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A Wizard of Earthsea (1968)

by Ursula K. Le Guin

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: The Earthsea Cycle (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
12,464290333 (3.99)1 / 753
A boy grows to manhood while attempting to subdue the evil he unleashed on the world as an apprentice to the Master Wizard.
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English (282)  Spanish (2)  Dutch (2)  French (1)  Japanese (1)  All languages (288)
Showing 1-5 of 282 (next | show all)
Pretty cool to see how many other books have their root here. It strikes such an old-style high fantasy tone that isn't likeany modern book. Gets a little pompous at times but fun ( )
  Lorem | Jul 31, 2020 |
I first read a Wizard of Earthsea...well, I can't really remember when. All I know is I'd read it twice before I left primary school and each reading was in a different school year. The only other proper novel I can remember that being true of is Lord of the Rings...apparently I got a taste for high fantasy early. What was the appeal? Well, there was adventure, exploration, magic, dragons and a really complicated map at the front.

I've carried on reading it at intervals right up until the present. Most times I noticed something new in it. For instance, at some point I became aware of the different skin-colours of various characters and peoples. Latterly, interpretation of the novel took over from noticing details.

One interpretation I've noticed on Goodreads is that Ged, the protagonist, has to fight himself and only gains victory by accepting himself as he is. Whilst I feel there is some truth in this, I feel that it misses out a huge amount, much of which is important in the context of the series as a whole. In the novel itself, LeGuin states that Ged released the shadow of his own death. The final confrontation takes place on the shores of the realm where the dead reside. What Ged has to do is recognise that death is consequent on life and accept the fact of his own mortality - his death is part of himself and bears his name. Having done so, he is no longer haunted or hunted by that shadow. The book starts with a stanza containing the line "Only in dying life."

For a long time, I found it interesting that Ged is a victim of his own pride; he attempts to show his superiority and in doing so releases something evil into the world, something that harms him and others. This is an unusual idea in fantasy generally - more typically, evil is externalised and the motives of the evil-doer are not closely examined. This time round I noted strongly that this is not the whole story, either; Ged is, after-all, a victim of a conspiracy and he would not have known the summoning spell that caused so much trouble and suffering if this had not been the case. This is one of the (many) great strengths of LeGuin; rarely are things simply and easily encapsulated. Then there is the concept of Equilibrium - a Butterfly Effect of human action - what you do has consequences - do not act frivolously or for self-agrandisment, or out of pride or anger or fear. You could be dooming yourself - or the whole of Earthsea.

The prose is up to LeGuin's exceptionally high standard, perhaps best from the start up to Ged's arrival at Roke, perhaps weakest between Ged's second departure from Gont and his arrival at Iffish. The story is compelling through-out, never becoming too bogged down in accretion of character history as sometimes happens with LeGuin (e.g. in Gifts).

I truely love this book; Why? Well, there is adventure, exploration, magic, dragons and a really complicated map at the front. Exploration is something I love - I do some when opportunity and health allow. I don't have to be the first - exploring a city or climbing a mountain, it doesn't matter if millions have been there ahead of me. When I can't explore our world I can explore fictional ones and In A Wizard of Earthsea I can explore a whole world full of variety - no two islands are exactly the same, culturally. Each has something unique. There are other reasons - the complexity and profundity of the tale, the entirely convincing nature of Earthsea - can anybody tell me how to get there, since it is plainly a real place? - Oh, yes! Read the books again! The memories of reading it as a child and teen - the music I listened to as Ged sailed under a mage-wind in a boat made more of spells than timber and I love LeGuin for giving me a tale for children that is really a tale for everybody of any and all ages, so that it can keep me company throughout my days.

Bright the hawk's flight on the empty sky.
( )
  Arbieroo | Jul 17, 2020 |
This is a very thrifty story. Le Guin gets us right into a coming-of-age story involving a young wizard in this archipelago called Earthsea. Le Guin establishes his character with a few sure strokes, then takes us on a very believable journey. Some really lovely writing:

All at once he saw the shadow for a moment not far from him. The world's wind had been sinking, and the driving sleet of the storm had given way to a chill, ragged, thickening mist. Through this mist he glimpsed the shadow, fleeing somewhat to the right of his course. He spoke to the wind and sail and turned the tiller and pursued, though again it was blind pursuit: the fog thickened fast, boiled and tattering where it met with the spellwind, closing down all around the boat, a featureless pallor that deadened light and sight. Even as Ged spoke the first word of a clearing-charm, he saw the shadow again, still to the right of his course but very near and going slowly. The fog blew through the faceless vagueness of its head, yet it was shaped like a man, only deformed and changing, like a man's shadow. Ged veered the boat once more, thinking he had run his enemy to the ground: in that instant it vanished, and it was his boat that ran aground, smashing up on shoal rocks that the blowing mist had hidden from his sight.

