Earth Sea

EarthSea is the fictional world in which a sequence of books by UrsulaLeGuin (known at various times as the Earthsea Trilogy and now probably the Earthsea Quintet) is set.

"UrsulaLeGuin's Magical World of Earthsea" by Jan M. Griffin (a review): http://scholar.lib.vt.edu/ejournals/ALAN/spring96/griffin.html

The first book is called A WizardOfEarthsea?. Structurally, it is a coming-of-age sort of thing, telling the story of Ged aka Sparrowhawk, going from a young boy to a world-weary (but not all that old) wizard. The second, TheTombsOfAtuan?, features the same chap, but he spends most of the book wandering about in a subterranean labyrinth. In the third, TheFarthestShore?, he's off on his travels again, but this time it's at sea, and turns somewhat loopy and possibly metaphorical at the end. Then follows a gap of many years in our time, following which the fourth book, Tehanu, comes out; after another gap, the fifth and so far final book, TheOtherWind?, is published. The latter two are very different in tone to the first three: the first three are fun but beautiful stories of wizardly journeys in space and power; the second two are not. There is also a book of short stories, TalesOfEarthsea?, published between the last two. It is generally agreed that whilst quite young children will enjoy the first three (the EarthseaTrilogy?), they will probably have to wait quite a while to appreciate the later ones.

A WizardOfEarthsea? is my favourite, for sure; wizardly travelling beats subterranean wandering and metaphorical voyaging any day. -- TomAnderson


The school of wizards on the island of Roke has seven masters - two of them are the MasterNamer? and the MasterPatterner. I've often wondered whether Ward has read EarthSea, because many of the ideas about systems of names, balances, and patterns are reflected there.

OK, I'll admit it: I've also wanted to be a MasterPatterner for far too long. -- JamesNoble


The SciFi channel produced a television version in 2004: http://www.scifi.com/earthsea/. UrsulaLeGuin trashed it for completely missing the books' point in the article "A Whitewashed Earthsea: How the Sci Fi Channel wrecked my books": http://slate.msn.com/id/2111107/

Nor is this just the usual writer's sour grapes; the movie was shallow and trite, whereas the books are widely acknowledged as an all-time must-read classic, a status that no-one would grant the tv version.
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