Belgariad

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Before we get into this entry, I'd like to tell a story. A story of Sword and Sorcery. Once upon a time, a stone which possessed the power to change destiny was stolen. If this "Orb", belonging to the benevolent God Aldur, ever fell into the hands of the evil, maimed God Torak, the peaceful kingdoms of the west would fall to his might.

In pursuit of the Orb, however, followed the legendary sorcerer Belgarath, his gorgeous daughter Polgara, the humble Farm Boy Garion, and many other colorful allies: a thief, a berserker, a noble horseman, a paladin, a snotty princess, and so on.

The companions encountered kings, wizards, dryads, politics and treachery, but they ultimately succeeded in returning the Orb to its rightful place. There, Garion's true identity and destiny were revealed. And so Garion took up the massive Sword of the Rivan King and met the dark god Torak in personal combat.

That's the plot of David Eddings's Belgariad. And a whole lot of other things, too. The series is Strictly Formula, but that was Eddings' intention from the start. He wrote the series after taking a course on literary criticism, digging out all the tropes he could find, and deciding to actually build a good story with them. He also deliberately focuses on the characters rather than the tropes, injecting liveliness and sardonic humor into stock situations -- and the end result is a series that's incredibly popular and well-loved by fantasy fans the world over.

The original books were followed up with a sequel series, The Malloreon (which is basically "The Belgariad all over again but everyone is older", as the characters themselves quickly notice) and then much later by two standalone prequels, Belgarath the Sorcerer and Polgara the Sorceress, which tell the life stories of the titular characters. All of Eddings's works are likely Spiritual Successors of this one.

Books in the series:[edit | hide | hide all]

  • The Belgariad
    • Pawn of Prophecy
    • Queen of Sorcery
    • Magician's Gambit
    • Castle of Wizardry
    • Enchanter's End Game
  • The Malloreon
    • Guardians of the West
    • King of the Murgos
    • Demon Lord of Karanda
    • Sorceress of Darshiva
    • Seeress of Kell
  • Prequels and companion works
    • Belgarath the Sorcerer (a prequel by Belgarath's perspective)
    • Polgara the Sorceress (another prequel by Polgara's perspective)
    • The Rivan Codex (a commentary and analysis)

See also The Elenium, Eddings' third series and Spiritual Successor to The Belgariad and The Malloreon - albeit with a much stronger focus on over-the-top battles and Bond One Liners.

Tropes used in Belgariad include:


  • Abuse Is Okay When It Is Female On Male: Vella and Yarblek, Played for Laughs, and justified by Nadrak culture, in which all women are property of a man, but own the rights to their person, and are free to cut up any man who tries to take advantage.
  • Achievements in Ignorance:
    • Garion succeeds in bringing a horse back to life, simply because he doesn't know that it's supposed to be impossible.
    • Neat subversion with Queen Islena, when she makes her High Priest choose between joining the army or getting thrown into the dungeon. The king could never have made that threat to a priest because there's specific laws about evidence and proper treatment regard priests, which would be politically scandalous for the king to ignore. Islena got away with it because everyone thought her too stupid to know better. The subversion is that the whole thing was planned by her smarter advisors, taking advantage of both her ignorant reputation and her actual ignorance. Had anyone else tried that, it would have been only an ineffective bluff. But coming from Islena, the threat was believable, since everyone thought her too stupid to know better.
  • Adipose Rex: Subverted and later deconstructed by King Rhodar of Drasnia. He is extremely obese, yes, but subverts the trope by being the best-read king in the West, and the best strategist along with being a compassionate and competent ruler. With a little help from his loving wife. Deconstruction rears it's ugly head when his girth ultimately shortens his life.
  • A God Am I:
    • Urvon. Nahaz helps him come to this conclusion.
    • The title "Kal" means both King and God, so any of the Angarak monarchs who appended it to their names fall under this as well.
  • The Ageless: The sorcerers.
  • Alien Geometries: Belgarath has a stick with only one end. He uses it to keep children occupied so they don't bother him.
  • All Deaths Final: Due to universal agreement of the Gods, with two notable exceptions.
  • All Powerful Bystander: Both Prophecies by mutual agreement. If they directly clashed, they would blot out entire tracts of existence.
  • Exclusively Evil:
  • Ambiguous Syntax: Lots of it, in the various written prophecies both sides are using. Also, deliberately used on Polgara by Aldur, when he says that the Gods will bring Durnik back to life for her to marry, if she'll agree to live the rest of her life with no more sorcerous power than he has. She assumes they mean that she'll be stripped of her power.
  • Amnesiac God: Eriond
  • Annoying Arrows: In the second book, an arrow shatters on Barak's mail shirt, something arrows are generally designed specifically not to do.
  • And I Must Scream: Zedar gets buried alive... forever.
  • Animal Motifs: Each of the gods has a totemic signature, and they and their chosen race mimic these animals in a characteristic, if not always physical, way. More directly, each of the sorcerers trained by Aldur has a preferred alternate form: the women like the owl (Aldur's own totem), the men, the wolf. Belgarath is even introduced as "Old Wolf" in the series.
  • The Antichrist: The Child of Dark. It's Torak for the first series, and Zandramas for most of the second.
  • Arbitrary Skepticism:
    • The Tolnedran empire, as a matter of policy, refuses to believe in sorcery. Which is also illegal.
    • Silk initially has difficulty believing in Vordai's powers as a witch. Vordai points out that this doesn't make much sense, given that he's travelling with two powerful sorcerers.
  • Arcadia: The Rivan Pasturelands and The Vale of Aldur count as one.
  • Arch Enemy: The Prophecy of Light and the Dark Prophecy, The Child of Light and The Child of Dark (on a personal level, Garion and Torak), Belgarath and Ctuchik, Beldin and Urvon, Nahaz and Mordja, and, in the backstory, UL and The King of Hell. Zandramas and Poledra also have shades of this.
  • Archetypal Characters: Ubiquitously and deliberately, as noted above.
  • Arranged Marriage: Garion and Ce'Nedra, centuries before they're born. Note to the Tolnedran Empire: Signing a marriage contract for 'when the lost heir of Riva returns', when you don't really believe that day will ever come, can and will come back to bite you.
  • Artifact of Doom: The Sardion. The Orb of Aldur shares some of this as well; anyone not expressly permitted to touch it will be obliterated, since it rebelled against Torak's misuse.
  • An Astral Projection, Not a Ghost: Poledra appears occasionally as a ghost to aid the main characters, having died in childbirth some three thousand years previously. At the end of the Malloreon, she reveals she never really died at all, but faked it in order to carry out a vague plan to help uphold The Prophecy.
  • Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever:
    • Garion and Torak both become enormous for the final battle. Polgara does it herself earlier.
    • Also Durnik when he banishes the Demon Lord Nahaz and Poledra when she fights as a wolf against Zandramas who is in the form of a dragon, both in the Malloreon.
  • Awesome Moment of Crowning: The Rivan King, of course. A sword drawn from stone? Check. Heralded as such by a keystone of creation? Check. Massive numbers of people bowing? Check. Big No from the girl who realized this means she has to marry you, even though she secetly wants to? Check. Awakening of a God, the God he is destined to duel? Big Goddamned Check.
  • Axe Crazy: Urvon, Taur Urgas, and possibly Torak.
  • Babies Ever After: For, with the exception of Sadi the eunuch everyone. Even the snake has babies in the end. Even the couples who do not explicitly have children by the end of the story (Cyradis and Zakath, and Liselle and Kheldar) are clearly going to. Apperently, it's the Purpose's way of saying "thank you".
  • Back from the Dead: Durnik.
  • Badass:
    • Just about every member of Garion's True Companions except Ce'Nedra could be tagged as this, plus quite a few other characters. Mandorallen is the standout, though, a man who's got himself firmly convinced that he's invincible; who once crushed a lion unarmed (not unarmored, but still). Mandorallen's character can be summed up in one line. And note, he's not joking.

Mandorallen: We are some distance from our own forces, your Majesty. I pray thee, be moderate in thine address. Even I might experience some difficulty in facing the massed legions of all Tolnedra.

    • Mandorallen's badassery is summed up like this: One of Mandorallen's countrymen, who's still fighting a civil war against Mandorallen's side of the political fence and the animosity is so thick that both sides have said things like "He is Asturian, so he is a knave by definition!" and have a staggering power of reinterpreting reality inside their head, admitted that while he hates Mandorallen, he acknowledges there's no way he'll lose when he challenges a bunch of other knights, and says Mandorallen is the most feared man in all of Arendia. Mandorallen's prowess in combat is so awesome it cuts across the political borders where blind, foaming-at-the-mouth, us-vs-them patriotism is the standard tone of discussion.
      • To add real weight to that statement it should be noted that ALL Arends are difficult to scare, treat all life like really bad romantic poetry, and will pledge their lives to anyone in need without a second thought. Therefore inspiring even basic fear into them is very difficult.
    • It should, however, be mentioned that Mandorallen is very stupid not overly burdened with intelligence, and so his judgement in the above example (with the legions) may be suspect.
  • Badass Army: The Algars -- a culture of horse riding nomads who have trained themselves for centuries specifically to fight the Murgos. They are extremely good at it. Then there are the Mimbrate knights, who combine ridiculous combat prowess with utter fearlessness. And the Asturian archers, who can mow down opposing armies like wheat with a storm of arrows. Then there are the Tolnedran legions, the only professional fighting force in the armies of the West, who are reputed to be able to kick the asses of any of the above, and the Cherek "navy", who pretty much can rule the seas if they want. Let's face it, most of the Western armies are badass to one extent or another.
  • Badass Normal:
    • Mandorallen, Lelldorin, Silk, Liselle, Sadi and Durnik pre-resurrectionare among the few characters who aren't using magic, turning into bears, talking to horses, or at least making use of magically enhanced weaponry.
    • It's worth mentioning that Sadi can likely be said to have a knowledge of poisons and pharmacology which surpasses even Polgara, who spent centuries in study of medicine. Much of this would come, of course, both from his native culture and that he is a specialist in the field rather than general medicine. (Though in the Malloreon, he still intelligently often defers to Polgara in her decisions of what drugs to administer.)
  • Bad Boss: Zandramas, Torak, reportedly Ctuchik, Taur Urgas, heck, the Dark Prophecy in and of itself, which tends to discard its pawns once it doesn't need them anymore.
  • Baleful Polymorph:
    • Polgara transforms Salmissra into a snake after she threatens to usurp Garion's role in the prophecy. Subverted in that, once she gets used to it, Salmissra likes it better that way and so do her advisers. That, and she's a venomous snake, which means she's plenty deadly.
    • This is pretty much a standard threat issued by sorcerers throughout the novels. A fun game is to count the times Belgarath, Polgara, Beldin, and Garion threaten to turn people into toads or radishes.
    • Beldin also subverts this once with a casual mention that he wouldn't turn someone into a frog, because they breed like crazy. He'd rather have "one annoying person than a million aggravating frogs."
  • Bargain with Heaven: The big one is Polgara's bargain with Aldur to restore Durnik (which includes a second, internal one when Belgarath bargains with Mara to get its cooperation in the venture.) There are several others scattered through the series, though, since the Gods have a physical presence in the world.
  • Bastard Understudy: Harakan/Mengha to Urvon.
  • Bathe Her and Bring Her to Me: In a rare gender flip, Salmissra has this done to Garion. Plus lots of drugs and poisons to make him compliant.
  • Bavarian Fire Drill: Silk - frequently. The best example is when, as the party is escaping from Rak Cthol after Ctuchik's death, he gets them past several Grolim search parties by pretending to be a higher ranking Grolim and ordering them to move their search elsewhere.
  • Because Destiny Says So: Literally. Expect the voice of destiny to get cranky at times.
  • Berserk Button: Don't lie to Polgara. Or threaten Garion's son. (This goes for Ce'Nedra too.) Or threaten Garion anywhere near Barak.
  • The Berserker: Barak's an unwilling heroic example. Apparently this kind of thing is common in Cherek warriors, even the ones who don't turn into bears. Taur Urgas is an evil example.
  • Best Served Cold: Belgarath buries the traitorous Zedar alive because of the astonishing number of atrocities he'd committed over the past, oh, four thousand years, including causing the death of Durnik (in self-defense). Let's also not forget Beldin's long standing grudge against Urvon, which causes the latter to erect Wanted Posters across half of Mallorea in a desperate attempt to keep him at bay. In fact, Urvon's terror is so strong that it snaps him briefly back to reality when he's Brainwashed and Crazy.
  • BFS: The Sword of the Rivan King. At six feet long, and made of Thunderbolt Iron to boot, it would be impossible to lift without the Orb helping. The Orb also gives the sword its own personal Weirdness Censor, at least when it isn't covering it in blue flames. The monstrous broadsword 'Zakath gets in Dal Perivor also counts; being mundane, Garion has to ask the Orb to help him lift it too.
  • Big Bad: Torak in the first series and Zandramas in the second. Of course, the real villain is the Dark Prophecy itself.
  • Bigger Bad: The Dark Prophecy. In a way, both the series' Big Bads were just its Dragons, as they only existed to be instruments of its will. Still counts as this though, since it's never physically confronted, and like the Prophecy of Light, has to work through earthly instruments, specifically Torak and Zandramas.
  • Big Good: The Prophecy of Light. It can defeat Gods, and alter the fabric of reality, but is restrained by the rules that it and its counterpart the Dark Prophecy laid out. If they ever fought directly it would destroy the Universe.
  • The Big Guy: Several characters in the (slightly more than) Five-Man Band could qualify, but the standouts are Mandorallen in The Belgariad and Toth in The Malloreon. As pointed out in the Five-Man Band section, when the Big Band (Barak, Hettar, Mandorallen, Relg, and Lelldorin) get together, Mandorallen is the only one who doesn't assume another role in the group. That's right: he's The Big Guys' Big Guy.
  • Big Damn Heroes: The Big Guys that are left behind in the Malloreon get an illusionary Big Damn Heroes moment.
  • Binding Ancient Treaty: The Treaty of Vo Mimbre
  • Blackmail Is Such an Ugly Word:
    • Pretty much every conversation with Silk has a variant... Though as the following shows, half the time he doesn't even bother to mask it with humour:

