Read: December 2019
Author: Ursula K. Le Guin
Length: 205 (paperback)
Selected By: BillMo
“Ged was the greatest sorcerer in Earthsea, but in his youth he was the reckless Sparrowhawk. In his hunger for power and knowledge, he tampered with long-held secrets and loosed a terrible shadow upon the world. This is the tumultuous tale of his testing, how he mastered the mighty words of power, tamed an ancient dragon, and crossed death’s threshold to restore balance.”
“But need alone is not enough to set power free: there must be knowledge.”
This was a really good short read. I love that this book was from 1968 and it was considered different during it’s time. Part of what made this book a four instead of a three to me was reading the author’s notes at the end. She was very smart and slipped things in to this book that normally would not have been accepted during the time the book was published.
“When you know the fourfoil in all its seasons root and leaf and flower, by sight and scent and seed, then you may learn its true name, knowing its being: which is more than its use. What, after all, is the use of you? or of myself? Is Gont Mountain useful, or the Open Sea?” Ogion went on a half mile or so, and said at last, “To hear, one must be silent.”
I had a hard time sometimes where there were long paragraphs about traveling to different places of this world and would get a little lost. But this is a fantasy book and really shouldn’t you get lost a little? You know what I mean. 🙂 If you don’t I mean fantasy is a place you are supposed to go to lose yourself keep up people. 🙂
“But 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…”
I did not like our little Sparrowhawk at the beginning of the story. He was arrogant and chose to do things even though he should have known better. In the words of Treebeard, “A wizard should know better!” However, in this case I guess a teenager trying to prove himself may not know better even though he should listen to those around him. I definitely liked him more by the end of the story after he had learned lessons the hard way. I guess a lesson that isn’t learned hard may not be a lesson worth learning….or is it? Sometimes we don’t know how important something is no matter how many words are thrown at us with the disclosure that they are very important until we don’t listen and everything goes wrong and realize by our mistakes how important that lesson was and how we wished we had listened. I wish he had wanted to stay with Ogion. If he had we wouldn’t have had a story so I understand why he must go to learn at a school for wizards. What? A school for wizards pre-Harry Potter. That’s right people JK Rowling was not the first to write of a school for wizarding.
“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…”
My favorite character was Vetch. He seemed like the kind of guy you would want to be around all the time. He seemed genuine. He really cared about Sparrowhawk and seemed to love him like a brother. He would be the type of person that you would meet and have an immediate friend. He would quite literally go to the ends of the world for you.
“It is one thing to read about dragons and another to meet them.”
My second favorite was Ogion. If I was in this world I would have liked to have stayed with him and learned the long way to becoming a wizard. I wish he could have told Sparrowhawk more so that he would have wanted to stay but I guess I see the importance of patience and having someone see their own way to the end of their story.
Ged Fished from his jetty, and tended his garden-patch. He spent whole days pondering a page or a line or a word in the Lore-Books he had brought from Roke, sitting out in the summer air under the pendick-trees, while the otak slept beside him or went hunting mice in the forests of grass and daisies.
I may read the rest of the series because it was very entertaining and the bit I read from the author just made me really like her as a person. This book for me was most comfortable in a dark room with a warm lamp light glowing and me wrapped in a warm blanket. I definitely recommend this book to others.
It was only the dumb instinctive wisdom of the beast who licks his hurt companion to comfort him, and yet in that wisdom Ged saw something akin to his own power, something that went as deep as wizardry.
BillMo’s Favorite Character(s): Vetch and Ogion.
BillMo read the Amazon Kindle edition of this selection.