It’s hard to believe that today marks eleven years since the release of Eragon! That’s over a decade of dragons. Last year, a special 10th anniversary collector’s edition of Eragon was released to celebrate the book’s milestone. The book, which is still available, features a faux textured blue leather cover and binding complete with a new gold-plated book cover design and text. The interior of the book features a letter from Christopher discussing the journey to and after the release of Eragon, his influences, and the impact the series has had on his life. Perhaps most exciting, the book features six stunning illustrations from five world renowned fantasy artists as well as Christopher Paolini himself. You can learn more about the book on our special 10th anniversary collector’s edition page!
Eragon was originally self-published in 2002 by the Paolini family, but the widely-recognized edition of the book was first published by Random House Children’s Books in 2003. Random House first discovered Eragon thanks to the stepson of Carl Hiaasen, who purchased, read, and enjoyed the self-published edition of Eragon while vacationing in Montana. Hiassen’s stepson shared the book with the author who then shared the book with his editor at Random House. The rest is history.
The book’s early success and traction within the young adult community has been attributed to two things: the young age at which Christopher wrote Eragon and the inclusive and original style in which Eragon was written. Fan communities started popping up all over the internet shortly after the book’s launch, with Shur’tugal releasing not far after in March, 2004 (an earlier Shur’tugal release at the end of 2003 was scrapped following technical issues).
Because Shur’tugal launched shortly after the book’s release, we don’t have many pre-launch news stories to share with you. Instead, we have a preview of what Shur’tugal and the community looked like one decade ago:
Shur’tugal 1.0, our launch layout (sadly without archived images).
Shur’tugal 2.0, our second layout in 2004.
Shur’tugal 3.0, our third layout in 2004.
To help you journey back in time to get a feel for what the Inheritance community used to be like, here are some highlighted news posts from the website’s early days (just a few months after the release of Eragon):
To celebrate today’s milestone, here are some interesting facts about Eragon and the Inheritance Cycle:
- Plans to create the infamous Eragon movie were first announced in 2004 with a subsequent release in December, 2006.
- Despite being an unknown author and completely new to the young adult market, Eragon was the third best-selling children’s hardcover book in 2003 and the second best-selling children’s paperback in 2005.
- The book spent over 121 weeks on the best seller list. Because of the New York Times’ best seller list rules, series with more than two books are combined into one listing, leading Eragon‘s tracking to end prematurely. Eragon achieved many bestselling milestones, including:
- #1 New York Times Bestseller
- #1 Publishers Weekly Bestseller
- Wall Street Journal Bestseller
- USA Today Bestseller
- Book Sense Bestseller
- Eragon has won a number of awards, including (but not limited to) Texas Lone Star Reading List, 2004-5; Book Sense Book of the Year, 2004; Rebecca Caudill Young Readers’ Book Award, 2006; The New York Times Best Seller, No. 1; USA Today Best Seller; Publishers Weekly Best Seller; Wall Street Journal Best Seller, 2005
- Mike Macauley, owner of Shurtugal.com, launched the website at the age of 14, a year younger than Christopher when he first wrote Eragon!
We invite you to join us in celebrating the eleven year anniversary of the release of Eragon on this special day!
Now we ask: When did you first read Eragon? What is your favorite scene from Eragon? Do you remember your biggest theory for what would happen in Eldest? Let us know in the comments!
Today marks nine years since the release of ELDEST, the second book in the Inheritance Cycle! In 2005, the year Eldest released, the series was still known as the Inheritance trilogy. It wasn’t until half way through writing Brisingr that Christopher realized the need for splitting the final book into two.
Upon its release and in the years since, Eldest has gone on to sell millions of copies and mark a permanent spot on the book shelves of many fantasy and young adult fans. It was an exciting year leading up to the book’s release, as announcements were made containing the book’s title, cover, page count and more, as well as hints at spoilers, lots of interviews, title rumors and more!
We’ve compiled some of the best news and articles from before and after the release of Eldest. These articles will take you back in time to witness the excitement fans experienced as all of these announcements were made and as Eldest reached previously-impossible milestones.
Pre-release announcements and excitement
- Rumored swirled about the title of then-unknown “Eldest”… Bubbles for Buckfish?! – Kenneth Paolini teased fans as rumors flew that the book would be called Eldest, announcing that the book could be called “Empire, Bubbles for Buckfish, or something else”!
- Nasuada will lead the Varden! – Kenneth Paolini, Christopher’s father, dropped quite the reveal: he announced in September, 2004 that Nasuada would lead the Varden.
- Christopher announces that he has finished writing “Eldest” – In a brief but exciting statement, Christopher announced that he had completed writing Eldest on at 9:30am on December 19th, 2004 – nine months ahead of the book’s release!
- The cover releases! – The cover of Eldest, featuring John Jude Palencar’s illustration of Thorn, was released to the world nearly seven months ahead of the book’s release! Fans were thrilled to see another dragon joining the series.
