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Friday, December 22, 2006

Alagaesia News

Kvetha Fricaya. Greetings Friends.

By the time you read this, the Eragon movie will have been out for almost a week, and many of you, I assume, will have already seen it. I myself have watched it three times within the past fortnight, and I could easily be convinced to watch it again, for whatever the movie’s virtues as an independent work of art, I find it fascinating how the filmmakers chose to interpret my novel. I have spent nearly every day of the past eight years thinking about this story, and to see a version, any version, of my world and characters on the silver screen, is both strange and exciting. I hardly know what to think of it. The attendant publicity has been just as overwhelming. To chance upon a television preview for a movie adaptation of a book I wrote, or to stand before a giant billboard advertising the same in Times Square, or to hear Craig Ferguson on The Late Late Show joking about the movie (and yours truly, if the truth be told) . . . these are surreal events. When I sold the film rights to Fox, I knew that if a movie were made, it would receive a vast amount of attention compared to the book—if merely because studios can afford to spend far more on advertising than publishers—but to witness that process firsthand is an amazing experience.

My sister Angela and I left home on Dec. 6th. Our destination: the Odeon theater in London, where Eragon premiered on the 11th. Along the way, we stopped in New York City to visit the wonderful folks at Random House. There, I recorded commentary for the Borders website, as well as some other bits and pieces. While I was busy yammering into a camera, Angela went on a massive search for something to wear to the premiere. It’s not every day that you have to parade in front of a ravening horde of photographers, after all. Fortunately, she succeeded in finding a beautiful red dress and the required accessories. The ensemble looked stunning on her.

After a day and a half in New York, it was off to London for us. There, we met up with Alex, who runs the Spanish Eragon fansite, eragons.com, which also happens to be the largest fansite outside of the United States. Thanks for everything, Alex! Accompanying him was another Spanish fan, Nuria, who gave me a lovely metal bookmark and a copy of the fifth Gon graphic novel, which I enjoyed reading on the flight home. Thanks, Nuria!

The premiere itself was everything I expected it to be: big, loud, and lots of fun. There were countless blue Christmas lights strung up around the location, several gigantic video screens playing looped footage of Saphira flying and breathing fire, loudspeakers blaring the movie music, thousands of screaming fans, hundreds of journalists, and several dozen publicists running from place to place. The most impressive thing, however, was the line of fireballs that exploded from the top of the marquee every thirty seconds or so. They were so big, I could feel the heat a good twenty feet away. As soon as I got out of the car, I began signing pictures, posters, and other miscellaneous pieces of paper. That continued for about half-an-hour, and then I moved on to the journalists and one-by-one, worked my way through them. One of the Fox publicists later told me that I did fifty-one interviews in a row that night.

I had been introduced to several of the actors at a cocktail party before the actual event—all of whom were very gracious and polite—but it was here, on the red carpet, that I finally got to shake hands with Jeremy Irons. What an extraordinary way to meet the man who played Brom!

When everyone finally managed to get inside the theater, and after yet another round of photos and interviews, Stefen Fangmeier (the director), the actors, and I trooped onto the theater stage, where Stefen introduced the film to the audience. It was a large audience, too. The Odeon seats almost two thousand people. Then the lights dimmed, the curtains rose, the Twentieth Century Fox fanfare rang out, and we settled down to watch the movie.

The after-party was held at the Halls of Justice—or Old Bailey, as it’s known—which doubles as the main hall in Hogwarts in the Harry Potter films. It’s an impressive location, to say the least.

After all that hullabaloo, it was a relief to head home two days later. We stopped back in New York for another screening of the movie with many of the people from Random House, Writers House, and Listening Library who have helped make the Inheritance trilogy so successful (and for several more interviews, of course) and then we finally returned to Montana on the 16th.

Long as this newsletter may seem, I’ve barely even begun to describe everything that’s happened in the past two weeks. I’ve been on some busy trips before, but for sheer variety, nothing I’ve done before even comes close. Crammed in among all these other activities was a visit to Random House UK (where I saw mockups of new editions of Eragon and Eldest with covers unlike any other version in the world), an epic walk in the dark and the rain from our hotel to Big Ben, an encounter with Penn of Penn and Teller, and a surprise book signing in NY City.

Now, I want nothing more than to stay home, resume work on Book Three, and enjoy a quiet holiday with my family. This past year has been a wild and exhilarating ride for the four of us, and we need some time to recover. I wouldn’t change a second of it, though. And I want to thank all of you for making this incredible journey possible. I hope this missive finds you and yours well, and that you will prosper in the coming year.

Here’s to 2006, and to a bright 2007!

Sé onr sverdar sitja hvass!

Christopher Paolini

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