This is the scene in the Belgariad Saga where Durnik dies:

[Zedar talking to Polgara]: Save yourself that agony. In the end, you’ll go to him anyway. You’ll go willingly - even eagerly.”
There was a sudden scraping in the room beyond the iron door, and a quick rush of feet. “Durnik!” Aunt Pol cries sharply. “No!”
“What’s happening?” Garion demanded of Belgarath.
That’s what it means!” Belgarath gasped. “Get that door open!”
“Get back you fool!” Zedar was shouting.
There was a sudden crash, the sound of bodies locked in struggle smashing into furniture.
“I warn you,” Zedar cried again. “Get back!”
There was a sharp sound of a blow, a fist striking solid bone. “Zedar!” Belgarath roared, yanking at the iron door.
Then within the room there was a thunderous detonation.
David Eddings: Belgariad Saga 5, Enchanters’ End Game, Mallorea

Okay, so Durnik is, for some reason, attacking Zedar, the two end up fighting and there’s an explosion.

But why does Durnik attack such an out-matching enemy at all, and why now? Also, Polgara seems to be doing nothing about it.

Furthermore, his corpse is later described as

crumbled on the floor, and whose face had that deathly pale to it that could only mean one thing.

It doesn’t sound like he blew up, so what exactly happened in there?

  • 3
    Because it’s very difficult to get hands on any Eddings books (apparently they’re not printed in Europe anymore, I haven’t read Malloreon (yet) so I’d appreciate if answers that have to take into account the sequel could use Spoiler markdown.
    – Narusan
    Commented Sep 28, 2017 at 19:57
  • 1
    A wizard did it. Literally. Commented Sep 29, 2017 at 0:02
  • @HarryJohnston Hey, where‘s the big Warning: TVTropes? I almost got sucked in there...
    – Narusan
    Commented Sep 29, 2017 at 5:13
  • Narusan, Mwahahahahaha! Commented Sep 29, 2017 at 10:05

3 Answers 3


Gigantic spoiler warning guys ... this question is about the climax of book 5 of a 5-book series!

When I read the Belgariad long ago I interpreted this part as follows:

  • Zedar tells Polgara to just give it up already and be Torak's bride

  • Durnik gets mad and starts beating up Zedar (that's sounds of furniture breaking and blows). It's not smart, but he loves Polgara very much, and has for decades. He simply can't face the thought of the woman he loves and can never have being married to an evil God who will abuse her for fun. Basically, he just loses it.

  • Zedar kills him with magic (that's the explosion). Must have been some kind of internal damage, as we had an entire corpse and not a spatter-zone. I bet Zedar knows all those reach-into-your-heart tricks that the Hierarchs of Rak Chthol like to use.

Now thematically, Durnik had to die, for several reasons... To prepare him to become Aldur's disciple; to force Polgara to admit that she loves him; to teach Polgara a lesson in humility (the whole "your magic is gone" bit). Not to mention it's the "unforgivable" (to Belgarath) step which allows him to finally dispose of Zedar once and for all.

Does this help?

  • 2
    I imagine an explosion of force, pushing Durnik away from Zedar, hard enough to kill him when he hits the wall. IIRC, Zedar later says that he didn't intend for it to be fatal. Commented Sep 29, 2017 at 0:04
  • 4
    It's also part of the prophecy-- he's the twice-lived smith, and he can't exactly live twice if he doesn't die first. Commented Sep 29, 2017 at 1:33
  • 1
    @akaioi Thanks. I really haven’t considered that he might get angry because of all the insults, but your answer does make a lot of sense. It’s clear why he has to die out-of-character (but in-Universe) for the prophecy.
    – Narusan
    Commented Sep 29, 2017 at 4:51
  • 1
    "To prepare him to become Aldur's disciple" - isn't this bit a Malloreon spoiler? Might want to put that behind a spoilertag, given the OP's request below the question.
    – Rand al'Thor
    Commented Sep 29, 2017 at 11:29
  • 1
    @Randal'Thor It‘s already covered in the epilogue of Belgariad that Durnik will become a sorcerer as well, so that‘s fine. Anything more regarding that matter I would count as a spoiler...
    – Narusan
    Commented Sep 29, 2017 at 12:31

Sounds like he was hit hard enough to kill him(will try to find my copy of enchanters end game to get the exact answer), as it's implied in the quote that is what happens.

As for why Durnik attacks Zedar, who clearly out matches him? It's his character flaw. This isn't the first time this has happened. In Magicians Gambit, Beldin is hurling all sorts of insults at Polgara, and Durnik has none of it, and charges right at him. Throughout the series it's implied that he'll do anything to protect her, even though she doesn't need it. Polgara might have been still in shock when it happened, or Garion's friend was directing the two to act the way they did.

Why does he die?

From purely the standpoint of the Belgariad, it's needed to trigger a few events. His death, and the bargaining with the gods leads to Mara discovering Taiba, and snapping out of his grief. Also, in the Mallorean he's needed

to defeat Nahaz

Also, in some weird sort of way, he's Polgara's reward. Throughout her long life she hasn't had the chance to really find anyone (with one exception), and Durnik coming back and being the way he is was the Prophecy's way of rewarding her for her thousands of years of service.

  • 1
    Nice teaser for those who haven't read the Belgarath/Polgara companion novels ;-)
    – Rand al'Thor
    Commented Sep 29, 2017 at 11:30
  • @Randal'Thor I’ve always had a way with words.
    – CBredlow
    Commented Sep 29, 2017 at 14:12

If we look back even in Pawn of Prophecy when Garion is talking to Barak about his Doom Garion mentions a fortune teller tell Durnik he will live two lives.

In order for him to die, yet come back the damage must be done as something that is not irreversible. He must be able to come back, Durnik is strong, he is a blacksmith so each punch he gave must have hurt like the dickens, so Zeldar needed to do something fast that would take him down quickly. what exactly the blast was we do not know but I speculate is Zeldar did something to rip his soul from the body, instantly killing Durnik without doing permanent damage to the corpse.

The fact that it took the Orb, Garion and all his power, 7 gods including Ul and a potential god to restore life to a body with no physical damage would have taxed everyone and have been impossible to do if he exploded. The Awareness of the Prophecy left nothing to chance, both he and his counterpart shaped the battle to maximize their advantage. Durnik had to die, but he also needed to live to banish the demon lord and fulfill his tasks later.

Since the story is one massive chess game of the two Awareness's I would like to know what the Light have to compromise inorder for the Dark to allow Zedar to do what he did, to destroy without maiming.

  • Correct my if I‘m wrong, but this answer doesn’t add anything that hasn’t been said before, or am I mistaken?
    – Narusan
    Commented Jul 14, 2018 at 21:06

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