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Re reading The Belgariad and I would like to ask if Eddings had darker intent for King Rhodar.

In Pawn of Prophecy, when Silk introduces the Kings and Queens, Queen Porenn is introduced as Rhodar's second wife. Porenn also asked Silk to talk to Queen Layla for advice about providing a heir to King Rhodar.

What happened to the first queen? How come there is no heir from that marriage? Did something happen?

  • Where does it say that she was Rhodar's second wife, I don't remember that mentioned in the books. – CBredlow Jul 14 '18 at 18:01
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    "The second queen had stepped forward. She was a tiny blonde with a beautiful smile. Without ceremony she kissed King Fulrach and then Mister Wolf and embraced Aunt Pol warmly. Her affection seemed simple and unselfconscious." - Second queen (of several in the room), not second wife... – Valorum Jul 14 '18 at 18:19
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    Later "It's true all the same," Garion said defensively. "Of course she's not really his aunt, I guess. She's his uncle's second wife. It's not exactly like she was his real aunt."" - There's no further mention (that I can see) of the first wife. Given the age difference, I'd assume he had an earlier wife (who presumably died, which isn't unusual given the medieval setting). – Valorum Jul 14 '18 at 18:28
  • @Valorum didn't they mention in either Belgarath or Pogara that there was a plague that came out of the fens that claimed the first queen as well as affect Kheldar's mother? – CBredlow Jul 15 '18 at 5:50
  • @CBredlow, no, in the scene you're thinking of (which appears in both books) they say the plague killed Kheldar's mother and Rhodar's father. – Harry Johnston Jul 19 '18 at 7:54
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From an out-of-universe perspective, the reason that Porenn is Rhodar's second wife is that the author wanted Porenn to be significant younger than Rhodar. Specifically, she needed to be around about Silk's age.

There is no reason, either in universe or out of universe, to suppose that there was anything suspicious about his first wife's death. As Valorum already pointed out in the comments, being widowed is not at all unusual in a medieval setting.

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