Some elements may seem hackneyed, but of course that's mainly because Le Guin was first and 10,000 fantasy writers have come behind to use them. I have some quibbles -- he defeats the Pendor dragons too easily and the Lady of O also; but the rest is engaging, fast-paced and still highly readable.

JK Rowling does owe a lot to her -- essentially, the Harry Potter series is the first third of this book, with Ged in school. This is no ding on Rowling -- school is filled with many stories, which Le Guin passed through perhaps too quickly. Le Guin herself has praised Rowling for giving the "whole fantasy field a boost..." But she's also lamented that Rowling "could have been more gracious about her predecessors. My incredulity was at the critics who found the first book wonderfully original. She has many virtues, but originality isn't one of them. That hurt." (interview in The Guardian, http://www.theguardian.com/books/2005/dec/17/booksforchildrenandteenagers.shoppi...). ( )
  MaximusStripus | Jul 7, 2020 |
4.5 stars ( )
  Bryna_Heaton | Jun 19, 2020 |
  slick_schick | Jun 16, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 282 (next | show all)

» Add other authors (40 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Le Guin, Ursula K.primary authorall editionsconfirmed
Archer, KarenNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Cases, MadeleineTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Dillon, LeoCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Dillon. DianeCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ellison, HarlanNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gilbert, Anne YvonneCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Harman, DominicCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Inglis, RobNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mitchell, DavidIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Paronis, MargotTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rambelli, RobertaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rikman, KristiinaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Robbins, RuthIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Saunders, Micksecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
Only in silence the word,
only in dark the light,
only in dying life:
bright the hawk's flight
on the empty sky.    
—The Creation of Éa
Dedication
To my brothers
Clifton, Ted, Karl
First words
The island of Gont, a single mountain that lifts its peak a mile above the storm-racked Northeast Sea, is a land famous for wizards.
Quotations
The wise man is one who never sets himself apart from other living things, whether they have speech or not, and in later years he strove long to learn what can be learned, in silence, from the eyes of animals, the flight of birds, the great slow gestures of trees.
It is very hard for evil to take hold of the unconsenting soul.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Book description
Το νησί Γκοντ, ένα μοναχικό βουνό που η κορυφή του υψώνεται ένα μίλη πάνω από τη φουρτουνιασμένη Βορειοανατολική Θάλασσα, είναι ένας τόπος φημισμένος για τους μάγους του. Από τις πόλεις στα οροπέδιά του κι από τα λιμάνια στους σκοτεινούς, στενούς του κόλπους, πολλοί Γκοντιανοί έφυγαν για να υπηρετήσουν τους Άρχοντες του Αρχιπελάγους, στις πόλεις τους σαν μάγοι ή μάγιστροι, ή για ν' αναζητήσουν την περιπέτεια σαν περιπλανώμενοι γητευτές από νησί σε νησί σε όλη τη Γαιοθάλασσα.
Από αυτούς λέγεται ότι ο μεγαλύτερος, σίγουρα ο πιο πολυταξιδεμένος, ήταν ο άντρας που τον έλεγαν Κίρκο, που στις μέρες του έγινε και Άρχοντας των Δράκων και Αρχιμάγιστρος. Τη ζωή του αφηγούνται τα "Κατορθώματα του Γκεντ" και πολλά τραγούδια, αλλά τούτη εδώ δεν είναι μια ιστορία για την εποχή που δεν είχε γίνει ακόμα διάσημος, πριν γραφτούν τα τραγούδια.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Le Guin, Ursula K.,1929-2018.
Ο μάγος του αρχιπελάγους / Ούρσουλα Λε Γκεν · μετάφραση Λίλη Ιωαννίδου. - Αθήνα : Τρίτων, 1991. - 205σ. · 20x12εκ.
gre
Κεντρική διάθεση: Βιβλιοπέλαγος.
Το πρώτο βιβλίο του έπους της Γαιοθάλασσας.
Γλώσσα πρωτοτύπου: αγγλικά
Τίτλος πρωτοτύπου: A Wizard of Earthsea, 1968
ISBN 960-7479-00-9, ISBN-13 978-960-7479-00-6 (Μαλακό εξώφυλλο) ) [Εξαντλημένο ]
813.6
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