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The Other Wind by Ursula K. Le Guin

The Other Wind (2001)

by Ursula K. Le Guin

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: The Earthsea Cycle (6)

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Showing 1-5 of 35 (next | show all)
I started this with great enthusiasm, on a wave of Earthsea excitement having read all the previous books in order over the past month or so. Tehanu and Tales from Earthsea, the two that precede this (at present) final novel were very much my favourites so I hoped that The Other Wind would continue the upward trend.

By and large it does: the first chapter, Mending the Green Pitcher is a joy. The current state of affairs is effectively and pleasantly presented, we visit with Ged (who is minding Ogion's old farm while Tenar & Tehanu assist King Lebannen on Havnor) and are introduced to Alder, a recently bereaved village sorcerer who is having particularly unsettling dreams, dreams that will eventually unsettle the foundations of Earthsea itself.

A large slab of the story takes place at the court of Lebannen, and that's where it came just a tad unstuck for me. I still enjoyed the characters and concepts explored, but it got a bit... untidy.

Finally most everyone choofs off to Roke for a denouement that is excellently done. The history and traditions of dragons, be they winged or not, Kargs, the Pelnish and Archipelagans come together in a most satisfactory manner. (You can tell I'm trying not to drop any major hints, can't you!)

Without shame I admit to tears of mingled happiness and sympathy at the end. And not a few times before that as well. Two scenes come most strongly to mind: the night of dreams, when we are shown the unconscious wanderings of various characters, and this declaration by Tehanu which comes not far from the end (I don't believe it gives anything away but shall label it as a spoiler all the same so you can choose to see it or not) --

"I think," Tehanu said in her soft, strange voice, "that when I die, I can breathe back the breath that made me live. I can give back to the world all that I didn't do. All that I might have been and couldn't be. All the choices I didn't make. All the things I lost and spent and wasted. I can give them back to the world. To the lives that haven't been lived yet. That will be my gift back to the world that gave me the life I did live, the love I loved, the breath I breathed."

I don't think I'll ever look at the stars in the same way again. ( )
  Vivl | Oct 1, 2014 |
For the most part, I greatly enjoyed the final installment to the Earthsea Cycle.

As I have remarked in past reviews, I love Ged - so I was glad to see him reappear for a while longer in this book in his old age in his house next to the cliff harvesting plums and herding goats.

The premise is beautiful as always, regarding freedom and choice as a yoke and decision we humans make. It delves into philosophies of death and immortality and the longings of the human heart.

However, there were a few major issues I have with the book.

For some reason, (this happened in the fourth book as well) but I have come to the realization that I dislike Tenar. I believe she is the culmination of the Le Guin's conception of the power of women in a man's world. But she comes across more as self-righteous and bitterly angry for the weakness of women rather than pushing forward for a woman's voice in the books. I am appreciative of her trying to show how the Red Princess was made of courage and strength to be shipped to an unknown place powerless and alone. But I am taken aback by the way, the wording, the scorn she refers to men in general. It's strange because she so clearly loves Ged and Lebannen and has motherly affection, but when Tenar philosophizes about the nature of woman and men, it becomes very divided. But I really think the reason I am turned off by her personality is that self-righteous tone. How she speaks so little to make men understand but gets angry at them for things they have no idea that they're doing. It's like a passive-aggressive person. You can see it in how she refers to herself and the Red Princess conspiring against Lebannen, etc.

Going off of that, I also very much disliked the relationship and depiction of Lebannen and the Red Princess. It was my understanding that Lebannen didn't want the marriage because he did not want to be sold or bartered in a mockery of a relationship. But Tenar refers to the situation instead as a king's duty and remarks that he had never shied from that before - and she even becomes angry that he would not want to marry the princess. Is that really so strange?!
And then because they start finding each other attractive, that mitigates the initial problem of not wanting to be a stepping stone for the Kurgish throne? Where did his initial problem go? I don't understand. I don't understand at all.

However, there were many beautiful things about this book. I love how it wove every single novel together. From the first book we are reminded of how Ged learned to call goats and was saved by the small tongue of an otak. (By the way, Tug the cat is just adorable). From the short stories, we remember Irian and her dragon form. Of course Lebannen and Tenar are major characters from past books. It is all woven together and brought into one true story when all of the characters gather at the center of the world: Roke.

