The Belgariad

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The Belgariad is a five-book fantasy epic written by David Eddings. The series follows the adventures of Garion as he seeks to fulfil the prophecy of the preliminary battle between the Child of Light and the Child of Dark and restore balance to the world.

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. 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 in Pawn of Prophecy by Chris Barbieri, but only Shelly Shapiro's map.

The Malloreon is a five-book sequel that continues the story started in 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". One of the other gods, Torak, seizes the Orb from Aldur and tries to have it submit to his will. The Orb retaliates, burning and maiming Torak throughout the left side of his body, and burning out his left eye. The Orb of Aldur is later recovered by Belgarath the Sorcerer, King Cherek, and his children. 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 a boy named Garion raised on a large, prosperous farm. It tells of his earliest memories in the kitchen of his Aunt Pol; and describes how he meets Durnik the blacksmith, Garion's early games and friends, and something of the romance between himself and local girl Zubrette. It also introduces his contact with Belgarath, who he knows as a wandering storyteller that he calls Mister Wolf; Garion's vision of the antagonist known as Asharak or 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, under the name of "Mister Wolf" (he rather likes the name, and deems it strangely appropriate), arrives with news of the theft of a mysterious object by a thief whom no-one will name, Mister Wolf and Aunt Pol leave Faldor's farm to chase him down, reluctantly allowing Durnik to accompany them. Garion, Aunt Pol, Durnik, and Mister Wolf are joined later by Silk/Kheldar, a Drasnian prince, spy, and thief; and by Barak, a Cherek warrior and Earl of Trellheim famous for his immense size, love of ale, and unmatched prowess in battle. Garion finds himself visiting several cities as Mister Wolf follows an invisible trail, until they are arrested and taken to a meeting of monarchs.

There, Aunt Pol and Belgarath spend most of their time in council with the kings, leaving Garion alone. Garion begins to harbor doubt about his relation to Aunt Pol when he hears her identified as the 4000-year-old sorceress Polgara, and that Mister Wolf is her father, the 7000-year-old sorcerer Belgarath. He feels alone, and begins to angst about his position in the world, which makes him moody and annoyed at the world. This causes some tension between Garion and Pol until the end of the book.

While roaming in the palace at Val Alorn, Garion sees a green-cloaked man act suspiciously, but does not tell anyone of this. A few days pass and Barak decides to go wild boar hunting in the nearby forests. Against Aunt Pol's advice, Garion also goes. While in the forest Garion chances on a meeting between the green cloaked man mentioned earlier and another man about trying to spy on the current meeting between the kings of Aloria. Before Garion can tell anyone he is attacked by a wild boar, which nearly kills him until Barak (who Garion strangely sees as flickering between a man and a bear) saves his life. Garion becomes injured and unconscious in the process.

Garion later reveals to the Monarchs the presence of 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 with them. As they leave, Garion learns that Polgara is the sister of his second-most distant female ancestor (identified in the prologue as Queen Beldaran, wife of Riva), justifying her claim to be his aunt. Having learned this, Garion identifies Belgarath as his grandfather and addresses him as such throughout later books.

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 continues as Belgarion and his companions pursue the stolen Orb of Aldur. The story opens in Arendia, where Garion meets a skilled archer named Lelldorin. After a minor scuffle, which Belgarath stops, Garion and Lelldorin become fast friends. The party is joined by Hettar, an Algar warrior prince who has telepathic contact with horses. They travel to Lelldorin's uncle's manor to spend the night, and Garion hears about a plot to kill the Mimbrate king, Korodullin and to start a war with a neighboring country, which Lelldorin and his cousin Torasin are a part of. The plot was masterminded by a spy from Cthol Murgos named Nachak. Garion is sworn to secrecy on his and Lelldorin's friendship not to tell anyone.

The party rides on to Vo Mimbre, where they meet with King Korodullin and Queen Mayaserana. Garion reveals the plot to kill Korodullin, without mentioning any names. Mandorallen challenges Nachak, who is in the courtroom, to a duel, and Nachak ends up dead, ran through by Hettar. The party leaves Arendia, and travels to Tolnedra, to talk to the Emperor in the city of Tol Honeth, and are nearly captured by a group of mercenaries for Queen Nyissa.

The companions finally make it to Tol Honeth. Barak's cousin, Grinneg, gets them into the palace. Lord Morin, Ran Borune's chamberlain, escorts them to the Emperor. They want him to get all the Murgos out of Tolnedra, but Ran Borune refuses because trade with the Murgos helps their economy, but he does make some concessions after Polgara proves her identity by making Emperor Borune's pet canary speak. Upon leaving the capital, the group encounter an ineffectually disguised Princess Ce'Nedra, who has tricked her tutor Jeebers into helping her escape the Imperial Palace. Deciding to take the princess with them, they make for the Wood of the Dryads, hoping to cross into Nyissa ahead of Zedar.

