Wyvern's Guide to San Diego: The Paolini Interview

Yes, I know. I have heard the cries of those of us who didn't make it to SDCC, who didn't see Paolini's panel and who have a desperate thirst for something to keep them going as they wait for Book 4. This blog collects the entire interview with Paolini and Mike Macauley. For editorial reasons, I have decided to correct any transcription errors made by the originators, job, Shurty!). Essential content remains unchanged, but internal links have been added in this trip through the Inheritance cycle. Also, I have inserted relevant commentary if needed. And now, I proudly present...

The Interview!

Mike: This was submitted by a bunch of people, no specific name. Why was Sloan's true name omitted from the books?

Christopher: Because, and I thought about that very carefully, I am not going to give any true names verbatim in the series. And that is because Ursula K. Le Guin used true names in her Wizards of Earthsea series. She wasn't the first; she's not the last, it's a very old concept but in her books she actually gave the true names of her characters. But in my book the problem is when I read them, it felt as if they lost their power being put on a page. Because, when I saw them, they were just names, they were just words. They didn't feel like they had power, to me. So I tried to omit them, also because I believe the true names of my world actually involve more then just a simple word; it could be a phrase or a paragraph could be your true name. It could be a book. I mean it could be a very involved thing and it would be a rather clunky and obtrusive within the pros to be using something like that all the time.

(Commentary by Wyvern: Anti-Shurtugal have criticised this answer, stating that Le Guin's actual use had a greater effect. They forget that any characters whose true names are revealed maintain an alias for the rest of the books. Also, Tolkien used this with his dwarves, who have a different, non-Khuzdul name for when they converse with other races.)

M: So does that mean we'll never see a true name in the books?

C: No no, I'm not planning on putting any true names in explicitly although they may be referred to. But I'll never actually write it out.

M: They have been, I think, before.

C: Yep.

M: This is an interesting one—

C: Besides, also, I don't want any of the fans to be able to control my characters so, you know...[laughter]

M: A couple people asked, is Longshanks Jeod's last name—or surname...nickname or surname?

C: It's a nickname.

M: Okay, that was easy!

C: Just like "Stronghammer" for Roran.

M: Valbrandr94, I think, asked: In Eldest, on page 216, Arya tells Lifaen and Narí: Go to Sílthrim and inform Captain Damítha, 'that which she once hoped for—and feared—has occurred; the wyrm has bitten its own tail.' What did she mean?

C: Arya is referring to—and actually that city is Sílthrim [pronunciation], it's hard to pronounce.

M: I told you I'd get one wrong!

C: Arya was basically sending a slightly coded message to her friend saying that Saphira's egg had hatched. And that was the reference to what she had feared because Arya's friend had feared that the egg hatching would upset the balance of power and the world would begin to change again. Elves aren't really big on change, you know?

M: They live so long...

C: Yeah, they have many positive attributes but enthusiasm for new experiences isn't always one of them.

M: Now this is a question I had while writing The Inheritance Almanac but it came from a lot of people. Solembum has had multiple eye colors throughout the three books including: black, gold, and red. Is it possible this was an error or do werecats have the ability to change the color of their eyes?

C: The red one is, of course, when his eyes were reflecting light. Like the way animals do, which can make them appear reddish or irridescent. The other thing is that he's a shape-shifter and you're asking whether or not his eye color can change. He can change his whole body shape. Solembum's eyes are a source of infinite mystery and we're not going to get into why the author chose to change his colors.

M: Fair enough.

M: This is another good one and we could probably count up to a hundred the amount of times we've gotten this question. Are you able to explain what the floating crystal on the island of Eoam as well as the dream well in Mani's Caves are? Are you able to explain what they are?

C: I don't want to go into the specifics but they're natural manifestations of energy which, in Eragon's world, people tend to call magic. So magic is, of course, the manipulation of energy through your mental powers, essentially. That's what the telepathy is and all other forms of magic. And, of course, the spirits in my world are actually conscious beings composed purely of energy. And that's the approach I took to all the magic in my world. It's almost a scientific approach, saying it's manipulation of energy and how that works within the world. So those two examples, and they are not the only ones—I might add, there are other places in Eragon's world where magic can be found in the wild. They're extremely dangerous. They're usually far more powerful in, however they're manifesting, then any one human magician could ever hope to achieve. And they're generally better off avoided. The Dream cave as the name applies, is a place you can go and experience extremely vivid, magically dreams of various kinds. Sometimes they're premonitions, sometimes they're visions of what could have been. Very strange things happen there.

