Long ago when the world was still young, I attended high school. I was thinking about it recently for one reason or another and I was reminded about the time that I accidentally skipped a week of school to read a couple of books I’d stumbled upon.
Don’t worry, I caught up with my schoolwork. In fact, I’m pretty sure my teachers at the time were relieved for a momentary reprieve.
And yes, my mother did in fact try making me go to school. I told her I was sick and how irresponsible would it be for me to be selfish and go to school. It wasn’t a lie technically, I was sick of not having read those books already.
But I digress.
The books in question were specifically The Belgariad and The Mallorean by David Eddings. I loved the characters’ personalities and conflicts, as well as just the entire everything about Belgarath. I didn’t even actually like the main character of the story for about 80% of the story, but the world was so fleshed out and all the other characters were written so amazingly. I didn’t necessarily hate the MC, more along the lines of him just being so underwhelming next to everyone else.
Okay yeah he was like 15 or whatever and my favorite character was a thousands-of-years-old sorcerer who literally drove the direction of the world. I guess I have to give him a year or two to mature before he fits in with his traveling companions of sorcerers and royalty.
Now that I’m older and better read, I’m able to recognize the hilarious number of tropes and cliches written into that story so brazenly. I’m almost positive Eddings sat down one day thinking, “I bet I could just mash together every fantasy stereotype and everyone would buy it. I’m not going to even hide it, fight me world.” He made it work, so I can’t complain.
The story itself revolves around a kid named Garion who lives with his aunt Pol on a farm for a decade and a half or so. One day a super important orb is stolen by the evil main character to awaken the evil god and we all gotta go stop it. The journey is long and dangerous and explores the world in question through some pretty diverse backgrounds. It’s also one of the first stories I read that spans a time of years, instead of everything happening quickly and immediately.
It isn’t an in-depth, complex look at humanity or anything like that; good guys are GREAT, bad guys literally sacrifice to their god by cutting the hearts from living victims. So the bad guys are BAD. There’s a prophecy and some interactions with a few gods and all in all, it was amazing. I recommend it whole-heartedly for any fantasy fan. It’s a bit of a lengthy read, but I’m not sure why that would put a damper on anyone.
I actually started reading the series to my 5 year old for a week or two before remembering that, oh right – there are some pretty descriptive death and murder scenes written in. Nothing gory or crazy, but almost guaranteed to give the child nightmares for a while. I had to give up on it for now, but we’ll resume in a few years.