did you sort of model the elvin culture after an ancient china type culture? If not, where did you get your idea from?
I didn’t consciously model the elves’ culture on any real world examples. The elves as I have them evolved from my own ideas and preconceptions of elves. And of course I was influenced by many of the fantasy writers I read growing up, such as Raymond E. Feist and Tad Williams, among others.

You say that Galbatorix recruited 13 riders to become the Forsworn and turn on the other Riders. Did some of the Forsworn die during the Fall of the Riders or did all 13 survive to later die by various things such as Brom?
That is a story that will have to wait for another day. 🙂

What was your inspiration for creating the character, Murtagh? Did you always think to have him play the role he has now, an opponent Rider?
Yup, I’ve envisioned Murtagh pretty much the same way ever since the start. There are some interesting bits with him in Book Four, though.

What was your inspiration for the Riders’ swords? Did you always imagine them that way or were they something different before and you just changed them?
Again, the Rider’s swords have always been pretty much the same from the start.

How hard are the eldunari? Are they like fragile glass orbs or a little harder?
The Eldunarí are much harder than glass. More like diamond than anything else. However, they can still fracture if struck forcefully enough or at the right angle.

How would Thorn’s body be different from his current body had he been allowed to grow naturally?
Thorn would be smaller than Saphira if Galbatorix hadn’t interfered with his natural maturation. However, Thorn has a slightly chunkier build than Saphira.

The Rider’s swords were apparently designed to not be affected by most magic. Does Rhunon know which spells do affect the swords, such as specific wards that would block the swords? If so, why has she not told Eragon or Oromis, who already knew they were going up against Murtagh wielding Zar’roc?
Rhunön is smart (and old) but even she can’t anticipate every spell that Murtagh or Galbatorix or any other enemy might invent. Those she does know about, she already managed to circumvent with the enchantments she placed on Brisingr.

The Gedwey Ignasia apparently shows up and whichever hand touches the newly hatched dragon first. But what if the rider touches the dragon with another body part, like an elbow or foot? Would the gedway ignasia appear there, or does it only work for hands?
Yup, the gedwëy ignasia appears wherever you first touch a dragon. So, I’m sure there was some poor Dragon Rider out there with a silvery patch on some horribly awkward or embarrassing place.

IF you HAD to compare Alagaesia to Europe, what year would it be (my guess it between 1200-1319, because you talk about plate armor <invented early 13th century> and Gun powder hasn’t been invented yet <1320>)?
It’s impossible to pick an exact time analog for Alagaësia, since each of the races is at a different level of development. Even among the humans, some are living an almost cave-man like existence in parts of the Spine, while those in Dras-Leona or Urû’baen are far more educated and so-called civilized.

What would a dragon do if they accidentally killed their Rider?
Feel very badly no doubt.

You stated that it’s possible to lie in the ancient language if you truly believe in what you’re saying. What prompted you to create these “holes” in the language’s rules?
I was trying to be interally consistent with the ancient language. The “holes” you’re referring to seem to me entirely logical outcomes of the basic rules of magic as I’ve established them in Alagaësia.

Do elves (and riders) really live forever?
Barring violent death, disease, or sheer depression, elves and dragons theoretically can live forever. And we have seen elves older than a thousand years. Rhunön, for example, has been alive since before the dragon and the elves formed their bond.

What would a Rider’s dragon do if the Rider suffered from amnesia and forgot about the dragon’s existence?
Their dragon would probably work one of their inexplicable pieces of magic and heal his or her Rider. Failing that, I’m sure the dragon would care for the Rider however they could.

Have you considered writing Domia abr Wyrda?
At the moment, I don’t have any immediate plans to write Domia abr Wyrda, but it’s something I may do someday. If I do, it would be written in a first-person narrative, like the excerpts that have already been published in the limited edition of Eldest.

I may write a prequel book about the Forsworn and Brom and Galbatorix’s rise to power, but first, I have to wrap up Book Four!

I don’t have any immediate plans to write a prequel, but, if I ever do, it will probably be either the story of Brom’s life or a story set during the height of the Riders’ power.

More non-Inheritance books? More Inheritance books?
And yes, there will be lots more books. Most of them won’t be set within Alagaësia, but some might.

In one of the books, when Galbatorix was lost in the “wilderness” after losing Jarnunvösk, his first dragon, his magic use is referred to as “black magic sorcery”. Is this the same sort of magic that Durza or Varaug would use, or something entirely different?
Yes, it’s the magic that a Shade would use.

