It seems like figures from my childhood are dying at a startling rate. In point of fact I'm starting to wonder if I missed who died on the 1st as the 2nd and 3rd were kinda big.

So on the second David Eddings died. He was 77, and the first author of serious fantasy I read after Tolkien. The first books I remember reading not because school wanted to, not because Mike required me to read them to hang out with him and his friends and be part of their cool new hobby where they pretended to be elves, dwarves and magicians. It was summer vacation and Mike checked out the entirety of the Belgariad for the trip we were going on and I got handed books as he finished them. So not only was it not something I was being required to, I was looking forward to it because I was getting to read them at basically the same time he did it was awesome and it made me feel like I actually mattered in my cooler older brother's world that I was getting to share in it like that. Sure the Belgariad isn't the deepest work of fantasy, but it is a good starting off place for young readers, I was probably 9 at the time, and it was different. It wasn't stuffy or dry, and you never felt like you were plodding across the plains of Gorgoroth alongside Frodo and Sam because of the vivid detail Tolkien applied to description of the oppressive and bleak atmosphere there, but it was filled with a depth of character, the characters weren't all heroic, or even tragically heroic as many in Tolkien's work are, they were simply people. And still though it had that feeling of clearly defined places, the heroes were very much that, and the villain was definitely evil, but you could see the humanity in the people, the little jealousies that Garion felt at times and slights over seemingly inane things are very believable of a teenage boy that just had his life turned on its ear and has to cope with cascade of events that besets him on the trail.

Of course I also haven't read them in a while so I might be romanticizing my memories of them a bit, but the point is that it was pivotal readin in my misspent youth.

Yesterday, June the 3rd, David Carradine died. That one is kinda weird for me on extra levels since I met him once at a convention, I got his autograph here in St. Louis, I listened to him play piano in the hotel lobby. He wasn't just Caine from Kung Fu for me anymore, which was what I had always thought about him as for so long, but he was an actual person with hopes and fears, who from how he seemed at the convention and from what I have read never quite learned how to deal with the attention and pomp of being a celebrity. It seems like many of us he just didn't really no how to cope with the crowds when they all showed up to see him, he did what he did because he enjoyed the work and the people he met doing it I suppose, and the money certainly couldn't hurt, but at the end of the day he was just a man like so many of us who had lived a life with many starts and missteps and falls along the way. He was 72 and died shortly after arriving in Thailand to start work on a new film from what I read.

So two important figures from my childhood are gone in the first week of this month, Peter Cullen you're a decade younger than them so don't feel like you have to vanish too, the world still needs Optimus Prime. I mean apparently it is a cleaning house of David's really, but I couldn't think of a third pivotal David from my youth so I'm instinctively fearing for everyone now.


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