July 14, 2020, 07:57:09 PM

Author Topic: The Belgariad - Is it worth it?  (Read 29567 times)

Offline Douglas Hulick

Re: The Belgariad - Is it worth it?
« Reply #15 on: May 22, 2012, 01:01:35 AM »
I didn't care for them at all. Then again, I came to them after having read fairly broadly in the genre. By the time I got to the Belgariad, I had seen the plot and all the characters done elsewhere and better, IMO. However, I know plenty of people who still love them, so it is definitely a matter of taste.

If you're looking for original/challenging/gripping, I would say pass; if you're looking for a light read to kill a few days, then they may be just the thing.

Offline Coriander

Re: The Belgariad - Is it worth it?
« Reply #16 on: May 25, 2012, 10:42:05 PM »
Honestly, the Belgariad was the first series I read that truly got me interested in fantasy, so I have a bit of a soft spot for it. The plot and premise are a living breathing cliche, but Eddings himself said he wasn't trying to reinvent the wheel, so I can deal with it. I think the Malloreon is probably the better written of the set (as others said, if you don't like one you won't like the other, the Malloreon is basically the same story copypasted onto the other unexplored continent in the setting), but then Zakath is my favorite character of the lot and probably the only one who actually got character growth. And that, I rather suspect, happened on accident.

Anyway, yeah, it's total fluff, but it's fun. The only book in the ten that I didn't like was Guardians of the West. I did not know up until that book that you could write four hundred pages of absolutely nothing going on whatsoever (even less than Pawn of Prophecy).

Offline J. Mark Miller

Re: The Belgariad - Is it worth it?
« Reply #17 on: May 25, 2012, 11:14:27 PM »
Like others have said, the Belgariad and the Mallorean aren't deep. They're the very definition of formulaic fantasy, but they're well written and do the job of providing some simple entertainment. I think whether you like them or not has a lot to do with when you discover them. They were one of my earliest childhood fantasy reads, and because of that I'll always be quite fond of them. They were the "gateway drug" I used on my kids to introduce and hook them on fantasy.

If you come to them later in life, especially after reading something like Abercrombie, Erikson, etc., they'll seem too tame. There's not a ton of character development, but at the same time I think there's some really great characters. Just my opinion that's likely colored by my childhood affection for the books.

I agree, if you read the Belgariad, the Mallorean is essentially the same story told over again. Same thing with some of his other series like the Elenium. You'll see the same themes, character types, and tropes trotted out again and again.

To be honest, sometimes that's exactly what I'm looking for. It's why I still read any Drizzt book that Salvatore puts out. I need something easy to read after digesting the latest novel from today's big guns of fantasy.  ;)

Offline Minesril

Re: The Belgariad - Is it worth it?
« Reply #18 on: May 26, 2012, 07:53:06 AM »
Maybe if I'd read other fantasy first, I wouldn't love Eddings so much, but I didn't and I do. He's so very, very by the numbers, which is usually something I hate, but in this case there's the exception because he introduced me to fantasy. He's also pretty good at chaacterisation; I'm re-reading the books at the moment and it's like coming back to old friends. Then Belgarath and Polgara are great too - it's lovely in Belgarath when over seven thousand years he's manipulating these families so the 'right' people are born to fulfil the prophecy (usually hate prophecy too unless it's self fulfilling - again Eddings is my exception!). And then the end of Polgara just makes me sob.

Changing the angle of this entirely, it's also a good thing to read so you understand what Abercrombie is almost parodying so utterly brilliantly!

Offline Jeni

Re: The Belgariad - Is it worth it?
« Reply #19 on: May 26, 2012, 05:00:14 PM »

Changing the angle of this entirely, it's also a good thing to read so you understand what Abercrombie is almost parodying so utterly brilliantly!

Really? That's the most intriguing description of Abercromie I've seen yet.  :D

*moves The Blade Itself up the tbr list*

Offline simonster

Re: The Belgariad - Is it worth it?
« Reply #20 on: May 27, 2012, 12:29:45 PM »
I'm another example of someone who read the Belgariad at a young age (12?) and has kept returning to it as the decades pass.

In an odd way, I think its formulaic-ness is a big part of its charm.  It's very tidy, like the whole story was meticulously plotted out on graph paper before being written down, with no paragraph that wasn't part of that original plan.  The progress of the story is very controlled: there's barely a breath of magic in the first book and not even a sword drawn until the last couple of chapters.  Unrealistic as it may be, having each stage of the quest take place in a different country, each with a distinctive environment and local population, gives a really nice sense of travelling.

So to answer the topic's original question, it's worth reading the Belgariad because there's a chance you'll be completely swept up in the adventure.  And if you're not, then it's still worth reading to see a standard fantasy formula being put to work so efficiently.

Offline Ashes

Re: The Belgariad - Is it worth it?
« Reply #21 on: May 27, 2012, 01:24:04 PM »

Changing the angle of this entirely, it's also a good thing to read so you understand what Abercrombie is almost parodying so utterly brilliantly!

