The alt.fan.eddings FAQ version 2.0 + Add-on-section
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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
(ask again at your own risk)
- The systems of magic and worlds that David Eddings have
created don't always seem very logical. Why?
- I've got this great idea about who should be in a movie...
- Gee, has anyone noticed that the plots of Eddings' fantasies
are all kind of similar?
- Editing errors
- The infamous Chaldan/Chamdar misprint
- The wandering L's
- Boneheaded errors
- The name of Brand's oldest son
- Illogical/inconsistent actions
- Durnik vs. Brill
- Dryads (a.k.a. The Thread That Will Not Die)
- Immortality (a.k.a. The Other Thread That Will Not Die)
- What, precisely, does the mark on Garion's hand signify?
- So, what exactly is on Garion's amulet?
- The meaning of 'Bel' and 'Pol'.
- Why isn't 'Durnik' called 'Beldurnik'?
- Why can't Zedar get out of that hole Belgarath put him in?
- Speaking of Zedar, don't you think his punishment was a bit
- Terms that can be confused
- Illogical gaps in the story
- Who exactly has touched the Bhelliom?
- Sephrenia and Aphrael's flying
- What God is supporting Zalasta's spells when he crashes
Sephrenia and Vanion's wedding?
- Where do the renegade Styrics get their power?
- Why couldn't Sparhawk let King Wargun know that he was
looking for Bhelliom?
- Immortality (The Elenium Derivative)
- Will Eddings write more on Sparhawk and the gang?
THE ALT.FAN.EDDINGS NEWSGROUP
- Will anyone here be offended if I choose a character's name
as my alias?
- Are there any rules on this newsgroup?
- Any special features I should watch for?
- Who the heck is Celine and what does she have to do with
The systems of magic and the worlds that David Eddings created
don't always seem very sensible. In fact, sometimes they're
kind of silly, and it's hard to think up logical explanations
for how they work. Why?
Following is a quote from David Eddings, found in Contemporary
Authors: New Revision Series, volume 35.
"My current excursion into fantasy has given me an
opportunity to test my technical theories [of writing]. I
made a world that never was, with an unlikely theology
splattered against an improbable geology. My magic is at
best a kind of pragmatic cop-out. Many of my explanations
of how magic is supposed to work are absurdities - but my
characters all accept these explanations as if there was no
possibility of quibbling about them, and if the characters
believe, then the readers seem also to believe."
In other words, creating a logical, internally consistent
fantasy world was not part of David Eddings' agenda.
I've got this great idea about who should be in a movie...
Every newsgroup that covers any literary character or
characters inevitably gives birth to Casting threads, and
alt.fan.eddings is no exception.
There are some things you should know before you suggest that
Sean Connery should play Belgarath. First, there are no plans
to film ANY of Eddings' works. Second, anyone that you can
think of to cast in an imaginary film of Eddings' works has
already been suggested by someone else. Third, that knowledge
hasn't stopped anyone else from posting THEIR casting
suggestions, so why should it stop you?
Just don't be surprised at the moans of dismay from the old-timers.
Aph's additions: It's also been suggested by one or two old-timers
that it's a good idea if you do want to restart the
casting thread to give it a subject header that is easily
identified, such as "The Belgariad...the movie!" That way
those who have seen it 957 times before can spot it quickly and
Gee, has anyone noticed that the plots of Eddings' fantasies
are all kind of similar?
[sarcasm alert] Gosh, you're kidding! Wow, what an insight!
We'd have never noticed if you hadn't mentioned it!
David Eddings has obviously developed what he considers to be a
very serviceable plot, well suited to the type of fantasies that he
writes. And since his many fans (i.e., us) continue to buy his books,
he doesn't feel any pressing need to develop a new plot. That Eddings
is capable of coming up with different plots is evident from his two
non-fantasy novels, neither of which involves a quest for a blue
Aph's additions: In addition, while the plots of Eddings' two fantasy
series are similar on the surface, there are many differences to be
found in terms of themes, character development, etc. There has been
much discussion of this on the newsgroup, particularly by Rumor and
myself, and most people seem to agree that the Elenium is much darker
than the Bel/Mal, in terms of theme, issues dealt with and the general
mood of the story. And as Rumor has often pointed out there is more
adventure in the Bel/Mal and more political intrigue in the Elen/Tam.
The difference is, in fact, radical enough that a number of people
have admitted to being initially put off by the Elenium because it was
different from the Bel/Mal. For this reason, I usually advise a 1-2
month waiting period after finishing one series before starting the
Inconsistencies come in three flavors: 1) Editing mistakes, 2)
Sheer boneheaded errors, and 3) Illogical actions.
