Races in The Belgariad and The Malloreon

The world of "The Belgariad" by David Eddings is populated by a number of humanoid fantasy races. This same setting is shared by "The Malloreon", "Belgarath the Sorcerer", and "Polgara the Sorceress". Most of the races are humans of various ethnic backgrounds, mostly grouped into nation states. Some of the species classified as "monsters" in the story are sentient to a greater or lesser degree, particularly those that are humanoid. There are no elves, dwarves, or other typical fantasy races in the books. However, there are some traditional fantasy creatures, such as dragons and trolls. This article deals with the sentient humanoid races.

Humans

Alorns

Alorns are the people of Belar, that occupy the north-western part of the western continent. Once the people were combined into the one country Aloria, but they were divided to better protect the Orb of Aldur. The nations maintain strong military and economic ties.
* Algars are the people of Algaria. At the dividing of Aloria, Algar Fleet-foot and his followers took the broad grasslands drained by the River Aldur. The Algars are nomadic cattle-herders and horse-breeders who live in moving house-trains. Their culture seems to be based loosely on that of various western Native American tribes, and they fight as light cavalry similar to Cossacks (and the Peloi of the Elenium and Tamuli).
* Chereks are the people of Cherek. When the last king of a united Aloria, Cherek Bear-shoulders, divided his empire among his sons, he retained the mountainous peninsula that came to bear his name. The Chereks are primarily sailors, dominating sea trade (and piracy) in the West, forming the Alorn navy and patrolling the Sea of the Winds. On land, they are hunters, miners and foresters, and also fight as shock troops; the feared Cherek berserker's. Similar to Vikings and the Thalesians of the Elenium and Tamuli.
* Drasnians are the inhabitants of Drasnia, the northern moors taken by Dras Bull-neck in the breaking of Aloria. They are best known for their extensive intelligence operations. Espionage is a common and respected profession for the Drasnians. Also, many Drasnians are merchants, though it is probably true that most (if not all) Drasnian merchants have at least some connection with Drasnian Intelligence. The core of the Drasnian military is heavy infantry, mainly pikemen. Their culture seems to be based loosely on that of Western Russia.
* Rivans are the people of the Isle of the Winds. An insignificant Alorn possession before the empire was divided, it became the dominion of Riva Iron-Grip, the keeper of the Orb of Aldur. Once a closed nation, trade enclaves exist on the island, and Rivan merchants and artisans are not uncommon in other nations of the West. Militarily, the Rivans are defenders of the fortress-city of Riva, where the Orb of Aldur is kept. When in the field, they fight as medium infantry.

