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So I just reread The Belgariad. In the final battle in Enchanter's End Game, Belgarath clearly states Torak - and his Necessity - would have won if someone loved him. Torak tried to get Polgara to love him and she admitted that even with her immense will, she would have been no match to resist the god Torak's command to love him. She was only saved because Belgarion fed images of Durnik to her.

So I am a bit confused by this. Torak is a god and has more insight into the the two Necessities than the mortals did. If Belgarath knew this, why didn't Torak? And if Torak did know this, why didn't he just make anyone love him, as his will was stronger than anyone's, but Belgarion - who still needed the Necessity to resist a God's Will.

Also, UL and the other gods did love him as a son and brother. Why did that not count?

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  • FWIW, there is a lot of commentary on this at slacktiverse.wordpress.com/category/deconstruction/… although they are similarly puzzled about the details of it.
    – FuzzyBoots
    Apr 6, 2023 at 12:42
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    I don't suppose that the out-of-universe explanation that Eddings is a poor writer and a poorer plotter would do?
    – Mark Olson
    Apr 6, 2023 at 14:59
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    @MarkOlson Its all relative. I rather enjoyed his writing overall. Yes, there were some flaws. I found the generalization of races/nationalities a little off-putting. The ending could have been better, as well. However, some authors/series that are considered "must read" for fantasy lovers, I find absolutely terrible. To each, their own.
    – user23298
    Apr 7, 2023 at 21:32
  • To each his own!
    – Mark Olson
    Apr 7, 2023 at 21:43

1 Answer 1

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While it is not explicitly spelled out, I think the key was that Torak needed to be loved, and needed to believe that he was loved. In this case, he believed, at least in some part of him, that Polgara could love him and that he was not so much trying to force her to love him as convincing her to recognize that love. He doesn't believe that his family loves him, in part due to his betrayal with the orb, and how his "mother" scarred him for his attempt at unmaking. And, with the reveal in The Mallorean of his origins, I believe it is extremely likely that he has spent most of his life subconsciously aware that this is not his real family, which would make him even more desperate to be loved even as he also wants to be feared so that he can be sure no one will try to hurt him again.

For what it is worth, I don't read this situation of him needing someone's love so much as a matter of the prophecy (or his Necessity) requiring it so much as that, without that love to support him, he lacked the resolve to prevail. And the narrative essentially spells that out with Garion's speech as he defeats Torak:

“Hear me, maimed and despised God,” he grated from between clenched teeth. “You are nothing. Your people fear you, but they do not love you. You tried to deceive me into loving you; you tried to force Aunt Pol to love you; but I refuse you—even as she did. You’re a God, but you are nothing. In all the universe there is not one person—not one thing—that loves you. You are alone and empty, and even if you kill me, I’ll still win. Unloved and despised, you’ll howl out your miserable life to the end of days.”

Garion’s words struck the maimed God like blows, and the Orb, as if echoing those words, blazed anew, lashing at the Dragon-God with its consuming hatred. This was the EVENT for which the Universe had waited since the beginning of time. This was why Garion had come to this decaying ruin—not to fight Torak, but to reject him.

Had Torak managed to overbear Polgara, he would have continued to believe that he was worthy and loved but as it is, he is driven past that despair event horizon.

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    Interesting... I just started The Mallorean. On chapter 2. Havent read either series or the standalone novels since I was a kid. Definitely enjoyed reading it again... but being older now, I see some flaws in the writing and story. I dont remember what happend in the Mallorean, but I will shortly.
    – user23298
    Apr 6, 2023 at 13:53

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