Silk: "I'm sure she'd be fascinated by that last observation, old friend."
Belgarath: "I don't know that's it's necessary to repeat it to her, Silk."
Silk: "You never know. I might need something from you someday."
Belgarath: "That's disgusting."
Silk: "I know." (grins)

    • Also subverted by Yarblek, who answers an accusation of blackmail with "Some call it that, yes."
  • Blind Seer: Martje in Val Alorn; in the first book, Polgara "cures" her by restoring her sight. The Dalasian Seers are merely blind-folded.
  • Blindfolded Vision: The Seers of Kell in fact rely on the blindfolds to maintain their powers.
  • Blonde, Brunette, Redhead:
    • Ariana, Adara, and Ce'Nedra respectively. They fit the stereotypical personality traits as well; Ariana is a typically romantic, ditzy Mimbrate maiden, Adara is a calm and poised Algar lady, while Tolnedran Princess Ce'Nedra is the bossy and impulsive leader of the trio during their misadventures together.
    • In The Malloreon, the three women in the party are technically this (Velvet blonde, Polgara brunette, and Ce'Nedra redhead), but while Polgara and Ce'Nedra are of course a Brainy Brunette and Fiery Redhead respectively, Velvet is a capable spy and Action Girl.
  • Blood Bath: Zandramas, Evil Sorceress and priestess of a Religion of Evil, shows a fondness for cutting out people's hearts and bathing in their blood. This is not atypical for Angarak priests in general.
  • Blood Knight: Taur Urgas. He sleeps in his armour, plays war music wherever he goes, and actually orders his elite guard to clear the way for Cho-Hag so that he can fight him. His last words as he dies? "Come back Cho-Hag. Come back and fight!" Many Mimbrate and Cherek characters approach this trope as well, although they're generally closer to Boisterous Bruiser, as do lots and lots of Murgos.
  • Boisterous Bruiser: Mandorallen, and most of the Mimbrate knights.
  • Brainwashed and Crazy:
    • Ce'Nedra, in The Malloreon, due to Zandramas' sorcery. And Harakan's. She's kind of a magnet for this stuff. Urvon also gets this.
    • Ce'Nedra's is apparently innately vulnerable to this stuff- Ctuchik was explicitly banking on it in book three, and Belgarath had already figured this out and didn't bring her along for that one.
    • Garion gets hit with a mild version of this early on, suddenly seeing his allies as malicious strangers that he must escape from.
  • Breast Plate: Justified, Lampshaded, all-around 'verted, mocked mercilessly, and in general, has just about everything you can do with a trope done to it in book four; when Ce'Nedra is off purchasing some ceremonial armor to wear while raising up an army, she says this is necessary for what the armor is supposed to help her with--and she's more or less right. Ce'Nedra, at age sixteen, was tiny and flat-chested--she can't do anything about the height, but she needed people to respect her as an adult, long enough for them to listen to her. Having the armor the right shape--even if she technically isn't--would help her audiences see her as an adult. It takes her a while, but she persuades the armorer to modify the breastplate to an acceptably female shape, and relies on his good taste for the exact dimensions. The final result works out well and satisfies all people involved, but the scenes with the armorer are fun to read.
  • Brought Down to Normal: The possibility of this happening is enough to keep Belgarath Locked Out of the Loop in the fourth book after his nearly fatal duel with Ctuchik. Later, Polgara is threatened with this as a condition of having Durnik brought back to life -- fortunately, the Gods have a sense of humor. Lastly, Cyradis in the final book of The Malloreon must be stripped of her powers of prophecy into order to make the final choice between Light and Dark.
    • It's strongly implied, towards the end of The Malloreon, that Cyradis didn't actually lose her powers.
    • The Light Prophecy explicitly tells Garion that she was no longer a seer... but that she had looked into the future, and she has a very good memory.
  • Capital Letters Are Magic: The word EVENT, rendered in small capitals, refers specifically to an event required for the fulfillment of prophecy. These EVENTS are in essence instantaneous conflict between the two opposing Wills of the Universe, settled by a choice made by a mortal. The reason that they are instantaneous is that longer conflicts would destroy the universe.
  • Catch Phrase -- Garion: "Why me?" Poledra and Polgara (on occasion): "How remarkable." Silk: "Trust me."
  • Charm Person: Asharak the Murgo's favourite trick, pulled liberally on Garion practically since birth. He stops when Garion decides to kill him with fire.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Sprinkled liberally throughout the series, but most obviously in The Malloreon. Examples include Zith, Sadi's pet snake, whom Velvet uses to kill Harakan; the whole business with the Grolims being afraid to go near Kell; the subtle cannon at the beginning, where Garion says 'Fortune tellers are never right- one of them once predicted Durnik will live twice. How silly is that?'; and most especially the frequent references to the Turim reef, which ends up being The Place Which Is No More, but nobody noticed due to language drift.
  • The Chessmaster: Both the Light and Dark Prophecies. Having eons to prepare helps. Zandramas is also a decent Chessmaster, although whether it's personal skill, or the result of having been infused with the Spirit of Dark is up for debate. She certainly manages to plan ahead, with each of her moves ready to fall into place the minute that a previous one fails.
  • Chess Motifs:
    • Pawn of Prophecy, Queen of Sorcery, Magician's Gambit, Castle of Wizardry, Enchanter's End Game. Averted in the sequel series. The motifs weren't Eddings' idea - he'd originally conceived a trilogy titled Garion, Ce'Nedra and Torak but was overridden by his publisher who explained that (at the time) books in the genre had a maximum page limit that meant he couldn't cram the story into three volumes. The titles came afterwards.
    • Occasionally, Garion is given glimpses of a chess-like game being played by the rival Destinies.
  • Childless Dystopia: Belgarath spends a very depressing winter in a town cursed with sterility.
  • The Chooser of the One: Cyradis.
  • Chosen One: Whoever the Child of Light and Child of Dark are at the time.
  • Chromatic Arrangement: The gods.
  • Church Militant: The Bear-Cult, and many, many factions of the Grolim Priesthood, which includes: Evil Sorcerors galore, The Hounds of Torak, the Chandim (Hounds who've changed back into humans) and the Temple Guardsmen (evil knights sworn to Torak and Urvon).
  • Color Coded for Your Convenience: Aldur and anything associated with him, including his disciples (the various sorcerers) and his Orb, is blue. Torak is fond of black and red.
  • Combat Pragmatist:
    • Silk, Liselle, and Sadi do not believe in a fair fight. Garion and 'Zakath aren't much better, cheating their way to victory in a joust.
    • Zakath is a minor subversion in that instance. Garion magically cheats, Zakath refuses to...only a minor subversion, because he does improvise an unusual jousting technique that works to perfection.
  • Coming of Age Story: Especially in the first couple books.
  • Cool Old Guy: Belgarath. Being the first disciple, he's the designated "old" one, even though Beldin and the twins are also several thousand years old.
  • Covers Always Lie: Averted, at least for the paperbacks; you can match the cover images to exact moments in the books.
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass:
    • Hey, remember Brill, The Mole from the very first book? It turns out, he's this setting's equivalent of a Ninja.
    • Belgarath gets this all the time. Indeed, Belgarath The Sorcerer reveals that it takes a LOT of work for him to build up his crouching itinerant storyteller persona, including clothes specially tailored to look like they're falling apart at the seams, and boots designed to fit well, but explicitly not match. He may look scruffy and listless, but he's actually very well-dressed most of the time.
  • Cryptic Conversation:
    • Each and every damn prophecy. In the case of the Mrin Codex, this turns out to be only because the oracle was stark raving mad; the Voice of the Universe tells Garion that unfortunately, this nutcase was all he had to work with.
    • That and the reader will eventually get the feeling that the Voice did it that way because it annoys Belgarath so very, very much.
  • Cursed with Awesome:
    • Barak's "curse" is to turn into a bear when Garion Heir to the long-empty throne of Riva and Overlord of the West by treaty is threatened. A rampaging, unstoppable bear. At first he thinks it's just a progressive ailment and attempts suicide, but once he gets filled in on the trigger conditions (i.e., his family is now the hereditary protector's of Garion's), he contemplates tasteful ways to work it into his coat of arms. Who wouldn't want to advertise that?
    • The second series shows that it's hereditary when Barak's son turns into a bear during the final EVENT.
  • Cute Monster Girl: The Dryads are technically a race of this, but look identical to humans.
  • Cute Mute: Errand, at least until The Malloreon, and Lampshaded there: "I see you've learned to talk, boy."
  • Day Hurts Dark-Adjusted Eyes: Ulgos
  • Dark Messiah: Zandramas to many Grolims, and the people of Darshiva. Harakan also enjoys playing this role, as evidenced by his Ulfgar and Mengha personas, which he uses to subvert the Bear-Cult and the Karands respectively. Neither one of them really cares about the people that they're supposedly representing, and are only using it for power.
  • Dashed Plotline: The prequels can skip centuries between chapters. Having main characters who are immortal makes this almost essential -- a biography of Polgara that tried to cover everything would make the Oxford English Dictionary look small, and her father's over twice as old as her.
  • Dead Man Writing: In the Malloreon, the message from Torak to Belgarion they find in an uncorrupted copy of the Ashabine Oracles is one of these.
  • Deadpan Snarker:
    • Everyone to an extent -- one of the big draws of the series is reading the characters' often clever back-and-forth banter. This is epitomized, however, by the Purpose of the Friggin' Universe, who takes up residence as a snarky voice in Garion's consciousness and comes across as nothing so much as a long-suffering Game Master constantly annoyed that his players won't follow the script.