In the Wood, Ce'Nedra asks Xantha for sanctuary until after her sixteenth birthday, so she will be guaranteed safety and so she doesn't need to go to Riva, but is rebuffed. Splitting up on the way to the Nyissan capital of Sthiss Tor, they are detained by a large group of Tolnedran legionnaires, led by Grand Duke Kador of Tol Vordue appears, accompanied by Asharak, who demand that they give Ce'Nedra to them, to better ensure Kador's chances of the throne. After Asharak slaps Polgara, Garion punches him and, in doing so, releases sorceror's power that burn Asharak to a cinder. The Grand Duke Kador is taken prisoner by his soldiers, after Polgara points out how the Emperor would decide to view their overall actions.

Arriving at the slave docks of Nyissa by boat, Garion, angry at the treatment of the slaves, uses the Will and the Word to translocate one of the serfs from the water to the land after the serf jumps into the water. Getting into a vicious fight with Polgara, Garion leaves the boat, and is then kidnapped by Issus, a eunuch in service to Nyissan Queen Salmissra. Garion is taken to the palace and perfumed, prettied up, and drugged. The voice in Garion's head warns him not to do or say anything, and to allow it to take control for a while. The dry voice helps Garion send out a kind of beacon to Polgara and Barak, who has assumed the form of a large bear.

Salmissra then summons Issa, the god of the Nyissans, from his sleep in the form of a large statue in the throne room. Polgara tells Issa that Salmissra is not, in fact, the same woman that Issa loved long ago, but a woman who looks exactly like her, and Issa hands her over to Polgara for punishment, and Polgara transforms Salmissra into an immortal snake.

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 event is of great significance as both Polgara and Belgarath maintain that before this, it was impossible to use the Will and the Word to restore life to the dead, and would consume the life force of the one attempting it. To save time the group passes through the haunted land of Maragor, whose inhabitants were largely killed or enslaved when the Tolnedrans invaded them to obtain gold and whose god Mara unleashed ghosts of the lost people to drive every invader insane. To protect their minds against these ghosts, Belgarath and Polgara place their companions in a trance during which time the voice of prophecy has a long, in-depth conversation with Garion about prophecy and 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. The 'other awareness' in Garion's mind prevents Mara from harming Ce'Nedra, whereupon Mara recognizes it as the Voice of the Prophecy and relents.

In the Vale of Aldur, Garion learns more about his powers. The group enters Ulgoland, and, after some dispute, recruits an Ulgo zealot named Relg to serve 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 that if she enters the city of the Murgos, she will die.

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 maintaining a shield to protect Errand. Garion destroys the focal point of the power of 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.

At Riva, 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, revealing to all that he is the long-lost heir to the throne. This revelation infuriates Ce'Nedra, because the Accords of Vo Mimbre state that she must submit to the Rivan King on her sixteenth birthday to be betrothed. It is also here that Garion, aided by the Voice of Prophecy, is able to see each member of the quest for the Orb as the Instruments 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, through a necklace given by Garion, and decides to assist them with their plan to raise an army to distract the Angaraks from Garion's quest so that he may reach Cthol Mishrak safely and overcome Torak. In this she fulfills her role in the Prophecy by donning armor and giving rousing speeches to the Arends, convincing them to lend their support to her. By the time she crosses into Tolnedra to gather the Legions, every able-bodied Arend has been inspired to join her army. The book ends with Ce'Nedra and her army marching east, knowing full well that her invasion is only a diversion to help Garion, Silk, and Belgarath enter Cthol Mishrak and serves no other purpose.

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 Torak 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 Mallorean forces and taken to 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 strength in resisting Torak's call may decide Belgarion's outcome. With Zakath's escort, Polgara, Ce'Nedra, Durnik, Errand, and Zedar reach Cthol Mishrak before Garion, Silk, and Belgarath arrive.

Inside Cthol Mishrak, Zedar takes his prisoners to Torak's tomb, where Zedar kills Durnik, enraging Belgarath, who buries him alive. Torak revives, and attempts to sway Polgara; but Garion sends images of Durnik into her mind, thereby helping her to withstand Torak's call. He then turns to Garion in anger. A final battle ensues, during which Garion and Torak swell into immensity. Garion again rejects the God of Angarak, slaying his corporeal form with the Sword of the Rivan King and thereby vanquishing him forever. Torak cries out "Mother!" as he dies; wherefore Belgarath explains that Torak cried out to the universe itself, thereby reaching for the one thing that may have loved him.

The gods arrive and take Torak's body. 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. Aldur questions whether Polgara could be so unequally attached to a mortal while she was a Sorceress. Polgara affirms that she loves Durnik and would agree to have no power greater than he has. The gods and Belgarion use the Orb to bring Durnik back to life, but succeed only when Errand places his hand on the Orb.

Upon the company's return to Riva, Garion and Ce'Nedra plan their wedding. Polgara and Durnik are married in a private chapel in the Citadel prior to Belgarion and Ce'Nedra's ceremony in the Hall of the Rivan King. 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, thereby fulfilling Polgara's wish that she have no power greater than his own. Ce'Nedra and Garion are married, dance with everyone, and then retire to their chambers.

The story ends with a half-drunk Belgarath, having finally accomplished his eons-old mission, sitting in the darkened Hall of the Rivan King 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. Apparently all Alorns can recite the book, even those who have never read it. 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]