Pawn Of Prophecy

Pawn Of Prophecy (The Belgariad Book One)

David Eddings

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A battle is coming…

…And in that battle shall be decided
the fate of the world

51cpipn5r2lMyths tell of the ancient wars of Gods and men, and a powerful object – the Orb – that ended the bloodshed. As long as it was held by the line of Riva, it would assure the peace.

But a dark force has stolen the Orb, and the prophecies tell of war.

Young farm boy Garion knows nothing of myth or fate. But then the mysterious Old Storyteller visits his aunt, and they embark on a sudden journey. Pursued by evil forces, with only a small band of companions they can trust, Garion begins to doubt all he thought he knew… (Taken from the product page on Amazon)


I first read this book when I was a teenager, and at the time I really loved it. I still enjoy the book, having just finished it for probably the dozenth time, but no longer feel so strongly about it; I think that having read a number of other fantasy series over the years, with grittier and more realistic storylines, I now find this book to be a little simplistic and more suited to a teen readership.

There are areas in which the book, is really well written – the descriptions of the lands the company travels through are evocative and the histories of those lands and their peoples rich and a real pleasure to read. When it comes to the actual story, though, it falls down a little; as the story develops you learn new things about the characters but nothing that really advances the plot in any way, and though it is not out of the ordinary for the genre for the characters all to be excellent in at least one particular and necessary art, it does become a bit much after a time.

What perplexes me most about this novel is the fact that Pol and Mister Wolf have at least some idea of the future in store for Garion, yet they do nothing to prepare him for it. Most of the time in fact he’s treated as an ignorant inconvenience that is simply in the way.

Overall I like this book, and will almost certainly read it again, but I am not so inclined to recommend it to other fantasy lovers as I once was. My preference now is for books like George R R Martin’s A Song of Fire and Ice series, which are harsher and harder.

8 thoughts on “Pawn Of Prophecy

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  1. There’s definitely a way that Eddings’ stories feel like a well done stereotypical fantasy to me.
    I think he’s fun, but not terribly innovative. But then again, sometimes that’s what we want, another adventure, though at times the extent to which “prophecy” restricted the characters, and the conflict, felt a little excessive. In that regard I think I preferred the Elenium, and to a lesser extent the Tamuli trilogy.
    If you’re in the market for high fantasy I’d recommend the Fionavar Tapestry.

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    1. I have to agree about the Elenium, in the Belgariad it never really felt like there was any real danger for any of the characters, in the Elenium you weren’t entirely sure everyone was going to be alright. I like the characters from the Belgariad, there’s a nice mix of personalities, but they don’t get to do much.
      Thanks for the recommendation, I’ll look it up.

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      1. I agree that his characters fit that “one of every type” style. I do think the Belgarad makes good use of the “growth of the protagonist through teaching/training” element, and is fun to watch Garion become an amalgam of his companions, but yeah, in the end the outcome feels too pre-ordained.

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      2. I think Garion is the only character that develops in any meaningful way, even C’Nedra remains largely the same. There’s a few moments where you think she’s developed as a person but when she has no outside influences pushing her to act differently she’s pretty much the same as when she first appeared.

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      3. I think by book 4 she demonstrates either minor growth, or a new side, but for the most part she can be a bit annoying. Of course the others, particularly Polgara bring her up short rather nicely.

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      4. That’s true, she is able to show a different side to her character, but her default setting is still selfishness. I am glad whenever Polgara responds to that, but sometimes I think Silk’s responses are funnier and better because of how sly he can be.

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      5. Silk is pretty fun in general. He’s probably the only fighter who relies on atypical strategies, like his fighting style. I liked seeing him fight.

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      6. Oh yes, I imagine him as a bit of a martial artist, and outside of Belgarath, probably the only one who could handle just about any situation he found himself in, without needing to resort to violence to deal with everything. I like that in a character.

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