Purpose: "I love to watch his expression when he loses one of these arguments."

Garion: "Is everybody getting married?"
Silk: "Not me, my young friend. In spite of this universal plunge towards matrimony, I still haven't lost my senses. If worse comes to worse, I still know how to run." -- (From the last few pages of the Belgariad)

  • Default to Good: Cyradis at the end of the Malloreon.
  • Defeat Means Friendship: Zakath is one of the rare pre-emptive examples of this trope, in that after finally dawning to just how thoroughly the odds are against him he decides to just skip the 'defeat' and go straight to the 'friendship'.

"You know something, Garion? I've always believed that someday you and I would go to war with each other. Would you be terribly disappointed if I decided not to show up?"

  • Demon Lords and Archdevils: In The Malloreon, it's revealed that Demons/Devil-Spirits, have rank the same way that people do. Nahaz and Mordja are the two that Garion and co. encounter.
  • Den of Iniquity: Several of the rooms in Ctuchik's tower in Magician's Gambit
  • Despair Gambit: The Dark Prophecy uses these on occasion, especially when it's getting desperate and running out of mooks to throw at the goodies. Silk and Garion employ their own Gambits at the final meeting, to greater effect.
  • Destination Defenestration: Comes up several times, most notably when Silk fights Brill at Rak Cthol, and then again in The Malloreon when Senji relates to Belgarath and Garion how the Melcene University tried to "test" his immortality.
  • The Devil Is a Loser: Torak. Sure, he's the resident evil god of the setting, but he spends all of the series and most of the backstory horribly maimed because of several monumentally stupid decisions; the main characters have absolutely no respect for him and regularly refer to him by such epithets as "Burnt-face" and "One-eye"; he has no ability to either anticipate or cope with change in the world; and he has absolutely no subtlety, sense of military tactics, or awareness of human nature whatsoever, relying entirely on brute force. One gets the impression that the only reason he was ever a credible threat was that, as a god, he has a lot of brute force to throw around, and Garion wins their final battle by pointing out how very pathetic he is behind all the bluster.
    • Revealed in the Malloreon that it isn't entirely his fault - Much of Torak's mindset is influenced by the fact that he was, for a very long time, the host of the Spirit of Dark. Which is flat out described as being completely unable to change, thus the above inabilities to cope with change, as Darkness is constant, inflexible. Light is change in its nature.
    • Also, it turns out that he was never supposed to be a God at all. The same thing that split the two Purposes created him as the wrong god. Eriond is the God who was supposed to be.
  • Dick Dastardly Stops to Cheat: Zandramas' efforts to sway events to her favour ultimately hasten the Event she is trying to avoid. And, probably, bias the Choice against her.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: Garion gets to add Godslayer to his constellation of grandiose titles at the end of the fifth book. Of course, this is explicitly justified as his purpose for existing in the first place, and he's aided by a power a wee bit higher than Torak.
  • Dirty Coward: Zandramas. Half the action in The Malloreon derives from her desperate attempts at avoiding the CHOICE. She never confronts the heroes directly either, and inevitably runs whenever they start catching up with her.
  • Disposable Woman: Hilariously and spectacularly subverted at the climax of book three. Grolim High Priest Ctuchik is ecstatic at having lured the heroes into coming after him in his fastness, gloating that he need merely kill any one of the party to stop the Prophecy from coming true, only to be somewhat disconcerted to find out that the only member of the group vulnerable enough that he actually can kill them before Belgarath and Polgara can finish blocking Ctuchik's attack -- Ce'Nedra -- is not only not there, but has been safely left a thousand miles away. In a hidden city buried underneath a continental shelf. With the over-deity UL as her personal bodyguard. As Belgarath made sure to point out, Ctuchik really should have taken a headcount first before allowing the group inside.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Belgarath's punishment of Zedar is viewed by several of the heroes as this, as the majority of his villainy was conducted offscreen. Belgarath, however, was a firsthand witness to it and Zedar's protestations of I Did What I Had to Do fall on deaf ears.
  • Divine Chessboard: Everyone is guided by one of two opposing Purposes of the Universe.
  • Doomy Dooms of Doom: Martje of Val Alorn likes to talk about Barak's Doom.

Durnik: "What was all that talk about Doom?"

  • The Dragon: The hierarchy of evil's leadership across both series goes, roughly, Disciple (Ctuchik, Zedar, and Urvon for Torak; Naradas for Zandramas), Child of Dark (Torak, Zandramas), Dark Prophecy. In The Belgariad Ctuchik and Zedar play Dragon to Torak (not that he especially needs protecting), while Asharak and Brill are Ctuchik's Co-Dragons; Brill may have been Asharak's Dragon as well, although he was strangely absent during the latter's final moments; the details of the relationship are never fully explored. In The Malloreon Zandramas has Naradas, Mordja, and an actual Dragon, while Urvon has Nahaz and Harakan. Most of those in the Malloreon have their own agendas.
  • Dragon with an Agenda: The Demon Lords Nahaz and Mordja to Urvon and Zandramas respectively. Nahaz doubles as a Dragon-in-Chief, after brainwashing Urvon into insanity; Urvon's second Dragon, Harakan/Mengha, is also conspiring against him, with the help of Nahaz, who he believes he has under his control, allowing Nahaz to be Dragon with an Agenda/ Dragon-in-Chief to both of them.
  • Driven to Suicide: Belsambar and Belmakor. In the prequel, Belgarath expresses a suspicion that Zedar had somehow played a part in the latter (though he never explains how), and goes on to say that if he ever discovers proof, he'll go back and put Zedar somewhere even worse.
  • Driven to Villainy: Zedar claims this, although the prequels undermine his position. He initially joined Torak of his own free will, intending to act as a Fake Defector, and then Torak's touch on his mind obliterated his ability to resist. The implication is that Pride was his Fatal Flaw for assuming that he, or any mortal, could mount that kind of deception against a god. At the end, Zedar tries to shrug off responsibility by arguing that he was merely playing his role in the prophecy, but Belgarath doesn't buy it.
  • Duel to the Death: Garion vs. Torak.
  • Dye or Die: Zakath grows a beard after joining the heroes in The Malloreon to avoid being recognized as Emperor. Ce'Nedra also dyes her hair temporarily after running away.
  • Eccentric Mentor: Belgarath has several bad habits- the stealing and overimbibing and all that business in Maragor after Poledra's death- and he generally looks like a tramp, but he is still Aldur's first disciple and quite capable of demonstrating why all the Grolims are terrified of him. Of course, he got his tramp costume specially made and it's lasted him five hundred years.
  • Either/Or Prophecy: Technically, two prophecies that are actually divided halves of the original Purpose of the Universe.
  • Empathic Weapon: The Orb definitely has a personality of its own, but it's not very developed. As Belgarath says, it's "closer to a horse or dog than an actual person." It tends to get very enthusiastic when it "lends a hand" to Garion's sorcery, leading to some rather spectacular effects, and sometimes gives him unsolicited advice. For example, when he mentions offhand that it could write his name in the stars, it starts to explain exactly how to go about it. Zakath, who had virtually been holding him prisoner a short while before, has some very interesting reactions to listening to Garion explain to the Orb it was only an example. It's implied that part of the reason Garion - and, indeed his ultimate ancestor Riva Iron-Grip - was chosen to bear the Orb is his basic humility; he's not subject to the temptation to use the Orb for the sake of power.
  • The Emperor: Zakath has this tendency in the Belgariad, in the Malloreon. He gets better.
  • Empty Shell: 'Zakath misses this trope by milimetres during The Belgariad and the start of The Malloreon. The prophecy outright refers to him as "The Empty One".
  • Encyclopedia Exposita: Many of the novels start with an excerpt from a historical or religious text that provides relevant Backstory for the book in question. Humourously, the excerpts often reference the same event, with completely different interpretations.
  • Enemy Civil War:
    • Much of The Malloreon is composed of a huge Melee a Trois between 'Zakath, Zandramas and Urvon for control of the Sardion, with Mengha and Agachak looking to get involved from the outside, and the Demons working for whoever summons them. Ultimately Mengha allies with Urvon (who he and Nahaz start plotting against), 'Zakath Heel Face Turns and Zandramas secures her position as the Big Bad with the deaths of Urvon, Agachak, and Mengha, and the banishment of Nahaz, in one of the most stunning examples of Eviler Than Thou in fiction. Whew.
    • Also at the climax of the Belgariad, when after Torak's death the Angarak invasion of the West degenerates into a decades-long war between Mallorea and Cthol Murgos.
    • Urgit's struggle to ascend the throne of Cthol Murgos after the death of Taur Urgas.
  • Epic Fail:
    • In The Belgariad Lelldorin manages to extend an epic fail over the course of several weeks. When he announces that he's going to get back to the main group, his beloved refuses to stay behind. During the departure and trip he manages to break her father's leg, run his cousin through the leg "just a little bit", punch out all of a priest's teeth, and cause enough assorted mayhem to get a bounty put on his head by the crown. And all of this was without trying. This is also an example of Disaster Dominoes. He did successfully marry the girl in the process, though! (Only because traveling alone with her would cause more trouble.)
    • In The Mallorean, Garion has to stop a war threatening to engulf the entire kingdom of Arendia. He magically summons a storm that helps him single-handedly stop two charging armies in their tracks, force an old friend to marry the love of his life and resolve the dispute. He’s very pleased with his hard day’s work. A few chapters later he finds out that he sparked off blizzards, hurricanes, droughts and tornados right around the world, and even triggered a new ice age. It took the combined efforts of the Gods themselves and two of the most powerful sorcerers alive over six months to fix it. Needless to say, Garion is banned from touching the weather again for two thousand years.
  • Eunuchs Are Evil: The kingdom of Nyissa seems to have a lot of evil eunuchs. Considering that you have to be a eunuch to work at the royal palace, and the palace is filled with intrigue, this is a Justified Trope. Remedied in the second series when Sadi turns out to be a pretty decent guy no worse than the protagonists. And pretty Badass to boot.
  • Even Evil Has Standards:
    • The Malloreon has a deeply chilling example in the fourth book, where Garion finds a prophecy written by Torak in which the Dark God begs his archenemy to prevent the horror that will come if Zandramas succeeds in elevating the Dark Prophecy. Belgarath remarks that it may have been Torak's one moment of sanity.
    • After Sadi joins the party, it becomes a plot point that the Murgos consider Nyissan drugs illegal, despite gleefully participating in the slave trade. Sadi himself is an example, as he regarded many aspects of the slave trade to be repulsive. And although Silk isn't evil, there's a hilarious Lampshading when Sadi points out that he has no qualms against swindling people or murdering them in cold blood but balks at dealing in drugs. Interestingly, Silk is often the only person to express shock or horror at the more dubious actions of the rest of the group - Belgarath entombing Zedar in stone for all eternity springs to mind.
  • Evil Counterpart: Most obviously Zedar (and to a lesser degree, Ctuchik) to Belgarath, a few others crop up. Like the whole Child of Light/Child of Dark thing. Urvon is likely the Evil Counterpart to Beldin: both are disfigured, both are the disciple of a major god, and they hate each other almost as much as their respective masters do. A case could be made that 'Zakath is originally Garion's Evil Counterpart: they're both the rulers of half the world, but Garion is a decent king, where as 'Zakath is The Emperor and is totally obsessed with power and revenging himself on Taur Urgas. This, of course, changes in The Malloreon, and gets heavily Lampshaded to boot.
    • The Sardion (Cthrag Sardius) is the Evil Counterpart to the Orb of Aldur (Cthrag Yaska). One could argue that Torak's black sword, Cthrek Goru, is the Evil Counterpart to the Sword of the Rivan King.
  • Eviler Than Thou: Zandramas vs Urvon vs Agachak vs Mengha vs (pre-Heel Face Turn) 'Zakath. Also, Nahaz vs Mordja for the favour of The King of Hell. See Enemy Civil War above.
  • Evil Is Not a Toy: When dealing with demons, the question isn't if you'll get screwed, but when. Just ask Urvon. Or Chabat. Or Zandramas. Or any number of unnamed Morind magicians who got eaten by creatures they thought they had under control. Belgarath is able to control his summoned demon in The Belgariad to intimidate the Karands, but he is very careful to play by the rules and banish it when he's done with it. Nobody in their right mind ever deals with a Demon Lord.
  • Evil Smells Bad: The areas corrupted by the presence of the Child of Dark both have this as a defining trait.
  • Evil Sorcerer: Ctuchik, Zedar, Urvon, Chamdar, Zandramas, Naradas, the vast majority of unnamed Grolims, and pretty much every single Morind magician and Karandese wizard.
  • Evil Tower of Ominousness: Ctuchik's tower atop Rak Cthol, and Torak's giant iron tower in Cthol Mishrak. Torak's tower was so tall that a noticeable chunk of a 24-hour day can be spent going up the stairs to the top, doing something which takes maybe five minutes, and then going back down. When he invades the West, he has a giant wheeled iron tower pulled about by his army for him to live in. Lampshaded by Belgarath, who mentions that all sorcerers seem to have a pathological drive to live in towers.
  • Expansion Pack World: Eddings added the south & east of the second continent and the bottom of the first one only after the Malloreon was a go.
  • Expressive Mask: After Torak becomes maimed, he takes to wearing a steel mask which covers his face and moves as his unburned face would.
  • Extended Disarming: Silk, numerous times, pulls daggers out of every conceivable hiding place.
  • Face Heel Turn: Zedar in the backstory.
  • Fallen Hero: Zedar.
  • Famed in Story
  • Fantasy Counterpart Culture:
    • Almost everywhere. Eddings mined real-world cultures almost exclusively when populating the world of the Belgariad. Word of God states "The Sendars correspond to rural Englishmen, the Arends to Norman French, the Tolnedrans to Romans, The Chereks to Vikings, the Algars to Cossacks, The Ulgos to Jews, and the Angaraks to Hunnish-Mongolian-Muslim-Visigoths out to convert the world by sword. I didn't really have correspondences in mind for the Drasnians, Rivans, Marags, and Nyissans."
    • The rural Drasnians bear a strong resemblance to the Finnish (particularly the reindeer herding culture) with some influence from the old Swiss (i.e., pikemen as a military specialty), including the long and harsh winters. The Nyissans have strong resemblance to both the ancient Egyptian and ancient Central American cultures in dress, politics, and rulership. (And while the rainforests aren't swampy jungles, they come close environmentally.) The Rivans could be said to be a melding of classic generic "fantasy human" and with the old world Eastern Europeans. (Stoic, steadfast, conforming by necessity on the outside but very family oriented, bright and colorful, and warm on the inside... as shown physically by their homes and attire, and personally by their attitude.)
  • Fantasy Pantheon
  • Farm Boy: Garion is one, but only technically. He lived on a farm, but worked in his aunt's kitchen... as a dishwasher.
  • Fate Worse Than Death: Zedar gets buried alive forever. Excuse me, I Must Scream. And then there's Urvon and Chabat who lose their souls to Demons, and Zandramas who may have suffered from the same thing, or may simply have ceased to exist when she got dissolved and used to fill a hole in the galaxy.
  • Fat Idiot: Rhodar isn't one. In fact, he is fat because he loves to sit and read, and is one of the best educated people in the world.
  • Fiery Redhead: Ce'Nedra, very much so.
  • First Time in the Sun: Relg. He doesn't take it well.
  • Five-Bad Band: Torak is The Big Bad, Ctuchik and Zedar are his Co-Dragons, with Zedar doing double duty as The Evil Genius, Taur Urgas is The Brute, The Dark Chick position is kept open for Polgara, and the actual dragon is the Team Pet.
  • Five-Man Band:
    • Garion -- The Hero, Durnik -- The Lancer, Silk -- The Smart Guy, Ce'Nedra -- The Chick, with Belgarath and Polgara as Mentors. The Big Guy is sort of interesting, as the role is played by more than one character -- in fact, the multitude of Big Guys could probably form their own Band within a Band: Barak -- Big Hero, Hettar -- Big Lancer, Mandorallen -- Big Squared, Relg -- Big Smart, Lelldorin -- Big Chick. Such characters are necessary, according to Eddings, in order to "handle all the killing and mayhem until the hero grows up to the point where he can do his own violence on the bad guys". In the Malloreon, the Big Band is dropped from the main cast, and they wander around having mostly irrelevant adventures in other parts of the world. Also possibly a Five-Token Band, since all the characters are from different cultures.
    • The band's construction is somewhat altered in The Malloreon. Garion is much more firmly The Hero, with Durnik as The Lancer, Ce'Nedra remaining The Chick, Belgarath and Polgara as Mentors and new arrival Toth fullfilling The Big Guy role. It's The Smart Guy that's split, with Silk, Liselle, and Sadi all fullfilling it in one way or another. Towards the end, 'Zakath joins up as a Sixth Ranger/ second Lancer.
  • Flaying Alive: Taur Urgas' response to his guards' inability to prevent the unavoidable. Also a favoured method by Silk, alongside boiling, for implied past events upon which he didn't elaborate.
  • The Fog of Ages: Played with, especially in the banter between Beldin and Belgarath.