Editing mistakes are those errors that crept in during the
printing process. These generally consist of misspellings or
incorrect character identifications. Boneheaded errors are
those where the writer simply forgot that he has already named
(or described) something, and later gives it a completely
different name (or description). Illogical actions are things
that happen that, based on other information in the story, seem
At one point in The Seeress of Kell, the "bull-god of
the Arends" is identified as "Chamdar" rather than
The Wandering L's
Gethell/Gethel (the King of the Thulls) and Xbel/Xbell
(a dryad) appear at various times with their names
spelled either with one 'L' or two 'L's. In the case of
Gethell, the two 'L' version is used most frequently,
and appears to be the proper spelling. Xbel appears an
equal number of times spelled both ways, but since no
other dryads have double letters in their names, I'm
willing to assume that Xbel is the correct spelling.
The name of Brand's oldest son
Brand's oldest son is identified twice during the
course of the Belgariad as "Bralon". He reappears in
the Malloreon as "Verdan".
The name of the young prince who survived the slaughter of
the rest of the Rivan line by Salmissra
In the Belgariad, when Polgara tells Garion the story
of the young prince's escape, she gives his name as
"Gared". When Belgarath tells an expanded version of
the story in Belgarath the Sorcerer, the prince's
name is "Geran".
In Pawn of Prophecy, Durnik easily dispatches Brill when
he finds him spying on the others. Later, we find that
Brill is actually an incredibly skilled fighter and
assassin, and there really shouldn't have been any way that
a simple blacksmith (even one with two lives) could have
caught him off guard.
Of course, the fun part about illogical action
inconsistencies is that the TruFan can come up with
explanations for them. Two possibilities that have been
discussed in a.f.e. are: 1) Brill didn't want to blow
his cover, so he allowed Durnik to catch him. 2) The
Prophecy of Light interfered.
In the Belgariad, it comes as a complete surprise to
everyone that Asharak, the Murgo merchant, is actually
Chamdar, the Grolim almost-disciple of Torak. In Belgarath
the Sorcerer, both Silk and Belgarath are aware that
Chamdar uses the name Asharak.
No one has managed to come up a good explanation for
this one yet. Personally, I'm hoping that it will be
cleared up in Polgara the Sorceress.
Dryads (a.k.a. The Thread That Will Not Die)
Donal Fellows has a fairly comprehensive compilation of the
endless Dryad threads, and I'll try and create a very
compressed version to go here. If you don't want to wait, check
out his home page (URL given at the end of this FAQ).
Aph's additions: I usually stay as far away from this thread as
possible, but I'll sum up the center of the confusion. We are told
that there are no male Dryads, therefore Dryads must kidnap human
males to reproduce. We are also told that female daughters born to
Dryads are always Dryads. But we are never specifically told that
Dryads can bear male children who would be normal humans. Therefore,
both Geran and the males of the Borune family strike many people as
genetic anomalies. There are, of course, two possible explanations
for this. One is that Dryads are, in fact, perfectly capable of
bearing normal male children. This justifies Geran's existence and
the Borunes, but doesn't explain what Jane X. Dryad back in the Wood
of the Dryads does if she kidnaps a male and mates with him and it
results in a male child. The other explanation is simply that the
Prophecy interfered to create Geran and the Borune males.
There is also the matter of how it is genetically possible that the
Dryad strain always breeds true in females but that any males born to
Dryads are normal human beings. Rumor came up with a complicated
genetic explanation for this one. The following is from the e-mail he
sent me explaining his theory:
(The next two are both Aph's additions)
Immortality (aka The Other Thread That Will Not Die)
We've already witnessed that Belgarath, Polgara, Beldin and the other
sorcerers have lived for centuries. So doesn't this mean that Garion
will have the same lifespan? What will happen to the Rivan line?
Will Garion abdicate when Geran is old enough to take over? And what
about Ce'Nedra, won't she live a long time, too, at least until her
Everybody seems to have an opinion on this one. First of all, we
never learn if the sorcerers are, in fact, immortal or if they just
have a very long lifespan. And secondly, we never know if long life
is part of the natural order of sorcerers or if Belgarath was allowed
to live for 7000 years because the Prophecy needed him. There are two
major schools of thought on this one. The first is that the sorcerers
are, in fact, immortal and will live forever. The second is that the
Prophecy's work is done and things will resume their natural order,
and the sorcerers will die in the normal course of time now. Take
your pick, because there doesn't seem to be enough evidence to prove
As for the Rivan line, most people seem to agree that if Garion is, in
fact, going to live for a long, long time, he will hand over the crown
to Geran when Geran reaches a suitable age. Garion was never that
thrilled to be a king in the first place, and there doesn't seem to be
any reason why he would want to extend that role for several
And with regard to Ce'Nedra, there are two major schools of thought on
that. Some people believe that she will live as long as her tree (how
long her tree will live is a whole other tangent thread), while others
believe that the Prophecy tweaked things a bit so that Ce'Nedra will
live as long as Garion does.
