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Pawn of Prophecy (1982)

by David Eddings

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: The Belgariad (1), Belgariad universe (3)

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7,4811271,062 (3.86)1 / 273
Garion the farm boy did not believe in magic dooms, but then he did not know that soon he would be on a quest of unparalleled magic and danger when the dread evil God Torak was reawakened.
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» See also 273 mentions

English (117)  Finnish (2)  French (2)  Dutch (2)  Spanish (2)  German (1)  Italian (1)  All languages (127)
Showing 1-5 of 117 (next | show all)
I loved this series as a child, but as an adult, it turns out not so much.

I know this is the first book, but it felt like absolutely nothing happened. It was like a movie-travelling-montage dragged out for an entire novel. All they did was travel and occasionally you learned a bit more about Garion's history, but only in dribs and drabs. The characters didn't really grab my attention either.

The prose is very simple and largely dialogue based, and therefore it was quick to read, but not exciting in the least. I'm not sure I even want to read the other instalments, I really don't know why I loved these so much so long ago... ( )
  spiritedstardust | Dec 29, 2022 |
Þessi bók er léttlesandi, söguþráðurinn er nokkuð einfaldur og lítið um flækjur. Sagan er ágætis afþreying en full formúlukennd fyrir minn smekk. ( )
  SkuliSael | Apr 28, 2022 |
{First of 5 in The Belgariad; fantasy, high fantasy, epic fantasy, quest, adventure} (1982)

The first thing the boy Garion remembered was the kitchen at Faldor’s farm. For all the rest of his life he had a special warm feeling for kitchens and those peculiar sounds and smells that seemed somehow to combine into a bustling seriousness that had to do with love and food and comfort and security and, above all, home.

We meet Garion at a very young age as he is growing up under his Aunt Pol's care at Faldor's farm, deep in Sendaria, which is the most ordinary of all the countries and Sendars are known for the practicality and unimaginativeness. Soon, though, Garion is tagging along with Aunt Pol and the itinerant story teller he calls Mister Wolf on the adventure of a lifetime as they race through the kingdoms of Aloria on the trail of a mysterious object that has been stolen. Along the way they meet a multinational cast of characters. Garion, now fourteen years old, is too young to be entrusted with the details of their quest and often feels sidelined. But ... can Mister Wolf really be hundreds of years old and is there really such a thing as sorcery?

This book does not end on a cliff-hanger but the quest is not complete so you do have to read on.

I first read this series in the '80s when it had been recently published; the (UK Corgi) cover illustrations with their fanlights and art by Geoff Taylor drew me in and were some of the books that got me really started in fantasy in my teens. I was worried that this book wouldn't live up to my memories but it has and I've really enjoyed re-reading it.

I like the way Eddings took time to set the world up beginning with Garion's childhood and his everyday adventures growing up on a farm; I think it grounds the start of the story and invests us in the characters and their interactions as a close-knit group. I think Eddings got 'sulky teenager' right without making Garion bratty. I was around the same age when I first read this series and I could empathise with him; I could see why he didn't appreciate being ignored when there were important events happening around him and everyone else seemed to know what was going on. Now my kids are the same age I still find him relatable. And, though the teenage boy might not have seen it, I liked seeing how deeply Aunt Pol cared for him.

I also remember liking the way that the people of each nation have their own quirks and characteristics; it may not be considered altogether pc in this day and age but I think it works well (and gives Silk many opportunities to poke digs at his friends).

"Thank you for your permission, Captain," Silk said, inclining his head. "Do you know what the King of Sendaria said then, Garion?" he asked.
"No," Garion said. "What?"
"I pray you, your eminences,' the king said, 'have a care for your finery. I have just well manured the bed in which you are kneeling.'"
Barak, who was sitting nearby, roared with laughter, pounding his knee with one huge hand.
"I find this less than amusing, sir," Captain Brendig said coldly, rising to his feet. "I make no jokes about the King of Drasnia, do I?"
"You're a courteous man, Captain," Silk said mildly, "and a nobleman. I'm merely a poor man trying to make his way in the world.
Brendig looked at him helplessly and then turned and stamped from the room.


And I also liked the way that, as they went on, people from almost every nation (in the west) joined their quest; it gave the story a sense of inclusivity and unity.

