First Post-Brisingr Interview with Christopher Paolini

Mike Macauley sat down for an exclusive interview with Christopher Paolini shortly after the release of Brisingr. All questions were submitted by Inheritance Cycle fans on Shurtugal.com.

INTERVIEW AUDIO

INTERVIEW TRANSCRIPT

Mike: I’m here with Christopher Paolini, and he is going to sit down and answer our Brisingr questions this week, and we’ve got a bunch from… Christopher, we had over 400 questions submitted. And that was only in a 3 day period. So…

CP: Wow! Thanks for having me.

Mike: Oh. Absolutely. So I think our first question we got a few times was: What was the specific point of bringing in and then killing the Shade at the end of the book?

CP: You mean when was it that I actually decided to do that, or. . .


Mike:
No, I think the person means more… was there a specific point to the plot other than, you know, to bring in another enemy to. . .


CP:
Ah! Ah!


Mike:
Yeah.


CP:
Yeah. Well, part of it . . . it was a combination of two separate . . . two separate decisions. One . . . because I had to find a . . . sort of an ending for the book that I hadn’t actually planned on, you know, ending a book here. I needed some events that were strong enough to hold reader interest through the ending of the book, and that were big enough to end the book on. Also, since, I guess I can actually talk about the spoilers now . . . now that the book is out.


Mike:
[Laughs]


CP:
[Laughs] But since . . . since the point of view shifts were also shifting to Glaedr and Oromis during Eragon’s battle, I needed something that would be, if not equally as momentous as Glaedr and Oromis’ confrontation with Thorn and Murtagh, at least somewhat as exciting to keep reader interest. And, on top of all that, it seemed to me, you know, in a way, nice to have Arya confront a Shade in the way that Eragon had in the first book, and, part of that is just wanting them both to be on equal footing to a certain degree. But also the fact that she never actually got to . . . to do in Durza as she certainly deserved to. So it was a combination of different elements.


Mike:
I think what I liked about it most was how from the first book, you know, Arya and Saphira helped Eragon defeat Durza, and now it’s a complete 180 and the other way around so that they’re almost complimenting each other now. And it . . .


CP:
Yeah. That’s what I was trying to do. And also . . .


Mike:
Right.


CP:
I wanted to show how a Shade could be brought into existence. Obviously this is . . . this isn’t the only way, it could happen just with one sorcerer. But this . . . this is certainly one of the ways, and I did want to show that.


Mike:
That was . . . It was definitely a really cool scene, so I was excited to see that. Immediately once I . . . once I figured out what was going on I was very excited. Okay. Next question: What did the Menoa Tree want from Eragon in return for the Brightsteel? Has she already taken it, and if so, what did she take?


CP:
Oh Boy. That’s a difficult question for me to answer without spoiling something for the future. Let’s just say that it’s a good question, but not really one that I can answer at the moment. And something I – sort of on a – not . . . not exactly related to this, but this reminds me, one of the things I did in Brisingr . . . and I think I’ve mentioned it in some earlier articles or interviews, is I’ve threaded a few little scenes and . . . and elements and clues in this book that are actually the set up for some other stories I may write in the future. Well . . . Maybe people will pick that out. Maybe not.


Mike:
Well, that’s a little tease and I know that there’s going to be people who immediately go and start, you know, start trying to figure those out.


CP:
What about this? What about that?


Mike:
That is cool to hear.


CP:
No. No. I deliberately left going back to your question, I deliberately left that scene somewhat ambiguous for very good reasons.


Mike:
Well, I know that it’s the centre of many theories already. [CP laughs] I’ve been really, really keeping my eye out, ‘cause I knew we’d have to be doing an interview soon, and that’s one of the first ones I saw, so…Good answer. I knew . . . I knew . . . I had a feeling, but anyway. Anyway . . .


CP:
Don’t worry, some day down the road everyone’s gonna go, “Oooohhh!”


