A Wizard of Earthsea (Earthsea Cycle #1)
by Ursula K. Le Guin
Description via Goodreads
…a 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 (195)
A Wizard of Earthsea is a science fiction/fantasy bildungsroman and origin story of Sparrowhawk (also known as Ged) the greatest voyager of Roke. The reader follows Ged from his humble beginnings as a nobody to his first obligations as wizard.
Sparrowhawk or Ged, is very interesting character. He’s the last born and natural loner. Left to his own devices in a small, boring village, he finds creative ways to cultivate his mind. For example, learning charms from his witch-aunt: calling goats, healing spells, patching leaky roofs etc. However, simple charms aren’t enough for Sparrowhawk, future dragonlord and Archmage. Eventually he takes up an apprenticeship with a Master Wizard, but impatience and immaturity rule over him. So the Master Wizard sends him to the Roke School of Wizards, famous throughout all Earthsea.
Ged begins his adventure talented but immature and flawed. Along the way, he learns the importance of balance, not letting one side overwhelm the other. He develops the courage and wisdom to finish what has been started. The major conflict jumpstarts when ego leads Ged to summon a power he doesn’t understand and cannot control. He creates a gateway for a shadow to enter the world. This is not just any shadow…it’s everything dark. On his journey to understand the shadow and his connection with it, he matures greatly. What begins as a source of self-inflicted damage and destruction of Ged becomes a passage to wholeness and adulthood.
There were many elements and little details that intrigued me… I like the idea of limits; knowing them and testing them--be it the power of a spell or sailing the seas to the edge of the world. Ged is a wizard, but he is also a human with weaknesses. I really like the dark invitations: the huge elder dragon on the isle…the hidden stone that was before all things. Both had knowledge of the shadow, knowledge that Ged needed, but their power was sinister and untrustworthy. I also like the importance of names. Knowing a true name grants one the ability to speak to, connect with, and in some instances control something or someone else. I’m hoping all these things will be further explored.
I’m looking forward to the other adventures of Ged.
A Wizard of Earthsea