The Belgariad

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

The Belgariad is a five-book fantasy epic written by David Eddings, following the picaresque journey of protagonist 'Belgarion' and his companions, first to recover a sacred stone, and later to use it against antagonist 'Kal Torak'.

Works in the series[edit]

Volumes include:

  1. Pawn of Prophecy (1982)
  2. Queen of Sorcery (1982)
  3. Magician's Gambit (1983)
  4. Castle of Wizardry (1984)
  5. Enchanters' End Game (1984)

The title of each book combines a chess term with a fantasy term; whereas the concept of a 'Game of Destiny' is a significant motif in the story. The series has been reprinted as a two-volume set, titled The Belgariad Volume One, containing the first three books of the series, and The Belgariad Volume Two, which contains the last two books. This does not include the original map by Chris Barbieri, but only Shelly Shapiro's map.

The Malloreon is a five-book sequel to the Belgariad. Belgarath the Sorcerer (1995) and Polgara the Sorceress (1997) are prequels that share the setting and most characters. The Rivan Codex (1998) features annotated background material.

Pawn of Prophecy[edit]

Pawn of Prophecy
Pawn of Prophecy cover.jpg
Pawn of Prophecy cover
Author David Eddings
Country United States
Language English
Series The Belgariad
Genre Fantasy
Publisher Del Rey Books
Publication date
April 1982
Media type Hardcover, Paperback
Pages 258 pp (paperback)
ISBN 0-345-33551-1
OCLC 26344694
Followed by Queen of Sorcery

The book opens with a brief prologue concerning past events, beginning with the creation of the world by seven gods. One of the seven, Aldur, fashions an orb from stone and creates within it a "living soul"; but his brother Torak seizes the Orb from Aldur and tries to subdue its intelligence, whereupon the Orb mutilates the left side of Torak's body. The Orb of Aldur is later recovered by Belgarath the Sorcerer, King Cherek, and Cherek's sons. Cherek's youngest son Riva, is able to hold the Orb unharmed; wherefore all of his descendants are responsible for guarding the Orb from Torak.

The story then begins in earnest with the experiences of protagonist Garion, in his childhood on a large, prosperous farm: his earliest memories in the kitchen of his Aunt Pol; his friend Durnik the blacksmith; early games and friends; and the romance between Garion and local girl Zubrette. It also introduces Belgarath, as a wandering storyteller nicknamed 'Mister Wolf'; Garion's vision of the antagonist Asharak/Chamdar; and a "dry voice" in his mind, separate from his own consciousness. The reader later discovers that this is the Voice of Prophecy, or "Necessity", which takes action through him.

When Belgarath, alias "Wolf" announces the theft of a mysterious object (actually the Orb), he, Garion, and Aunt Pol leave Faldor's farm to pursue the thief, reluctantly allowing Durnik to accompany them. They are joined later by Silk/Kheldar, a Drasnian prince, spy, and thief; and by Barak, a Cherek Earl. Thereafter Mister Wolf follows an invisible trail through several regions, until they are arrested and taken to a meeting of monarchs. While roaming the palace at Val Alorn, Garion suspects a green-cloaked individual of treason. A few days later, Barak and Garion are hunting wild boar when Garion notices the green-cloaked spy discussing further espionage; but before Garion can tell anyone of this, he is attacked by a wild boar, which is then slain by Barak in the form of a bear.

Garion later exposes the green-cloaked spy, who is shown to be connected to a traitorous noble. Moments later, this noble and his men attack the castle from within, but are defeated. Garion himself is almost captured, but escapes. Later, he and the other protagonists leave again in search of the Orb, taking an Algarian prince named Hettar. As they leave, Garion learns that Polgara is Belgarath's daughter and the sister of Garion's second-most-distant female ancestor (identified in the prologue as Queen Beldaran, wife of Riva), and for that reason called his aunt. Having learned this, Garion identifies Belgarath as his grandfather.

Queen of Sorcery[edit]

Queen of Sorcery
Queen of Sorcery cover.JPG
Queen of Sorcery cover
Author David Eddings
Country USA
Language English
Series The Belgariad
Genre Fantasy
Publisher Del Rey Books
Publication date
November 1982
Media type Hardcover, Paperback
Pages 327 (paperback)
ISBN ISBN 0-345-32389-0
Preceded by Pawn of Prophecy
Followed by Magician's Gambit

The story opens in the region 'Arendia', where Garion meets a skilled archer named Lelldorin. After a minor scuffle, which Belgarath stops, Garion and Lelldorin become fast friends. The party travel to Lelldorin's uncle's manor, where Garion hears about a plot to kill the Mimbrate king Korodullin and to start a war with a neighboring country. The plot is masterminded by a spy from Cthol Murgos named Nachak. Garion's friends are joined thereafter by Korodullin's knight, Mandorallen.

