These are what we call the 'YMMV items.' Things that some people find in this work. We call them 'your mileage might vary' because not everyone sees these things in the same way. This starts discussions in the trope lists, a thing we don't want. Please use the discussion page if you'd like to discuss any of these items.
YMMV: The Elenium
Acceptable Targets: Apparently, short people, since much is made of Avin Wargunsson's height. Granted, Thalesia is known for its gigantic looming Scandinavian-type warriors, but the constant mockery, contemptuous dismissal, and outright insults hurled in his direction are... a little unsettling. And its Played for Laughs. The only thing which prevents this from becoming a Dude, Not Funny! moment is that Avin is genuinely such a sniveling coward, social climber, and nasty, plotting evildoer that you can't help but feel contempt for him yourself and enjoy what happens to him. (Though again, some of his actions may be justified, or at least understandable, due to the constant ridicule and rejection he has suffered all his life.) That, and what happens sadly is Actually Pretty Funny.
What seems to be this directed at homosexuals via the Baron Harparin ends up being a fairly clear demonization and denouncing of pedophilia, since the gay owner from Mirtai's past is depicted quite fairly, honestly, and sympathetically.
Big Lipped Alligator Moment: In The Shining Ones, Aphrael summoning a hydrofoil manned by a species of snake-women from another dimension to take the party to where the Bhelliom is hidden
The scene right after Zalasta has a conference with Scarpa and Krager Krager becomes sober, having pretended to be drunk for the conversation (to the point of dumping out a drink), and Scarpa suddenly becomes rational instead of his usual frothing-at-the-mouth batshit insane. They have an intelligent conversation, and then both return to their respective status quos. Neither behaves this way ever again in the books. In fact, the actually become worse afterwards; Scarpa begins to command non-existent armies, and Krager begins shaking violently at the thought of even putting a drink down.
Canon Sue: Arguably, Xanetia, the Delphae priestess on the cusp of godhood who's feared by everyone but her own kind, has incredible magical powers that can't be detected even by the gods, can melt you into goo with one touch, and manages to make nice with Sephrenia within half a book despite aeons of Fantastic Racism. Oh, and she can read minds. She even uncovers Zalasta.
Lampshaded and perhaps justified in-universe; Xanetia and her people were basically allowed to evolve godlike powers (in the form of a curse, which is undetectable by the laws of the local Functional Magic) by their own God, in contrast to the gods of Styricum, who deliberately restrict their followers' powers. As a result, Xanetia can more or less do anything her mind is capable of, and the supernatural awe she inspires in others is probably, like Aphrael, deliberate. Needless to say; Sephrenia, the goddess Aphrael, and every other Styric character are deeply suspicious of what amounts to an entire race of evolving gods, and frequently view it as a very, very dangerous thing.
It's also sort of lampshaded in that Styricum's biggest gripe with the Delphae is that they are just so damn perfect and perceived to be really smug about it.
Which is pretty rich, coming from the Styrics.
Complete Monster: Azash is a horrible Eldritch Abomination who manipulates his followers into performing rituals that involve human sacrifice, torture, cannibalism, necrophilia, engaging in sexual perversions until they collapse dead from exhaustion, and the like. He plots to extend his worship over the continent, and to that end backs a conspiracy to poison the Queen of Elenia, tries to subvert the Elene Church by placing a heretic on the throne, has a mercenary army under Martel destroy much of the Holy City of Chyrellos, and uses The Seeker, a child-eating insectoid freak as his Mouth of Sauron. He uses his final moments to kill his Dragon, Emperor Otha, and Evil Genius, PrimateAnniasjust because they failed him.
Crowning Moment of Funny: See the entry, but really, the entire sequence in Cippria where Sparhawk and Kurik break into the Elenian consulate turns into a comedy act, from a random naked lady to an unnecessary bridge to Sparhawk's juvenile shenanigans once they're inside:
After a moment, he heard Kurik's hoarse whisper coming from the kitchen door. "Is that you?"
For an instant, he was tempted to whisper back, "No," but then he got himself under control again.
Ulath does this occasionally.
Sparhawk: Ulath, I've got a question.
Ulath: For me? Oh, Sparhawk, you shouldn't have!
Designated Villain / What Measure Is a Mook?: It's startlingly common for Eddings' heroes to butcher people who simply happen to be in their way. At first these are specified as being Annias' venal and bullying "church soldier" brute squad, but by the third book, soldiers in the service of totally random patriarchs are being killed just as examples. The Rendors come in for a lot of this too: considering the amount of corruption and vice the Elene Church condones in its high churchmen, treating them as subhumans comes off as a bit myopic. This may be somewhat justifiable by the main cast being comprised mostly of hardened, pragmatic soldiers with no real problems about killing anyone in their way. Sephrenia is the only one who regularly expresses disgust for their nonchalant attitudes.
Fridge Horror: When a God or Goddess dies, the magic they did ends, i.e. the gold that Azash created vanished after his defeat. So, what happens when the Trolls all die and Zalasta comes out of No-Time with all of his magic power and a burning hatred of those that defeated him?
It is hard to say, since from Zalasta's perspective the Trolls will never die — the point of No-Time is that time doesn't pass, and in Zalasta's case this was at a time when the Troll Gods are still as strong as ever.
Zalasta was not put into no-time the way Baron Parok was, so he will be there when the Troll-Gods die. However, since their magic is also sustaining his life, he'll probably crumble into dust instantaneously as his age catches up to him.