Mike:
[Laughs] Oh, quite the tease. All right, I don’t know if you’ll be able to answer this one. There’s a few of these in here that you might not be able to answer, but we figured, ask them anyway. It can’t hurt to ask. So that would be: Are we finally going to get some Murtagh point-of-view in Book Four?


CP:
I’m not going to answer that specifically. But I mean we will see, I think it’s safe to say, we will see a lot more of Murtagh in the fourth book. He’s sort of been by the side of the story for Eldest and . . . and Brisingr. Obviously, he’s very important, but we haven’t seen that much of him because every time he shows up he’s trying to kill Eragon or . . . to capture Eragon or Saphira. But, he will definitely have a much larger role in the last book. Hopefully people will enjoy it.


Mike:
Well, that sounds good. I know . . . it’s really funny . . . I’m not sure if you’ve ever heard of it, but there’s this giant Murtagh following online. The, you know, the fangirls, they call themselves stuff like Murtagh Fangirls, and it’s actually scary how dedicated these people are to one character.


CP:
Well, I have noticed that on book tour a lot of fans and a lot of female fans have really asked me to not kill Murtagh in the last book, and they . . . they’re very…they’re very concerned about that. Of course, I may or may not; I’m not going to answer that. [Mike laughs] But, I do have a number of surprises up my sleeve, so . . . we’ll see.


Mike:
Well, that is good. That makes me want to ask another question, but, we . . . I have it somewhere else and I wanna try to keep them in this order that I’ve got, so I’ll have to bite my tongue, but, you’re going to have to bear with me here, but I’m not the greatest at pronouncing certain words, so there’s a few of them I’m looking ahead in the question list, and I already know I’m gonna mess them up, but I just wanted to give you a heads up that you just might have to help me a bit. The first question that isn’t going to throw me off, is: Will we be seeing Tenga again?


CP:
Again, these are great questions, but I can’t really answer it without spoiling something in the story.


Mike:
You’re not going to be able to answer the next question, I’m sure, but I’m going to ask it anyway, and this is one of the one’s I’m not going to be able to pronounce. Will we happen to see Naegling, I think, is that how you pronounce it? The sword of . . .


CP:
Yes. [Transcriber’s note: Yes in response to the pronunciation question, not the question itself.]


Mike:
Okay.


CP:
I . . . [Hesitation] Boy, these are tough questions. I’m not sure if I wanna give anymore answers or information about that. [Pause] No, actually, I don’t think I will do. [Laugh] Again, these are . . . you know you’ve asked a good question when I can’t answer it.


Mike:
Right.


CP:
Let’s put it that way.


Mike:
Well, I mean . . . that’s just another one of the, you know, the theories that are flying about, and I personally would love to see it recovered, but I was also a big fan of Glaedr and Oromis so anything, you know, to keep them around some more. But . . . Okay, the next question, is a good one, I think: How could Galbatorix possess Murtagh in the Battle of Feinster?


CP:
Well actually they were at Gil’ead.


Mike:
Oh. Okay.


CP:
Well, it can be done in a number of ways. If you remember in Eldest, when Eragon was asking Arya when they were floating on the barges toward Ellesméra, and he was asking her about how far away she could communicate with someone with . . . with telepathy.


Mike:
Right.


CP:
This was related to why she didn’t just contact her, you know, queen Izlanzadí in Ellesméra from a distance, which, of course, she can’t . . . no one could because of the wards, the magical wards protecting the forest. And Arya said something to the effect that she could from their position in the Beor Mountains, if she wanted, she could communicate with someone all the way on the cross . . . side of Alagaësia. Telepathy takes very little energy. It becomes increasingly difficult to isolate and locate the mind you want at great distances, and it . . . that’s one of the problems Eragon and Saphira have as they . . . as they, sort of, move apart they lose contact with each other, and that’s something they obviously don’t have as much experience with as Arya, and I think Arya would probably use some spell to augment her communication if she were communicating with someone- contacting someone- at that great a distance. So there was that thought that certainly Galbatorix could do something with his mind and probably with a spell or two. But, on top of that, if you remember Murtagh had in his possession several of the dragon hearts – heart of hearts, the Eldunarí, and it’s entirely possible Galbatorix is able to contact Murtagh through those Eldunarí, using his own Eldunarí. There’s a number . . . there’s a number of different ways he could do it and, you know, even if his own physical strength wouldn’t be enough to do it, certainly all the strength and power and energy he has access to from the dragon hearts would allow him to do it.


