Beyond Reality discussion

A Wizard of Earthsea (Earthsea Cycle, #1)
This topic is about A Wizard of Earthsea
37 views
Previous BotM--DISCUSSIONS > A Wizard of Earthsea -- Finished Reading **SPOILERS LIKELY!**

Comments Showing 1-24 of 24 (24 new)    post a comment »
dateDown arrow    newest »

message 1: by Candiss (new)

Candiss (tantara) | 1207 comments If you've finished reading A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula K. Le Guin, this is the place to share your thoughts with the group.

Caution: There will likely be **SPOILERS** in this thread.


message 2: by Nick (new)

Nick (doily) | 977 comments Glad to see Ms. Le Guin represented here this year. I hope to hear from all who have read this book before, or are just reading it for the first time.


message 3: by Jim (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jim Mcclanahan (clovis-man) | 485 comments My earlier review:

"A well written and articulate tale of high fantasy by one of my favorite authors. Some have compared this novel and its two sequels to Tolkien. I would have to say that a better comparison would be to Jack Vance and the Lyonesse trilogy. The characters, while not drawn in great detail, are suficiently fleshed out to provide a clear picture of their roles and demeanor. And I'm including the dragon here. This in turn provides a proper framework for the advancement of the story theme of Ged's search for his shadowy nemesis and his growth as a wizard and a person at the same time. A worthy tale."


Phil J | 57 comments Jim wrote: "My earlier review:

"A well written and articulate tale of high fantasy by one of my favorite authors. Some have compared this novel and its two sequels to Tolkien. I would have to say that a bette..."


I don't see the Tolkien comparisons, other than they are both fantasy novels.


message 5: by Shel, Moderator (new) - rated it 5 stars

Shel (shel99) | 2388 comments Mod
This is an old favorite, but I haven't read it in years and my memory is a little fuzzy. Looking forward to hearing what everyone thinks about it.


RJ - Slayer of Trolls (hawk5391yahoocom) Jim wrote: "Some have compared this novel and its two sequels to Tolkien. I would have to say that a better comparison would be to Jack Vance and the Lyonesse trilogy."

That's an interesting comparison. I'm reading Vance's Dying Earth series right now for the group read. I do see some similarities in the writing styles and the pace of the story. I haven't read the Lyonesse books but in Dying Earth the characters are much more chaotically aligned than in Le Guin's Earthsea books. I admire both authors a lot based on my limited readings of both.


message 7: by Nick (last edited May 04, 2018 10:25AM) (new)

Nick (doily) | 977 comments Randy wrote: "Jim wrote: "Some have compared this novel and its two sequels to Tolkien. I would have to say that a better comparison would be to Jack Vance and the Lyonesse trilogy."

That's an interesting compa..."


The Lyonesse: Suldrun's Garden series is, unfortunately, my least favorite Vance. His The Languages of Pao, on the other hand, borders on great!

In my opinion Le Guin stands on her own. Again, I personally like the harder sci fi of The Left Hand of Darkness, but just about anything she does is on par with most anyone else in the field. She helped to define sci fi and fantasy after the '60s.


message 8: by Jim (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jim Mcclanahan (clovis-man) | 485 comments Nick wrote: "The Lyonesse: Suldrun's Garden series is, unfortunately, my least favorite Vance. His The Languages of Pao, on the other hand, borders on great!"

Dying Earth is his first novel, while the Lyonesse books are among his last. There is certainly a difference in his evolved writing style between the two. OTOH, pretty much everything by Leguin is polished and worthy.


message 9: by Phil (last edited May 04, 2018 01:45PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Phil J | 57 comments Nick wrote: "The Lyonesse: Suldrun's Garden series is, unfortunately, my least favorite Vance. His The Languages of Pao, on the other hand, borders on great!."

Wow! I'm a huge Jack Vance fan, and I think the first two Lyonesse books are among his best. They use an epic, high fantasy setting to tell a morally ambiguous story in which the good guys do not always win, and it was published at a time when Terry Brooks was the biggest name in fantasy. That's as cool as it gets.

