At the end of the Belgariad (specifically, Enchanters' End Game), the Gods ask Polgara for a heavy sacrifice, for an important cause:

The Gods help Belgarion in resurrecting Durnik on the condition that Polgara give up her powers, so that her marriage to Durnik will survive. Specifically, Belgarath says something like "No marriage could survive that kind of inequality."

My issue is that Belgarion's marriage to Ce'Nedra seems like an extraordinary inequality of power as well - is there any explanation given as to how Polgara's is doomed to failure and Belgarion's is not?

  • 1
    If this is resolved in the Mallorean, please include your answer in spoiler tags. Jun 16, 2011 at 2:49

5 Answers 5


Belgarion and Ce'Nedra were prophesied to marry - she had to be the "Queen of the World". This simply had to happen, whether the marriage would be doomed to eventual failure or not (unlike Polgara).

However, it's not so clear that the two are as unevenly matched as Polgara and her husband, who was only a normal human. In particular, Ce'Nedra is a Dryad, although she doesn't have the ability to use the Will and the Word, she is a monster (in the Ulgo sense), at least partially.

This means that the equity in lifespan between husband and wife isn't as great (a Dryad lives as long as her tree does). Belgarion could probably still live longer, but Ce'Nedra could certainly live for thousands of years.

Although Ce'Nedra doesn't have the magical abilities that her husband does, she does have other attributes (e.g. from being a Dryad, and from the amulet) that make their marriage more equal than if Belgarion had married a regular human.

In addition, Polgara's sacrifice isn't actually a sacrifice (since rather than losing her power Durnik is granted equal power), it is a test: she doesn't actually give anything up, she merely has to prove that she would be willing to. This doesn't negate Belgarath's comment, but it does intimate that if Belgarion and Ce'Nedra were not sufficiently matched the gods would do something about that.

  • I've tried to be as spoiler free as possible, but it's a while since I've read the series, and so I may not be remembering correctly what's revealed in each set of books. Apologies if I've got it wrong, and free free to edit, of course.
    – Tony Meyer
    Jun 16, 2011 at 4:16
  • Oh nooo I read it anyway...but yeah, I considered the idea that Ce'Nedra's Dryad heritage and the amulet would probably help, but I'm not sure how I feel about the "they had to marry" bit - after all, Durnik is "The Man Who Lives Twice", seems like that was gonna happen in the same fashion. Jun 16, 2011 at 4:37
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    @Ian he had to live twice, but they didn't have to marry. If they didn't marry, presumably everything could still have ended up the way it needed to (in the grand scheme of things). If Belgarion and Ce'Nedra didn't marry, everyone could have been stuck repeating things forever.
    – Tony Meyer
    Jun 16, 2011 at 4:56
  • for some reason I had associated Polgara's sacrifice with Durnik's resurrection (i.e. it was required) - you're right, I don't see any reason why the two are actually connected. Thanks! Jun 16, 2011 at 14:07
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    An additional point worth regarding here: what matters is that the power balance of the marriage is equal. Garion may be able to blow up continents with his mind, but he was brought up on a farm; Ce'Nedra is an Emperor's daughter and much more assertive. (Notice how easily she gets him to agree to co-rulership of Riva.) There's more than one way for a marriage to be equal... and this is one factor that doesn't apply to Pol and Durnik.
    – Tynam
    Sep 20, 2012 at 21:30

What Aldur asked Polgara is if she would live the rest of her life with no more power than Durnik. Her powers could NOT be removed, so the Gods gave Durnik the gift of 'Thw Will and the Word' so his powers now equaled hers.


Polgara didn't lose her powers; Durnik gained his.

Also, Polgara had her powers for a long time, Garion only for a little while. This no doubt made a difference. Plus, we don't know if Garion would have an extended life.

  • At the very end of the Mallorean, it is strongly implied that Belgarion would live for a long time.
    – SLaks
    Jun 17, 2011 at 3:06
  • @Slaks: True enough, it's been a while since I've read the series... Jun 19, 2011 at 17:05
  • garion must be able to live for a long time because in belgarath the sorcerer it says "the scholarly life simply wasnt available to him as it had been to Aldur's first disciple and garion was forced to admit that he wasnt that good a scholar in the firt place. Of course, with a little time - a few centuries at most-"
    – user3189
    Oct 28, 2011 at 13:09

I think the point has been missed. In the eyes of the Prophecy, each of its instruments are equally important. Considering the equality of a marriage based on considerations like status or power is beside the point.


Beldin get involved w Vella. She's completely mortal but transformed to a purple banded hawk. Pol DIDNT know Durnik was the man with two lives. Everything about him pertaining to the prophecy was held from her because he was her destined mate. Even the bell that goes off when she sees two destined people didn't go off for her when she saw him that first time. She tried to stop him because she knows only those in the prophecy are supposed to go. It pissed her off that the old wolf overrode her denial. Cenedra was so infused by the prophecy all her life that were aware of that she's a little more prepared to be a long term lifemate to Garion thanks to that intervention. The infused ability....the dryad heritage...the gods working together to make her what she needed to be for those events. They all work together to make her that embodied power of force strong enough to handle being the queen of the world ...

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