Beldin: "You'll have to excuse my friend here; he's been having some shocking lapses of memory lately. But that's only to be expected in someone who's fourteen thousand years old."
Belgarath: (looking offended) "Seven thousand."

  • Flowery Elizabethan English: Arendish folks talk like this, particularly the Mimbrates...though the Asturians deliberately change accents out of their contempt for the Mimbrates. One (non-Arendish) character trying to sound intelligent speaks like this for a few pages, before being explicitly told that she sounds ridiculous. Thoroughly and hilariously Lampshaded in The Malloreon when Poledra remarks that if they stick around the Arends long enough, everyone will be doing it. For his part, Eddings not only does the style grammatically, but (in The Rivan Codex) is highly critical of those who try but get it wrong.
  • Fog of War / Weather of War: The Grolim use a fog to cover their army's movments in The Belgariad.
  • Foreign Money Is Proof of Guilt: Anyone who owns Murgo red gold has probably been bribed by them. Justified in that red gold has addictive qualities to it.
  • Foreshadowing: Blink and you'll miss it in Pawn of Prophecy. Garion, while talking to Barak, mentions an augury for Durnik that said he would die twice.
  • Friend to All Living Things: Belsambar. Belgarath recollects: "I think he knew half the rabbits and deer in the vale by their first names, and birds used to perch on him the way they would have if he had been a tree." Polgara is a friend to all birds. Ce'nedra talks to trees - and they listen to her!(she's a dryad, after all.)
  • Functional Magic: The Will and the Word -- Focus your will, and then say the word. If you believe (and happen to be a sorcerer), it'll happen. There are a variety of other types of magic users, including witches (who deal with spirits in nature, magicians (who summon and "control" demons), "wizards" with unspecified minor powers, necromancers, and seers, but in the end they are all stated to be variations of the same concept. Also, alchemy turns lead into gold... and glass into steel (or possibly high-durability plastic).
  • The Fundamentalist: The Bear-Cult. Relg starts out this way (albeit as a more positive variant), but after several books worth of Character Development he manages to lose the worst aspects of it, while remaining a deeply religious man.
  • Funetik Aksent: Generally restricted to minor characters; the two most prominent examples are the juggler Feldegast, who has a thick brogue, and Th' Ol' Farmer I' Th' Tavern Wit' Th' Peg. (that's "pig", by the way.) Garion imitates the Old Farmer's accent at times when he's trying to amuse Ce'nedra or irritate Belgarath.
  • Genre Blindness: The Child of Dark seems to feed from an unending stream of ignorance about the harm its attempts to subvert the Prophecy do to its own cause. Then again, this is pointed out by the heroes as one of the reasons the Dark needs to be defeated -- it's incapable of changing or even acknowledging the need for change.
  • Gentleman Thief: Silk is a prime example.
  • Go-Go Enslavement: A male example -- in the second book, Garion is kidnapped and drugged by the Queen of Nyissa and forced to sit on her throne wearing makeup and a short loincloth.
  • The Good Chancellor: Brand is the latest in a line of Rivan Warders who govern Riva until the king returns.
  • Grandpa What Massive Hotness You Have:
    • Belgarath, the oldest person in the world short of the gods and who looks appropriately venerable for an aged sorcerer, when he strips to the briefs to dive into a lake and shows off his impressive physique in the process.
    • Polgara is accounted one of the most strikingly beautiful women in the West. And she's four thousand years old, or so, but has never been married or had children (until the very, very end).
  • Groundhog Day Loop: A lightweight version. Ever since the Accident split the Purpose of the Universe into two competing Destinies, the same general series of events has been repeating over and over. Discussed by the characters throughout the Malloreon.
  • Guile Hero: Silk. Fits the description like a glove.
  • Handicapped Badass: King Cho-Hag. A cripple on the ground, frighteningly deadly on a horse.
  • Hannibal Lecture: Inverted and Justified -- in the final battle of The Belgariad, Garion delivers one of these to Torak, after Garion comes to realize that the true reason for their confrontation is not to fight Torak, but to reject him.
  • Hard Head: Just about everyone. Garion in particular develops a deserved reputation for banging his head into things, which becomes something of a Running Gag.

Belgarath: (noticing the bleeding gash on Garion's forehead) "What happened to you?"
Garion: "I hit my head."
Belgarath: "I thought we'd agreed that you weren't going to do that anymore."

  • Healing Factor: Averted, the gods have no healing ability whatsoever, because they can't be hurt in the first place. This means that when Torak was grievously maimed by the Orb, he was forced to live in terrible pain for millennia.
  • The Heart: Garion is this within the Brotherhood of sorcerers. Not yet jaded by aeons of duty, he constantly wants to go out of his way to help people even when it hurts his cause, is extremely reluctant to kill people, and feels ashamed about using sorcery for malicious purposes. The other sorcerers are often irritated by his idealism, but sometimes grudgingly admit that doing something just because it's right is necessary from time to time.
  • Heel Face Turn: Drosta, the Nadraks and many Thulls in the first series, 'Zakath and Sadi in the second.
  • Hell Hounds: The Hounds Of Torak. Actually Grolims who've transformed themselves into giant dogs. Some have since changed back to form the Chandim; they aren't noticeably more pleasant.
  • Hellish Horse: The Hrulgin: carnivorous, horse-like beasts that the party has a brief encounter with. Hettar, true to his Horse-Lord nature, takes a stab at riding one. He regretfully kills it after he makes mind contact with it and realizes how utterly insane it is. At one point he muses that if he could raise one from a colt, he might be able to train and ride it, but relents after being reminded that it would look at the Algars' prized cattle as food.
  • Heroes Want Redheads: Garion and Fiery Redhead Ce'Nedra.
  • Heroic Comedic Sociopath: Silk's Crowning Moment of Awesome really shows this... He finds out that someone he's worked alongside (and against) numerous times has been casually, and viciously, murdered by a group of nobles. His response to this is a series of murders which epitomizes the Roaring Rampage of Revenge trope quite nicely... Especially since he manages to fit about a dozen murders into the day or two he has in the city while the rest of the party is hung up waiting for the quest to continue. And he made most of the deaths look like accidents -- until he got rushed. Really, most of the characters count as this, due to extreme Protagonist-Centered Morality.
  • Hero's Journey: Used straight, very intentionally, and with great attention to detail.
  • Honor Before Reason: Arends.
  • Hope Spot: Interestingly, engineered by the good guys in the last book. Garion pretends to be about to choose the wrong successor, so that when he gets it right Zandramas will be pissed off and put off-balance.
  • Human Sacrifice: Practiced by the Grolims in honor of Torak. Belgarath admits that it may or may not have been Torak's idea to begin with, but Torak never did anything to stop it.
  • Hypocritical Humor:
    • There are many occasions where characters complain about traits in others that they themselves possess. Usually some variation of dramatizing (i.e. Belgarath, who spent years as a professional storyteller, complains that Beldin is being too ostentatious). They are frequently called on this.
    • In Belgarath the Sorcerer, Belgarath and Beldin at one point meet for the first time in a while, and ask what the other has been up to; Belgarath had just finished a rigorous mathematical proof that three and three made six, while Beldin had been trying to determine the exact difference between the concepts of "right" and "good." Both men wonder why the other was doing something so pointless.
  • Ignorance Is Bliss: Garion, deliberately. Also played with in Errand/Eriond.
  • I Have You Now, My Pretty: A recurring threat against Polgara is that Torak will Mind Rape and force her into marriage. Indeed, the turning point of the final battle comes when Polgara is able to tell Torak exactly where he can go stick what, despite his attempts to force her. Belgarath specifically points out that if Torak had had the emotional support of Polgara's "love", however false, Belgarion would never have been able to defeat him.
  • I Just Want to Be Normal: Garion. Everyone's response: You're not. Get over it.
  • I Know You Know I Know:
    • Silk's remarks regarding knowing a man is a spy for Brador. In fact, nearly all of Silk's political and mercantile gamesmanship can be seen as an escalating series of these, with him on top. It's also In the Blood, as the one and only time he meets his match across the negotiating table, it turns out to be his hitherto unknown half-brother.
    • Comes up literally in Queen of Sorcery during a conversation with (naturally) a Drasnian stationed in Nyissa:

