Polgara was a bitch.

OK, I’ll admit it. My continuing love for the Eddingses is completely perverse and unwarranted, in light of the travesties they later committed upon their own characters, and especially in light of the horrendously bad offerings after The Tamuli.

Which is not to say that everything after the original Belgariad didn’t have its eye-rollingly stupid moments. I mean, really. "We can’t be bothered to come up with a new storyline, so we’re going to blatantly plagiarize ourselves and write the same story again, and then lampshade the whole thing with a moronic tacked-on “philosophical” explanation about being forced to repeat things until the universe is restored.

Then, of course, they had to write the same story again, TWICE, with The Elenium and The Tamuli, only this time focusing on the “let’s whack a God!” aspect. So Sparhawk offed some Gods. And those damned Eddingses had the temerity to reuse lines directly from their earlier works (“In a very real sense, you’re the most important person in the history of the universe…”, etc.)


I refuse to even speak about The Redemption of Althalus or that goddamned, miserable final series. I know some folks like Althalus, so I won’t comment, other than to say 1) De gustibus, yadda yadda yadda, and 2) please drink a glass of warm milk and go to bed until you feel better.

Sigh. OK. So I read Belgarath the Sorcerer. Yes, they were phoning it in even more by this point, which is remarkable in itself. But it wasn’t horrible. It wasn’t unreadable. They kept Belgarath more or less the same character. He was irascible, slovenly, and circumspect. And he was primal, patient, powerful beyond belief, and as wise as you could expect someone to be after 7000 years. It was a chore to get through the book, but for someone who steeped himself in the mythology of that world when he was 13, the biography of the Eternal Man was a dream come true.

I will never forgive them, however, for Polgara the Sorceress. They ruined Polgara’s character for me. Suddenly, she’s some proto-ultrafeminist. Suddenly, she’s the most important figure in the history of the universe, and her father, the guy who had watched the world in its infancy and carefully guided humanity toward its destiny, was little more than a drunk asshole who likes to stick his ancient dick into things, and really should have just gotten out of the way while Polgara and Poledra fixed everything the right way. Oh, and by the way, Poledra is the most powerful sorcerer in the world now, and sometimes her power dwarfs even that of the gods (see: the revisionist conflict at Vo Mimbre). If that book was a look into Polgara’s mind, then, goddamn, she’s a self-involved, snotty person. She’s like that guy at the party who always has to just slightly one-up you, no matter what you’re saying (“Yeah, that’s cool, but in my opinion, you don’t REALLY know what the Arctic is like until you’ve been there for three weeks, which I was back in 2000…”)

Stylistically, whoo, don’t get me started. The unfortunate habit of doing those little “side-notes” started in Belgarath, and I hated them, but they were used fairly sparingly. In Polgara, goddamn, there was some snotty, snide, insulting, or just plain sophomoric side note, addressed to Silk, Ce’Nedra, Belgarath, or just about anybody else, every other page. It was maddening. It got to the point where I simply skipped the text whenever I came upon a short break followed by a couple pointless lines.

Polgara was a dick.

OK, I know this thread isn’t going to hugely popular, but let me bitch a little more.

I thought the Necessity always rewards service to its plan. Man, Belsambar and Belmakor got pretty fucking short shrift then, huh?

…but then, I suppose they were, respectively, an Angarak and a Melcene, so they don’t count. :rolleyes:

I agree that Polgara was a bitch in her book but I think she was pretty much always a bitch and the best part of The Elenium and The Tamuli is that they didn’t reuse her character.

That said I enjoy rereading the Belgariad as easy way to spend a week.

Yah. That’s part of my problem. I still go back and read them all regularly. :smack:

And they did reuse her character, albeit in a gentler guise: Sephrenia.

Polgara was a frustrated virgin for several millennia. Give her a break. :stuck_out_tongue:

BTW: I’m pretty sure Poledra was really a goddess in disguise. C’mon, a she-wolf who just happens to also be an immortal sorceress? Pull the other one, it’s got bells on. In fact, I’m pretty sure Belgarath and the other sorcerers were really Aldar’s bastard sons, which would make Polgara three-quarters goddess. Maybe why unlike her father she was not only immortal but perpetually youthful as well. Also why Torak developed an obsession with her.

So, they were all Maiar, eh? :slight_smile:

Or were you thinking more along the lines of “Aldur took the form of a golden cloud and descended upon the sleeping virgin” kind of stuff? :slight_smile:

No, she was perpetually youthful because, as Belgarath himself points out, women who become “distinguished-looking” as the sorcerers did are called crones. :stuck_out_tongue:

Yes, Polgara was a bitch. I’ve read the Belgariad, Malloreon, and the two sorceror first-persons. The Eddingses (since it was him and his wife writing them) only seem capable of writing two kinds of women—simpering sickly sweet ones and stone bitches. The only real exception is Porenn, who is much more real and much more awesome than any of the other female characters.