Angaraks

Angaraks are the people of Torak. In Mallorea, they are the dominant people in the northwest, and are common throughout the Empire as soldiers and administrators. In the west, they occupy the southern half of the continent, and the lands east of the Escarpment in the north. These western nations were originally the people of Cthol Mishrak in the far northwest of Mallorea. Separate from mainstream Mallorean society, this population became stratified by social class. When Torak broke the city and drove its people to migrate west, he took the social classes to be racial groups, and sent them in three groups accordingly: the Nadraks, Thulls and Murgos. Though these races actually despise each other with passion, the only stopping them from tearing each other apart; each faction wanting to be dominant, was that Torak told them not to. After Torak was slain by Belgarion the Malloreans launched a vicous campaign against the Murgos. The Nadraks fearing the same fate allied themselves with the west in an attempt to be shielded from the fury of 'Zakath, the leader of the Malloreans. Though the Malloreans became bogged down in northeast Cthol Murgos and the war effectively came to a stalemate. Somewhat culturally similar to Mongolians.
* Grolims are the hereditary priesthood of the Angaraks. They are found throughout Angarak lands, but they do not have their own country. Grolims are very close physically to Murgos. In Mallorea, their power is balanced by the secular military. The Eastern (Mallorean) Grolims are ruled by Urvon, a disciple of Torak. The Western Grolims answer to the Sorcerer Ctuchik, another disciple of Torak, who rules from Rak Cthol. In the west, Grolim power is nearly absolute, particularly among the Murgos and Thulls. However, their hold on the Nadraks is weak at best. The Grolims have a ranking within the church, which are shown by the color of the linings of their hoods. Low-ranking Grolims have plain black linings, middle-ranking priests have green, and the highest rank has purple. There are also assorted High Priests, some of whom have formidable power as sorcerers.
* Malloreans are the people of Mallorea in general, and also the Angarak population specifically. The distinction is not always strongly maintained;a typical Mallorean is one third Angarak, one third Karand and one third Melcene.
* Murgos are the people of Cthol Murgos. Originally the warrior caste and aristocracy of Cthol Mishrak, they were the first group to migrate west, and penetrated the farthest south on the western continent. Beyond the equator, they conquered the entire southern half of the continent, which was populated by a Dallish people. Later the Murgos made the locals slaves. Very few westerners know just how far Cthol Murgos really is. The Murgos are a highly militaristic race and practice ritual self-scarification in the name of Torak.
* Nadraks are the inhabitants of Gar og Nadrak. Formerly the merchant class of Cthol Mishrak, they were the last to come west and remained in the heavily-forested north. Their lands border Drasnia, and tentative peace exists between the two nations. Their primary industries are mining, hunting, and trapping. Drinking is also a major pastime of the populace.
* Thulls are the people of Mishrak ac Thull. Deriving from the Cthol Mishrak worker caste, they followed the Murgos west and settled in the semi-arid plains between the Escarpment and the Sea of the East. Economically, the Thulls are farmers and serve their Angarak cousins to the north and south. The Thulls are terribly afraid of the Angarak church, and the population is extremely high due to the Grolim sacrificial rules. Thulls are almost invariably described as dull or stupid, although not evil as the Grolims and Murgos are.

Arends

Arends are the people of Chaldan, inhabiting Arendia on the western continent and the island of Perivor off Mallorea. Most Arends are generally slow-witted, and tend to jump into things without thinking. The Arendish nobility continue to emphasize pride, honor and military prowess, while the serfs form the downtrodden masses, with little variation in their conditions across the country. As such, while the upper classes strongly identify as Asturian, Mimbrate or (formerly) Wacite, the lower classes are effectively just 'Arendish'. For most of its history, Arendia was embroiled in a never-ending series of civil wars among the three major duchies, Asturia, Mimbre, and Wacune. Vo Wacune was destroyed by an Asturian force in events described in Polgara the Sorceress, and the Asturians themselves were effectively fighting a guerrilla war at the time of the multi-nation Battle of Vo Mimbre. After the battle, the heir to the duchy of Asturia was married to the only son of the duke of Mimbre. Although this legally united the kingdom, prejudice and local conflicts between Asturians and Mimbrates continued for generations. The Mimbrates are also known for their habit of speaking extravagantly, using archaic styles of speaking ("Thees, Thous and Foreasmuches" as Eddings puts it in the Rivan Codex). This is widely prevalent among the Mimbrates and to a lesser extent the Wacites, although the Asturians abandoned it as a sign of defiance towards the Mimbrates.
* Asturians live in the forested northern half of Arendia, the old Duchy of Asturia. The Asturians were long ago defeated by the Mimbrates, and the city of Vo Astur ravaged, but unlike the Wacites they were not destroyed or dispersed. Instead, they lived in nominal subjection to the Mimbrates, but with their soldiers and noblemen engaged in quiet rebellion, assaulting tax collectors and fading into the forest. Their tactics resemble those of Robin Hood and his Merry Men, and like the Sherwood outlaws the Asturians are famed for their archery.
* Mimbrates are now the dominant people of Arendia, the inhabitants of the historical Duchy of Mimbre. The martial traditions of their nobility run along chivalrous lines, with Mimbrate knights in heavy armour forming a fearsome heavy cavalry collectively, and highly trained warriors individually. The Arendish civil war "officially" ended when Korodullin, Duke of Mimbre, and Mayaserana, daughter of the Duke of Asturia, married and became co-regent King and Queen. However, the breach was not wholly healed, and the Mimbrates remained the chief authority in Arendia, often refusing to recognize the titles of any of the Asturian nobility.
** The people of Perivor are the descendants of the crew and passengers of a Mimbrate ship that, despite the generally poor seakeeping of Mimbrate vessels, managed to sail around southern Cthol Murgos before wrecking on this island off the coast of Dalasia, in Mallorea. The survivors interbred with the native Dals and established the traditions and culture of their homeland, blended somewhat with the mystical ways of the Dals. The major difference between Arendia and Perivor is that the people of Perivor have abolished serfdom on their islands, and Perivor citizens, should they have a dispute, instead settle it at a tourney rather than a war.
* Wacites were the people of the Duchy of Wacune, which controlled territory later held by Asturia and then became the country of Sendaria. Polgara described the city as bright and beautiful. Sheathed all in snow-white marble, Vo Wacune was the archetype of every fairytale city; but when civil war broke out again, Wacune was destroyed, largely through Asturian actions. Its people effectively vanished from history; most of the nobility were lost, and the lower classes were either absorbed into Asturia or removed to the north, to Polgara's Duchy of Erat (which later became Sendaria). Unlike the Mimbrate knights and Asturian archers, the Wacites did not have an iconic character to their military.