"The Tolnedran ambassador knows I've bought his man. He tries to trip me up with false leads now and again."
"Does the ambassador know that you know?" Hettar asked.
"Of course he does." The fat man laughed. "But he doesn't think that I'm aware of the fact that he knows that I know."

  • I'm a Humanitarian: The Marags' cultural practice of cannibalism was used by the Tolnedrans as justification to exterminate them. They were really after the Marags' gold.
  • Inelegant Blubbering: Ce'nedra. Polgara tells her she shouldn't cry in public; she hasn't the right coloring for it.
  • Infanticide Backfire: Asharak tried to kill Garion (and did succeed in killing his parents). That didn't work out so well for him.
  • Intangible Man: Relg can pass through rock like water and take people with him, or leave them in there. Sorcerers can also project their "shadows" as to appear somewhere else.
  • Interspecies Romance:
    • Belgarath and Poledra -- she's a wolf shapeshifted into human form. No, you shouldn't think about it. When called out on this, Belgarath points out that the change of form is absolute. Also, Poledra had her own part to play in the prophecy besides simply being Garion's ultimate grandmother.
    • Even Garion and Ce'Nedra, as she isn't technically human; it's stated that the Dryad strain breeds true in the female Borunes.
  • Involuntary Shapeshifting: Barak's hereditary "curse" is to turn into a bear when Garion is threatened. He passes the trait to his son, with respect to Garion's son.
  • The Jester: Beldin's role and one of his disguises.
  • Kill It with Fire: How Asharak/Chamdar killed Garion's parents, and thus, how Garion kills Chamdar. And in Belgarath the Sorcerer, Belsambar suggests throwing burning pitch into the Angarak cities.
  • Knife Nut: Silk, Relg, Liselle, Sadi and at times, Beldin. All Nadrak women.
  • Knight in Shining Armour: Mandorallen, oh so very much.
  • Lady Drunk: A noblewoman that the party encounters in Mallorea, due to extreme boredom and isolation.
  • The Lancer: Durnik to Garion, and Beldin to Belgarath. In The Malloreon 'Zakath also plays Lancer to Garion, post Heel Face Turn.
  • Last of His Kind:
    • There is only one dragon in the series, who is both the first and the last of her kind. The gods made three, but the two males killed each other in the first mating season. The entire depiction of dragons is an intentional Subversion of the basic fantasy archetype of the creatures -- just dumb lizards. Garion is also the last surviving descendant of the Rivan royal family, and Taiba is the last Marag.
    • As for Taiba, not anymore, Mara and Relg saw to that. Hettar even complains that his wife Adara can't keep up when it comes to making babies with Taiba and accuses Mara of cheating.
  • The Legions of Hell: Alluded to in the Belgariad and introduced in more detail in the Malloreon as one of several competing evil factions. Even the Grolims prefer to avoid dealing with them if at all possible, but they can be manipulated, if you are very careful. (Nobody is that careful.)
  • Lethal Chef:
    • Ce'Nedra's cooking is only edible by a very loose definition of the term.
    • Silk, too. Instantly burning bacon! We can only assume Garion had to take over without Polgara around.
  • Lethal Harmless Powers: Relg can use his ability to move through solid rock for combat purposes, by pushing enemies into the rock and leaving them to suffocate.
  • Locked Out of the Loop: Belgarath in the fourth book, when it seems like he may have lost his powers. Garion and Ce'Nedra's marriage, as well -- both principals were not told about it to guarantee that they actually showed up for the wedding. Given their Slap Slap Kiss relationship, this was probably for the better. Garion, himself, is the ultimate example; he was intentionally raised in complete ignorance of his origin and potential powers "for his own safety". Justified, in that it's stated in-universe that there are sorcerers that can read minds. So if Garion knew exactly what he was, and thought about it too much, he could easily be pin-pointed. As well, it could have changed the way he did things, and then things might have turned out quite differently, for good or ill.
  • Loveable Rogue: Belgarath, Silk (undisputable King of this trope), Yarblek, Beldin...
  • Love Hungry: Torak, which guides much of his motivation.
  • Love Potion: Discussed in Polgara The Sorceress. The members of Duke Kathandrion's court exasperate Polgara with requests for such a potion, which she notes is a literary device prevalent in Arendish epics.
  • Magic A Is Magic A:
    • Magic is rather flexible... but you may not unmake anything. Breaking things is fine, as that just changes its state, but using magic to make something "Be not!" causes it to backlash and take you out. Which means that you technically can unmake something, so long as the something is you. A couple of sorcerers in the Backstory actually committed suicide this way.
    • Magic comes in several types in Eddings' world: Sorcery uses "the Will and the Word"; Witchcraft utilizes nature spirits; and Magic involves summoning a demon to do your bidding for as long as you can hold him in the shape you create for him (generally, not long enough.) Necromancy exists, which is the magic of speaking with the dead spirits and commanding them. There are Wizards, whose power is never specifically defined in either set of books. It is also hinted at that there are more types of magic than that, such as that Salmissra has a type of magic which appears to be specific to the Brides of Issa. Also, it's worth mentioning that Alchemy isn't a form of magic. It is considered a science. Senji just happens to be a sorceror who also is an alchemist. Belgarath, Beldin, and several Grolims both know how to do sorcery and magic, and a Malloreon hedge-sorcerer is more famous for alchemy than sorcery. However, it's strongly implied in The Malloreon that all types of magic are variations of the same basic principles.
    • Also: Magic requires you to pay homage to physics, meaning the sorcerors study nature and physics and the like quite a bit to understand how the world works before they try to mess with it. Try to lift a boulder taking into account the forces which have to go somewhere, you get pushed into the earth. Conjure a lightning storm in the wrong place, and you might mess up the global weather patterns. If you turn yourself into an animal, you'd better remember to include the heart.
  • Magic Knight: Garion, who's frighteningly proficient with both weaponry and sorcery.
  • Magical Nanny: Polgara plays this role as caretaker of the Rivan line for two thousand years. And her cooking... divine!
  • Mama Bear:
  • Man Behind the Man: From a cosmic standpoint, Torak isn't really the Big Bad; the spirit that embodies the Dark Prophecy is, and it uses both Torak and later Zandramas to accomplish its purposes. The reader only really "meets" it twice, both times at the Final Battle for each iteration of the Light vs. Dark struggle.
  • Manipulative Bastard: Liselle, Sadi once he loses the worst of his Smug Snake tendencies, and even Anheg are all very good at getting what they want and making you think it was your own idea. Asharak, Nachak, Harakan and Naradas are villainous examples.
  • Mars and Venus Gender Contrast: You will lose track of how often this is invoked.
  • Master Poisoner: Sadi of Nyissa in The Malloreon. In fact, most Nyissans.

Garion: Sadi could poison one person at a banquet with a thousand guests.

  • May-December Romance: Silk and Liselle (approximately a twenty-year difference in their ages. He played dolls with her when he was a student at the Spy Academy and she was the Top Spy's young daughter); 'Zakath and Cyradis (Somewhere around thirty years difference).
  • Mayfly-December Romance: Any time a sorcerer woos a normal, unless that normal then gains powers of their own.
  • Meaningful Name: A minor one, but Garion's Unlucky Childhood Friend Zubrette? Soubrette is a word for a actress' role as "a coquettish maid or frivolous young woman," and it fits her character marvelously.
  • Meet the New Boss: Invoked Trope in Nyissa. Belgarath comments that at least this system has the advantage that the people doesn't have to adapt to the new ruler's quirks.
  • Mind Rape:
    • What Torak did to Zedar in the prequel when he tried to get the Orb back single-handedly. The threat of him doing this to Polgara is a major element of dramatic tension in Enchanter's Endgame.
    • Polgara employs a variant of this technique as an alternative to Cold-Blooded Torture; she conjures up an illusion of something so horrible that people spill their guts rather than face it. It fails rather hilariously in King of the Murgos when she tries it on Sadi--he's so stoned out of his mind he thinks the projection is pretty and asks if it can do tricks.
    • Silk should have recognised Asharak when they meet in Pawn of Prophecy; when told about the meeting, Belgarath implies that Asharak may have tampered with his mind.
  • Mind Your Step: Belgarath has a loose step on the stair to his tower. It turns out that he put a diamond under it, in order to see how long it took for it to be ground to dust. Then he forgot he'd done so and simply developed the habit of skipping that step, since it wobbled...
  • Mineral MacGuffin: The Orb of Aldur and the Sardion -- both halves of the original stone at the center of the universe and the embodiment of the power of the Prophecies of Light and Dark, respectively.
  • Missed the Call: In a very ironic and somewhat sad way, Torak could be said to embody this trope for the Prophecy of Dark. It's discovered in The Malloreon that he was never intended to be the seventh God, but the accident that split the universe caused him to come into being as a twisted, malevolent caricature. Despite being the Child of Dark for millennia beyond count, the Sardion never revealed itself to him, and his only purpose for existing was for Garion to kill him so Eriond could take his place.
  • Mordor:
    • Cthol Mishrak is the name of a city where the evil god Torak stayed for about two thousand years, but it's also applied to the region surrounding the city. The name means 'City of Endless Night,' because Torak created a huge mass of totally black clouds and parked them the city and its surrounding region. It really is as dark as night there, at all hours of the day. Due to the lack of sun, most plants don't grow and water doesn't evaporate quickly, leaving the place reeking of decay, fungus, and stagnant water. Torak's iron tower, which he knocked down in a fit of rage, has rusted down to a kind of metallic-reeking goop, and definite adds to the smell. The city's also far in the north, far enough for it to experience an arctic winter of extended periods of night. Put it next to an arctic swamp, and it's really miserable. Beldin described it as a suburb of Hell.
    • In The Malloreon, Zandramas' home province of Darshiva gets the same treatment, presumably due to the fact that she, too, is the Child of Dark.
    • This is expanded on by the protagonists, who come to the realisation that Torak actually never did park that cloud over his city -- he was just so disgusting that the sun literally refused to look at him or anything near him. Also everything in the area around his manor house is blighted, even though he hasn't been there for centuries.
  • More Than Mind Control: Used a bit disturbingly on Ce'Nedra in the fourth book by Errand, to convince her to go to Riva.
  • Moses in the Bulrushes: Garion.
  • Mundane Utility: Garion uses the Orb to keep the two-year-old Geran entertained.
  • My God, What Have I Done?:
    • Garion's horror and self-loathing over Asharak's death (no matter how badly it was deserved) is a major plot element of Queen of Sorcery.
    • Also a major plot point for Zakath and his back story which affects his behaviour and decisions in much of the Belgariad and Mallorean.
  • Narrative Profanity Filter: Eddings uses this a great deal, most notably with Beldin. Only missed in a couple instances, but in referring to female dogs. Usually played for entertainment purposes. The descriptions of (and reactions to) people swearing can be as or more entertaining than the swearing itself.

