Thursday, June 04, 2009

RIP: David Eddings

Goodbye Mr. Eddings.

When I was just into my teenaged years you were the second writer of fantasy I read and the first to really open my eyes and immerse me into another world. Back then I devoured Pawn of Prophecy and all five volumes of the Belgariad. I couldn’t get enough of Garion, Silk, Barak, Durnik, Belgarath, Polgara, and the rest of the rather large crew trying to save the world from the Mad God Torak. This was a world I would escape into again and again. If I’m being honest, I should probably add a few more “agains” to that last sentence. I wanted to be young Garion and have this fantastic destiny shrouded in sorrow and mystery, I wanted to be a young farmboy with good morals and strong family who would rise to become a hero with great magical powers at my command. If part of fantasy is wish fulfillment, the Belgariad was my wish.

I read through your next series, the Mallorean, with delight at the chance to accompany Belgarion and Friends on a new adventure, one that felt slightly more adult at the time. Belgarion had grown up a bit, and so had I, and I welcomed one last adventure. With open arms I welcomed the two prequels which filled in the gaps and jumped headlong into the Elenium with the Pannion Knight Sparhawk. Your novels filled my days and I dreamed dreams of fantasy.

One brief confession, when I was sixteen I attempted to write my first novel. I had a marble notebook and I wrote it out by hand. I drew maps and imagined this great series and vast world that would dwarf that of the Belgariad. I finished a first chapter and read it over to admire my brilliance. I was shocked to discover that it was nothing more than a poor copy of those opening chapters of Pawn of Prophecy. Of course it was.

Though I haven’t read your work in many years, there will always remain a fond memory of those worlds you created and a gratitude for the opportunity to experience and share them at just the right time in my life. Your fiction enriched my childhood and helped to open the door to the fantasy genre. So, thank you, Mr. Eddings.

Good night, Mr. Eddings.

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