Celebrating the 10th Anniversary of ERAGON with Christopher Paolini
We are thrilled to have Christopher Paolini, author of the beloved and bestselling Inheritance Cycle, stopping by today to discuss the 10th anniversary of the first book in this amazing series, Eragon. It began as a self-published labour of love when he was 15, and turned into a worldwide phenomenon when Knopf Books for Young Readers published it in 2003.
We’re such huge fans of this series, and hope to read more books set in the world of Alagaësia, so of course, we couldn’t resist asking Christopher for hints about what’s next for this fictional world. He also shares some of his own favorite fantasy reads and a funny and unusual fan encounter story! Check out our interview below, then scroll down to enter to win your very own copy of the 10th Anniversary Edition of Eragon!
I adore the world of Alagaësia, and have always felt completely transported to it while reading. Are there any fictional worlds that you have felt totally immersed in as a reader? What’s one fictional world you wish you could visit?
The world/universe of Dune always felt immersive to me. Also that of Lord of the Rings, the Gormenghast series, The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson, and many others.
Honestly, I really wouldn’t want to visit any fictional world. Most fictional worlds are dangerous, dangerous places (even more so than ours), and while I enjoy reading about them, I’d rather observe them from a distance. For example, while I love dragons, I’m very glad they don’t actually exist, because we humans are small and soft and deliciously crunchy.
There have been some very thrilling and emotional moments for your readers throughout this series. What have been the most exciting and difficult scenes for you to write?
When I’m writing, I feel what my characters feel, so if what they’re doing feels exciting to them, then I feel excited. And so forth. It can be hard, though, when I’m writing a battle scene and I end up having to think about blood and guts and pain for a week or two.
The most difficult and exciting scene for me was the final scene in the final book. Nothing compared to it. After over ten years of work, to finally write the last page, the last paragraph, the last word . . . it was one of the most emotional moments of my life. Also, whenever I killed a character, I found it hard to write the scene(s).
You have been touring and sharing the world of Alagaësia with readers since long before Eragon was picked up for publication by Random House/Knopf. Over the years, the series has exploded in popularity, and you’ve met thousands of incredibly passionate fans. What’s the most memorable fan encounter you’ve had?
Hearing from fans who say that Eragon got them into reading has meant a huge amount to me. It’s humbling to know that you had that effect on someone’s life. Also hearing from parents who have named their children after this character or that, seeing the tattoos people have gotten based off the symbols/phrases in the series, and just generally meeting so many readers who have enjoyed the books. Their enthusiasm never ceases to amaze me.
That said . . . my most memorable encounter might have to be when a young woman brought a sugar glider up to my table during a signing, and when I reached out to pet the animal (with permission of course) the adorable little creature promptly began to gnaw on my finger, drawing blood. Still, I’m glad it happened, because I’m now one of the few people in the world who can say I’ve been chewed on by a marsupial.
If you had to choose one character in all your books who got sort of a rough deal from you, and you could apologize to them for writing their lives that way, who would it be?
It’s hard to pick, but probably Murtagh. He really got the short end of the stick in the Inheritance Cycle, and if he ever met me, he’d have every reason to hate me. In fact, I wouldn’t want to meet any of my characters, given what I’ve put them through!
I still really want to see the rest of the books in this series done justice on film. Did you enjoy the first film? Would you be excited to see the sequels made into movies? As an alternative, would you ever be open to a Game of Thrones style TV series adaptation of The Inheritance Cycle?
I’m glad that a film was made, because so few books are ever made into movies and the film introduced a huge number of new readers to the series, and for that I’m grateful. I offered as much input into the making of the film as I could, but ultimately the movie reflected the visions of the studio and the director.
Like you, I’d love to see a remake of Eragon, or at the very least a continuation of the film franchise. However, the decision rests with the studio, and at the moment, they’re not doing anything with it. Film or TV, I just hope that readers will someday get to see the world of Alagaësia as I always have.
Can you give us any clues about what we can expect in book V? Will you ever revisit Eragon and Arya, or will you focus on other characters in future stories?
I can’t say much about Book V with out spoiling it, but I can say that the story will focus on many characters readers have already met . . . as well as many new ones. Also, we’ll get to see a lot more of Angela the herbalist. She’s still got plenty of secrets we’ve yet to learn!
