In the second of our three-part Reddit AMA recap, Christopher reveals his original plans for the end of Inheritance (two fan-favorite characters were meant to die), the gender of his upcoming scifi novel’s main character, his favorite video games, heaps of writing advice, and much more!
Earlier this week, Christopher took to the popular internet community Reddit to host an AMA, or “Ask Me Anything,” allowing readers of the r/Fantasy sub-Reddit to submit questions for the author to answer!
Yesterday we released part one of our AMA recap, which contained new details on the original ending of Inheritance, Book V hints, a surprise appearance from author Brandon Sanderson, and much more!
The original AMA thread is still available, but we’ve compiled a list of questions and answers for easy browsing!
“After reading the books again after finishing Inheritance for the first time, I found the chapter that describes Eragon having a dream about the very end of the book. Since so much happened in between writing the first parts of the first book and the last chapters of the final book, was it difficult molding that chapter of Inheritance to fit the description of Eragon’s dream? Did you ever want to end the series a different way than you had first envisioned? In the same vein, how much did you deviate from your original ideas? What changed the most from the first concepts to the final draft?”
Christopher answered: “Yup, it was a little tricky to do what you mentioned. Originally, Eragon and Arya were going to leave together, so figuring out how to still have them on the ship, as in Eragon’s dream, took a bit of fancy footwork. It all worked out in the end, though. Literally. 😀
Quote a few things changed from the original outline. Specifically: Roran was going to end up king, Eragon and Arya were going to leave together, and Murtagh and Thorn were going to die in the final battle.”
Oh, also Islanzadí wasn’t going to die (since Arya was leaving with Eragon).
u/SoOromis asked: ” 1. So, how long young Dragonriders of the past may stay as students? 2. If elvish children can try to get dragon when they turn 20, is this mean, that they grow up slowly, than humans? 3. How many students Oromis have, before Morzan and Brom? 4. Is it possible to heal illness like Oromis’es, if you now the Name of the Ancient launguage? 5. Is it hard to have long relationships with somebody, if you a Dragonrider? Can dragon jealous much and ruin it? 6. What was most dangerous in Alagesia in time of rhe Order, before Galbatorix and before humans arrived? 7. How tall humans of Alagesia? 8. What colour of the dragon can’t exist or so rare? 9. Is it possible, that somewhere beyond the borders of Alagesia can live sea dragons or ice dragons?”
u/YourElf asked: “One of my favourite characters is Durza and I’d like to know more about the race to which he belongs. Is it possible to expel spirits from the body of person and save him? Who was the prototype this character? Why he didn’t try to depose the king, if he was a canny and power-hungry person? Are shades immortal?”
u/TheEdgeofShadow asked: “What books are you reading at the moment? What television shows or movies have you watched recently? What video games are you playing? Will the two women from Brisingr and Tenga the hermit have a role in Book V? Is it possible to guess as to who or what Angela is using the books? Has anybody gotten the answer right that you’ve seen?
u/OliverSmith25 asked: “So what is the faelnírv recipe??”
u/alex-salad asked: “1. Who was the opponent that brom couldn’t defeat ?
2. How did Bron defeat Morzan and a dragon?
3. Wouldn’t Morzan have eldunari?
4. Why did Hefring betray them?
5. How did Galbatorix use magic and control Murtagh’s mind at such a great distance without being able to see what he was doing?
6. Oromis was able to touch Eragon’s mind and Galbatorix was able to control Murtagh when they were far away. Eragon and Saphira can barely talk to each other when they are a few miles apart, so how could Oromis/Galbatorix do that?
7. On the door to Galbatorix’s chamber there are creatures that Eragon does not recognize, what are they? Will will be introduced to all sorts of new creatures in book 5?
8. It seems that the most useful and dangerous spells on battle are the ones that do no damage, why was this something that was not taught to Eragon by anybody?
9. Where did the tablet with the name of names come from?
10. When Murtagh begins the fight with Galbatorix 12 orbs fly away from him, what were they?
11. When Eragon and Murtagh talk Umaroth warns Murtagh not to visit the barrows of Anghelm and the ruins of Vroengard and El-harim,why?
12. What is the story of Kulkarvek the one and only Urgal king?
13. If Arya could have seen the depth of Eragon’s feelings for her in his true name why couldn’t he do the same with hers?”
u/IshouldstudyFC asked: “Unlike some characters who have a distinct roles and critical responsibilities in Alagaesia by the end of the series, Murtagh’s opportunities now seem endless. Are you satisfied with the way you left things with Murtagh?”
u/Jakuskrzypk asked: “What was your idea with the infamous thermodynamics defying river?”
u/SupersuMC asked: “1. “…and visions beset him of a circular stone city that stood in the center of an endless plain and of a small girl who wandered among the narrow, winding alleys within and who sang a haunting melody.” -Brisingr 1st Edition (2008), page 252 … Is this a premonition of events in Book 5?
2. Did Galbatorix use the same “Tactical Nuke” spell, Be Not!, that Thuviel used in Doru Araeba? What were Galbatorix’s and Thuviel’s masses? E^2 =mc^2 *pc^2 <- Trying to figure out the energy output of the blast, and I’m pretty sure some part of them was moving, so the p is there to represent the momentum, which is also needed.
