It was with a sad heart today that I saw the posts begin to appear on Twitter about the passing of a legend of the modern fantasy genre. David Eddings, author of “The Belgariad“, “The Malloreon“, “The Elenium” and several other “door stopper” fantasy novel series, who is hailed as the author who started the craze for writing fantasy novels over 400 pages long, has died.
David was one of the authors who inspired me to begin to think seriously about a writing career. He, along with fellow fantasy authors Charles de Lint and Raymond E. Feist were huge influences on me in my teens. There were many nights where I would be curled up with the latest tome from one these masters – taken away to a world free of my own troubles, and instead filled with adventure, drama, humour, sacrifice and true companionship. These stories provided complete escapism, yet also helped to form my own personal code and ethics – Friendship is Everything, Good Deeds Will Eventually Be Rewarded, Be True To Yourself, Never Give Up Your Dream – and that’s just a sample of what those books taught me as a kid.
They also gave me role models to aspire to. While I would never be a sorceress, I idolized Polgara. While I would never meet Garion, I could relate to his sense of trying to fit into a new landscape – work out where he belonged. And Belgarath replaced the beloved grandfather I’d lost only a couple of years before finding the Belgariad series. David’s work touched my life and gave me solace and comfort at a time when it was desperately needed.
As I’m in the process of moving house at the moment, I made the comment to my partner that I was having real trouble choosing which books to take with me and which to leave in storage, because books to me are like friends. I have shared the joys and troubles hidden in those pages, sympathized with the characters, laughed, cried, gasped with surprise and yes, even fallen in love with some of them. Some I have read again and again. Others I have read once and have lingered. All are valued companions and I am truly sad to hear that one of their creators will write no more.
Rest in peace, Mr Eddings. Words are just not enough to say thank you for all that you gave me and many, many others around the world.