Mike:
That leads into another question actually. It’s just a small question. I’m not sure you’ll be able to answer it, but: Do we have any idea how many Eldunarí Galbatorix does possess?


CP:
I don’t want to give a specific figure here, but I think you would have to imagine that he had the majority, assuming, of the dragons that were alive when he began his insurrection. Obviously, some of those hearts he wasn’t able to get; the dragons died and the hearts were still in their body, or the dragon destroyed their heart before letting Galbatorix get his hands on it. But you’d have to imagine that Galbatorix got his hands on at least a good chunk of them, uh, perhaps ¾’s of the dragons that were alive then, so . . . it would be a substantial number.


Mike:
All right, um… sorry, I have to actually keep muting my microphone to, uh, cough, so I’m hoping it’s actually being muted, ‘cause I’m still sick from New York city, but . . .


CP:   [something about Detroit and Chicago]


Mike:
Well, there was one other question that kind of followed up, that I wanted to get to ask you, but I’m not sure, I can’t find it in this list, so we’ll just move on and we’ll find it eventually. This is a long one. Murtlin(?) Redbeard is or was the Earl of Thune; where is Thune and is that an old name from before Galbatorix’s reign and it goes by another name now? This question’s . . .


CP:
Do you want me to answer that, or is there more to the question?


Mike:
Well, there’s a little bit more, but it’s not really . . . I mean it just says like: Urû’baen used to be called, uh, Ilirea, if so what is it called now?


CP:
Right. The Earl of Thune – area of Thune – if you will, I imagined was a district or a section within the human empir- . . . the human kingdom that existed before Galbatorix’s began his rise to power. It may still exist under that name. And I imagined it was located somewhere near the . . . somewhere along the Spine, within what is now the empire, but I haven’t actually, you know, come up with an actual location for that. I didn’t need to at the time I was writing the story.


Mike:
All right, and there was just a small question attached to that one, which was: Also, why did Galbatorix rename Ilirea to Urû’baen? Is there a special meaning in the name of these cities?


CP:
If anyone is interested in this, they can, I believe this is in all the editions of all the books. I don’t have one with me at the moment, so I can’t check this, but I believe right at the beginning of the glossary in each of the books, I have a brief discussion of the origin of the various names . . . the, you know, the various names within the, uh, world of Alagaësia, and how they come from different traditions, you know, some are elvish, some are dwarvish, some are human, some even come from the Urgals. Urû’baen, and I discuss this in the book, you can see this, if my memory serves me correctly, Urû’baen is a combination of, dwarvish and elvish I believe . . . Yeah, it’s a combination of dwarvish and elvish. The ‘baen’ part means basically ‘bad things’ and ‘doom’ and various other things, and ‘Urû’ means actually,‘Urû’if you’re pronouncing it absolutely correctly, means something like, ’sages’ or ‘wisemen’ or something like that – ‘wisdom’. So, essentially the name is ‘the Downfall of the Wisemen’, and that would be a liberal translation of the name…the name, so it’s Galbatorix thumbing his nose at the Elves and the Dwarves and everyone else who he was trying . . . that he overthrew.


Mike:
I like that. It’s very fitting. It makes sense when you, you know, when you give the libe-… liberal translation. I can’t talk. Liberal translation.


CP:
Yeah.


Mike:
I know, it does make sense, and I like that.


CP:
A more accurate translation . . . explanation, of this actually should be in the back of each book, if you’re curious.


Mike:
I’ll have to take a look, which is surprising that I haven’t come across it yet. I’ll take a look after the interview. I don’t want to take your book down now . . .