The mark on Garion's hand -- is it symbolic of the Rivan line or
the mark of his being a sorcerer?
As with most of these questions, there are two schools of thought on
this one. Some people believe that the mark signifies Garion's place
in the Rivan line, and point to the fact that all the Rivan kings had
the mark, even after they went into hiding and never touched the Orb.
Others believe it is the mark of Garion's sorcery, and point to the
facts that 1) we are told that all the sorcerers had some sort of mark
signifying their talent - Polgara has her white lock, Belgarath has a
mark over his heart, etc. and 2) the mark on Garion's hand throbs,
itches or burns when he uses sorcery, and also has some sort of
connection with Polgara's white lock. It's also been suggested that
the mark simply served both purposes.
So, what exactly is on Garion's amulet?
(Thanks to Jonathan Yen for this answer)
We have no clue. Eddings only made one comment on what was on
the amulet. In Queen of Sorcery, Garion looks at his amulet
and notices that it has a strange geometric design. That's it.
For some reason, Garion never bothers to look at his amulet
ever again. Why? Don't ask me.
So, of course, there has been speculation on what is on the
amulet. Various things have been said, like a wolf, the orb,
the Rivan sword going through a crown, and a circle. Because
Garion ain't that dumb, I think he would have noticed that his
amulet had a design of one of these rather than think of it as
a strange geometric design.
I myself posed the idea that the design on Garion's amulet was
in fact a Möbius strip. Something about two things becoming
one or maybe it was one thing becoming two. I don't know...I
was feeling weird that day.
Amy Sheldon thought it might have been a rune. You know, a
weird character that stands for an entire word (like in the
Chinese language). Of course, this started up a whole lot of
speculation of what the word was...
What is this Bel/Pol prefix business?
(Thanks to Donal Fellows for this answer, with parenthetical
commentary by Amy Sheldon)
'Bel' and 'Pol' both mean beloved and nothing more. It's just
that 'Bel' is the male form and 'Pol' is the female form.
Beldaran is an anomaly, but languages (especially English) are
full of them, so you'd better get used to it...
(Nowhere in either the Belgariad or Malloreon does it state
that 'Bel' or 'Pol' means disciple. Aldur added it to his
original disciples' names, presumably as a sign that they were
his "beloved disciples", but simply adding 'Bel' to a name no
more makes a character Aldur's disciple than adding 'Fido' to
your name would make you into a dog.)
Why isn't 'Durnik' called 'Beldurnik'?
How do you know he isn't? Everyone is used to calling him 'Durnik'
(and he's used to being called Durnik), so just because he's a disciple
now, and officially entitled to add 'Bel' to his name doesn't mean
everyone is going to start calling him a totally different name. Hey,
I've got an old friend whose first name is Ralph. When he was in
college, he decided to be known by his middle name, Tony. But those of
us who knew him in his youth still call him 'Ralph' (and boy, does it
drive him crazy.)
Why can't Zedar get out of that hole Belgarath put him in?
(By Jonathan Yen, with parenthetical commentary by Amy Sheldon)
Well, Belgarath mentions that sorcerers can't undo what another
sorcerer does because everyone thinks differently. But Zedar
ain't stupid, and so, should be able to think of another way to
get out, right? So, Belgarath must have thought of a pretty
elaborate way to keep Zedar down there. However, one should
remember that Zedar is stuck in rock for all eternity, which
means that he has sufficient oxygen and food for all eternity
also. Or, it means that Belgarath made provisions for his
well-being for throughout eternity.
So, I propose two possible solutions:
Zedar is stuck in rock like how Relg goes through it.
(My personal favorite, with the addendum that Belgarath has
somehow blocked Zedar from being able to gather his will
and use magic to escape).
Zedar is in suspended animation.
(Not too likely, since if he's in suspended animation, he
isn't aware of being trapped, and therefore it isn't much
of a punishment....)
Speaking of Zedar, don't you think his punishment was too
Aph: I concur. Zedar was a sonuvabitch before he even met Torak, and
I didn't feel one bit of sympathy for him.