On the other hand, I always thought the Demon Princes series was overrated, which puts me at odds with most Vance fans. I thought Languages of Pao was okay, but not in his top ten.

If we're looking for genre comparisons to LeGuin, there aren't many. Her influences were Taoism and anthropology. A Wizard of Earthsea has a stripped-down parable feel to it. Lord Dunsany and The Neverending Story are the closest things I can think of.


DivaDiane | 188 comments Jim wrote: "Some have compared this novel and its two sequels to Tolkien."

Having just read The Hobbit and A Wizard of Earthsea to my son (8yo) back to back, I'll agree with Phil, that the connection to Tolkien is tenuous. A Wizard of Earthsea is a completely different beast. I think the Hobbit was easier for my son to absorb. The writing style was much more in story-telling mode than AWoE. We stopped to go over vocabulary, but with AWoE we talked more about the concepts. I adore both books, but for completely different reasons. AWoE touches something deep within that everyone can relate to. My son may need some maturity and a couple of rereads to get it, but he really enjoyed the story.


Justine (justinescholefield) | 563 comments This was my first time reading this book and I enjoyed it. It leans much more towards the literary than most YA written today does. There is more reliance on exposition, something which seems to have fallen out of favour recently, but this is partly what gives the story it's literary feel. There is a lot of evidence of le Guin's knowledge and interest in philosophy here, and I did like that the hero's journey requires resolution here by exploration of the self rather than increased prowess with craft or fighting skills. That aspect makes it quite different from The Hobbit.

I also appreciated the fact that here is a book published in 1968, yet the main character and most supporting characters were all POC - despite some of the cover art over time depicting the contrary. Le Guin herself notes that she saw this choice as a subversive act at the time:)


message 12: by Chris, Moderator (new) - rated it 4 stars

Chris (heroncfr) | 614 comments Mod
I read this many years ago and welcomed the chance to reacquaint myself with this classic. Le Guin sets the bar high for this high fantasy, based on a classic plot of the hero coming to know himself. Ged was hard to like at first, although we can admire his innate wizardly powers. The world is well realized. I particularly liked the part where he learned boat building skills without wizardry.


message 13: by RJ - Slayer of Trolls (last edited May 17, 2018 07:33PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

RJ - Slayer of Trolls (hawk5391yahoocom) I read this book for the first time earlier this year and when I finished I sat back and scratched my head and wondered why it had taken me so long to get around to reading it. Le Guin's prose is impeccable and she fits more story into 200 pages than most authors would fit into a 12 volume series. I'm looking forward to reading more Le Guin and more Earthsea books.


DivaDiane | 188 comments I think a lot of people don’t notice UKLs work or “get around to reading it” because there is very little of it that has been produced in other media (or done well) and it is just so subtle and low-key that there just isn’t much hype around it. More people are reading her now that she has passed, because she has been in the media also for her speech at the National Book Awards. I don’t think it could really happen to her, because her work is just too important to the genre historically, but if it weren’t I could totally see her fading away out of the canon and bookstores. ☹️ There’s also a movie in final production, so hopefully that will help keep her present in people’s minds!


message 15: by Jim (new) - rated it 4 stars

Jim (jimmaclachlan) Diane wrote: "I think a lot of people don’t notice UKLs work or “get around to reading it” because there is very little of it that has been produced in other media (or done well) and it is just so subtle and low..."

The PBS movie (1980) of The Lathe of Heaven is a classic. I thought it was well known. If you haven't seen it, you should. Unfortunately, they lost the rights to the Beatles rendition of "With a Little Help From My Friends" & the cover band version sucks. Still a great movie, though.


Philip Athans (philathans) | 67 comments Though it's been 38 years (wow--was it 1980?) since I read the Earthsea books they've left a lasting impression on me. I have clear recall of just DEVOURING them--sincerely one of my favorite fantasy novels of all time.

https://fantasyhandbook.wordpress.com...