Would Eragon still be outmatched by Galbatorix at this point in the story?
Even by the end of Book Three, Eragon is still seriously outmatched by Galbatorix. Remember, Murtagh is now stronger than Eragon (because of the Eldunarí the king lent him) and Galbatorix is many times stronger than Murtagh.

Where in the series did you deviate furthest from your original plan?
Everything concerning Angela and Elva. Neither of them were in my original plot. Also, splitting the final volume into two separate books. And, something concerning Roran’s and Nasuada’s fates in Book Four, which are now completely different than they once were.

If you could change one thing in any of the books so far, what would it be?
Heh. I’d like to improve their quality, of course.

Where did the idea of the eldunari come from?
I have no idea. It’s been with me since before I started Eragon. For some reason, the concept has always felt *right* to me.

Why are elf children so rare?
Because the elves live for so long. If they had children as often as humans, they would quickly fill up the whole land.

Will we ever encounter an Urgal village? Up until now, we have seen Urgals only as soldiers and heard about them through history books or anecdotes from Nar Garzhvog.
Not in Book Four, although it’s something I’d like to write about in a future book.

If Angela was Galbatorix, why wouldn’t she have already killed Eragon? [This question is in reference to a theory that Christopher has jokingly said is his favorite – the theory that Angela is somehow Galbatorix.]
*If* Angela was Galbatorix, you don’t think that she would admit it to her most dangerous enemy, do you? Also, if she was the villain (and I’m not saying she is) she’d be so twisted and crazy, I wouldn’t dare predict what would or wouldn’t make sense to her. She just might find hanging around Eragon to be a perverse sort of fun.

Is it possible, after a dragon has transferred its consciousness into its Eldunari, and the dragon’s body has died, for the dragon to die because a magician used too much of the dragon’s energy?  If not, will the Eldunari just restart the process of “absorbing” energy for the next few years, until it is saturated once again?
It’s entirely possible to kill a dragon in that matter. Every living creature in Alagaësia needs a certain amount of energy to survive. Take that away and they’ll die.

If only a medium amount of energy was drawn from the Eldunarí, the dragon would be able to “recharge” as you mentioned.

A note on fan fiction:
You are certainly free to write a prequel or any other story that you want set within Alagaësia. However, you can’t sell it or otherwise profit from it, just as you couldn’t write and publish a book about Mickey Mouse, because the Disney company owns the rights to that character.

In many fantasy worlds, metal, or at least certain types of metal, conduct and/or amplify magic…  Is this at all true in Alagasia?  for instance would metal armor heat up more from a magical fire than a normal one, or could a metal cable be used to reduce the amount of strain caused by doing magic over distances?
Unless altered by magic, metal is metal in Alagaësia.

Is Vroengard necessarily part of the Alagaesian continent (your map doesn’t show ocean depth, they could be on separate continental shelves…)?  if not, would going there count as Eragon leaving Alagasia?
Tricky question. No comment.

You mentioned that among the other books you have already planned for after finishing Book, there is one that is set in Alagaesia… Is it set before or after The Inheritance Cycle? Or during, but either from a different POV or a completely separate story line that happens to be concurrent with The Inheritance Cycle?
Book Five (as I think of it) would be set after the events of the Inheritance cyle, would be a single stand-alone book, and would feature both new and old characters.

Were you ever inspired to edit a book slightly because of something a fan mentioned? If so, could you give us some examples?
I have made a few tweaks to Eragon, Eldest, and Brisingr since they were published, but they’ve mainly been just typo corrections and/or subtle alterations to the ancient language to make it more internally consistent.

Questions on Mental combat; As long as you’re completely focused on one thing (Like Roran’s love for Katrina), can no one invade your mind? If they cannot invade your mind, why could Oromis speak to Eragon when he was focusing on his big toe in Eldest? Was it because he wasn’t trying to invade his mind, just sending a message?
(a): Yes. (b) That would work, but you would only be able to maintain the spell for a certain amount of time (energy constraints/patience limits) and, while it was in effect, you wouldn’t be able to do anything else, since you couldn’t *think* of doing anything else.

When someone who attempts to enter (or just detect) the mind of a dragon who’s expelled their eldunari and still has their body, from where will the mind be located?
The dragon’s mind would be detectable in both places. Think of an Eldunarí like a read/write solid-state backup hard drive.

Could someone who’s become a shade have any chance at regaining their body back? Or are their minds lost the moment the shade was born?
It might be possible to save someone who was possessed by spirits, but it would be incredibly difficult, and the experience would forever change the person being saved.

How close are the symbols on the Zar’roc and Brisingr swords in Eragon’s guide to Alagaesia to what you had envisioned?
The symbols are very close, but I prefer the version of the one for Brisingr included among the other glyphs for the ancient language in the Eragon’s Guide book.

