Happy Seventh Anniversary, Shur’tugal!

In 2003, the Paolini family’s dream came true: their son Christopher, then only 19 years old, had just sold the rights to his first novel to Random House, one of the most prominent book publishers in the world. Later that year, at the age of fourteen, I was given a copy of Eragon to read by a friend and instantly fell in love. It was that December during winter break that I began work on what was to become Shurtugal.com, a hobby project I used to occupy my free time. Shur’tugal went on to officially launch on March 5th, 2004.

Today marks Shur’tugal’s seven year anniversary. The website has changed dramatically from where it was seven years ago – a small website run by a very inexperienced teen – and its audience has grown substantially. Since 2004 we’ve managed to become the official Inheritance Cycle fan site and we now receive over 430,000 unique visitors per month. We’ve experienced the release of two additional best sellers in the series. We witnessed the series expand from a trilogy to a cycle. We cringed through painful movie and video game adaptations. I personally published my first book, the official companion guide to the Inheritance cycle, at the age of twenty-one. Most recently, I launched a fantasy and science fiction blog and news website. It’s been a great seven years! (Continue reading for the rest of our open letter!)

Many of you ask us what will become of Shur’tugal once Book 4 releases. Will we close our doors? Will we let the site grow old and outdated? Consider this our official announcement: Shur’tugal will not close its doors and will not grow old and outdated. Shur’tugal will “transform” into a website that follows Christopher’s career as he pursues new ventures, including any and all of the books he’s been teasing us about for years. Shur’tugal will continue to flourish as a community of hundreds of thousands of Inheritance and Paolini fans.

I dreamed big and it has gotten me this far and because of that, I plan on dreaming big for years to come. I hope to make the next year on Shur’tugal our best and most entertaining yet. I plan to make the internet and community side of the Book 4 launch the most exciting release we’ve experienced to date. I’ll cross my fingers that when I flip to the last page of Book 4, I may see myself in the acknowledgments (one of my “dreams” from the past seven years). I’ll also cross my fingers in hopes that even more of you pick up and enjoy The Inheritance Almanac while preparing for Book 4. I hope that Lytherus continues to grow and flourish. Most importantly, I hope that you all continue to visit, enjoy yourselves, and enjoy reading.

I’ve always aspired to offer the best community I can within my own means. I’ve worked hard because I truly enjoy the community we’ve built together. I work hard for the fans who take the time to visit daily, weekly, or monthly; the fans who leave comments, wish us the best and thank us for our hard work; the fans who endlessly debate and theorize even the most esoteric things from the books; the fans who are truly fans. I work hard to thank those who have supported me over the past seven years, from my family to the Paolinis to my great friends at Random House. I continue to work on Shur’tugal because I truly love what I do.

I owe my eternal gratitude to my family and friends for their love and support; Christopher for the brilliant book, his endless supply of interviews, and his passion for crafting an extraordinary fantasy universe for his fans to submerge themselves in; the entire Paolini family for their passion, dedication, support, and friendship; Simon Lipskar at Writers House for his guidance, help, support, and the laughs; Judith Haut, Michelle Frey, and the entire Random House Children’s team for giving me a chance in the beginning and for working with and supporting Shur’tugal every day since; and you guys, for visiting and supporting the website for seven years.

Fortunately we’re far from the end, with Book 4 still around the corner and many more books incoming from Christopher in the future. I’m looking forward to the ride and cannot be more thrilled that we’re all in this for the long haul. It’s been a great seven years and will be an even more exciting future!

Thanks, and “happy birthday”, Shur’tugal!