DivaDiane | 188 comments I have seen that one, Jim! I did like it. But the version of AWoE is supposedly awful. And there’s an animated version of AWoE by studio Ghibli which is not awful, but that’s it, as far as I know.


Random (rand0m1s) | 899 comments I was in late grade school when I found A Wizard of Earthsea on my bed (gift from my brother). It was difficult for me to find fantasy stuff at the time. I couldn't buy or even choose my own books yet, the school library was drastically lacking in that area, and I had no access to the public library. I spent a lot of time reading books of fairy tales, because they were the closest I think I could find to what I wanted, not really knowing that it was what I wanted.

It was a magical experience for me and I managed to beg for and get the next two books. I read all three over and over and over.

As much as I loved this one, and Ged, I still prefer The Tombs of Atuan more. I think it may have been because the main character was young and female and it was a little easier for me to identify with her. Thankfully that is a trait I have managed to outgrow. Not because Tenar isn't a good character, she is very good, but that I have managed to expand my ability to identify with people and characters who are not like myself.

The Farthest Shore was harder for me to read at that age. I think it was a little more complex of a story. I really should do a reread of the entire series as an adult, as I suspect an adult perspective will give me a different point of view.

I was an adult when I read Tehanu and The Other Wind, but was in a mode where I read for volume, not quality or understanding. I never did read Tales from Earthsea.

I think I feel a series re read coming on for me. :)

I feel Le Giun was really a unique author. Not flashy, not action packed, wonderfully lyrical and imaginative, yet still able to keep the rapt attention of a child.


BTW - the gifting brother also gifted my a number of other books in my childhood. He introduced me to Trixie Belden (my passion before fantasy), Earthsea, and Pern. He passed away right before New Years, but I still have A Wizard of Earthsea and The Dragonriders of Pern copies he gave me.

I don't have Trixie Belden anymore. We were having a garage sale and those went on the table. A young girl was there with her mother. She kept begging to let her mother buy her a book and kept looking at those books. Her mom kept saying she wasn't going to waste any money on stupid books while she stubbed out something like her 5th cigarette since they had been there. I was so annoyed I gave the girl the entire series for no cost. The look on her face was totally worth it.


message 19: by Jim (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jim Mcclanahan (clovis-man) | 485 comments Random wrote: "I don't have Trixie Belden anymore. We were having a garage sale and those went on the table. A young girl was there with her mother. She kept begging to let her mother buy her a book and kept looking at those books. Her mom kept saying she wasn't going to waste any money on stupid books while she stubbed out something like her 5th cigarette since they had been there. I was so annoyed I gave the girl the entire series for no cost. The look on her face was totally worth it. "

Good for you!


Justine (justinescholefield) | 563 comments That is a great story, Random! I was also a Trixie Belden fan:)


message 21: by Kathi, Moderator & Book Lover (last edited May 19, 2018 06:47AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Kathi | 3374 comments Mod
Yep, Trixie Belden fan here, too. I got rid of the series a few years ago—sold to a used book store.


DivaDiane | 188 comments Great story m, Random! I was also a Trixie Belden fan, I still have a lot of them, although they aren’t really worth keep as crappy department store paperbacks. I’ve bought a few of them in hardback over the years, but I’m not sure my son will like them at all, so I don’t know who I’m buying them for. 😍


Justine (justinescholefield) | 563 comments Diane, maybe you will meet a young person in particular need of a book fairy, like Random did :) :)


RJ - Slayer of Trolls (hawk5391yahoocom) Random wrote: "I don't have Trixie Belden anymore. We were having a garage sale and those went on the table. A young girl was there with her mother. She kept begging to let her mother buy her a book and kept looking at those books. Her mom kept saying she wasn't going to waste any money on stupid books while she stubbed out something like her 5th cigarette since they had been there. I was so annoyed I gave the girl the entire series for no cost. The look on her face was totally worth it."

That is an awesome story!


back to top