M: Now does that have any influence on some of the dreams Eragon has had?

C: Eragon's I know I've said premonitions usually only go a short distance in the future but Eragon's kind of an odd case because he's in a very, very strange position with regard to what's happening in the world and who he is and his dreams are happening because: one, he's become fairly powerful and he's always been fairly powerful with magic. And two: the world is shifting and that's why sometimes things tend to leak through occasionally in dreams. Although, I should say that his dreams of Arya were not premonitions. They were current events, essentially scrying but they weren't premonitions and I think I did say that in Eldest.

M: He did have one dream that hasn't happened yet.

C: True, but he's also had several dreams that haven't happened yet, just in general.

M: Now, this is my question, not in the interview but; In your world, is every premonition, does it have to come true? Though we discussed the elf who killed himself to prove not. But, what happens more often?

(Commentary by Wyvern: see Maerzadí.)

C: Well, the majority is most of the time, if you have a premonition what you had a premonition of is what comes to place. Because—again—as I said in the books, if you don't know how that event is going to end up taking place, there's really nothing you can do to prevent it. However, if Eragon has a premonition of X—and let's say X is a battle—he's not the only player involved in the battle. So if Murtagh, for example, were to do something completely out of character or unexpected, Murtagh could end up changing that premonition. Even if Eragon didn't consciously. So, people's fates aren't set in stone. If there's a premonition of an event, it's a strong suggestion that it might happen, but it's by no means 100% certain.

M: So we should be wary of any premonitions.

C: You should be very wary. I just killed a character in the manuscript, you know.

M: Oh geez...

C: Yeah, very bloodily. There were spikes involved.

M: Well, you left Eragon hanging bloodied off of hooks—

C: Manacles, not hooks!

(Commentary by Wyvern: Interesting revalation here. The dungeon, it has been added, was not one in the charge of Galbatorix)

M: Next question, what happened to Tornac the horse after Murtagh was taken by the Twins?

C: No, his horse was left at the Varden. I assume that it would have been appropriated by someone else at the Varden. Eragon didn't need the horse and even if Eragon had asked for the horse to be cared for for a little while in the hopes that Murtagh might have been found. Of course, in the end, he wouldn't have. And Eragon still had Snowfire at the time and that, to me seemed like, you know, Eragon didn't need two horses and he ended up giving Snowfire away to Roran. Ultimately, I think Tornac ended up with someone else in the Varden.

M: Well that was asked by Robert the Rider.

M: This one is from AryaxEragon. In Eldest, Oromis said that Brom came from a family of illuminators. What is an illuminator?

(Commentary by Wyvern: see Holcomb.)

C: An illuminator is someone who illuminates of draws pictures or letters, handmade manuscripts. It's a very demanding skill and tends to drive people blind, actually. But illuminating is a really wonderful form of art and if anyone is unfamiliar with it, I suggest looking of the Book of Kells**9:06(??) online or the Domesday book or any other famous illuminated manuscripts. Look at some pictures online, they're really beautiful.

M: Sonia49 asked: Did you plan to kill off Oromis and Glaedr in Brisingr or was it a last minute snap?

C: I planned to kill them from the very beginning of the series. The only big change was that at the end of when I decided to split the last book into two parts, I had to find a good ending spot for the first half of that, the first volume. And since I was decided to kill the men in any case and I knew they were going to die it seemed like their deaths provided a good stopping place for the first volume and a good jumping off point for the next book.

M: Did it bug you to kill them?

C: Of course it did, but I had to do it.

M: Sal asked: In book 1, the gedwëy ignasia seemed to be able to sense danger coming. Several times, right before being attacked, it would, say Eragon felt a tingling sensation coming from his hand. After book one it was never mentioned again, nor was it explained.

C: You know, it's funny cause I keep meaning to use that again. And it would happen again, it's not as if I did forget it. The problem is, ever since book one, Eragon has been mainly been wearing gloves because you wear gloves when you swordfight. And I've done some sparring myself and, trust me, you want some gloves. You skin knuckles left and right. So, he wouldn't see any sort of reaction from the gedwëy ignasia. And as for feeling it, there haven't really been any situations so far where he's been in any close quarters danger like that which would have allowed any sort of premonition like that to work. At least the way it works in my head. Like Murtagh showing up in Brisingr to attack the Varden was sort of a long distance thing. Murtagh showing up at a distance and it didn't seem to me like Eragon's, perhaps little bit of sixth sense, would have worked like that. But it will show up in the last book.