Three stars. Beautiful if not for certain issues. But a good ending to the series.
I would recommend this series for people who love a slower type of science fiction and fantasy novel.
( )
  NineLarks | Sep 15, 2014 |
The last book of the 'Earthsea Chronicles'. The ending chapter was the shortest, but all the loose ends were so impeccably tied up that the the conclusion was not rushed or abrupt, as can only be executed by a master storyteller. And as elaborate as the plot (of the whole series) has been, there is only one word to describe this: "Brilliant!" Simply brilliant!!!! ( )
1 vote MomsterBookworm | Jul 14, 2014 |
05/25/14 Earthsea: The Other Wind, Ursula K. LeGuin, 2001. Back to the intricate, full-length story again, and excellent as usual. There was quite of bit of reviewing past plot threads and summing up, but it was seamlessly inserted into the story. The symbolism and philosophy reach an interesting conclusion, but they still leave the reader wanting to follow the dragons. Anything else I could say would spoil the fun. ( )
1 vote drardavis | Jun 2, 2014 |
"A superb novel-length addition to the Earthsea universe, one that, once again, turns that entire series on its head. Alder, the man who unwittingly initiates the transformation of Earthsea, is a humble sorcerer who specializes in fixing broken pots and repairing fence lines, but when his beloved wife, Lily, dies, he is inconsolable. He begins to dream of the land of the dead and sees both Lily and other shades reahing out to him across the low stone wall that sepoarates them from the land of the living. In her new novel, Le Guin reconsiders the relationship between magic and something ever more basic: life and death itself."
~~back cover

It's been a while since I read the Earthsea Trilogy, so I'd forgotten the sheer beauty of her language, and the charming intricacies of her plots. I couldn't put the book down! ( )
  Aspenhugger | Mar 6, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 35 (next | show all)
But there is more to The Other Wind than that: Le Guin's consistency now becomes revealed as a kind of destiny, a drive towards democracy if you like, an implicit impatience with the highfalutin genealogies such bogus mythologies are compelled to recite. Marvellously, the book contains humour, which is otherwise a kind of universal acid to children's fable: if it is funny, it corrodes everything it touches. Here it actually works. And the real magic now is the magic of writing.
added by melmore | editThe Guardian, Nicholas Lezard (Jul 26, 2002)
Love, too, is much more central and important than in the other Earthsea books. The loss that all lovers face, even when they are completely constant and loving, is one of the aching subjects here. In the first few pages of the novel, Ged feels “a sadness at the very heart of things,” and in fact essential loss, essential grief is the main thing that “The Other Wind” is about.... How to address that sadness is this novel’s question
added by melmore | editSalon.com, Donna Minkowitz (Oct 4, 2001)

» Add other authors (9 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Ursula K. Le Guinprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Nielsen, CliffCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rikman, KristiinaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Farther west than west
beyond the land
my people are dancing
on the other wind.

- The Song of the Woman of Kemay
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Sails long and white as swan's wings carried the ship Farflyer through summer air down the bay from the Armed Cliffs toward Gont Port.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 044101125X, Mass Market Paperback)

The greatest fantasies of the 20th century are J.R.R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings and Ursula K. Le Guin's Earthsea Cycle. Regrettably, the Earthsea Cycle has not received the fame and sales of Tolkien's trilogy. Fortunately, new Earthsea books have appeared in the 21st century, and they are as powerful, beautiful, and imaginative as the first four novels. The fifth novel and sixth book of the Earthsea Cycle is The Other Wind.

The sorcerer Alder has the power of mending, but it may have become the power of destruction: every night he dreams of the wall between the land of the living and the land of the dead, and the wall is being dismantled. If the wall is breached, the dead will invade Earthsea. Ged, once Archmage of Earthsea, sends Alder to King Lebannen. Now Alder and the king must join with a burned woman, a wizard of forbidden lore, and a being who is woman and dragon both, in an impossible quest to save Earthsea.

Ursula K. Le Guin has received the National Book Award, five Nebula and five Hugo Awards, and the Newbery Award, among many other honors. The Other Wind lives up to expectations for one of the greatest fantasy cycles. --Cynthia Ward

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:28:53 -0400)

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The sorcerer Alder has the power of mending, but it may have become the power of destruction: every night he dreams of the wall between the land of the living and the land of the dead, and the wall is being dismantled. If the wall is breached, the dead will invade Earthsea. Ged, once Archmage of Earthsea, sends Alder to King Lebannen. Now Alder and the king must join with a burned woman, a wizard of forbidden lore, and a being who is woman and dragon both, in an impossible quest to save Earthsea.… (more)

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