Marags

Marags are the people of Mara. They are generally thought to be extinct at the time of the opening of The Belgariad, due to a genocidal war waged by the Tolnedrans. The war, ostensibly, was fought due to the horrific Marag practice of cannibalism. (this unfortunate practice, was begun due to a mistake: a misinterpretation of the word "assume" in one of their holy texts). The reason behind the war was really the presence of vast gold-fields that the greedy Tolnedrans desired for themselves. It is later revealed that Tolnedrans sold Marag survivors to Nyissan Slavers who in turn sold them to the Murgos, and some still live in the slave pens under Rak Cthol.

Most details about Maragor come from Belgarath the Sorcerer and bits and pieces throughout the texts. Probably due to their god's 'unwholesome' interest in reproduction, girls were born 8 to 9 times more than boys. Due to these factors, Marag women controlled the society. The governing body was a group of nine elder women known as the "Council of Matriarchs.Marriage was relatively unheard of, and sexual promiscuity was quite common. In general, Marag males' role in society was reduced, participating in athletic contests or in the military.

Nyissans

Nyissans are the people of Issa. The state of Nyissa is situated on the swampy equatorial west coast of the western continent. The head of state is the handmaiden of Issa (or highpriestess), Salmissra, who is chosen based purely on physical resemblance to the original Salmissra. Nyissans identify closely with the snake, which heavily influences their culture. Most Nyissan people shave off their hair, because the insects that live in the swamps of Nyissa like to nest in it. The use of drugs and poisons is common and accepted to the disgust of all other Races. Nyissa is also the only non-Angarak western country that practices slavery. Vaguely similar to ancient Egyptians culturally.

Tolnedrans

Tolnedrans are the people of Nedra, living in the Tolnedran Empire in the subtropical north of the western continent. Tolnedrans are known for their fixation on trade and money (which they actually invented). Tolnedra is ruled by one of the five major families; the Honethites, the Vorduvians, the Borunes, the Horbites, and the Ranites. The Belgariad and The Mallorean take place during the reign of Ran Borune XXIII and his adoptive son, Varana, the Duke of Anadile, later Ran Borune XXIV. The primary military force of Tolnedra are the numerous Legionnaires, a heavy infantry renowned for their extensive training and rigid discipline. Very similar to the Romans.

endars

Sendars are a people of mixed background, mostly of Alorn and Arendish descent. Sendaria is located above Arendia on the coast of the western continent, right below Cherek. The land that is now Sendaria was once the Duchy of Erat, which was owned by Polgara the Sorceress. Practicality and a strong work ethic are intrinsic to the Sendarian national identity, and a lot of food eaten in the west is grown in Sendaria.