CP:
And if it’s not in the traditional, the regular version, I know it would be in the deluxe or limited edition Eldest.


Mike:
Yeah . . . I do think it’s in the limited edition of Eldest. I’m not sure it’s in regular Eragon, but I’ll check afterwards and we’ll see where that leads. The next question, I can’t even do it so I’m just gonna shorten the question to not include the word. What does the name of Brom’s sword mean?


CP:
Ah! [Pause] That…I’m not willing to say yet.


Mike:
Uh, okay.


CP:
And actually, there . . . not all and I should . . . I should point out not all of the names would, in the Ancient Language, actually have meaning. Brom’s sword does. Butnot all the names actually have meanings. Sometimes they’re simply a name.


Mike:
Right.


CP:
Like ‘Eragon’ himself . . . the name itself doesn’t have any meaning within the Ancient Language. It’s simply a name.


Mike:
Could you, um by chance, pronounce the name of Brom’s sword, if you, if you can.


CP:
I’m forgetting the spelling of it now. Could you spell it for me?


Mike:
It’s: U-N-D…


CP:
Oh! [pronounces it]


Mike:
Almost quite literally how it’s written.


CP:
Exactly.


Mike:
Oh.


CP:
That’s the nice thing . . . as the . . . like the Lethrblaka.


Mike:
Right.


CP:
It really is, uh ‘blaka’ means ‘flapper’ so it’s the ‘leather-flappers’. Same thing. . . ’Undbitr’.


Mike:
Well, that was, that was easier than I thought. Well, I’ll have to remember that one. Is there anything else that Brom has told Saphira that hasn’t been revealed yet?


CP:
You don’t seriously expect me to answer that.


Mike:
Ah. No. Well, you know, I took the questions that we got the most and, you know . . .


CP:
I believe that Saphira, and I could be wrong in my memory, again, I don’t have a book in front of me, but I believe Saphira said after she shared the memory of Brom with Eragon, and he asked her if there were any more secrets and she said ‘no’, or something to that effect. Or she said that after the confession of the Eldunarí . . . the fact that she knew about the heart of hearts.


Mike:
Right.


CP:
So . . . you’ll have to take Saphira’s word for that. If you doubt her, good look to you.


Mike:
Yeah. No, I agree. All right, well that was a . . . that was a . . . I don’t think I-I- . . . I caught that in the book. Well, I’ll have to go through it again. I’ve only read it twice since it came out, so I’m still a bit rusty on my facts.


CP:
It’s a . . . It’s a big book.


Mike:
Oh, it is a big book. But, no, I’m going to be going through . . . I started with a highlighter. I did the first half of the book with a highlighter and a pen, and so I’ve got to read through again for the second half. And go through that and take notes and all that fun stuff for the content, but, all right, next question: Is the flame that surrounds Brisingr any different from an ordinary flame put around a blade with magic? Does it have any hidden properties?


CP:
No. It’s simply a flame. I think the only unusual properties it has is that, it is probably, I mean, one: it’s actually being sustained by magic, created by the magic, so it’s pretty . . . it’s almost impossible to extinguish. Probably is impossible to extinguish, and, of course, it doesn’t actually harm the blade itself. And it can burn at a heat that would be, you know, very hard to reach with something like a wood fire, for example. Thus, Eragon’s able to use it to cut through the, uh, the gate . . . the timbers, the bars of the gate in Feinster during the final battle of the book.


Mike:
Right. Okay, I really did love that whole, you know, the . . . the effect of a sword bursting into flame, and I know that you know I used to play World of Warcraft which exaggerates everything in fantasy in their graphics and everything . . . and . . . and immediately when I read that line in the book, I thought . . . I thought back to, you know, a sword bursting on fire in the games that I’ve played, and I thought it was just the coolest thing to picture in my head and the coolest thing to write into the books, so. . .


CP:
Well, I’ve actually seen pieces of metal with either, uh some sort of spirits on them, like alcohol, or just . . . just, you know, uh taken right out of a fire, and with flames around the hot metal.