M: That's quite a useful tool.

C: Yeah, it's little bit of a spider sense, there.

M: This is a good question, I like this one. Du Súndavar Freohr—

C: Du Súndavar Freohr [pronunciation]!

M: You're good! [Du Súndavar Freohr] asks: What would happen if someone discovered Saphira's true name and ordered her to kill Eragon, would their bond take precident over her true name or would she have to kill him?

C: She'd would have to kill him.

M: Whoa.

C: Yes, true names are serious business.

M: Well, that was a good answer—or quick answer.

C: Or she might go to kill him with the intention of killing him and just quick accidentally trip and break her neck. Which she would have the wiggle room to do. But she would have to be on the way to kill him.

M: Phoenix asked, “Had Oromis not had a seizure, could he have captured or killed Murtagh?”

C: There’s no doubt in my mind that Oromis and Glaedr vastly, vastly out-class Murtagh and Thorn in terms in sheer size when it comes to the dragons, and sheer skill when it comes to magic and sword fighting. Of course, Murtagh had the advantage of a great number of dragons’ Eldunarí – the heart of hearts – feeding his strength, so assuming Galbatorix had not interfered, Oromis would – I think – have at least held his own, and I think there was at least a good chance that he might have beaten and captured or killed Murtagh and Thorn.

M: Will you ever go into greater detail on the presumed deaths of the first Eragon and his own dragon?

C: No comment.

M: Well that was easy. When Oromis taught Eragon how to draw energy from the surroundings to make spells, he said that this “was a secret for the Riders”. However, the boat made of grass by Arya draws energy from the surroundings to fly. How did she know a spell reserved for Riders?

C: Arya is a special case; she was given guardianship over Saphira’s egg for almost twenty years and I think she would have been—I think Oromis would have taught her this to help her protect Saphira’s egg. I mean, there was no playing around here; this was do-or-die with Saphira protecting her egg and everything and that’s something he would have taught her.

M: Now can you say how much training she would have received from Oromis?

C: I think Arya has a level of training far exceeding Eragon’s quite honestly, mainly because she has had far more time to learn and just the fact that she grew up with the Ancient Language means that she is always going to be more facile and fluent with it than Eragon and more adept at thinking up interesting ways of using the Ancient Language and thus spells.

I would not want to be on her bad side, let’s put it that way.

M: Yeah, I think she’s shown that at a few points now. She does not seem like she is a good person to mess with. JD[bunchofnumbers] – there’s a lot of numbers there – asked, “In Eldest, Eragon, Saphira, Arya and the rest of the gang were traveling to Ellesméra when Eragon’s necklace, which was imbued with a spell to ward off scrying went off while they were in Du Weldenvarden. How is this possible when the wards the elves erected prevent all magical items, thoughts, and spells from entering its boundaries?”

C: That’s a really good question. That is a great question! And I did think of it… it’s… my thought on that was a little complicated so bear with me. I think that scrying isn’t necessarily an intrusive process, although I’m sure that the elves’ wards would have been set up to prevent it. The like their secrecy. But I also thought that even if—let’s say that Galbatorix was trying to scry on Eragon—no, no it was Murtagh I believe. If Murtagh is trying to scry on Eragon, the spell is directed at Eragon and the spell is going to expend a certain amount of energy. That energy would have to be blocked or dissipated from some source otherwise Murtagh would have been able to see Eragon. I figured that both the wards surrounding Du Weldenvarden and Eragon’s necklace activated at the same time; they were both doing the same purpose. So if Eragon didn’t have the necklace, he still would have been protected as long as he was in the forest, but since that process was happening at that point he felt the draining of the energy as his necklace performed its allotted task.

M: Good answer!

C: It’s a little complicated. I did think of it though!

M: Another question from Sal: The spell on a dragon egg means that a dragon egg would only hatch for its destined Rider. What happens if that destined Rider is killed before he is able to bond with the dragon hatchling?

