The Belgariad

Just yesterday, a friend of mine asked me if I had read the first book of the Elenium. He had just finished reading it and had enjoyed it.

“David Eddings”, I said, “is my second favorite author after Terry Brooks. If you really want to read his best works, though, you have to read his first series, the Belgariad.”

The Belgariad begins with a young farm boy named Garion who lives in a farm community with his aunt. He is visited periodically by a crazy old story teller who his aunt seems to enjoy having around. Unfortunately for Garion, his nice quiet life is soon to change forever because he was never really meant to live a quiet farmer’s life. There have been hundreds of pages of prophecies written about him being aided by a group of other notable characters and confronting the evil god Torak where the fate of the world will be decided.

The plot is fun and never lacks for excitement, but the real joy of David Eddings’ works is the dialog between the main characters of his story. He is perhaps the greatest writer of dialog in all of Fantasy literature. His characters are quirky, humorous, and very enjoyable. You really get an insight into who they are by listening to what they say and how they say it.

In fact, in my own writings I have tried to emulate David Eddings and his mastery of dialog. There shouldn’t have to be a narrator around at every turn telling you what someone is thinking and what kind of person they are. A good writer will let you figure it out on your own.

And David Eddings is a VERY good writer.

The Belgariad is his first and, in my opinion, best work. His other series stand very well on their own, but I think any fantasy readers are doing themselves a great disservice if they don’t read this series.

The Belgariad contains five books: the Pawn of Prophecy, Queen of Sorcery, Magician’s Gambit, Castle of Wizardry, Enchanters End Game. There is a good summary of each of the books of the Belgariad on Wikipedia, but it would be better if you read them for yourselves.

Xi'an

I read the whole Belgariad about twenty years ago in a single week and I still remember the enjoyement. This being said, I find the book a bit too light and the characters too predictable. To some extent, the depiction of the various nations and races could be construed as racist, given that all members of a given nation behave exactly the same way, but I’d rather put it on the author’s laziness. Another point that is unrelated with the book itself but still matters to me is that David Eddings’ wife, Leigh Eddings, contributed to most of his books but was not acknowledged till later, which I found annoying…

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