Mike:
Right.


CP:
It’s such an amazing sight, and I really wanted to use it the story.


Mike:
I’ll see if I can pull up a picture to link from. . . from our interview so people can put a . . . put a picture to what they’ve been reading.


CP:
Well, you know, I . . . I’m . . . there is going to be a deluxe edition of Brisingr coming out sometime next year. I believe Random Houseis certainly moving ahead with that, and I’m going to be doing some . . . some, some drawings for that; some more drawings for the deluxe edition of Brisingr, and one of them will be of Eragon’s arm and hand holding Brisingr with flames around the blade.


Mike:
That will be a cool picture.


CP:
I hope so, if I can do it properly.


Mike:
If I could draw that would probably be one of the first things I’d draw from the book, but I . . . my drawing skills stop at stick figures unfortunately, so that’ll be really great to see. I think that’ll be actually amazing to see. And it’d be cool to have in the book. I know I’d be all geeked out the minute I get it and look at that, but . . . Oh . . . where . . . where was I? So, okay, we just asked the sword, andhere’s another question you won’t be able to answer, but I figured I’d just humor everyone who asked it, and I’d throw it in here. Will we ever learn the seven words that Brom told Eragon…Brom told Saphira as he was dying?


CP:
No comment.


Mike:
I called that one before, just for the record. But, no, we’ve . . . I mean that’s obviously another huge theory, so we got a lot of those questions, and you know immediately they’re the questions that are not going to be answered, but I just wanted to humour everybody so they’d stop asking this question every time I look for interview questions. All right, so the next one was: Will the two women whose fortunes Angela told play more of an important role in the next book?


CP:
Oh. Darn it. No comment.


Mike:
These are good ones then if . . .


CP:
These are all very good questions, and I’m delighted people are this interested in the story, but again, these are things that people are just going to have to wait for the fourth book to see how . . . if and how, they play out.


Mike:
Right, all right. Let’s see . . . I’m getting lost. It’s just this long list of questions . . . we’re . . . we’re almost through, though. When Eragon tells Oromis that hios sword catches on fire when he says ‘Brisingr’, Oromis, uh, looks off into the distance and mutters, “I wonder”, what did Oromis wonder?


CP:
He was . . . if I’m remembering the scene correctly, I believe he was wondering if . . . if the fact that Eragon was actually involved in the forging and was sort of the instrument that Rhunon used to forge the sword with, if Eragon’s essence, if you will, his personality, had become really linked with the sword, and, it was just . . . I didn’t want to get into a big explanation or theory with that, but that’s what I was thinking of when I wrote that . . . when I wrote that scene. Also because it actually links into some other things that I’m going to be doing with magic in the fourth book which involves. Well, again, I don’t want to say.


[Both Laugh]


Mike:
Fair enough.


CP:
There’s a lot in the fourth book, let’s put it that way.


Mike:
Well, I know everyone is already looking forward to it. So, that is the next question, unfortunately, which is: How far are you into writing Book Four?


CP:
Uh, not very far, to be honest. I didn’t have a lot of time to get started on it before book tour . . . and when I get back, I’m going to take a week or two off and do some drawings for the deluxe edition of Brisingr, then I’ll be . . . I’ll be finally buckling down on the fourth book.


Mike:
That will . . . That . . . that will delight many people. I know that the first question when the third book released was: when does the fourth book come out? I was just . . . I was . . . you know, I was just, um, sitting there just having read the book, and I’m like, “Who cares, you know? We’ve just got this amazing, uh, 700 page book, or 800 page book and we’ve got 800 pages worth of stuff to trawl through for the next year and to figure out how all these little pieces . . . and theorize about so . . . ”


CP:
I’m just glad that people are excited enough about the series that they are looking forward to the next book.