C: Actually, one second – before I answer that, let me go back to the previous question. It isn’t impossible to scry into Du Weldenvarden because if you remember, in the beginning of Brisingr, Eragon did scry with Queen Islanzadí.

M: I thought that was just a scrying dish only made for that?

C: Yes, that’s because there are loopholes set up that the elves can use that lets them communicate in and out of the forest essentially. But it’s not one-hundred percent impossible. I don’t think any outsider would know the way to get through the wards but it isn’t one-hundred percent impossible.

(Commentary by Wyvern: I noted loopholes in the system in my Anti-Anti-Shurtugal blog. Told them so.)

The question about the dragon eggs and who they hatch for… when I say that there’s people destined to become a Dragon Rider, the person destined is the person that that dragon chooses to be their Rider and the person that that dragon feels is appropriate for them. If Eragon had died, or had not found Saphira’s egg—if someone else had—I think that Saphira might have gone another hundred years in that egg but she would have found someone else to hatch for.

So there’s not only one person in all of eternity, although I think that in all of eternity there is probably a small handful of people that Saphira would ever hatch for, but certainly at that time and everywhere else, Eragon was the one who she felt right for and so she chose him.

M: Do you believe that there is anyone else that is currently living in Alagaësia alongside Eragon, not necessarily whom he knows, that Saphira would have hatched for?

C: That’s a really tricky question. You know, I think she might have hatched for Murtagh honestly, if Murtagh had been of his own free will and—

M: I think that speaks volumes for Murtagh before Galbatorix got his hands on him.

C: Exactly. I think she—well obviously she wouldn’t have hatched for Arya, she had plenty of chance. [Chuckles] But also, I think one of the reasons she did hatch for Eragon is because she was vaguely aware of what was going on with Arya and the fact that Durza had attacked her and Saphira was now out on her own, in an egg in the middle of the forest, and she was incredibly vulnerable and dangerous. I think quite honestly, Saphira didn’t want to go back to Galbatorix and was at that point, after almost one hundred years in the egg, was willing to give it a shot.

M: It must get boring, you know?

C: Yeah! Well, I always figured that the dragon in the eggs are almost in a state of suspended animation for a bit.

M: Frozen?

C: Yeah, a little sluggish.

M: Here’s a good dragon egg question – this has been bugging me for quite some time, especially as I was writing the Almanac. We may have asked it, I don’t recall. In Eldest, Eragon steps past or on a green egg fragment. Is this a hint?

C: [Long pause.] No. [Tone of sarcasm] It’s just a green egg fragment. Why would you think that was a hint? Oh, because there’s a green dragon on the front of the book? Oh, that… No comment.

M: Works for me! Oh, this is the question—okay, to preface this, we’ve been joking around about this question because it came up as a joke and then I actually read it in this interview. Someone wants to know what you would say the physical size of Alagaësia is in comparison to a land mass on Earth.

C: I’ve actually worked out the distances on the map. The map isn’t one-hundred percent to scale because… well, I drew it way back when and let’s just say that the cartographer miscounted his steps in a few places. But it is pretty close. From Carvahall to Farthen Dûr—no no, excuse me—Gil'ead, where Eragon was captured in Eragon, to Farthen Dûr, when he makes that epic journey with Murtagh on foot… I forget how many miles exactly, I don’t have my papers in front of me, but I believe it was verging on close to one thousand miles. Or heading in that direction; the better part of one thousand miles.

It wasn’t a straight line though, they did kind of make an L-shape going down there.

M: We have people who have tracked the actual paths.

C: So have I! [Chuckling] So you have at least that distance, and then if you say that there’s a good chunk of distance from Carvahall to Gil'ead, and of course the width of Alagaësia… yeah, it’s not as big as the United States mainly because I don’t go all the way to the far eastern coast on my continent, which would be further away than the far coast of the United States. But it’s big.

M: Well that person is going to be excited to have got that answer.

C: Well that’s a good question! No one has asked that before.

M: Nightstar51 asked: Can multiple dragon hearts of hearts communicate with each other?

C: Yeah, just as if a bunch of telepaths are in a room together, they can all join minds and share thoughts. The same principle holds true with dragon eggs.

M: Do they have to be in the same area?

C: No, as long as they are close enough to be in mental contact. And same would hold true with the dragon hearts – they can all link their consciousnesses. I hate saying that word! I hate saying consciousnesses!