Godless Ones

Other human races are descended from the Godless Ones, chosen by no god at the beginning of the human race. They are widely spread across both continents and have physical diversity comparable to the other races as a result.
* Dals live in the Dalasian Protectorates in the south of the Mallorean continent, with a small remnant population in southern Cthol Murgos. The Dals are mystics and include seers and necromancers.
* Karands are demon worshippers living in the north-east of Mallorea, in the seven kingdoms of Karanda. The kingdoms include Jenno, Zamad and Katakor.
* Melcenes live in the south-east of Mallorea, near their ancestral island, Melcene. Melcenes are characterised as civilized, and are great administrators and architects due to their organized approach to problems. The breaking of the world cause the Melcenes to lose over half of their land to the rising ocean. This prompted their expansion onto the main continent of Mallorea. They could be construed to be quasi-Japanese due to their small, commercial island nation.
* Morindim are nomadic, tribal demon worshippers, living in the frozen wastes north of the Kingdoms of the West. Their upper class consists mostly of Dreamers, those who "commune" with the demons, and Magicians, those who control the demon by forming a body to imprison it in. If the magician should fail to control his demon, it will break free to wreak havoc on its former master and the clan, usually until nightfall when it returns to its own reality.
* Ulgos live in caves under mountainous Ulgoland, where they migrated after adopting the worship of UL. The Ulgos retreated into the caves after the cracking of the world, a cataclysmic event which drove many of the non-human monsters mad. Culturally, the Ulgos are similar to the Biblical Israelites.
* Godless Ones (would-be Ulgos) were cursed by Gorim to wither and die following their refusal to follow him to Prolgu. Their women were made barren. They believed that Gorim had brought a pestilence upon them. Later, after all were either severely aged or deceased, a boy called Garath stayed for a while with them before becoming Aldur's first disciple, Belgarath.

It can be seen that there were four main groups migrating away from the now lost continent under the Sea of the East. Demon worshippers to the North (split by the Sea of the East into Morinds and Karands), Melcenes to the far East, Ulgos to the West and Dals in the southern halves of both continents.

Non-humans

* Ape-Bear look a lot like the Eldrakyn and can be easily mistaken for them. They can be found in the mountains of South Mallorea
* Dragons; not so much a name as a description. When the world was still young, only three were created before they were cast aside without being given a proper name. During the first mating season, the two males killed each other and the surviving female has lived alone in its lair at the Korim/Turim reef outside of Perivor. She is described as an enormous bird with only vaguely draconic features, rather than that of a traditional dragon. So impressed with these creatures was Torak, the Dragon-God of Angarak, that he made them his totem animal and did as much as he could to render them invincible, most notably making them impervious to sorcery.

* Dryads live in the Wood of the Dryads, north of Nyissa and south of Tolnedra. Dryads are always female and require contact with males of various species to reproduce. Dryads are each bound to a particular oak tree in the wood, and live as long as their tree. One of the great families of the Tolnedran Empire, the Borunes, is closely tied to the dryads through intermarriage. Dryads experience sexual euphoria when given chocolate, a tactic Belgarath uses to his advantage to avoid capture -- as well as for more obvious purposes.

* Eldrakyn, Algroths, and Trolls. Trolls are found in the North of Cherek; little is revealed to the reader regarding them. Algroths are native to Ulgoland, but occasionally venture into the areas surrounding the Ulgo mountains, usually Arendia. They are pack hunters and their claws are poisonous. Eldrakyn, the strongest and smartest of these three bestial humanoids, are found near Ulgoland and may live for centuries. They have been known to raise and breed packs of Rock-Wolves. A similar creature called an "Ape-Bear" inhabits the Dalasian Protectorates in Mallorea.