Mike:
Right. Well, that’s always a good thing as well, but I think people have been looking forward to book four because everyone wants to know, you know, who dies and who lives and who . . . who’s victorious, but, no, we’ve . . . we’ve got a lot to go on for the next however long we have to. We’ve got a good many theories to discuss and pages to read . . . and all that fun stuff. All right. So that first section was all the questions from our message boards – Inheritance forums. This next set, I think we’ve only got 5 more questions, came from the Shurtugal.com comment board. The first question is: If Brom’s ring, um, now Eragon’s, contained a great amount of energy stored there by Brom himself, why didn’t he use it to heal himself when he was dying? He told Eragon, “This is a grievous wound. It saps my strength. I have not the energy to fight it.”


CP:
Well, if . . . if you remember . . .


Mike:
Right.


CP:
Brom did not have his ring with him. He gave it to Jeod in Teirm . . .


Mike:
Ahhh.


CP:
. . . to give to Ajihad, and Ajihad gave the ring to Eragon when Eragon joined the Varden.


Mike:
I really should have fact-checked these, huh?


CP:
No, no, no. It’s a good question.


Mike:
Yeah.


CP:
And, if you think back on it, and realize how valuable the ring is . . . you realize what chance Brom was taking in the fact that he realized, you know, how difficult it was going to be to convince Ajihad, you know, from a distance anonymously that Brom really was back and out in the world. So it really was a huge thing that Brom sent him that ring . . . and it . . . the reason he didn’t use it, for example, to heal himself after Yazuac when he was injured in the arm from fighting with the Urgals is that . . . again, one: he used it as an opportunity to teach Eragon a lesson about not using magic to solve every problem, and, two: the . . . the energy in the ring was really Brom’s, sort of, emergency store so that if Durza or . . . or Galbatorix had popped up in front of them, they might have, might have a fighting chance to escape. And, to be honest, I think that Brom never actually intended to actually to . . . confront the Raz’zac with Eragon. He was using the search for the Raz’zac as an excuse to travel with Eragon, to train him. But I’m not sure he ever actually planned to confront the Raz’zac with Eragon and Saphira, or if he did, he planned on doing the fighting himself and figured he could handle it pretty well. He might have had a spell he invented in the time he was hanging out in Carvahall that he thought could knock the Raz’zac out pretty quickly. And, also, once you remember that, when he was wounded by the Raz’zac and then directly afterwards he had been drugged like . . . like Eragon so that he couldn’t use magic.


Mike:
Right.


CP:
If he had to bring it with him, he couldn’t have used it. At least no-not until the drug had worn off and, of course, by that point he was so far gone, uh, the healing might not have worked, or he might not have been able . . . been really coherent enough to cast such an intricate spell.


Mike:
Well, that was a good answer.


CP:
I do think of these things!


Mike:
Yeah. No, it definitely sounds like you think of these things. But of course, I . . . immediately I saw that question I was like, “No, I have to ask it ‘cause I like Brom and I need to know the answer,” but I hadn’t realised that the ring had been sent off to, uh, to Ajihad at that point, and so regardless, he was in trouble.


CP:
Yeah. It was a good question.


Mike:
I’m just gonna read the person’s question, ‘cause it’s . . . it’s . . . I don’t want to try to reword it. I have a question regarding the gold rings Eragon gave to Katrina and Roran as wedding gifts. Each ring is said to have the power to alert its wearer when wearer of one of the other rings is near death. After the wedding, both Roran and Eragon had escapes from near-death experiences. For example, when Roran was nearly stabbed during a raid on the supply caravan. Did the ring somehow know Roran was not going to die, or did Katrina feel something from the ring and we just weren’t told about it.


CP:
I think that Katrina certainly would have noticed . . . the ring would have alerted her both during and after the first mission Roran was sent on, and quite possibly, several other times during the other missions. Specifically when, during the Insurrection chapter, when he faces off against all those soldiers and fights them pretty much single-handedly . . . and gets . . . he got pretty badly wounded in a few places, so she would have been aware that he was in danger and probably, she would have been terribly concerned, but since I wasn’t writing chapters from her point of view…and the chapters when Roran and Katrina are together are usually after they’ve already reunited initially. We don’t really see her reactions to that. Also, I … when I first wrote that I really was thinking also that, you know, imminent death was actually referring to his physical condition. It wasn’t… the ring, for example, wouldn’t alert Katrina if a sword was descending towards Roran’s neck.