Garion: (in response to Ce'Nedra) "Why dear, I didn't even think you knew what half of those words meant!"

  • No Loves Intersect: Yep, no love triangles here. Except for one (Mandorallen and two minor characters), and Garion cleans that up quite handily. Technically, Silk's Unrequited Love for Queen Porenn would also count, except he basically gets over it in The Malloreon. Literally everyone gets married to their ideal counterpart in the end with no serious griping from anybody else. Justified in that the Purpose that guides the Child of Light likes to reward the people working in its favor (even the small roles, such as the Darine prophet's daughter) by giving them extremely happy marriages. Possibly as an apology for the stuff it puts them through in the process.
  • Noodle Incident: Silk gets several, including but not limited to: interfering with a ploy of Bethra's involving the Nadrak ambassdor, causing her to attempt to have him killed; being smuggled out of Cthol Murgos by a Thullish lady of high station, possibly for reasons related to the also-never-clearly-explained incident which led to the death of the Murgo crown prince; and fleeing Tol Honeth "posing as an acrobat in a travelling circus, and about one jump ahead of the police".
  • No Periods, Period: Averted in the prequel. Polgara narrates the moment when she and Beldaran became women overnight, of which there was "fairly visible evidence all over the bedsheets".
  • Not Distracted by the Sexy: The Pig Pen Beldin isn't impressed by the seductive Queen of the Snake People, Nyissa.

Nyissa: "You interest me, ugly one, I've never coupled with an ape before."
Beldin: "Forget it, I like my women fat and hot-blooded. You're too cold for me, Salmissra."

