The Power of Paolini

Anyone reading this blog is probably very aware that this week Christopher Paolini released the fourth book in the Inheritance Trilogy (sorry Christopher – even though we are all thrilled that there are another 800 pages of Eragon, we all remember the moment somewhere in the third book when we realized it was not going to end there).

The Final One

Our copy of Inheritance will arrive in the next couple of days and my 12-year-old will devour it, before passing it on to me, hopefully in time for the Thanksgiving vacation. It has been a wonderful bonding experience. Whether it is Harry Potter or Eragon (or most likely both) who are responsible for his leap in reading ability and desire is immaterial, I am eternally grateful to Paolini and J.K. Rowling.

My son and I spent endless hours reading the books, listening to the audio version, watching the (only!!!!) movie, and discussing how it will end in Brisingr, the third and not final book of the trilogy, and then Inheritance.

When Paolini released Brisingr, my then 10-year-old stood defiantly at the front of the line in our local Borders, falling asleep on his feet literally as the clock approached midnight. I remember the lady who was working there, encouraging him to stay awake and hang on. At exactly midnight, she put a copy that she had hidden under the counter into his hands and whispered that he should buy that very copy. It was the only book in the store that Christopher Paolini had personally signed.

The autograph & the fan.

Five minutes later, my son was fast asleep in the car clutching his autographed copy by his hero who was barely ten years older than him.

Paolini has proved a number of important points:
1. The young generation will read 400-page novels if the material is gripping enough.
2. They will read rich descriptions, convoluted plots, and identify with characters that are deep, vulnerable, and profoundly human (or elf or dwarf).
3.  They will thrive on a high level of language.
4. Tolkien might still be king, but he has good company. Paolini is young. His level of craft is only going to improve and that is an exciting prospect.

Two years later, my son and I wrote our first 90,000-word fantasy novel. The seeds were sown in the land of Alagaesia, on the wings of dragons, and in the art of an incredibly talented young man.

The Master

As the excitement has grown for my eldest son and I as the release date for Inheritance neared, my youngest son,  who is eight-years-old, has quietly read more than 250 pages of Eragon.  

So Christopher, if by any chance you ever read this: Thank you, as a reader, a fan, and a father.

The Trilogy!

——————————————————————————————————

Alon Shalev is the author of The Accidental Activist and A Gardener’s Tale. He has written two fantasy novels and the first will enter the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award in January 2012. More on Alon Shalev at alonshalev.com and on Twitter (#elfwriter).

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13 comments on “The Power of Paolini

  1. Jeyna Grace says:

    I knew the book was coming out because it was featured in the book stores.. im not a reader though.

  2. […] have seen the impact of the Harry Potter series and Christopher Paolini’s Inheritance series on my son and his friends. I want to help shape the landscape of the next generation’s […]

  3. […] since has been compared to this masterpiece. I have heard interviews with Terry Brooks and Christopher Paolini where each has had to deal with the […]

  4. […] Christopher Paolini, the young author of the Inheritance Series (Eragon), was featured in The Writer. I was excited as the title was ‘Writing A Hit Series’, and Paolini has created a magnificent world in the 3,000 or so pages of his four novels. […]

  5. […] when I ask the question, people rarely say epic fantasy. During the days of Harry Potter, the Inheritance series, and now The Hunger Games, a man could come out of the library closet because his children were […]

  6. […] and I am not sure where the story is taking me, but it feels that I might yet walk in the path of Christopher Paolini and write a four book trilogy – if I do, I will have to man up and eat the words with which I […]

  7. […] ago. I wrote the first Wycaan Master book together with my eldest son. I have blogged about this previously. Last year, I wrote the second book before we went away and each night, we sat around the campfire […]

  8. […] ago. I wrote the first Wycaan Master book together with my eldest son. I have blogged about this previously. Last year, I wrote the second book before we went away and each night, we sat around the campfire […]

  9. […] have seen the impact of the Harry Potter series and Christopher Paolini’s Inheritance series on my son and his friends. I want to help shape the landscape of the next generation’s […]

  10. […] Not surprisingly, he hadn’t embraced the intrusion with the enthusiasm he showed for Christopher Paolini’s Eragon or J. K. Rowlings’ Harry […]

  11. […] a teenager. He wouldn’t want me to write a blog about him, though I am guilty of this and this. However it doesn’t seem right to wish Brad Pitt a happy birthday (his is tomorrow) and […]

  12. […] kids and I respond when we see a beautiful natural scene by exclaiming: Alagaesia! (You can blame Christopher Paolini for this. I hope he’s […]

  13. […] Not surprisingly, he hadn’t embraced the intrusion with the enthusiasm he showed for Christopher Paolini’s Eragon or J. K. Rowlings’ Harry […]

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