Today marks nine years since the release of ELDEST, the second book in the Inheritance Cycle! In 2005, the year Eldest released, the series was still known as the Inheritance trilogy. It wasn’t until half way through writing Brisingr that Christopher realized the need for splitting the final book into two.
Upon its release and in the years since, Eldest has gone on to sell millions of copies and mark a permanent spot on the book shelves of many fantasy and young adult fans. It was an exciting year leading up to the book’s release, as announcements were made containing the book’s title, cover, page count and more, as well as hints at spoilers, lots of interviews, title rumors and more!
We’ve compiled some of the best news and articles from before and after the release of Eldest. These articles will take you back in time to witness the excitement fans experienced as all of these announcements were made and as Eldest reached previously-impossible milestones.
Pre-release announcements and excitement
- Rumored swirled about the title of then-unknown “Eldest”… Bubbles for Buckfish?! – Kenneth Paolini teased fans as rumors flew that the book would be called Eldest, announcing that the book could be called “Empire, Bubbles for Buckfish, or something else”!
- Nasuada will lead the Varden! – Kenneth Paolini, Christopher’s father, dropped quite the reveal: he announced in September, 2004 that Nasuada would lead the Varden.
- Christopher announces that he has finished writing “Eldest” – In a brief but exciting statement, Christopher announced that he had completed writing Eldest on at 9:30am on December 19th, 2004 – nine months ahead of the book’s release!
- The cover releases! – The cover of Eldest, featuring John Jude Palencar’s illustration of Thorn, was released to the world nearly seven months ahead of the book’s release! Fans were thrilled to see another dragon joining the series.
- The synopsis releases! – Perhaps the most exciting pre-Eldest event was the release of the book’s official synopsis! “Darkness falls… despair abounds… evil reigns…”
- The first except from “Eldest” was released! – Up until the release of the first excerpt from Eldest, fans had little more than the book’s synopsis to go on. Christopher has always been a tight lipped author! The excerpt, from the chapter ‘Council of Elders’, teased the suffering Eragon was experiencing from the scar on his back.
- Random House announces that “Eldest” would exceed 700 pages – Fans were thrilled with the news that Eldest would be over 700 pages long, nearly 200 pages longer than Eragon. More pages equals more adventures!
- Hundreds of book stores hold midnight release parties around the USA – Eldest was quite a phenomenon, perhaps then only rivaled by Harry Potter. Tens of thousands of fans were set to line up around the country at various midnight release parties, all of which provided activities, contests, and raffles!
- “Eldest” releases! – The Shur’tugal crew’s post announcing the release of Eldest, titled “…and it has released!”, was one of the all-time most viewed posts on Shur’tugal!
- “Eldest” achieves record sales – Eldest sells over 425,000 copies in its first week on sale in North America! During the announcement, the book’s publisher also announced an additional printing of 500,000 copies, upping the total amount of copies in print in the first week to 1.8 million in North America alone!
- Some copies of “Eldest” shipped with other books inside! – Fans were shocked to open their copies of Eldest only to discover that 32 pages of Inkspell, a fantasy novel by Cornelia Funke which was not set to release until several months later, filled the inside of the book.
- “Eldest” knocked “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince” from the #1 spot in its first week – Harry Potter books were, and still are, massive. Understandably, the recently-released Harry Potter 6 was dominating the best-seller charts in the week after its release. However, Eldest was able to knock Harry Potter 6 to the 2nd best seller spot in the first week of its release – an impressive feat for any book!
- The Inheritance Cycle, including Eldest has sold over roughly 38 million copies since its release in 2009
- Eldest has been released in over 49 languages in 125 different countries
- Eldest contained 704 pages, a massive change compared to Eragon‘s 509 pages
- Eldest spent over 100 weeks on the New York Times best-seller list (before the Shur’tugal staff stopped tracking it)
- Fans waited one year, eleven months and 28 days from Eragon‘s release to the release of Eldest
We invite you to join us in celebrating the nine years since the release of Eldest on this special day!
Now we ask: What is your favorite scene from Eldest? Do you remember your biggest theory for what would happen in Eldest? Did you purchase the book at a midnight release? Let us know in the comments!