This essay is at least partly because of an argument about the Belgariad, by David Eddings. I loved this series when I was a kid, but as I got older, I began to have some slight difficulties with characterization and race. One specific thing that bothered me was the way that the series “bad guys” were portrayed.
The Angaraks in general and the Murgoes in specific were kind of wooden to me, even for “minions of the evil god.” It did not seem normal to me that people –even people under the thumb of an evil god– would be stupid enough not to have figured out (after a thousand or so years) that the huge stronghold in the middle of the Algar Plains was actually a roach motel for evil-minions. The explanation of this given to me by the person I was arguing with was that the Murgoes were so totally under control of the evil god in question they were literally unable to think–in other words, they were orcs. My counter argument was why are only Murgoes and Grolims orcs, when Nadraks, and Malloreans have more free will? This reasoning wasn’t considered valid by the person I was arguing with, and he insisted that Angaraks were little more than orcs–which was perfectly valid interpretation since that was the way they were written. This is how I came up with the term “the Orc Defense.” Continue reading