- The synopsis releases! – Perhaps the most exciting pre-Eldest event was the release of the book’s official synopsis! “Darkness falls… despair abounds… evil reigns…”
- The first except from “Eldest” was released! – Up until the release of the first excerpt from Eldest, fans had little more than the book’s synopsis to go on. Christopher has always been a tight lipped author! The excerpt, from the chapter ‘Council of Elders’, teased the suffering Eragon was experiencing from the scar on his back.
- Random House announces that “Eldest” would exceed 700 pages – Fans were thrilled with the news that Eldest would be over 700 pages long, nearly 200 pages longer than Eragon. More pages equals more adventures!
- Hundreds of book stores hold midnight release parties around the USA – Eldest was quite a phenomenon, perhaps then only rivaled by Harry Potter. Tens of thousands of fans were set to line up around the country at various midnight release parties, all of which provided activities, contests, and raffles!
- “Eldest” releases! – The Shur’tugal crew’s post announcing the release of Eldest, titled “…and it has released!”, was one of the all-time most viewed posts on Shur’tugal!
- “Eldest” achieves record sales – Eldest sells over 425,000 copies in its first week on sale in North America! During the announcement, the book’s publisher also announced an additional printing of 500,000 copies, upping the total amount of copies in print in the first week to 1.8 million in North America alone!
- Some copies of “Eldest” shipped with other books inside! – Fans were shocked to open their copies of Eldest only to discover that 32 pages of Inkspell, a fantasy novel by Cornelia Funke which was not set to release until several months later, filled the inside of the book.
- “Eldest” knocked “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince” from the #1 spot in its first week – Harry Potter books were, and still are, massive. Understandably, the recently-released Harry Potter 6 was dominating the best-seller charts in the week after its release. However, Eldest was able to knock Harry Potter 6 to the 2nd best seller spot in the first week of its release – an impressive feat for any book!
- The Inheritance Cycle, including Eldest has sold over roughly 38 million copies since its release in 2009
- Eldest has been released in over 49 languages in 125 different countries
- Eldest contained 704 pages, a massive change compared to Eragon‘s 509 pages
- Eldest spent over 100 weeks on the New York Times best-seller list (before the Shur’tugal staff stopped tracking it)
- Fans waited one year, eleven months and 28 days from Eragon‘s release to the release of Eldest
We invite you to join us in celebrating the nine years since the release of Eldest on this special day!
Now we ask: What is your favorite scene from Eldest? Do you remember your biggest theory for what would happen in Eldest? Did you purchase the book at a midnight release? Let us know in the comments!
Christopher Paolini recently participated in a two-sided interview and conversation with acclaimed fantasy author Tad Williams (of Shadowmarch and Otherland fame) for Amazon.com, resulting in some very interesting questions and answers! The pair discussed their books, writing, and their writing plans for the future, as well as their take on the fantasy and scifi genres and the ever-growing world of books. The interview/discussion is quite the interesting read, offering a glimpse into the minds of two of our generation’s celebrated fantasy authors. Keep reading for the interview! View full article »
Christopher Paolini today announced one of the most exciting Inheritance Cycle fan contests yet: proving your status as a super Inheritance fan to win a trip to Montana to have lunch with Christopher! Random House is in search of the biggest Inheritance cycle fan on the planet and it’s up to you to prove that you’re it! They’re looking for fans to grab their video camera and submit a video explaining to viewers why the Inheritance cycle is such a great read. Twelve winners will be chosen and prizes include a trip to visit Christopher Paolini in Montana, a Skype call from Christopher Paolini, and signed copies of The Inheritance Almanac. Check out Random Buzzers for more information!
As we recently reported, Christopher Paolini took a short trip to Germany to attend the Bertelsmann 175 years celebration ceremonial act at the Konzerthaus am Gendarmenmarkt in Berlin. Bertelsmann is a transnational media corporation founded in 1835, based in Gütersloh, Germany, and owner of Random House, Christopher’s publisher. Shur’tugal has been forwarded a number of photos from the event, including some of Christopher with fellow Random House authors and staff members. Check out the stunning photos after the jump! View full article »
Christopher Paolini was invited to attend the Bertelsmann 175 years celebration ceremonial act at the Konzerthaus am Gendarmenmarkt in Berlin, Germany earlier today. Bertelsmann is a transnational media corporation founded in 1835, based in Gütersloh, Germany, and owner of Random House, Christopher’s publisher. Among the guests in attendance were famous authors, writers, politicians, company CEOs, and more. Visit Getty for a red carpet picture of Christopher from the event!
Time for a new session of questions and answers with Christopher Paolini! As many of you know, Shur’tugal began a series of interviews with Christopher in 2009, where we ask our visitors to submit their questions, which are then chosen through by the staff of Shur’tugal… with the very best making their way to the desk of Christopher Paolini. Once Christopher answers the questions submitted, the full transcript is posted on Shur’tugal for all to see. Due to the incredibly overwhelming response from our visitors — over 450 comments in 24 hours — we are closing question submissions for the eighth Q&A with Christopher Paolini. Check back next month for the next round! View full article »