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Is there any info on which real-life countries the countries in David Eddings's Belgariad and Malloreon were based on? So far I've come up with the following:

Sendaria ~ Britain (mixture of cultures, reputation for 'common sense', and anyway ever since LotR the main character's home country in a fantasy world is always based on Britain or England)

Arendia ~ Ireland (lots of fighting between two rival factions: Mimbrates ~ Catholics and Asturians ~ Protestants)

Cherek ~ Scandinavia (Viking-type warriors in warships, lots of bear stuff)

Drasnia ~ Russia (big country with huge tracts of tundra waste, two main cities, omnipresent intelligence service)

Algaria ~ Kazakhstan (horses - say no more)

Cthol Murgos ~ China? (I think Murgos are described as having sallow skin and slanted eyes; also the dynasty system for rulers of Cthol Murgos sounds vaguely like the Chinese dynasties)

Tolnedra ~ ancient Rome? (this is mainly based on the legions; the merchants, bureaucrats, and disbelief in magic maybe don't fit so well)

Gar og Nadrak? Mishrak ac Thull? Nyissa? Riva? And of course the other continent - do different parts of Mallorea correspond to countries in the Americas (or maybe states in the US)?

I did consider Aloria ~ Scandinavia, since it splits into 3 countries with one culturally similar country way out in the northern part of the western ocean, but Drasnia and Algaria don't really seem very Scandinavian.

Suggestions for further correspondences as well as canon info will be appreciated!

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    Out of interest, you may wanna take a look here: tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/FantasyCounterpartCulture;;; I do think there is a section on Eddings there as well (Compulsory TVTrope warning) :) – Mac Cooper Oct 27 '14 at 11:39
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    See I pictured Sendaria to be more like the great plains of the US, with the mixed culture and mostly farmland. That would make Arendia like england and france, with the Austurians being Brits and the Mimbrate being French. – CBredlow Jan 20 '15 at 21:28
  • I think we all perceive different Belgairad countries as representing different real countries depending on our own experiences and knowledge. For me Riva has always been British a rocky island a short distance off the coast of the mainland of Aloria with a grim seeming people that once you get to know them are very friendly. But unless there's actual writing from David or Leigh Eddings we won't know. – Sarriesfan Feb 20 at 9:57
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Glancing at the David Eddings wiki, he at the least states that the Nyissans were loosely inspired by Egypt. From The Rivan Codex, "The Alorns are clearly Scandinavian; the Tolnedrans, Marags, Arends, and Nyissans are Mediterranean. The Angaraks ... were intended to suggest the Mongols of Genghis Khan or the Huns of Attila" (p. 106) On page 77, he started that Nyissan society "has echoes of the Egyptian, but only slight ones."

I have memories of reading a similar book by Eddings that was more explicitly his notes, but I have not not yet found a copy again.

  • Thanks for this! The Rivan Codex is the only book in the Belgariad/Malloreon collection that I haven't got. Is this all he says about the countries in it? (Or should I go out and get the book myself?) – Rand al'Thor Nov 9 '14 at 11:01
  • I was mining for quotes last night before bed, so this is likely far from comprehensive. The book is mostly the bits of in-universe writing he did before writing the books with a few small footnotes. I would swear I read a book that actually was straight notes, including a breakdown of his influences, but maybe I'm imagining books of my youth. – FuzzyBoots Nov 9 '14 at 13:47
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Eddings is on record as saying he based his fictional worlds on real places:

I create people and places that I find very interesting (almost always derived from real places). I like some people and places and I hate some of the others. For some reason the ones I like always win. Isn’t that odd?

I'm not aware of any detailed breakdown of which real places served as inspiration for Eddings. Sometimes it's obvious (Cherek is Generic Viking, Tolnedra is mostly Generic Ancient Rome), other times less so.

As the above quote indicates, Eddings was a rather opinionated person. How he was inspired by particular places depends not only on the historical facts, but on his subjective opinion of those facts. Since Eddings is no longer around to tell us, it will often be futile to ask which specific times and places inspired his fictional kingdoms.

Also, I think it's fair to say Eddings wasn't very interested in detailed historical research. In the Belgariad/Malloreon universe, a number of things are left extremely vague:

  • Why did these societies develop as they have? How do they interact with each other?
  • How do the people live? For the most part they seem to be Generic Happy Peasants (in the Good kingdoms) or Generic Oppressed Peasants (in the Evil kingdoms), but beyond that we aren't given much information on social or economic structures.
  • Why is there only one language? The heroes have no difficulty making themselves understood at the other end of a continent. Good luck with that on the real medieval (or modern) Earth.
  • Why have these kingdoms existed for 7000 years with essentially fixed borders (!) and no particular cultural change?

In short, I think it's a mistake to go looking for very detailed parallels between Eddings' kingdoms and real ones, because Eddings wasn't attempting that level of historical versimilitude.

  • I'm not looking for 'very detailed parallels'! But if he did base his countries on real ones (modern or historical), and your quote tells us he did, then I'm interested in getting either canon info or helful speculation on which ones. Then I can look into e.g. whether they're geographically related in the same way as the real countries they're based on. Cherek, Drasnia, and Algaria certainly are, if I'm right about Scandinavia, Russia, and Kazakhstan. – Rand al'Thor Oct 29 '14 at 12:21
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Aloria is the Germanic Peoples... no Russians or Kazakhs here. Cherek is, of course, Viking-Age Scandinavia, Drasnia is Northern Germany, broadly Flanders to the Baltics (Hanseatic League Traders.) Algaria is broadly Southern Germanic lands, though their similarity is tenuous, and their character is more Hunnish than German. Riva would have to be Iceland, I think, or perhaps England... it has elements of each.

Sendaria may indeed be England, or possibly Flanders. Arendia is France, definitely. Tolnedra is Rome, Nyissa is Egypt. Murgo is Arabia. Mallorea is a strange combination of Russia and the Ottoman Empire. The Melcenes are probably Chinese and the Dals are probably Tibetans.

  • Welcome to SciFi.SE! Can you explain why you believe this? We prefer it here if answers are backed up with evidence, and not simply guesswork. – F1Krazy Feb 20 at 6:32
  • Yes, I'd be interested to see more evidence for this. I like these kinds of correspondences in fiction, but what are the similarities to support these connections rather than others? – Rand al'Thor Feb 20 at 7:01
  • You could say that Aloria and Drasnia represent the Scandinavian countries in different parts of history as well, the Viking age and the age of the Hanseatic League as demonstrated by the old part of the city of Bergen. Algaira could be said to areas that are now Hungary which relates to their history of horsemanship. – Sarriesfan Feb 20 at 10:02

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