Now, as it happened, I read Eragon first, before a friend of mine recommended Bishop (about a month ago to me) as an extremely good fantasy writer. (On a side note, IMHO my friend is right, so if anyone's looking for a good read amidst all the fantasy crap that's out on Amazon these days...)
Anyway, 'Tir Alainn' is Bishop's second trilogy, with characters such as Fae (fairies), humans, Wiccanfae (witches) and the Small Folk. I was burning through chapters this morning when a new character was introduced; Murtagh, the Fae Lord of the Selkies. After gaping at the name for a minute, I dismissed any thoughts of 'more evidence of Paolini's 'inspiration'!' because I convinced myself Murtagh was already been a name (albeit a rare-sounding one) way before anyone thought to use it in a fantasy novel, for actual real surnames, and so it was merely a coincidence.
That's before two more characters were introduced. One of them, a human, called 'Sloane' (if my memory serves correctly, he's a stable hand or something). Another, a Fae, called 'Varden'. That's when my brain said, "WTF? These coincidences are just too obvious to dismiss!"
Or aren't they? Anyone feel they need to defend Pao here? Anyone else read The House of Gaian before and have a second opinion? I'd really like to know what other people think here; whether it is just an insane coincidence, or a subconscious referral on Pao's part, or sheer blatant plagiarism. Because we already know he's guilty of that.