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A Wizard of Earthsea -- Ursula K. Le Guin Print
Written by Mike Noel   
Friday, 14 November 2008

A Wizard of Earthsea

A Wizard of Earthsea is the first book in the Earthsea series written by Ursula K. Le Guin.  The central character is Ged, a young man who has the potential to be one of the most powerful wizards in all of Earthsea.  Ged starts as a boy who slowly discovers that he has vast talent to become a wizard.  He is soon adopted by a regional mage who promises to train him.  The boy's excitement is too much and he can't bear to follow the slow and subtle training that the mage offers.  In a foolish and impatient move Ged leaves and head to wizard school.  


At school Ged quickly realizes that he is much more talented than most of the other students.  Pride grows quickly along with resentment that he can't partake in some of the things that older students are allowed to access.  In a impetuous rage Ged oversteps his boundaries and inadvertantly releases an evil "shadow" on the world.  The shadow attacks him and almost kills him.  His teachers rescue him but the shadow escapes to roam the world.

After Ged's recovery he is a defeated young man.  Slowly he completes his training and then is commissioned to be the resident wizard for a far off island.  He takes the post in a hope that the shadow will not find him.  That hope is in vain.  The shadow persues him all across Earthsea.  Eventually Ged has to face the evil that he released.

The story is not so much about "magic and wizardry" as much as it is about the human condition.  In a fantastical setting Le Guin demonstrates the old adage that pride comes before a fall.  Ged's prideful and impatient actions threaten to destroy him and cause incredible damage to many of those around him.  Only through a dangerous confrontation does Ged finally redeem himself.  In the end he is a better man but he paid a high price to get there.


Last Updated ( Monday, 17 November 2008 )

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