It's said several times that what people call 'magic' is in essence asking a god to perform an action for you. After Azash and Cyrgon die, how the hell could Zalasta perform magic?
Specifically, sanctioned Styric magic is asking a god to perform an action for you. There are other ways of doing magic, like the way renegade Styrics call upon powers of the imprisoned Elder Gods...or rather, the same powers the Elder Gods use (like the one who could call upon demons and otherworldly monsters). In fact, Zalasta never received power from Azash at all, and likely not much if anything from Cyrgon. He's basically the greatest Styric magician in history, and didn't need them.
Has anyone else noticed that with Ehlana's being barren, there will be no more Sparhawks as he has no son- and thus, no more champions? Nobody in the books did, and Sparhawk at least should find this to be a fairly major issue.
It's implied that Talen will be taking up the position.
Ulath tells the story of a knight that left the Order and sought refuge in a monastery after an Ogress fell in love with him. Who in the story is a former knight, current religious figure, who obviously misses his days of adventure and violence? Bergsten!
Full-Frontal Assault: Bellina, under Azash's curse, who hangs out naked in her brother's cellar butchering and eating children alive.
And then inverted when the Knights run across a horde of naked revelers trying to summon Azash into a clay idol, and promptly assault them.
Also done by Lillias during her farewell to Sparhawk.
Hilarious in Hindsight: During the second book the Knights are approached by a displaced Troll in the dark who starts shouting for them to hand over the child who stole from him. Everyone automatically assumes it's Talen. It's inexplicable at first, until you find out later the Troll is actually Ghwerig and he's looking for Flute, not Talen, whom everyone thinks of instantly when they hear "child" and "thief".
Ulath: How could Talen pick a Troll's pocket? They don't even have pockets!
Jerkass Woobie: Avin Wargunsson. Yes, he's a Small Name, Big Ego Prince Regent, but he developed this bad attitude because of his stature; being over a foot shorter than everyone around him, he was constantly ignored (and often stepped on) by everyone else - Thalesians generally wind up somewhere in the 6-7 feet range. Upon his death, Bergsten is more concerned about if the wine that Avin was drowned in could be saved than about the Prince Regent being assassinated in his own office.
Magnificent Bastard: One could make a case for Martel. The man has his fingers in just about every Evil Plan in the books, and just when you think you've stopped them all, he shows up at Chyrellos with a massive army, having tricked Wargun into chasing shadows hundreds of miles away, to declare Annias Archprelate by force. Oh, and the Ehlana thing? Just a scheme he and Azash cooked up.
Narm: Annias' title is Primate. It makes sense if you think about the origin of the word, but it's hard to take a guy seriously when people are practically calling him "ape" left and right.
This troper actually joked about Azash corrupting Annias with the promise of tons of bananas.
Scarpa. His character lose a lot of points when you know that his name means "Shoe" in Italian.
That might be a bit of Fridge Brilliance, since Scarpa's status as a bastard son of a prostitute caused everyone (even his own father) to kick him around all his life (and generally treat him like something you'd scrape off the bottom of one).
Sequelitis: One could make a case for the Elenium being some of Eddings' best stuff. But then the Tamuli comes along, which is a big step down, largely thanks to an abundance of Harmless Villains.
Tear Jerker: Aphrael can be a very irritating character at times, but her declaration of "They're killing my children, Sephrenia! All over Eosia! The Elenes are killing my children! I want to die!" made this troper want to cry.
Martel's last words: "This isn't so bad.... I get to die in the presence of the only two people I ever really loved." Both of whom are his enemies, and one of whom blesses him in his dying moment and sheds tears over it. Also, arguably supports Foe Yay.
No mention of when Kurik is killed? And Talen, crying over his father's body: "He's dead, Sparhawk! My father's dead!"
What about when it is revealed that 30,000 Knights got killed in a single battle with Klael's troops? Especially once they mention that almost all of the Cyrinic Knights were killed following their Preceptor in a charge, meaning that an entire order of Knights has been all but eradicated.
Unfortunate Implications: In Domes of Fire, Mirtai invites a group of people, including Danae, a young child, to hear her life story. Mirtai sends Danae away to get her some water when she starts talking about her gay owner, because apparently telling a young child that you had a gay owner is worse than letting her hear about the multiple graphic murders you've committed. Great one, Eddings. To be fair, Mirtai's telling of the incident involving her gay owner's death and the revenge she took was a bit more graphic than the other stories she tells. Most of the stories that Danae was present for show Mirtai glossing over much of the Squick, like when she only says "he died from his injuries two days later", or "I kept the chain around his neck until dawn after poking out his eyes" as opposed to -very- graphically describing how she pulled out a man's intestines, did the same to his lover, sat them down across from each other, and then set the house on fire around them.
Talen's age. Everyone assumes he's ten during the events of the Elenium, although I've never seen anything specifying his age there. Fair enough, a lovable street urchin is generally ten or so. However, during the opening chapters of the Tamuli, he's stated to be about fifteen. And Danae is six. So, working back from that, he would have been nine when she was born, making him only seven or eight years old at the time most of the Elenium's events were happening, a good nine to fifteen months before her birth. That's right, for most of the trek to find Bhelliom, and the confrontation in Zemoch, the group of knights had a seven/eight-year-old boy around (and Flute, but she's an incarnation of a goddess and doesn't count). And Talen killed a full-grown berserker (with a little help from Sparhawk) at that age after witnessing his father's very bloody death. No wonder he acts older than his years at times. I think it's pushing things just a little too far for my comfort.