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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
15,922371328 (3.98)2 / 814
Ged was the greatest sorcerer in all Earthsea, but once he was called Sparrowhawk, a reckless youth, hungry for power and knowledge, who tampered with long-held secrets and loosed a terrible shadow upon the world. This is the tale of his testing, how he mastered the mighty words of power, tamed an ancient dragon, and crossed death's threshold to restore the balance.… (more)
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    Jannes: Rothfuss draws inspiration from many sources, but to me no influence is so evident as that from the Earthsea series by Ursula K. Le Guin.
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    The Naming by Alison Croggon (ed.pendragon)
    ed.pendragon: The protagonist who starts from humble beginnings to become a powerful mage may be a cliche, but in both these series beginnings there is a carefully thought-out alterative world with sympathetic characters.
  13. 20
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    aulsmith: Two different schools of magic
  14. 31
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    Saga: Volume 1 by Brian K. Vaughan (andomck)
    andomck: Magic systems based on language . One is the secret names of things, the other is secrets itself.
  16. 10
    Tales of Nevèrÿon by Samuel R. Delany (Anonymous user)
  17. 10
    Lao Tzu : Tao Te Ching : A Book About the Way and the Power of the Way by Ursula K. Le Guin (paradoxosalpha)
    paradoxosalpha: The Taoism that Le Guin imbibed at her father's knee is evident in the magic of Earthsea.
  18. 11
    Who Fears Death by Nnedi Okorafor (andomck)
  19. 34
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1960s (90)
mom (568)

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» See also 814 mentions

English (360)  Spanish (3)  Dutch (2)  Italian (1)  Japanese (1)  French (1)  Slovak (1)  All languages (369)
Showing 1-5 of 360 (next | show all)
#693 in our old book database. Not rated.
  villemezbrown | Apr 20, 2024 |
This is the first in the series. Right now, Ged (the main character), is not in the best of moods. Things keep going wrong and he never feels like he belongs. But he makes progress in this book and I am looking forward to book #2. I want to see him come fully into his power. : )

And here are some of her thoughts from the afterward, which was awesome!

"The conventionality of the story and its originality, reflect its existence within and partial subversion of an accepted, recognized tradition, one I grew up with.

"...The principal characters were men. If the story was heroic, the hero was a white man; most dark-skinned people were inferior or evil. If there was a woman in the story, she was a passive object of desire and rescue (a beautiful blond princess); active women (dark, witches) usually caused destruction or tragedy. Anyway, the stories weren't about women. they were about men, what men did, and what was important to men.

"It's in this sense that A Wizard was perfectly conventional...

"In other ways my story didn't follow the tradition. Its subversive elements attracted little attention, no doubt because I was deliberately sneaky..." (p. Afterward p. 261-264)

I loved reading in the afterward that Le Guin doesn't want her heroes to win war and battles, not the ones that involve slaying other people in wars between countries. The wars here are more internal. And her main characters are not white! It's subtle, but they are dark skinned.

Nicely done Ursala!! Read the Afterward. ; ) ( )
  Berly | Apr 15, 2024 |
Admito que casi le pongo 3 estrellas porque aunque me encanta el Worldbuilding que crea en muy poco tiempo, llega un punto en que la lectura se me atasca un poco. Aún así toda la metafora que es la aventura del protagonista es bastante “chef’s kiss”. Le Guin era una gran artista creando mundos pero sobretodo, plasmando ideas e inquietudes. ( )
  Cabask | Mar 27, 2024 |
My first re-read of this since it came out. A classic though one LeGuin herself returned to with a more critical eye in later years, especially for its limited male POV. At the time, it was considered groundbreaking for featuring dark-skinned primary characters. What struck me now was how little it reads like a young adult novel. Though it begins with a boy and a school for wizards, the boy is a traumatized young man of 19 or 20 well before the halfway point and there is little youth to him. The constant journeying means there's little chance to develop ancillary characters. LeGuin deals with this in part by having a childhood friend return for the final chapters. To be honest, while I enjoyed the novel, it felt thin. The social structures were just sketched and the limits of magic often seemed to just pop up when needed.

Recommended but it pales in comparison with her later writings. ( )
  ChrisRiesbeck | Feb 13, 2024 |
The majority of characters are thoughtful and sensitive, more interested in understanding their surroundings than in conquering them. The story was written for younger readers and in my eyes it lacks a bit of complexity, but it still has a mature and compelling heart to it. ( )
  AdioRadley | Jan 21, 2024 |
Showing 1-5 of 360 (next | show all)

» Add other authors (123 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Le Guin, Ursula K.primary authorall editionsconfirmed
Archer, KarenNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bergen, DavidCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Cases, MadeleineTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Dillon, LeoCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Dillon. DianeCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Edwards, LesCover 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
Pergameno, SandroForewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rambelli, RobertaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rikman, KristiinaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Robbins, RuthIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Saunders, Micksecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Smee, DavidCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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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
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.
It is very hard for evil to take hold of the unconsenting soul.
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.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Wikipedia in English (6)

Ged was the greatest sorcerer in all Earthsea, but once he was called Sparrowhawk, a reckless youth, hungry for power and knowledge, who tampered with long-held secrets and loosed a terrible shadow upon the world. This is the tale of his testing, how he mastered the mighty words of power, tamed an ancient dragon, and crossed death's threshold to restore the balance.

No library descriptions found.

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.
Haiku summary
Sparrowhawk or Ged
A nameless shadow follows
Waiting for a name

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