Shadows Beneath Pawn of Prophecy

I choose The Belgariad Vol. One by David Eddings to be the book of the month because someone recommended it to me as a fantasy writer. It was a good choice, but I had too many books to read (7 to be exact) and not enough time. I did finish the first book in Vol. One, Pawn of Prophecy. So, I’ll talk about that one.

The title Pawn of Prophecy is very appropriate even though I didn’t know it till just now. The main character, Garion, very much feels like a pawn that everyone is moving around the board. He’s a boy not fully grown and he feels like he’s not allowed to do anything. See that sword he’s holding up in the picture. Yep. Didn’t happen yet. He has one move and that is to move forward or rather to do what his Aunt Pol tells him to do. But I think by the end of the book he’s reached the other side of the board and is trading in his pawn for something else. What do you think he’s trading for? A Knight maybe? For some reason, none of the available pieces of chess seem like the right one for Garion. He’s still a boy, but now he knows more about who he is.

As for the prophecy, the characters who know the prophecies are so protective of them that I still don’t know what they say, even though I’ve finished the book. This is definitely the first book in a series. It is a good example of things not to do as a writer. Here’s the prologue everyone says not to write. Not only is it a big info dump but all the necessary info is repeated through dialogue in the rest of the book. Even the first chapter feels like an extension of the prologue.

That being said, I want to keep reading. It took me a while to get to that point because of the excessive beginning but I do want to read the next book. Did you feel the same way? The whole book is just an introduction to the rest of the series. The characters are introduced, the plot, the conflict, the setting, everything is set on the board and I feel like the following books will begin moving the pieces around. Yes, I said Garion already made it across the board but he didn’t really go through the enemy. He discovered he has enemies but he didn’t fight them. He did run from them. And he fought a wild boar, but he didn’t battle his enemies.

And now you know everything there is to know about the Pawn of Prophecy.

Oh wait, I forgot to talk about the tropes. Did I mention that Garion is a farm boy who goes on an adventure? Or that he has the wise old wizard mentoring him? Or how about the mysterious parentage? Okay. I don’t know that these were all tropes when David Eddings wrote the book. It is an old book from 1982. But there are definitely hints that he read The Lord of the Rings. Garion is Aragorn with a few tweaks. But mostly, the reader is able to figure out that Garion is the Rivan King and he will take his place after he proves himself worthy. His Aunt Pol and Mister Wolf are like the elves who live forever and are wise and powerful. There is even a warder looking after his throne. I wonder if the warder will be as reluctant to relinquish the keys to the kingdom as Denethor was.

Even with the tropes, I still like the book. David Eddings was a talented writer. The descriptions pulled me into the book and kept me engaged. I could totally picture every scene we entered and see the characters moving. If I’m going to compare him to Robert Jordan, another author who emulated Tolkien, I’d say Eddings is the better author. But of course, I’d have to read the next book, Queen of Sorcery, to know for sure. Jordan is just too wordy. His descriptions make me roll my eyes. How many times will Nynaeve pull her braid? Why are the clothes described over and over and over again? I don’t think they help draw me into the story, in fact, it does the opposite. But Eddings descriptions paint a picture that helps move the story forward.

Let me know what you thought. Did you enjoy the book? Perhaps you read the whole volume, if so, did I get anything wrong? What did you like most about Pawn of Prophecy? What did you like the least?

3 comments

  1. I forgot to mention October’s book of the month! Let’s read Second Paradigm by Peter J. Wacks. You can read the “Causes” or chapters in any order. Although, I recommend saving the 13th cause, prologue, and epilogue II for last. Happy Reading!

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  2. Hi Jennifer! I finally finished ‘Pawn of Prophecy’! I definitely enjoyed it more than I thought I would, but you are right: SO many tropes! 🙂 And you’re so right about how this first book in the trilogy seems to end right when we finally get to all the excitement and action! But I did love it all the same. 🙂 Aunt Pol and Silk were my favorite characters. 🙂 I did get a little frustrated with how determined Pol and Wolf were to keep information from Garion. I was able to figure out a lot about who Garion actually is, how important he is to their quest, etc., and he probably should have been ale to figure out some of those things on his own, too.
    Overall, it was fun returning to one of these older, more traditional fantasy novels. 🙂 I certainly enjoyed Eddings’ writing style. Thank you for introducing me to this great book! 🙂
    -Caylene

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    • Glad you liked it. I definitely want to keep reading. My family does too, but it seems like we don’t have a lot of time to do it. We’ll see if we get around to it before we have to return the book to the library. Yes, this would fall into the traditional fantasy and I feel like I was able to take away ideas to help me be a better writer. Sometimes seeing the tropes laid out like that is helpful in knowing how to change my writing so I don’t do it. I was so annoyed at Aunt Pol constantly keeping Garion in the dark even though he was obviously ready to know the answers!

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