YMMV / The Belgariad

  • Alternate Character Interpretation: The entire series has a bad case of Protagonist-Centered Morality, and the past crimes of characters are quickly forgotten as soon as they join the heroes. A reader might well be quite surprised at the portrayal of Zakath as a decent guy who made some bad mistakes late in the Malloreon, considering that this is the guy who tried and nearly damn succeeded in wiping out an entire race because of something their king did, and used to call himself 'Kal Zakath' ('Kal' meaning 'King and God'- i.e. the title that Torak used to use.) Yeah.
    • Lampshaded when Belgarath tells Garion that he dislikes talking about good and evil, and prefers to just say 'us and them'.
    • Zedar. How in control of/aware of his actions was he while under Torak's control, and therefore how accountable should he be held for them? Was he a tragic character whose only mistake was thinking he could take on Torak on his own, or was he a Dirty Coward who used the mind control as an excuse to avoid facing up to all the terrible things he did? If it's the latter, then his final, And I Must Scream fate is Laser-Guided Karma, but if it's the former, then's both Disproportionate Retribution and cruel and unusual punishment on Belgarath's part. It certainly doesn't help analysis of his character that Belgarath, Polgara, and Beldin are all looking at him through an extremely personal and emotional point of view, and are therefore no way willing to look at him from any sort of charitable perspective, much less an objective one.
  • Angst? What Angst?: Taiba escapes from a lifetime of slavery, after having had her children forcibly taken from her and horrifically murdered, and yet she never seems to be sad or angry after she's rescued.
  • Anticlimax Boss:
    • After being a sinister looming presence during the first book and most of the second one, and in spite of his importance in the backstory as he's the one who killed Garion's parents, Asharak/Chamdar is dispatched rather easily when he tries to ambush the heroes who are trying to leave Tolnedra. He threatens Garion's life, Garion's powers are suddenly awakened and he burns him alive, Polnadra suddenly reveals that he is the one who killed Garion's parents, which give him the will to continue the spell until Chamdar dies without being able to counter-attack.
    • Zedar is one of Torak's Co-Dragons and the one who kickstarted the entire plot by stealing the Orb. He also was one of Aldur's students and is meant to be as old and probably as powerful as Belgarath himself. When he's finally confronted, he's defeated in the span of a few pages off-screen and doesn't even get to cast one spell, as most of the battle we see is him and Belgarath fighting over a dagger to stab each other. (Although it's justified story-wise. When he and Belgarath finally meet face to face, Belgarath is so enraged and Zedar so panicked that they resort to a fistfight instead of a Wizard Duel.)
  • Complete Monster:
    • Magician's Gambit: Ctuchik is High Priest of the Grolims, and chief disciple of Torak, ruling Cthol Murgos in Torak's stead after the god was left comatose. Completely uninterested in awakening Torak, Ctuchik nevertheless keeps Grolim rituals of Human Sacrifice going for five hundred years, sacrificing untold thousands of slaves to a god he does not even worship in order to cement his control over the priesthood. Pursuing his own agenda, Ctuchik aims to Take Over the World in order to satiate his lust for power, and maintains a private torture chamber for his own amusement.
    • The Malloreon:
  • Evil Is Sexy: Described by all characters as a very beautiful woman, and proves to be a very sensuous character, Salmissra attempts to seduce Garion to her side, and use him for her own most likely nefarious purposes. Very nearly succeeds.
  • Foe Yay: The paedophiliac undertones to Garion and Chamdar's relationship may or may not have been intentional, but they were effective.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: In Queen of Sorcery:
    "What happened to you leg?" Wolf asked [Reldegen].
    "An arrow in the knee." The count shrugged.
  • Jerkass Woobie: Ce'Nedra in The Malloreon. While she's still as bossy and demanding as in The Belgariad, it's hard not to feel at least a little pity towards her when she loses her father during the first book or after her son is kidnapped by Zandramas, especially since Zandramas seems to love yanking her chain.
  • Moral Event Horizon
    • Zedar is portrayed as having passed this when he kills Durnik. He said was the one thing above all else that he didn't want to do, and it pushed Belgarath's Berserk Button something fierce.
    • Ctuchik crosses it the second he opens his mouth, confirming all the horrible things we've heard about him up to this point. Zandramas crosses it when they find the bones of the men whose legs she broke so that she could leave them for the lions.
  • Relationship Writing Fumble: Polgara and Beldaran are twin sisters, but in Polgara the Sorceress, Pol's descriptions of her love for Beldaran imply something much more Twincestuous.
  • The Scrappy: Ce'Nedra just barely misses becoming this, and that only because of her Moment of Awesome. Although, to some fans the CMOA wasn't enough to save her.
  • "Seinfeld" Is Unfunny: Eddings liked to brag about how revolutionary Ce'Nedra was as a female character in the High Fantasy genre. Nowadays, she seems like more of a cliché.