Do you read Inheritance fan fiction?
I don’t read it myself, but I’m glad to know that people are having fun playing in Alagaësia.

Did you sneak any hints about Book 4 into Eragon’s Guide to Alagaesia?
A few hints, but mainly in the written sections.

Eragon’s letter in Eragon’s Guide to Alagaesia mentions an unnamed “shadow”. Will this be explained in Book 4?
Heh, no comment.

How much time, if any, do you put into planning the books before you write them?
A *lot* of time. Before writing Brisingr, for example, I wrote a fourteen-page outline detailing every major and not-so-major event in the book. That way, when I sit down to write, I know exactly what’s supposed to happen, and I don’t have to worry about figuring it out on the spot.

You mentioned before in an interview that there would be complications between dragons and the rider they hatched for if they had been touched by another first. As Shruikan was bonded with Galbatorix through dark magic does that mean that if Galbatorix is killed then Shruikan would live because he did not share the usual bond between dragon and rider and would be a free dragon because the spells may be lifted?
Good question. Keep in mind, however, that any dragon might live on past the death of his or her Rider. Most choose not to, but it *is* possible. In Shruikan’s case, it’s hard to say. He isn’t bonded to Galbatorix in the normal way, but he is chained by many spells and oaths in the ancient language, and his mind has undoubtedly been twisted by the experience.

Is Angela a dragon?
Angela a dragon? I like it. However, there’s a slight problem with the idea. Unlike in other fantasy worlds, in Alagaësia, if a person or a creature changes their shape (like a werecat) their mass remains the same. So, if Angela were a dragon, she would be a very tiny one. (Not impossible, mind you, only . . . rather peculiar. Which fits her character, I suppose.)

It’s said that dragons could be huge and mistaken for mountains. Does this mean that there are still more dragons left in Alagaesia that are overlooked because their size imitates nature?
No comment.

How numerous are werecats in Alagaesia and where do they most often live?
Not that numerous, and wherever pleases them.

Since Eragon has admitted that without the dragon transformation Roran would be far strongest than he is wouldn’t Roran be nearly unstoppable if the same transformation happened to him?
Roran is pretty much unstoppable now, don’t you think? I mean, look at what he did to all those soldiers in Brisingr! . . . You’re right, if he was as strong and as fast as Eragon, I don’t think anyone other than Galbatorix could stand up to him.

What are the spirits consisting shades? And since magicians can control these spirits to create a shade why can’t they control them after they have formed the shade?
Spirits are matrices of self-organized, self-aware, cohesive energy. In other words, they’re thinking balls of lightning. Or light. Or heat. Or however you want to define energy. When a magician summons spirits, he or she binds them with spells and with the strength of their will. If the spells are badly worded, or if the magician’s will falters, then the spirits can break free and take control. Once the spirits form a Shade, they’re immune to that sort of outside interference, since the spirits are now bonded to the flesh of the person they’ve possessed.

If Eragon found the true name of a natural element could he be able to use it to destroy Galbatorix?
Probably not. He already knows the names of many elements. Remember in Book One, when Arya names silver in the ancient language? (“Arget”)

What happens if before a rider dies he transfers his consciousness to his/her dragon? Because the consciousness of a dragon and rider is one will that mean that if the dragon decides to transfer its consciousness to the eldunari the rider’s consciousness will also be in the eldunari?
That’s a very, very interesting question, and one that deserves a story to examine it properly. (For the record, there *is* a way to transfer consciousnesses that’s proven to work in Alagaësia, but it has nothing to do with Riders.)

How did you manage to come up with all those different names?
Wordplay, historical names, and using the rules of my invented languages.

Why is the series called the Inheritance Cycle? Will the Inheritance part come up in the 4th book?
Because the whole series is about the younger generation (Eragon, Arya, Saphira, Nasuada, Roran, Orik, etc.) inheriting the roles and responsibilities of their parents.

How do you decide which parts are taken out of the story?
This one is easier: you take out all the boring bits. Or, at least, that’s what you try to do. If I put in every single detail about Eragon’s day-to-day routine, it would be incredibly boring. So, I don’t write about him opening every door, walking to every room, chewing every bite of food. You get the idea. Basically, if you can understand a story without something (description, dialogue, etc.) then cut, cut, cut.

Are there more Ra’zac or Lethrblaka over the sea/where they came from?

How old was Oromis when he was killed?  I don’t think an exact number of years is ever mentioned?
Very old. Hundreds of years.

