Category Archives: Authors

Christopher Paolini and the Balloon Man

I was sitting with my feet up, reading a school book and trying to shut out the sound of children’s programs on the TV we have borrowed to watch the Olympics on, when I heard something that caused me to scoot round in front of the TV. I caught the name “Christopher Paolini”. What was Paolini doing on ABC3? And if he was on TV, I definitely wanted to catch a glimpse of him. Paolini’s Inheritance Cycle might not be my all-time favourite series, but the fact that he started it when he was fifteen – my age – means that I have a lot of respect for that guy.

I soon saw that the show would not be one to command my respect, however. There were two hosts. One was a man with so many balloons stuck on to him that although he wasn’t a fat man, if he had a red cloak covering the balloons, he could pass for Father Christmas. The other was a goofy, excitable young lady. She was interviewing Christopher Paolini, who was trying to look at home with these strange people in their strange studio.

At first they were questioning him in a fairly conventional interview style. They asked him for a summary of Eragon, and he gave it in three or four sentences. Then they asked him what it was like having his book turned into a film, which was a good question actually: if it was me, I don’t know whether the glory of having a movie made of my book, or the shame of having my book so blatantly mutilated, would be greater. He may have been merely trying to be polite, but Paolini seemed to find the glory greater. He did say it was “really weird”, but that was because it was mind-blowing having professional actors act out his 15 year old day-dreams.

That was when the interview started to go wonky. They made Paolini take a quiz on his own book (?!). This was probably just to acquaint viewers with the Inheritance Cycle, but it seemed a bit weird.

“Eragon’s dragon’s name was Sapphira.” said the lady.

“True!” proclaimed Paolini.

“Correct!” And in her excitement at this profound response, she proceeded to pop two of the balloons on the wonkily dressed man. One ballon was merely full of air, but the other contained some slimy liquid which splattered all over him.

“Was the landscape in Alagaesia inspired by where you grew up in Montana?” (or something like that, I forget the details)

“True!”

“Correct!” More splattered balloons.

“Eragon was going to be called Justin Bieber, but then the real one came along, so you were forced to change his name to Eragon.”

“False!”

“Correct!” By now the poor balloon man was fairly soaked with yellowy-green slime.

“Christopher!” she said, “Would you like to see an example of Australian television?”

“Sure” obliged Christopher diplomatically.

“Well look over there, ABC3!” she yelled, (the program which was screening this show).

How embarrassing. One of the great geniuses of the modern generation, and they had to go and force-feed him the opinion that Australians are a bunch of buffoons.

Having said that Paolini is a genius of the modern generation, his accent is not what I imagine for great fantasy writers and wise characters. People who have this accent include [professor] Diggory Kettleburn, Gandalf, and Albus Dumbledore…  but Paolini doesn’t have it at all. He has a thoroughly American accent and sounds more like a scientist.

But it doesn’t matter how someone talks! As I said before, even though the Inheritance Cycle isn’t my favourite series (I haven’t even read book 4, and I probably won’t, as so many people have said it was disappointing), it is still a great contribution to modern literature, and it came out of the mind of a 15 year old! So I have a lot of respect for Christopher Paolini. And now he will probably think Australia is a country-ful of buffoons. Ah well.

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