M: So like heart of heart email? [Cheesy grin.]

C: Yeah, like email! They essentially form a giant neural network.

M: Here’s a good question. If you were a fan, what would you ask Christopher?

C: When’s the next book coming out?! [Laughter]

M: Oh jeeze! [Chuckling]

C: I know I’m evil. I’m evil to myself. I think I’d probably be interested in the forging of a sword a little bit because I am interested in that stuff.

M: That was a great part of Brisingr, I really enjoyed that.

C: Thank you.

M: This is also from Tulkas. You said that strange phantoms lived in Doru Araeba; can you describe those phantoms and do any speaking races that we haven’t encountered thus far live there?

C: No comment.

M: Okay. Same person again—

C: Good question but no comment.

M: Well, you always know it’s a good question when you get a no comment! You’ve hit the right point.

C: That’s right!

M: Will we ever learn why the thief was only able to steal one dragon egg from Urû'baen?

(Commentary by Wyvern: see Hefring.)

C: If I ever tell Brom and Jeod’s—specifically Brom’s story—you will learn, yes. But the thing is that Brom never learned what happened.

M: So some day maybe?

C: Some day maybe.

M: What is the average lifespan of an Urgal?

C: You know, no one has ever asked me that! That’s a really good question.

M: Just to give credit to the asker, that was from DragonGirl.

C: The average lifespan of a male Urgal is not very good.

M: I wonder why!

C: Urgals like anything in this civilization tend to have a pretty high infant mortality and the males tend to do lots of war-like and stupid things, so they don’t tend to live fairly long on average. If you make it past the first twenty to thirty years, I think an Urgal would have a very good chance of living to be eighty years or maybe even a bit upward of that. I’ve always figured that they have a similar lifespan to humans, except for some of the very largest of them – the Kull – which tend to have, on average, a shorter life span, maybe up in to the sixties or so, just because their sheer size tends to wear on them quite a bit.

M: DragonLover—there’s a lot of R’s there, I’m not going to go for all of them—asked: What happens when a Dragon Rider becomes a Shade, or is that impossible? I think that last time you may have said that that was impossible.

C: Did I?

M: Someone said that you did.

C: Well if I did then I take that back! I think it would be absolutely frackin’ terrifying!

M: So could a dragon—could any creature that can actually think—

C: Read Book 4.

M: Oh jeeze!

C: [Christopher’s evil laugh.]

M: That should be good.

C: It involves Angela, that’s all I will say.

(Commentary by Wyvern: Quite a topic of debate! Looks like Paolini has given us a major plot point.)

M: Well then, new theories incoming!

M: Do you regard yourself as an omniscient narrator, privy to and indeed controlling all characters’ thoughts, feelings, and actions, or do you feel that your characters gain their own anonymity shaped by their own experiences?

C: I am technically speaking – and I am very technical about this in the way I write – I am third person limited point-of-view narrator. There are only a few times I’ve broken that in the entire series; one of which was when I described Eragon from outscribed his point-of-view when we first meet him. The rest of the time, whatever point-of-view character I’m writing from, I use only their point-of-view. If it’s Nasuada, I don’t describe the tears on her cheeks and how they look because she can’t see that herself unless she is looking through a mirror.

I try to let my characters evolve naturally, although I’m still “god of the universe” as far as the world and the story is concerned, but as a narrator I am third person limited.

M: TheJoker asked, “Why did Brom not have pointy ears?”

C: Because he was not joined with his dragon very long. Eragon’s transformation was accelerated by the Blood-Oath Celebration. And two, Brom was pretty old at this point and he would—he had actually been aging, looked older, and I figured that his ears would have sagged a little bit in length as they tend to do, and so even if they had been a little pointed, it really wouldn’t have shown up by then.

M: We’ve gotten this a lot and I find it kind of fascinating—were the Dragon Riders—

C: Of course he had long hair too, so it would have been hard to see. But anyway!

M: Faraway asked this one: “Were the Dragon Riders obligated to use a sword or could they choose another type of weapon to be forged for them?”

