David Eddings: Overview

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Author: Maureen Speller
Editor: David Pringle
Date: 1996
Publisher: Gale
Document Type: Critical essay
Length: 1,015 words

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Although J. R. R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings is considered to have influenced the form of the modern epic fantasy, the epic is probably the oldest narrative form in oral and written literature alike. Thus, while modern commentators may criticize fantasy epics for their slavish fidelity to Tolkien's seminal masterpiece, they overlook the fact that the epic form has been honed over many thousands of years and that certain plot components will inevitably appear. Modern writers of fantasy epics are therefore always seeking to present these components in new and attractive arrangements. David Eddings has succeeded more than most. Though comparisons with Tolkien's work are inevitably made, there is no doubt that Eddings has lent his own distinctive touch to the epic form through several epic series. The first of these is the Belgariad.

The child who is unaware of his own identity and destiny is a plot device which goes back to classical times. Eddings' hero, Garion, grows up in very simple circumstances; his friends are farm boys, a vagrant story-teller he calls Mr. Wolf, and his own beloved Aunt Pol, housekeeper on the farm where he lives and works. His destiny begins to work itself out when, as a teenager, enquiries are made about him by mysterious strangers, forcing him to flee with Pol, Mr. Wolf and Durnik, the farm's blacksmith and Pol's earnest admirer.

Thus begins Garion's quest. The form will be familiar to readers. Garion acquires a band of companions who will become his friends and advisers,...

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Gale Document Number: GALE|H1420002522