ELENIUM/TAMULI (all Aph's additions)
Some terms that may be confused and are occasionally mixed up by
The difference is pretty simple. "Elene" refers to an ethnic/racial
group, that group which dominates all of western Eosia, in the nations
of Elenia, Arcium, Deira, Thalesia, Pelosia, Lamorkand, Cammoria and
Rendor, as opposed to the Styric or Tamul races. "Elenian" refers to
the citizens of a particular Elene nation, Elenia. Not all Elenes are
Elenian, nor are all Elenians necessarily Elene, since a rural Styric
living in Elenia could also be classified as "Elenian".
A patriarch is one of the 167 members of the upper level of the
Hierocracy of the Elene Church. A primate, from all indications, is
one rank below a patriarch. If the patriarch of a particular city or
district is incapacitated, the primate acts in his stead. I compare
them to the Roman Catholic ranks of cardinal vs. Bishop. The major
difference is that patriarchs can vote with the Hierocracy and
primates can't. This is why it was so important for Annias to buy
support among the patriarchs.
Illogical gaps in the story
When Ehlana coaxes the Bhelliom to let her touch it, Bhelliom
flatly refuses and states that it has only once allowed a
non-divine, non-Anakha creature to touch it, and that was when Ghwerig
first lifted it from the earth. Yet we know that Adian must have
touched the stone when he stole it from Ghwerig's cave, and it's
likely that the Thalesian kings who followed him touched it as well.
Aside from concluding that the ancient stone of power was developing
Alzheimer's, the only explanation seemed to be that Bhelliom
deliberately lied. There has been much debate about why. We know, of
course, that the story about instant death if one touched Bhelliom was
false and that Bhelliom itself could decide who got to touch it.
Rumor believes that Bhelliom was very proud and egotistical, and
didn't want to admit that so many people had been allowed to touch it.
I tend to agree with him, with the addition that Bhelliom was afraid
that this would be seen as a sign of weakness and as its alliance with
Anakha was still relatively new, it still didn't trust even its own
In Domes of Fire, Sparhawk mentions to Sephrenia that Aphrael can
fly, and Sephrenia replies that she never actually saw Aphrael do it,
but she assumed that her sister could fly. But later, we learn that
not only has Sephrenia seen Aphrael fly, but she's even been brought
along on about four or five flights in the last three centuries.
Someone jokingly suggested that Sephrenia had never "seen" Aphrael fly
because she always had her eyes closed in terror. But otherwise, I
have yet to see a logical explanation for this one.
At the end of the Tamuli, Cyrgon is dead and Klael is banished. If
Styric spells are nothing more than requests to a God, how do
Zalasta's spells work at Sephrenia and Vanion's wedding when he has no
God left to appeal to?
This one was argued back and forth a bit. We found one solution that
seems feasible, and I'm proud to say it was suggested by moi. We know
that Edaemus gave the Delphae the power to act on their own when he
departed to prepare the way for their eventual journey. It seems
logical to conclude, then, that a God or other source of power could
just as easily have given Zalasta the power to act on his own. Where
he got that power from is another matter entirely, but Rumor and I put
our heads together and concluded that it was Klael. After all, as
Rumor pointed out, a God is of this (i.e., Sparhawk's) world and has
reason to feel threatened by a human with the power to act on his own.
But for Klael, Zalasta was little more than a tiny speck who meant
nothing. He would never be able to destroy or contend with Klael.
The only two entities from whom Klael had anything to fear were
Bhelliom and Anakha. So it would be no loss for Klael to grant
Zalasta the power to act on his own.
If the Elder Gods were all confined and the Younger Gods were all
good guys, where did the renegade Styrics get their power?
This is one of those cases of not enough information. There are two
possibilities here. Either the renegades somehow found another Elder
God besides Azash who still had power despite his confinement, or else
not all of the Younger Gods were as lily-white as we're led to
believe. In the first scenario, it could be that the Elder Gods could
still grant spells to individuals in their confined state, but because
of their lack of worshippers they were somehow cut off from being
powerful enough to command Bhelliom. On the other hand, I proposed
that it's entirely possible that there was resentment among the
Younger Gods, and that there were one or two who would actually grant
spells to renegades. I doubt, however that the resentment extended so
far as to go along with Zalasta's plot to destroy Aphrael, therefore
necessitating Zalasta's alliances with Azash and Cyrgon.
Why was Sparhawk so afraid to let Wargun know that they were
looking for Bhelliom when they ran into Wargun in Pelosia? Wouldn't
Wargun have agreed to at least let Sparhawk borrow the stone if he
knew it was their only hope? And even if not, wouldn't it be easier
to steal the stone from Wargun after he and his army captured it from
Ghwerig than to fight the Troll himself?
