Okay, here's the thing (Belgariad related with some spoilers)

Discussion in 'David Eddings' started by revengine, Jan 19, 2012.

  1.  
    revengine

    revengine New Member

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    I've just finished re-reading The Belgariad and I really have to get something off my chest that's been bothering me ever since the first time I read the series. Why in the world have they (both Eddings, since apparently they both worked on the books) set up this strange incongruity about what the story is really all about? We are told that the main thrust of the story is about 1) the return of the Rivan King and 2) that he, as the Child of Light, will face Torak, the Child of Dark to undo the mistake of there being 2 or split Destinies. But yet we get this subtext that, really, the most important thing going on is what will happen when Polgara once again faces Torak and his irresistible will (she "faced" him at Vo Mimbre, but in reality it was Poledra who defied him). I quote from Enchanters' End Game where Pogara is discussing the Prophecies with Ce'Nedra:


    "I'm not so much afraid for myself, but more because I know that if I falter - if Torak's will overpowers mine - then the Prophecy we serve will fail. Torak will not only win me, but all of mankind as well."


    Then later, at the final confrontation with Torak:


    "She must resist! All the confusion was gone now, and Garion understood at last. This was the real battle. If Aunt Pol succumbed , they were all lost. It had all been for this."


    This is pretty strong evidence that everything hinged on Polgara's actions and that it was all about getting her there to face Torak again. Funny thing is just a few paragraphs later we're given this:


    "This was the EVENT for which the Universe had waited since the beginning of time. This was why Garion had come to this decaying ruin - not to fight Torak, but to reject him."


    Okay, so which is it? Is it Polgara's or Garion's rejection of Torak which is more important? I know, I know, I've read the series a few times now and I know about the "If Torak had one person who loved him, he would be invincible." But look at it this way, IF Polgara were to have succumbed to Torak's will, it most definitely would NOT have been by choice or out of love, therefor her "love" for him would have only been a delusion created by Torak that he forced upon Polgara, it most defintley would not have been by Polgara choosing of her own free will to love Torak. So, if all Torak needed to become invincible was for someone to "love" him, then he could have forced his will on anyone.

    On the other hand, if it required Polgara's love, then this "forced" thing wouldn't have done it; love is a choice made of free will. Garion said it himself; "You tried to deceive me into loving you, and you tried to force Aunt Pol to love you ..." and this is where Eddings really stumbles because, as I mentioned, you most certainly can't force someone to love, and you can't really deceive them into it either (although Garion uses the word deceive, it's really Torak's force of will again coming into play here, not a deception).

    Further, I offer that, again, IF Polgara had succumbed to Torak's will, Garion still had his opportunity to fight/reject Torak, but more importantly, he was armed with the Orb of Aldur - a source of power far greater than Torak and very likely the most powerful object in the universe (except for possibly the Sardion). I'm sorry, but it seems to me that the whole fight between Garion and Torak was really just a waste of time. Considering how powerful and how much the Orb hated Torak, all Garion had to do was hold up the Orb somewhere in the vicinity of Torak and say "Okay, do your thing" and that would have been the end of Torak right there.

    Recall for a moment, when Asharak had slapped Polgara across the face, and the outcome that precipitated from that event - Garion was so angered by it, he reduced Asharak to a pile of ashes. Imagine now if Torak had succeeded in subduing Polgara - Garion would have been so incensed that he most likely would have held forth the Orb and not only destroyed Torak, but probably the entire planet along with him as well. He would not have just thrown down his sword in defeat and said "Ah well Torak, looks like you win."

    Polgara claims it was her rejection of Torak at Vo Mimbre that forced Torak into the duel with Brand so that the Orb could release its power on Torak, but as I recall, it was Brand calling out Torak during the battle that brought Torak out of his rolling stronghold to duel with him. Belgarath and Polgara (merged with Poldera) just happened to be standing there with Brand when Torak came out. I'm sure if they hadn't been, Torak and Brand would have fought all the same. I can't really imagine a conversation between Torak and Brand saying something along the lines of; "Hey Brand, where's Belgarath and Polgara?" "I'm not sure, Torak, I think they're around here somewhere." "Ah well screw this then, I'm going back inside." The whole reason Torak was in the west fighting a war was to recover the Orb, not to find a bride - that was merely incidental.

    And again Polgara would claim it would be her rejection of Torak at Cthol Mishrak that would force him into a duel with Garion, but again, the whole reason for Garion and Torak to face each other was not so that Torak could win himself a bride, it was because the two opposing Destinies were about to confront each other. Let me put it this way; Polgara had 2 different Destinies according to the 2 differing Prophecies, in the Prophecy she served, she was Polgara daughter of Belgarath, in the other she was Polgara, bride of Torak. What was the deciding factor of those two differing Destinies? Polgara admits that herself when she says, "If Garion loses? Then Torak will come to claim his bride ..." So, quite obviously, the most important factor is the outcome between the Child of Light and the Child of Dark. Polgara's actions served the more important factor, that being the meeting between Torak and Garion.