3. Based on the description of the werecats’ shifting later on in Eldest, was the she-wolf Eragon encountered in Ellesméra “werewolf,” or is it a wolf or woman affected by the forest’s magic in such a way? If the former, how rare are they in comparison to humans (and werecats)? If the latter, which was it before the magic affected it?
u/molmcmahon asked: “Have there been any cases in Rider history where the council gave a Rider another dragon egg due to the Rider’s first dragon dying?”
u/dibblah asked: “How do you feel, looking back at the books you wrote when you were younger? I know often I look back at teenage me and cringe. Did you have moments whilst writing the later books where you looked back and cursed your teenage self?”
u/owen_bower asked: “I saw on your Twitter that you intend to write a fifth novel. Would it be about Eragon, Murtagh and Thorn, a new Rider, or maybe about Brom’s earlier life? Also did Roran ever end up building his castle on the hill in Carvahall?”
u/sgasperino89 asked: “I have to say I was disappointed in the ending of Inheritance. I understand that you wrote the ending to fulfill the prophecy, but it felt so incredibly forced. I’ve always noticed in my writings that the characters end up taking on a voice of their own after a while. The ending seemed like you ignored the voices that the characters had taken for themselves and shoehorned them into the ending you wanted to happen. Did you have similar feelings about it? or did it feel 100% natural to you?”
Christopher Paolini answered: The funny thing about the ending is that it’s pretty different from the one I originally planned — and for the very reason you cited: because I listened to the characters. Originally: Eragon and Arya were going to leave together, Roran was going to end up king, Murtagh and Thorn were going to die in the final battle, and Islanzadí was going to live. However — in my opinion — that would have broken Arya’s character, made Roran terribly unhappy (all he wanted was to go home), been incredibly unfair to Nasuada, and also been unfair to Murtagh and Thorn.
However, it’s subjective, and I can totally understand why the ending may not have worked for you. All I can say is that it worked for me, and it’s possible that Book V may make you feel somewhat differently about it. Or not. But I do hope you read it!
u/Rider_of_Moonlight: “Can you tell us anything about the new Science Fiction Project? The gender of the main character? Is it based off of Joseph Campbell’s the Hero’s Journey?”
u/Kitbixby asked: “Can you even melt rider swords?”
u/AssassinCaleb asked: “How did you keep your characters and events consistent throughout the series?”
u/LOLmouseLOL asked: “What, storyline wise, has been the hardest part of writing the Eragon books?”
u/BadassRipley asked: “What did you enjoy most about drawing Alagaësia? What did you find most difficult? And finally, what are your thoughts on maps in other fantasy novels/series?”
u/FueldByTesla asked: “I’m in the process of writing a story, but my biggest problem is working up the energy to sit down and write every day. Ive gotten to a point where the thoughts just aren’t flowing as they did when I was establishing the setting. For example, every time I think about what to write for this one fairly important scene my brain just goes blank, I get frustrated, and I stop. What do you do to get around this?
Other than that, any other pointers you’d be willing to share in terms of writing, character development, world building, or writing style? Im always looking to improve.”
u/hlynn117 asked: “What are the top 3 ways you’ve changed as a writer/person since you wrote Eragon? How do you think this is influencing your current project(s)?”
u/Tomorrow_Maybe asked: “How do you respond to comparisons between your work and the plot of Star Wars?”
u/extreme_cuisine asked: “How did your parents support you in your quest to be an author? How did they or you deal with naysayers? If the book writing thing hadn’t worked out, what was their or your Plan B?”
u/Britboy55 asked: “You obviously wrote this incredibly young, so how do you feel going back to looking at your early story telling and world building now?”
u/dragon_morgan asked: “I was wondering if you could tell me more about the experience of publishing a book at a young age and how it differs from publishing books later as a full adult, and if you had any advice for aspiring teen writers?”
u/beckbat asked: “What’s your favourite fantasy trope to write? Your least favourite to read?”
u/TheKilla88 asked: “1. This summer I saw some of your handwritten manuscripts for Eldest and Brisingr on display in Seattle at the fantasy exhibit in the EMP. I was wondering how often you hand wrote your drafts as opposed to typing on the computer, and why you would choose the hand write over type when typing might be faster. 2. I’m not sure if this has been made public or you’re reading to announce this at all, but can you estimate how long your next sci-fi novel will be?”
Christopher answered: “Cool! I’ve never made it to the museum myself. One of these days . . . Anyway, I don’t write my fiction by hand these days. For whatever reason, my brain seems to work better with my fingers on a keyboard. However, I do all my plotting by hand — something about holding a pen activates different creative pathways, which is useful when working out the basic structure of a story.
Long. It’s longer than Eldest at the moment, although that’s subject to change as the edits/rewrites proceed.
Thanks for reading the books!”
u/SOMMARTIDER asked: “1. Hi! Have you ever visited Sweden? What do you think about our country? Any future visits planned? 2. Is it possible do get an autographed book from you in any way beside meeting you at convention etc? 3. Is there a cover of Eragon you prefer? I really, really like the Swedish cover. The american one seems a bit.. boring! 4. What kind of movies do you like? Anyone you are looking forward to this year? 5. What is your favorite book genre?”
u/Itazu_Dragon asked: “You spoke about how you enjoy webcomics when you’re not busy writing. What webcomics are you currently enjoying?”
u/LordVincenteSilva asked: “Whats the genre and/or artist of music you most like?”
u/TheCanadianDiscus asked: “1. What was a book you read recently that really blew you away? 2. Which authors would you say have been your most important influences?”
Be sure to check out parts one, three, four, and five of Christopher’s AMA round-up!