* Fenlings are a species of otter-like creature, but larger and more intelligent, that inhabit the Drasnian Fens. With a bit of magical tampering, the Fenlings have developed enough intelligence to speak in the human tongue. Though given a negative role in Drasnian mythology, they are nothing worse than mischievous.

* Harpies are a rare species that inhabits only the remotest parts of Ulgoland. They are seen but once in the series (see: "Belgarath the Sorcerer") and no description is given. It is assumed they resemble the classic Greek version, a half-woman/half-vulture monster. Polgara recounts the incident later, describing them as semi-human, though without human intelligence. She also states that their lack of a beak makes them "second rate birds of prey" and shrugs them off as somewhat harmless.

* Hounds of Torak or Chandim were once Grolim Angaraks, changed by Torak into giant dog-like monsters. After Torak's defeat at the Battle of Vo Mimbre, Urvon went amongst them and convinced them that he spoke for Torak. He managed to convert a few back to Human form. They retain their intelligence and gift for sorcery, but the centuries have stripped all remnants of humanity from them (except perhaps sarcasm and sadism). They are also more dangerous in packs and like dogs are fanattically loyal to their master - Urvon.

* Hrulgin are predatory creatures that closely resemble horses except for their fangs and claws. They are pack hunters, led by a single stallion.

* Mud-men are golems constructed of mud and debris to house the snakes of Nyissa. These creatures are the assassins of Divine Salmissra and though they are easily torn asunder, their severed limbs continue to seek completion of their task. They are easily destroyed by a heavy rain.

* Raveners are found in southern Cthol Murgos, and eat the bodies of the dead. In times of famine, pestilence or war the Raveners can go into a frenzy and attempt to eat the living as well as the dead. They are able to run for days, feeling nothing but all-consuming hunger. The only thing they fear is the sea, which they consider even hungrier than they.

* Rock-Wolves More closely resembling hyenas than wolves, these creatures are fierce pack hunters. One of their few fears is fire. It is not uncommon to see a pack of relatively domesticated rock-wolves under the command of an Eldrak.

Analogs to Belgariad races

The races within the Belgariad are all broadly adapted from real world races from history. In general, politics, ranks, administrative structures, architecture, etc. all match their real world counterparts.

*"The Tolnedrans" - effectively the Roman Empire at the height of its power, with minor name and theology changes.
*"The Mimbrates" - 12th century France or Normandy - specifically drawing on Knights, chivalry, Arthurian legends, and archaic speech (thee, thou), with feudal politics.
*"The Asturians" - 12th century England - a general stereotype lifted directly from the Robin Hood legend. Cultural conflicts with Mimbrates recall historical English conflicts with Welsh and Irish peoples.
*"The Wacites" - 12th century England - a general stereotype of the Irish and Welsh. This Arend Duchy was destroyed by the Mimbrates and Asturians, leaving the ruins of Vo Wacune.
*"The Marags" - Ancient Greece, specifically using an obsession with male beauty a la Michelangelo's David, and athletic endeavour in the style of the Olympics.
*"The Chereks" - directly lifted from the Vikings, with only minor name and theology changes.
*"The Sendarians" - analogous to a highly idealized view of Anglo-Saxon England or post-colonial America.
*"The Nyissans" - broadly analogous to Ancient Egypt, with some elements drawn from India.
*"The Algars" - effectively Russian Cossacks, though also strongly related to the Mongols under Genghis Khan. There is also Native American influence.
*"The Murgos" - analogous to Attila's Huns, with a touch of Aztec rituals (human sacrifices and self-mutilation).
*"The Malloreans" - analogous to the Sassanid Persians.

References

*"The Belgariad", "The Malloreon", "Belgarath the Sorcerer", "Polgara the Sorceress", "The Rivan Codex" by David Eddings


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