    If you want to be completely logical about it, I would suggest that there are many factors that could have led to the failing of the Prophecy which Polgara, Belgarath and company served. Polgara's protection of the Rivan line is an obvious one (and in my opinion, a MUCH more important one). Belgarath's cultivation of the family lines that brought about all the important players - Silk, Barak, etc. is another fairly obvious one, which Ctutchik himself remarks on during his final confrontation with Belgarath. I would put forth that Polgara's rejection of Torak is less important than the two examples I just listed - her rejection is a part of what happens, but it is not nearly as critical as we are lead to believe.

    I'm sorry, but if Polgara's choice at Cthol Mishrak was really the most important factor, she would have been the Child of Light at that moment, which she was not, or her's would have been "the EVENT for which the Universe had been waiting since the beginning of time" which it was not, or the story would have been called "The Polgariad" which it is not. To be honest, I believe it was all some sneaky, creative editing/meddling perpetrated by Mrs. Eddings in order to make sure the females' importance to the story were equally represented, because upon closer inspection (as I've clearly illustrated), it really makes no sense whatsoever.
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2012
  2.  
    Clansman

    Clansman Lochaber Axeman, QC

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    Well, you've certainly put a lot of thought into this...

    But I would refer you to the "Good Storyteller/Bad Author" thread. The title of that thread says it all. Eddings was not the most talented plotter in the world, as your post above indicates so well. But, the story was fun.
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    The Ace

    The Ace Aye fur Alba

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    I always interpreted it to mean that if Polgara was subdued by Torak, it would give him the strength to defeat Garion.

    Facing Garion and the orb alone, he was doomed.
  4.  
    revengine

    revengine New Member

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    Actually I have visited (and posted in, as well) the "Good storyteller/Bad writer" thread and found some great points. I'll agree the story was fun, that's probably the main reason I keep coming back to it, but as I mentioned, I think some of the flaws, plot holes and other "bad writer" mistakes can at least be partially attributed to the fact that there were two people writing the story. Two people, it seems, who had different ideas about characterisations and subtext.
  5.  
    revengine

    revengine New Member

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    I know that's the point the story was trying to make but, in all honesty, it just doesn't make sense. Why would Torak's will dominating Polgara's suddenly make him invincible when he's dominated so many others to no effect? It didn't suddenly change what he is, he's still the same god who is still very vulnerable to the power of the Orb. I can't see how Polgara becoming enslaved to his will would change that.

    I feel it was a weak attempt at trying to make the confrontation between Torak and Garion more than just about the two Destinies or Child of Light and Child of Dark confronting each other, I think Eddings was trying to make it more personal.

    At first the idea of Garion rejecting Torak and his offer of love and family seems to work, but when you consider that Garion grew up with an Aunt who loved him very much (consider how heart broken he was at the prospect that Aunt Pol wasn't really family - definitely a lot of love between them), on a farm surrounded by people who cared for him a great deal, then the whole "Orphan who just wants a family" thing kinda falls apart. Perhaps then we are meant to take it not as what Garion wants, but what Torak wants - that is, to be loved/adored/worshiped. But again, that idea falls flat when you consider the method in which Torak would bring it about; by overpowering someone's will with his own. Okay, I'll stop it here since this is turning into another long posting.
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    X'Nedra

    X'Nedra New Member

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    Have you considered the effect Polgara succumbing to Torak would have had on Garion (and the others)? If this woman, who epitomised everything about resistance, power and overcoming to Garion was made vulnerable and pliable by Torak then how do you feel Garion would have reacted? Would he have been able to summon any will at all?

    I envisioned it as being the event which added that little bit of extra steel into Garion's back.

    The 2 prophesies had to have willing vessels otherwise it would have been cheating... I don't think Garion would have really been able to answer the "are you ready?" question with a yes if he saw his Aunt Pol standing there cheering on Torak!
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    devilsgrin

    devilsgrin Member

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    I always see this Polgara being the pivotal moment in the battle as simply that. Her faltering one way or the other changes the outcome of the Event. The focus is still clearly Belgarion and Torak... but the outcome of their duel is utterly dependent on which way Polgara goes. Remember, without Garion's help, she would have fallen to Torak. He saved her, which in turn allowed him to save the entire world/universe.

    he's a God, he imposes his will on others almost by default. It doesn't matter HOW they love him, only that they DO.

