Wednesday, July 11, 2007

The Mallorean, by David Eddings [1]

*/***** (1/5)


I read David Eddings' Belgariad (beginning with PAWN OF PROPHECY) and Mallorean (beginning with GUARDIANS OF THE WEST), around the same age at 16-17. Enjoyed Belgariad quite a bit and I still have fond memories of it. However, unlike the Belgariad, I was frustrated, disgusted and just plain annoyed by Mallorean.

I can't remember other examples when I had two such polar opposite reactions by works from the same author.

Everyone calling each other "dear" as a sign of affection really grated on me, mainly because the person using the word came off as a patronizing prissy. It was mostly Polgara doing it in The Belgariad, but in Mallorean, we find that everyone in David Eddings' world throws around "dear" as a sign of affection. I think I wanted to scream my lungs out every time Eddings had one of his characters use the word.

In the Mallorean, I remember hoping to see Garion and Ce'Nedra act like adults. No such luck, Eddings has 25-26 year-olds act like adolescent, imbecilic, incompetent and inept babies. The presence of Polgara, Belgarath and Poledra really made Garion & Ce'Nedra look dumb most of the time. Garion is constantly going OH-MY-GOD "What are we going to do, Grandfather?" or "Aunt Pol, do something!" or "Oh my god, they're blocking our way, what are we going to do?" C'mon, you're a king, you're an adult, can't you make some decisions on your own, Garion?! Don't get me started on Ce'Nedra, Eddings needs a helpless, stupid and just plain dumb girl in the Mallorean and Ce'Nedra fits the bill. Unlike other women in Eddings' novels, Ce'Nedra constantly needs protection, she's fragile, and Eddings uses her to ask the dumbest questions during banter to move the conversation forward (Polgara answers them with a "dear", of course). Don't get me wrong, I like Ce'Nedra's character best from Belgariad/Mallorean, and whenever Eddings deigns to write her perspective every now and then, I enjoy the story that much more. But she's completely useless besides breeding some kids for Garion. Even Velvet - who's younger than Ce'Nedra - is smarter and more competent than Ce'Nedra.

All the books in the Mallorean were just plain pointless. Eddings could have written the 5-book series in one 500-page book. There was a lot traveling, pointless banter to make Ce'Nedra look dumb, waking up in the morning, setting up camp, etc.

What I found most frustrating in the Mallorean was the lack of personal choice. The lack of choice was there on some level in the Belgariad, but Garion was more or less a teenager in the Belgariad so I didn't find it as bad. In the Mallorean, everyone has a =task= to do at a certain =time= and there's no wavering on that =task=. Everyone does what they're supposed to do, and the formulaic and predictable prophecy comes to fruition. What's funny is I remember the Mallorean hinging on a character's =Choice= at the end. Pfft, give me a break. Lamest ending ever. There's always a voice guiding Garion, or Belgarath or Polgara to help him, or if he wanted to do something that he wasn't supposed to do, his limbs become locked in place so he can't. Choice?!? Please...

In the Mallorean, the characterizations have exacerabated with age and the feeling of deja vu in the story is too strong to even acknowledge the Mallorean as a piece of literature.

Alright I'll stop whining now. In general, I do like Eddings, I think he writes acceptable literature for young adults, but you can only take so much of the same thing. Read the Belgariad, and be content with it.

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