Over the summer, as I’m sure I have mentioned, I read the Belgariad aloud to my family. Or at least the first three books. I actually read the whole series prior to this but hadn’t reviewed it yet. If you like Lord of the Rings, or any epic quest really, you will thoroughly enjoy these books.
The first book is Pawn of Prophecy. It introduces several of the main characters including Garion, of whom most of the story is about. He is a child at the start, being raised on a farm by his Aunt Pol who is remarkably beautiful and an excellent cook. She cooks for everyone and runs the kitchen like a pro. His father like figure is Durnik, the smith of the farm who is obviously besotted with Aunt Pol, but doesn’t really do anything about it. Poor man. Occasionally they get visits from a ragged old man Aunt Pol addresses as “Old Wolf” and whom Garion calls “Mister Wolf.” There’s some obvious foreshadowing after Mister Wolf tells a story about the gods (there are several: Torak, the really bad evil god, Aldur, Belar, UL, Mara, Issa, and Nedra) which is typically told only in the presence of kings. The story tells of the Orb of Aldur and how Torak stole it and cracked the world and was disfigured for his trouble. Aldur took on a disciple named Belgarath who had a daughter Polgara. Belgarath took a large man and his sons (Cherek Bear-Shoulders and co.) to Torak’s evil dwelling and stole it back. Only one could touch it without being destroyed and that was Riva. Each son went in a different direction,starting their own countries and the Orb went to Riva with the Rivan king. It was in that line for a while but then the Rivan king was murdered and his whole family. Torak attacked the Alorns (that’s what that part of the country was called, Alorn) and they won (three cheers for them!). So now, when the story begins, Torak is sleeping, but it is prophecied that he will awaken on the day when the Rivan king returns…
After a while Garion grows up, falls in puppy-love and lives rather comfortably as a scullery-boy. Then trouble arrives in the form of a creeper named Brill. After he comes only bad things happen. Which includes a mysterious important artifact going missing and Aunt Pol and Mister Wolf having to go after it dragging Garion along, and Durnik, though he goes by choice (being overcome by his affection for Pol, seriously it’s obvious). Along the way they meet some rather interesting characters, Silk (a rat-faced little man) and Barak (a large big sort of guy with a long, bushy red beard), Lelldorin (an enthusiastic archer, with a bit too much love for fighting), Mandorallen (a knight who only speaks in “thees” and “thous” and has no fear. Literally), young princess Ce’Nedra (a brat), Relg (an overzealous, pompous, very sinful man who can’t stand sunlight cause he lives in caves), and Taiba (an ex-slave who follows Relg around bugging him a lot). Their quest for the Orb of Aldur (yeah, you totally knew what it was) is full of danger, love, exotic creatures, gods, creepers, thieves, and gold-hunters (because it wouldn’t be a real epic quest if you didn’t run into weird old men mining gold). I’m not going to tell you the end, but I’d encourage you to read it. It can be slow in parts but the characterization is priceless and the quick/slow wit of certain people makes you laugh out loud.
My two favorite characters are Silk and Mandorallen. Silk, because he’s a thief and let’s face it everybody loves thieves. Mandorallen because he’s an amazing knight, and quite frankly hilarious. Example:
Mandorallen stiffened and began to swear.
“What’s wrong?” Barak asked.
“Arendishmen!” the knight exclaimed. “I had heard of this, but I did not believe it.”
“Heard of what?”
“An ugly rumor hath persisted in Arendia for some years.” Mandorallen answered, his face white with rage. “We are told that some of our nobles have upon occasion enriched themselves by selling their serfs to the Nyissans.”
“Look like it’s more than a rumor,” Barak said.
“There,” Mandorallen growled. “See that crest upon the tunic of that one there? It’s the crest of VO Toral. I know the Baron of VO Toral for a notorious spendthrift, but had not thought him dishonorable. Upon my return to Arendia, I will donounce him publicly.”
“What good’s that going to do?” Barak asked.
“He will be forced to challenge me,” Mandorallen said grimly. “I will prove his villainy upon his body.”
Great part. I will prove his villainy upon his body? Who says things like that? Mandorallen, that’s who. Silk is more witty than Mandorallen, but I can’t find an excerpt that can stand on its own, so I encourage you to read his quips yourself.
Overall this is a good read. I love it, I will always love, my children will love it and my grandchildren. So you should too. 😉