Mike:
Right.


CP
:   It might alert her if he’d been stabbed through the ribs and feeling very badly…and she’d probably sense from the ring that he was in trouble


Mike:
So the ring itself . . . that’s its limits is what you’re saying.


CP:
Yeah. It’s limited . . . it’s linked . . . it’s abilities are linked to the physical wellbeing of Roran or Katrina, so if they physically suffer that’s, and get near death, that’s when the others . . . when they’re gonna know.


Mike:
Okay, so we’re not talking about a ring version of Elva here.


CP:
No.


Mike:
We’re talking . . .


CP:
We’ll see some more about the rings in the fourth book.


Mike:
Right. No, I thought… I thought that was another cool thing . . . all these cool things that were thrown into the book. I loved . . .


CP:
What I was thinking of actually, the rings are . . . maybe a way . . . ‘cause wedding rings aren’t really tradition in Alagaësia, but we might be seeing the beginnings of that tradition here.


Mike:
Right.


CP:
Other brides are…and grooms are going to imitate Roran and Katrina.


Mike:
All right. Let’s see. I think this is a big question, which I didn’t really have a chance to read up on, just to fact check, but I knew I wanted to, so . . . I just figured you could answer it for us better than I got answer trawling through over a 1000 pages. So, the question is: In Eragon it says that if a Rider dies so does his dragon. In Brisingr it becomes apparent that this is no longer the case. Why the change?


CP:
Actually, it never actually says that if a Rider or dragon dies so does the partner. What I believe was said was that they usually die, which is the case. It was the movie actually that said that if a Rider dies so does the dragon.


Mike:
Yeah. We had that long debate last night. A person who is . . . you met him out in New York City . . . Chris. He and I were going through all the questions and trying to find the good ones, and we had the debate whether or not it was the book that said that or the movie that said that, so . . .


CP:
It was the movie, and I actually argued with them, trying to get them to change it.


Mike:
Right.


CP:
They didn’t. So the way it works is if a Rider or a dragon dies, the surviving partner will usually day either from the mental shock of losing their partner, or simply from suicide or, you know, going mad, or throwing themselves against the enemy that killed their partner. In any case, it would be very . . . it’s pretty rare for either member of the partnership to survive too much longer after one of the other dies, and it might just be something simple as just not, you know, not eating and wasting away. Of course that doesn’t always hold true as we know from Brom’s experience, and of course from Brisingr with Glaedr. But a lot of it depends on the Rider or the dragon having something else to live for past the death of their partner.


Mike:
Well that is a good answer. I’m glad we got that, you know, the movie fact and book fact cleared up. So now we’ll . . . ‘cause again that was another one of the key theories and key discussions, so I know that will make a lot of people happy to hear that answer. And it’ll, you know, spark some new discussions. Let’s see, here’s a good one which I’ve been very interested in knowing: How much time has passed between the start of Eragon and the end of Brisingr?


CP:
Not as much as you might think, to be honest. I have . . . one . . . one of the things that I’ve made it seem sometimes that more time has maybe passed than actually has, but it hasn’t been quite as long as you might think.


Mike:
Do you-? Do you have-?


CP:
I do actually.


Mike
:  Okay, ‘cause I think I remember, I think it was . . .


CP:
One of the reasons I’m doing that is because, even though the Elves and Dwarves probably have, I know they have, very accurate methods of timekeeping at this point, Eragon isn’t familiar with them. His… sort of, his knowledge of timekeeping would come . . . would be a farmer’s knowledge, it would be more of the seasons than knowledge of the individual days, or, you know, hours or minutes. He doesn’t have clocks where he grew up, and that sort of how I’ve written the point of view of the series.