The party continue to Vo Mimbre, the Arendish capital, where Garion reveals the plot to kill Korodullin, without naming its local conspirators, and Mandorallen challenges Nachak to a duel, which Hettar terminates by killing Nachak. The party travels to Tolnedra, to talk to the Emperor Ran Borune in the city of Tol Honeth, and are nearly captured by a group of mercenaries for the Queen of neighboring Nyissa. At Tol Honeth, Belgarath and Polgara urge the Emperor to rid Tolnedra of the invading 'Murgos'; but Ran Borune refuses because trade with the Murgos helps the economy. Upon leaving the capital, the group acquire an ineffectually-disguised Princess Ce'Nedra (Ran Borune's daughter), and enter the Wood of the Dryads, hoping to cross into Nyissa ahead of their opponent Zedar. In the Wood, Ce'Nedra asks the Dryad Queen Xantha for sanctuary, on grounds of common ancestry; but is refused. Splitting up on the way to the Nyissan capital of Sthiss Tor, they are detained by Tolnedran legionnaires under Grand Duke Kador of Tol Vordue, accompanied by Asharak, who demand Ce'Nedra to ensure Kador's chances of the throne. When Asharak slaps Polgara, Garion incinerates him, and Grand Duke Kador is taken prisoner by his soldiers.

Arriving at Nyissa by boat, Garion, angry at the treatment of the slaves there, uses the Will and the Word (the ability shared by himself with Belgarath, Polgara, and all other magic-users in the story) to teleport one. Following a quarrel with Polgara, Garion is kidnapped, drugged, and given as a gift to Queen Salmissra. He is rescued by Polgara and Barak (the latter again assuming a bear's shape); and Polgara, with permission by Issa, the god of the Nyissans, transforms Salmissra into an immortal snake. Thereafter Garion is reconciled with Polgara.

Magician's Gambit[edit]

Magician's Gambit
Magician's Gambit cover.JPG
Magician's Gambit cover
Author David Eddings
Country USA
Language English
Series The Belgariad
Genre Fantasy
Publisher Del Rey Books
Publication date
June 1983
Media type Hardcover, Paperback
Pages 320 (paperback)
ISBN ISBN 0-345-32731-4
Preceded by Queen of Sorcery
Followed by Castle of Wizardry

In the third book of the series, after learning that the Angarak sorcerer Ctuchik has stolen the Orb from its thief Zedar, Belgarion and friends go after him; but first enter the Vale of Aldur. In a cave on the way, Garion brings a dead colt back to life. This is of significance because Polgara and Belgarath maintained that before this, it was impossible to use the Will and the Word to restore life to the dead. To save time the group passes through the haunted land of Maragor, whose inhabitants were killed or enslaved when the Tolnedrans invaded them to obtain gold and whose god Mara drove every invader insane. To protect their minds, Belgarath and Polgara place their companions in a trance, during which the voice of prophecy teaches Garion of itself and his control of the Will and the Word. At the center of the ruins Mara senses Ce'Nedra, a Tolnedran and therefore one of the race that destroyed his people, and attempts to drive her insane; but is prevented by the voice.

In the Vale of Aldur, Garion practices the Will and the Word, and learns from Belgarath. The group enters Ulgoland, and, after some dispute, recruits the local zealot Relg as a guide to Cthol Murgos. Ce'Nedra is left behind as a guest of Gorim, the Ulgos' supreme authority, because the god UL warns them against taking her to Murgos.

At Ctuchik's headquarters. Belgarath and Ctuchik fight a 'wizards' duel' until Ctuchik attempts to "unmake" the Orb and thus "unmakes" himself. The group escapes, taking the now unconscious Belgarath, a boy later nicknamed Errand, who carries the Orb unharmed, and an escaped slave named Taiba, descendant of the Marags sold into slavery.

Castle of Wizardry[edit]

Castle of Wizardry
Castle of Wizardry cover.JPG
Castle of Wizardry cover
Author David Eddings
Country USA
Language English
Series The Belgariad
Genre Fantasy
Publisher Del Rey Books
Publication date
May 1984
Media type Hardcover, Paperback
Pages 416 (paperback)
ISBN ISBN 0-345-30080-7
Preceded by Magician's Gambit
Followed by Enchanters' End Game

The role of leader is thrust upon Garion when Belgarath and Polgara are incapacitated, the former by his battle with Ctuchik and the latter by protecting Errand. Garion thereafter incapacitates the Hierarchs of Rak Cthol in retaliation for an attack upon Durnik. With Errand continuously trying to give the Orb of Aldur to one of the company (its donation being the source of his name), they return to Ulgo for Ce'Nedra and eventually reach the Isle of the Winds, the object of their journey.