To be honest, if Ce’Nedra came to a nasty end, I would rejoice. Talk about bitches.

I know that all of those series were supposedly written by both David and Leigh, but I wonder how the division of labor really fell out. I don’t want to sound misogynistic, but Polgara has the feel of a very resentful female author.

And God help me, I wonder if Belgarath and Poledra were supposed to be autobiographical characters for the Eddingses. I wonder (shudder) if she called him “Old Wolf” when no one was around.

I have a love/hate thing with these books, if you couldn’t tell. :smiley:

She was my least-favorite character, and I thought she was a bitch from the get-go.

Oh, man, I waited for that book for ages, and was so disappointed when I finally read it. Smug, superior, snotty, self-serving, and selfish.

Her interactions with the suitors just really made me feel icky, especially Ontrose.

I liked Queen Layla, myself, especially when she and her progeny rout the ambassador.

Ah, but those were things that absolutely had to happen for it to work out well for everyone else. Just like Toth.

Yeh, like that.

Wasn’t the “immortal sorceress” bit supposed to be an automatic result of someone learning to use the Will and the Word?

I read that David originally wanted to write a 10 volume series, to prove some sort of point about fantasy stories, but was told to trim it down to 5 volumes.

I managed to read the first three series, but it was just too much of the same old thing, endlessly recycled.

I never bothered to read the Polgara book. After the violations to continuity in Belgarath the Sorcerer I knew it would only piss me off.

Sounds like it was worse then even I expected.

What’s the point of giving characters a background if it flat out violates what we already know? It’s more like the background to characters kinda like the ones we know. I wouldn’t mind it so much but I didn’t need to read the same plot for the fourth? Fifth? (I’ve lost count) time only ignoring established history.

Ce’Nedra, to be fair, at least had the excuse of starting out as a 16-year-old spoiled brat, so her behaviour was, though not acceptable or appealing, perfectly logical.

Polgara was just . . . GWAH. “Polgara the Sorceress” was NOT about the character I loved and feared through the first five books.

I don’t even recall the continuity violations. Can someone remind me?

I do remember that as the series ground on, I liked the characters less and less. Garion, somehow, became even less interesting with every book. This is a truly stunning literary acheivement, except sort of in reverse. Especially Polgara. She was actually cool, matronly, and likeable in the first book… not so much with every succeeding book. Geez, I thin the only characters I didn’t wind up despising were Sadi (? - the Nyissian majordomo, who used fistfulls of drugs as melee weapon :D) and Durnik.

Was this directed at me? If so the wiki page for Belgarath covers some of what I remember noticing. The last item:

In Sorceress of Darshiva, Beldin and Belgarath discuss Beldin’s first use of magic, discussing how Beldin was angry with Belgarath and did damage to a tree, yet in Belgarath Beldin is the first known example of naturally being able to use the Will and the Word.

Is what really annoyed me. In Sorceress they make a BIG DEAL out of spontaneous sorcery so much they have to drop the quest to go talk to a guy about it. Beldin and Belgarath talk about how depressing it is they studied for years and a few people just pick it up. This can’t be waved away as ‘differing memories’ the way some of the other continuity problems are it directly flies in the face of that entire scene (which leads to a major plot point). Really it was just a way to make Beldin all the more badass. I was already kinda tired of Eddings at that point but that was a real deal breaker. Either very sloppy or he just didn’t care.

I’ve always thought the female characters were written by Leigh. I actually really liked Belgarath, which I read (accidentally) before the Belgariad. *Then *I read that, and Polgara.

I hate Polgara. She was more than a bitch - she emasculated her father and all other men at every opportunity.

I hate all of the main female characters, just about. I too like the queens - Poleyn, and Layla, and I also like Velvet. But Ce’nedra really just made me want to kill her. Not bitch-slap her or yell at her but truly throttle her right to death.

This is why I really don’t like to read books centered around females - they’re handled so badly. It’s OK for Belgarath to just be himself but females always have to be something else. Something more than just themselves.

OP, I am with you 110%. As for Althalus, the best part of that book was on the book jacket - which fooled me into buying it long ago. That one was even worse. I wanted to read about a thief, dammit, not a toady.

The Elenium? Re-read that one recently, too, and yes, it was the exact same story. Tho I really did like Sparhawk.

I believe so; even the least powerful and competent people who can do that are immortal.

As I recall, the explanation is that sorcery tends to make people age to a state that reflects a combination of their self image and desires. So naturally, sorceresses end up all looking young because wanting to look young is the norm for women. As opposed to men, for whom looking older is often advantageous; it’s mentioned that Belgararth looks old, but has a fit, muscular body under that robe; the appearance of age, the strength of youth…