    I honestly had a little plot-hole moment with this issue as well. Taken on its own, the passage with Garion's realisation that Polgara was the person fighting the pivotal battle, can make the poor boy seem awfully irrelevant. But, taken as part of the whole sequence of events, Torak's DEATH was absolutely necessary. Polgara could never have done that. So the battle between Torak's godly will, and Polgara's will, bolstered by Belgarion's aid, i always see as the first blow that cripples the disparity between Torak being an unkillable god, and Belgarion, a predominantly mortal man-boy. It makes the battle one of near-equals, where the outcome becomes determined by themselves as people, and their skill-at-arms.
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    revengine

    revengine New Member

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    I have considered it, this is from my original post:

    Recall for a moment, when Asharak had slapped Polgara across the face, and the outcome that precipitated from that event - Garion was so angered by it, he reduced Asharak to a pile of ashes. Imagine now if Torak had succeeded in subduing Polgara - Garion would have been so incensed that he most likely would have held forth the Orb and not only destroyed Torak, but probably the entire planet along with him as well. He would not have just thrown down his sword in defeat and said "Ah well Torak, looks like you win."


    p.s. Your avatar is exactly how I pictured Ce’Nedra to look.
  9.  
    revengine

    revengine New Member

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    That’s pretty much how I saw it, and is basically the point I’m making - it appears as if, on one hand, they’re trying to make Garion’s involvement in the matter somewhat peripheral to “the real battle” occurring between Polgara and Torak, when really, what it comes down to is the confrontation between the two opposing Destinies.

    If you look at it logically, the outcome of the battle of wills between Polgara and Torak isn’t really as important as say the preservation of the Rivan line, so I would say that was a far more important fulfillment of the Prophecy on Polgara’s part. So too, is the cultivation of the family lines leading the the other mandatory players such as Ce’Nedra, Silk, Barak etc. maintained by Belgarath over the eons. My reasoning for this is that if Polgara failed in her mission to preserve the Rivan line (which she almost did) then there would be no return of the Rivan King. And if Belgarath failed in properly cultivating the correct ancestral heritages (e.g. arranging the union between the Dryads and the Borunes which would eventually lead to Ce’Nedra, forcing the sons of Cherek to have their own kingdoms) then again, there would be gaps in the fulfillment of the Prophecy and it would fail automatically. Whereas if Polgara did fall victim to Torak’s will, Garion may not have been as encouraged, but he would still have his opportunity as the Child of Light to face Torak. And it may not have been the first blow in levelling the field between a mortal man and an immortal god, but again I submit that Garion still very much would have the upper hand considering he had possession of the Orb.

    I’m not attempting to argue that Polgara’s battle of wills with Torak is unnecessary, my point is that it seems to be misplaced as far its importance in the fulfillment of the Prophecy. In summary, I would argue the following: Polgara succumbing to Torak’s will does not necessarily mean Garion will lose BUT if Garion lost his battle with Torak, then Polgara most definitely loses i.e. becomes the bride of Torak. So, judging by that alone, it’s pretty evident which battle is the most important.

    Just as a side note, I did notice that there were some parallels with what happened when Garion killed Asharak/Chamdar and when Polgara faced Torak. It was Polgara who came to Garion’s aid by supporting his faltering will when dealing with Asharak (i.e. revealing to Garion that it was Asharak who had killed his parents just as Garion was losing his will to destroy Asharak) and in return it was Garion who bolstered Polgara’s will with thoughts of Durnik just as Polgara was losing her battle with Torak.

    Anyways, as I’ve mentioned before, what I think it boils down to, considering that Mrs. Eddings apparently scripted everything concerning the female characters, is some blatant attempts at making sure the main thrust of the story wasn’t all about the guys, that the female characters were also represented in some pivotal point as well. Unfortunately, the outcome is somewhat confusing and misleading.
  10.  
    jastius

    jastius fairies come at dawn

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    I think you are overlooking that if polgara succumbed to toraks blandishments then she would switch sides and be torak's weopon to use against garion. Torak would then have both his godly powers and polgara's sorcerous powers, which included some pretty hefty mind control. She would be the weopon of choice against garion. should she master garion then the power of the orb is subject to torak's control through garion. Pitting garion against polgara . It would be garions responsibility to negate polgara as a threat, and should he falter then belgarath would have to destroy polgara just as he had neutralized zedar from being in torak's control. For garion to try to destroy his aunt pol, or for him to watch his entire family destroy each other would undermine him, possibly completely. If he had to kill polgara, I don't think garion could have fought torak and won. I think that should he have to kill polgara, the orb might have repudated him, because of the loss of his purity of spirit. That was one of the things that belgarath and polgara had monitored quite carefully in him growing up.
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    devilsgrin

    devilsgrin Member

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    Garion, even Belgarion, could never have - EVER - struck out at Polgara. You're quite right in the thought that Torak would have used Pol against him. Even Belgarath couldn't have eliminated his own daughter. And this is why Torak dominating/or not, her was the real battle. Polgara is pivotal to prophecy in a way even Belgarion is not. Another Godslayer could have been produced, but not another Polgara. (Remember Garion has a tonne of cousins in Cherek who feasibly could produce the next Heir to Irongrip should he have died childless).

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