For what its worth, below is the Guardian's and Le Guin's take on Harry Potter
Q: Nicholas Lezard has written 'Rowling can type, but Le Guin can write.' What do you make of this comment in the light of the phenomenal success of the Potter books? I'd like to hear your opinion of JK Rowling's writing style
UKL: I have no great opinion of it. When so many adult critics were carrying on about the "incredible originality" of the first Harry Potter book, I read it to find out what the fuss was about, and remained somewhat puzzled; it seemed a lively kid's fantasy crossed with a "school novel", good fare for its age group, but stylistically ordinary, imaginatively derivative, and ethically rather mean-spirited.(less)
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 slip ...more
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 ...more
"It is very hard for evil to take hold of the unconsenting soul."
This 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 do.
A 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...more
This one definitely does. I know it doesn't need another five star review from anyone, but if you are looking for a book to introduce a youngster to fantast, this is an excellent one. It has stood the test of time very well. The language is lovely, the challenges our young magic user must meet are solid ones, and while it hints of more adventures to come, it stands very well on its own.
How come Harry Potter is the publishing sensation of the century, and this is only a moderately popular cult novel? Life seems unfair sometimes, but I suppose that in a few hundred years it will all have sorted itself out. The ending is one of the best I know in any book.
My wife has taken to reading to our very disabled daughter (now 13) while I make up her medicines before bedtime (it takes a while, there are 8 drugs that need to be counted out between a 1/3rd of a pill and 4 pills, crushed, mixed with water, sucked into a syringe and administered through a tube that goes through the wall of her stomach!).
Anyway, A Wizard of Earthsea was a recent read, and listening to my w ...more
* To know a thing's true name is to know its nature.
* Don't fuck with dragons (unless you know their true names).
* Summoning the spirits of the dead is a bad idea, especially on a schoolboy dare.
* Truly changing your form is dangerous, because you can become lost in the aspect you assume.
* If you find yourself hunted, turn it around and become the hunter.
* Above all else, know yourself.
I don't know how I acquired this particular copy of A Wizard of ...more
First published in 1968, it has clearly influenced many fantasy novels since. Orson Scott Card, with his 1980s era Alvin Maker series, stated that he wanted to make an American fantasy, and escape or at least distinguish his work from the inherently English Tolkien sub-genre of fantasies. This is not quite such a departure from the Tolkienesque fantasies, but a difference can be seen and enjoyed.
Another Goodreads reviewer made th ...more
Though she isn't the first to explore the Bildungsroman-as-Fantasy (Mervyn Peake precedes her), he was an author who eschewed sym ...more
And yet, right after reading A Wizard of Earthsea, I'm gonna have to say I think A Wizard of Earthsea is better. Not only better, but a lot more enjoyable, fascinating, and exciting!
Not by a lot, mind you, but enough that I can easily say that this Le Guin's classic is superior. :)
I hope this c ...more
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 ...more
I enjoyed the book. I was pulled in at the beginning but it let some slack in a little later. I’m going to keep on with them because I do like it!
Frankly, I only enjoyed the very beginning and the very end of this story. What's in between is excruciatingly boring. A Wizard of Earthsea is an introspective book. What I mean is, it's all about one wizard's personal quest to overcome the dark entity - Shadow - that he unleashed during a youthful boasting about his magical power ...more
I love fantasy and the overall story was good, the writing was beautiful (definitely helped me practice my english!) but I was so bored. Like REALLY bored. I ended up skimming a bit..
It reminded me of Uprooted - which I also didn't like! Also couldn't get attached to the main character due to the third person narration and how often months or years of his life were described in one sentence.
Will not continue the series. ...more
The novel follows a young boy called Duny, nicknamed "Sparrowhawk", born on the island of Gont. Discovering that the boy has great innate power, his aunt teaches him the little magic she knows.
When his village is attacked by Kargish raiders, Duny summons a fog to conceal the village and its inhabitants, enabling the residents to drive off the Kargs. Hearing of this, the powerful mage Ogion takes him as an apprentice, giving him his ...more
Nowadays any fantasy book that features a school of wizardry can not help but bring up Harry Potter comparisons (I can't help it anyway). ...more
Well this was a bit of an odd one. I both did and didn't enjoy it. This book definitely has the classic fantasy feel to it, with its lengthy descriptions and epic journeying. But I have to admit, the only thing motivating me to pick it back up again was my host role in the readalong. It took me two weeks or so to read a book only 170 page long, not because of anything outright bad, but it just seemed to miss the mark.
“Back then, in 1967” Ursula Le Guin once commented, “wizards were all, more or less, Merlin and Gandalf. Old men, peaked hats, white beards. But this was to be a book for young people. Well, Merlin and Gandalf must have been young once, right? And when they were young, when they were fool kids, how did they learn to be wi ...more
There are an infinitude of ways to reflect upon, analyze and understand our life experiences. But LeGuin provides a framework that is just right for me. Her telling o ...more
I can tell that's what UKLG was going for with t ...more
The nudging began in class with a LeGuin short story. I remember sterile white homes that were pre-fab pods, I remember odd, sci-fi-ish flora and a girl as the protagonist. I also r ...more
I would classify this book as a coming- ...more
NB: read originally in the 80's. Project re-read.
“Only in silence the word,
Only in dark the light,
Only in dying life:
Bright the hawk’s flight
On the empty sky”
Yin & Yang?
I honestly don't remember a time when I wasn't obsessed with reading and collecting books. I'd define childhood as a never-ending vacation. A weekend without a week following and reading-time everlasting. I still remember the never-ending days of my childhood. My first ...more
Earthsea is, on its face, a fantasy saga along the lines of Tolkien or Rowling. ...more
"Only in silence the word, only in dark the light, only in dying life: bright the hawk's flight on the empty sky."
Not going to lie, it took me a while to get into this book and if it weren't for the fact that I was buddy reading this with my best friend, I probably would've given up! I'm so glad I finished it because I literally can't get over how perfect the ending was. I was so moved that straight after I finished the book, I actually went back and reread the final chapter all ove ...more
- Ursula K Le Guin, A Wizard of Earthsea
I rarely venture into YA fiction. Less often still do I pick up and read a book of fantasy. There are exceptions. When I trust the author, we I think there is art/beauty/originality lurking there, I will often venture into spaces and places I usually avoid. Ursula K Le Guin died last year and I started reading her bit by bit, largely focusing on her Hainish novels/cycle. I needed more women in my 20 ...more
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