Jack's David & Leigh Eddings Page

alt.fan.eddings FAQ

The alt.fan.eddings FAQ version 2.0 + Add-on-section

Posted by Aphrael (aphrael@microserve.net).

Add-on section posted by Sarabian (pfreemn@netcomuk.co.uk)

(ask again at your own risk)
  1. The systems of magic and worlds that David Eddings have created don't always seem very logical. Why?
  2. I've got this great idea about who should be in a movie...
  3. Gee, has anyone noticed that the plots of Eddings' fantasies are all kind of similar?


  1. Inconsistencies
    1. Editing errors
      1. The infamous Chaldan/Chamdar misprint
      2. The wandering L's
    2. Boneheaded errors
      1. The name of Brand's oldest son
      2. Gared/Geran
    3. Illogical/inconsistent actions
      1. Durnik vs. Brill
      2. Asharak/Chamdar
  2. Dryads (a.k.a. The Thread That Will Not Die)
  3. Immortality (a.k.a. The Other Thread That Will Not Die)
  4. What, precisely, does the mark on Garion's hand signify?
  5. So, what exactly is on Garion's amulet?
  6. The meaning of 'Bel' and 'Pol'.
  7. Why isn't 'Durnik' called 'Beldurnik'?
  8. Why can't Zedar get out of that hole Belgarath put him in?
  9. Speaking of Zedar, don't you think his punishment was a bit too harsh?


  1. Inconsistencies
    1. Terms that can be confused
      1. Elene/Elenian
      2. Patriarch/primate
    2. Illogical gaps in the story
      1. Who exactly has touched the Bhelliom?
      2. Sephrenia and Aphrael's flying
  2. What God is supporting Zalasta's spells when he crashes Sephrenia and Vanion's wedding?
  3. Where do the renegade Styrics get their power?
  4. Why couldn't Sparhawk let King Wargun know that he was looking for Bhelliom?
  5. Immortality (The Elenium Derivative)
  6. Will Eddings write more on Sparhawk and the gang?


  1. Will anyone here be offended if I choose a character's name as my alias?
  2. Are there any rules on this newsgroup?
  3. Any special features I should watch for?
  4. Who the heck is Celine and what does she have to do with Eddings?


  1. 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.

  2. 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 avoid it.

  3. 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 stone.

    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 other.


  1. Inconsistencies

    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 REALLY stupid.

    1. Editing Mistakes


      At one point in The Seeress of Kell, the "bull-god of the Arends" is identified as "Chamdar" rather than "Chaldan".

      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.

    2. Boneheaded Errors

      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".

    3. Illogical Actions

      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.

  2. 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)

  3. 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 tree dies?

    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 either theory.

    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 centuries.

    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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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...

  6. 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.)

  7. 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.)

  8. 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:

    1. 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).

    2. 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....)

  9. Speaking of Zedar, don't you think his punishment was too harsh?


    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)

  1. Inconsistencies

    1. Some terms that may be confused and are occasionally mixed up by the editors.

      1. Elene/Elenian

        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".

      2. Patriarch/primate

        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.

    2. Illogical gaps in the story

      1. 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 creature.

      2. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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....

  6. 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!


  1. 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 archives at http://www.dejanews.com and see if there are any posts using that name in the last three weeks or so. If not, you're probably safe.

  2. 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.

    1. 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.

    2. 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.

    3. 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.

  3. 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 welcome.

    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 running.

  4. 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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