There, Belgarion is led by Belgarath, Polgara, and the Voice of Prophecy to accept the Orb of Aldur from Errand in the Hall of the Rivan King, where the ancient Sword rests above the Rivan Throne. In Garion's hands, the Orb glows with bright blue fire; placing it on the pommel, he is able to grasp the fiery Sword, and is thus identified as the long-lost heir to the throne. This revelation infuriates Ce'Nedra, who discovers herself betrothed to him. During the investiture, Garion, aided by the Voice of Prophecy, sees each member of the quest as an Instrument of Prophecy.

Shortly after the betrothal, Garion learns from the Mrin Prophecy that the Rivan King must slay the god Torak or be slain himself. Belgarion, Belgarath, and Silk therefore set out to fight Torak, leaving only a note to Polgara and Ce'Nedra with instructions not to pursue them; whereupon Polgara enters a rage, destroying her apartment and causing a thunderstorm overhead.

Having learnt the reason of Belgarion's departure, Ce'Nedra overhears a conference of the Alorn kings, and herself raises an international army to distract the Angaraks from Garion's quest so that he may reach Cthol Mishrak safely and overcome Torak.

Enchanters' End Game[edit]

Enchanters' End Game
Enchanter's End Game cover.JPG
Enchanter's End Game cover
Author David Eddings
Country USA
Language English
Series The Belgariad
Genre Fantasy
Publisher Del Rey Books
Publication date
December 1984
Media type Hardcover, Paperback
Pages 384 (paperback)
ISBN ISBN 0-345-30078-5
Preceded by Castle of Wizardry
Followed by The Malloreon (Guardians of the West)

The final book of the series starts with Belgarion, Silk, and Belgarath sneaking through Gar og Nadrak, whence they cross into Mallorea. Garion is tempted by Torak to accept him as a father and Polgara as his mother, but rejects this offer and reaches Cthol Mishrak unchallenged.

Despite a victory at Thull Mardu and the death of Taur Urgas, King of the Murgos, Ce'Nedra, Polgara, Durnik, and Errand are captured by the emperor Zakath, who gives them to Zedar. En route Polgara reveals that the Mallorean Prophecies name her as Torak's destined bride, and that her resistance to Torak's call may decide Belgarion's duel. With Zakath's escort, Polgara, Ce'Nedra, Durnik, Errand, and Zedar reach Cthol Mishrak before Garion, Silk, and Belgarath arrive. Zedar takes his prisoners to Torak's chamber, where Zedar kills Durnik, enraging Belgarath, who buries him alive. Torak attempts to sway Polgara; but Garion sends images of Durnik into her mind, thereby helping her to withstand Torak's call. A final battle ensues, during which Garion and Torak swell into immensity, and in which Garion, having mentally 'rejected' Torak again, kills him outright. The other gods confiscate Torak's body, and UL, the father of the gods, agrees to allow Garion to revive Durnik; Mara objects, but relents when Belgarath reveals that there is one Marag left alive.

Upon the company's return to Riva, Garion and Ce'Nedra plan their wedding, while Polgara and Durnik are married in a private chapel in the Citadel. Here, Durnik reveals that he received the Will and the Word when he was brought back to life, and that Belgarath had been training him to be Aldur's newest Disciple. Ce'Nedra and Garion are married, dance with everyone, and retire to their chambers. The story ends with a half-drunk Belgarath speaking to the Orb, while Garion and Ce'Nedra consummate their marriage.

Universe[edit]

Book of Alorn[edit]

The Book of Alorn is an historical and semi-religious book belonging to the Alorn people, encompassing major events ranging from the creation of the world to the battle of Vo Mimbre, and has been used as background material for many of the Belgariad and Malloreon novels. Although Eddings bases many of his novels' prologues on the Book, he also mentions that the Book is not completely accurate (as when it credits Aldur with the creation of the Orb of Aldur, which predated him).

In Belgarath the Sorcerer, Belgarath hints that the Book of Alorn was written by priests and that there are more than a single version (page 203, Apostate chapter of Belgarath the Sorcerer).

