RIP: David Eddings

Via Will comes the news that author David Eddings has passed away. (See also this obituary.)

Eddings is the author of some of my all-time favorite fantasy novels (along side the likes of Tolkien and Guy Gavriel Kay).

Eddings fantasy masterpiece was The Belgariad, a series of five books whose titles all bore chess themes:

  1. Pawn of Prophecy
  2. Queen of Sorcery
  3. Magician's Gambit
  4. Castle of Wizardry
  5. Enchanters' End Game

I was introduced to them as a sophmore in high school. I read the first book in a single sitting, I was so enthralled (though, in retrospect, having re-read the series, relatively little actually happens in the Pawn of Prophecy, but boy, was I hooked from the get-go).

Eddings followed up with an encore series of five books, The Malloreon involving the same characters:

  1. Guardians of the West
  2. King of the Murgos
  3. Demon Lord of Karanda
  4. Sorceress of Darshiva
  5. The Seeress of Kell

Between writing Sorceress of Darshiva and The Seeress of Kell Eddings went off and wrote the first two books in an unrelated trilogy, The Elenium (that was itself followed by a follow-on trilogy, The Tamuli, in the same manner that The Malloreon followed The Belgariad).

Having to wait two years, and see two unrelated books come out, before The Seeress of Kell was published to wrap up the story of the characters I'd come to love so much through nine books was extremely frustrating. I might have liked Sparhawk better if he wasn't holding up the closure I needed for my friends Garion, Ce'Nedra, Belgarath, Polgara, Silk, Durnik, etc.! :-)

As a result of the impatience & impotence engendered by this tramautic forced-waiting I decided, as a general rule, to henceforth eschew beginning an incomplete series. For example (as previously noted), I didn't jump on the Harry Potter bandwagon at first, always using as my excuse the fact that the series was incomplete.

As proof of the wisdom of this approach, consider the sad state fans of Robert Jordan found themselves in when Jordan up and died while working on the twelfth installment in his Wheel of Time series!

Eddings did go on to write additional books (several prequels to The Belgariad) but he lost me in 2000 with The Redemption of Althalus & the whole talking cat thing. I haven't read any of his later (post-Y2K) works.

— Michael A. Cleverly

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