  • The Not-Secret: Much of the Drasnian spy network's doings. Nobody is surprised whenever a lowly Drasnian merchant turns out to be a top spy, and it seems everyone and his brother knows the secret sign language. However, the Drasnian leadership's attitude toward this situation suggests that this may all be part of their operational procedure, allowing some secrets to slip out in order to better spread disinformation.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: Belgarath has elevated this to an art form. Garion's not bad either. Anheg uses it with great skill for political purposes.
  • Offered the Crown
  • Omniscient Morality License:
    • The Prophecy (and in the Retcon Prequel, Polgara and Ul) really screwed around with Belgarath. Letting him suffer for four thousand years because he was lied to about his wife dying while he had - as he saw it - abandoned her? Harsh, man.
    • Also, Aldur's decision not to choose a race of people for his own, leaving them to wander godless forevermore, except for those very few who found UL. No one even remotely calls him on this.
  • One-Gender Race: The nonhuman Dryads. They kidnap human men and force them to father children. This goes one of two ways: a girl will always be a Dryad, and a boy will be human with Dryad genes lying dormant. These Dryad genes can then be passed on to the children of that male - and they are, resulting in Ce'Nedra, who, thanks to dilution, is half Dryad. (It's not stated explicitly, but the implication is that the Dryads, left to their own devices, kill male children.)
    • Pure dryads don't have male children. In "Belgarath the Sorcerer", Belgarath notes that crossbreeding dryads with the House of Borune did some odd things, since a pure dryad "would never give birth to a male child".
  • Only Child Syndrome: A hereditary trait of the Rivan line, largely due to the interference of the Prophecy. Retconned in Polgara the Sorceress. Apparently at least a few of Garion's ancestors had multiple children, but only the direct line mattered, so none of Garion's various great-great-etc-aunts and uncles ultimately mattered, and the only cousin he ever knowingly meets is from his mother's side of the family. The founder of the hidden line is explicitly the king's youngest grandson, implying that any male in an unbroken male line descended from Riva would work. Let's hope there aren't any more unbroken male lines. A direct sibling is never portrayed; while Polgara mentions having lots of children to play with in Cherek, they could've been maternal cousins or some such.
  • Only the Pure of Heart: After its misuse by Torak, the Orb refused to bear the touch of any except one with a pure heart. This turned out to be Riva, and his descendants bear the mark of their bond with the Orb.
    • Later Eriond, in The Malloreon. His demonstration of this during Zandramas' first attack on the heroes nearly gives Polgara a heart attack.
  • Orcus on His Throne: Although Torak is technically the Big Bad of the first series, he spends almost all of it asleep.
  • Our Nudity Is Different: Relg rants about how Ulgo women tries to entice him by showing their calves and forearms.
  • Panacea: The "sovereign specific", i.e. Adara's Rose. It's used to purge Zakath's poisoning.
  • Papa Wolf:
    • Aside from the Incredibly Lame Pun here, Garion is quite the protective dad, prone to going berserk when Geran is threatened. Fully inherited from Belgarath, who is a Papa Wolf to, more or less, the entire world.
    • Taur Urgas - of all people - in Magician's Gambit: Silk narrowly avoids being executed for murdering his eldest son.
  • Perfectly Arranged Marriage: Garion and Ce'Nedra.
  • Pet the Dog:
    • Zakath literally pets the cat in the Belgariad - he has a kitten which he apparently found in an alley somewhere. He spends most of his time watching it. He doesn't really say why, but as a literary device, it's effective.
    • In the Malloreon the female cat has remained his companion and is now an adult though he frequently is trying to find homes for her kittens because, as Zakath himself says "She has been unfaithful to me... again." Amusingly, a female cat is called a "queen". What better companion pet for an Emperor than a Queen?
  • Phosphor Essence: After Eriond becomes a God at the end of the Malloreon, he has to concentrate on not glowing.
  • Physical God: Eight of them, at least in the Backstory. After Torak used the Orb of Aldur to break the world, the other seven agreed not to directly intervene lest such a catastrophe happen again. Except for UL, all of them are portrayed as fairly human. The real gods, by a more modern definition, are the two competing Purposes of the Universe, who can't fight directly and thus have to play out their conflict using the characters.
  • The Pig Pen: Beldin, deliberately. He's so physically ugly that he sees no point in trying to appear neat.
  • Planet of Hats:
    • Each of the nations of the world, overlaid on their Fantasy Counterpart Culture. Drasnians are devious, Tolnedrans are greedy, Arends take Honor Before Reason to truly ridiculous levels, Nyissans are decadent hedonists, Alorns are sailors and party animals.
    • Again, justified. The gods chose people who had traits that appealed to them to follow them, and have spent umpteen-thousand years cultivating those traits. Extra justified in the case of the Angaraks, who were split into nations based on physical characteristics after Torak returned from a few thousand years of doing god-stuff. Too bad those characteristics were caste-related and not tribal, like he thought.
    • With the Murgos, as stated by Belgarath in Belgarath, the Sorceror, they were split based not on their physical characteristics, but on their cultural roles. Nadrak is Old Angarak for "merchant", Thull means "worker", and Murgo means "soldier". Their physical characteristics were already present because of natural trends for these roles to attract people with certain body and mind types. They simply became more and more pronounced over the hundreds of years due to their comparative isolation from one another.
  • Plot Tailored to the Party: Each of the many companions has a specific skill (some more broadly applicable than others) which is necessary at some point.
  • The Power of Love: Torak isn't able to take over the world because Polgara loves Durnik, and holds on to that while he's trying to bend her will to his.
  • Pretty Boy: Torak was one, before the whole burning thing. He was often described as "over-pretty".
  • Professional Killer: Brill and the rest of the Daghashi, and Issus, a Nyissan poisoner and assassin. Silk, Liselle, and the other members of Drasnian intelligence have this as one of their skill sets.
  • Prophecies Are Always Right: Deconstructed Trope. The reason for the prophecies in the first place is that a pure accident caused the original Purpose of the Universe to be threatened, so it split apart to protect itself. The competing Purposes then each set about to cause a course of events to occur such that their preferred outcome would come to pass. They create prophecies specifically to set out instructions for their pawns to make those things happen -- or more specifically, to give meaning to the events. Moreover, the competing prophecies sometimes describe mutually exclusive outcomes that do not come to pass until they are resolved in a moment of Choice, which can only be made by a mortal.
  • Prophet Eyes: The blind seer that Polgara cures has them. Naradas, Zandramas' Dragon in The Malloreon has something similar, but his pupils are visible and his eyes function -- just the rest of his eyes are blank white. Seeing as how he's neither blind or a prophet, the integrity of the trope is maintained.
  • Protagonist-Centered Morality: To the point of caricature, but still played completely straight. It's even discussed by the heroes at a few points, and acknowledged that, while it may not necessarily be a good thing, it's absolutely necessary to fulfil the Prophecy. Belgarath performed assassinations as well as coerced marriages to create the families of the True Companions, and is quite unapologetic about it. Yes, it was wrong, but he doesn't really care. At one point, he Lampshades this when he tells Garion that he's less interested in Good vs Evil than Us vs. Them.
  • Proud Warrior Race: The Chereks, Algars, Arends, and Murgos all represent different flavors of this trope.
  • Marital Rape as... slightly regrettable behaviour on the part of one of the hero's allies in Pawn of Prophecy. According to Polgara, the victim, Merel, was very shallow. And she wasn't part of the hero's crew. Barak does express regret for the circumstances, and Merel puts him through marital hell until she finally bears him a son (and he compliments her for it), which fixes the relationship instantly.
  • Really Gets Around:
    • Thull women have this reputation, but not in a good way - pregnant women aren't acceptable sacrifices to Torak, so they try to always be pregnant. The line of Salmissras in Nyissa also act this way, because the potion that keeps them looking young stimulates their libido; one of the reasons the last one doesn't mind being turned into an immortal snake is because, for the first time in years, she isn't horny. This is the reason why all the functionaries in Salmissra's palace are eunuchs. Even the Nyissans acknowledge that this is a necessity, because if they weren't then nothing would really be able to get done in the palace... for rather obvious reasons if you think about it.
    • Bethra, though this is subverted to a certain extent given that she has apparently been using sex to manipulate various major players in Tolnedra's political turmoil on the orders of Drasnian Intelligence.
  • Really Seven Thousand Years Old:
    • Most of the sorcerers are several thousand years old. Except for Polgara, who looks to be in her mid-late twenties, they all look like old men. Polgara falls for Durnik, who's in his thirties -- bit of an age gap. Belgarath is so old that he shows up as an aged mentor in the three-thousand-year-old "Bible" of the series, and is basically considered to be Satan by the Big Bad's followers. It doesn't help that when the sorcerers get caught up in research in their towers, they flat out seem to forget that time is flowing. Belgarath managed to not notice that the wolf which had been staring at him while he puttered around his tower had been doing so for a thousand years until one day he stopped and actually did the math to realize it. Belgarath himself doesn't even seem to notice how old he is until he's over three hundred years old, when he finally asks his god why he doesn't seem to be aging. The god replies that he's always found it inconvenient.
    • Theories as to how this works are more or less confirmed in the prequel books, when Belgarath theorizes something to the effect of, "Old and distinguished on a man is perfectly natural and accepted. Old and distinguished on a woman equals crone," and there's no way Polgara would have put up with something like that.
    • Inverted in the case of Salmissra, Queen of Nyissa and consort of the snake god Issa. She takes a potion to maintain her resemblance to the "original" Salmissra, who died ages ago, but she's really a mortal woman like all of her predecessors. Polgara "remedies" the situation.
  • Rebellious Princess: Ce'Nedra.
  • Red Right Hand: Torak's not called the Maimed God for nothing. Also Urvon (piebald) and Naradas (white-eyes) in The Malloreon.
  • Relative Error: In Castle of Wizardry, Garion meets his cousin Adara. When Ce'Nedra sees them together, she immediately assumes they're an item, breaks down, and has to be disabused of the notion by Polgara. This is also the moment when she is forced to admit that she loves Garion.
  • Religion of Evil: The Grolims.
  • The Remnant: The Asturian Arends' long standing rebellion against the Mimbrate Arends.
  • Reptiles Are Abhorrent: Played straight in the first series, but not in the second. Sadi's pet snake, Zith, is downright cute, and strikes up an improbable friendship with 'Zakath's kittens.
  • Retcon: The prequels.
    • The most egregious example is that taking into account Silk's cameo towards the end of Belgarath the Sorcerer, when he and Garion encounter Asharak in Pawn of Prophecy, Silk should have known that "Asharak" was Chamdar and should hence have realised that the fact that Asharak was poking around was highly significant and should be reported to Belgarath immediately. It's handwaved with the implication that Asharak was tampering with his mind, but that still doesn't explain why Belgarath didn't react to the name.
    • There are many minor examples. In the main series, Polgara acts as though she's unaccustomed to a task such as raising Garion or that it's beneath her, while Belgarath is surprised when Garion calls him "grandfather". In the prequels, Polgara has been caretaker of the Rivan line for five hundred years, and Belgarath has been "grandfather" to that same line for even longer.
  • Robe and Wizard Hat: Sorcerers maintain that this image of them is a fiction invented by Muggles who know nothing about them. The few times Belgarath is forced into such an outfit, he is notably apoplectic about it.
  • Ruling Couple: Belgarion and Ce'Nedra of Riva, and Korodullin and Mayaserana of Arendia.
  • Rummage Sale Reject: Belgarath, intentionally -- he wants to look as unobtrusive as possible.
  • Running Gag: Garion asking 'Zakath if he's sure he's not part Arendish. Comes up whenever the latter is behaving too enthusiastically in The Malloreon.
  • Sarcastic Devotee: At one point Garion notes that he understands now why Belgarath was so consistently irritated at Silk throughout the entire series - leadership is hard enough without someone standing behind you providing a sarcastic running commentary.
  • Scaled Up: Zandramas turns into a dragon. She seems to go out of her way towards being as ostentatious as possible.
  • Schmuck Bait: The Algar Stronghold. It's a huge self-sufficient walled city in the middle of the plains of Algaria, huge enough to hold every single Algar alive and still have lots of leftover space. But the Algars are nomads, so why did they waste the effort building it? For one very simple reason: The Murgos like to attack cities, and can't seem to resist attacking it. Which makes them sitting ducks for the Algars.
  • Scry vs. Scry: The two competing Prophecies. There's also a Crowning Moment of Awesome version of this when Belgarath confronts Ctuchik -- see Disposable Woman, above.
  • Secret Legacy: Garion's "Aunt Pol" is revealed to actually be many times removed -- she's the sister of his ultimate grandmother. Belgarath is his ultimate grandfather.
  • Secret Test of Character: In the Final Battle of The Belgariad. Garion realizes that defeating Torak isn't about killing him, but rejecting him utterly.
  • Serrated Blade of Pain: Ulgos use knives with all sorts of nasty hooks to do more damage.
  • Shapeshifting Squick: "You married a wolf?" "No, I married a woman, the change of shape was absolute."
  • She Cleans Up Nicely: Polgara in the prequels. Actually quite intentional on her part; once her sister Beldaran was married to Riva, she decided she had to play the role of the pretty one instead of the Wild Child she'd been up until then. Vella, as well, who comes under the firm but kindly tutelage of Queen Porenn and discovers that silks and satins can be just as effective at making men drool on themselves as skin-tight leathers are.
  • She's All Grown Up: Velvet, in The Malloreon, as Silk is quick to notice.
  • Shout-Out: A sword comes free from a stone that's held it in place, waiting for the one true king. The mechanisms are different, but that's a definite shout out to everyone's favourite mythical king.
  • Single Line of Descent: Garion's family is this, and it's intentional on the part of the Prophecy of Light. The prequels mention that there are other male children in the line, but only the firstborn can be the heir.
  • Single-Minded Twins: Beltira and Belkira in the main series, at least. This was eased off of in the prequels in order to make them actual, y'know, characters.
  • Silk Hiding Steel:Velvet claims to be this in the Malloreon, but any woman who has graduated from the Drasnian spy academy probably doesn't qualify for Proper Lady status even if she is a Margravine.
    • Porenn is probably a better example. She does a good job of appearing demure and harmless, but as of Guardians of the West she's the ruler of Drasnia, and has the most effective intelligence network in the world at her disposal. Even before that she engineers the Nadrak defection at the Battle of Thull Mardu - with a little help from Silk and Yarblek - which prevents the armies of the West from being wiped out.
  • Sixth Ranger: Many characters join up with the group along the way, but the best example is probably 'Zakath in The Malloreon. He joins the group towards the end of the fourth book, after having been a major stumbling block to their progress during the first part of the series, and an antagonist in The Belgariad. He soon becomes something of a second Lancer to Garion (Durnik is his first one).
  • Shower of Angst: After witnessing his first lethal fight, Garion takes a very thorough bath.
  • Skunk Stripe: Polgara has one. All the sorcerors in Garion's line (or, more accurately, Belgarath's) have a white birthmark of some sort; however Polgara's hair was raven black through and through when she was born. As noted in Belgarath the Sorceror, the snow white lock appeared when Belgarath laid his hand on her head in an ancient ritual of bennediction from his homeland.
  • Smug Snake: Sadi, before a boatload of Character Development in The Malloreon. By the end he's just a straight up Manipulative Bastard. Most Nyissans (and all Nyissan eunuchs) seem to have this as their hat. Harakan is another good example, and even Ctuchik has his moments.
  • The Sneaky Guy: Silk.
  • So Proud of You: The Prophecy of Light says this to Garion before leaving at the end of The Malloreon. Sniff...
  • Spanner in the Works: Nahaz, Mordja and the other demons manage to become one for both prophecies in The Malloreon. Well, they try, anyway; the prophecies seem to have taken them into account. Torak's letter to Garion seems to indicate that had he defeated the latter at Cthol Mishrak, he was planning on becoming this for Zandramas.
  • Spy Catsuit: Subverted in the Malloreon. Velvet frequently dresses in tight-fitting leather, but it is described as looking masculine, workman-like, bleak and completely uninteresting.
  • Spy Couple: Silk and Velvet.
  • Stalker Without a Crush: Anyone who wants to be a disciple of Aldur has to stalk him until he gets irritated enough to grant their wish, just so they'll quit stalking him. The situation may be reversed when he wants you to be his disciple.
  • Standing Between the Enemies:
    • Near the beginning of The Malloreorn, Belgarion pulls this, mostly to demonstrate how much he's grown up since the previous series. He stops a civil war in Mimbre by basically riding out between the two armies, unhorsing everyone who gets in his way, and then calling down a cataclysmic thunderstorm between them, while suggesting that anyone who wants to start fighting, can start by fighting HIM. Considering how eager Mimbrates are to go to war, nothing less would have done the trick, probably.
    • In a bit of unfortunate irony, this was somewhat subverted when the Armies of the West were being ground between the Murgos and the Malloreans: if they had been able to get their ships past Thull Mardu, the Malloreans and Murgos would have gleefully ground each other into paste and the Armies of the West could have just sat back with the popcorn.
  • Starter Villain: Chamdar/Asharak.
  • Staying Alive: Poledra, who was said to have died in childbirth but in reality went undercover for three thousand years to secretly watch over the Prophecy's interests.
  • The Stoic:
    • Polgara's mother, Poledra, hasn't shown visibly strong emotions in seven thousand years. She's never needed to. The only exception is her general irritation at all the wenching Belgarath did after her death. She also broke down at the death of her daughter, and when the Prophecy called on her to leave.
    • Another notable Stoic is the Voice of the Prophecy, which usually speaks with a certain dry amusement. Every now than then--usually when the rules it and its opposite have laid down are being ignored or things are about to go completely out the window--it can get very angry or very excited.
  • Stop Worshipping Me!:
  • Stranger in a Familiar Land: When Garion returns to Faldor's farm in book four, he realizes he's changed so much that he can't live there ever again.
  • Sterility Plague: When Gorim of the godless finally got a god to accept him, he asked for his people to follow and cursed those who refused with sterility. In Belgarath The Sorcerer he expresses regret on this and surprise that the curse wasn't lifted.
  • Suddenly Fluent in Gibberish: Sorcerers who learn the art of Animorphism can also speak to animals. Polgara gets information from birds, and Garion learned to speak Wolf. Hettar, being a Sha-Dar, can already talk to, and understand, horses.
  • Suddenly-Suitable Suitor: Garion and Ce'Nedra, somewhat subverted by everyone (but them) knowing they're an Arranged Marriage. Also subverted by the fact that while Ce'Nedra had happily fallen in love with Garion and was well on her way to admitting it before his elevation, she became downright enraged by the fact that he was now elevated above her. Garion was forced to pull a fast one during the engagement ceremony to head off that disaster.
  • Summon Magic: Two of the three main branches of supernatural powers (sorcery, witchcraft and magic) revolve around this. Witches use mischievous spirits. Magicians (practitioners of magic) utilise demons. That last one isn't recommended.
  • Supernatural Sensitivity: Sorcery makes what is described as a "sound", which can be mistaken for mundane noise under some circumstances. The sound can be lessened by doing things slowly, and shapeshifting, because it's directed internally, is very quiet. The protagonists are often forced to avoid sorcery in enemy territory because of this noise effect. Interestingly, other forms of supernatural power, such as magic, wizardry, necromancy, and prophecy, do not make this signature noise.
  • Sword Fight: Several, with Garion vs Torak, and Cho-Hag vs Taur Urgas being two of the best. The last one in particular is a great duel between a Fragile Speedster Handicapped Badass and an insane loon who relies on madness and physical power.

Cho-Hag to Taur Urgas afterwards: "I'm afraid I have pressing business elsewhere. Good fight though."

  • Take a Third Option--Discussed and defied: there is a possibility that a third prophecy may arise, and Belgarath doesn't want that at all, neither does the Big Bad. The demons, however, do: they want both prophecies to cease existing and the universe under the command of The King Of Hell.
  • Talking Through Technique: The Drasnian sign language.
  • Tall, Dark and Bishoujo: This is Polgara every inch of the way. If she had a good picture, they could use her for the trope's front page. Adara comes close, but is too gentle.
  • Tantrum Throwing:
    • Polgara does this at least twice.
    • Ce'Nedra's capable of some impressive tantrums, too, but as hers don't threaten entire cities, they get less attention.
  • Tap on the Head:
    • The safe way to deal with a sorcerer, apparently.
    • Averted in the Mallorean when a group of assassins fight Brand's sons, and only one lives because he recieved such a 'tap on the head'. When the heros come to question the surviving assassin, Polgara declares that while he is alive, his head and mind suffered too much damage for him to answer their questions, and likely too much for him to ever even wake up.
  • Terrain Sculpting: In the backstory, Torak, after stealing the Orb, is faced with a war against all the other gods and their followers. To protect himself and his people, he uses the Orb to crack the entire continent in two, turning a pangaea into two distinct landmasses and causing lots of geological fallout and mayhem.
  • That Wasn't a Request: The heroes are quite fond of doing this.
  • Theme Naming:
    • When Aldur accepts someone as a pupil, beginning the extremely laidback process of becoming one of his disciples, Aldur prefixes the person's name with "Bel" for men and "Pol" for women; both syllables mean 'Beloved.' Garath = Belgarath, Garion = Belgarion, Polgara, Poledra...As Belgarath notes, Aldur sometimes has a way with words. Also, most races' cities and towns follows thematic naming schemes -- every city in Tolnedra starts with "Tol"; every city in Mallorea starts with "Mal"; every city in Maragor starts with "Mar"; etc.
    • Silk and Velvet, the two Drasnian spies. Though other spies have different fake names that aren't fabric-themed.
  • There Are No Therapists: Tends to occur a lot.
  • There Was a Door:
    • Emphasis on the was part. Sorcerers seldom need to bother with knocking, and Garion takes this to ridiculous extremes in The Malloreon, at one point making a city gate burst with such force that pieces of it are later found five miles away (the Orb helped him). The force blew in the entire city wall on that side of the city as a side effect. Just by himself, Garion's capable of blowing out the entire wall of one room if he's feeling irritated enough.
    • Garion makes a point of threatening the pre Heel Face Turn Zakath with a broken city when he finally decides he's been delayed long enough... and blows out a wall while going to make this threat. When Zakath is still being uncooperative, he proposes to blast through the whole house to get to the library.