It seems that we have to go on the assumption that Wargun was an
erratic drunk who was not thinking rationally. Add to that the fact
that he probably wouldn't have believed that the Bhelliom had magical
powers and could cure Ehlana, and chances are, he wouldn't believe
that Sparhawk had a valid reason for wanting the stone. As for the
question of letting Wargun help capture the stone and then stealing it
from him, it's important to note that time was of the essence. Half
the knights whose lives were supporting Ehlana's had already died.
And, as Rumor pointed out, it would take a while just to move an army
from Pelosia to Thalesia. Besides, chances are that Wargun would have
taken his own soldiers with him and sent Sparhawk to Arcium.
Considering that the most important thing in Sparhawk's mind was
restoring Ehlana, he couldn't afford to gamble on the whims of an
erratic, drunken king.
Immortality (The Elenium Derivative)
If Danae is going to be Queen of Elenia and she is immortal, will she
have to grow old and die like a normal person?
Peta Young and I had a discussion about this in e-mail some time back,
and this is what we came up with. Aphrael makes it clear at the end
of the Elenium that she knows she will have to play by the normal
rules in her incarnation as Danae. As much as she may be tempted, she
isn't about to upset the Elene population of Eosia by remaining a
child for several centuries. So it's likely that at the appropriate
time, Danae will fake a nice, peaceful, painless death and move on to
her next incarnation. It could be interesting when her body
disappears before burial, though....
Will Eddings write any more on Sparhawk and the gang when he is
finished with Polgara the Sorceress?
Nobody knows. But we hope so. In fact, I've organized a petition to
convince him to write more. If you've heard the term "ACETS" tossed
around the newsgroup, it stands for Association for the Continuation
of the Elenium/Tamuli Series. Here's the deal: if you want to read
more on Sparhawk and friends, send me an e-mail briefly stating that
you hope Eddings will write more on the Elen/Tam world, and any ideas
you may have as to how he could expand upon those worlds; I have a
file of all the e-mails I've received (about 60 so far) and will print
them out and send them on to Eddings along with my own letter. But
hurry, because the campaign has already been going on for several
months and I intend to send 'em out soon!
THE ALT.FAN.EDDINGS NEWSGROUP (all Aph's additions)
Will anyone be offended if I choose one of the characters' names
for an alias?
Well, obviously there's no rule or stigma against it or I wouldn't
call myself Aphrael. The only thing to watch out for is someone else
using the same alias. Obviously if someone else comes along and wants
to use Aphrael, I'm going to get a little fidgety. I won't give a
list of the names that are taken, since there are always new people
showing up and old people disappearing, but I'd say a pretty reliable
way to determine if the name you want is taken is to check the
and see if there are any posts using that name in the last three weeks
or so. If not, you're probably safe.
Are there any rules for this newsgroup?
There are no formal rules here. Most people seem to agree that this
is a pretty pleasant newsgroup with friendly people and low spam and
troll ratios. But there are three things we can all do to make sure
things stay friendly and relaxed. I call them the Three Commandments.
Thou shalt not flame without malicious provocation.
Pretty self-explanatory. If someone says something that upsets you or
that you disagree with, tell them calmly, in polite language, and
without resorting to name-calling or personal attacks.
Thou shalt not profane the works of thy author David Eddings.
So maybe you didn't like all of Eddings' books. Not everybody does.
But don't come out with belligerent statements like "This book sucks!".
Instead, state in intelligent, mature language that you had problems
with this particular book or series and explain why. Maybe there is
even someone else here who can offer you a new perspective on it that
will make you appreciate it more.
- Thou shalt not utilize foul or offensive language.
This one follows pretty logically from the other two. What do I mean
by "foul or offensive language"? Basically, if you wouldn't say it in
front of your parents or other respected adults, or in the presence of
particular racial, ethnic or gender groups, don't say it here.
Any special features on this newsgroup I should watch for?
Well, yes. There is Aphrael's Trivia Quiz, which comes out roughly
every other week. It's a simple quiz that I post with three questions
and a bonus question covering both worlds of Eddings' fantasy series.
The quiz has a pretty regular following, but newcomers are always
Also, to be organized soon, we will have a User Directory, which will
tell you more about the people behind the posts here on a.f.e. Feel
free to contribute your own profile once the Directory is up and
Who the heck is Celine and what does she have to do with Eddings?
Celine is Celine Dion, and she has absolutely nothing to do with
Eddings, she just happens to be my favorite singer.
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Last updated May 12th 1998
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