C: That is a great question. They weren’t obligated. I think swords have always been considered one of the highest forms of weaponry and have enormous symbolic value. If Brom, for example, had chosen to use a staff instead as his weapon, I’m sure that Rhunön or some other elf would have been happy to craft him a weapon of equal strength and power as one of the swords. So no, it wasn’t obligated, and actually, I’m sure there were a couple of Riders who probably preferred a bow or a spear, especially from fighting on the back of a dragon—having a bow to shoot or a long lance you could use. And now we’re talking about dragon lances! [Chuckles]

(Commentary by Wyvern: Interesting. Would the lances have been made of Brightsteel? This gives an interesting relationship with the Saint George mythos...)

M: Yeah, we got that question a lot so we figured we should throw it in! What was your favorite point-of-view to write? I’m going to guess Saphira.

C: It was Saphira, yeah. I’ve actually enjoyed Nasuada’s the more I write her; she’s such a strong and interesting character. Roran is always fun to write because he just gets to be “Action Hero Roran” at this point. Eragon is, well, he’s Eragon – always asking, “Why me? Why is this happening?” But Saphira was a treat, and I actually have a chapter coming up in just a few pages where I’m going to have another point-of-view shift to her in the fourth book. Not a long one but I wanted to do at least one.

M: I like how she thought… how different it was from the other characters.

C: Yeah, and I wasn’t trying to put her down by that. I actually think that’s more of a complicated way of thinking, sort of free associating with everything you refer to.

M: It was very interesting to read. I’m not sure who asked this one—oh, Alpha—“How large are the lethrblaka compared to a dragon, and do they continue growing like dragons or stop at a certain size?”

C: They don’t keep growing like dragons, and the lethrblaka were, at the time of their death in Brisingr, were… you know, I don’t remember if I did a size comparison between them and Saphira at the beginning of Brisingr.

M: I think you may have mentioned it. I think what they were wondering more was, “Can they grow larger?”

C: No, they don’t grow any larger. I mean, I was thinking they were roughly Saphira’s size, maybe a little bit smaller at that point. And of course they don’t have tails the way she does.

M: And that’s an advantage! Same person asked: “How old was Oromis at the time of his death?”

C: Old. Next question! No, he had given a mini biography of himself to Eragon in Eldest when he mentioned he was several centuries old.

M: Brisineo asked, “According to your previous Q&As, you seem to know the entire history of Alagaësia like the back of your hand. Will you be considering writing a version of the History of Alagaësia?”

C: You mean Domia abr Wyrda. Some day, but I’m not sure anyone would be interested in reading it.

M: Well I would!

C: It probably wouldn’t tell a story.

M: You had it in the Eldest Limited Edition and I thought it was great.

C: There will be a few more excerpts actually in Book 4 [editor’s note: Christopher accidentally said “Brisingr” in place of Book 4 during the interview].

M: Well I enjoyed it, so if you ever want to write one…

C: Some day! Maybe give up on the story and just do world building!

M: There you go! I don’t think everyone would be bummed. Some people would be, I’m sure… they actually want to know what happens at the end of the books. UnknownGuy asked, “I know this is a stupid question but is it possible to create an imitation of the bond a Rider shares with its dragon, with say, a less magical creature such as a werecat? If so, has it ever been done?”

C: That is an interesting question. No, it isn’t stupid. It is actually possible to create a facsimile of the bond with a dragon, which Galbatorix has done with Shruikan. As for other creatures, the bond with the Riders and dragons really depends on the fact that the dragons are ornately magical creatures. They depend on magic to fly, they depend on magic to breathe fire… they’re actually a source of wild magic themselves, in a sense. And being joined with them affects the people being joined with them, including the race as a whole, as I think I have alluded to a few times.

Trying to create that sort of bond with another creature really wouldn’t work the same. The bond that you create between a Rider and dragon is really dependant on this pact—the bond that was established so many years ago. So without that underlying magical foundation to exist, you would have to create something from scratch. You know, you could probably come up with something that would be similar but it would be a pretty involved process and you’d have to definitely be a very experienced magician to make that work.

M: Well with the introduction of werecats in the recent chapter of Book 4, we could always have Werecat Riders!

(Commentary by Wyvern: See King Cat.)

C: True… I don’t think they’d consent to that. I think werecats are a little too flighty to be like Dragon Riders.

M: That was a great chapter by the way! SomePerson asked, “Last Q&A we were told there was once a Rider who didn’t want to be a Rider. Will you ever tell his story or elaborate on the story, or at least share a little details about the story?”

C: Possibly some day. I think that would be an interesting story.

