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|Download E-pub ⚞ A Wizard of Earthsea ⚦ Ged, The Greatest Sorcerer In All Earthsea, Was Called Sparrowhawk In His Reckless Youth Hungry For Power And Knowledge, Sparrowhawk 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 A man would know the end he goes to, but he cannot know it if he does not turn, and return to the beginning, and hold that beginning in his being If he would not be a stick whirled and whelmed in the stream, he must be the stream itself, all of it, from its spring to its sinking in the sea Three years ago I picked up my first Ursula K Le Guin novel, The Left Hand of Darkness I did so as part of a challenge to read a science fiction book, a genre in which I was not at all well read I didn t really expect to like the book, but was happy to check one off the list To my great surprise, I adored it In fact, I still think about it fairly regularly, even with loads of other books read between now and then I was determined to readof her work and see if it was just a fluke that such a novel would appeal to me I had seen a copy of A Wizard of Earthsea at a used bookshop at the time and hesitantly purchased it an illustration of a wizard with staff in hand and a dragon on the cover very nearly told me to leave well enough alone, but I risked it I m not necessarily a fantasy kind of gal either with a couple of exceptions It has sadly sat on my own shelf for three years, until two of my Goodreads groups recently decided to read her work shortly following Le Guin s passing I jumped at the opportunity, and once again was astonished by both the writing as well as the perceptive concepts developed within I won t attempt to make any sort of comparison between this book and others within the genre, as I am not qualified to do so I am aware that J.R.R Tolkien came first and J.K Rowling after I cannot delve into a written discourse on the elements of fantasy or the influence of various genre writers upon one another What I can do is tell you why I admired this work of fiction The quote I ve included at the start of my review is one that illustrates a journey of sorts That is what I feel this book on its most basic level embodies not just a trek across the lands of Earthsea, but a journey of the self, a discovery of one s very substance or essence I can see the similarity between Ged s quest in this book and that of Genly Ai s flight across the harsh and icy landscape of the planet Winter in The Left Hand of Darkness Two very different characters with distinctive lessons to be learned along the way, both Ged and Genly develop and make discoveries of self as well as understanding of others At the beginning of The Wizard of Earthsea, we meet a boy born with special gifts one destined to become the greatest wizard of Gont a young man called by his use name , Sparrowhawk, and later by his true name , Ged Le Guin makes a distinction between use names or nicknames and true names, with true names not being known to all, but rather to a select few that can be trusted to keep this secret For, in Earthsea it is believed thatWho knows a man s name, holds that man s life in his keepingWhen we first meet Ged, or Sparrowhawk, he is a teenager with a temperament that one might expect from a typical teen He is na ve, a bit rash, and prone towards arrogance He is a know it all who can let pride in his power get in his way I didn t like him initially, but he seemed very real to me as a result Full of natural flaws, he is not a typical hero He could have been one of us He eventually goes to train on Roke Island, essentially at a school for wizards to be He is sent there on the advice of Ogion, his quintessentially wise early master in the craft Ogion, in fact, is one of my favorite characters He sends Ged forth with such prudent advice asTo hear, one must be silent,andHave you never thought how danger must surround power as shadow does light every word, every act of our Art is said and is done either for good, or for evil Before you speak or do you must know the price that is to paySensible words that can be applied tothan just your standard wizard in training Pride is not easily shed, however, and as a result Ged lets loose upon the land of Earthsea a dark and dangerous creature This evil entity will haunt his dreams as well as his waking moments He is kept safe from this being by the Nine Masters of Roke and the Archmage while continuing to study under their tutelage But, as we all know, one reaches adulthood and must strike out on his or her own given the knowledge and tools that have been imparted to us Thus Ged goes out into the world as a wizard yet with the fear of this creature termed gebbeth As he travels from land to land, Ged is pursued by this gebbeth, endangering those inhabitants of Earthsea with whom he settles for a time As a result he moves on until he realizes that the cycle can only be broken if the hunted in fact becomes the hunter Thus begins a new journey to seek the gebbeth and destroy it But in order to do so, Ged must know its true name , a name that eludes him Many of his encounters are dark and frightening and I found the plot to move forth quickly and dramatically it was quite gripping At times it seemed the being would overwhelm him completelyThe body of the gebbeth has been drained of true substance and is something like a shell or a vapour in the form of a man, an unreal flesh clothing the shadow which is real So jerking and billowing as if blown on the wind the shadow spread its arms and came at Ged, trying to get hold of him devouring him out from within, owning him, which was its whole desire I can t give away whether gebbeth or wizard wins in the end you ll have to grab a copy for yourself to find out Needless to say, I loved it It is a quick read for a fantasy novel, with so much packed inside There are moments of great adventure, but also a lot of introspection which I highly esteem You have to open up your mind to fantasy a bit to read this, but you most certainly don t have to be a genre fan to appreciate the messages Le Guin offers to us The world building was excellent and I loved the growth of Ged throughout Le Guin s themes are so compelling and leave me reflecting for quite some time after