As a young reader with a voracious appetite for epic fantasy battles, I often pictured myself as Eragon, gallivanting across Alagaësia smacking bad guys with Zar’roc. In 2004, this daydream sparked an idea: what if we, the fans, actually brought the sword to life? Could such a unique weapon be created? Could we afford a project of that magnitude? Would the Shur’tugal community be interested in working toward such an ambitious goal? We would soon find out…
“Project Zar’roc” was officially announced on October 22, 2004. We partnered with Scott Ginger, a professional blacksmith, and enlisted members of the Shur’tugal community to contribute toward the sword’s $800 cost. We hit our milestone in less than thirty days, thanks to dozens of generous donations from fans across the world.
Designing the sword’s construction was a tricky task. I worked closely with Scott to ensure that the gift would be as similar to Christopher’s vision as possible. We utilized descriptions from Eragon and an illustration sent by Kenneth Paolini to finalize the blueprint.
Finding a red stone worthy of Zar’roc was our biggest challenge. We consulted with and hired a local glassblower who created a beautiful pommel gem that captured the sword’s magic.
Zar’roc was delivered to my home in Massachusetts several months later. Unwrapping the sword was an incredible feeling. I immediately shared pictures with the Shur’tugal community, then quickly repackaged the precious cargo and sent it off to Montana.
Christopher thanked those who contributed to the project in an Alagaësia Newsletter shortly after receiving Zar’roc:
When the UPS or FedEx truck pulls up to my door, I’m often surprised by the deliveries. Two days ago, I received an impressive-sized box and wondered what it could be. To my utter astonishment, it contained a beautiful replica of Eragon’s sword, Zar’roc. This amazing sword has a blood-red blade, the likes of which I have never seen before. The pommel is formed by an enormous red blown-glass gem set in a crown of gold. The handle is wire-wrapped. To complete the package, a mounting board accompanied the sword; its black finish sets off the red blade to perfection.
I am nearly at a loss for words to describe my feelings. When I was a young boy, I dreamed of owning a sword of my own. I paged through armory catalogs and hoped that one day a sword would be mine. Lacking the funds to purchase my fantasy, I crafted my sword with words. I never imagined that one day someone would make a sword for me, let alone a sword of my own design.
I shall treasure this memento of your goodwill, and I will hang it in my room to remind me of you when I write. It will spur me to do my very best work, for you who have given me so much.
Nearly a decade later, it’s incredibly touching to see that Christopher has cherished the sword for all of these years, true to his word.
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