Archive for February, 2011

It was during my A-levels many years ago now (well, it feels like many years!) that I first thought about writing some sort of comparison piece about two series of books, set in different mediaeval worlds but with strong similarities in characters by a favourite author of mine. Something along the lines of “Do some successful authors only have one story in them”. I never did write it – and then I changed course from English to German a couple of weeks into the first term.

But it’s always been there, at the back of my mind, never really forming enough of a direction to actually happen. I’m not sure I’ve got that direction now either, but a conversation with someone at work recently reminded me how much I used to enjoy writing. Creative writing, generally fantasy style bulletin board (how mid-90s!) role playing games. I made friends there. I travelled because of the friends I made there. And some of them I’m still in touch with to various degrees.

I digress.

The author in question? David Eddings. An American fantasy writer, (who I believe died a couple of years ago). I first read his Belgariad series when I was in my early teens and it soon became an addiction. I’m slightly ashamed to admit I can (and still frequently do) pick up one of those five tatty-eared, yellowing books with loose pages and open it at random and still know where I am in the story.

Re-reading them now, as an adult, I realise that actually the writing isn’t stunning. It’s a little heavy handed, and I’m sure there are better writers out there, in fantasy writing, and in general. But having read few fantasy books aimed at adults when I first fell in love, then Eddings was my “J.R.R Tolkein”. My base point from which all other fantasy was judged and rated. I fell in love with those characters, Polgara, scruffy Belgarath, Garion and fiery haired (and tempered) Ce’Nedra. They were solid people to me, not just words on a page.

A favourite conversation between my brother and I is picking a topfive authors. Until very recently Eddings was always top. But a couple of years ago he was toppled by Robin Hobb, whose wonderful first 3 trilogies kept me up long past my bedtime for many a night. But I’ll leave talking about her for another time.

And maybe I will get around to that comparison piece sometime too.


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