  • Tastes Like Diabetes: The denouement of The Malloreon, where everyone pairs off with their Love Interest and has Babies Ever After. Lampshaded by Silk.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Ctuchik when he tries to unmake the Orb of Aldur in a moment of panic, the conduit for one of the Purposes of the Universe. The Universe rebounds Ctuchik's attempt back on him, deleting him from existence. Also implied to be why there are so few sorcerers who possess the Will and the Word: many who awaken it may end up unmaking themselves.
  • Trapped by Mountain Lions: In The Malloreon, the Big Guy Band from the first series (Barak, Hettar, Relg, Mandorallen, and Lleldorin) spends a significant portion of the story having mainly irrelevant adventures as they try to catch up with the heroes despite Cyradis' warning that it would be fatal to the prophecy. Of course, Fate was having a fun time with them, as situations seemed to conspire to keep them as far away from the heroes as possible until just after it was all over, at which point they were reunited completely unexpectedly.
  • Unintentionally Sympathetic: Zedar. He's supposed to be a cruel, power-hungry sorcerer who betrayed his god and his fellow sorcerers to commit centuries of evil acts and whose eventual imprisonment within a rock for all eternity is richly deserved. However, this intended interpretation of him falls apart when you consider 1) His Face–Heel Turn was not his own choice, but forced on him by Torak, 2) all the evil things he did were while under Torak's mind control and not of his own volition, and 3) His killing of Durnik was in self-defense after the latter, enraged, assaulted him with intent to kill, and was the only thing that prevented Polgara from agreeing to marry Torak and give him the edge he needed to defeat Garion and conquer the world. In light of these points, Zedar's fate becomes much less Laser-Guided Karma and much more a combination of Protagonist-Centered Morality and Moral Dissonance. (And really, what was Belgarath expecting Zedar to do? Just stand there and let Durnik kill him?)
    • On the other hand, even if Torak controlled him, Zedar used the fact to make himself seem blameless for all that he did, which includes: killing a King of Riva and sparking the war that nearly annihilated the country of Nyissa, since he manipulated the Queen into engineering the assassination, and potentially engineering the suicide of Belmakor, who was essentially a brother to Belgarath. Thousands of years of atrocities would have allowed Belgarath's anger at Zedar to come to a boil: Zedar killing Durnik ( even if Durnik was intended to die as the "sacrifice" in that particular EVENT, whom he was close to, would have been the last straw for Belgarath.
    • It all ultimately comes down how aware of/in control of his actions you think Zedar was under Torak's control, and therefore how accountable he should be held for them. If he had little to no free will of his own, then he's sympathetic, but if he actually had some degree of choice in the bad things he did, then he's unsympathetic. (And let's not get into a debate of how accountable a person should be held for the actions he or she did while under mind control...)
  • The Untwist: Garion being the Rivan King. It's blatantly obvious to everyone except him, intentionally. It's where a lot of the humour in series comes from.
  • Wangst: Happens all the time to Garion in this series, complete with his Catch-Phrase, which becomes a Running Gag: "Why me?" It's intentional, though — he's a teenager, and there's a lot of questions he has that Belgarath and Polgara simply won't answer. The other characters frequently tell him he needs to get over himself. In the sequel series, which takes place ten years later, he has. He even explains it to Zakath, when he starts in with the same questions, on being told that he'll join the group or die before the end of the year.
  • What Do You Mean, It's Not Didactic?: An in-universe example: Belgarath, in the guise of a wandering storyteller, tells a ghost story about a group of greedy miners sneaking into Maragor and eaten by the ghosts therein. Everyone looks horrified until Faldor laughs and handwaves the story as a sermon against greed and fear. This ends up becoming Harsher in Hindsight when the protagonists actually travel to Maragor, which really is filled with the ghosts of the Marags, slaughtered by the Tolnedrans ages ago for the massive gold deposits there, though the excuse was the ritualized cannibalism they performed.
  • The Woobie
    • Vordai's purpose in the books is to be a sympathetic character who manages to break through Belgarath's Jerkass Façade. The Arendish serf Lammer serves a similar purpose with respect to making Ce'Nedra and Lleldorin appreciate the plight of the serfs. And then there's the brain-damaged boy with the flute. Zedar is set up to appear as this to an extent, as his only real mistake was in daring to think he could outwit Torak, and the punishment for it was milennia of enslavement to the God's Compelling Voice and, at the end, eternal imprisonment in solid rock.
    • Zedar — period. Manipulated by both prophecies to serve their ends his reward for finding Errand/Eriond, not to mention allowing the light side to win the EVENT at the end of The Belgariad, (if he hadn't (in self defense) killed Durnik, Polgara would've submitted to Torak and Garion would've lost the fight), is eternal entombment in solid rock - and Durnik got better. The prequels give him lots of Out of Character Kick the Dog moments to try and justify this but it still comes off as harsh, especially considering Belgarath, who entombs him, has done some seriously questionable things himself. It's also implied that he's little more than Torak's puppet - his will so totally overwhelmed by the insane evil god's that he wasn't in control of his own actions. None of that matters, Belgarath happily condemns him to an And I Must Scream fate without a qualm.
      • YMMV depending on how much control he has of himself.