A Wizard Of Earthsea

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A wizard of Earthsea by Ursula K. Le Guin Gont lies in the North Reach of Archipelago. Ged lives on Gont; he became a famous man, but this tale is about the days before the songs about him were made. He was born as Duny in a small village and he was raised by his aunt who was a witch. She taught him the first lessons in magic. The boy learnt to listen to birds etc. This is the time when he gets his nickname Sparrowhawk.

Some years later, the Kargad Empire attacked and Duny saved the village he lived in by creating a fog. This deed interested Ogion, the wizard of Gont. On his 13th birthday, Ogion names him Ged. After that, Ged goes with Ogion to learn magic.

But Ogion's way of teaching things disappoints Ged, because Ogion doesn't teach him 'real magic', but he teaches him mostly things about the power of herbs.

To hear, one must be silent. When Sparrowhawk goes searching for herbs, he meets a girl who asks him things he hasn't learnt yet, but Sparrowhawk says he can do it. Therefore, he goes to Ogion's books, but Ogion sees him. Since Sparrowhawk says he wants to learn things, Ogion offers to send him to Roke. Sparrowhawk goes with a boat, but the boat gets caught in a storm. The 'captain' wants to go to another island, but Ged says he sees a light on Roke. The others see nothing, but since he came with Ogion they believe him. And indeed they reach Roke.

Ged goes to the school for wizards. To enter, he must say his name ( a man never says his name ), but Ged does so and he can enter. He goes to the Archmage and reads Ogion's letter to him. Later, Ged meets some other students: Jasper and Vetch. He likes Vetch, but he dislikes Jasper.

At the school, Ged learns many things, but his antipathy against Jasper remains. He learns that in order to really change a thing, you have to know its real name ( its name in the Old Speech). Everything has its own name; when you know that name, you have power over it. Changing things is a dangerous matter, because you can disturb the Equilibrium. When Ged goes to the Isolate Tower to learn names, he gets a companion: a rare animal, an otak.

Ged studies rapidly; quicker than most others, but Jasper and Vetch are sorcerers before him. He secretly learns things about spirits and when he and Jasper are bullying each other again, he says he'll summon a spirit from the death to demonstrate his power. When he tries to do this, a shadow comes. Ged is seriously injured and the Archmage dies in order to save him. Ged lies ill for quite a while and he's sound again, the new Archmage says he can't leave Roke, because the shadow is out there and Roke is his only protection.

Vetch is still his friend after Ged's foolish deed and they tell each other their real names. Vetch' name is Estarriol. At the end of his time in Roke, he has to ask the name of the Doorkeeper to gain his freedom.

Ged goes to the Ninety Islands to protect the local men from a dragon, which lives at Pendor. He is afraid to leave the safe Roke, but he also knows that he has to face the truth once. He becomes friends with a local fisherman, Pechvarry. When his child is ill, Ged tries to save it; he even goes beyond normal life for the child's spirit. Ged falls down and if it were not for the otak, he would have been gone. He knows that the shadow has found him and he tries to protect himself by magic. He knows that he is a danger for the islands, so he decides to leave after he has dealt with the dragon. The young ones are no match for him, but the mother is. She offers him the name of the shadow so Ged can control it. But Ged knows that dragons can lie in Old Speech and he knows the dragon's name so he controls it and he makes her promise to stay on Pendor.

Ged wants to return to Roke, but the Roke-wind ( which prevents evil from coming to Roke) prevents him from doing so. He goes to another island where he meets a man who advises him to go to the Court of Terrenon on Oskill to "find a sword to fight shadows with". So he goes to Oskill and when he comes there, he meets Skiorh, who tells him the way to the court. But Skiorh is a gebbeth ( a soul which the shadow has possessed ) and it says Ged's real name. Ged runs away and when he hears someone whispering "come" he follows.

Ged awakes in the Court of Terrenon. A girl, Serret, is there and she tells him that the master of the court if the wizard Benderesk, her husband. Serret offers him to have a look at the Terrenon, a precious stone. Serret tells Ged that it will answer any question Ged will ask it, but Ged knows it is not safe to ask something to a bounded spirit. Serret keeps asking it, offering that the stone will say the shadow's name and they will both rule the world ( Ged is the only one with power enough ). But her husband overhears it, and summons the Servants of the Stone. When Serret and Ged leave the court, Serret changes into the girl Ged saw at Ogion's place. Ged changes himself into a hawk and so he flees. He goes to Ogion, who tells him that he can't flee forever and therefore he has to hunt the shadow instead.

Ged makes a boat, and on the sea he summons his shadow. On his hunt, a storm passes his way and he comes on an island. An old man and an old woman are there too, but they only speak the old Kargad, which Ged doesn't speak. He finds a ring there, but that is another story. He makes a boat there and when he is on the sea again, he meets the shadow. There is now a link between them, ant they will meet again, without hunting. He sails to the Hands, a pair of islands.

On the Hands, he is given a boat in trade for some sorcery. Ged sails to Iffish, but he is not welcomed heartily. When he sees Vetch, the wizard of Iffish, he knows why: Vetch has seen Ged 3 days ago: that must have been the shadow. Ged tells Vetch about his quest and Vetch tells him he'll join him.

They sail to the east because Ged knows where he has to go. Vetch has no idea, but he trusts Ged. They go so far east, that they are doubting whether there will be land there or whether they will come to the end of the world. But they do reach a land. The shadow is there and Ged says its name: Ged is now healed.

Ged said his own name, and a man naming his death with his own name, knows his whole true self and cannot be possessed by any power than himself.

Characters: Ged ; main-character; in the beginning he is 3 years old, at the end 20; he has great power, but also great pride; name for other persons = Sparrowhawk round Vetch; Ged's friend; he makes friends easily; he is from Iffish and will become a wizard there; he is a few years older than Ged; real name = Estarriol flat Jasper; Ged's non-friend; he looks upon people as if they are all bad flat Ogion; wizard of Gont; nice old man; Ged's namer; quite wise flat Pechvarry; fisherman from the Ninety Isles; he likes Ged, even though Ged couldn't save his child flat Title: A wizard of Earthsea; this book is the beginning of a series => the title must be seen as a sort of introduction in this land and its habits ( there are a few elements in the story which prelude to the other books such as the song about Ged, the ring ) Setting: The 'land' is Earthsea, and the islands are: Gont, Roke, Ninety Isles, Oskill and Iffish. A time is not mentioned in the book.

Genre: fantasy-novel Theme: - a man naming his death with his own name, knows his whole true self and cannot be possessed by any power than himself - pride is a dangerous thing