About how old were “children” when they were first exposed to dragon eggs?
Usually between ten and fifteen. Before puberty was preferred.

P.S. The ages I gave were for human children. For elves, of course, it would be older, usually around twenty.

Why was Varaug so much stronger than Durza?
He was new and fresh and had more spirits within him. (Durza only had three or four, I believe; Varaug had dozens.)

If a rider were to become a Shade, would his/her dragon be controlled too, or would they just go insane?  And would they still be bonded to the rider or would it “break”?
It would take more than that to break the bond between Rider and dragon. However, I think that the dragon would probably kill his or her Rider rather than allow them to spread evil through the land. Not a happy situation either way.

Were there ever any multicolored dragons?
Yup. And some neon pink ones too.

I know you’ve been hard at work on the Inheritance Cycle for many years now, but I wonder if you’ve come across scenes or bits of dialogue that you love but just don’t fit this story?
All the time. I usually go ahead and write them anyway and then cut them during the editing process. Or, I find another story to use them in, either in Alagaësia or somewhere else. And your professor is right; save everything. I have a file full of deleted scenes . . . it’s over two hundred pages long at the moment.

Do you find you have to somewhat compromise your work to make it more “marketable” for the publishers?
The only compromise I make is to soften some of the violence because I know I do have some younger readers. Other than that, I write what I want and I don’t let anyone else tell me what can or can’t be in my books.

Since Brom is safely tucked away in the diamond tomb, could Eragon, given enough power from elundari, bring him back to life?
Good question. It *will* be addressed in Book Four, but perhaps not how you expect.

At the time of the Fall of the Riders, other than Galbatorix and the Forsworn, how many Riders and Dragons were there, approximately?
I haven’t figured out an exact number, but it was in the hundreds, if you count the wild dragons as well. Alagaësia couldn’t support too many dragons, though. They would eat everything otherwise.

I know that he’s Galbatorix’s slave, but he really is a good person. Considering what Galbatorix has done to him/forced him to do, would he join the Varden now if he was freed? I’m not asking if he does, only if he would.
If Murtagh were freed now, I think he would just want some time alone with Thorn to make peace with everything that’s happened to the two of them.

Would killing Galbatorix free Murtagh, or would it kill him, too?
No comment.

Does Murtagh still think he and Eragon are full brothers?

Murtagh seems to be Alagaesia’s punching bag…all the worst stuff happened to him. Was he inspired by real people/experiences in your life, or is he just the hero with all the problems? What did inspire you to create that character? Are we supposed to feel sorry for him?
Murtagh wasn’t inspired by anyone in particular. I think people should empathize with him — but not too much, necessarily. You’ll be happy to hear, there’s a lot more Murtagh in Book Four.

Would you get in trouble for releasing titles/book info? Or are you just an anti-spoiler?

Angela: Is she currently, or has she ever been, involved in sorcery?
I’m sure she’s tried her hand at it. (The character, that is, not my sister.)

Do your religious views influence the writing of your books? Or are you just all, “hey, this is fantasy, anything can happen!”?
The views of my characters are not necessarily my own views. I just enjoy placing my characters in interesting situations and exploring interesting questions.

I know that your sister inspired you for the character of Angela. Were any other characters inspired by people that are close to you? If so which characters?
Brom and Roran were partially based on my dad. And Eragon started out as a version of me. Other than that, I haven’t based characters on real people.

Are dragons ever born incapable of flying?
Maybe once in a very long while, but it would be incredibly rare.

How old was the youngest rider when the dragon chose him/her?
Not sure. Haven’t thought about it before.

Are there any vampire like creatures in Alagaesia?
Yes . . . and no. That’s a subject for a future story.

When are elves considered adults?
Depends. As with humans, some elves mature faster than others. They probably wouldn’t be considered a full adult, though, until they were at least sixty. If even then.

Angela is my favorite character, but something doesn’t seem right (as far as her abilities go). First of all, I remember how she literally decimated Kull with the huthvir. Also, it is interesting how she managed to poison the Empire’s food during the Battle of the Burning Plains. Is she more powerful than she seems because of the potions she drinks or is there something you can’t tell us yet about her?
There is a lot more to Angela than meets the eye. If you like her, you’re in for a treat with Book Four. Angela gets several crowning moments of awesomeness therein.

What’s the funniest scene you wrote in any of the Inheritance books?
Anything having to do with Angela and Solembum I think. Although Saphira getting drunk near the beginning of Eldest is one of my favorite scenes.

Do dragon’s colors run in families?
The colors do tend to run in families, just like hair color in humans.

How old is Vanir?
Youngish for an elf, old for a human. Older than Arya, though.