reading her work Her worlds are a place where we can go and allow ourselves to think about ideas in ways that we otherwise might not She helps to open our minds by painting a vivid world first, and then makes us take the next step and learn that there are in fact other ways of thinking about our own worlds and those within them 4.5 stars rounded up to 5 for this excellent worka man who, knowing his whole true self, cannot be used or possessed by any power other than himself, and whose life therefore is lived for life s sake and never in the service of ruin, or pain, or hatred, or the dark The hunger of a dragon is slow to wake, but hard to sate The Folio Society edition is superbly illustrated by David Lupton.The boy is born on the island of Gont in the archipelago of Earthsea This is a world infused with magic Not everyone can control this magic, but those who know the right words and have a wizard soul can learn to utilize the power of the Earth to manipulate objects and events The boy s name is Duny I can tell you that name because the name has no power over him His true name is something he can only reveal to those he trusts absolutely beyond question.I know his true name, but fair reader, I m not sure yet that I can share it with you His aunt knows a few things, a handful of words, that can be used to bind things or call animals to her Duny is particularly adept at calling falcons and other birds of prey His agile mind soon surpasses what his aunt can teach him He burns to knowHe is assigned to a mage, Ogion, who tries to teach him about the balance of magic with the Earth There is always a cost for using magic Understanding the levy for sorcery is the difference between being just impulsively talented and being wise about what you know You must not change one thing, one pebble, one grain of sand, until you know what good and evil will follow on that act The world is in balance, in Equilibrium A wizard s power of Changing and of Summoning can shake the balance of the world It is dangerous, that power It is most perilous It must follow knowledge, and serve need To light a candle is to cast a shadow If the flap of a butterfly wing in thecan cause a hurricane in Florida, imagine what a wizard can do with power over the weather It is kind of funny, but there is this one scene where wizards on different islands use spells to keep the clouds from raining on them This storm bounces between them like a boiling stew pot Now, a wizard like Ogion finds shelter under a tree and waits for the rain to stop To Sparrowhawk, this type of restraint is ridiculous If you have the power, why not use it Duny is Sparrowhawk, and you might think that is his real name, but just because you ve read a few paragraphs of this review doesn t mean you ve endeared yourself to me enough to tell you his real name Sparrowhawk will suffice for now Sparrowhawk becomes impatient with the restrained magic that Ogion teaches, so he is sent to magic school on the Island of Roke There was a magic school in literature before Hogwarts Indeed there was The first time he goes to the dining hall to eat, there is only one table The table, in a very Hogwarts fashion, expands to fit as many people who enter to eat Sparrowhawk is soon recognized as one of the most gifted students Spells and the names of things flow into his mind like lava, changing the landscape of his brain into something completely different He becomes powerful.He becomes arrogant.He becomes vengeful on those who don t appreciate his power In a moment of hubris, he summons a dead woman from the distant past and, in the process, opens a rift that nearly kills him It does kill the old mage who helps him close it Something came through Sparrowhawk is burned in mind, body, and spirit He is guilty of a death The shame and self condemnation weigh heavily on him He may become the great wizard he was intended to be, but the road will be much longer now The shadow from another world that pursues him becomes the devil on his heels for the rest of the novel This chase from island to island reminded me of Frankenstein and his pursuit of his monster to the North Pole The interesting thing about this novel is that Ursula K Le Guin s publisher came to her and asked her to write a book for older kids Young Adult wasn t even a term yet in the late 1960s She wasn t sure she wanted to write such a book, but she was nagged by the idea of where do great wizards come from We normally meet them when they are old sages in the vein of a Merlin or a Gandalf She wanted G erhhh Sparrowhawk to be seen ashuman,fallible than how most wizards had been presented before I liked the emphasis she puts on the importance of words in this novel and the power and magic that resides in knowing the names of things I had trepidations about reading this book I was reassured that I was in the capable hands of a writer I ve enjoyed before I have a bit of a knee jerk reaction to the term Young Adult because I m not a Young Adult I m an old fuddy duddy who has a hard time watching commercials on TV geared towards youth I certainly wince at the idea of spending hours trapped in a book intended for a younger audience I m somewhat alarmed at the number of ADULTS who read nothing but Young Adult The evolution of a reader is for that person to move from picture books, then ride the escalator to Young Adult, and eventually find the elevator that will take them onwards and upwards to adult literature I m still pondering this Is it an extended childhood Why would someone always want to read about children or teenagers Am I generationally challenged on this issue I am happy that people are reading, and ultimately it is better that they read anything rather than nothing at all, but I do think that theyou read there should be some evolution in what you choose to read I m such an eclectic reader that it is difficult for me to understood people being so genre specific with their reading choices Young Adult now dominates the publishing world Writers are being encouraged to make changes to their novels so they can be marketed as YA If I weren t worried about this trend it would be fascinating There are dragon battles, alluring women who try to seduce Gd to their own uses There are friendships made and lost