Christopher Paolini is joining us as a guest this week as Lytherus’ featured author! We’ll be taking a look at Christopher’s recently-released “Inheritance Deluxe Edition”, which features a whole host of new content, including deleted and added scenes, new artwork, and more. Most importantly, the Deluxe Edition features a letter from Jeod detailing life in Alagaesia after the series ended! We’ll also explore a potential fifth book…
The Deluxe Editions
Deluxe Editions have been around since the beginning of this “Inheritance” journey, starting with the release of a Deluxe Edition of Eragon, containing new content not originally released with the book. The tradition continued with Eldest, which was branded a “Limited Edition” and Brisingr, which saw the return of the “Deluxe Edition” title.
Inheritance’s content offerings, however, may just be the best. Fans have been clamoring for answers to some of their lingering questions… for help with closure, to know what happened to some of their favorite characters after we turned that last page. This is where the Deluxe Edition comes in.
The art of Inheritance
Christopher Paolini has been drawing for years. His sketch of Saphira’s eye was the original cover of the self-published edition of Eragon (before being purchased by Random House and replaced with John Jude Palencar’s Saphira painting). His map of Alagaesia has been inside each of his releases to date, and many of his sketches appear in Eragon’s Guide to Alagaesia – an illustrated guide to his world.
The Deluxe Edition of Inheritance brought us several new – and old – pieces of Christopher’s artwork. The familiar map of Alagaesia adorns the inside of the book, as does a drawing of Thorn’s eye (originally done for the Limited Edition of Eldest). Turning the page reveals Saphira’s eye, and another page turn reveals Brom’s ring (also drawn for the Limited Edition of Eldest).
Turning another page reveals Glaedr’s eye – a new piece of artwork done for this Deluxe Edition. It’s a stunning and haunting look at one of the series’ best characters. It’s hard to stare at the sketch and not imagine that this once-great dragon is now trapped within an organic prison.
Shruikan’s eye is just a few page turns away, sitting on the title page of Inheritance. This eye is noticeably different from the rest. Gone is the beauty of Saphira, Glaedr, and even Thorn. Instead, we see a void of darkness, the bulging of veins; evil and insanity.
Sitting at the back of the book, rewarding readers who turn the final page of the series, is a beautiful fold-out poster featuring John Jude Palencar’s Shruikan painting.
Life in Alagaesia after Inheritance
Christopher delivered on his promise to offer fans more closure after Inheritance ended by including a letter written by Jeod, sent to his colleague detailing life for many of our favorite characters after Inheritance ended.
The letter is written to Ertharis, another member of Jeod’s Order, and details what Jeod has observed since Eragon left Alagaesia. His letter discusses his recently-completed manuscript which he refers to as a “History” — no details on what this “History” is, but it’s fair to guess that it chronicles Eragon’s adventures from the day Saphira’s egg hatched to the day they left Alagaesia forever. Included in his letter are highlights from his manuscript detailing the lives and whereabouts of many of the series’ key characters, including:
- Eragon and Saphira
- Murtagh and Thorn
- The dragons’ eggs given to the dwarves and Urgals
- Arya and Firnen
- Nasuada and her plans to govern Alagaesia’s magic users
- Tenga and his mysterious disappearance
- The disappearance of Angela the herbalist
- Roran Stronghammer
- The seeming disappearance of the Ra’zac and Lethrblaka
- Galbatorix’s body
Interestingly, the letter references the powerful magics of “The Nameless One”, a character which we know very little about. Who is this “Nameless One”? Is this more groundwork for a potential fifth book?
The letter answers many important questions, but raises completely new ones:
- Why have they been unable to recover Galbatorix’s body?
- Where has Angela gone? Clearly many others are beginning to seriously question her origins.
- Where have Murtagh and Thorn gone, and what have they been doing during their self-imposed exile?
- How long will it be before the Urgal and dwarf dragon eggs hatch?
- Why and how did Tenga kill the spellcasters sent after him? Where did he disappear to?
These questions lead us to…
What about a fifth book?
While Book 4 is confirmed as the final novel in the Inheritance Cycle, Christopher Paolini has made it abundantly clear that he does not intend to leave the Inheritance universe forever. Christopher has been caught discussing the future of Alagaesia in numerous interviews:
“I don’t have any immediate plans to write a prequel, but, if I ever do, it will probably be either the story of Brom’s life or a story set during the height of the Riders’ power.”
“Book Five (as I think of it) would be set after the events of the Inheritance cycle, would be a single stand-alone book, and would feature both new and old characters.”
Christopher has also revealed that plot threads already exist in the Inheritance Cycle which pertain to the events in future books. Which threads could these be? In the mean time, fans are left pondering which characters may make a re-appearance in our favorite series’ stand-alone story, and what state the world may be in once we reach that time period.
It seems as though the loose ends made obvious in Jeod’s letter will play a central role in any future Alagaeisa books. What do you think those lingering questions could mean? How do you see the plot of a potential fifth book playing out?