Book of Torak[edit]

The Book of Torak is the Angarak holy book in The Belgariad. It was apparently written by Torak himself, in first person narrative. Like the Book of Alorn, the book of Torak narrates the major world events, but tells it from a different perspective. According to the book, it was Torak who led the gods to create the world, protagonists (such as Belgarath) are recast as villains, and the reason for Riva Iron-Grip being able to touch the Orb of Aldur is different.

The first several pages of the Book of Torak are printed in the The Rivan Codex, David and Leigh Eddings' collection of unpublished background material and commentary on the Belgariad and Malloreon.

Supernaturalism[edit]

In the fictional world of The Belgariad and The Malloreon, there are several means to achieve supernatural feats; but actual annihilation, of anything but oneself, is impossible.

Alchemy[edit]

The Melcenes, who discount the supernatural, take a scientific approach and developed alchemy. Senji is the only alchemist introduced by name, though there are others. Nyissa is legendary for its exotic poisons, some of which can lead to deaths that are otherwise deemed to be "natural causes". Polgara is known for her bitter tasting medicines, which have miraculous effects.

Demons[edit]

Demons are summoned by magicians to provide those abandoned by both gods and prophecies with a religion. Their chief aim seems to be to escape the parallel universe to which UL confined them. They all defer to the "King of Hell"; but some are "Demon Lords" able to command armies of their species. The "Morindim" are a race solely fixated on summoning demonic entities from beyond, and Belgarath along with Garion and Silk engages in a demonic battle against a Morind magician. The demons themselves appear as a "typical" demon, a humanoid with hooves and horns. However, they are bent by the incantations and spells to whatever the summoner sees fit, with numerous rows of teeth and ghastly structure.

Divination[edit]

Ulgo diviners have the ability to pass their bodies (and anything they touch) through solid rock; whereas Dalasian diviners have the ability to acquire special information.

Gods[edit]

The power of gods is almost limitless. The gods in the stories are UL (Ulgos), Belar (Alorns), Torak (Angaraks), Aldur (disciples), Issa (Nyissans), Nedra (Tolnedrans), Mara (Marags) and Chaldan (Arends). Oldest is UL, the father god, then his sons Aldur, Nedra, Torak, Issa, and so on to Belar, the youngest. The Universe is also mentioned as the Mother of the Gods.

Magic[edit]

Very similar to traditional fantasy magic, witches employ potions and spells to achieve certain effects. The only example given of a witch is Vordai; but other characters are mentioned using it as well.

The Necessities[edit]

The power of the two Necessities is such that if they were to meet directly, the universe would be destroyed. Hence they work through agents, the Child of Light and the Child of Dark, and channel some of their power through the Orb of Aldur and its opponent the Sardion.

Necromancy[edit]

Some Dals have the ability to communicate with spirits of the dead.

Sorcery[edit]

Sorcery is the common term for the Will and the Word, which is used by the disciples of Aldur and Torak, and the most senior priests of any of the gods, though primarily Aldur's Disciple sorcerers are immune to aging, while other sorcerers live extended lives.

Essentially, a sorcerer concentrates his or her own strength through willpower, then releases it with a word. The word itself is immaterial; but the user must have a clear vision of his or her object, wherefore much of the training and education of sorcerers is toward expanding the imagination. Sorcery requires concentration, and can be physically tiring. The uses of the Will and the Word are almost limitless; but can exhaust the user even to his or her own death.

Sorcerers can "hear" when sorcery is used. This depends on the type of action being done (translocation is very loud), how quickly it is done, and proximity/skill of other Will-talented people. This sense manifests in a way very similar to real hearing, so loud noises can be used to mask the "sound" of using one's Will. Other types of supernatural power are not detectable in this way.

Sorcerers also have the ability to change the weather, with usually unknowable consequences. Belgarion summons a thunderstorm, for instance, and is later informed by Belgarath that it set off a terrible chain of events - which he and Beldin chased down across the world to quell. If they had not done so, Belgarath claims it could have caused an Ice Age.

Wizardry[edit]

One of the least-detailed supernatural practices in the series, the wizards of the Dals, like the Seers, have a place in the Mountain of Kell, and are known to have placed an enchantment that curses Grolims who come near the city.

Witches[edit]

Oft-maligned, usually unfairly, a single witch appears in the series, though the Dals practice witchcraft as well to some degree. They appear to work by convincing spirits to do their bidding.

Geography/Setting[edit]

The Belgariad is set in what appears to be a representation of an adolescent Pangaea, two main continents connected by a land bridge. Throughout the books, they refer to the planet as earth, and newer books include drawn maps to help place the reader in the world. Maps are also made by fans all over, and are quite accurate.

See also[edit]

External links[edit]