there are painful realizations, and there is growth and acceptance of our own limitations Most importantly, there is a wizard as wise and as powerful as Gandolf or Merlin, who emerges like a Phoenix from the flames of his own childish conceit His name is Ged, but you must only whisper it, or better yet refer to him as Sparrowhawk, and keep in the locked box at the center of your heart who he really is He hunted, he followed, and fear ran before him If you wish to seeof my most recent book and movie reviews, visit also have a Facebook blogger page at If there were ever a time I d curse my constant reading of Urban Fantasy, Paranormal Romance or YA lit, it would be now.Because clearly, CLEARLY this is a fantastic book that deserved to be finished Ursula K Le Guin is a phenomenal writer and whilst this book up to what I read wasn t absolutely perfect, it was enchanting It was different, it was QUALITY.Yet I didn t finish it because, thanks to the aforementioned reading habits, my ability to concentrate and enjoy quality literature has slipped to the point that I am unable to focus on a book unless one of the following is occurring or about to occur.1 Somebody uses their super awesome powers to take down five bad guys with Kung Fu or a huge sword Preferably a glowing sword Preforably also throwing out witty one liners while doing so.2 Somebody is boning.3 Somebody is thinking about boning but can t yet until the sexual tension is properly built.4 There s some mysterious creature literally murdering someone in a sickeningly violent way.What A Wizard of Earthsea has shown me is that if my rate of decline continues, then I will quickly morph from a semi respectable, semi intelligent, semi quality individual into this Don t move It can t see you if you don t move What s measurably worse is that I will be proud of my decay and revel in it like a pig wallows in mud Like this only far less appealing to frat boys and those with strange mud fetishesClearly, this descent must be stopped If it isn t, the worst could occur We could all be sucked into a blackhole fuelled by fangirl squees and not nearly enough shame Pictured Not nearly enough shameSo feel free to help me, Goodreaders It s obvious I need help A Wizard of Earthsea deserved a better run on my reading shelf than it got Even if we have to shoot a Rocky esque montage to get me back into reading shape, I m sure it will be worth it I can use big words again It is very hard for evil to take hold of the unconsenting soulThis seemingly simple statement actually says a lot about the human nature just as all the Ursula Le Guin s books that I ve read so far seem to doA Wizard of Earthsea is a simple but beautiful and magical coming of age story of a young wizard Ged, who starts out as a brash and cocky boy who in his arrogance unwittingly releases a terrible Shadow upon the world, but who eventually grows up and succeeds in embracing the darker part of himself A word of caution if you are expecting a traditional fantasy adventure it is,than anything, an introspective book, so be warned.You thought, as a boy, that a mage is one who can do anything So I thought, once So did we all And the truth is that as a man s real power grows and his knowledge widens, ever the way he can follow grows narrower until at last he chooses nothing, but does only and wholly what he must do. A 1968 book with a non white hero LOVE There are the traditional coming of age fantasy elements wizarding school, true friend, bitter rival, fighting a dragon, finding love But there is something that sets this story apart from the newer variations on the similar theme, featuring Kvothe and Harry Potter and the like Part of it, of course, is the narration The story is told in the fairy tale tradition, with that particular strangely fascinating, lyrical and melodic fairy tale rhythm But mostly is because instead of focusing on what is on the surface the learning and the adventures A Wizard of Earthsea goes straight for the deeper meaning, for what lies beneath the surfaceYou must not change one thing, one pebble, one grain of sand, until you know what good and evil will follow on that act The world is in balance, in Equilibrium A wizard s power of Changing and Summoning can shake the balance of the world It is dangerous, that power It is most perilous It must follow knowledge, and serve need To light a candle is to cast a shadowIn her amazing brilliance, Ursula Le Guin takes what could have been a straightforward tale of the fight of good versus evil, and turns it into somethinga lesson in self discovery and acceptance of the darkness that lives inside all human beings This is a story about the fascination with knowledge and the temptation of power and dangers of presuming too much and upsetting the natural balance It is a story about getting to know your own self, including the darkest corners of your soul And the resulting epic battle of good versus evil well, let me tell you that the resolution was brilliant and poetic, and I did not see it coming AT ALLHe knew now, and the knowledge was hard, that his task had never been to undo what he had done, but to finish what he had begunUrsula Le Guin takes the elements that would be a dangerous set up for fail in the hands of most other writers and somehow unexpectedly turns them into the strengths of this book Take the characters except for Ged, they exist only as sketches to support the ideas in this story it s not supposed to ever work but it does She brushes over the years of Ged s life and training in just a few words, not detailing the tedium as many writers are prone to doing Her worldbuilding is not very detailed, but manages to capture the essence of this world in a few brush pen typewriter strokes We know Ged is in no danger as from the beginning the book refers to his subsequent adventures as a great mage, but this seeming lack of danger for the protagonist does not diminish neither the suspense nor the enjoyment of the story My one criticism goes to the some symbolism overkill I passionately hated all the high school teachers neverending discussions about symbolism yawn , but hey even Le Guin can t be always perfect Wonderful, mesmerizing read that fully deserves 4.5 stars Loved it dearly and highly recommend.