Velvet: We wouldn't want the Rivan king to get REALLY upset, would we? There are so many breakable things about... windows, walls, houses, the city of Rak Hagga... that sort of thing.

  • Throwing Down the Gauntlet: Mandorallen, except he "missed" the floor, much to his opponent's detriment.
  • Thunderbolt Iron: The BFS is made of this.
  • Tomboyish Name: Beldaran. Despite being the Girly Girl to the adolescent Polgara's Tomboy her name has the masculine 'Bel' prefix and Daran is used as a name with no comment by several of her male descendents.
  • Tongue-Tied: Asharak places a magical compulsion on Garion to prevent him from ratting Asharak out.
  • Took a Level in Badass:
    • Durnik, twice, both at the hands of the Gods. Technically, Garion as well, although his power growth is presented organically rather than abruptly.
    • In The Malloreon, 'Zakath doesn't so much take a level in Badass, as he does regain one, regaining the fencing and riding skills that he'd let go rusty during his time as The Emperor. Sadi is a straight example, developing from an Evil Chancellor and Sissy Villain into a capable combatant with his own unique style, becoming one of the few Badass Eunuchs in fiction.
  • Traumatic Superpower Awakening: This is standard for sorcerers. Garion, particularly, first uses his power consciously when Chamdar slaps Aunt Pol. In the Malloreon, the sorcerers muse that this tendency might be the reason there are fewer of them around: most people's instinct in such a situation might be to destroy something, but unmaking is forbidden, resulting in them being destroyed instead.
  • Trial by Combat: Being, as it is, a reference to Arthurian epics, the Arendish culture uses this from time to time. It comes into play in the second book when Garion accuses a Murgo ambassador of plotting against the king without evidence, and Mandorallan champions his assertion, resulting in a minor bloodbath that clears up the problem.
  • Twain's Observation on Originality: This is held up as a perfect example of the observation in action. It's completely unoriginal and very, very good.
  • Understatement: Belgarath at one point notes that Alorns "take a childish delight in gross understatement," and this does indeed underline a lot of the humor in the regular banter that goes on between characters.
  • The Unfair Sex: The characters' banter about this is practically a Running Gag, especially in The Malloreon.
  • Universe Bible: The Rivan Codex, Eddings's notes that he put together on all of the nations and their influences before he wrote the books.
  • Unrequited Love Lasts Forever: This is what makes Mandorallan's Courtly Love with Nerina so tragic. Belgarath says himself that if they had followed their urges, they could have got it out of their systems and moved on with their lives. Instead, the two spend years mooning after each other hopelessly. Ultimately, this is subverted when Nerina's husband dies in the war, and the two, thanks to Garion's timely intervention against their instinct of noble suffering, are married.
  • Unstoppable Rage: When Polgara gets angry, even Belgarath keeps his head down. Polgara's explosion of rage in Castle of Wizardry (upon finding out that her father and Belgarion had sneaked out to face Torak without her) shook the entire royal palace of Riva and altered weather patterns for miles around. They go to some effort in The Malloreon to avoid a similar catastrophe. Of course, Belgarath takes a perverse interest in inspiring the rage, when it suits him. Also Barak, when Garion is in trouble; and Garion himself is goaded into this by Zandramas in The Malloreon.
  • Upbringing Makes the Hero: Invoked by Polgara; she deliberately raises Garion as a Farm Boy to give him a solid moral foundation for when he ends up having to save the world.
  • Vain Sorceress:
    • Zandramas definitely has some traits of this.
    • Polgara too. Belgarath notes that once she stops ignoring her appearance Polgara becomes quite vain, especially concerning her hair.
    • And let's not forget Salmissra. Vanity was virtually a qualification requirement for the successors of the original (with one exception who was intelligent enough to hide her own intelligence)until the most recent. And the current Salmissra, even as a snake, spends most of her waking time simply looking at herself in a mirror permanently stationed next to her throne.
  • Verbal Tic Name: Errand.
  • Villain Ball:
    • In the Final Battle of The Belgariad, Torak craves domination above all else and seeks to make Garion yield even when he has the boy dead to rights.
    • Also, Torak's followers have several opportunities to kill Garion but instead focus on trying to capture The Only One who can kill Torak and present him to Torak in chains.
  • Villainesses Want Heroes: Salmissra shows signs of this when she kidnaps Garion in Queen Of Sorcery.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds:
    • Polgara and Beldin. Their typical greeting ritual is to insult each other in such graphic terms that hardened warriors either turn pale, or rush to stop what they think is an impending murder attempt. It's actually how they show affection. Lampshaded when Garion points out that Polgara uses affectionate insults to greet Beldin because saying, "You're looking well," or suchlike would be massively insincere -- he is, after all, indescribably ugly. Beldin and Belgarath do this quite a bit as well.
    • Let's not forget Vella and Beldin in the Malloreon, which virtually becomes part of their courtship before they end up mated as a pair of hawks at the end of the series. The level to which they go to in their language towards one another makes even some who are already used to Beldin blanch.
  • Voluntary Shapeshifting: A power of sorcerers- most develop a fondness for a particular animal form. Wolf for Garion and Belgarath, owl for Polgara, human for Poledra (who started out a wolf), and dragon for Zandramas. We also see Beldin take the form of a hawk and Ctuchik (or maybe Urvon) use the form of a Hound of Torak in Belgarath.
  • Wanted Poster: Silk gets this treatment a lot, much to his disgust. Beldin too, in Mallorea, thanks to his vendetta against Urvon, much to his delight. Specifically, he creates a series of masterful characters with the help of shapeshifting that render the posters useless--but every century or so, drops into Urvon's home base and butchers a lot of priests and guards to let Urvon know he's still kicking around and wanting to continue a discussion they once had about white-hot hooks and Urvon's guts.
  • Weak-Willed: Ce'Nedra spends a lot of time getting mind-controlled. At one point, Belgarath shows his Genre Savvy by leaving her behind so this can't happen.
  • We Can Rule Together: Ctuchik resorts to this when his Plan A fails. Unfortunately for him Belgarath is not even remotely tempted by that kind of offer.
  • We Need a Distraction: The entire purpose of the march of the Armies of the West against the Angaraks in Enchanter's Endgame is to distract them from Garion's journey to confront Torak. They know their war is ultimately hopeless: they're vastly outnumbered, and even if Garion wins, they don't expect to survive. What they didn't count on was the hatred of the Malloreans and Murgos for each other.
  • Weddings for Everyone: Much to Silk's eventual dismay. This is Lampshaded and then Justified, as the Prophecy of Light points out to Garion that service to its goals is supposed to be rewarded.
  • Well, Excuse Me, Princess!: Garion and Ce'Nedra's relationship in a nutshell.
  • Wizard Duel: Belgarath vs. Ctuchik in Book 3 is an awesome scene. Also Belgarath vs. Zedar on the fifth book and prequel.
  • Wizards Live Longer: Sorcerers get immortality as a package deal with their powers, and witches like Vordai have a few more centuries than the average person in them (magicians' lifespans are never specified, though it's likely few reach their natural span anyway, considering how dangerous what they do is).
  • Who Wants to Live Forever?: Mostly averted - the local rules of magic mean that learning sorcery instantly conveys immortality. Sorcerers never bitch about it, and instead find ways to stay busy for all of those years. This is explored further in The Malloreon and the supplemental novels. Sorcerers do spontaneously pop up from time to time, but there's some attrition due to accidentally (or deliberately) unmaking themselves. The ones that survive this process are the ones who learn how to handle immortality. Belgarath even admits that part of the sorcerer aloofness and tendency to hole up in their towers in study and ignore the passing of a few centuries, every now and then, is a vital coping technique, lest grief drive them insane. It also makes Polgara that much more incredible, as she was forced to forgo this tactic for a thousand years...living with a family line whose every member (every member, from birth to death) she was intimately involved with. It would be interesting to see how Garion copes in ten to twenty years time when the True Companions start dying off...[1]
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Silk's dislike of enclosed spaces is tipped over into a full-blown phobia after a traumatic event in the first series. He also doesn't like snakes. This becomes a major plot point when his love interest in the second series starts to carry a highly venomous snake in her bodice. Some have speculated that she did this strictly to mess with Silk; however this is neither stated nor even strongly implied in the books. She has, however, commented on more than one occasion that Zith was cold and it was a place for her to be warm. Liselle is a pragmatist as well, and it is suggested that (possibly at the unknown prompting of the Prophecy of Light) she began doing so because it might be useful in the future. And it was. She did admit to Silk that the first time she did it it made her skin crawl and it was all she could do to keep from screaming.
  • With Us or Against Us: Invoked by Belgarath in The Malloreon, but it's at least justified by the fact that there really are only two sides in the great conflict.
  • World of Snark: Both heroes and villains make liberal use of sarcasm. It's hard to go a page without somebody making some snarky comment.
  • Ye Olde Butcherede Englishe: The Gods and Mimbrates love to speak on this manner. Especially if in eloquence.
  • You Can't Fight Fate:
    • Lampshaded. The majority of the conflict in the books comes from the truly ridiculous amount of effort spent by the Child of Dark in attempting to suborn the Prophecies. This always turns out to be its ultimate downfall.
    • In The Malloreon, the Big Guy Band from the first series spends some time trying to subvert the Prophecy's instructions that they stay out of things, only to have it gleefuly send them in circles until they "coincidentally" meet up with the heroes post-climax.
    • Really, you can fight Fate... Fate just has many more resources at its disposal, all the time in the universe to prepare, the reaction time to deal with things personally, a roving squad of sorcerers enforcing its plans, and a twisted sense of humor to boot. When something happens to screw with the plan, expect Fate to panic.
  • You Killed My Father: When Garion finds out that the Grolim Asharak murdered his parents by burning them alive, he swears vengeance, and delivers it in the most karmic way possible.
  • You Mean "Xmas": Erastide, the world's birthday. Winter festival, religious celebrations, gift-giving, big feasts, parties, the whole works. Banned in the Big Bad's countries, probably because it involves honoring all the gods, not just Torak. Torak doesn't like to share. Honoring all the gods might just be a particular variant of the feast celebrated in Sendaria, which is the only kingdom without a state religion. Interestingly enough, they really honor all the gods, including the Big Bad. Polgara chokes a bit when a Sendarian priest asks Torak to bless the union of Garion's parents, who will after all give birth to the man destined to kill him.
  • You Never Did That for Me: Played with early in the Belgariad, before Garion gets his big reveal. Garion and Ce'Nedra are talking about the girl Garion probably would have married had things gone another way, and Garion says it's for the best because she's not someone you can ask to sleep on the ground. Ce'Nedra points out that the group had never hesitated to ask her to sleep on the ground.

Notes

  1. Silk, the oldest non-immortal member of the group, is pushing fifty by the end of the Mallorean