While we wait for your next book, are there any other fantasy (YA or adult) book series you’ve really enjoyed that you would recommend to fans of The Inheritance Cycle?
For younger readers: David Eddings, Brandon Mull, Raymond E. Feist, Ursula K. Le Guin (specifically her Wizard of Earthsea series), Andre Norton, Jane Yolen, Ann McCaffery, Brian Jacques, J. K. Rowling, Philip Pullman, Tolkein (The Hobbit), and Madeleine L’engle.
For older readers: Tad Williams (Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn), Evangeline Walton, Frank Herbert (Dune), E. R. Eddison (The Worm Ouroboros), Mervyn Peake, Brandon Sanderson (The Way of Kings), Octavia Butler (Wild Seed), Robin Hobb, Peter Høeg (Smilla’s Sense of Snow), Ray Bradbury, and Dan Simmons (the Hyperion series).
I heard a rumor that you are working on a sci-fi novel. Is this true, and if so, can you give us any hints about the story?
I am working on a science fiction project at the moment, but I can’t tell you more than that, except that it has lots of aliens, laser beams, explosions, spaceships, and other fun things. My goal is to make sure that whatever else I write, readers enjoy it at as much or even more than the Inheritance Cycle.
Would you be open to a graphic novel version of The Inheritance Cycle in the future? If so, are there any artists who you think could do your story justice visually?
I’d love to see the Inheritance Cycle adapted into a graphic novel. It’s something I’ve wanted for a while now, but I just haven’t had the time to deal with it yet. And yes, I’m sure there are artists who would do a great job of bringing the world and the characters to life. Hopefully that will happen someday!
Looking back over the last ten years, what is one thing you wish you could go back in time and whisper in your own ear before Eragon’s publication?
“Don’t worry so much. . . . And don’t use so many adverbs. They’re bad for your health.”
I love that advice, and I think many authors would agree with it. Thanks so much for stopping by, Christopher, and congratulations on Eragon‘s ten year anniversary!
About the 10th Anniversary Edition of ERAGON:
Christopher Paolini wrote Eragon at the age of 15, and since then his Inheritance Cycle (Eragon, Eldest, Brisingr and Inheritance) has sold over 35 million copies worldwide and is available in 125 countries in 49 languages.
Now Knopf is celebrating the 10thAnniversary of Eragon with a new collector’s edition of the book! This faux-leather bound edition features gold-foil line art on the cover and six glossy, full-color original illustrations on the interior by award-winning artists who inspired Paolini—John Jude Palancar (the Inheritance cycle cover artist), Michael Hague, Donato Giancola, Ciurelo, and Raoule Vitale—as well as Paolini himself.
One boy . . .
One dragon . . .
A world of adventure.
When Eragon finds a polished blue stone in the forest, he thinks it is the lucky discovery of a poor farm boy; perhaps it will buy his family meat for the winter. But when the stone brings a dragon hatchling, Eragon soon realizes he has stumbled upon a legacy nearly as old as the Empire itself.
Overnight his simple life is shattered, and he is thrust into a perilous new world of destiny, magic, and power. With only an ancient sword and the advice of an old storyteller for guidance, Eragon and the fledgling dragon must navigate the dangerous terrain and dark enemies of an Empire ruled by a king whose evil knows no bounds.
Can Eragon take up the mantle of the legendary Dragon Riders? The fate of the Empire may rest in his hands.
Available in stores now!
About Christopher Paolini:
Christopher was homeschooled by his parents and often wrote short stories and poems, made frequent trips to the library, and read widely. He was fifteen when he wrote the first draft of Eragon and his family self-published the book in 2001.
In August 2003, Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers published Eragon and it was an instant success, reaching a worldwide audience. Christopher’s second novel Eldest was published in 2005, followed by Brisingr in 2008. Brisingr and Inheritance released with 2.5 million copy first printings and Inheritance, the fourth and final book in the cycle, achieved the highest first-day sale in 2011 of any fiction or nonfiction adult or children’s title published in the U.S. and Canada, with a staggering 489,500 copies in print, digital, and audio formats.
Thanks to the lovely folks at Random House, we have one Eragon 10th Anniversary Collector’s Edition to give away. (US entries only, no PO boxes, please).
Enter via the Rafflecopter below: