June 2009 Monthly Q&A with Christopher Paolini

(Interview released on July 18th, 2009)

Several people have asked: Was Vrael an elf or human?

An elf.

Several people have asked: Were all of the Forsworn humans? Were they all males?

As most of the Riders were elves, so too were many of the Forsworn, although, proportionally, there were more humans among the Forsworn than among the Riders in general, for Galbatorix found it easier to turn his own kind than the immortal elves. Kialandí—one of two of the Forsworn I named in Brisingr, along with Formora—was an elf. I named two more in my first draft, but talk of them was cut during the editing process.

And yes, some of the Forsworn were women. . . . In fact, one or both of the two I mentioned above were female, although I don’t want to say which at the moment. (Nor do I want to say whether Formora was an elf or human.) However, most of the thirteen traitors were men.

Several people have asked: If a dragon hatches for a person, what happens if someone else touches it before that person?

Complications.

Bargahvor asked: If you cast a spell that expends too much energy you die. Does this apply to a dragon inside an Eldunari?

Yes. It applies to all living things. The only semi-exception is the spirits, but they have limitations of their own.

Athena asked: On page 530 in Brisingr, Saphira refers to Thorn as “stunted-thoughts-red-scales-Thorn.” Is she simply insulting him, or does she mean that his actual mind has been harmed by his magically rapid growth? And, if that is the case, how would Saphira know? Has she communicated with Thorn?

Dragons don’t tend to fight with their minds the way that humans, or say, elves do. They can certainly attack with their minds if they want—which their cousins, the Fanghur, do when hunting—but, for the most past, dragons prefer to fight with their teeth, tail, claws, and fire. . . . My thought, then, was that when Eragon and Murtagh spoke together after their duel on the Burning Plains and also before their fight in Brisingr, Saphira and Thorn would have had some mental contact, if only out of sheer curiosity. They wouldn’t have been able to resist tasting the flavor of the other’s consciousness. Moreover, Saphira and Thorn would have had a great deal of mental contact during the times they, and their Riders, were engaged in telepathic combat. Even though both sides would have been guarding their own thoughts jealously, it would have been impossible not to sense something about your opponent during such a fierce and intimate clash.





Vegtam asked: In Eldest, Oromis said something about how it’s not speaking the words that matters for magic, but thinking them. Why then is Eragon so shocked at Tenga using unspoken magic?

Because doing so is incredibly dangerous. Your thoughts can change without warning, and oftentimes we have no control over what passes through our minds. Casting a spell with only your thoughts, and without the framing structure of language, is like trying to perform a jig on a loose tightrope hung over a gaping chasm.

Christbenimm asked: Did Galbatorix allow Morzan and the other members of the Forsworn access to some Eldunari as he did with Murtagh?

Perhaps, but only in the most extreme of circumstances. Galbatorix didn’t trust the Forsworn any more than he would his fiercest foes . . . after all, they were traitors, and how can you ever trust a traitor? The Forsworn most likely captured Eldunari of their own during the fall of the Riders, but over the following century, Galbatorix would have gathered all of their heart of hearts into his collection. He would have gained them by extortion, trickery, and patience, for he has outlived all of his servants.

Several people have asked: How does Galbatorix know that the last dragon egg contains a male?

By listening to its thoughts.

AFreeAlagaesia asked: You mentioned in your last Q&A that it was Eragon, not Oromis that inspired the Dragons at the Blood Oath Celebration to use their magic. Also Eragon did the same for Saphira during the Dwarves’s Coronation with Isidar Mithrim, is it possible that Eragons Character, what defines him allows him to help the Dragons work their magic? by that I mean, somehow, does something about him help the Dragons – inspire if you will – to use their magic, when they would otherwise be unable to?

Is Eragon a catalyst that helps the dragons to use magic? Interesting question. . . .Very interesting. Yup. . . . Mmh. . . . Very interesting. Can’t say though. Nope. That would be telling.

Janet asked: Will the two elven children play any role in the last book? We know that elven children are significantly more powerful than adult elves – they could be useful assets in war. Do the elves allow their children to go to war?

They are more powerful, but they have less control over their abilities than adults. Elves cherish their children above all else; they would do anything to protect them, even those they aren’t related to. . . . That’s as close as I can come to answering your question without giving away too much about Book Four.