M: In Eragon, when Brom was talking to Eragon about the history between Galbatorix and Morzan, he mentioned that there was a place that the two hid in, in an evil place where the Riders dared not venture. What is this place and is it at all related to the Vault of Souls?

C: No comment on the Vault of Souls, but the location—again, it’s not really relevant to the store that I’m telling so I haven’t gotten into it, but I thought it was actually one of the places we talked about with wild magic, and that’s one reason that Riders didn’t really go there. And I don’t want to say where it is at the moment, but it’s a pretty wildly-remote place.

(Commmentary by Wyvern: Du Fells Nángoröth?)

M: So we may see it?

C: No comment, no comment.

M: Rhino62 asked, “If a person is asleep does it make it easier for someone to break into that person’s mind, or does it make it harder that the person is sleeping and focusing only on that? Or, would the person trying to break into the other person’s mind only see the sleeping person’s dreams?”

C: It actually makes it a little harder because a dreaming person’s mind is chaotic and unless the dreamer is lucid and aware of what they’re dreaming, which can happen, it would be rather hard. And also, if you’re trying to invade someone’s mind in a dream world, you risk panic, and then they may start fighting back in the way you only can in a dream. It can actually be very dangerous for the person trying to enter the other person’s mind.

M: That would be very interesting to see in the story, if you ever got to it.

Does Galbatorix have elven features?

C: Well, we’ll have to wait until we actually see Galbatorix…

M: Well, we have seen him—you drew him.

C: True, but I drew that overnight, in a rush.

M: For the curious, it is in Eragon's Guide to Alagaësia.

C: True, true. I’m not denying—I think that is a fairly good image generally but you’ll have to wait for the specifics for when he actually shows up. In Galbatorix’s case, again I would remind people that he lost his original dragon quite young and that what he has with Shruikna now is not the same sort of bond. However, he is very powerful with magic and he could quite easily reshape his features however he wants. If he wants to look like an elf he would be looking like an elf; if he doesn’t, he won’t. As Arya was doing her “plastic surgery” in Brisingr.

M: So earlier we talked about Mani’s Caves. This person is wondering if you could tell us where the caves are?

C: The floating crystals are on the island, and Mani’s Cave I believe is in the Beor Mountains…. I believe that was first mentioned by Orik. It’s in the Beor Mountains.

M: Other than the brief mentioning in the first book, Sharktooth Island has played no role whatsoever in the series. Was it put on the map just because or will it have a role in the last book?

C: It’s there because the ocean looked too empty without it. So maybe someday, but at the moment—it was named by the Riders, and the reason you know that is because of the title. The name of the island is something you would only think of if you saw the island from above.

M: One last question—we’re just going to touch on it so people stop asking. How is Book 4 going?

C: [Chuckles] It’s going. [Laughs]

M: And it’s going to come out “when it’s done”?

C: Well, it’s going into the shredder right now and it’s coming out quickly! No, no, Book 4 is going well—I’m working ridiculously hard on it. I think that I finally see the light at the end of the tunnel and I’m on the downward slide to the end. It’s been the hardest book to write so far, just because of the complexity and the amount of characters… and it’s the end of the store and demands a certain amount of attention. But I’m getting very excited because I can smell the end, and I can’t wait to get there!

M: The last question is—have you chosen a title yet?

C: I’m sure I’ve answered this before!

M: It’s the question we’re always getting so I’m trying to—

C: Unlike Brisingr, I named Book 4 before I began it and I’ve had the title ever since. I’m very pleased with it, I think it’s a kick-ass title. It’s a good title. Unfortunately I can’t tell it to you but as I know I’ve said before, the cover is going to be a green dragon and I’ve actually seen the painting in New York City at Random House. By John Jude Palencar. It’s a really, really good painting. I like it! I think it’s going to make a great cover.

M: Well thank you very much!

C: Thank you!

Afterthoughts and credits

We got through a great deal in this interview. Paolini and Macauley touched on the past, present and future. The theorising, I note, has already begun. If you liked this interview, and would enjoy the commentary and links approach applied to the previous interviews, please leave a comment.

All credits to the wonderful work of Mike & Co for making this possible and providing original audio on their website.

  1. Original interview part 1
  2. Original interview part 2
  3. Original interview part 3

--Wyvern Rex. 17:18, September 5, 2010 (UTC)

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