Mike
:  That makes sense. I do recall only . . . I think it . . . it might have been in Brisingr once . . . it’s . . . a . . . it had been several months since the start of everything, or something to that degree.


CP:
Well it’s been a bit more than several months, but it’s also been a bit less than you might think.


Mike:
I just . . . I remember . . . I’m gonna have to go look it up after this, but I remember at one point, I don’t know if it was in Brisingr or Eldest or even Eragon, there was a mention of timeframe so I’m just throwing that bit out there for the . . .


CP:
One of the markers we can… you can go by is the fact that Elain’s pregnancy doesn’t show up until Eldest, and that’s the first time we know that she is pregnant, and she’s still pregnant in Brisingr, so that obviously places that within a nine month frame.


Mike:
Right. Well I know that immediately someone’s going to start writing a timeline, so I’ll be… I’ll be interested in seeing that. I tried to tackle a timeline once, but it became too difficult ‘cause, as you said, the book . . . you have written it in more of a farmer’s, you know, a seasons type perspective timeline instead of rather specific days.


CP:
I remember I’ve counted out all the days, the weeks a couple of times so I do know how much time has passed, but time is, ‘specially when Eragon is . . . well, actually I’m going to stop talking here.


[Mike laughs]


Mike:
Fair enough. Here’s a good question: When Galbatorix stole the black dragon from its Rider, did he also steal the black sword?


CP
:   Say that again. I didn’t . . .


Mike:
Okay. When Galbatorix stole the black dragon from its Rider, did he also steal the black sword?


CP:
Ah. We’re speaking about Shruiken, correct? Well, if you remember, actually now I’m forgetting whether Shruiken was still in his egg or he’d already hatched when … No, I think Shruiken was still in his egg when Galbatorix stole him, which would mean that Shruiken never paired with another Rider.


Mike:
Right.


CP
:   At least not properly. As far as Galbatorix’s sword, we’re going to get to see his sword in, well, eventually, but I’m not . . . I think it’ll make quite an impression. I can’t say more than that.


Mike:
Can you say what the color of his original dragon was?


CP:
You know, I haven’t gotten into that yet, and again, I don’t want to . . .


Mike:
Okay. That was really two questions for that one, so here’s a good werecats question: Are werecats born or made? Are they born human and something happens to them, being bitten…like a werewolf or spell, or are they born part cat, part human, just as a werecat?


CP:
We will be seeing a lot more of the werecats in the next book, but, again, I don’t want to say much more than that. [Laugh] Werecats are, at least within Alagaësia, they are considered a separate species, and there are enough of them and common enough that they are known of . . .

Mike: Right.


CP:
Though they are very rare for the most part. But again, my lips are sealed.


Mike:
All right, I think this is officially the last question, and it is: There is an injured soldier who claims to see the light. What is his importance, or the importance of what he said? Is he really just mad?


CP:
When he was speaking of light, he was really speaking of energy. He somehow during his injury…obviously he became . . . was he blind? Physically blind?


Mike:
I’m not positive.


CP:
But in any case, he saw the light when . . . what he was talking about, he saw the energy of the various creatures and people around him. This somewhat analogous to what Eragon did when he was meditating in Ellesméra and he could see the consciousness, the spirits of, the minds of all the living things around him, and the larger the creature, the sort of brighter that spark was. And, so what the soldier saw when he looked at Eragon and Murtagh, when he saw Eragon and Saphira I believe, though he was looking at Murtagh, he saw the energy from the Eldunarí Murtagh had access to, and that’s what he was referring to.


Mike:
All right. I do understand that and . . . ‘cause I didn’t . . . I didn’t remember this character until I . . . someone had asked the question, then of course I flipped through to figure out what they were referencing and so that will clear a few things up definitely. So, thank you everyone for submitting your questions from Inheritance Forums and Shurtugal.com, and thank you very much, Christopher, for taking the time to answer our questions.


CP:
My pleasure and I hope to look forward to speaking to you again soon.


Mike:
Absolutely.


CP:
All right.