I grew up on a healthy diet of the usual suspects, in terms of fantasy authors—J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, and J.K. Rowling. But my personal favorite during my adolescent years was David Eddings. His books were the ones that truly snared me, showed me the rules and tropes of the fantasy genre, wedging that hook deep in my brain and reeling me in—the books that were unputdownable.
I went on my first quest through the eyes of Garion, learned about magic, the Will and the Word, and discovered the battle that raged behind the scenes between good and evil. For my pubescent self, this battle made sense; it felt right. In reality, I was finding out the world could be hard and mean, and even oppressive, and the idea of pushing back against those forces—of taking a stand against the bullies, against the red-cloaked grolims of the world—felt righteous.