# Tuesday, 22 August 2017

Garion was an orphan boy living on a farm with his Aunt Pol when Mister Wolf a kindly, old traveler - took the two of them on a quest to retrieve a stolen object of great value.

Mister Wolf turns out to be Garion's grandfather the ancient sorcerer Belgarath; and the stolen object turns out to be a magical orb forged by the god Aldur, and stolen by his brother Torak, who now lies asleep for centuries after the orb was re-captured by Belgarath. Prophecies surrounded the orb, including one that foretells a battle to the death between Torak and Garion (now renamed Belgarian).

The 5-volume epic fantasy The Belgariad by David Eddings follows the trio and companions they gather along their quest to both liberate enslaved lands and to fulfill the prophecies of the orb. Although the prophecy predicts a death battle between Belgarian and Torak, it does not predict the outcome of this battle. Along the way, they pick up the runaway princess Ce'Nedra, with whom young Belgarian has a love/hate relationship.

With 5 volumes to work with, Eddings does a good job of weaving a story of adventure and building a cast of characters and a relationship between those characters. The Belgariad is a coming-age-story for Belgarian, and also a coming-age-story for Ce'Nedra, who grows from spoiled princess to potential monarch in the latter two novels. Belgarian discovers himself, his magical abilities, and his destiny as he travels across the world fighting evil.

Each book begins with a brief story of the old gods and their battle for the orb during ancient times. This story is told in a more formal voice (as if read aloud from an ancient codex) than the rest of the book, which focuses on the story of Belgarian and his company. 

The story is much less complex than the Lord of the Rings (from which it draws obvious inspiration). The wizard-led fellowship traveling across a dangerous world of fantastic beasts and pitting magic against magic is similar enough to Tolkein's story, that I could not help reading the part of Belgarath in the voice of Ian McKellan. But Eddings makes The Belgariad original enough and adds enough action to hold my interest throughout.

My only complaint is how little time is devoted to the final, inevitable battle between Belgarian and Torak. We wait for it for 4.9 books and it is over too quickly.

It's not a classic, but The Belgariad is definitely worthwhile and is an enjoyable story set in an interesting world.