Once upon a time, as all good stories start, in the small town of Spokane, Washington, a man by the name of David Eddings put pen to paper and began to weave a tale of prophecy, magic and, most importantly, a farm boy named Garion.
A tale that, unbeknownst to him, would shape the course of modern fantasy literature.
The Chosen One
Now, I know what you’re thinking. “Oh, not another Chosen One narrative.”
Yes, I hear you, and I can only offer a shrug and a sheepish grin in response.
But if one were to dismiss Eddings’ work as just another predictable riff on the same old trope, they’d be missing out on an influential cornerstone of the genre.
“The Belgariad,” with its magical orbs, prophecies, and a cast of characters so colourful they make a bag of Skittles look positively monochrome, has had a reach far greater than it’s given credit for.
Its influence can be seen in the works of authors from across the globe, like a whisper of Spokane in every fantasy bookshop.
A Game of Thrones
Take, for instance, George R.R. Martin of “A Song of Ice and Fire” fame.
Now, Martin’s work might be a bit grimmer (read: “Red Wedding”), but dig a bit deeper and you’ll see Eddings’ fingerprints all over it.
The intricate politics, the sprawling world-building, the stark contrast of good versus evil—all hallmarks of “The Belgariad.”
Even the character of Jon Snow, the broody, duty-bound hero, echoes Garion in more ways than one (though I’ll grant you, Jon’s direwolf beats Garion’s horse in a coolness contest).
The boy who lived…
Or what about J.K. Rowling’s “Harry Potter” series?
The boy who didn’t know he was a wizard until a giant man broke down his door one day?
Smells a bit like Garion’s own journey, doesn’t it?
The parallels go beyond the surface, though; they both grapple with destiny, they both have a dark lord to defeat, and they both have a wise old mentor guiding them (no points for guessing which one has a longer beard).
Into the Cosmere
Let’s not forget Brandon Sanderson, who seems to have taken a leaf or two out of Eddings’ book.
Sanderson’s “Mistborn” series, with its complex magic system, may seem far removed from “The Belgariad,” but look closer.
The deep, diverse world and the idea of prophecy as a central plot device?
That’s all very Eddings.
Plus, there’s also the whole “humble beginnings” thing.
Vin, the street urchin turned hero of “Mistborn,” could be Garion’s long-lost sister (or at least distant cousin twice removed).
A lasting legacy
So, whether you’re a fan of the “Game of Thrones” bloodbaths, the “Harry Potter” wizarding world, or the “Mistborn” metallic magic, you’ve got a bit of “The Belgariad” in your bookshelf.
Eddings may not have reinvented the wheel (or the magic orb, as it were), but he certainly gave it a good spin.
His work stands as a testament to the impact of a well-told story, and a reminder that even the most unassuming farm boy can end up saving the world.
In the end, the influence of “The Belgariad” is a bit like Garion’s magic—it’s there, bubbling under the surface, quietly shaping the course of things.
You just have to know where to look.
And don’t worry—unlike Garion, you won’t need a grumpy old sorcerer to help you out.
Just keep an eye out for any orbs.