Pawn of Prophecy by David Eddings

Still probably my favourite comfort read series.

So this story pretty much hits every fantasy cliche straight on the head, but it nails it. Garion is a farmboy who grows up in the farm’s kitchen with his Aunt Pol who is in charge of running it. The farm is occasionally visited by an itinerary storyteller whom Garion calls Mister Wolf. One night Mister Wolf calls to the farm and says that Garion and Pol must come with him as something has been stolen and they must find it. They’re joined by two companions, Barak a warrior and Silk, a trader, thief and spy. There are prophecies hinted at and dark forces trying to stop them.

If you were to try to write a story and hit every fantasy stereotype you might end up with something like this. I’m pretty sure I read that that’s what the author and his wife actually did. However there’s just something about this series that keeps me coming back.

All the characters are so well done. Garion actually feels like a kid and young teenager. Half the time in fantasy the teenage protagonist is basically just an adult with a bit less experience, whereas Garion is a proper naive, sheltered teenager. He hasn’t a clue about what’s going on though he’s aware there’s more going on regarding himself than he’s been told. ‘Mister Wolf’ and ‘Aunt Pol’ are brilliant, their relationship is profound and you can feel the weight of years behind it. Barak is a bit one dimensional, and there are a couple of moments that really haven’t aged well, but he’s still good to read about and Silk, well what can I say? He’s still up there with one of my favourite characters of all time.

I’m not sure how older readers would react to this if they were reading this for the first time. I think it’s now labeled as YA if that means anything, but I love this book and still find it a great read. I can still feel Garion’s revulsion in the scene when the two warriors are fighting each other towards the end, it just felt very real and visceral. There are a lot of issues with this book in relation to harmful stereotyping and it gets worse as the world expands it later books but it still doesn’t take away my enjoyment of it. Take this review with a healthy spoonful of nostalgia but I still think it’s a great series and is well worth a read.

5 stars

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