Q&As with Christopher: Dragon Flame Color, Rider Training, and Snail Bacon

Snail, snail bacon
Image courtesy FreeRangeStock.com


Is there any location in Alagaësia that you wanted to write about but didn’t?

Du Fells Nángoröth. I wrote a scene in Eldest, when Eragon and Saphira return to the Varden, where they stopped at the mountains. However, it messed up the pacing, so I cut it during editing. I’d still like to go back there.

Can you give us any hints of things Riders learn that Eragon hasn’t learned?

A lot more history, science, math, language — all of the things that we usually learn in school ourselves. There isn’t a whole lot of magic that he doesn’t know by now (the most notable exception is how to summon spirits), but if he were to be a well-rounded Rider, he really needs to do a lot of reading and put a lot of work into math and science.

How many years does the training of a Rider usually take? For how long was Eragon trained in Eldest?

Four to five years was considered the absolute minimum — after that you were considered mature enough to start helping the order — but your lessons continued for another five years after that. Keep in mind, most people (human or elf) were quite young when their dragons hatched for them. Thus, they still had to grow up before they could really be considered a Rider in full.

Is it possible for a Rider to abandon his dragon, or the other way around, because they just didn’t match in the end? Can a Rider reject a dragon that hatched for him or is this a crime?

You could abandon a dragon you were already bonded with (or they could abandon you) but I think it would only happen between a grown Rider and dragon. I can’t imagine that the Riders would let anyone reject a hatchling. If a dragon hatches for you, that’s it, you’re going to be a Rider, whether you want to or not.

The fire/flame that a dragon shoots out – how does it correspond with scale color?

Doesn’t. The color just depends on the heat of the flame.

Did the dragons ‘take over’ Solembum and talk through him to reveal the prophecy and advice Eragon would need?

No. It was a message left with Solembum/werecats decades ago.


Did you ever feel that Eragon was going to be a book that everyone laughed at while you were writing it? I’m having trouble believing in myself while writing. When I read Eragon for the first time and I found out you were about 14 when you started writing it and you were homeschooled, you inspired me to write books. Did you ever have a hard time believing that your books would turn out as great as they are?

There were plenty of times that I thought Eragon (and Eldest, and Brisingr, and Inheritance) weren’t any good and that no one would want to read them. However, I refused to give up, and I kept working on them until they were as exciting and well-crafted as I could possibly make them. Insecurity is something every author has to deal with sometimes. It comes with the territory, unfortunately.

Would you actually eat snail bacon?

Not only would I, I actually *have*. That is, in the form of escargot. I love escargot. In fact, one of my mom’s favorite stories about me when I was a toddler involves me eating a live garden snail. I don’t remember it myself, but apparently my love of snail meat goes back a long way.

What evils do you have to battle in your own life?

The hardest part of writing is persistence. Monotony is boring, while variety is exciting. Having to sit down every day and work on the same story (sometimes for years on end) can be very difficult, no matter how much you love the project.

Which six historical or celebrity figures would you invite as guests to a dinner party? And what would be the menu?

Albert Einstein, Werner Herzog, Mark Twain, Carl Sagan, Isaac Newton, and William Shakespeare. As for the menu…wild boar, cooked vegetables, assorted fruit from all around the world, and a good red wine.

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Immanuela Meijer

Immanuela is the Paolinis' webmaster, archivist, and all around "make-things-go" Renaissance woman.