I discovered David Eddings’ The Belgariad fantasy series when I was 15 years old. It tells of the coming-of-age of a boy called Garion who learns that his destiny is tied to a prophecy made thousands of years ago and that the world’s fate rests on his young shoulders. It’s not the most original plot, I grant you, but while Eddings takes his readers on to a well-trodden path he also adds plenty of excitement and a few surprises along the way. The series comprises:
- Pawn of Prophecy
- Queen of Sorcery
- Magician’s Gambit
- Castle of Wizardry
- Enchanters’ End Game
I devoured all five books in the series and I was very sad indeed when I reached the final page of the final book. By that time, I felt so much a part of Eddings’ world that I did not want to leave it. The reading of the epic series was made all the more magical because it was a shared experience with my equally geeky friends at school. We read it at the same time and the animated and enthusiastic discussions we had are some of the fondest memories I have from my school days.
There are many reasons why I love The Belgariad: the books don’t take themselves seriously, they are easy to read, fast-paced, and altogether fun. The books also contain unforgettable characters that you wish you had as friends in the real world. The banter and interaction among the protagonists make you feel that you are part of their their quest. You feel that you are a member of their fellowship, so much so that you know exactly what the characters will do or say when facing new situations.
There was another feature of the series that made me fall in love with it. The enchanting cover art by fantasy artist Geoff Taylor graced the edition that I read. For me, the colourful illustrations evoked just the right emotion and atmosphere for the world of The Belgariad. I regret letting go of my original collection and that the current edition that you can buy does not feature the original cover art.
A sequel series The Malloreon was published a few years after The Belgariad ended. I also enjoyed it but it felt like a rewrite of The Belgariad with just different settings and added characters. Sadly, the same can be said of Eddings’ later series. All of them can be described as Belgariad clones with the same characters but with different names.
But that doesn’t take away the fact that The Belgariad is a highly enjoyable fantasy that I would heartily recommend.