It's not high literature but it is written well and lots of fun; it's a bit irreverent with a lot of banter between the characters. It has good pacing and enough description and little incidents (relevant or not) to paint in the landscape and the background and invest you in the characters. This is a world-sweeping fantasy with a well constructed world; it has history, geography and distinct cultures to different countries.

I like the way Eddings shows and doesn't tell; mainly we learn about events as Garion does. But it's also easy to put together information and understand a bit more than he has, so far, from the stories of this world.

Best of all, it lived up to my memories of it.

January 2022

4.5-5*****
By Belar! Give it an additional half star for nostalgia, why not:
5-5.5***** ( )
1 vote humouress | Jan 19, 2022 |
Hands down my favorite book that I have ever read. There was something about the way Eddings wrote this, that I can't quite put my finger on, but I just adore. It was one of the first fantasy books that I have read. This book got me into my fantasy addiction, and I couldn't be more thankful for it. I would recommend this book to anyone and everyone who reads fantasy. ( )
1 vote Jack_Henick | Nov 4, 2021 |
Pawn of Prophecy is the first book in the classic Belgariad series by David Eddings. It was originally published in 1982, and it definitely shows its age, but it was a fun, quick read full of the sorts of tropes I typically enjoy.

The story is told from the third-person perspective of Garion, except for the prologue which sets up the history of the world. As is proper for an epic fantasy story, we meet him while he’s still young, living a simple life (and spending a lot of time getting underfoot in a proper epic fantasy style kitchen) but having a mysterious heritage. He gets caught up in events he doesn’t understand, and ends up having to leave his home with travel companions who are a lot more than they first appear. I think by the end of the story Garion is only 14, approaching 15. The book has a young feel to it, but not the sort that’s full of silly romance tropes. There’s very little romance in this book, which was one of the things I enjoyed about it.

Garion came across to me as immature for his age, and sometimes the internal sulking got a little tiresome. On the other hand, the adults around him could be pretty annoying too. They, especially Aunt Pol, were constantly making careless comments around him but not considering how some of the things they said would sound to Garion, and nobody would give him any satisfying answers. It wasn’t until the end that I felt like he even got any sort of satisfactory answer as to why he couldn’t have satisfying answers. But aside from the occasional annoyance, I mostly enjoyed the characters. There was a bit of humor here and there that made me smile and on rare occasions laugh out loud. My favorite line was, “Never forget the cabbages.” A motto to live by, for sure.

I did also get annoyed at times by the way the author gave information to the reader in a way that felt contrived. I felt like the author didn’t quite know how to reveal the things he wanted his readers to know while confining us to the POV of Garion who wasn’t supposed to know those things yet. I wouldn’t have minded a little more suspense myself, actually. The prologue combined with the blatant hints in the story means the reader knows a lot of stuff that Garion has no clue about, which made his thoughts boring at times when he spent too much time puzzling over something that I already had the answers to.

I’m giving this 3.5 stars and rounding up to 4 on Goodreads. I plan to continue on to the second book shortly. ( )
  YouKneeK | Oct 14, 2021 |
Showing 1-5 of 117 (next | show all)

» Add other authors (7 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
David Eddingsprimary authorall editionscalculated
Barbieri, ChrisCartographersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Beierle, CameronNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Flaton, Johan-MartijnTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Guarnieri, AnnaritaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Haarala, TarmoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Haas, DominiqueTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hübner, IrmhildTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Schwinger,LaurenceCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Shapiro, ShellyCartographersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Spångberg, YlvaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
Being a History of the War of the Gods and the Acts of Belgarath the Sorcerer
- adapted from The Book of Alorn

Dedication
For Theone, who told me stories but could not stay for mine - and for Arthur, who showed me the way to become a man - and who shows me still
First words
When the world was new, the seven Gods dwelt in harmony, and the races of man were as one people.
(prologue)
The first thing the boy Garion remembered was the kitchen at Faldor's farm.
Quotations
"It's not good to leave things of value behind. They nag at the mind and distract one from the business at hand."
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Garion the farm boy did not believe in magic dooms, but then he did not know that soon he would be on a quest of unparalleled magic and danger when the dread evil God Torak was reawakened.

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