Really? That's the most intriguing description of Abercromie I've seen yet.  :D

*moves The Blade Itself up the tbr list*
I'd move Before They Are Hanged up aswell, The Blade Itself is an awesome book but it mainly just sets up for the next two. I know a few people that were put off the allmighty Abercrombie, saying the first book wasn't exciting enough. I scream at them too finish the series.
“Never violate a woman, nor harm a child. Do not lie, cheat or steal. These things are for lesser men. Protect the weak against the evil strong. And never allow thoughts of gain to lead you into the persuit of evil.” David Gemmell

Offline Jeni

Re: The Belgariad - Is it worth it?
« Reply #22 on: May 27, 2012, 07:11:13 PM »

Changing the angle of this entirely, it's also a good thing to read so you understand what Abercrombie is almost parodying so utterly brilliantly!

Really? That's the most intriguing description of Abercromie I've seen yet.  :D

*moves The Blade Itself up the tbr list*
I'd move Before They Are Hanged up aswell, The Blade Itself is an awesome book but it mainly just sets up for the next two. I know a few people that were put off the allmighty Abercrombie, saying the first book wasn't exciting enough. I scream at them too finish the series.

Ok, good to know. Thanks  :D

Offline DRMarvello

Re: The Belgariad - Is it worth it?
« Reply #23 on: May 27, 2012, 11:52:48 PM »
If you have to ask the question, "Is it worth it?" the answer is probably no.

I love the Belgariad. I still read the first five books when I get sick of reading the newer stuff that I don't like as well. But if you are struggling with it, move on. To echo A.T., live is too short to spend it reading books you don't enjoy. I had to set aside Robert Jordan's series, although everyone else seems to think he was a god.
Daniel R. Marvello
Blog: The Vaetra Files
Books: The Vaetra Chronicles

Offline E.W. Scott

Re: The Belgariad - Is it worth it?
« Reply #24 on: June 07, 2012, 01:58:21 PM »
It's been said already but I do have to agree that if you're asking "is it worth it" then you probably shouldn't be reading the books. You're the only one who can make that decision :).

That said, for me...the Belgariad was one of the first fantasy series that I really, really got into. My best friend kept telling me how much I would like the character Silk (he was right). They are like old friends for me and I actually really enjoyed reading about Belgareth and Polgara's lives as well. The Mallorean is a stronger series than the Belgariad (in my opinion) at least in terms of writing. They ARE formulaic, but that is kind of the point. They do tend to get better after the first book (although the first book in the Mallorean is more exciting than the first one in the Belgariad).

Anyway, "worth" is a hard thing to measure. Are they books that will revolutionize your understanding of fantasy and literature in general? Well...no. But they are fun, satisfying, and engaging? I think so.

It's a bit like food, really. People like Wiley Dufresne challenge us and excite us in ways that are entirely new and different. But sometimes you just want mac n' cheese. I'd say the Belgariad falls into the latter category. :)

Sorry for the rather long-winded response!
"You can't wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club." ~Jack London

Offline AlexFF

  • Tribute
  • **
  • Posts: 17
  • Total likes: 0
  • Gender: Male
  • Expat Cdn living in northern Spain
    • View Profile
    • SpeckLit
Re: The Belgariad - Is it worth it?
« Reply #25 on: June 09, 2012, 08:30:22 AM »
It's fun formulaic fiction, but if you want better fun formulaic fiction, I'd go for David Duncan's A Man of His Word seires.
Alex F. Fayle
Editor, SpeckLit
A world of wonder in 100 words

Offline Pheonecia

Re: The Belgariad - Is it worth it?
« Reply #26 on: June 09, 2012, 03:01:39 PM »
Thanks for all the responses on this. I think I'll finish reading them eventually but for now I have pushed them a little further down my TBR pile.  :)

Offline Carl

Re: The Belgariad - Is it worth it?
« Reply #27 on: June 16, 2012, 03:17:19 PM »
I only tried reading one Eddings and found him slow. I can be impatient with books when there are so many better ones around.

Offline Xiabei2

Re: The Belgariad - Is it worth it?
« Reply #28 on: July 21, 2012, 10:30:00 PM »
I loved it. But hey, if it's a struggle, then it's probably not for you.

Offline magisensei

Re: The Belgariad - Is it worth it?
« Reply #29 on: September 19, 2012, 10:42:13 PM »
Yes it is worth it.  While not everything that David Eddings wrote was worth reading his series: The Belgariad, The Malloreon, The Elenium and The Tamuli are most definitely worth the read.

The Belgariad - is the classical fantasy novel - young boy who does not know that he is/will be a king - world savior - we watch as he grows up and goes on a variety of adventures with a group (of older) companions.  There is nothing as enjoyable as a classical fantasy setting that goes on for 5 novels and we can even see him in the next series as an adult.  Great read - I recommend it for all those who want to start a fantasy series.