The Elenium Critical Essays

David Eddings


(Critical Survey of Science Fiction and Fantasy)

The Elenium, David Edding’s third fantasy series, is a typical heros quest. In one way or another, Sparhawk fulfills all thirteen of the standard characteristics of a heros quest listed by Peter R. Stillman in Introduction to Myth (1977). First, Sparhawk is neither a fool (he understands the dangers that he is facing reasonably well) nor invincible (he was nearly killed ten years earlier, when he was first banished). Second, he is urgently required to make a journey (Ehlanas life depends on his success), and third, that journey is beset with dangers, loneliness (he is the only one who can complete the journey), and temptations (the power of Bhelliom nearly seduces him).

The fourth characteristic is that he is accompanied by guides (Sephrenia and Flute) who advise him. Fifth, companions (Sir Kalten, Berit, Kurik, Talen, and the three champions of the other orders of church knights) accompany him until his journeys end. Sixth, this journey is neither direct (his travels take him all over the countryside, facing various roadblocks and side trips to locate Bhelliom, cure Ehlana, and finally face Azash) nor clear, because he knows neither the true reason for the journey nor exactly how to proceed. Seventh, he has a goal (to find Bhelliom and return to Elenia to cure Ehlana), but that is not the full extent of the journey (he eventually has to face Azash). The goal is no more than a symbol of his true quest, satisfying the eighth characteristic of a...

(The entire section is 585 words.)