The Earthsea Quartet (Puffin Books) [Ursula K. Le Guin] on *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers. A superb four-part fantasy, comparable with the. The Earthsea Quartet brings together Ursula Le Guin’s four legendary Earthsea sagas for the first time in a single volume. The novels belong to the high fantasy. In A Wizard of Earthsea, published in , Usula K Le Guin created one of literature’s most fully formed fantasy worlds. The author of Cloud.

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F our principal wizards inhabited my childhood. Other magicians and witches also lived on my boyhood bookshelf, but even at 10 years old I sensed that these belonged eartnsea a lesser order. First, there is the titular wizard himself. Ged is a superb creation, by any measure, and was quaetet Archmage of my bookshelf even before he became the Archmage of Earthsea.

He was by far the easiest wizard to relate to, and the least derivative I knew.

Where the Merlins reveal themselves layer by layer, Ged grows. Here a fisherman named Pechvarry, whose dying son Ged tried but failed to save, meets the young wizard on his victorious return from Pendor: Ged had not saved a little child, though he had slain dragons. As for the titular wizard, so for his titular world. Tolkien, whose influence Le Guin acknowledges, casts a long shadow over 20th-century fantasy, and yet after donning my riot gear I would argue that Earthsea is a superior creation to Middle-earth.


Earthsea is no utopia, but it contains utopian elements. By and large, Earthsea is a secular quatet. The Kargad exception proves the rule: What we now call cultural relativism is a widely held tenet. Slavery exists but is unrelated to skin tone, and racism is not in evidence; nor a caste-system, nor colonisation, nor nationalism.

Such specificity is persuasive because it sounds too detailed to be made up. I grew up in this weird household where we were completely middle-class Americans, but the doors and windows were always open to other ways of living. Quality writing within genre is harder, not easier, because the ground is so mined earthseq cliche. What is needed is a high-wire balancing act, which Le Guin pulls off with deceptive effortlessness.

Like this one, when Ged arrives at a School for Wizards three decades before one H Potter on the island of Roke and encounters the Archmage:.

As their eyes met, a bird sang aloud qusrtet the branches of the tree. In that moment Ged understood the singing of the bird, and the language of the quartrt falling in the basin of the fountain, and the shape of the clouds, and the beginning and end of the wind that stirred the leaves: Then that moment passed, and he and the world were as before, or almost as before.

Metaphors and similes are scarce enough to burn vividly when they do appear, and dialogue is sparing. Dialogue contains warmth and humour, but no knowing wisecracks. There are moments of foreshadowing and authorial omniscience but no tricks.

Consequently, A Wizard of Earthsea reads like the retelling of a tale first told centuries ago, and whose eathsea and turns have been handed down through generations of storytellers. Chief among its concerns are morality, identity and power.


The real world, as most of us know if not all presidents and prime ministersis rarely so monochromatic, and neither is Earthsea. To quote Le Guin again: Magic as practised by Ged and the Roke School of Wizardry is a branch of ethics. Nature, the elements and man are balanced in an equilibrium which, Gaia theory-like, is a holistic organism, and one part of it cannot be changed without influencing another part.

The Earthsea Quartet (Earthsea Cycle, #) by Ursula K. Le Guin

The greater the wizard, the slower he is to use magic, because he understands that the incautious firing eartthsea of spells will impact on the equilibrium of which the wizards are guardians.

The training of wizards involves epigrams and parables that would not be out of place in a Buddhist monastery or a Taoist cell. Is Gont Mountain useful, or the Open Sea? Drink this magic up. Topics Fantasy books Rereading. Order by newest oldest recommendations.

The Earthsea Quartet by Ursula Le Guin

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