There are many fantasy series’ out there but few have the depth and character of The Belgariad Series.
There are five books in this series, all which centre around the young boy Garion, an orphan who grows up with his `Aunt Pol’ in the kitchens of a working farm. Regular visits from the `Old Wolf’ Belgarath provide mischief and insight but as the story progresses we find out that these three characters are far from ordinary.
The majority of the series is a `coming of age’ story about a young sorcerer who has to face an evil god named Torak. The story is rich and complex with many characters and the world is multi-layered, including politics, religion, mythology, trading, nobility and a rich history. Aunt Pol is really Polgara, a sorceress and Belgarath (her father) is the first disciple of a more benevolent god named Aldur.
This sort of familiar plot may put off non-fantasy readers, for whom the word `magic’ conjures up negative connotations in terms of literature, but this series’ great strength is its believable characters. Garion is just like many boys going through adolescence, confused by girls, by himself and by what is expected of him. Belgarath is a rogue-like character, a shabby storyteller who is too fond of drinking. Even Silk, the trader, the prince and the spy, who uses a secret trading language with his fingers, seems to be multi-layered.
For those who haven’t read it before, it’s a compelling story, playing out familiar concepts of arranged marriages, growing up and battles of good vs. evil but it’s done with a richness of character, history and setting that enhances and expands upon these concepts.
There is a follow-up series called `The Mallorean‘ which continues from this first series which is just as good as read as the first five books. There’s also two books: Belgarath the Sorcerer and Polgara the Sorceress, (co-written by the late David Eddings and his late wife Leigh Eddings) both of which only add to the depth fo this series.
To add to this, there’s a real love between Garion and Polgara, one which isn’t an easy relationship, holding layers of love, anger and feelings of betrayal as Garion realizes his Aunt is really his great Aunt, many times removed. If you do choose to read the series, also look out for Ce’Nedra, a fiery, princess who could have become a simple,`spoilt princess’ character if not for Eddingswonderful storytelling ability. The Belgariad is a great fantasy series, one of the best I’ve read and one which I would recommend to anyone.
- Enchanters’ End Game – David Eddings (myfavaut.wordpress.com)
- 1009: Some Favourite Characters (angryjedi.wordpress.com)
- 5 + 1 Epic Fantasy Series To Get You Reading (journeyintogeekdom.com)
- Those Good Ol’ Days (magnificentnose.com)
- How To Lose A Fantasy Reader (emmiemears.com)
- Top Ten Tuesday (#10): Older books not to be forgotten! (studentspyglass.com)