It’s hard to believe that today marks eleven years since the release of Eragon! That’s over a decade of dragons. Last year, a special 10th anniversary collector’s edition of Eragon was released to celebrate the book’s milestone. The book, which is still available, features a faux textured blue leather cover and binding complete with a new gold-plated book cover design and text. The interior of the book features a letter from Christopher discussing the journey to and after the release of Eragon, his influences, and the impact the series has had on his life. Perhaps most exciting, the book features six stunning illustrations from five world renowned fantasy artists as well as Christopher Paolini himself. You can learn more about the book on our special 10th anniversary collector’s edition page!
Eragon was originally self-published in 2002 by the Paolini family, but the widely-recognized edition of the book was first published by Random House Children’s Books in 2003. Random House first discovered Eragon thanks to the stepson of Carl Hiaasen, who purchased, read, and enjoyed the self-published edition of Eragon while vacationing in Montana. Hiassen’s stepson shared the book with the author who then shared the book with his editor at Random House. The rest is history.
The book’s early success and traction within the young adult community has been attributed to two things: the young age at which Christopher wrote Eragon and the inclusive and original style in which Eragon was written. Fan communities started popping up all over the internet shortly after the book’s launch, with Shur’tugal releasing not far after in March, 2004 (an earlier Shur’tugal release at the end of 2003 was scrapped following technical issues).
Because Shur’tugal launched shortly after the book’s release, we don’t have many pre-launch news stories to share with you. Instead, we have a preview of what Shur’tugal and the community looked like one decade ago:
To help you journey back in time to get a feel for what the Inheritance community used to be like, here are some highlighted news posts from the website’s early days (just a few months after the release of Eragon):
- Welcome to Shur’tugal! – Shur’tugal officially launched on March 5, 2004 after months in development.
- A new edition of Eragon is in the works! – Christopher teased a new edition of Eragon, later revealed as the Deluxe Edition of Eragon, in his Alagaesia Newsletter.
- Eragon continues to dominate the best-seller charts – Eragon was at its 28th week on the best-sellers charts as of this blog entry.
- Paolini family warns of Christopher impersonators – The internet had trolls back then, too! The Paolini family had to warn fans that individuals purporting to be Christopher were not the author.
- The Eragon Deluxe Edition was officially revealed! – Eragon was the first in what would become a regular series of Deluxe Editions, each containing special and exclusive content.
- An Eragon video game was announced! – The Eragon video game was first announced (later revealed to be a pretty lousy game).
- Kenneth Paolini teases names for the second book – Teasing fans and rumors, Kenneth Paolini revealed that the second book could be titled “Bubbles” or “Buckfish”!
To celebrate today’s milestone, here are some interesting facts about Eragon and the Inheritance Cycle:
- Plans to create the infamous Eragon movie were first announced in 2004 with a subsequent release in December, 2006.
- Despite being an unknown author and completely new to the young adult market, Eragon was the third best-selling children’s hardcover book in 2003 and the second best-selling children’s paperback in 2005.
- The book spent over 121 weeks on the best seller list. Because of the New York Times’ best seller list rules, series with more than two books are combined into one listing, leading Eragon‘s tracking to end prematurely. Eragon achieved many bestselling milestones, including:
- #1 New York Times Bestseller
- #1 Publishers Weekly Bestseller
- Wall Street Journal Bestseller
- USA Today Bestseller
- Book Sense Bestseller
- Eragon has won a number of awards, including (but not limited to) Texas Lone Star Reading List, 2004-5; Book Sense Book of the Year, 2004; Rebecca Caudill Young Readers’ Book Award, 2006; The New York Times Best Seller, No. 1; USA Today Best Seller; Publishers Weekly Best Seller; Wall Street Journal Best Seller, 2005
- Mike Macauley, owner of Shurtugal.com, launched the website at the age of 14, a year younger than Christopher when he first wrote Eragon!
We invite you to join us in celebrating the eleven year anniversary of the release of Eragon on this special day!